The Testing Circus: Whose Fault Is It?
Testing is being overused and misused. "Reformers" don't object to this...in fact, the overuse and misuse of testing is the tool of choice for the dismantling of public education and the profitization of the education "industry." Standardized testing is the very tool needed to prove that public schools are failing and that public school teachers are incompetent. It doesn't matter if the science is bad (VAM) or if the tests are inappropriate, unreliable, and invalid. All they need is a number for their sound bites.
from Peter Greene
...reformsters, who knew all along that the test would be their instrument to drive instruction, have pretended to be surprised testing has driven instruction and pep rallies and shirts. They said, "Get high test scores, or else," and a huge number of schools said, "Yessir!" and pitched some tents and hired some acrobats and lion tamers. Oddly enough, the clowns were already in place.
Punching the Eight Year Olds
I've spoken often about the bad science of retention in grade...and forced retention in grade, through legislation and based on one test, is even worse.
from Peter Greene
Mississippi is just open more example of a state that thinks eighth-year-olds need to be pummeled mercilessly so that they will stop holding out, because clearly any third grader who can't pass a Big Standardized Reading Test must not have been threatened enough. Clearly some folks believe that once facing the prospect of failure, a nation of third graders will declare, "Well, then, I'll stop messing around and learn how to read, because previously I had no interest in learning that fundamental skill-- at last not as much as I wanted to get into fourth grade." Yes, surely that's what will happen.
PUBLIC EDUCATION -- A PUBLIC GOOD
'Public education is the foundation of a democratic society'
Those of us who believe that public education is a public good need to speak out. There are those who believe that the only "public good" is selfishness and "every man for himself." Societies benefit from an educated populace and therefore should support a system of universal, publicly funded education.
from Joyce Luedke, Wausau
Our public schools are the heart and soul of our communities and serve all students and their families. Public education is the foundation of a democratic society. Previous generations made a moral commitment to us through their investments in public schools. Our generation must renew that moral commitment to our children by investing in their future and our representative democracy by funding our great public schools.
I Believe in Freedom of Choice
from Diane Ravitch
The taxes you pay support the common good, not your private preferences. They pay for highways you may never drive on, fire departments you may never call on, beaches open to all that you may never set foot on, public parks, and a range of services and facilities open to all without fee.
When it comes to education, there is a simple rule: public money for free, democratically controlled schools, private money for private, privately-controlled, and religious schools.
The Cost of Child Poverty
Poverty and inequity are a serious and real problem in the U.S. (and throughout the world). Societies which reduce poverty are better able to deal with other issues like universal education and health care. It's not surprising that the countries with the happiest people are the same countries with the lowest levels of poverty.
from Jeff Madrick in New York Review of Books
...years of research have made clear the direct connection between childhood poverty and social dysfunction, ranging from poor health outcomes to higher incarceration rates. Dozens of studies have reported that poor kids are more likely to have learning disabilities, language delays, behavioral problems, and to contract diseases such as asthma and diabetes. They tend not to do as well at school and are more likely to drop out of high school, or even grade school. Women more often have babies in their teenage years. The Children’s Defense Fund says the path to prison is often paved in these years. And, most important, neurologists have found virtually incontrovertible evidence that high levels of stress experienced from birth to the age of three can actually damage brain architecture...
All Teachers Are Assumed To Be Bad, But What If Everything You Do Works?
The general public believes that public education in the U.S. is a failure. They believe that not because it's true, but because they're constantly bombarded with stories about failure...from the media. The media, in turn, is being fed the stories from corporate interests who own them. The corporate interests have a vested interest in public education's failure because, the failure of public education is good for business. It means more media products sold and more public tax money going to corporate accounts.
Education is looked upon by the American public as being a failure. People have it in their heads that things couldn’t get any worse when in fact things might actually be better than they’ve ever been. That is what Diane Ravitch’s last book was about: We’re actually doing a better job of educating EVERYONE than at any point in human history.
Will Bernie Sanders Take on K12 Education Issues?
We were fooled in 2008 when candidate Obama told us that we didn't become teachers in order to test...we became teachers in order to teach.
Then, in 2012, some of us weren't fooled when NEA and AFT endorsed President Obama and his terrible education policies. That was a serious mistake.
Everyone who is supportive of public education as a public good can't afford to be fooled again.
From Anthony Cody
As we enter the campaign for the 2016 presidential race, educators and students are looking for a candidate willing to buck some very powerful trends. In 2008, we were led to believe that Obama would break with the disastrous policies of GW Bush, and bring an end to No Child Left Behind. But instead of change, we got NCLB on steroids through Duncan’s Race to the Top and NCLB waiver program. I think I speak for many when I say we will not be fooled again.
From John Kuhn in Heal Our Schools
Government officials, they never meet the child. They never see the child, speak to the child, touch the child. But they make policies that do leave their fingerprints on these children.
Support Teachers of Conscience
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.
Stop the Testing Insanity!
Vermont State Board of Education: Statement and Resolution on Assessment and Accountability, Adopted August 19, 2014