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Sun May 20, 2012, 12:49 PM

Two major Florida newspapers highly critical of high stakes state test, the FCAT.

Last edited Sun May 20, 2012, 01:37 PM - Edit history (1)

This is just one piece of the education "reform" pie, but the whole thing is rotten, designed to drain money out of public schools and into the pockets of test companies, and then when the test results show any shortcoming of schools, it is used as an excuse to divert funds to for profit charter schools and education management companies.

Part of why this problem has persisted so long is teachers unions have not been forceful enough in opposing it and calling a spade a spade: these reforms are about politicians who have been bribed or coerced to steal from our children's education.

If politicians really cared about public schools, they would require lower student teacher ratios, tutors for struggling kids, and school based social services for dysfunctional families that make it tough for think straight in school--not more testing, teacher firing, and turning over the schools to well connected political cronies.

There is a contribution the private sector can make: politicians could look at what works in the private schools THEIR children attend and see if those practices can be adapted to the public school setting.

You can be damn sure those schools they send their kids to aren't doing high stakes testing every other month and stripping their curriculum down to how to fill in the bubbles on those tests.

Teachers need to figure out exactly which companies are paying for this political agenda and every time they are on a purchasing committee, insist that their district choose another product. In the case of testing, I'm not sure why states can't use teachers to produce and grade their own tests rather than use private companies, or teachers in several states couldn't develop the tests cooperatively.

In any case, it's time to put educators back in charge of education instead of hedge fund managers who want to sell our kids' futures like so many pork bellies or sides of beef.

The FCAT is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The writing section scores came out last week. The scores were shockingly low on this new version. The state lowered the requirements quickly, but not before it turned out that only about 30% would have passed otherwise.

The Orlando Sentinel pointed out just how high stakes this test has become.

Too much is riding on testing data that cannot be trusted

The Sentinel points out that student promotion, graduation, the evaluation of teachers and administrators, the letter grade assigned to schools--are all dependent on this test.

The company, NCS Pearson, that develops the test is able to do so secretly and without much oversight. Many honors students in advanced classes have been assigned to remedial reading classes if they failed it. That's a lot of power for one company to have.


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Reply Two major Florida newspapers highly critical of high stakes state test, the FCAT. (Original post)
yurbud May 2012 OP
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yurbud May 2012 #1

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Mon May 21, 2012, 01:22 PM

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