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Teachers union protests standardized tests in Columbus

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published: August 7, 2014 12:52 PM

Columbus — Jorge Gonzalez rattled off a long list of tests currently required for Ohio’s schoolchildren.

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There’s the Ohio Graduation Test for sophomores, juniors and seniors, new end-of-course assessments and college entrance exams for incoming high school freshmen, reading assessments for third graders, and on and on.

“Test, test, test — when will it end?” Gonzalez, a Spanish teacher from the Cincinnati area, asked. “As professionals, we’re not against tests. ... If we’re not allowed to use tests for the right reasons, that’s wrong.”

On Tuesday, Gonzalez joined dozens of other teachers and union members in short midday protest just down the street from the Statehouse, where they voiced their concern about standardized testing, the third grade reading guarantee, efforts to repeal Common Core standards and others policies affecting Ohio’s schoolchildren.

“This is what we face: merit pay… right to work, less funding, more students in each classroom, frozen steps, frozen base, third grade reading guarantee, a rush to [repeal] the Common Core before we know what the standards are...,” Gonzalez said. 

The Ohio Education Association organized the rally as part of a leadership training session. The union group is particularly concerned about testing requirements, which they say hamper teacher discretion in classrooms and unnecessarily penalize students.

“As professionals, we know that these toxic tests create stakes that are way too high and a school environment that’s way too stressful, and that’s wrong,” Gonzalez said.

OEA President Becky Higgins, a former Cuyahoga Falls resident and longtime teacher in the Copley-Fairlawn district who now lives in suburban Columbus, said state officials are overusing and misusing standardized testing.

Such tests should be used to shape classroom instruction and help students to learn.

“It’s being used, we feel, to punish students and educators and the districts,” she said, adding, “All children come to a school and a grade at different levels. So to think that on one test on one day a student has to meet a certain cut score in order to go on … All students are being educated during the year. To think that that one day is going to have an impact on the student’s life, we do not believe that’s educationally sound practice.”

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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whizzard Aug 7, 2014 2:39 PM

Since the unions have virutally taken over in 1985, our children are ranked higher than 20th in Global Education.  Since the teachers have been given free reign in the last 30 years on how to educate, smaller classes, design of the education process we have fallen lower and lower. 

Personally, I don't think state tests enough.  Rather than twice a year, they should be tested at least 6 times a year.

It is far better than what we are getting now and the students are being short changed.  Since the introduction of smaller classes (supported and backed by their unions), children have been getting left behind and our ranking world wide has dropped dramatically.  Unions wanted smaller classes because to them it basically meant greater revenue especially if they could back tenure in school districts.  Teachers abhore state testing because it is reflective of the quality of the teacher.  Not all teachers are ineffective but the number there are create a dire situation for our nation.

Conventional methods that they have adhered to over the past 50 years are not practical and greatly infeffective in today's society and the lack of technology in it's finest rather than how they are using it now is long overdue.  They make you believe their efforts are for the better but we are really far behind where we should be and the public in whole needs to open their eyes to the smoke and mirrors these unions and teachers are trying to make us believe. 

The unions and these teachers are entirely wrong in their stance.

They are afraid that Common Core will ferrett out those who are completely inefffective and should not be in front of children educating them.  The Union Blanket is starting to fray.

Martin Fleming