Gotbaum: DOE Wasting Millions On Excessive Testing
Despite warnings about excessive testing, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum says the city Department of Education continues to spend $335 million on experimental testing systems which should be used to hire more teachers and open new pre-kindergarten classes.
Other criticism of DOE testing policies came from Assemblymember Mark Weprin (D- Little Neck), who said the DOE should be using the $335 million to hire 6,364 teachers or create 25,969 new pre-k seats or 167,500 new afterschool spaces.
"As the father of two public school students, I see students being taught canned test-prep drills- not basic reading and math skills," Weprin said. "There's too much time spent testing and not enough time spent learning."
Gotbaum based her opposition to the testing policies on a review of DOE contracts which, she said, shows millions of dollars spent on grading spreadsheets and duplicative testing systems.
The review pointed out the following expenditures by DOE:
•More than $13 million on the Grow Network, a testing system that was supposed to track test scores, but was used only briefly by the DOE before being replaced by a larger, more expensive system.
•More than $40 million spent on Children's First Inquiry Teams, made up of multiple levels of "bureaucratic" positions, some of which evaluate principals' performance and analyze test scores.
•More than $2 million spent on graphic spreadsheets, which simply display the test scores for individual schools.
Gotbaum stated: "The choice is clear: the DOE can either continue turning our schools into test-prep factories, or invest in programs proven to create strong schools. Parents and educators are for standards, but they are against excessive testing at the expense of education programs like art, history and geography."
Gotbaum cited a statement released by the North Carolina Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing- "There is too much time spent on testing"- and said that several exams should be eliminated or no longer counted in the state's testing program.
Earlier this month, Gotbaum released an analysis showing that most third graders in New York City take, on average, one standardized test every three weeks.- John Toscano