Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Opposition to Kindergarten - Second Grade 2 Standardized Testing by NYC Department of Education (DOE)

My comments to the District 27 Community Education Council regarding - "My Opposition to Kindergarten - Second Grade 2 Standardized Testing by NYC Department of Education (DOE)" got picked up by The Huffington Post via Room8...Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Good evening, District 27 CEC board members and Superintendent Lloyd-Bey. Many of you know me, but for the record my name is David M. Quintana - I am the former District 27 representative to the Chancellors Parent's Advisory Council and former Co-President of the Parent's Association of MS 210.

I am also a former student and graduate of District 27 having attended PS 97, PS 60, MS 210 and John Adams High School many, many years ago.

It has recently come to my attention that the DOE (Tweed Administration) is planning to begin subjecting students in grades kindergarten - 2 to standardized testing. I am vehemently opposed to this testing and will outline the reasons for my opposition, as follows.
  • 1. School needs to be fun, exciting, and motivating for young children. Children need to read books they enjoy, discover how to solve math problems, learn to communicate and work with their peers, engage in science, civics, social studies, music and art, take field trips, and develop a capacity to imagine and think deeply. This does not happen within a testing environment.
  • 2. Testing takes precious time away from teaching and learning. Also, teaching and curriculum change with this kind of testing because teachers and schools feel pressure to prepare their students for the test. Test prep becomes the curriculum.
  • 3. The DOE bosses (Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein), if allowed to go forward with this, will store the test score data in their $80 million ARIS computer system and use it to rate teachers and schools, negatively affecting the quality of instruction being given to 5, 6 and 7 year olds.
  • 4. I ask, what evidence do we have that all the test prep (that has been forced on children in grades 3 - 8) has done anything to improve their learning? The NYC and NYS National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP - a national test - frequently referred to as the "gold" standard of testing) results in 2007 in ELA and Math - and in 2009 in the Math NAEP - show no statistical improvement - NONE. (The 2009 ELA NAEP results are due in a few weeks - which I predict will also remain flat.)
  • 5. Testing young children is highly unreliable due to the varying timetable of the academic/cognitive development in early childhood. It is unfair and potentially harmful to judge a child on testing tasks for which she/he is not developmentally ready.
  • 6. Young children may not be able to meet the demands of a standardized test for a myriad of reasons: hunger, boredom, fatigue, illness, anxiety or simply the developmental inability to sit still for protracted stretches of time. And, as any experienced educator or knowledgeable parent knows - any child can simply have a bad day. Yet, if a child receives a low score, it may set up expectations for parents and teachers that this child is, and always will be, a poor learner. Such expectations can negatively affect their future learning experience.

  • 7. Standardized tests have a long and notorious history of misrepresenting the intellectual capabilities of young children based on race, class and immigrant status.

  • 8. Test scores are not perfect measures, therefore no single test should ever be used alone to make a critical judgment about a child. Yet, the DOE, has a long history of using single test scores to judge our children and schools, a policy that I fear will be perpetuated with kindergarten through second grade testing.

  • 9. During this period of financial crisis, it would be an utter waste of money to spend millions of dollars on a testing policy that the research and education communities nearly unanimously decry as unreliable and potentially harmful to children. This is not the time to be taking money out of the classrooms to enrich large corporate testing companies.

I am urging CEC27 to thoroughly review this matter (further statistical information can be found at and issue a resolution condemning this practice in OUR NYC Public School system.

Thank you.

David M. Quintana

Meeting Date: Monday, November 16 @ 7:30 PM

Meeting Place: PS 124 129-15 150 Avenue, South Ozone Park, NY 11420

Read the whole story: Room Eight