MEDIA WATCH: Taking the pre-test of the previous test to prepare for the pre- pre- pre- test? Chicago's testing mania begins early in each school year

While Chicago preens itself because it has given the world of corporate education reform the Chicago Plan, a toxic mixture of tests, "data driven management, union busting, privatization, political cronyism, and mayoral control, Chicagoans are daily treated to a brainwashing from the city's corporate media. One example is the proliferation of local tests in Chicago, all of which take further time from teaching with real teachers teaching real children. While the corporate media repeats the drumbeat of propaganda regarding the claim that Chicago has the nation's "shortest" school year, no corporate media reporter bothers to look into how many days are taken away from the regular instructional year in Chicago by the proliferation of tests across the city's 680 elementary and high schools.

Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman has unleashed an entire new group of tests on Chicago's public schools for the 2010 - 2011 school year. After expanding the city's "Area Offices" by $58 million (while claiming a massive budget "deficit"), Huberman has ordered all of the city's 680 public schools to add a new layer of testing. Above, Huberman spoke to the August 25, 2010, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education while Alicia Winckler, the formber Sears executive who now hold the title "Chief Human Capital Officer" in Chicago's public schools, looks on. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Chicago, which gave the world Arne Duncan and all the mythologies about testing, mayoral control, and corporate school reform, has also been pioneering a program that might be called "All Tests All the Time..." Before the first month of school has ended (school began for "Regular Track" CPS students the day after Labor Day), both elementary and high school students are being subjected to an unprecedented number of testings. Although the PSAE (Prairie State Achievement Exams, for high school students) and the ISAT (Illinois Student Achievement Exams, for elementary students) do not take place until April, Chicago's motto seems to be "It's never too late to test them..." or maybe "All testing all the times..."

Take the students at Whitney Young High School, arguably one of the best public high schools in the USA by any measure. The end of September marks the first iteration of their testing cycle, as a memo from the school share with Substance by a parent notes:

Whitney Young Parents and Students:

We will administer standardized tests on October 6, 2010 for grades 8 - 11. Please view the very important information below.


Excused from school and are expected to use this day to visit a college or university.


Juniors will take a Practice ACT. The practice ACT provides students an opportunity to experience the ACT prior to the official test administration in April. Students will receive an ACT score and the school will utilize this information to form ACT prep classes.


Sophomores will take the PLAN test. PLAN serves as predictor of student performance on the ACT portion of the PSAE in grade 11.


Eighth and ninth grade students will take the EXPLORE test. The EXPLORE is designed to measure knowledge and cognitive skills considered important for future education and careers. EXPLORE is used to provide baseline information about student readiness for college and to assist in educational and career planning; may be used for course placement at the high school level.


Seventh grade students are not to report to school.


7:15 AM – 7:45 AM - Breakfast available in Gold House


8:00 AM – Testing begins in assigned rooms (see below)

11:40 AM – Lunch/Dismissal for 8th and 9th grade students

11:45 AM – Lunch/Dismissal for 10th grade students

12:25 PM – Lunch/Dismissal for 11th grade students

*Lunch will be served in Gold House between 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM.


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