Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is there hope for the state testing task force?

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2008

Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

“Don’t rock the boat” the theme of state testing
task force says family group

LEXINGTON, KY—“If the state education testing henhouse needed foxes to guard it, they got the best ones available,” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky about today’s announcement of the membership of a state task force to review the state’s CATS testing system. “We’re just going to call it the ‘Status Quo Panel’,” said Cothran.

“’Don’t rock the boat’ seems to be the developing theme for the Status Quo Panel,” said Cothran. He argued that there is only one panel member who has been publicly critical of the testing system: State Sen. Dan Kelly (R-Springfield). “In fact,” said Cothran, "the legislative members of the panel are almost two to one Democratic.”

Cothran said his group didn’t know every member of the new panel, but said if the ones who have been involved in past education debates were any indication of the rest of the panel, the signs were not good. He pointed to the appointments of Bob Sexton of the Prichard Committee, former Patton administration State School Board Chairman Helen Mountjoy, and Sharron Oxendine of the Kentucky Education Association as examples of panel members who could be counted on to argue against substantial change in the CATS testing system. There is also only one member who represented parents, said Cothran, and no testing experts.

“The Status Quo Panel appears to be sailing with a cargo full of apologists for the testing system.”

“The task force has some great leadership on the side of not rocking the boat,” said Cothran. “The point of this task force was to take a critical look at the testing system. But in order to take a critical look at something, you have to have critics. Other than Sen. Kelly and Sen. Vernie McGaha (R-Somerset), who on this panel is actually going to be critical of the system?”


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