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McCrory wants review of student testing

Posted June 5, 2013

— Gov. Pat McCrory wants the North Carolina State Board of Education to determine whether all student testing is truly necessary.

He said 30 new tests were given to public school students in grades 4 through 12, bringing the total number of standardized tests for this year to 194.

McCrory said he’s hearing from teachers who say they would rather spend more time teaching – not teaching to the test.

“I’m an advocate for testing results,” he said. “Problem is, we are adding test after test after test, and teachers are going, ‘When am I going to be allowed to teach?’”

There are End of Grade exams and End of Course tests to measure student growth. And new this past school year: Measures of Student Learning.

McCrory asks: Too many student tests? McCrory: Too many student tests?

The new assessments are not to measure school accountability but used to evaluate teacher effectiveness.

“Accountability is important and you can’t manage something if you can’t measure it,” said A.L. Collins, State Board of Education member. “Question is, how do you manage it in a way that is effective for the teacher in the classroom.”

Testing is also tied to money.

North Carolina received $400 million in federal funds for kindergarten through 12th grade to enhance student achievement.

“The real problem is this: Teachers feel bureaucrats are telling them how to do their job,” McCrory said.

So the governor is calling on his education adviser, Eric Guckian, to work with the State Board of Education to review the tests, prioritize them and determine which ones can go.

“With the budget situation right now, it’s tough to financially support anybody,” McCrory said. “But my gosh, if we don’t have the money, we can at least review policy. Which allows teachers and superintendents more flexibility to do their jobs while also measuring results?”

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  • com_mon_sents Jun 6, 2013

    Someone that is that unorganized for a first grade teacher really needs a new line of work. First graders DO NOT HAVE THAT MUCH WORK TO DO!!!!!!

    Thank you ...itneverchanges...I'm glad to see someone out in the public to make such an IGNORANT comment.
    You are a prime example...of someone who isn't a teacher, but knows EVERYTHING about being a teacher. The description of that 1st grade teacher that you called "unorganized", I'd like for you to take on the huge load a teacher has. YOUR HEAD would spin!!!!!
    Speak of things that you DO KNOW about...and don't make such a harsh "uninformed" assumption like that.

  • taylor3297 Jun 6, 2013

    Someone mentioned that teachers get free retirement and I am trying to figure that one out. Each month 6% of a teachers pay is taken out for retirement. This is not a choice. Now a teacher can request more be taken out each month.

    Also, a teacher with tenure, here it is called career status, can be fired and I know of several that have been. The administration has to take proper steps in order for it to happen. Unfortunately, there are some administrators that don't want to take the time to do the appropriate steps. Also, I have seen non-tenure teachers let go, no reason has to be given, so an administrator can make room for their buddies wife to have a job.

    Please read about Common Core. It really isn't such a wonderful thing. A student is tracked and all data on that child is collected. Also this data is shared outside of the school district.

  • jackflash123 Jun 6, 2013

    "The bottom line is that it's not so much what type of school you attend as it is the effort of everyone involved"

    As far as the individual is concerned, you're absolutely right, but as far as society as a whole is concerned, I have to put in a plug for traditional public schools. It should be in everyone's best interest that we have a strong public school system, even if you aren't a student, parent, or employee involved in public schools directly. Take traditional schools away, and there is no model yet that fully takes care of the most disadvantaged people in society. Charter schools can kick you out and never think of you again. Private schools are even more exclusive to get into and can get rid of you just the same.

    It's like the military, imo: you don't have to like how our military is used, but its importance in keeping us safe is not open to debate. Educating our children shouldn't be, either. It's an investment in our future just like the military is.

  • same ole story Jun 6, 2013

    -I have a friend who is a first grade teacher in the WCPSS. She works from 8-4:30 (without a lunch break...has to watch her students while she's eating). She spends, on average, 2 hours a day at home working on lesson plans, report cards, evaluations, etc. That's a 10.5 hour work day. She also spends about 5 hours on the weekends playing catch up as well. That's a 57.5 hour work week. So, for the 40 weeks she works, and gets paid for (summers are unpaid), she works 2,300 hours. In my year, after my 2 weeks paid vacation, I work 2,000. Thank a teacher. They're probably doing more to raise your kids than you are.

    kikinc

    Someone that is that unorganized for a first grade teacher really needs a new line of work. First graders DO NOT HAVE THAT MUCH WORK TO DO!!!!!!

  • LovemyPirates Jun 6, 2013

    BBall Mom76 - Teachers care so much about the tests because they are being judged on the tests. Many would tie their pay to the results of the tests. If what you were paid was contingent upon the results of someone else, you'd care about how well that other person did as well. Anyone here who is so critical of the public education system and teachers needs to volunteer for one week or else, you are talking about something for which you have no knowledge. 99.9999% of teachers are heroes who work very hard and care deeply.

  • sbr1963 Jun 6, 2013

    My sons in high school have even told me how "dumbed" down these tests are, especially these new MSL tests. Let the teachers teach and test the kids. If they know pay attention, attend class and study then they pass. If not, then that is there fault. I am tired of my children having to get a subpar education because others don't care about eduction. If they don't want to learn put them all in a class together, stop punishing those that want to learn.

  • lazydawg58 Jun 6, 2013

    I really find the idea promoted here by many that private, charter and home schools are some kind of silver bullet very amusing. There are some outstanding private and charter schools. Some parents are more than just competent in teaching their own children at home. However there are plenty of cases where just the opposite occurs. Many parents use home schooling as an exit for their child when they have been suspended, placed at the alternative school or failed a grade. In these situations students often receive very little in the way of education and when/if they return to the public school or move on to a private one they are far behind their peers. For every Cardinal Gibbons there are a dozen fly by night private schools that do an at best uneven but more often poor job of providing a quality education to their students. The same can be said for Charters.

    The bottom line is that it's not so much what type of school you attend as it is the effort of everyone involved

  • kal Jun 6, 2013

    The testing is out of hand (as is some of the curriculum). Why do students with an IQ between 55 and 70 need to know about quadratic functions, slope, mitosis, meiosis, etc. They need to be learning real life skills. Yes, they have been taught these skills, but children with disabilities in this range and others rarely recall facts unless they are reviewed over and over day by day, then week by week and then month by month. To show you have crazy this testing is I know of a blind student with an IQ about 15. Given his cognitive ability he is unable to learn braille, but his reading test may not be read aloud to him, so is this a teacher who deserves a poor evaluation????

    On another note some people like me just do not test well. Give me a projec to do and I will wow you. On the other hand I know many AG kids with no common sense.

  • SJMech Jun 6, 2013

    I'm no expert here, but why couldn't there be both a quantitative and an aptitude style test?

    One to determine what a child has learned, the other to determine the child's capability to learn.

    Seperate standardized scores into categories based on aptitude level. Measure kids among their intellectual peers. Group them among their intellectual peers. Then you won't have teachers teaching to the lowest performers and they can tailor their teaching methods to the group they are teaching.

    Furthermore, an "advanced" aptitude child from a "parentally uninvolved" home could display if at-home attention truly does affect in school performance. (keep in mind, aptitude tests should show the capability to learn despite home life)

  • jackflash123 Jun 6, 2013

    "I had been assigned a class of "low ability" students, her the high ability ones who were able to literally teach themselves! No doubt on any kind of test her students would have done better! Should she have been paid more than me? I THINK NOT!!!!"

    You've touched on a reason merit pay often doesn't work. Teachers getting paid according to how their students perform means teachers leave disadvantaged areas, just like the families in those schools can afford to. They bolt for better public schools, private schools, and charter schools. Meanwhile, the people who can't afford to move or go elsewhere get worse teachers and stay at the bottom.

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