Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Know Much About History

Is NY State right to abolish the Global History Regents exam? Lots of us have had our fill of standardized testing, and would like to see far less of it. Of course that's not the case, as the state plans all sorts of nonsense, largely to assess teachers. Kids will be spending hours of potential learning time indulging in nonsensical junk science, to appease those who wish to fire teachers by any means necessary.

The problem with this proposal is not that there will be one fewer test. The problem is the rationale behind eliminating it--that too few students pass it. As the test with the worst record, it needs to be eliminated, disappeared. There is a counter proposal to make two tests rather than one, but that will cost more money. It's kind of amazing where they choose to make cuts--like the January Regents exams that not only allowed kids to graduate on time, but also boosted school stats.

That, of course, was a huge waste of money, as the notion here is to close as many schools as possible. This global exam, though, not only made the schools look bad, but also made the state look bad. That is unacceptable. So, like Geoffrey Canada dumping an entire cohort rather than deal with scores that make his school look bad, the state is exercising its absolute power rather than deal with a problem.

If the state were taking a reasonable approach, like empowering rather than vilifying teachers, we could present history in a way that might actually interest our kids in it. We could incorporate current events, and try to develop involved citizens. Or, we could simply dump the tests, hope interest in history wanes, fire hundreds of teachers who don't contribute to valuable test-taking, and try to raise a generation of citizens who believe people like John King, Mike Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and Arne Duncan actually work for them rather than zillionaires like Bill Gates.
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