Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dualing Op-Eds for Terry Bergeson

A few threads back I posted an op-ed in the PI by David Marshak, a professor education, about Terry Bergeson, the state superintendent. He felt she had started off with the best of intentions for the WASL and allowed it to slowly get out of control.

Now there is an op-ed in today's PI defending her. It is by former "education" governor, Gary Locke, and Bill Brinstein, the chairman of the state Higher Education Coordinating Board. They contend she has done a good job. (Mr. Marshak's op-ed had the word "tragedy" in it and this one has the word "triumph", hence the dualing titles.) From their op-ed:

"Today our students have the nation's top SAT scores among states that test at least 50 percent of their students. We have quadrupled student participation in Advanced Placement courses. We see record numbers of students with record test scores applying to our state's colleges and universities. And we are strengthening our career and technical education programs."

They assert:

"The process of reforming and bolstering academic standards is messy, but to claim that the process here in Washington wasn't managed simply doesn't square with the facts. Bergeson led the difficult but rewarding work of building partnerships with classroom teachers, parents, higher education institutions and business leaders to prepare all students for college, careers and citizenship."

Here's where I would disagree. Oh, she managed the process here in Washington but did she do it well? No. Is there clarity after nearly a decade of wrestling with the WASL? No.

She built partnerships with parents? When and where? Do parents get real and concrete information about how their student is doing in school from the WASL? Not really. Do teachers get real and concrete information about their students from the WASL? Not really.

I do not support their premise at all especially from a former governor who sure made a lot of promises to education that weren't kept.


anonymous said...

In all fairness, I think Terry Bergesen did an OK job. I certainly didn't agree with her high stakes testing methods, and think that standardized tests should be used to evaluate schools, districts and states, but not individual students. I also agree with Melissa in that a national standardized test would be much more useful when comparing our state to other states. But, in the end our students have been achieving higher than ever before. So I rate her job in WA as OK. On a scale of 1-10, I'd probably give her a 7.

Charlie Mas said...

Ms Bergesen herself has acknowledged that she and her team failed students with regard to math education.

I don't see how she can make that admission and continue to claim to have done well.

rugles said...

Survivor bias is the first thing that comes mind. Dropouts don't take tests, WASL or SAT.

I liked the part of quadrupling the number of students taking AP classes. No mention if they quadrupled the number of teachers teaching AP classes.

Adhoc, what is the basis for your laim that our students are "achieving higher than ever before"?