The Empire State’s New Clothes

You remember the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” ?

I am so dismayed at this point at what is going on with the state testing in New York. It seems as though everyone knows that the testing was and has been flawed. It all seems so ridiculous. The whole fiasco can be epitomized with the example of the 8th grade English question that was published in the New York Times article. After an outcry, the state did decide to throw out that portion of the test. Yet it seems as if the state is continuing its “procession” just as the ruler in the Hans Christian Anderson story did as he strutted through town naked. “ The emperor thought to himself “Now I must bear up to the end”. And the chamberlains walked with still greater dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.” The state education department continues on with using this flawed system to evaluate teachers in grades 4-8 Math and English, pretending for all that this is a fair evaluation system. They promise the teachers that they are going to use a “growth” model to evaluate student learning. Forgive me for feeling cynical about a model that they come up with; I am only judging by the quality of the products produced by Pearson for New York State, to the tune of 32 million dollars.

I can vouch first hand that there were several errors on the mathematics tests and materials used to train teachers to score the tests. Yet, we as teachers have been warned that we are not to speak of these problems, because they have made the tests secure. We cannot discuss specifics for fear of severe repercussions. It is troubling to me that so many of us realize that the emperor is naked, but we are afraid to admit it. And the fear that is prevalent in the teaching community right now is probably the thing that I am fearing the most.


About CathyJeremko

I am a New York State Master Teacher and educator with 15+ years of teaching Mathematics. I have a special interest in technology in education. I am searching for the answers to the future of education, with the understanding that the manner of educating people is exponentially changing. A prospect is associated with the words anticipation, expectation, and looking forward. I am a prospector searching and exploring for the natural resources of people and ideas to improve life through education.
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