Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Times Union gets it wrong about Vouchers and High Stakes Testing... again!
For a moment I thought the Times Union’s editorial board stopped at Wall Greens on the way to work and picked up some common sense juice. You see they were rightfully critical of the passage of Senate Bill 850, the bill that expanded vouchers. In case you didn’t know they legislature used parliamentary tricks to pass it on the last day, folding the voucher parts into a popular bill providing extra resources to disabled kids.
Unfortunately the Times Union’s editorial board reverted to their broke clock like track record on education issues and regurgitated the talking points of the six figured executives of Step up for Students the organization that administers the states voucher program and is paid handsomely for doing so. One part they got especially wrong was the part about high stakes testing.
The editor wrote, “It’s surprising that a test that is roundly criticized suddenly becomes essential.” This is “essentially” a dig at the people against vouchers, where he basically calls them and me since I am one of them, a hypocrite for railing against high stakes testing but then demanding the kids that take vouchers do so.
The thing is High Stakes Testing is the rule of the land, a rule created by the people who love and want to expand vouchers. I think they are bad for all kids but unfortunately I am not the one who makes the rule and for the state legislature to say HSTs are great for public schools but unnecessary for voucher schools is ridiculous but it doesn’t stop there.
The legislature also says STEM, teacher evaluations and certification, VAM, Common Core and accountability in general are important for public schools but then shrugs their shoulders when applying those things to private schools that accept vouchers and say, “ahh the free market will figure it out.”
I believe vouchers without accountability are a bad deal and I don’t think it is asking too much to make sure they are doing what they say they will do before being allowed to expand.Finally I would like to address one more point, the editor wrote there is turmoil in public schools and parents are looking for more options. Well the turmoil was caused by the legislature who routinely deprives schools of proper funding, initiates experimental curriculums (common core) and takes every opportunity available to kneecap the teacher profession. They in effect have created the “turmoil” and said, hey check out vouchers. I find it repugnant that they have created this crisis and now seek to and benefit off of it at the expense of public schools.