Even more tests?
After many of our kids spent too many hours, days, and weeks of this school year prepping for and taking high-stakes tests (and then having their teachers out-of-class to grade them), this week they are being asked to sacrifice even more class time this month to state tests.
Pearson Publishing, a for-profit corporation with a $32 million contract from New York State will be giving students additional testing with “field questions,” to help develop next year’s tests. The tests won’t impact students, teachers, or schools’ records – but they will take even more class time.
But you can push back on Pearson Publishing and test-first, teach-later education policy by opting-out of the field tests and asking principals to use the time for instruction instead. There will be no educational consequence for your kids. Here is a sample letter to send to your principal.
Field Trip against Field Tests Parents are also taking the message directly to Pearson Publishing. This Thursday, there is a rally outside of Pearson’s headquarters for parents to say “enough is enough!” There is no school on Thursday, so parents who can attend are encouraged to bring their kids. Here are the details:
Thursday, June 7th at 11 AM 1330 6th Avenue Participants are gathering on the corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue Organized by Parent Voices NY
Brooklyn UNITE for Education Next week, the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice and the Alliance for Quality Education are hosting a meeting for parents and others concerned about public education to discuss the problems that New York City public schools are facing and what we can do about them. It’s a chance to learn, discuss, and devise actions parents can take to create the educational system our children need.
Monday, June 11th 6-8 PM Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street in the Community Room) 2,3,4,5 to Borough Hall, R to Court St. or A,C,F to Jay St. Click here to register
On a side note, we should remember that while some things in public education are straightforward, others are more complicated. I’m quoted today in a New York Times’ SchoolBook piece on the challenging issues posed by PTA fundraising. As the article points out, parent fundraising is a double-edged sword. It is motivated by the deep desire to give our kids the best public education we can (and I am consistently impressed with the creativity, time, and hard work that so many parents put in). But it also makes the public school system even more unequal, and lets decision-makers off-the-hook for cuts to arts education, after-school programs, and so many things that parents in lower-income schools simply cannot replace.
I’m pleased that our “Brooklyn PTA 5k” is cited as a model that seeks to promote at least a little bit of equity and cooperation. But we need a far deeper dialogue – and then some serious action – around segregation and inequality in our public schools (see here and here for two interesting recent articles, including data showing that NYC schools are among the most segregated in the country) if we truly want public education to represent our best hopes for a democratic future.
What does your neighborhood need? An improved park? Safer streets? New school technology? In participatory budgeting, you give your ideas and City Councilmember Brad Lander has set aside $1 million to fund them. And your votes will decide which projects get funded.