Movement Begins Against Increased Standardized Testing of Teachers

By Post Staff

It’s tough and expensive to become a teacher.   For most people in California it now requires five different standardized tests, a year of classes and six months of unpaid labor AFTER completion of the B.A.

kim-photo

Dr. Kimberly Mayfield

Now there is a proposal to add another national standardized assessment, costing each candidate $300 more dollars, administered by Pearson, a $9 billion corporation; and graded by part-time employees of Pearson who have never seen the teacher, the children, or the community  they come from.

An additional worrisome aspect of this assessment, called the edTPA, is the fact that the videos of all the teachers from all over the country taken as part of this assessment will be gathered and stored by the Pearson Company

Oakland teacher educator, Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, spoke eloquently about this issue at a conference organized by graduate students at Teachers College in New York.

She explained that the racial wealth gap and the bias in all standardized assessments are especially harmful to African-American, Latino, Asian, and Native American prospective teachers.  As a result 72 percent of the students and only 29 percent of the teachers in California come from these groups.

These statistics mean that adults from our communities lose the possibility of holding important jobs that their taxes are paying for!

People in Oakland have worked hard to break down these barriers through financial, testing, and personal support.   Teach Tomorrow in Oakland is one example of these efforts.

However, most of the 200 people attending the conference in New York, as well as the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) and other educators feel that something needs to be done at the policy level to stop the dozens of laws and practices which prevent the country from getting the teachers it needs.

A resolution passed by NAME says in part, “We see the efforts to create a standardized assessment and scale it up through outsourcing to a private corporation as, at best, naiive and, at worst, very dangerous.

“It is critical that educators at every level be aware of the dangers of standardization and of ongoing privatizing efforts and the insidious manner in which corporate profiteers enter the public commons and eventually overtake it.”

 Courtesy of the Oakland Post, March 13, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup)