Saturday, March 22, 2008

Is Loin-girding Really Necessary?

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has published an article alluding to a Battle Brewing Over the WASL, but after reading it, I'm not convinced that they've picked the right foe. A good piece of the article is about growing WEA dissatisfaction with state supe Terry Bergeson.

What the teachers' union doesn't seem to understand is that testing is not Bergeson's choice. Sure, we could use some assessment different from the WASL, but even if Terry wasn't in that office we would still have state tests. It's a federal requirement via NCLB. If the union is so irritated with testing, then they need to complain to those who can actually do something about it. Shooting the messenger will accomplish nothing.

The second problem with the PI article is that it misses the difference between testing in and of itself...and how the information from the tests is used. The test really isn't the issue. It's the fact that it's tied to graduation rates and other consequences that people have a problem with.

If the WEA and others are really interested in picking a fight, perhaps they should step back for a moment and think about what the real problem is and who they should ride against in battle.


Ryan said...

The comments section on the article is a good overview at the WASL debate, too. Everyone's got a perspective.

Jim Anderson said...

"What the teacher's union doesn't seem to understand..."

I find this a surprising claim, given that the WEA is a member of the larger NEA, which lobbies for commonsense revision of NCLB even as individual state unions go about reforming their states' standards. It's a two-pronged effort.

NCLB, as you note, doesn't mandate the type of test, and doesn't mandate linking the test to graduation, which often punishes individuals for institutional failures. To those degrees, Bergeson's not just a messenger.