Tennessee’s new Commissioner of Education, Penny Schwinn, has been visiting schools around the state, but apparently, she’s NOT listening.
Here’s more from a visit she made to an elementary school in Bristol:
During a visit Thursday to Anderson Elementary School in Bristol, Tennessee, Schwinn emphasized a number of priorities.
She said it’s essential the next vendor puts more safeguards in place to ensure testing goes smoothly.
“Certainly we’re going to hold the new vendor accountable,” said Schwinn.
Additionally, Schwinn commented on the timeline for hiring a new testing vendor:
Schwinn said the bidding process for a new vendor will begin in a few weeks but they don’t plan to execute a new contract until September 2019.
That’s right. There won’t even be a new testing vendor for the next iteration of TNReady until September of 2019. Students will start taking tests (at least EOC) by December. The September hiring also gives the new vendor just 8 months to prepare for the heavy testing month of April 2020.
Here’s the deal: No one trusts TNReady. Teachers tell us they don’t believe it accurately measures student performance. After a year of supposed hackers and imaginary dump trucks, students don’t take it seriously.
Schwinn is repeating lines used by former Commissioner Candice McQueen. She’s talking about safeguards and teacher resources when there are testing problems. Those of us who have actually been in Tennessee the past five years know what that means: Nothing will change.
How long will we tolerate a failed testing regime that provides little usable data and results in policy that’s bad for kids?
Good news, Tennesseans — the new Governor Bill is as tone deaf as the previous Governor Bill. Maybe he should stop sending out weekend reports from the farm and start actually talking to (and listening) to teachers and parents in our schools. Meanwhile, his handpicked Education Commissioner is demonstrating that while she might appear to be doing the right things (visiting schools, listening) she has a serious comprehension problem.
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