Diane Ravitch: “Superintendent Steven Cohen addresses parents on Long Island and explains what a great education is. It is the kind of education available to the children of Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama, Merryl Tisch (the chancellor of the New York State Regents), and other leaders of the “reform” movement. Cohen reads what children do at the University of Chicago Lab School, at the Dalton School in New York, and other excellent private schools, and contrasts them with the punitive mandates imposed on public schools. He denounces the Common Core standards and high-stakes testing. In the elite private schools, children have the opportunity to study subjects in depth, to explore ideas, and to have full programs in the arts and other non-tested subjects. The “reformers” know what is best for their children, but they treat the public’s children as “losers.” They don’t want the public’s children to have what they demand for their own children. In short, he lacerates the “reformers.”
Dr. Cohen is one of a group of superintendents in Long Island who are traveling to school districts to explain why Long Island parents should reject the current “reforms” of high-stakes testing and Common Core standards. The others are David Gamberg of Southold-Greenport, Joe Rella of Comsewogue, and Michael Hynes of Patchogue-Medford. They have inspired parents and educators across the Island.
He faults Bill Gates for foisting the Common Core standards on the nation with Arne Duncan’s help, without ever having testing the standards anywhere to see what effects they have. “Just trust me,” the salesmen of Common Core say. Would you buy a used car without evidence that it actually runs?
He explains how the Common Core was intended to drive the curriculum and testing, for the benefit of vendors and profit-seekers. The claim that it is “just standards, not curriculum,” is nonsense.
He describes the excellent results of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, which does not use high-stakes testing, and wonders why the state refuses to allow other high schools to join it. It works, but admission is closed. Why?
This is an excellent presentation and well worth your time to watch it. Be sure to hear him reading from the MIT catalogue about what MIT considers “college-readiness.”
Dr. Cohen is part of a group of thoughtful and courageous superintendents in Long Island who have been traveling school districts across the Island to explain what good education is–and what it is not.
Dr. Steven Cohen is a hero of public education and of students. He richly deserves to be on the honor roll of the blog.”