Obama’s ‘Testing Cap’ Comes At Convenient Political Moment

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Obama's 'Testing Cap' Comes At Convenient Political Moment

By A.P. Dil­lon

If it looks like a polit­i­cal stunt and smells like a polit­i­cal stunt, then it stands to rea­son it is a polit­i­cal stunt.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s big shift in rhetoric on test­ing this past week comes at a polit­i­cally con­ve­nient time. In a total course rever­sal, Obama wants a cap that lim­its the test­ing on chil­dren to 2% or less of their class time. That 2%sounds great, but really it’s not chang­ing any­thing if one real­izes that 2% of a school year’s class time trans­lates to some­where between 20 to 24 hours worth of test­ing. Like I said, this is a stunt.

This admin­is­tra­tion has beaten the drum of ‘test and pun­ish’ for seven years right along­side tying test scores to teacher eval­u­a­tions — a move that has had teach­ers unions up in arms nationwide.

What bet­ter way to quell the pow­er­ful, big donors like teach­ers unions just prior to a Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year than to offer a ‘test­ing cap’?

It’s bait in an elec­tion cycle where edu­ca­tion is tak­ing the main stage with voters.

Like­wise, it’s an oppor­tu­nity for this admin­is­tra­tion to sub­tly hit Hillary Clin­ton over the head again, as she has come out sup­port­ing Com­mon Core, which has been anchored to two test­ing con­sor­tia and ‘test­ing account­abil­ity measures’.

This isn’t just about hit­ting Hillary over the head. It’s also about beat­ing Con­gress over the head. Again.

Remem­ber, the House pushed for­ward with the reau­tho­riza­tion of No Child Left Behind, which strength­ens over test­ing instead of stem­ming it. The reau­tho­riza­tion also solid­i­fied Com­mon Core. It’s a nightmare.

A recent arti­cle at Front Page Mag­a­zine by Mary Grabar points this out. Here’s an excerpt, but do read the whole thing:

In a smooth move, the Obama admin­is­tra­tion called on Con­gress to fix a prob­lem that had been foisted on the peo­ple with­out the con­sent of Con­gress — namely the national Com­mon Core stan­dards, even as the widely hated name was scrupu­lously avoided. The Obama admin­is­tra­tion also told teach­ers to fix tests that they had not devised and were forced to administer.

In an even smoother move, the New York Times summed up the blame this way:

The administration’s move seemed a reck­on­ing on a two-​decade push that began dur­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and inten­si­fied under Pres­i­dent Obama. Pro­grams with aspi­ra­tional names — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top — were respond­ing to swelling agree­ment among Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans that higher expec­ta­tions and account­abil­ity could lift the per­for­mance of Amer­i­can students.… .”

Alas, the push began “dur­ing the Bush administration.”

Shorter: If JEB! needed a final cof­fin nail, here it comes.

Mean­while, in Obama’s back­yard of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., only 1 in 10 DC stu­dents score ‘col­lege ready’ on the new Com­mon Core math tests. The scores dropped in neigh­bor­ing Mary­land as well. Let’s not even get into the results for His­panic stu­dents; Obama has that one cov­ered with a forced touchy-​feely out­reach program.

But for edu­crats like William Bushaw, who is the direc­tor of the agency over­see­ing the NAEP (Nations Report Card), the nar­ra­tive remains the same: Com­mon Core is not to blame.

William Bushaw, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the National Assess­ment Gov­ern­ing Board, which over­sees NAEP, tried to dis­cour­age con­nect­ing this year’s test results and Com­mon Core in a tele­phone call with reporters Tuesday.

NAEP exams, while over­lap­ping with the Com­mon Core stan­dards, are not tied to any spe­cific cur­ricu­lum or mate­r­ial used in pub­lic schools, Bushaw said.

He added that states might not have used Com­mon Core in the same way.

We should not assume the Com­mon Core has been evenly or per­sis­tently imple­mented in the coun­try,” he said.
News and Observer 10÷27÷15

That’s an AMAZ­ING admis­sion right there, folks. For the last 5 years, sup­port­ers of Com­mon Core have main­tained that the stan­dards would be the same — every­where.

About every five or so years, Edu­crats and Ed Reform­ers roll out some shiny new reform. None of these amaz­ing reforms have moved the nee­dle for our kids, noth­ing has changed for them. Noth­ing has changed in the way these reform­ers win­dow dress the fail­ure of their amaz­ing reform either; per­haps they took deck chair rear­rang­ing lessons in a past life.

It was vital kids be able to trans­fer from state to state and learn the exact same thing, even though the tran­sient stu­dent pop­u­la­tion is less than 2% of the over­all stu­dent pop­u­la­tion in the United States.

So not only was Com­mon Core not being imple­mented the same way, it’s now clear the other major plat­form of Com­mon Core has crum­bled. That plat­form is con­sis­tent com­par­i­son of tests from state to state.

But don’t blame Com­mon Core. It’s the imple­men­ta­tion. It’s the tests. It’s any­thing but the flawed and exper­i­men­tal stan­dards that were rolled out rapid fire in order to yoke states into using them via the Race To The Top grant.

Hav­ing said all of that, Obama’s ‘test cap’ is an insult­ing band-​aid on a machete wound that this admin­is­tra­tion has allowed to fes­ter for the bet­ter part of his Presidency.

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dil­lon resides in the Tri­an­gle area of North Car­olina and is the founder of LadyLib​er​ty1885​.com.
Her cur­rent and past writ­ing can also be found at IJ Review, Stop​Com​mon​CoreNC​.org, Heart​land​.org and Watch­dog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twit­ter: @LadyLiberty1885

By A.P. Dillon

If it looks like a political stunt and smells like a political stunt, then it stands to reason it is a political stunt.

President Obama’s big shift in rhetoric on testing this past week comes at a politically convenient time.  In a total course reversal, Obama wants a cap that limits the testing on children to 2% or less of their class time. That 2%sounds great, but really it’s not changing anything if one realizes that 2% of a school year’s class time translates to somewhere between 20 to 24 hours worth of testing. Like I said, this is a stunt.

This administration has beaten the drum of ‘test and punish’ for seven years right alongside tying test scores to teacher evaluations — a move that has had teachers unions up in arms nationwide.

What better way to quell the powerful, big donors like teachers unions just prior to a Presidential election year than to offer a ‘testing cap’?

It’s bait in an election cycle where education is taking the main stage with voters.

Likewise, it’s an opportunity for this administration to subtly hit Hillary Clinton over the head again, as she has come out supporting Common Core, which has been anchored to two testing consortia and ‘testing accountability measures’.

This isn’t just about hitting Hillary over the head. It’s also about beating Congress over the head. Again.

Remember, the House pushed forward with the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which strengthens over testing instead of stemming it. The reauthorization also solidified Common Core. It’s a nightmare.

A recent article at Front Page Magazine by Mary Grabar points this out. Here’s an excerpt, but do read the whole thing:

In a smooth move, the Obama administration called on Congress to fix a problem that had been foisted on the people without the consent of Congress—namely the national Common Core standards, even as the widely hated name was scrupulously avoided.  The Obama administration also told teachers to fix tests that they had not devised and were forced to administer.    

In an even smoother move, the New York Times summed up the blame this way:

The administration’s move seemed a reckoning on a two-decade push that began during the Bush administration and intensified under President Obama. Programs with aspirational names — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top — were responding to swelling agreement among Democrats and Republicans that higher expectations and accountability could lift the performance of American students. . . . .”

Alas, the push began “during the Bush administration.”

Shorter: If JEB! needed a final coffin nail, here it comes.

Meanwhile, in Obama’s backyard of  Washington, D.C.,  only 1 in 10 DC students score ‘college ready’ on the new Common Core math tests.  The scores dropped in neighboring Maryland as well.  Let’s not even get into the results for Hispanic students; Obama has that one covered with a forced touchy-feely outreach program.

But for educrats like William Bushaw, who is the director of the agency overseeing the NAEP (Nations Report Card),  the narrative remains the same: Common Core is not to blame.

William Bushaw, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, tried to discourage connecting this year’s test results and Common Core in a telephone call with reporters Tuesday.

NAEP exams, while overlapping with the Common Core standards, are not tied to any specific curriculum or material used in public schools, Bushaw said.

He added that states might not have used Common Core in the same way.

We should not assume the Common Core has been evenly or persistently implemented in the country,” he said.
News and Observer 10/27/15

That’s an AMAZING admission right there, folks.  For the last 5 years, supporters of Common Core have maintained that the standards would be the same — everywhere.

About every five or so years, Educrats and Ed Reformers roll out some shiny new reform. None of these amazing reforms have moved the needle for our kids, nothing has changed for them.  Nothing has changed in the way these reformers window dress the failure of their amazing reform either; perhaps they took deck chair rearranging lessons in a past life.

It was vital kids be able to transfer from state to state and learn the exact same thing, even though the transient student population is less than 2% of the overall student population in the United States.

So not only was Common Core not being implemented the same way, it’s now clear the other major platform of Common Core has crumbled. That platform is consistent comparison of tests from state to state.

But don’t blame Common Core.  It’s the implementation. It’s the tests. It’s anything but the flawed and experimental standards that were rolled out rapid fire in order to yoke states into using them via the Race To The Top grant.

Having said all of that, Obama’s ‘test cap’ is an insulting band-aid on a machete wound that this administration has allowed to fester for the better part of his Presidency.

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885