Monday, October 10, 2022

In Case You Missed It – October 10, 2022

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

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Indiana names the Teacher of the Year and we feature posts discussing the failure and danger of standardized testing.


Bluffton teacher named Indiana’s Teacher of the Year

Tara Cocanower, a Bluffton High School history teacher has been named Indiana Teacher of the Year for 2023.

From WANE dot com
The Indiana Department of Education announced the honor on Wednesday.

“For many educators, becoming a teacher is a calling to serve others and make a positive impact on the world, one student at a time, and Mrs. Tara Cocanower is the embodiment of someone who was truly meant to be a teacher,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “When you see the way she connects with her students, it is clear to those around her that in addition to maximizing student learning, she is positively impacting lives and preparing her students to do the same. By believing in her students and being a trusted mentor, she is empowering the next generation of leaders and, as she calls them, world changers.”


The United States has weaponized standardized tests for decades. We have overused and misused them to punish students for being poor, to punish teachers for working with hard to teach students, and to separate the haves from the have-nots.

Privatizers have used tests to claim that public schools are failing, when the failure is our society's inability to conquer racism and poverty.

Bloggers Nancy Bailey and Steven Singer wrote about standardized tests on their respective blogs this week, and our readers were interested.

Dear Dr. Cardona: Punitive Student Assessment is Meant to Privatize Public Schools!

Nancy Bailey's open letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education...

From Nancy Bailey's Education Website
High-stakes standardized tests have been punitive for years casting teachers as failing, closing public schools, opening charters, and pushing vouchers.

Tests, done right, can be a professional tool for teachers to understand students better. But corporate reformers stole that process years ago to make teachers look bad to close schools.

High-stakes standardized tests have unrealistically raised expectations even for the youngest learners. See Is Kindergarten the New First Grade? Children bear the pressure of high-stakes standardized testing, which can last a lifetime.

Public schools have been scrutinized, while charters and private schools are given free rein. See The New York Times’s recent report, In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools Flush With Public Money, where gender-segregated schools funded with $1 billion from the government agreed to subject students to standardized tests, with dismal results.

And if test results were to ensure [public] schools would receive the resources they need, why are teachers resorting to charity, begging for materials, and using Donors Choose?

When Good Students Get Bad Standardized Test Scores

Gadfly on the Wall blogger Steven Singer posted twice about standardized tests. Why on Earth are we still using these ineffective and damaging so-called assessments?

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
Ameer is a good student.

He takes notes in class, does all his homework and participates in discussions.

He writes insightful essays and demonstrates a mastery of spelling and grammar.

He reads aloud with fluency and inflection. He asks deep questions about the literature and aces nearly all of his classroom reading comprehension tests.

However, when it is standardized test time, things are very different.

He still arrives early, takes his time with the questions and reviews his work when he’s done – but the results are not the same.

His grades are A’s. His test scores are Below Basic.

How is that?

How can a student demonstrate mastery of a subject in class but fail to do the same on a standardized test?

And which assessment should I, his teacher, take seriously?

After all, they can’t BOTH be correct.

The Racist Origins of Standardized Testing Still Matter

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
Would you walk across a bridge that was designed to break?

Of course you wouldn’t.

But what if someone told you the bridge had been fixed?

Would you trust it – especially if people were still falling off of it all the time?

That’s the situation we’re in with standardized testing.

The tests were explicitly created more than a century ago to fail minorities and the poor.

And today, after countless revisions and new editions, they still do exactly the same thing.

Yet we’re exhorted to keep using them.

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.


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