Sunday, April 8, 2018

No Excuses for White!

This article by John White’s friend at The Advocate, Will Sentell, attempts to provide cover for White on the eve of  the release of the latest NAEP test results. NAEP stands for a nationwide testing program mainly in reading and math called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes also referred to as The Nation's Report Card. The results of the 2017 NAEP test are scheduled to be released on April 10. Unfortunately for White who promotes test taking as the primary goal of education, the scores of Louisiana students will be compared to all other states.

This recent post by Mercedes Schneider on her blog predicts that the comparison may not be flattering to Louisiana or to Superintendent White, who has been one of the national darlings of education reform. Schneider reports that White recently fired off a letter to the director of the NAEP testing program claiming that many students may not be adequately prepared for the change to a computer based testing format for the NAEP test.

White’s argument that Louisiana students are handicapped by lack of computer test skills is totally bogus. For several years White has pushed local school systems in Louisiana to implement computer based testing at great cost to local budgets. Unfortunately, our students have probably spent more of their school day than students in other states preparing for the latest computer format tests.

Remember also that White, who had no formal training as an educator, was brought to Louisiana by Governor Jindal specifically to improve student test scores using a “no excuses” philosophy. After six years of bullying local school systems to redirect almost all efforts toward constant test prep at the expense of real education, he cannot use the excuse that our kids are at a disadvantage compared to other states. If you base your career on standardized test results you must also take the blame if your grand scheme fails!

In this post Schneider also points out that White has wholeheartedly supported the new and untested assumption in the Common Core reading standards that students should be able to demonstrate reading comprehension without extensive prior knowledge of the subject matter of a particular topic. Students are supposed to be able to utilize "close reading" to score well on the new tests. Now he is claiming the opposite. That’s what you get when you put someone in charge of education who really knows nothing about how children learn.

Students in Louisiana have now been subjected to 6 years as educational test subjects. White has saddled teachers and students with a highly inappropriate and unteachable set of standards that ignore everything we have learned in several centuries of educational pedagogy. Then White has converted almost the entire school year into cruel, boring test prep at the expense of real life skills learning. To paraphrase a recent national trend: White is a fake educator! There is no longer and excuse for us to tolerate John White and his destructive policies.


Jeremy said...

Not ready for computer based testing? Please. These are kids that have known technology all their lives.

How do we get rid of White?

Anonymous said...

Every day when I drive to work I'm thinking about my kids and planning out what I can do to help us have a great day. Full of hope.

And every evening, I drive home thinking maybe today's the day when I turn on the news, I hear that John White's been thrown under the jail.

The negative effect his policies have on our children (and teachers) cannot be overstated.