FairTest Honors Vito Perrone

FairTest News

FairTest Examiner, September 2011

Vito Perrone, one of America’s great educators, died in late August, leaving an immense legacy as a visionary in the field. FairTest was honored to have him as a member of our Board of Directors for many years.

Vito became active in the efforts to halt the expansion of standardized tests when he was Dean of the School of Education at the University of North Dakota. Parents and educators asked him to help them find ways to assess student learning without relying on the biased, intellectually trivial standardized tests promoted by the then-new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In that effort, he assembled a group of college and school teachers (including future FairTest board members Deborah Meier and Ann Cook) who formed the North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation. NDSG continues to this day with active participation from FairTest staff.

Vito headed the Masters in Teaching program at Harvard, focused on urban education. He praised the very high quality of teaching he saw in many of the oft-maligned urban schools.  While there, he worked actively with the Massachusetts Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education, housed at FairTest, becoming a catalyst for CARE’s proposals for a better state assessment system and authoring its initial analyses of the state MCAS tests.

Vito gave generously to students and teachers across the nation, even has he authored many books and articles. Those of us privileged to have known him miss his giant heart, warm smile, sharp mind and deep wisdom.

For just a small flavor of the man, you can see a video of Vito as he sums up the work done at one of NDSG’s annual meetings, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IPCLiyC9eo.

FairTest honors Vito’s life and rededicates itself to his vision.