San Diego Unified teachers are not alone in complaining about tests imposed by their school district on top of those required by the state. The Los Angeles teachers union is now calling for a boycott of local assessments, according to the Los Angeles Times:

“The pig does not get fatter when you weigh it 10 times a day,” (United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J.) Duffy said. “And if the test scores do go up, isn’t it phony? Because what you are doing is teaching to the test, teaching a subject that has been narrowed down radically. We’re not creating smarter kids. We’re creating smarter test takers.”

Duffy announced the boycott Tuesday at Emerson Middle School on the Westside, where teachers said the district tests were too burdensome on top of already mandated state and federal testing.

Former Superintendent David Brewer had pushed more schools to use the assessments and the results are debated. A Times analysis found that schools with higher participation in the district assessments had better scores in English and algebra, but whether that means that the district assessments are the cause is unclear:

Unraveling the apparent benefit can be complex, said retired district official Roger Rasmussen, who long headed the district’s analysis unit. Schools that are able to perform the assessments correctly, he said, may be those that have developed a cohesive staff, for example, which may be the real driver of improvement.

The article also states that Los Angeles Unified estimates that the tests cost between $3 million and $5 million annually; the teachers union estimates their cost far higher at $150 million.

EMILY ALPERT

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