News and Links: February 1, 2015

Here’s the latest collection of news and links:

We’ve shared a bunch of letters and opinion pieces explaining the opposition to Cuomo’s education plans, but this one, written by a Long Island music teacher, is one of the best.

I do not “fire” my students who have weaknesses, rather I use information collected formally and informally to make decisions about how I can help them grow.  Teacher evaluations should work in the same manner.   And yes, children have the right to their education regardless of their academic success while teachers don’t have a right to keep their jobs if they are ineffective.  However, being that we are in the education field, it seems logical and doable to use the same philosophical ideas to improve teachers as we use to improve students. 

The Daily News published an op-ed from Diane Ravitch blasting Cuomo’s plans.

Governor Cuomo has said he thinks the problem is that the average New Yorker is too stupid to understand just how bad things are in schools. But as Daniel Katz, points out, the last thing in the world that Cuomo wants is for people to know the truth about what is going on.

A piece at points out another negative effect of the botched implementation of Common Core: the loss of recess.

The PARCC tests are coming, and this superintendent is sounding out a warning.

An article from explains why everybody hates Pearson.

To be successful in measuring outcomes requires not only good intentions, but also competence. And here, Pearson has some explaining to do. Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, an advocacy organization that says it “works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing,” has kept a log of the company’s quality-control problems. The low lights include everything from printing errors to frozen screens at test time in 26 Florida counties.
FairTest says Pearson has made 13 significant errors from 2013 to today, including scoring mistakes that prevented 5,300 students from qualifying for gifted and talented programs in New York City. The company mis-scored questions on Virginia’s Alternative Assessment Program for students with learning disabilities—leading to 4,000 students being told they had passed the test when they had actually failed it. (In each instance Pearson rectified the problem once it came to light.)

Here’s a message from NYSUT president Karen Magee titled “Beating the Billionaires

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