Sunday, August 12, 2012

Libertarian Party of Delaware challenge to other political parties and DSEA

The National Petition on High-Stakes Testing, which opposes the current Federal over-emphasis on the use of standardized tests to assess the performance of students and teachers has been endorsed by over 400 organizations nationwide including the NEA and dozens of elected school boards.

The Libertarian Party of Delaware, having already taken a strong position against the use of high-stakes testing as the dominant metric in student and teacher assessment, is proud to become the first organization in Delaware to sign the Resolution.

Not the Delaware State Education Association (even though the NEA has signed it).

Not the Democratic or Republican Party.

Not the Governor (who just enshrined test results as part of the measure of teacher performance).

Not the Charter School Network.

Not the Rodel Foundation.

Not the Delaware PTA.

Not the State Board of Education.

The Libertarians.

So, isn't it time for the rest of Delaware to get serious about ending the disastrous over-emphasis on high-stakes?


kavips said...

I think I know what High stakes testing is, but am not sure.... Can you do a post sometime and elaborate why it is called, high stakes... or maybe a commenter will be glad to help out...


Steven H. Newton said...

High-stakes testing refers to the use of standardized tests to determine if students, teachers, or schools will be rewarded or penalized.

In Virginia, for example, schools face consequences if too many students bomb out on tests in 11th grade, so many schools in Virginia now actually encourage drop-outs.

Under the DOE incentive program for Race to the Top, teachers would potentially win bonuses for student resuts on the tests--the new teacher evaluation system that Jack Markell just signed places a heavy emphasis on standardized test results.

For the students it can mean no diploma (no Regents' diloma in New York) or having to go to summer school.

What happens is that the instruction then becomes almost completely subordinated to a need to "teach to the test."

anonone said...

If the problem is that instruction becomes subordinated to "teach to the test," than maybe the solution is better tests or testing procedures.

I don't think that getting rid of high-stakes testing altogether is a good idea. Perhaps there needs to be some changes in how the results are interpreted or used, but what other measures of school quality of education would you propose?

Fact is, people is businesses (and education is a business) don't like to be held accountable or have their work evaluated to a standard. It is just human nature. It isn't surprising that teachers don't want to be evaluated against some minimum uniform standard.

Eric Dondero said...

How can a political party be so wonderful, so perfect, so fuckin'-fan-tab-u-lous on economic issues, education reform, social tolerance and fighting the nanny-state, yet so goddamned awful when it comes to the issue of Islamo-Naziism?

I don't get it Delaware Libertarians. You guy's are the absolute best when it comes to domestic issues. Delaware Republicans should hide their heads in shame over your superiority in protecting economic freedom.

Yet on foreign policy, you all completely wash out any good you do on the domestic side by siding with our Nation's enemies and coddling Nazis who want to destroy America and everything we Americans stand for.

Can't we get a political party that combines Libertarian domestic policy with Republican foreign policy? Is that too much to ask for???

Eric Dondero,
Home Stater Delaware Libertarian
Newark (and Newport)
1986 Libertarian Party candidate for Delaware State House

Steven H. Newton said...

I should have put the link to the resolution in the original post.


The resolution does NOT call for an end to standardized testing. Standardized testing only become high-stakes testing when scores are used as the primary or only measure of student success for purposes of promoting the student, evaluating the teacher, or funding the school.

Standardized tests to gather data on "how we are doing" are ok. The resolution calls for students, teachers, and schools to be evaluated on a mixture of standardized and school or district generated assessments, to possibly include things like portfolios, end-of-course exams, projects, indivdiual growth, etc.

More to the point, many high-stakes testing regimes (Delaware under the DSTP for example) required special needs students to be assessed at their age and grade level rather than their functional/IEP level, and also required that those test scores be averaged in with everyone else's to determine the school's success or failure.

To illustrate the idiocy of this approach: in 2008 Red Clay had an elementary school labeled "needs improvement" solely on the basis of the scores of four profoundly special needs students who lived in the feeder pattern and were technically "assigned" to the school, but never actually stepped stepped foot in the building because they attended a special school.

This is a movemet to bring some balance back into public education that has been missing 15 years.

NCSDad said...

From a friend:
One example would be geometry. In Texas, in the late seventies, when I took geometry; about two thirds of the curriculum was proofs. My son takes it in Texas, today, and proofs are barely a topic. I asked the teacher why proofs aren't taught anymore. She replies that proofs have been phased out as the teaching to standards/standardized testing regime took over. It seems that you can't reduce geometric proofs to a question with four part multiple choice answers. And if you can't test proofs on a standardized test; well then, you just don't teach proofs.

Anonymous said...

Geometric proofs are a fundamental part of logic formation. It teaches cause and effect and perfect one's reasoning.

I can understand it not being on the test, but to then take that to the extreme of removing from the curriculum is a prime example of how HS testing IS ruining the educational experiences in our schools.

NCSDad said...

Removal was a choice made by admin/teacher. Sacrifice student learning for better scores. Professional?