Adjusting to Inflation?
For several years the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) and others have argued that the local Department of Education (DoE) has failed to develop a clear plan for improving outcomes for the neediest students. At a special session of the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) on August 30th on the state’s recalibration of test scores, the DOE clearly demonstrated that they knew how to plan; for this they scored Level 4. However, for their explanation of edunomics and the rationale behind adjustments for grade inflation they clearly scored Level 1.
What parents and students witnessed was an extremely well executed DOE plan to exert crowd control, suppress freedom of expression, preserve the status quo and maintain law and order — well, at least order…
Parents and students attended to have their voices heard, to express their frustration and righteous indignation (some even calling for Klein’s resignation) over the critical situation that currently exists because of deliberate test score manipulation to produce grade inflation. People came to get answers; truthful, viable answers that could not and would not be delivered by a power point presentation.
Instead, it became quite apparent to all in attendance that the gameplan of the PEP was “this is our story and we’re sticking to it.” How else could you justify not being appalled by the dismal but real data presented by CEJ Parent Leader, Ocynthia Williams or moving to take immediate action after hearing the compelling statement of CEJ Leader Zakiyah Ansari describing the abyssmal doom for failure that awaits our children unless action by the DoE is taken NOW.
The one group to whom this air of bbb (that’s bored beyond belief for you non texters) was most evident were the students themselves — most of them were among the 63,000 victims of Operation Grade Inflation. They came not with their hearts on their sleeves but with their test scores emblazoned on their shirts. They recognized the expressions on the faces of the PEP all too well – it’s the same expression many of the students assume while sitting in class. As one speaker put it “ double double toil and trouble our brains burn, all we learn is to bubble”.
Consider CEJ parent Evelyn Feliciano of Bronx District 8 and her son. Prior to test score remixing he scored Level 3, meeting grade standards. His remixed scores indicate that he is now actually a Level 1, below grade standards. What is most alarming to both of them is that to date they have received no information as to what academic intervention services, if any, will be avilable to him. Next week he will begin high school as a member of the class of 2014. They both can only wonder at this point if it will include him. Meanwhile, Deputy Chancellor Shael Shuransky, one of the evening’s designated hitters (most members of the panel were noticeably absent) told 6th grader Kirstian Morales who wore his declining test scores on his shirt that he should use his drop in scores as an opportunity to work harder.
Consider Lillie Tejada, a Bronx honor student who completed her “A ” high school in just 3 years with grades above 90, only to enter CUNY needing remediation. Yes, it’s true DC Shuranksy; all newly admitted students to CUNY and SUNY are subject to placement tests in math and reading. The results of these tests determine whether students need remediation, and must take non-credit-bearing remedial courses.
Lastly consider the lone dissenting parent from Manhattan District 6 who expressed that the onus of producing high achieving students rested primarily with teachers and that there were 600 pages of regulations to support his position. Perhaps this parent exists in a bubble for we know that rules don’t account for much given the need for the UFT, NAACP, and Advocates for Children to all file lawsuits against the powers that be. The present test score debacle only serves to reinforce our position that ALL stakeholders in the education of our children need to be held accountable.
In the words of EDVox writer Carol Boyd; it’s time to “consider the children” (click here to view the poem), they’re so much more than their test scores”. We came, we saw, we listened and WE WILL take action (click for flyer for a meeting on Thursday); we can only hope that the PEP and the DOE will do the same. Will you?
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO!