February 4, 2008

Is Your Kids Dumb?

Read and feel validated about what you've known from this report provided by the office of Betsy Gotbaum, NYC Public Advocate:
PA Gotbaum, Parents: Too Many Tests To Learn
- Analysis finds students inundated with standardized tests -
- DOE must scale back non-essential “assessments” -
MANHATTAN – New York City Public School students are being inundated with standardized tests, the majority of which are city mandated but not required by law, according to analysis of the Department of Education’s testing schedule by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. The analysis found that in addition to a child’s normal school load, third-graders are given approximately 12 tests per year – meaning that eight and nine year olds are preparing for and taking a standardized test nearly every three weeks.
Gotbaum, joined by Rolando Bini, the director of Parents in Action, William McDonald, Chair of the Chancellors Parent Advisory Council, Judith Amaro, Community Education Council President of District 6 in Manhattan, Chris Spinelli, Community Education Council President of District 22 in Brooklyn, Lorraine Bridges, Community Education Council President of District 29 in Brooklyn, students and parents, urged the Department of Education to scale back their assessment tests and focus more time on teaching history, geography, the arts, and other subjects not covered by standardized tests.
[…]The greatly expanded focus on testing over the past few years has had little effect on student progress. Just last month, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a Congressionally-authorized federal test, known as the “nation’s report card,” that acts as a check on states’ and school district’s claims of their own progress, found virtually no gains in New York City. Additionally, last week the state added 60 elementary and middle schools to the list of failing schools.
[...] William McDonald, Chairman of CPAC, said, "The DOE shouldn't just focus on the testing, but rather on a well-rounded education, especially on the health aspects of our children's lives. Children across the city are facing an epidemic of diabetes and obesity. As we educate our children, we should also be giving them the tools they need to over come these challenges."
Rolando Bini, Director of Parents in Action, said, “It costs a great deal of money to develop these standardized high stakes tests. This money could better be spent on lowering class size, improving facilities and providing programs in music and art for a more well-rounded educational experience.”

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