What CCSS Really Means
The Common Core State Standards - Standards we didn't need, which require that billions of tax dollars are spent on replacements for tests which are misused, in order to give those dollars to test-prep and test publishers who (along with billionaires who don't know anything about education) donate money to politicians (who also don't know anything about education) who then pass laws about education, including the adoption of new standards.
U.S. is [not] #1
U.S. Students from low-poverty schools score very high on international tests. Nearly one-fourth of our children live in poverty.
The problem is not "failing schools" or "bad teachers." The problem is that in our society the children of the poor are not valued. We're one of only three OECD nations who spend less money on our students in poverty. The "education crisis" is really a crisis in poverty and greed.
Just Your Typical Class
No More Tests
Once during a parent conference a parent said to me, "I don't know why he won't behave. I spank him and spank him...but he doesn't get any better." My response was something like, "If it's not working then stop doing it and try something else."
The same is true for test scores...we keep making public education more and more test focused, yet the test scores don't go up. Maybe it's time to end our test obsession and try something else...like helping teachers teach, reducing poverty, and increasing support and resources to public schools.
Learn From Mistakes - Don't Repeat Them
Privatizers want to take over the public sector because that's best for everyone. "The government can't do anything right. Public sector unions, for example, are only in it for the money."
Is it possible to trim government waste without "throwing out the baby with the bathwater?" Is government really the "public sector" since Citizens United? Are corporations "people, my friend?"
Mother Jones has a corporate seating chart for congress, showing who the members took money from to get elected. They also have a list of Capitol Hill's top 75 corporate sponsors over the last 25 years.
If private corporations are already controlling the government by buying elections does that mean that there is no public sector any more?
What Would Gates or Duncan Do?
I'd love to see how Arne Duncan or Bill Gates would do in front of a Kindergarten class or Middle School class for a year, but that wouldn't be fair to the students. Neither Duncan nor Gates have the slightest idea what teaching a class of students really entails.
Pick the business of anybody on the Gates Foundation board of directors. Pick any one. Now imagine me, a teacher, showing up at the CEO's office and saying, "Hey, some of us at my high school formed a study group and we've come up with some recommendations about how your business should be run. And if you don't want to listen to us, we'll call up our friends in DC and make you listen to us." -- Peter Greene in Curmudgucation: The Wrongest Sentence Ever in the CCSS Debate
Here's the formula used for evaluating teachers in New York State. What happens if you don't teach a tested grade or subject? In some places your evaluation is based on the success of how students do in other grades or classes. Some places are threatening to add tests for every grade/subject.
All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.
Stop the Testing Insanity!