Principals acknowledge testing has gone way too far

Principals don’t revolt against the system. It just doesn’t happen. Until now.

High-stakes testing has become downright Orwellian and finally principals are speaking up. In his stunning article in Sunday’s New York Times, Michael Winerip (perhaps the top edu-journalist out there right now) gives voice to the over 650 New York State principals who have been pushed past the breaking point. And the rebellion is growing.

Read Winerip’s whole piece, but here are two tasty tidbits:

“It’s education by humiliation,” Mr. Kaplan [20-year principal of Great Neck North High School on Long Island] said. “I’ve never seen teachers and principals so degraded.”

The trainers at these sessions, which are paid for by state and federal grants, have explained that they’re figuring out the new evaluation system as they go. To make the point, they’ve been showing a YouTube video with a fictional crew of mechanics who are having the time of their lives building an airplane in midair.

“It was supposed to be funny, but the room went silent,” Ms. Burris said. “These are people’s livelihoods we’re talking about.”

*****

Katie Zahedi, principal of Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook in Dutchess County. said the training session she attended was “two days of total nonsense.”

“I have a Ph.D., I’m in a school every day, and some consultant is supposed to be teaching me to do evaluations,” she said. “It takes your breath away it’s so awful.”

She said one good thing about the new evaluation system was that it had united teachers, principals and administrators in their contempt for the state education department.

Isn’t public education supposed to be about strengthening future generations of citizens with skills they need? Why does it feel like the education train— conducted by consultants and ideologues— is plowing in the wrong direction?

 

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