"I believe testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools – oxygen that is needed for a healthy transition to higher standards, improved systems for data, better aligned assessments, teacher professional development, evaluation and support, and more."Duncan, the biggest oxygen sucker of them all, then allows a one-year reprieve on test-based teacher ratings. Thank you, Lord Duncan. I'm sure a year from now, the oxygen will be back.
What Duncan refuses to recognize is that his Race To The Top/Common Core testing regimen is also sucking wind when it comes to equity in the schools. Even with a one-year reprieve on federal test-based teacher ratings (will school districts follow suit?), dramatic cuts in funding will still leave poor, inner-city schools and districts at a disadvantage. Take Philadelphia, for example.With an $81 million budget gap, Philly schools are opening minus hundreds of classroom teachers, social workers, and librarians. Students are sitting in uncleaned classrooms. Sports and after-school programs are being decimated. Unlimited expansion of the city's privately-run charter schools is another oxygen sucker.
A year's reprieve on testing won't change any of that. A year from now, the gap will be a year wider, no matter how you measure it. Civil rights is still the civil rights issue of our generation.