I Can Not Say It Better – Thank you Dr. Cala

It is vital that everyone concerned with the direction of education read the document referred to below in its entirety.

http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2014/November2014/1114p12d2.pdf

From Dr. Bill Cala, Interim Superintendent, Fairport Schools

“I urge all individuals to send e-mails http://www.regents.nysed.gov/members/Membersterms0412.html or telephone the Regents Office @ 518-474-5889 to support the position advocated below. . .

Field tests have NEVER been mandatory yet this past year SED sent a memo to the field in January stating that the administration of field tests was REQUIRED under 100.3 and 100.5. This of course is blatantly false. In the above mentioned memo, Ken Wagner gives selective history of the administration of field tests. He cites that they have been administered since 1938. True enough, however, it has been well known that they are voluntary. How could anyone in SED not know this? I have been a superintendent since 1989. This past year is not the first year that I have sent them back. Was the January SED memo ignorance or a lie? Either choice is deeply disturbing.

Two weeks ago we were sent a Transparency Report that is required to be posted on each school district’s website. This is a requirement as per NYS legislature. This came about as a result of parental outcry over the excessive testing in NYS. When I read the Transparency Report I couldn’t believe what was before my eyes. The first two pages are a classic exercise in “blaming the victim.” In essence, SED blames local school districts for over testing. This is beyond laughable. The 40% of APPR has turned schools into de-facto testing machines. APPR in concert with Common Core has built the perfect testing storm, one that SED has been cheer-leading from the onset.

This past year has brought unprecedented pressure by parents on over-testing and CCSS. SED has responded with empty rhetoric (as demonstrated in the Transparency memo). Actions such as the attempt to require more testing via field testing is a striking example of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Having experienced first hand the agony students and parents have suffered via the 3-8 testing, I can assure you that additional, required stand-alone field testing is completely over-the-top. It’s abusive.

Currently there are embedded field test questions in the required 3-8 tests. Pearson does not need additional stand-alone field tests. SED is asking students to carry Pearson on their shoulders. Given the amount of testing in this state, it is unreasonable to create an additional testing mandate. I may point out that I have been more than willing to administer field tests in the past. This is not 1970, 1980 or 1990. Ubiquitous testing was not the engine of K-12 education in those decades. The federal requirements religiously supported by NYS are turning the joy of learning and the passion of teaching into an historical vestige. Mandated field tests are additional nails in the coffin of public education.

As the decision-making body that represents our local schools and communities I humbly request that you do not approve mandatory field tests.”

Sincerely,

Bill Cala
Fairport

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