From the Village Voice:
It was not Mayor Bloomberg's proudest moment. Last month, the federal government released New York City schools' rankings on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math tests for 2009—and their scores had flatlined, even as scores on the state Regents exams continued to rise. "Don't trust the Regents," shouted a Post editorial headline, saying that the NAEP gap had revealed New York State's testing regimen to be "a pathetic joke."
It seemed like yet another Albany scandal, to go along with Client 9 and state legislators locking each other out of the Senate chambers. Yet according to a growing chorus of parents, educators—and, quietly, school administrators—the test-score brouhaha is just a symptom of a deeper problem with roots in Washington and City Hall. The advent of the No Child Left Behind Act, they say, coupled with the test-score-based school Progress Reports that Mayor Bloomberg introduced in their wake, have led to a rash of undesired consequences: curricula overrun by test prep; dumbed-down tests that ask questions designed for younger grade levels; and widespread pressure on both schools and government officials to fudge their numbers—by outright cheating, if necessary.
No Child Left Behind "opened up a Pandora's box here in New York, where Mayor Bloomberg and the DOE just took it and ran," says Martha Foote of the statewide coalition Time Out From Testing. The result, she and others charge, is the worst of both worlds: a school system obsessed with test scores that are increasingly meaningless.