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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!

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