NY: UFT ad attacks standardized testing, after $160 million is wasted in test prep and data processing.

“While testing is an important part of measuring student progress, it should not be done at the expense of educating the whole child,” - UFT President Randi Weingarten.

From: The New York Daily News
Teacher union ad attacks testing plan
by Erin Einhorn Daily News Staff Write 2/25/08

A Brown-eyed blond girl gazes at a seed she has planted in a large glass jar and beams as a teacher helps her set it on a classroom shelf.

It's hardly the stuff of political attack.

But the 30-second ad - which will start airing today during morning and prime-time TV - is paid for by the city teachers union and targets the standardized exams that teachers say devour too much of the school day.

"A child's mind is a precious thing that's growing every day," a soothing female voice intones during the ad. "Standardized school tests can measure her progress in certain subjects, but New York City teachers believe it takes a well-rounded curriculum - including science, civics, language, arts and sports - to help young imaginations thrive."

Teachers union President Randi Weingarten has assailed Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for recent investments in an $80 million test prep program and an $80 million computer system to crunch testing data. She was furious when Klein revealed a plan to measure teachers by children's scores.

The ads appear to be her answer. They'll air in the city during news programs and such shows as "60 Minutes" and "Law & Order." The union estimates they'll be seen at least 10 times by 11.6million people.

"While testing is an important part of measuring student progress, it should not be done at the expense of educating the whole child," Weingarten said in a statement. Weingarten's spokesman refused to say how much the ads would cost beyond saying it's "clearly a significant buy."

Klein spokeswoman Debra Wexler said the union was "promoting a false choice" with its ad.

"We need to provide students with a rich, well-rounded education and we also need to assess," Wexler said in a statement. "If we don't assess, we don't know whether our students have learned or our teachers taught."

My comment:
Standardized tests do not teach, as a matter of fact the entire idea of No Child Left behind does exactly the opposite of what one would think. It leaves children behind. While the Bush administration wholeheartedly pushed this legislation, it left it up to the states to pay for it. Some states have actually had to sue to get federal aid to pay for this standardized testing. How silly we are to think that we must focus on a mere test instead of actually teaching our students. It wastes our money and lets those children who can remember answers get pushed through the system knowing how to pass a test. Well, why not? With an impending draft on the horizon, think of it in terms of when you had your driving test and they didn't want you to have bad habits, the new version of a bad habit is free thought, and intelligence. Try to tell the drill instructor or a McDonalds manager that you have free thought.

NCLB is doing exactly what money corporations want it to. Keep the youth ignorant, dumb and easily pliable for their future careers in the military, the service industry and the security industry. While ignoring the professional fields where workers are needed such as nursing staff. Did you know that we are now importing from the Caribbean and India most of our nursing staff due to lack of qualified American workers? What about technical schools? Talk about underfunded.

Once a country of inventors, the US is now lagging behind about 20 nations in Science. As with anything in this world, you get what you pay for. I tend to believe that they do not want a smart class of workers in our USA. Why create a well educated society who the politicians and the corporations would have to answer to. Go Randi, tell the chancellor to stuff the PC's up his proverbial asset. We want our $160 million back.
Randi Weingarten, will soon replace Ed McElroy, who is retiring as president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union in America. This may be the beginning of a larger movement to battle the No Child Left Behind rule, which according to The Elementary Educator from a 6/07 story entitled "The NCLB Effect: Mediocrity Is More Important Than Excellence":
There are a lot of disconcerting things about No Child Left Behind, but here’s one that I find particularly troubling. We spend a ton of time measuring many subgroups of students to make sure that they are making adequate yearly progress: special ed. students, students of all different races, low-income students, and so on.What about gifted students? Who is making sure that they are maximizing their potential?

Let’s be honest. Which group of people is likely to have more of a positive impact on the world for generations to come (for example, by designing new inventions, finding cures for diseases, or coming up with innovative entrepreneurial ideas that alter the way we do business): the top 1% of students or the bottom 1%?
Mark Pullen, a 3rd. grade teacher from Michigan and the author of the above blog has some real insight on teaching, one of his other posts, "Teaching without telling", points out:
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that throughout my teaching career, my definition of “teaching” has been a whole lot closer to “telling” than “causing learning to occur.”

We’ve known for a long time that students learn best when they are doing things through multiple modalities, particularly when they are speaking and actively doing the task to be learned. One source asserts that “students retain 10 percent of what they read, 26 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they hear and see, 70 percent of what they say, and 90 percent of what they say and do.” I’m not looking to squabble over those exact percentages, because other sources come up with somewhat different numbers, but the key point remains: students need to be speaking and doing more than listening and watching.
Which further strengthens the argument against the standardized testing methods that have sucked the life from actual teaching. Also pointed out is a great blog post by Jenny, an Elementary school teacher from Virginia, entitled "Super Bowl - Quite a Test"
The New England Patriots lost their first game all season last night. I know, that's not news to anyone. But it's got me thinking. After an almost perfect season, losing one game has meant that people have called the Patriots' performance disappointing or a failure. This one game, just a few hours, has changed many people's impressions of the team. Is that reasonable?

We seem to do the same thing to our students with standardized tests. One bad day, a few hours of sub-par performance, and a child can be labeled negatively for some time. Their scores on a test often are viewed as more accurate, exact, and important than anything their teachers might know about them. All the anecdotal notes, classroom tests, and other assessments carry less weight.

Our students, at their young ages, aren't ready for a Super Bowl of standardized tests.
Now thats in a language we can all understand. But nothing says it better than when from the mouths of babes

The NCLB law is not working and leaving so many kids behind as a nation whether learning disabled, gifted or anywhere in between! As a direct result of this law and it's funding, the states are just using standardized practice test taking curriculum targeted at the minimum grade level standards rather than empowering children with knowledge to apply in novel situations in their future endeavors. The minds of our future leaders are at risk! HELP! (from YouTube)
This post is dedicated to the teachers, the ones who actually are trying to teach in a ever changing field of play, where all efforts are pushed into attendance and minimal passing grades at all costs, regardless of student progress. I got a lot of 90's in classes i never attended.

This post is also dedicated to Mr.Heffner, Mr. DiGiacomo, Mr.Guadagno, Mrs.Krieslamen, Dr.Hayes, Mr.Katz and my friend Dianne who has to deal with all the bullshit from both sides, being a mother and an educator.

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