A Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever

It’s pretty common to hear the governor (or other educational deformers), referred to as being clueless. The usual response to this is, “they aren’t stupid; they know exactly what they are doing.” 

 
The people who claim he’s just an idiot point to things like how many times he failed the bar exam. But he did ultimately pass it, and that takes some intelligence. Besides, as we posted recently, our view is that his education plan reveals a level of cunning matched only by a typical Bond villain.
 
That said, Cuomo’s recent pronouncement seems to be a major victory for those in the “he’s a moron” camp.
 
As reported by Jessica Bakeman of Capital New York, Cuomo says that parents who have chosen to have their children “opt out” of taking this month’s state exams don’t understand that the scores are “meaningless” in terms of students’ grades.
 
Wow. It seems like he is just slipping into self-parody at this point. I don’t know how to break it to you, Andrew, but one of the major reasons parents are opting their kids out is precisely because they know the tests are meaningless for them.
 
Once again, the Governor comes across as demeaning and condescending to parents. But more than that, as the Perdido Street School Blog posted Friday, he’s given even more ammunition to the anti-test movement. (See also here, here, and here).
 
What could he possibly thinking? Does he really think this will slow the the momentum of opting-out? 
 
In theory, there is a possibility that it could work out that way. Maybe this does give some support to the “opt-in” crowd. And maybe for some parents who are on the fence, it will free them to tell their kids, don’t worry, it’s just practice, no need to stress. 
 
But doesn’t he realize that presenting the tests this way will only make them less valid? That if students know they don’t count, they may not try as hard? And that as a result their scores would drop and then… oh… that’s right… more… teachers… will… be… rated… ineffective.
 

Touché, Mr. Cuomo, Touché.

 
As it has been said, there’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.
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