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Minnesota standardized testing

Opting out of the testing regime in Minnesota

by Dan Burns on March 15, 2017 · 0 comments

school2I don’t have a good handle yet on what I think Trump, DeVos, and their minions will be able to do to public education, other than that it won’t be good. Meanwhile, I’m noting some relevant items for this state.

In 2016, 2,227 high school juniors opted out of the MCA tests statewide. That’s just a drop in the bucket, compared to the 55,975 students who did take it. But it is more than three times the number of eleventh grade students–694–who opted out of the MCAs in 2015.

This is a startling jump, taking place in schools and cities as diverse as suburban St. Louis Park, rural Pine City and Minneapolis.
(Bright Light Small City)

And for pretty good reasons.


A state audit is highlighting several major flaws connected to Minnesota’s standardized testing landscape, and educators are calling for change.
“One thing is obvious after reading this report. The taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth from this sprawling system of state and local standardized testing,” said Denise Specht, a fourth-generation teacher who heads up Education Minnesota, which represents 80,000 educators from across the state.
The Office of the Legislative Auditor released its findings earlier this week. Educators have zeroed in on what they call four major flaws.
(Education Votes)


education2Of course so much damage has been done. In the image it’s pointed out what the real purpose of all of the standardized testing has been. So people apparently getting serious about reducing it is not a bad thing, though certainly the first thing that comes to mind is why it’s taken so long.

Minnesota prepared Monday to trim more standardized testing, echoing President Barack Obama’s weekend call to ensure that students aren’t spending too much time on exams.
The Legislature has made a raft of changes to public school testing in recent years, including eliminating high school exit exams in 2013 and capping testing time earlier this year. It’s been the subject of repeated calls to eliminate nearly two dozen different exams, work groups and stalled legislative proposals. And lawmakers aren’t done…

Their goal could be buoyed by the president’s announcement on Saturday. Sen. Charles Wiger, a Maplewood Democrat who chairs the Senate’s education committee, said it “re-energized” the need to chip away at testing, which he called a top priority for next year. Wiger said it gives him hope that the federal government would approve more waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act, the law that required standardized testing starting in third grade.

Sarah Lahm always has the greatest commentary on education issues in Minnesota.

There it is! The “sharing together more consistently” thing! Just a few days before Mickelsen’s piece comparing union supporters to fundamentalists hit the fan, Cunningham published a near replica, called “The Best Hope for Teachers Unions is…Reform.”
Cunningham’s pro-“get tough” reform piece appeared on both his Huffington Post site and on Education Post, in a coordinated campaign sort of way.
I’m not sure if the two were comparing notes, but Cunningham’s piece strongly resembles Mickelsen’s. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, both pieces harp on remarkably similar (and familiar) points of view: charter schools are amazing, teachers unions are toxic and antiquated, and school choice is the yellow brick road to redemption.
(Bright Light Small City)


mncapitol2There are strengthening indicators that, for all the beginning-of-session talk about finding “common ground,” not much beyond what is most needful will get done during Minnesota’s current legislative session. Which at least means that, in this context, the education deformers probably won’t be able to advance their contemptible agenda, for the time being. They will of course continue to try to do so in every other way they can. Lots of money and power at stake.

Explain to me what is the measure of an educated person. Winning a Nobel Prize? Few do. Making a Bill Gates/Warren Buffet fortune? Few do. Writing a Pynchon novel is something only Pynchon has done. Without having to take a multiple choice test about novel writing.
Scoring in the 99th percentile on the LSAT? Is that a measure of an educated person? It may help get you into a law school, but will you have the talent in pressing circumstances to fashion an acquittal on, “If the glove don’t fit, you’ve got to acquit?”
Of those legislators pushing for standardized testing, how many will publish their own SAT scores?
Financial genius Nienow? Suppose he did score highly. That proves what? That the SBA and taxpayers should mop up his personal fiscal bad-judgment mess?
These are bozos leading a bozo parade, union busting being the actual aim, and some should know better.
(Developers Are Crabgrass)

From my observations, “success” in corporate, and for that matter political, life is far more about tenacity and focus, than it is about intellect. That’s just a declarative statement; I’m not trying to pass judgment, here, on whether that’s always a good or bad thing.