Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pearson profits while parents protest N.Y. test madness

PARENTS UNITED From left, Lori Chajet, Abby Subak and Martha Foote outside Public School 321 in Brooklyn.
The New York Times reports today that many N.Y. parents are opting out of field testing the state's new round of standardized tests related to the Common Core standards.

Brooklyn parent Lori Chajet says:
“I want my school to use tests to help instruction, to help find out if kids don’t know fractions. I don’t want my child to feel like her score will decide if her teacher has a job or not.”
NUY says the tests are not cheap: Pearson, the company that creates the standardized exams and the field tests, charged the state about $7 million for testing services for the 2012 calendar year — 30 percent of that budget went toward field testing.

A group of parents talked about their concerns on the sidelines of soccer fields and during dance classes. And they came together in groups like Parent Voices, New York.

Jen Nessel leads the newly formed Community Action Committee of the P.A. at the East Village Community School in Manhattan. The group came together after the field tests in June, when nearly all parents in the school signed a letter, delivered to the principal, stating that they would decline to have their children take the test.

Officials said they weren’t concerned that large numbers of children would skip the field tests this month. “The numbers of the people who were boycotting in June were small,” Ms. Lopatin, of the city Education Department, said. But activists say that the boycott is just one step in changing the way schools approach testing and how parents and families fit into the conversation.

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