Friday, March 20, 2015
Some Students Respond to Cuomo
Given our fourth marking period was incredibly short and we had time for only one test, I presented my students with an extra-credit option. I asked them to consider Cuomo's plans for education. I placed pamphlet facts from the Cuomo camp side by side with facts from the U.F.T. I asked the students to undertake research to write a paper expressing their own views on Cuomo's plans. They were free to agree with some points and disagree with others or completely take one side.
Although a few students were convinced by Cuomo, particularly with the hopes of lower taxes, overwhelmingly, students objected to testing and its uses. They realized that a student's performance on one day is a poor indicator of a student's abilities overall. They realized that adding weight to tests in teacher evaluations only adds more prep to an already stressed system.
Here are some quotes I pulled from their papers:
"Governor Cuomo wants more Common Core. ...I am so against it. The tests are so stressful on the students and teachers. It's not just about a test. There is more to learning about the world." --a 10th grade, resource-room student
"...what hope has the teacher of the class of delinquents?" --another 10th grader
"We should be safe in schools and feel like we belonged [sic] instead of being sorted and ranked by test scores." --yet another 10th grader
"This is NONSENSE! Now you wanna out rule all those grades with just one test!" -- a 9th grader
Here's my favorite:
"To me, the person in charge of cleaning the floors in the school, has a more secure job than a young teacher out of college." --a very wise 10th grader, wise beyond his years!