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Cloudy,43°
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Look out for those ‘Suburban moms’
(Page 3 of 3)
Howard Schwach

One of my favorite people in education is Diane Ravitch. Ravitch was an undersecretary of education when Congress was crafting No Child Left Behind. She was an acolyte of a common curriculum, accountability through high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation based on student test scores. Until the law was put into effect and she saw the problems clearly enough to know that the law was destroying education by forcing teachers to use time for test prep rather than content learning and for forcing a curriculum that focused so much attention on reading and math that subjects such as science, social studies, foreign language and physical education were left behind in the dust.

“Your community is your boss, ” Ravitch recently told a meeting of school administrators from Nassau and Suffolk counties. “Do not take the Common Core tests. Stop the testing. Neither teachers nor students are prepared for these tests. Stand together and there will be no punishment.” Ravitch is right. The state should take a time-out on the rollout and the testing and get its act together for next school year. Then, roll out the standards in grades K-3 but kill the testing in those grades. Teachers will know whether or not the curriculum is working and the state can ask them about it. The following year, the 2015-2016 school year, use the curriculum in grade 4-8 and institute a shorter test schedule. The standards are good. The rollout and the testing are not. It is time for the powers-that-be to listen to the professionals and the parents and slow it down.

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Howard Schwach
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