Why Test NYC Kindergartners? The New York City Department of Education has unveiled a new plan that would ask public schools to test kindergartners. Why is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg embracing the proposal at a time when standardized tests are so unpopular?
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Why Test NYC Kindergartners?

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Why Test NYC Kindergartners?

Why Test NYC Kindergartners?

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Margot Adler has the story.

MARGOT ADLER: The New York City Department of Education, which e-mailed elementary school principals last week, said many - more than 65 - have already expressed interest in the new tests. Jim Liebman, the chief accountability officer at the Department of Education, says city schools have already been doing literacy assessments in the early years.

JIM LIEBMAN: So, we're adding four new tools in literacy and five new tools in math.

ADLER: Some parents already up in arms at the expanded rule of standardized test in schools say kindergarten is too early.

MARK WEPRIN: What they've started to do is to turn our schools into Stanley Kaplan test prep factories.

ADLER: Mark Weprin is a Democratic assemblyman from Queens and a parent of children in both elementary school and middle school. He's worried that five to seven-year-olds will spend too much time doing test prep.

WEPRIN: I have no problem with tests when they're evaluating the students. I took standardized tests. But I remember the test prep we did. The teacher would come in and say, tomorrow, bring two number two pencils.

ADLER: Liebman of the New York City Department of Education says that's not what's going on here. They have always done assessments of kindergartners, they will now do better assessments. He says it's like taking your temperature.

LIEBMAN: The difference between what we've done for years and what we're proposing to do now is simply, we want to change that thermometer that says you have a temperature or you don't to a thermometer that says your temperature is 100 degrees versus 104 degrees.

ADLER: Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

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