Never has so much nonsense been assembled by so few to attempt to bamboozle so many
Today’s Courier-Journal opinion piece establishes a new low for factual ignorance.
(1) The Courier charges that former Education Commissioner Jon Draud started the current process to revise (flatten in the Courier’s words) CATS.
CATS was under attack, and rightfully so, long before Draud went over to the Department of Education. In fact, Draud’s opening remarks at the very first session of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force made it plain he didn’t want to hear about big changes to CATS.
Of course, the Courier could not know that. NOT ONE reporter was there (Courier included – what a way to run a newspaper!).
The meeting is all on video. See, hear and judge Draud’s comments for yourself here.
Draud makes it plain in the first couple of minutes that he doesn’t want to consider any major changes to CATS. Draud steamrollering CATS – absolutely not!
(2) The Courier alleges that CATS is unjustifiably maligned.
Well, let’s see. I guess the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary education is unjust to portray the dismal preparation of our recent high school graduates for college while the CATS cranks out ever increasing scores that indicate all is rosy, right?
(3) The Courier says it would be astonishingly stupid to remove writing portfolios from CATS.
Actually, it looks like bad educational practice to keep the portfolios in CATS. In fact, 69 percent of our teachers told Draud’s CATS Task Force that they wanted portfolios removed so they could start to teach writing properly.
Is the Courier calling the vast majority of our teachers astonishingly stupid? Nice job, Courier!
(4) The Courier says nationally norm-referenced tests (NRT) are set to grade a substantial number of students as failures.
That isn’t how NRTs report scores. NRTs rank kids on a percentile scale that doesn’t have a pass-fail score at all.
I wonder where the Courier gets such quaint ideas. They certainly don’t know much about testing.
(5) The Courier says throwing open the state’s education standards for review would dumb down the curriculum.
I don’t know what research the Courier has been looking at, but the “real stuff” says in areas like math that state curriculums around the US fail kids because they are a “mile wide and an inch deep.” You bet we need to focus our curriculum. Trying to teach far too much just means most kids wind up learning far too little. That’s why, after nearly two decades of KERA, our kids still test out at something like one of three to one of four proficient in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Well, I suppose the people who create that federal test are trying to steamroller CATS, too.