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Change the Stakes welcomes yesterday’s call by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Cathy Nolan for a minimum two-year delay in using Common Core test results for high-stakes decisions for teachers, principals and students. We are pleased that leaders of the Senate majority coalition have also backed this delay.
Although heartened that our elected officials have finally begun to acknowledge and respond to the deep concerns of parents and educators about the State Education Department’s (SED) botched roll out of the Common Core, policymakers are mistaken if they believe this move will satisfy the movement against high-stakes testing. The same legislators recommending a delay in the use of Common Core-aligned tests for high-stakes purposes are still urging SED to continue with the development of Common Core-aligned curricula.
And while legislators also express serious concerns about sharing private student data with a third party vendor, InBloom, their solution again is nothing more than a delay. In other words, their message seems to be that the current agenda is fine – we just need to slow it down and get it right.
This is completely unacceptable. The Common Core Standards have been roundly criticized, especially their developmental inappropriateness for our youngest children; there is not a shred of evidence to support their use. The practice of high-stakes testing has been thoroughly discredited by research. And there is no compelling reason to collect sweeping amounts of private data on school children, let alone to store them in a vulnerable data cloud.
Change the Stakes and our allies around the state certainly appreciate a delay in destructive educational practices, but we will continue to fight until control of curriculum, assessment and teaching is returned to educators and the communities they serve.
We are calling for an end to top-down education policies and high-stakes testing in the service of corporate profits. We demand that public education – including public education dollars – be returned to the public.
Change the Stakes (changethestakes.org) is a group of parents and educators working to reduce the harm caused by high stakes-testing, which we believe must be replaced by valid forms of student, teacher, and school assessment.