It is critical and past due that Gov. Dannel Malloy and especially Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell look at the inequity in funding of the students who attend the Bridgeport Public Schools as compared to the more affluent suburban school districts in Connecticut.
Massachusetts, one of the leading states on education reform in the nation, in a monumental decision has abandoned Common Core testing. The Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, Michael Chester, in a stunning reversal, has walked away from the very test he helped to create. Now it remains to be seen if other states in the nation, including Connecticut, will follow Massachusetts, a state that is considered to be “the gold standard” in successful education reform.
This latest round of test results simply reinforces the fact that we need to change our educational system if we want to improve student learning. A student’s address does not need to define his or her future. And that’s not a truth that is hard for parents to get behind.
The Connecticut SBAC scores will be released by the State Department of Education any day now. The scores will be low. You will be told that the low scores are because the SBAC tests are rigorous and our students don’t measure up. Don’t believe it. … It is our job as citizens and parents to tell students the truth about SBAC. It is our job as educators to keep teaching and assessing students in real and honest ways. Otherwise, we adults are the failures.
A parent asks himself whether the pressures to achieve we put on children of privilege today — with piano lessons, soccer practice, and many many other pursuits — will produce the success and happiness we hope for, or something we would rather they not have to experience.
I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is, as a public school employee and practicing school psychologist, to have federal legislation written that continues to allow our students to be assessed by an unproven and invalid standardized test process and also enables the charter school industry to take funds allocated for public school students and divert them to their own private business interests.
Generalizations like “efficiency,” “accountability,” and “reliability” have been used time and again to describe the benefits of standardized tests. SBAC is no different. However, before Connecticut lawmakers authorize SBAC testing in Connecticut, they should understand what those terms mean for the parents, teachers, and, most significantly, students who will, day in, day out, live with the realities these terms eschew.
Fairfield County, a region marked by sharp disparities in income and in urban and suburban life, faces particular challenges in assuring all its residents a quality education. Today, a special report, “Education, Diversity and Change in Fairfield County,” explores the issue through in-depth policy reporting, interactive maps and charts, photo galleries and opinion pieces written by teachers from the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University.
Corporate education reformers and their fixation with testing are damaging Connecticut’s educational system. The Common Core standards being implemented throughout the state do not give teachers enough input or flexibility in determining curriculum.