From Albany to City Hall, the education-reform movement is grinding to a halt. Meaningful teacher evaluations and standardized tests for students are either on hold or moving into the mushy world of educrat gobbledygook, where vapid self-esteem is prized more than real results.
To be sure, the collapse didn’t happen all at once. It recalls the Ernest Hemingway dialogue in “The Sun Also Rises.”
When a man asks, “How did you go bankrupt?” another answers, “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
So it is with the collapse of standards. What started as a trickle is now a gusher wiping away the tentative progress on accountability.
The biggest blow came with an innocuous-sounding press release from city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. She announced a new promotion policy for grades 3 through 8 that “takes the temperature down around testing” while allowing “educators to make decisions about the students they know best while maintaining high standards.”
In plain English, that means that even if tests show Johnny can’t read, we’re giving him a gold star and sending him on to the next grade, where he’ll fall further behind before being passed on again. That’s the gist of social promotion, and it’s now official city policy.
Mayor de Blasio later boasted of the move, saying, “We’re going to in every way we can move away from high-stakes testing.”
Presumably, that means he favors low-stakes testing, which is testing that doesn’t matter. Welcome to the new mayor’s education plan, where he’ll be able to claim victory because failure has been outlawed.