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Sunday, August 16, 2015

UFT President Says That the Just-Released Test Scores Are Good News

My comment:

Who wrote this for him?
Michael Mulgrew

The press office of the UFT spews out nonsense and gets a lot of money to do it. They of course ignore the huge amount of scrubbing in New York City and the current grade-fixing/"credit recovery" scandal going on, as well as the on-going waterfall of UFT members brought to 3020-a and given no defense by their NYSUT attorneys. Teachers, and ATRs, are front-line. They see and are given the directive to graduate all the students, no matter what. If they stand up to these directives, they are re-assigned, sent to 3020-a. NYSUT continues to bring termination decisions from the panel of arbitrators, based upon the omission of objective data.

I see very often violations of the UFT Collective Bargaining Agreement, and ADVOCATZ fights these violations and wins.

Where is the UFT and why didn't someone over there stop the charges from getting to arbitration in the first place?

Betsy Combier


by Michael Mulgrew
The incremental gains New York City recently scored on statewide reading and math tests are good news for our schools and children – and a much more positive and credible development than the rapid, but ultimately meaningless, increases in scores touted by Michael Bloomberg during his tenure as mayor.
During the Bloomberg years, state and city test scores exploded, to the point that in 2009 nearly 70 percent of city elementary and middle school students were supposedly proficient in reading, and more than 80 percent were proficient in math – results that Bloomberg and his allies in the “school reform” gang could not stop boasting about.
The UFT and experts warned that these results were smoke and mirrors, and by 2013 those numbers had fallen dramatically – to 26 percent proficiency in reading and 30 percent proficiency in math, thanks to new tests based on the Common Core learning standards, and to the state’s overtly political decision to set the new passing mark very high.
It generally takes students and teachers some time to adapt to new curricula and test approaches, and it has been a slow road back. The 26 percent in reading proficiency in 2013 grew to 28 percent last year and to more than 30 percent in the most recent results. Math proficiency is now up to more than 35 percent. 
An indication of real progress is the fact that the rate of increase for city reading scores this year (1.9 percentage points) was more than twice that of the state’s (0.7 percentage points). Overall, city reading scores are now close to the same level as the state’s, which has traditionally outscored the city by significant amounts in this area.
Schools set aside for special interventions also appear to show real progress. More than half the schools that have been in the UFT’s Community Schools program for more than two years showed increases in reading scores, several of them well above the average citywide increase. 
On average, schools in the PROSE program, which provides schools with wide flexibility to change their instruction based on input from teachers, showed significant reading gains – up 4.8 percentage points (versus 1.9 percentage points citywide).
Despite all the clamor from “reformers” about charter schools, charter reading gains in 2015 (1.3 percentage points) were under the average gain for public schools, and, as usual, overall city charter reading scores remain below the average for public schools (with public schools’ reading proficiency average at 30.4 percent versus the charter school average of 29.3 percent).
The racial achievement gap – the difference in performance between whites/Asian students and black/Hispanic students – is a stubborn and troubling phenomenon, and a feature of local, state and national standardized tests. 
The new scores did not show any major improvement in this category, though “reformers” – who were largely silent when Bloomberg and then-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein were making transparently fictitious claims about progress in this area – seem to have adopted it as a key concern since Bloomberg’s departure.
Unfortunately, a concentration on test scores obscures some important questions about the usefulness of standardized tests as a measure of educational quality. But, to the extent they do reflect reality, their incremental increases are more likely to reflect real progress based on the hard work of teachers and their students.
Michael Mulgrew is president of the United Federation of Teachers