required by law. For example, parents now must be informed if bedbugs are found in NY State schools. I don't know what exactly they're to do about it, aside from keeping kids home from school, or hosing them down before coming back in the house, but there you have it. As teachers, we have the same options. They're not very good, but we need to know what's going on if we're to have any chance of keeping away from these little bloodsuckers.
But they're not the only thing sucking the life blood from education. The "reform" movement has managed to snag itself not only a NY Mayor, but a US President, and several state governors. This led UFT President Michael Mulgrew to write a pretty sensible editorial in yesterday's Daily News. We really don't want schools to become test prep factories. Those of us who've done test prep are acutely aware it's different from actual class. And given the debacle of the recent state scores, you'd think we'd learn something from it.
Yet, as Mr. Talk pointed out yesterday, Mulgrew's point is a little late. Just a few months ago, he went to Albany and negotiated a deal that teacher evaluations would be based 40% on test scores. It's tough to imagine Mulgrew hasn't figured that principals, constantly under pressure from Tweed, won't base 100% of their opinion on test scores. And it's tough to imagine tests you can't prep for. If I'm looking at dismissal based on test scores, I'm not placing kids in groups and having them express opinions.
If Mulgrew didn't want test-prep to be the be-all and end-all, he shouldn't have allowed us to be painted into a corner, or supported the AFT's rousing endorsement of Bill Gates, to whom tests are the only thing that matters.