New York's City Council says enough testing


Former New York City education chancellor Joel Klein spent years extolling the benefits of high-stakes testing. But now, the NYC City Council is saying enough is enough. And they’re asking the state Education Department to forgo using student test results as a main assessment tool.

The council, according to an Ed Week article, unanimously passed legislation saying that high-stakes standardized tests must be replaced by multiple measures to assess student achievement. Resolution 1394 was based on a piece of national legislation endorsed by hundreds of education boards and anti-testing groups across the country.

Results of standardized tests have been used as proof that students are meeting proficiency standards and as an indicator of graduation rates. They're also used to evaluate teacher performance.

But opponents of the tests argue that teachers are just teaching what will appear on tests, since their jobs depends on it.

The council resolution can be interpreted in several ways. With former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg out of the way, parents and teachers who oppose high-stakes testing may see this as their best chance of ending the era of Bloomberg-Klein reforms. And they may see an opportunity to influence the city’s new mayor.

It may also be a signal to the Board of Regents, state Education Department, and Albany lawmakers that momentum is building against some reforms, and that resistance is not just coming from the teachers unions; many voting parents are unhappy, too.

Either way, the resolution coming out of New York City, arguably the epicenter of education reform, is significant.