Posted in Corp Interest, poverty, Quotes, Teaching Career, Testing

Random Quotes – October 2015

FIRST, DO NO HARM

United Opt Out Admin. Ruth Rodriguez’s Testimony on ESEA Reauthorization

How legislators and “reformers” are complicit in the abuse of children:

  • the overuse and misuse of test scores
  • test prep replacing actual curriculum
  • forcing eight and nine year olds to repeat third grade because of a score on a test
  • requiring learning disabled students to be responsible for grade level material on a standardized test
  • arbitrary cut score
  • labeling the effects of poverty as “an excuse” and punishing schools with high poverty levels
  • reducing resources for public schools which serve everyone by diverting funds to private corporations and religious institutions
  • incorporating developmentally inappropriate expectations into the curriculum
  • Other (add your own) |________________|

From Ruth Rodriguez

Laws mandate that those who work with children report any sign of abuse or neglect because if a child suffers harm, and it goes without reporting, there can be a great liability. Many teachers ask, “To whom do we report the abuse when the abuse is a direct result of legislated policy?”

Olivia Fantini – “On Standardized Testing” (NPS 2015)

A teacher reads her poem to explain standardized testing. Lack of resources…lack of support…ready to give up…

Good morning boys and girls!
Welcome to the 6th Grade National Assessment of Educational Progress!
Technological devices, which provide an unfair advantage, are not permitted.
If you are in possession of such a device, including, but not limited to, cellphones, iPads, tablets, calculators, white privilege, parents with a College education, or a household with an annual income above the poverty line, please power it down now and raise your hand.
The proctor will return your device at the end of the testing period.

FAILED RESPONSIBILITIES

Arne Duncan’s Misguided Policies

Childhood poverty is the most important factor in student academic achievement. Politicians blame schools, teachers, students and parents for their own failures to properly fund public education…and for their failure to solve America’s poverty problem.

Why is it that the U.S. has the highest rate of child poverty in the developed world? Why is it that the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world? Why are there still a half a million children under the age of 6 in the U.S. who have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood? Why are there still more than 1.6 million children who are homeless in America?

These are problems which also need to be addressed in order to improve student achievement levels in the U.S.

From Jan Resseger, quoting Senator Paul Wellstone

That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children…. is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination…. It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose… tied to one another by a common bond.

DISPOSABLE CHILDREN

“Disposable”

From Mr. Brandon

Now I know there are all kind of people out there who are in situations that they have not asked for and they were given no other choice. But I see families that have dads, stepdads, moms, step-moms, boyfriends, girlfriends and they come and go through a revolving door. Students who never know where they are going to get off or who will be there when they do. So many have given so little to what should be the most important thing in their life. They believe that their life is their own to do with as they please regardless of those who are around them. The only commitment that they have is to self and everything else has become disposable.

TESTING

Duncan Cheers Failing Scores

When will we ask professionals to help make public education policy…and stop leaving it in the hands of politicians and billionaires who don’t know what the hell they’re doing?

From Peter Greene

Setting cut scores by political rather than educational means is a fool’s game– but under Duncan, that’s still how the game is played. Holding schools to stupid goals set by clueless politicians is a bad idea– but we keep doing that, too.

State board decision Wednesday could mean a big drop in ISTEP passing rates

Changing cut scores for political reasons…

From Chalkbeat Indiana

Setting standardized test passing rates is an inexact science at best.

DISMANTLING PUBLIC EDUCATION

Dismantling Public Education From Reagan to Obama Public School Privatization Race to the Top (RTTT) and Common Core

From BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentator, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr.

“Public education has been under constant attack for more than three decades as conservative corporate, intellectual, and political reformers have devised policies and practices to dismantle and privatize the profession. These well-funded efforts have increased dramatically as the racial makeup of public school students has become decidedly minority and low-income. At the beginning of the 2015 school year, more than fifty-one percent of all K-12 pupils are African American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American. . . .

A perfect storm appears to be emerging that is systematically downsizing public education as we know it. RTTT and Common Core are the main policies that many view as contributing to an evolving crisis in K-12 education. They have been fostered by the five most recent U.S. presidents with the most significant contributor being the Obama Administration. . . .

President Obama continued in the tradition of his four immediate predecessors—Presidents Ronald W. Reagan, George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush, but he escalated the dismantling of traditional public education by making privatization much easier with his signing of the odious RTTT.

TEACHING

From Susan Ohanian

When a Teacher’s Job Depends on a Child’s Test
Governor Cuomo, like so many other ignorant politicians and billionaires, blames teachers for poor test scores.

He wants real, accurate, and fair teacher evaluations. Judging teachers by standardized test scores doesn’t provide that. Maybe the problem isn’t the teachers…maybe the problem is the tests and the way we use them.

We do need “real, accurate, fair teacher evaluations,” but we won’t get them by using junk science to evaluate teachers using student test scores!

From Andrew Cuomo

“Everyone will tell you, nationwide, the key to education reform is a teacher evaluation system,” the governor said. He noted that while only thirty-eight per cent of New York State high-school students are deemed to be “college ready,” according to their scores on standardized tests, 98.7 per cent of teachers in New York’s schools are rated “effective.” “How can that be?” Cuomo asked. “Who are we kidding, my friends? The problem is clear and the solution is clear. We need real, accurate, fair teacher evaluations.”

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The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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A Manifesto for a Revolution in Public Education
Click here to sign the petition.

For over a decade…“reformers” have proclaimed that the solution to the purported crisis in education lies in more high stakes testing, more surveillance, more number crunching, more school closings, more charter schools, and more cutbacks in school resources and academic and extra-curricular opportunities for students, particularly students of color. As our public schools become skeletons of what they once were, they are forced to spend their last dollars on the data systems, test guides, and tests meant to help implement the “reforms” but that do little more than line the coffers of corporations, like Pearson, Inc. and Microsoft, Inc.

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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.