CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Those with the West Virginia Education Association are still part of the national chorus that’s calling for a moratorium on standardized testing in schools — at least until the Common Core standards are fully implemented.

“We have to get away from this high stakes testing and really use testing for what it was designed to do which is to chart a student’s growth individually, not to judge schools or teachers or anything else,” said Dale Lee, president of the WVEA.

“We have to get away from teaching to a test, preparing to teach for a test, preparing for a test. We spend more than 35 days a year, in the 180 days, either practicing testing or preparing for tests or testing. That’s just too much.”

Lee was part of the National Education Association’s annual meeting in Denver, Co. earlier this month. During that meeting, the NEA adopted a resolution that said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan should resign for, what they called, a “failed education agenda.”

Those with the American Federation of Teachers opened their annual convention in Los Angeles, Ca. on Friday. While there, Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, announced the organization’s plans to underwrite projects from teachers that would be created to improve Common Core.

The Common Core standards are expectations of what every student should know in math and reading from kindergarten through 12th grade. Both unions have supported those standards, but have opposed the use of new standardized tests, based on Common Core, to evaluate teacher effectiveness.

In West Virginia, Lee said teachers helped develop the curriculums to meet the Common Core standards but, he said, those curriculums go beyond a single test score.

“Teachers invented tests. I mean, that’s how we see how well our students are doing, how well they’re grasping the material that we cover. But there’s a lot of different ways to test the students,” he said.

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Comments

  • B

    The only way students will be held accountable for their performance on these standardized tests is to make them EXIT TESTS into the next grade. That will force students to take their education seriously during the school year leading up to the the end of year test. Also, West Virginia needs to adopt the attendance policy that many North Carolina districts incorporate: a student who misses more than 6 days in a semester, must make an 80% on the test or fail the class. Students who miss 6 days or less only have to score at 65% in order to move on to the next grade.

  • Mark

    We actually spent more than 35 days this past year taking a series of tests. Try 41 days at my school. At times the technology doesn't work, which puts us farther behind. I am so thankful for Mason County Contrarian and his very aptly stated views of education in WV... Our kids KNOW they will not be held accountable for their results, but WE most certainly will. This craziness is the reason why I am retiring this year and doing something else. I love the kids and the people I work with, but test performance stress is too much.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Thanks, Mark.

      Have a safe year. Keep fighting the good fight for your kids, your parents, and yourself.

      • Main County Contrarian

        Enjoy your retirement, Mark. I am sure it was aptly deserved and earned

        • Mason County Contrarian

          Regrets for the typo. It should read "Mason County Contrarian".

          As most of us will attest, our vision is maturing at a rapid rate.

          Dadgum aging!

  • Aaron

    No child left behind, race to the top and now common core. How in the world did our educational system get away from the concept of teaching a child to read and write and become what it is today? The greatest generation survived the Great Depression, won a war, built a country and became the most prosperous nation in the world.

    So what happened?

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Aaron, as a retired educator I can tell you that each summer break we had something "new and innovative" sent down from upon high (WVDE) and were, in effect, told that this IS the way you will teach. The cost during my career was the knowledge that the WVDE was trading what we all understand to be basic, foundational instruction for the "awe and wonder of discovery" (WVDE-Speak). The Ivory Tower is staffed by mediocre-teachers-turned-even-more-mediocre-administrators who realized too late they had made the wrong career choice. Teachers are required to set through their Lala Land presentations yearly (it was an excellent opportunity to begin the WVDE Dust Catcher known as paperwork). They grab onto education-speak like the bovine skatology and shovel.

      Each time a new school year begins, teachers statewide shake their heads in anticipation: "My Lord, what's it going to be this year? What else is coming between my doing my job and my kids?" And the icing on the education cake is that the educator is publicly forced to shoulder the blame on websites by posters, who had when they were younger and still have as older taxpayers, absolutely no background or interest in adding substance to the education dialogue but rather prefer to point the finger of blame.

      From my experience perspective, this IS how we have gotten to this point.

      • ViennaGuy

        +1, MCC. I have friends who are teachers here in West Virginia, and they've told me the exact same thing.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          My hope is that enough readers remember this post.

          Thank you.

      • Elphaba

        " "new and innovative" sent down from upon high (WVDE) and were, in effect, told that this IS the way you will teach."

        "Each time a new school year begins, teachers statewide shake their heads in anticipation: "My Lord, what's it going to be this year? What else is coming between my doing my job and my kids?" '

        Amen, brother !! Well-stated and 100% accurate !

  • Dumb Liberals

    Better late than never? Where were the NEA and AFT when the "Common Core" stampede was storming across the country for the first 6 years of the Duncan debacle? The unions supported, politicked for, and were the “living” instruments employed by the liberal’s to establish the socialist foothold of the m0r0n’s regime in the dysfunctional capital. Now, all of a sudden, they have an epiphany? The solution is simple. You dump the US Department of the Uneducated completely. You scrap common core. It is anything but common to its core. Finally, you remove the unions from education completely. They are the ones who have destroyed the system.

  • joe

    Does this mean I can't wear blue jeans or sweats anymore?!

  • ViennaGuy

    Regardless of one's feelings on the subject, Common Core simply won't work; it's a one-size-fits-all solution that really doesn't solve anything - and it doesn't matter if it comes from a group of governors, the US Department of Education, or anywhere else. Education has always been best when it is focused at the local level because schools are at the local level.

    What WILL solve things are parents, teachers, and administrators who are **committed** to making sure that kids learn how to read, write, and do math - and not committed to political agendas, not committed to kowtowing to each and every special-interest group who wants to tell the school system what/how to teach(and I'm looking straight at the proponents of mainstreaming, which was one of the worst things ever done by the school systems).

    Parents need to be active in their kids' education and not look at school as a glorified form of daycare. When was the last time they went to a PTA meeting? Sat down with their kids' teachers and discussed their kids' progress? Sat down with their kids and helped with homework? Kids don't teach themselves.

    Teachers need to be released from the myriad requirements laid on them and let them TEACH. Teachers spend too much time trying to comply with regulations and requirements, few of which actually accomplish anything other than make busy work for administrators. And the truly bad teachers need to be canned; yes, there are truly bad ones - I had one when I was a kid; she would come to school drunk(!) and mean. She was never disciplined for it because she had 30+ years with the school system and the principal didn't want to make a stink by trying to get rid of her, despite parental complaints.

    Administrators need to get out of the school board offices and get back in the classroom. They have become too detached from the kids and too consumed with regulations that clog things up and with programs that don't work/cost too much money.

    And the government - especially the federal government - needs to cut the red tape and the regulations. Bureaucrats in DC have no idea how education works in Kansas(for example) and should not be dictating how to do it.

    I'm not opposed to testing as a tool for measurement and improvement. I took the standardized tests when I was in school(we called them "achievement tests"), and I turned out just fine. The problem with those tests is when they become the sole, or at least the top, rationale for decision making by administrators.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Well said, Vienna.

      Finally a poster who recognizes the honest challenges that anyone connected with the educational process readily sees.

      How refreshing to read such a post rather than hearing something parroted.

      • ViennaGuy

        Thanks, mcc! :-)

  • Big Jim

    Until the kids actually think the test means something, there is nothing that will help this problem. I have heard of students finishing each section of the test in under 5 minutes. Kids who are making great ACT scores are scoring at the lowest levels because they know it means nothing to them.

  • Nettie

    If the standardized tests aren't accurately testing what they students are learning that doesn't mean we get rid of standardized testing. It means we need to develop better tests that more accurately measure how well the student is learning. Measuring student progress is important for both identifying student needs and evaluating how well a school/teacher is doing. In my eyes good teachers would want to know how effective their teaching is and where it could use improvement. No one wants to risk having others know when their performance is poor, but our kids deserve good teachers. There has to be some way to identify when teachers are just letting things slide or lack necessary skills.

  • David

    Common Core is the Devil. This is all part of a socialistic agenda promoted by NO SHOW JOE while Govenor. The NEA finally has got something right, perhaps the only thing; that is getting rid of standardized testing. Silly, non-functional and discriminating. Now the WVNEA needs to develop and support a method of testing teachers for competency on a regular basis. We have too many incompetent folks teaching our children.

    • So Sad

      Just come to Hardy County...what a joke.

    • WV Gal

      Very well said David...Also when it comes to Coaching sports...teaching should come first..kids can't learn if the teacher is never there...I agree there is some great teachers who really care..but most of them don' give a crap about the kids.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      I agree that Common Core is a reinvention of the wheel, but "socialistic"? How is it "socialism"? That notion is irrational and beyond the fringe--it is in the tall grass.

      I would appreciate knowing how an economic principle can be incorporated into public education. All this smacks of The Red Scare of the 20s.

      Stand and deliver. I am sure your experience as an educator will buttress your assertions.

      I, and many others, respectfully await with bated breath.

      • Jason412

        MCC,

        Don't you know? Everything you don't like, should now be labeled as part of the implementation of socialism. If someone disagrees with you? Socialist. If a car cuts you off in traffic? Socialist. If the legislature passes a law you don't like? Socialism. If the schools use Common Core? You guessed it, socialist agenda.

        We're aware that socialism is bad, we're just not quite sure what it is yet. Until we are able to improve our internet skills enough to look it up, just refer to everything in the manner described above just to be safe.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          Thanks, Jason.

          When someone uses labels it is largely due to their unfamiliarity with the subject in a vain attempt to add substance to the discussion.

          Many comments posted on this site do indeed indicate that educators have yet to reach a considerable amount of the population, especially in the art of thinking and analysis.

          Oh well--when someone doesn't understand the subject or have any experience (in the poster's case, education) then labels suffice for they require no thought on the part of the labeler.

    • Savage

      You tell it like it is David. I'd start with drug testing.