Obama & Duncan Champion Test Abuse – Gerald Bracey

“The President and his Secretary want to use existing tests, willy-nilly, to evaluate teachers. They should both be ashamed. The President should be chastised and Secretary Duncan should be fired on the simple grounds of incompetence.” -Dr. Gerald Bracey

stressed teacher_0The following is a re-blog of a Huffington Post essay written by Dr. Gerald Bracey, a highly respected education policy researcher, two months before his death in August, 2009…

“The President of the United States and his Secretary of Education are violating one of the most fundamental principles concerning test use: Tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were developed. If they are to be used for some other purpose, then careful attention must be paid to whether or not this purpose is appropriate. This position was developed jointly by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education in their document “The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.”

The President and his Secretary want to use existing tests, willy-nilly, to evaluate teachers. They should both be ashamed. The President should be chastised and Secretary Duncan should be fired on the simple grounds of incompetence.

From the American Psychological Association’s “Appropriate Use of High-Stakes Testing in Our Nation’s Schools“: “It is important to remember that no test is valid for all purposes. Indeed, tests vary in their intended uses and in their ability to provide meaningful assessments of student learning.”

It is not the case that a test is a test is a test. Research into the use of existing tests to evaluate teachers has called that use into question (I summarized other people’s research on these issues in my May and December 2004 Research columns in Phi Delta Kappan). More recent studies, summarized in the July 15 issue of Education Week by Debra Viadero, cast further doubt on the whole enterprise.

States are rolling over and playing dead on this issue because a) they are desperate for money and b) it is unlikely that people like Bloomberg or the Governator — or Duncan — have a clue about the abuse they are permitting.

Duncan’s enthusiastic championing of a “reform” that has been shown not to work very well — charter schools — can only be taken as an instrument for union busting. If the NEA and AFT won’t stand up to this abuse of testing, they deserve to be busted.”

Gerald Watkins Bracey (August 12, 1940 – October 20, 2009) was an American education policy researcher. He is best known for the annual “Bracey Report” in which he analyzed current trends in education, often in opposition to prevailing educational policies of the day. Bracey attended the College of William and Mary and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology in 1962. He went on to pursue his Ph.D. in psychology at Stanford University, which he eventually received in 1967. (Source: Wikipedia). 

RelatedNoam Chomsky on the Dangers of Standardized Testing * Flaws at the Heart of Current Education Reforms * Why VAMs are Unreliable Measures for Evaluating Teachers (Interview w/ Dr. Edward Haertal)  * American Statistical Association : VAMs are Invalid & Unreliable Measures * Teacher Evaluation Should Not Rest on Student Test Scores (FairTest Fact Sheets) * Cuomo Plan Wrongly Pushes Test Obsession * Diane Ravitch – Why VAM Should Not Be Used to Grade Teachers * ASA Statement on Using Value-Added Models for Educational Assessment (full paper -pdf American Statistical Association) * Houston Federation of Teachers File Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Value-Added Measure for Evaluations * Rochester Teacher’s Lawsuit – State Failed to Account for Impact of Poverty in Evaluations *  Cuomo Wants Test Scores to Account for 50% of Teacher Evaluation (Diane Ravitch, Jan. 2015) * Florida Teacher Lawsuit Could Spread to Other States *  Reliability and Validity of Inferences About Teachers Based on Student Test Scores by Edward H. Haertal (link to full report)  * Using Student Test Scores to Compare Teachers (Video of Lecture, Stanford University Graduate School of Education, October 2013) *

About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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4 Responses to Obama & Duncan Champion Test Abuse – Gerald Bracey

  1. So very glad I retired from teaching when I did. The pendulum can’t swing back fast enough to save kids and teachers in school now.

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