Imagine the superintendent of a high-performing district who is fearless and speaks boldly about the political manipulation of the Common Core test scores. Imagine a woman who defends the students and staff against the rigging of scores by ambitious politicians and bureaucrats.
That is Teresa Thayer Snyder of Voorheesville in upstate Néw York, a district that has a 97% graduation rate.
Scores crashed in her district and she spotted the fraud. She saw that the distribution of scores was unchanged, and the gaps were unchanged.
She wrote: “Over the past several months school leaders have been receiving countless messages from the State Education Department preparing us for the dire outcomes associated with the most recent spate of State testing in grades 3-8 in Math and English Language Arts. As the date for the releases of the test scores approached, we received many notices of “talking points” to inform our communities about the outcomes, with explanations of new baselines and how these tests do not reflect the efforts of students and teachers this year. I have rejected these missives because they reek of the self-serving mentality the ‘powers that be’ have thrust upon our students and parents.
“Our community is sophisticated enough to recognize a canard when it experiences one. These tests were intentionally designed to obtain precisely the outcomes that were rendered. The rationale behind this is to demonstrate that our most successful students are not so much and our least successful students are dreadful. If you look at the distribution of scores, you see exactly the same distances as any other test. The only difference is that the distribution has been manipulated to be 30 to 40 percent lower for everybody. This serves an enormously powerful purpose. If you establish a baseline this low, the subsequent growth over the next few years will indicate that your plans for elevating the outcomes were necessary. However, it must be recognized that the test developers control the scaled scores—indeed they have developed a draconian statistical formula that is elaborate, if indecipherable, to determine scaled scores. I would bet my house on the fact that over the next few years, scores will “improve”—not necessarily student learning, but scores. They must, because the State accepted millions and millions of dollars to increase student scores and increase graduation rates. If scores do not improve from this baseline, then those ‘powers that be’ will have a lot of explaining to do to justify having accepted those millions.”
For telling the truth, for standing up to the bullies in Albany, for seeing through the vicious game that the State Education Department is playing and refusing to go along, I hereby name Teresa Thayer Snyder a hero of American education. She joins our honor roll of distinction for her service to her students and her community.