The BenCen Blog

Informing Public Discourse in the Hudson Valley and Across the State

Date: October 2, 2017

How the City of Poughkeepsie Fell Short

The City We Imagined
Cities have to plan. To do so, they create documents. But looking back on Poughkeepsie, New York’s, 1998 roadmap for its future is like reading a love letter from a failed romance, an unrealized dream about a future that never came to pass.

How the City of Poughkeepsie Flunked its Own Test (Part 1)
If a comprehensive plan is a list of governmental goals, a measuring stick against which voters can assess how a city is growing, prospering, or failing, measuring Poughkeepsie circa 2018 against its 1998 goals is a tough lesson about the best-laid plans. This first part of a three-part series examines how Poughkeepsie did at keeping its promises on Housing, Zoning and Transportation.

How the City of Poughkeepsie Flunked its Own Test (Part 2)
The second in the series of assessments of Poughkeepsie’s Comprehensive 1998 Plan, and how the plan worked out for Cultural Resources, Parks and Recreation, and Historic Resources.

How the City of Poughkeepsie Flunked its Own Test (Part 3)
The third part of the series of assessments of Poughkeepsie’s Comprehensive 1998 Plan, and how the plan worked out for Main Street Revitalization, the Cottage Street Business Park, and Waterfront Strategies.

A New Comprehensive Plan for Poughkeepsie 
The final part of this series explores the potential for a new comprehensive plan for the City of Poughkeepsie, and what types of things might be in it.

New York State’s School Tests are an Object Lesson in Failure


If you’re wondering why and how student assessment became an industry, read this. You’ll learn not only that testing is inevitable, but apparently testing without accountability to the veracity and quality of the product doesn’t matter to state officials. Your child — and your tax dollars — hang in the balance of a deeply flawed testing system in New York State.

Failing the Test
Did you hold your child out of New York State’s testing protocol? You’re not alone. Over 20 percent of the test population did so between 2013 and 2015. And our research indicates why you’re probably smart to have done so, and why until New York State’s Department of Education becomes more transparent about how and why they ‘ve rewarded testing contractors with tens of millions of dollars to force-feed your kid a flawed exam, more and more parents should refuse to let their kids prop up a broken system.

Beyond Despair! New York State ELA Tests Are Failing Our Kids
The youngest children ensnared in New York State’s testing regime are eight. To understand how it’s not their fault that a huge percentage of them cannot comprehend the exams they’re sitting for — and shouldn’t be expected to — read this post.

State Testing is Increasing the Achievement Gap
Perhaps no facet of the state’s failed testing regime should cause more scrutiny than the fact that the achievement gap between whites and Black and Hispanic students has roughly doubled under the past half-decade of mandated testing. Let’s make something clear: No matter what, tests that fail to narrow the achievement gap are already suspect. Tests that actually make it worse point to a total lack of conscience on the part of the State Department of Education, and to a dire need for reform.

Read and Weep
If you’re wondering why kids have such a difficult time with these state-mandated tests, read some of the passages yourself and see if they make any sense to you — let alone to an eight-year-old child. One of the examples here stumped nearly 25 percent of all test takers, and you need to see it with your own eyes to understand why these examinations are clearly age inappropriate.


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