Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Together We Can Stop This

Not content with reducing young children to tears with their cruel, abusive policies, it seems that the Obama administration's preferred approach to increasing pressure from parents and students to end high stakes standardized testing in public schools is to double-down on their bad ideas. They already use these grotesquely flawed tests to judge children, to make career decisions about their teachers, and to even shut down entire schools. Last week, it was reported that they now plan to leverage tens of millions in federal education funds to use these tests to punish and reward teacher education programs. Make no mistake, it's all about the high stakes testing for these guys. Forget the fact that every study ever done on high stakes testing, including studies funded by the US Department of Education, have found the tests deeply flawed as a way to evaluate teaching and learning.

And they are coming after preschool next.

When both political parties and the corporate elite, from Bill Gates to Wall Street hedge fund managers and gigantic, international "education" corporations like Pearson Education that think nothing of turning a profit off the tears of young children are against you, it will inevitably be a long fight. But there are signs we are winning. More states are risking putting their federal funding at stake by withdrawing from the No Child Left Behind arm twisting, but most effective, and encouraging, I think has been the growing movement among parents to opt their children out of the whole mess.

In New York City, where high stakes standardized testing has a head start on most of the rest of the country, there are many schools where 50-70 percent of the students are sitting it out. Of course, in some places schools are retaliating by forcing these students to "sit and stare," a cruelty that only underlines the abusiveness at the heart of the misguided policies of our financial and political elites. You might want to send your kid to school on test days with a copy of Leaves of Grass.

I am urging everyone I know to opt their children out of these tests. Together we can stop this.

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