Friday, April 20, 2012

Plea to Morrison: End CMS testing madness

Washoe County (Reno, Nev.) schools' superintendent Heath Morrison, who Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools picked Thursday as CMS superintendent, got an earful last week during public interviews about CMS testing. Many parents, teachers and others at the interviews emphatically made known that they think CMS has gone testing mad (remember the 50-plus tests rolled out last year?), and they want to make sure he doesn't continue the mania.

Some observers think CMS's focus on having so many high-stakes tests - tests that some critics said were squeezing out time for actual learning - and the system's push to use high-stakes tests to evaluate teachers in a pay-for-performance plan might have hurt 30-year CMS veteran Ann Clark's chances to become superintendent. As the system's chief academic officer, she was integral to those policies.

Mecklenburg ACTS, an education advocacy group, is urging people to continue to prod Morrison on the issue. Hours after Morrison got the CMS nod - he still has to be officially hired in public on Tuesday - the group posted a rallying call on their website. It reads in part:

"What we at MecklenburgACTS find most intriguing about Morrison is his long stint in Montgomery County, Maryland, one of the most admired school districts in the nation. Montgomery County is known around the country for the quality of its schools, and for its innovative teacher evaluation program, which relies on an intensive peer review process rather than on standardized test scores.

"Montgomery County is also known for refusing to sign on to Maryland’s Race to the Top program because the testing requirements would have forced changes to their home-grown evaluation system.

“'We don’t believe the tests are reliable,' then-superintendent Jerry Weast told the New York Times last year. 'You don’t want to turn your system into a test factory.'

"When he was here last week, Heath Morrison spoke of his admiration for Jerry Weast. We will encourage him to follow in those footsteps, turning CMS away from testing madness and towards an approach that will guarantee that all of our county’s children have access to the kinds of rich and challenging educational opportunities that Montgomery County students enjoy."

Ahem. Get that, Heath Morrison?

UPDATE: Here's a link to the New York Times story where Jerry Weast made his comments about testing.

Posted by Fannie Flono


Wiley Coyote said...


You and the rest of the Observer bigwigs salivating over Morrison need to put the Kool-Aid down and take a few steps back.

Is it just the student testing as this article indicates or pay for perfomance tied to testing as well?

Nevada implemented a pay for performance program statewide.

"It gives us a chance to figure out what works, figure out what we need to change so that as we try to expand it across the school district we do it well and we do it accurately," said Dr. Morrison.

Here's a peek at Washoe County Schools testing calendar:

BolynMcClung said...


Objective 2.4 – Revise And Use New Evaluation Tools And Systems And Develop A Professional Growth System For All Employees

2.4.1. A professional growth system will be developed and implemented for all personnel to build capacity and provide opportunities to improve performance. Performance-based evaluation tools (e.g., rubrics, peer-assisted review [PAR] panels, walk-throughs, self-reflections) will be designed to promote professional growth, life-long learning, and continuous improvement for all employees to bring clarity to the separation process for employees not meeting standard after receiving professional growth support.

2.4.2. Updated principal and teacher evaluation systems will be revised in collaboration with the Washoe Education Association (WEA) and Washoe School Principals Association (WSPA.) They will include student achievement growth, school improvement planning and implementation, and peer reviews as part of the professional growth system.

2.4.3. Peer-assisted review (PAR) processes will be created and structured to support professional growth systems though peer collaboration and assistance.

Bolyn McClung

telamon said...

I see the Board fell for the snake oil salesman again. He even attended the same Broad Superintendents Academy, operated by the Eli Broad Foundation, that Gorman did.

Oh yeah, we got trouble. Right here in Queen City...

Janis Sartucci said...

About that Montgomery County Public Schools...apparently Mr. Morrison neglected to mention that Jerry Weast sold the development of the new MCPS curriculum to PEARSON EDUCATION, INC. Pearson will be writing the assessments and will be putting together the teacher training. Students will be tested 3 times a year on the curriculum through Pearson assessments. Here's a time line of the Jerry Weast - Pearson curriculum deal: