Say No to Endless Testing and new oped policy of NY Times
Catching up on letters to the NY Times printed a few days ago, all anti –NCLB.
Everything the writers below say about NCLB could be said about DOE’s accountability initiative, even more strongly; the administration’s regime includes even more high –stakes tests, to the exclusion of everything else, and even more undermining of schools by labeling them as failing – w/ no attempt even made to improve them. In fact the DOE’s new policies makes NCLB look benign in contrast.
Another point. In recent years, all opeds, many letters and most editorials in the NY Times relating to city matters have been relegated to the City section of the Sunday Times. Yesterday, this section contained a statement saying that it would no longer include opeds or editorials on city issues, without saying where if any these would be published. Here is the statement:
A Note to Readers
Published: December 23, 2007
After the Dec. 30 issue of The City weekly, the editorials and Op-Ed articles that have been appearing on this page will no longer be published in this section. Letters will appear elsewhere in the section. Readers are invited to submit letters to cityletters@.... If a letter is accepted for publication, the author will be notified. For further information, call
(212) 556-7702. While the section is changing, the editorial department's commitment to presenting issues and opinions of importance to New York City remains as strong as ever.
I suggest people call that number to complain; I just left a message. It seems that the editors of the Times are no longer very interested in hearing discussion and debate about what’s happening in this city at all, no less to its schools.
Happy New Year to all!
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011
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Say No to Endless Testing
Published: December 29, 2007
To the Editor:
Democrats Make Bush School Act an Election Issue (December 23, 2007)
The National School Boards Association and National PTA have worked for years to reform this law. As a mother of three and local school board member, I am strongly opposed to President Bush’s underfinanced mandate, which labels schools as “failing” and entices students to transfer out.
The highest-income and most mobile students tend to leave, putting schools and children left behind into a tailspin, with fewer resources for the students who need the most.
The labels are highly misleading. Is a school truly failing if a few students do not take a test?
Yes, we must remain accountable for the achievement of all students. But endless standardized testing and destructive measures disguised as support are undermining efforts in every community to provide a quality public education for all children.
Portland , Ore. , Dec. 23, 2007
To the Editor:
No debate: the No Child Left Behind Act has not worked.
“Democrats Make Bush School Act an Election Issue” (front page, Dec. 23) notes that “policy makers debate whether the law has raised student achievement.”
There is no debate among those who have looked at the data. The law has not produced improvements on state or national reading tests, nor have achievement gaps been narrowed. There has also been no change on American fourth graders’ scores on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study tests from 2001 to 2006. (No Child Left Behind was introduced in the 2002-3 school year.)
Despite huge increases in instructional time and billions of dollars spent, there have been no improvements.
Los Angeles , Dec. 23, 2007
The writer is professor emeritus of education at the University of Southern California .