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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Feb 24th 2010, 11:16 PM
When a test made by private companies and graded by private companies without regulatory oversight becomes the major way to grade students, teachers, and schools......then it is tempting to cheat to achieve high scores on the test.

Other aspects of learning are forgotten and shoved to the side.

Hat tip to the NYC Educator blog for this news about an Albany charter school facing probation.

The Old Fashioned Way

How do charters get those great scores Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein are always jumping up and down about? Well, they cheat.

I mean, it isn't enough to merely have 100% kids of proactive parents. Sure, that's an edge, as everyone who doesn't give a golly goshdarn winds up at your friendly neighborhood public school (if your neighborhood is backward enough to still have one).

After all, when you live and die by scores, you'd better make sure you have good ones.

The blog links to the Times Union for this news story.

Albany Preparatory is accused of screening potential pupils to weed out those with academic challenges

ALBANY -- An Albany charter school is accused of screening potential students to weed out those with academic challenges and could be put on probation this week as a result.

Three former employees of the Albany Preparatory Charter School claimed an administrator at the school was trying to improve the school's scores on state standardized tests by denying admission or wait-listing learning-disabled students, an investigation has found. Some parents of students who did not perform well on a reading test were counseled that the school was "not a good fit" or would have their applications denied, according to a scathing new report by the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute.

As a result of an investigation that began almost a year ago, Institute officials made the rare probation recommendation, which means the school would have to meet a set of corrective requirements or risk having its charter revoked. The recommendation will be voted upon by the SUNY board of trustees on Tuesday. SUNY authorizes half the state's charter schools.

"The extent, specificity, and sources of the allegations are unprecedented," the report reads. "And the complainants all linked the alleged behavior to attaining higher scores on the state assessments in light of a pending (charter) renewal decision."

It seems the test makers and test scorers are setting the agendas that all must follow.

The test makers and the test scorers. "Omniscient, no. Omnipotent? Perhaps."

Do not be fooled. The people creating and scoring those tests are not some educational gods in the sky, omniscient and dedicated to your child's education. Omniscient, no. Omnipotent? Perhaps.

They can decide whether or not your child is held back in elementary school or middle school, or whether or not he/she graduates from high school. They can decide which schools receive what funding.
My own school risks losing its administrators after this year if it does not bring its grade back up to a C from its current D--despite the fact that we had enough points to earn a C this year, but a caveat in the grading system prevented us from actually being given that C. Our administrators are dedicated, smart, hardworking and caring. I consider myself extremely lucky to work in a school with such good administrators; I understand that it is not necessarily a common occurrence. Yet they could all be involuntarily reassigned--along with many teachers--if the standardized testing industry decides (with the arbitrariness described in Farley's book) that it is so.

There must be oversight of these new schools that are taking the place of public education. They must also be required to take every student just as public schools are required to do.

The handicapped, the disabled, the ones who learn by a different method than most, those who misbehave...all must be included as education transforms from public to private.

I doubt it will happen though.

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