A Word from Principal Phillips

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A Word from Principal Phillips

Common Core isn't the problem--but the tests are

By Betsy Corcoran (Columnist)     Apr 10, 2014

A Word from Principal Phillips

This essay about Common Core testing, which ran in the New York Times, is worth reading and sharing. Elizabeth Phillips has been Principal of Public School 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn for 15 years. Her school is strong. The opinions that she and her teachers have should be heeded.

Her school has administrated a set of tests that she and the teachers feel are inappropriate and not aligned to Common Core. They're not allowed to discuss them. One of the disheartening paragraphs in this piece:

"We believed that New York State and Pearson would have listened to the extensive feedback they received last year and revised the tests accordingly. We were not naïve enough to think that the tests would be transformed, but we counted on their being slightly improved. It truly was shocking to look at the exams in third, fourth and fifth grade and to see that they were worse than ever. We felt as if we’d been had."

In an age of "agile development" and the raft of technology that makes it possible to revise and improve products--whether technical or text--at the speed of a click.

Phillips heartfelt suggestion:

"For two years, I have suggested that the commissioner of education and the members of the Board of Regents actually take the tests — I’d recommend Days 1 and 3 of the third-grade test for starters."

Iteration and testing. If we teach our children nothing more than this, let us teach them to learn from mistakes and teach them through our own practice.

Again, here's Principal Phillips essay.

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