Comment Rescue from the blog post: seriously – we adults, in REFUSING TO PUT A STOP TO IT, are as bad as the plutocrats using our kids as profit centres….
Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Never have the stakes attached to testing been higher. If a student doesn’t reach proficient on a Common Core test where most students will not reach proficient (a passing mark set artificially high), the student is a failure, her teacher is ineffective, and the school is stigmatized. How to counter this madness?
Consider the following comments by teachers, posted on this blog:
“I would encourage all of my students to post pics of the questions or tweet the questions as they remember them. I did this several years ago when Indiana had just one graduation qualifying exam. I got reprimanded and transferred to a terrible inner city school, but the action did have some impact because the state had to admit that a great deal of the exam questions were wrong or too poorly worded to make sense. I realize that in today’s testing-mania culture I would probably have been…
View original 85 more words
Delawareonline.com has Rep. Earl Jaques Opt Out Op-Ed here: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/03/15/opting-viable-option/24807005/
My rejoinders are in RED:
I will come right out and say it: I do not agree with the movement for parents to opt their children out from standardized testing, you must hate parents and feel they have no right to control the education of their own child then. I have several reasons for that that I won’t bother to share because they are terribly inarticulate, but I want to acknowledge that while I don’t agree, I understand why some parents, teachers and advocates are pushing for this no, you don’t as evidenced by you calling them failures!. They are frustrated by a system that does not function as well as it should, with different versions of tests seemingly not seemingly, in actuality being rolled out every couple years and students and schools being labeled as failing when that might not DOES NOT reflect the entire picture.
These are all valid concerns but I will write here why they are not to me, and whether you believe that opt-out is viable or not, we all share the same common goals I bet we don’t…: We want our children to be successful, and for that to happen, we need to ensure that our schools are functioning well and our teachers have the resources they need to educate their students. I believe that standardized testing plays an important role in this because we have allowed our DOE to tie them to funds from the feds.
Is there too much testing? Absolutely. Is the testing itself bad, unproven and wasteful? Absolutely. But while much of the focus on standardized testing is on the federally required tests, a sizable amount is state- or district-administered. Smokescreen alert, bullshit alert, all the eggs are in the federal basket and Rep. Jaques knows it. That is why I joined with Governor Markell Thursday calling for a comprehensive review of all state/district testing and assessment look at me do something, anything to divert your attention! I even called you a failure at the press conference if you are of the Opt Out persuasion… I have asked Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, a former teacher, and Rep. Sean Matthews, a current teacher, to be part of that study group. I believe no, you don’t this could result in the biggest change and eliminate much of the pressure our teachers, students and parents are feeling today regarding testing. You will never find out because you will stack the task force.
I recently had the pleasure to attend a forum of the past Teacher of the Year winners a group selected by the DOE…just sayin’ . During that forum, I was able to ask several of them what they thought of the Smarter Balanced test. Each one stated that they like the test and believe we should keep it. I can’t say bullshit because I believe fully that THAT group did say that, but I can say not a monolithic nor majority view with great certainty.That is not to say there aren’t teachers who are frustrated with the assessment good one…this would be you lying, Rep. Jaques, but it is not a universally held opinion…nor is the opposite as you imply with your lame T.O.Y. story.
We must remember that the Smarter Balanced assessment is supposed to be a measuring stick – not a whip to induce pain on our children and teachers yes, YOU must remember that Rep. Jaques, we, know what it is. When I graduated from high school I had to compete with children from within our state. But today, our children compete against children across our nation – and even globally – for jobs and schooling opportunities. This is a garbage line and the one sentence in here that makes me think you did not write this op-ed. It’s based on flawed PISA analysis.
We need a means to see how we compare with others. why? proof? If we use this measuring stick correctly you seem pre-occupied with measuring things, then we can make the necessary changes to our educational system necessary changes? Like the constant, unending change we have shoved down the system’s throat since A Nation at Risk in 1983? Change for change sake? Really? This is why HB165 and SB51 were TERRIBLE policies and why HB334 got a second specious vote? , ensure that we provide the necessary resources you and your General Assembly and our Governor have been nothing but a non-stop fail factory at this job…and you want me to believe that a test will make the resources appear? or even more so that opting out will make it worse? Now that’s funny. , and above all provide the best opportunities for each and every child to succeed. One way to improve upon the existing system you haven’t met the burden of proof that it’s failing and neither has your puppet master is to create a method to evaluate these results to make them more informative.
That is how we should be addressing the concerns we are facing with standardized testing – by tackling the problems we perceive head-on. For those that think that SBAC is the problem, Opt Out seems pretty head-on , sir. Again, why are you disparaging and calling parents failures for doing what you say needs to be done: tackling the problem head-on?
The idea of “opting out” sounds appealing to some parents. No, it IS appealing. Removing their child from testing is a form of protest protection, a parental right above all others and a way for them to take ownership control, again a right of the situation. But consider the side effects are you deigning to suggest we haven’t?. Imagine a class of 25 students where five opt out of the tests. What message does that send to the other 20 children who have to take the test? That they have yet to figure out how deleterious the test and the misuse of the results are? But that there is still hope and time, and RIGHTS on their side…
How does that teacher convince students that the tests are important if a segment of the class has said they’re not worth taking? It doesn’t, and shouldn’t. If the tests are so awesome Rep. Jaques shouldn’t they sell themselves…shouldn’t the market forces lead children and parents in droves to take the test? It becomes that much more difficult to keep students focused on taking the assessment and this is bad how?, which also will be part of that teacher’s evaluation process Why??? Because you and your peers have abdicated your responsibility to kids by letting the DOE and their merry band of sycophants shove unproven reforms, notably ARTC that allows teachers to come into classrooms with 5 WEEKS training (TFA) and have permitted the scores of these tests to control component V of DPAS which controls the overall rating…insane. Fewer children taking the test means other children will need to do better to reflect positively on the teacher What? Why would that be? Oh, yeah, because you don’t care enough about the evaluation process to make it right or fair. Guess parents aren’t the only group you have disdain for these days.. That’s not fair to our hard-working teachers. Nice try, they’re on to you. Bellowing your anti-opt out rhetoric at union halls and all. They know you don’t care.
To be clear, I do not support test scores being part of the teacher evaluation system STOP: then introduce a bill to eliminate it…stop all other rhetoric and do that. To use an internet meme: pics or it didn’t happen. I have joined my colleagues in requesting an additional year be added before we allow test scores to be part of the teacher evaluation system as part of our state’s ESEA waiver process. Yawn, and it erodes your previous statement and exposes it as duplicitous.
Lastly, the consequences of opt-out policies remain largely unknown. Be afraid of the unknown, right? Don’t dare to be different. Change is bad. In other states where opt-out policies are in place, opt-out rates are far from uniform across demographic groups, which could compromise the data we receive from the tests and jeopardize our federal Title I funding. Now you are parroting a basic, classless scare tactic. Nice.
I sympathize with those parents, teachers and advocates who have grievances with our current standardized testing system, no you don’t and I am committed to working with all stakeholders to tackle this problem to benefit our children and grandchildren. How? When? We disagree on the opt-out method, but we are heading toward the same goal. I’m pretty sure this is another lie.
Originally posted on Seattle Education:
There is no federal or state law that requires financial penalties to schools’ Title I funds if parents refuse to allow their children to take the PARCC tests. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law did include a mandate that required schools to have a 95 percent participation rate on state tests or face sanctions. The intent of that law was to prevent schools from hiding subgroups of students from the accountability structure and was not aimed at preventing parents from refusing to have their children tested.
The parents in the states of New York and New Jersey have been fighting back against the Common Core Standards for the last year and the corresponding PARCC battery of tests which is our SBAC set of tests in Washington State.
But let’s start at the beginning.
It is illegal for the Federal Government to specify a national curriculum or national test.
View original 1,638 more words
Originally posted on Minding My Matters:
On Thursday, March 12, I was part of a panel of educators, parents, and local union leaders who spoke at a press conference announcing the resolution on educational leadership in Delaware that the Christina and Red Clay Education Associations adopted. In subsequent days I have heard a number of comments, but the one most pervasive concern with the resolution that I’d like to address today is that in every organization there are folks who do not deserve the reputation of the collective. (Obviously I’m paraphrasing here.)
Unfortunately, the opportunity to address this concern myself in person has not presented itself. I would like to take a moment of personal privilege to first publish a portion of my speech from Thursday night and then give an analogy that I hope will not only make sense but also help others to understand, if not agree with, my position. Disagreement is completely acceptable…
View original 1,108 more words
Originally posted on deutsch29:
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) offers the following tips to SBAC schools for monitoring students on social media. The excerpt below is from a single-page document entitled, “Guidance for Social Media Monitoring During the Field Test.”
The SBAC-suggested keys to successful social media “test security trolling”?
1) Set up a school social media site, and encourage students to join.
2) Search social media sites by keyword.
Click on the document below to read for yourself. (Click on image to enlarge.)
There is more to this letter than is shown in the image above. The full document can be read here.
Also, here is the section of the letter missing from above. Click on image to enlarge:
The sneakiest component of this “monitoring” is the potential use of a school social media site to track students without their knowing.
School social media sites should include disclaimers that those “following”…
View original 77 more words
Here’s his quote:
“To me, opt out is admitting failure,” said Jaques. “[It’s] saying, oh, I can’t measure up. I’m not good enough to be able to take this test. I can’t pass that test. That’s not the American way.”
Rep. Jaques, my son has Autism. He is taught by professionals that are demonized by these tests. My son has more tenacity and courage to get through a day that you have exhibited in your life.
My son is not a failure. How dare you call him one.
Respectfully, you need to resign. You are a disgrace to your office, colleagues, and the parents of all children who are the rightful decision makers for their children. Your arrogance and petulance is embarrassing.
Originally posted on Those In Favor:
Hey, where did those last 3 months go? Let’s see, what’s transpired since my last post. Red Clay and Christina went out for referendums in February. Red Clay’s passed, Christina’s was mauled by a bear. Red Clay did a FANTASTIC job of marketing, advertising and selling their referendum to their residents, students and staff. Christina…did not. Red Clay celebrated on Feb 24th. Christina did not. Christina inked a deal with DDoE to retain control of their three “priority” schools through 2015-16 keeping all staff and leadership but adding assistant principals to each school who will *not* report to the principal they work under. Instead they will report directly to DDoE. Can’t see that causing any problems. Plans to redistrict Christina out of Wilmington are moving forward but they still hinge on the General Assembly to rewrite the laws. If that does happen, Red Clay gets 3 new inner-city schools from…
View original 585 more words
Originally posted on Crawling Out of the Classroom:
To all of my precious students,
I am sorry for what I am about to do to you.
This week, I am going to have to give you a new test. It’s called PARCC. There will be five separate tests, on four separate days, and my guess is that most of you will hate them. My guess is that one or two of you will be brought to tears because they will make you feel like you are not smart enough. My guess is that several of you will give up part way through the test and just start clicking around on the screen. My guess is that some of you will look around at the students sitting next to you to try and figure out if they are also as confused as you are in the hopes of knowing that you are not the only way feeling this way…
View original 982 more words
Originally posted on School Finance 101:
Arne Duncan has one whopper of an interview available here: http://www.msnbc.com/andrea-mitchell-reports/watch/better-preparing-our-nations-educators-237066307522
Related to his new push to evaluate teacher preparation programs using student outcome data: http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/arne-ology-the-bad-incentives-of-evaluating-teacher-prep-with-student-outcome-data/
And his Whitehouse press release can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/25/fact-sheet-taking-action-improve-teacher-preparation
Now, there’s a whole lot to chew on here, but let me focus on one of the more absurd hypocrisies in all of this.
First, Duncan seems to think the world of medical education without apparently having the first clue about how any of it actually works. In his view, it’s really just a matter of intensive clinical training (no academic prerequisites required) and competitive wages (a reasonable, though shallowly articulated argument).
Second, Duncan also seems to think that a major part of the solution for Ed Schools can be found in entrepreneurial startups like Relay Graduate School of Education. The Whitehouse press release proclaims:
Relay Graduate School of Education, founded by three charter…
View original 1,068 more words
Originally posted on School Finance 101:
Once upon a time, there was this totally awesome charter school in Newark, NJ. It was a charter school so awesome that its leaders and founders and all of their close friends decided they must share their miracle with the world in books on the reasons for their awesomeness, including being driven by data andteaching like a champion!
The school’s break-the-mold – beating the odds – disruptively innovative awesomeness was particularly important during this critical time of utter collapse of the American education system which had undoubtedly been caused by corrupt self-interested public school teachers (& their unions) who had been uniformly ill-trained by antiquated colleges and universities that themselves were corrupt and self-interested and generally in the business of selling worthless graduate degrees.
In fact, the undisputed awesomeness of this North Star Academy could, in theory, provide the foundation for a whole new approach to turning…
View original 1,026 more words
Originally posted on Who's Minding the Children?:
The biggest lie ever told by pro-education reform policy makers is that the motivation behind the education reform mandates are to improve achievement gaps, not just some, but all of them. African Americans, Asians (I know…), Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, illegal alien-Americans, European Americans with special needs, Christian Americans, Jewish Americans, Buddhist Americans, Muslim Americans. The truth is, the purpose of education reform is to close the achievement gap of American-Americans compared to Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, and all the other country-members of the OECD on thhe PISA test. While one might ask, what’s so wrong with that? Nothing, in an ideological sort of utopian sort of nirvana way.
However, here’s the truth, unless we are willing to eliminate child-poverty and all the societal ills connected to poverty; health/wellness prenatal nutrition, physical and mental wellness for babies and toddlers, early education interventions, affordable housing, substantial…
View original 1,582 more words
Originally posted on Reclaim Reform:
Mr. Rogers knew. Mr. Arne Duncan, certain governors, legislators, school boards and school administrators seem to be ignoring our and our children’s basic rights.
Whatever race or combination of races we and our children are, we have basic human rights.
We and our children do not surrender our basic rights as Americans as we enter a school building.
Civil rights apply to all Americans. How can we stop the labeling and monetizing of our children when they are forced to take high stakes tests that none of us as parents were ever forced to take?
The wonderful people at United Opt Out National give us the paperwork to complete to defend our children and our children’s basic human rights.
Whether we are one of those “white suburban moms” that Arne Duncan insulted or are someone he chose to marginalize and ignore, we have legal recourse by filing a valid Civil…
View original 208 more words
Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Peggy Robertson, the leader of United Opt Out, is under attack. In this article in the “Denver Post,” administrators warn that she might lose her job if she doesn’t give the test. Even union leaders express ambivalence about supporting her.
Peg has Ben a hero of the Opt Out movement. She has been fearless and outspoken. She belongs on the honor roll of the blog as one of the indispensable voices who support children.
Please write letters and tweets to the Denver Post and tweet your support for Peg.
The Denver Post is @denverpost
Peggy Robertson is @pegwithpen
United Opt Out is @UnitedOptOut
Stand with Peggy and UnitedOpt Out!
Originally posted on The Education Activist: From Student to Teacher:
The activist movement in New Jersey, as a coalition of parents, students, teachers, and community members, has culminated in some of the most incredible grassroots organizing in the country. As Diane Ravitch has reported, new legislation in New Jersey has been coined “a ray of hope against PARCC” and state and national writers have been covering the happenings in local towns all across New Jersey (there are just too many links to post, but please look around online). All of this work in New Jersey has culminated in a new short film to be released tomorrow – “The Other PARCC: Parents Advocating Refusal on High-Stakes Testing,” a short documentary film by Michael Elliot.
The video is set to be released nationally at 5:00pm tomorrow, Sunday, Match 1st, 2015 and will launch the already inspiring grassroots activist movement in New Jersey into the national spotlight, highlighting the stories of…
View original 300 more words
Originally posted on TIME:
The Lego Movie sequel now has a title, and it’s… The Lego Movie Sequel. But in less obvious news, the upcoming animated film has also found a director, who will be making the jump from television comedy to the big screen.
Rob Schrab, known for his work on The Sarah Silverman Program,Community, and The Mindy Project, will make his feature-film directorial debut with The Lego Movie Sequel, the Guardian reports. But you’ll have to sit through two other Lego-related films before the direct sequel arrives in 2018. A spin-off movie starring Lego’s ninja figurines, Ninjago, is slated for a 2016 release, while another spin-off movie about the Batman character from The Lego Movie will hit theaters the following year in 2017.
So today we have the state’s 2 largest district seeking affirmation from their communities to take more taxes from them in order to strengthen and preserve the most sacrosanct public trust we as a state and nation have: the education of our children. It is the conclusion of much consideration from elected school boards and the sole way in which Delaware code permits its local share of education dollars to be modified: direct election. I love democracy, and the vote. Today we receive our truth and I am A-OK with that; however, the General Assembly is directly elected and they control taxes as well. Why not the school taxes? Perhaps they feel it is best to keep the decisions truly local and not burden their colleagues with provincial battles? Perhaps they are just enamored with selective direct voting? Perhaps they are cowards, afraid to preserve this public trust over their precious jobs? Honestly, we’ll never know what the feckless wonders who have presided over the destructive policies of the last 6 years have done to school funding because they don’t seem too interested in searching their souls nor revealing them.
Here’s what I know: this is a tough referendum for a ton of reasons. The economy is not what our Governor tells us it is: it’s tough, and people continue to struggle… so asking for more money is a difficult sell. The state has spent a tremendous amount of energy in the past six years making public education an arena for labeling, shaming, fighting. I’m talking about schools, students, teachers, parents, school boards, and even communities. Test driven accountability and the unfavorable coverage it’s “alleged” results begets has fractured the public trust in public education. We now bicker (yes, me too. Actually me first much of the time) constantly over results, salaries, tests, special education, elections, FOIA, charters, magnets, PZ schools, Priority Schools, Focus Schools, Common Core, DCAS, SBAC, educator evaluations, ELL/ESL delivery, class sizes, etc., etc. All of these are important things and the opinions on these subjects vary greatly, but the opinions all gather into one place and become a cacophonous, out of tune, symphonic disaster that leaves many parents and taxpayers deeply skeptical of how the educational establishment in Delaware functions well, or even at all. They are right to be affected by the discourse in just this way.
All of this brings me to my argument for the referendum. I’m hearing the NO voters loud and clear: they seem to believe there is no accountability for results, pay is too high for administrators, kids are out of control behaviorally with no consequence (schools are not safe). When added to the reality of not being able to afford additional taxes, it leads them to a visceral NO vote. I understand this position and why it is a very sincere belief despite not sharing it.
I also hear the YES voters: we cannot move forward without adequate funding, I value my child’s school and teachers, my school has a great community and I will do anything to support it.
In the middle, and who I hear loudest, are the MAYBE voters, or the I’M NOT SURE voters. They are drawn to the opinions of the NO voters because they see many of the same things, but they know that without adequate funding there is no hope for the future. It is a classic case of embracing the nihilism of saying I want to stick it to the schools to teach them a lesson in being better and I don’t care if my children, your children, charter children, TPS children, children with special needs, gifted children have no resources VS. the optimism of belief that we, as a state and community, must provide resources to this effort so that we can make better decisions tomorrow than we did yesterday.
I know this is a difficult decision. Only one vote, a vote for nihilism and the selection of NO will box Red Clay and Christina in a corner with our children. If you have deep and sincere reservations about how to move forward, but also deeply believe we have a moral obligation to do so, vote for optimism, vote YES.
That’s YES… and get involved. Come to board meetings, join PTA, vote in board elections, RUN for school board! If you want to have the money to allow your district to make change, vote YES.
If you want to force us to change in a way that reduces our ability to serve children while you make your point, then vote NO, and shrink back into your world and pretend you didn’t take money from schools, students, and literally fire your neighbors.
Dover’s inability to produce a school funding mechanism that is equitable or flexible has put us here, along with the Governor’s draconian cuts. If you want Red Clay and Christina to have chance of honoring this public trust, then join me at the polls. Without funds, there are no option to improve, only shrink, reduce, and comply.
I’m voting yes, because I have optimism and faith in public education, community, and the provision of opportunity to our students.
Originally posted on Seattle Education:
We have all heard stories about who decided on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that are now holding students and teachers hostage to a narrow curriculum and an endless testing regime.
Mercedes Schneider decided to find out who the twenty-four people were that determined the Common Core Standards.
Here is an excerpt from her post Those 24 Common Core 2009 Work Group Members:
NGA (National Governors Associaiton) and CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers ) (and, by extension, USDOE) undeniably meant for CCSS to be something done “to” teachers. NGA’s and CCSSO’s concentration of individuals versed in standardized assessment on their CCSS work groups speaks to the purpose of CCSS to both financially benefit education testing companies and usher unprecedented, nationwide standardized testing into the classrooms of those very professionals purposely excluded from the CCSS work group table.
CCSS Mathematics Work Group
View original 2,800 more words
Todd Ruckle is voting no on the CSD referendum. That is most certainly his right. Here are some quotes from him:
Ok folks in the Christina school district, I along with 4 other citizens attended the referendum seminar at Christina high school and here is the results. The district wants 50 million dollars to maintain being almost the lowest ranking school district in new castle county. The superintendent was proud that Christina will not expel major problem students that completely disrupt student who want to learn. I highly recommend we vote this referendum down and get the community and local leaders together to create an major action plan to correct this ship before it sinks. 2/24 you need to vote or this referendum will pass without any action plan to bring this district back to being the best. It is truly time to get involved.
Since 2000, the district has held six referenda, four of which received favorable results.
Newark Councilman Todd Ruckle was one of only a handful of people who attended last week’s forum at Christiana High School. He voiced strong opposition to the proposed tax hike.
Much like the city’s financial planning, he said, an important part of crafting a budget is making cuts. He questioned what the school district has done to cut corners before asking the public to cough up more cash.
“Right now, I haven’t seen one cut,” he said. “I’ve seen expansions.”
Williams defended the proposal and argued that Christina is using all of its current available resources. If the referendum fails, he said, the district is prepared to make cuts.
“It’s not a scare tactic,” Williams said. “It would be painful, but it would be appropriate, and we would do it if we have to.”
Ruckle said he is worried how the tax hike will affect the senior citizens in his district, many of whom live on fixed incomes.
“I’m going to tell you right now, what I’m seeing, they’re not going to back it,” he said.
Mr. Ruckle is a supporter of Newark Charter School, where he has at least one child in attendance. Again, his choice, his right, no argument here. However, I think it is fair to make a few comments in response to his concerns:
- Public education is a sacred social contract and is designed to work for all, not just those that win a lottery
- Traditional school districts are not permitted to throw kids out of school indiscriminately or arbitrarily and have an obligation to educate all and keep our students in school in spite of behaviors than many feel warrant suspension/expulsion. We do not always do the right things along these fronts, but our calling demands we aspire to them, always.
- CSD, along with many other districts are routinely victimized by DOE’s label, shame, and punish politics which erodes public confidence, like yours.
- Proving a point to your local school system by not supporting it financially will only serve to further fracture our community and expose all schools, including NCS, to a weaker operational landscape and poorer opportunities for all children
- NCS receives local share of funding for almost every single child from CSD. An increase in our funding will send MORE monies to NCS to further enhance their excellent programs. Failing to support the referendum could mean less money for more children and cost NCS monies.
- Back to the issue of Dr. Williams pride in serving children by refusing to kick them out: is that really a position you want to take as a public servant, that children be denied access to their schools, teachers,a nd ultimately their education? We are not NCS. We serve all children, no matter how they come to us, no matter where they come from, no matter what their parents don’t choose for them.
Your arguments remind me of a famous movie scene:
Mr. Ruckle, please support our students, programs, and schools on February 24th. Don’t continue down this dark road you are showing us.