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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Worst Womb in New York City

New York City - As we reported last month, Pearson PLC and New York City's Department of Education announced that utilizing nano technology Pearson scientists had developed a way to administer standardized exams to fetuses. Today the DOE revealed how data from those tests will be used.

At a City Hall press conference, Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott explained that fetus exam results will be used to determine the mother's value add measurement (VAM). Walcott explained, "Using a complicated algorithm, we can estimate the mother's contribution to her fetus' test performance compared to other mothers." According to the chancellor if a mother's VAM is in the lowest quartile, then she might be deemed an 'ineffective gestational carrier' and "the DOE would suggest some changes to her maternal practices."

Should mothers be held accountable
for their fetus' test scores?
Both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott refused to respond to reporters' repeated questions about the reliability of such measurements nor did they want to discuss what might happen if the mother refused to or was unable to 'change her maternal practice.' When one reporter referred to VAM as 'junk science' the mayor responded angrily, "Everybody says an evaluation system is important...until you try to use it. I get evaluated everyday and I think fetuses and their carriers should be no different."

In related news, the New York Post vowed to publish photos of the "worst wombs in New York" as determined by VAM scores. The United Federation of Mothers (UFM) is looking into the evaluation system and is expected to comment on it later in the week.

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Read Value-Added Nonsense and Connecticut Adds New Tests for Kindergarten, 1 and 2 Grades as well as comments associated with piece. Also Analysis: Shaming Teachers Is Not Good Educational Policy

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