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"Standardized testing encourages rigid scripted teach-to-the-test curricula devoid of educational exploration. The human element that makes great teaching and engaged learning is ruthlessly crushed like so much scrap metal in a junkyard compactor. No student was ever motivated to become an eager life-long learner by taking a mind numbing battery of tests. Now they are even being inflicted on Kindergarten and Pre-K children. Have we lost our minds?"

Across the wide 24th Boulevard in  Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood you could hear the chants:  “Let us teach...Let us teach...Let us teach!”

It was the frigid late afternoon of February 28 and the sounds were coming from the steps of Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy. Parents, teachers, students and community allies had gathered to support Saucedo’s boycott of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).

Ice the ISAT rally at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy on the near SW Side of Chicago.
Students dismissed from school gather before the rally

Earlier that week Saucedo teachers, with the urging of school parents, had voted unanimously not to give the test. The endless procession of standardized tests that take up valuable instruction time had pushed the Saucedo school community past the limit of its patience. Teachers didn’t want to go to work and follow a regimen they knew was harmful to children. And parents didn’t want that either. A natural alliance came into being.

The late Maria Saucedo was a highly respected bi-lingual educator working in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood who was active in groups like Casa Atzlan and Mujeres Latinas. As an honors student at Northeastern Illinois University, she helped found the Chicano Student Union. She was killed in a fire in 1981.

The Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy community is carrying on her life’s work of social and education justice.

Saucedo special education teacher Sarah Chambers opened the rally by announcing that Saucedo did not stand alone:  

“ We’ve received e-mails, photos, calls from Montana, from California, from New York, from all over the country. We have people supporting us for taking a stand.”
Ice the ISAT rally at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy on the near SW Side of Chicago. The teachers, students and parents have joined forces to boycott the ISAT standardized test.
Windy Pearson holds the bullhorn for Sarah Chambers

The rally was part of the general revolt against testing abuse in Chicago and across the nation. Spirits at the Saucedo rally were buoyed when word spread that Drummond Montessori on the city’s North Side had joined the boycott. This was in addition to the 67 schools where parents were opting out of the test on an individual basis.

 photo drummond.jpg
Press conference announcing the Drummond boycott

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett had already threatened to revoke any teachers’ state certificates if they refused to administer the ISAT.  Sarah Chambers said, “People who  threaten are cowards...because they are afraid of the teachers, the students, of the parents and of the community joining together and rising up.”

Chambers went on to ask why anyone would want to revoke teaching certificates because what the boycotting teachers want is to teach, not spend days administering a meaningless test.

Teachers and parents opting out of the testing are being supported by the Chicago Teachers Union and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, with CTU President Karen Lewis saying in a YouTube video:

” The ISAT is an unjust, unnecessary test. Everybody knows that. We’re not even going to use it next year. There are no stakes attached.”

Zerlina Smith, a parent at Saucedo, linked testing abuse to larger issues saying:

“School should not be used as a number, or a dollar amount on our kids’ heads. They are trying to force our African American and Latino babies into taking these tests so they can determine which schools to close.”

She linked school closings to displacement of residents in already deprived communities and to the laying off of qualified educators. 

Zerlina SmithZerlina Smith speaks

Veteran education activist Windy Pearson also spoke about school closings,”...our communities are being devastated and that in the process there is now an understanding that testing is not the answer to the problems that are occurring.”

Poverty is the biggest enemy of education in Chicago.  Chicago's corporate elite which pushes standardized testing, also favors disinvestment in minority working class communities, exacerbating the very problems that deeply concern people like Windy Pearson.

As the opt-out movement took shape Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett spread FUD across the city 

In characteristic fashion, the titular leader of Chicago education spread what they call in the computer world: FUD. FUD stands for “Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.” The idea was for Byrd Bennett to threaten retaliation so that parents and teachers would retreat, too frightened or confused to take action. 

 photo Bennett.jpg
Barbara Byrd Bennett

At the Saucedo rally I had a conversation with a CPS retired teacher and we talked about the pervasive fear that exists and how important seemingly small individual or local actions can be for breaking though that fear.

Remember, this is Chicago, where retaliation can come in very unsubtle ways and in the not-too-distant past, could even mean violence. It is a city largely ruled by fiat from the Mayors Office with backing by powerful financial interests. People who present promising ideas about education are routinely ignored by the unelected school board, leaving protest and civil disobedience as the only ways to influence policy.

Byrd-Bennett began sending out a series of misleading letters and public statements starting on December 20, 2013. The December letter announced the demise of the ISAT but trumpeted the Northwest Education Association(NWEA) exam. Byrd Bennett warned darkly that opting out of the NWEA exam could mean,” ...your child’s future could be negatively impacted,” implying that a student could be held back from grade level advancement.

The December letter had the opposite effect of what was intended. It angered many parents and opposition grew, as evidenced by community forums across the city. More parents were considering opting out. Then came another letter on January 29, 2014. Byrd Bennett stated that students who opted out of the NWEA exams would not be considered for selective enrollment high schools or grade promotion for grades 3, 6, and 8. 

She also said that even if the ISAT was being phased out, it was still required for measuring the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) required by the federal No Child Left Behind ACT. Yet as CTU VP Jesse Sharkey stated, most schools in Illinois do not meet AYP goals,  and that even Education Secretary Arne Duncan largely ignores No Child Left Behind.

The situation became even more uncertain as principals gave out contradictory sometimes inaccurate information to parents.

But opposition continued to grow, especially against the ISAT. Then came Byrd Bennett’s  infamous February 28 letter to principals with its threats of disciplinary action against teachers refusing to administer the test.

“The Chicago Board of Education will discipline any employee who encourages a student not to take the ISAT or who advocates against the ISAT on work time for insubordination and for any disruption of the educational process.”

Her stand was backed up by Rahm Emanuel who said,”She made the right call. The only person who can pull somebody out is not a teacher, but a parent."

This was a weird thing to say considering the threats made to parents about the future of their children.

FUD indeed.

The real high stakes of  standardized testing

Today’s standardized tests are descended from the unscientific IQ tests of the early 20th century, which were used to cement racial, ethnic and social class discrimination. Despite the modern alphabet soup of ISAT, MAP, PARCC, NWEA, SAT and the rest they have not evolved much further, though they have become more become pervasive and more profitable.

They do not measure independent thinking, creative imagination, curiosity, social skills and the counter-intuitive reasoning necessary to understand what may appear obvious is often misleading. The tests are clueless when it comes to measuring the complexity of the human mind and its ability to change and develop. 

 photo Socrates.jpg

Standardized testing encourages rigid scripted teach-to-the-test curricula devoid of educational exploration. The human element that makes great teaching and engaged learning is ruthlessly crushed like so much scrap metal in a junkyard compactor. No student was ever motivated to become an eager life-long learner by taking a mind numbing battery of tests. Now they are being inflicted on Kindergarten and Pre-K children. Have we lost our minds?

But standardized tests do measure one thing with reasonable accuracy: the amount of poverty in a working class community. Ironically, the lower test scores in impoverished areas are then used as further justification for more testing, more scripted curricula and more school privatization. Meanwhile in  corporate offices far away, cash registers are constantly beeping.

Must I mention that poverty is heavily racialized in this country and that this form of insidious child abuse falls most heavily on children of color? And that public schools in high poverty areas are most likely to lack libraries and laboratories, music and art, advanced science and world languages, quality textbooks and modern computers? Yet these schools still endure an endless parade of expensive testing even as they are closed one by one and their funding is shifted over to privatization.

What about working class communities that are less economically wounded? They are seeing their public education budgets reduced as standardized testing gallops on and privatization looms on their horizon.

The wealthy elite who push these tests are using young minds as experimental test subjects. Remain silent. Follow the rules without question. Don’t look to your neighbor for help. Dutifully recall the isolated bits of data that were given to you as everyone else around you does exactly the same. And never ever let your mind wander in new directions that take you to the undiscovered or as yet uncreated.

Is this what we want for the next generation?

Sources consulted

Chicago Test Boycott - Second School Joins In by Michelle Gunderson

Teachers at Chicago’s Saucedo Scholastic Academy vote 100% to boycott ISAT test. Teachers union has their backs. 100%. by Fred Klonsky

Biography Of Maria Saucedo

Battle Brewing Between CPS, Teachers Over ISAT Boycott by Aricka Flowers

CTU supports second teacher boycott of low-stakes ISAT by CTU Communications

Update: Continued CTU support of the Saucedo ISAT boycott

Don't Sit for the ISAT by Matt Farmer

Teachers at second school to refuse to give ISATs, CTU says by Becky Schlikerman 

Originally posted to Chicago Kossacks on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let the chorus against standardized (21+ / 0-)

    testing grow louder and larger and finally, unignorable.  

    Note to Secretary of State Clinton if she is our nominee in 2016, here's a convincing issue on a silver platter.  Dump those damn standardized tests and direct focus on the energy, dedication, and skills of real-life teachers in real-life classrooms.  

    Patsy Cline's "Crazy" is crazy good.

    by Remediator on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:56:49 AM PST

  •  Standardized test don't measure anything that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnnyBoston, revsue

    is useful. A bad teacher or school who gets upper middle class students is going to look good while a good one who gets poor students is going to look bad. I get that.

    But the reason that they are popular is that the school systems have not been very good at identifying and weeding out bad teachers. I had some terrible teachers when I was going through school. My children had some terrible teachers. Everyone knew who the terrible teachers were. But no one could get rid of them. A determined and nasty principal (like my daughter's elementary principal) can get them to transfer to another school, but that just moves the problem elsewhere.

    I have worked in government all of my life. There are ways to protect workers from unreasonable harassment and dismissal while still allowing management to get rid of the truly incompetent and lazy ones.

    We parents and taxpayers would be much more enthused about getting rid of standardized tests if there were some positive quality-control measures proposed as an alternative. Saying "Let teachers teach" gives the bad apples a screen to hide behind.

    •  Standardized tests do not get rid... (10+ / 0-)

      ...of bad teachers. That is a failure of school management. What standardized tests do however, is give administrations like the one in Chicago a pretext to remove veteran well qualified teachers and replace them with young inexperienced teachers who work for less.

      This comes through school closings which lead to privatization of public schools into charters. Charters on the average do no better than public schools where poverty is education's biggest enemy.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 10:14:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read what I said: I explicitly stated that (0+ / 0-)

        standardized tests don't get rid of bad teachers. But that is what they have been sold for. The best way to combat the argument is to say that you have a better method of getting rid of bad teachers.

        What standardized tests do however, is give administrations like the one in Chicago a pretext to remove veteran well qualified teachers and replace them with young inexperienced teachers who work for less.
        If casting the I Ching had given the administration a pretext to remove my veteran first grade teacher and replace her with a young inexperienced teacher we would have been much better off. The same for my daughter's veteran science teacher (well qualified, with a PhD). We have also had wonderful veteran teachers, but to say that veteran=excellent does not match my experience.
    •  I don't want to read another post (12+ / 0-)

      about BAAADDDD teachers unless the commenters define what they mean by bad.

      Is it someone who is mean and sarcastic to students?
      Is it someone who is ignorant of their subject matter?
      Is it someone who may be knowledgeable about their subject matter but can't break it down for their students?

      Just saying someone is bad doesn't mean anything at all.

      And whatever kind of bad they are, if they keep their jobs it's because someone higher up is just fine with it.

      I have worked both in government and in the classroom and my experience is that the number of rotters who keep their jobs because they are good at kissing ass and getting over is about the same in both fields.

      Here's what the obsession with standardized testing means:
      1)School libraries are closed almost the entire school year because they are being used as testing centers.
      2)There is no technology integration in classrooms because computers are all needed for testing.
      3)Important topics in subject areas are not being taught because they are not stressed in the standardized test.
      4)Science and social studies are not funded because NCLB and son of NCLB are only concerned with English language arts and mathematics.

      I teach chemistry.  It is offered in 11th grade and follows 10th grade biology.  I now get students who don't know what a protein is, let alone how a gene becomes a protein. It's not stressed on the test so it doesn't get taught.

      And never mind how genes get turned on and off or how genetic modification works.  That's never even been in the curriculum.

      This after 40 years of a bioscience revolution.

      I'm not going to have to live in the idiocracy the deformers and their enablers, like you, are helping to create.  I'm going to be dead.  I hope the rest of you enjoy it.

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 10:48:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (8+ / 0-)

        Standardized testing and its offspring are killing education in this nation. The narrowing down of the curriculum into isolated  factoids is making a mockery of  every subject that I know of.

        I retired before the testing madness had fully taken hold, but I will continue to be out there supporting those in the education community who are fighting this.

        It's seriously dumbing down public education. BTW, the wealthy elite do not  send their children where testing is killing education.

        "Don't believe everything you think."

        by BobboSphere on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:19:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and there are probably parents who still don't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BobboSphere

          understand how bad it can be. My kid used to come home in tears and try not to go to school at testing times.  I'm one of those people who functions really well on that kind of testing, and when I was a kid we only got to do it every few years, darn it. So I didn't get it when she was all stressed about being tested. But most people don't take tests like that as if they are fun things from Games Magazine. And many of the children are so stressed they aren't learning anyway.

          And whether or not it was "sold" as a way to strain out bad teachers, it just doesn't work that way. I don't buy it anyway.

          We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

          by nuclear winter solstice on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:49:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Bad is bad. Excellent is excellent. (0+ / 0-)

        On Friday I was part of a panel who judged graduate student projects at the WVU medical school. We had four people with very different backgrounds, and we judged posters in very different fields that some of us had no experience with. Our final rankings were unanimous. I have served on many admissions panels, peer review panels, and similar things over the years. It usually isn't very hard to identify the best and worst performers. Forget standardized tests; anyone who cares could figure it out by sitting in your lunch room for a week.

        Brown-nosers are a big problem in organizations. That is why higher academia uses peer review so extensively. It doesn't eliminate the problem, but it makes sucking up much more difficult. Some schools have used it.

        I don't know what the best answer is. I served on a local school district committee a few years ago looking at how to improve the quality of principals. My conclusion was that the no one in their right mind would take the job. We seem to some totally dedicated ones and others who like the extra pay and don't worry about anything else. Even the dedicated ones can't get much done because the drones in the county office nix anything innovative.

        •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

          Any intelligent person of goodwill and common sense could walk into a classroom and tell whether or not the teacher is doing a good job or not.  And that is exactly what the standardized testing, data driven culture of the deformers is doing away with.

          Light is seen through a small hole.

          by houyhnhnm on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:18:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nebraska68847Dem
            Any intelligent person of goodwill and common sense could walk into a classroom and tell whether or not the teacher is doing a good job or not.
            I disagree, and this is a common difference between pro and anti testing people.

            I don't assume I know anything. Teaching is a process that has an output. The only method of understanding whether the process is working is to measure the output. A teacher can look good, be engaging, say all the right things, but if they can't demonstrate that the needle is moving, how are they doing anything useful?

            People can't assess themselves. In order to see that progress is actually being made as opposed to merely claimed, it needs to be measured by some consistent standard.

            I don't care if a teacher is well-liked or hated. I don't care if they adhere to some standard of pedagogy or not. I care if the student can do math better after the class than before. It's solely about the results.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:15:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My thought was (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nuclear winter solstice

              it might be difficult for "any intelligent person... the teacher is doing a good job or not".

              The NEXT teacher will know for sure, which parallels your idea of results.

              Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

              by Nebraska68847Dem on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:28:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The next teacher knows (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BobboSphere

                that students cannot explain diffusion or osmosis
                do not know what nucleic acids are
                cannot name nucleotide bases let alone pairing rules
                don't know:
                how a gene makes a protein
                what an enzyme does
                the general formula for oxidative respiration (I don't expect them to know the Kreb's cycle)

                And I'm talking about motivated students eager to learn whatever I can teach them, not the ones in the back of the room texting under the table.

                However

                The previous teacher was able to move 15% of test results from below basic to basic by focusing exclusively on the two or three course level expectations that are most heavily tested and is, therefore, golden by NCLB standards.

                THAT is what is wrong with standardized testing mania.

                It can't all be fixed at the college level. As the knowledge base of incoming freshmen gets lower and lower, colleges and universities will be forced to dumb down as well.  It's already happening.

                Light is seen through a small hole.

                by houyhnhnm on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:56:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Standardized tests do not measure education... (2+ / 0-)

              ...very well and the wealthy elite who push them so hard on others know that. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for example, sends his kids to the University of Chicago Lab School which places little value on standardized tests and uses them sparingly. Wealthy parents would never tolerate the test mania that we see in working class communities.

              It's interesting to note that the USA does little to address the one thing that standardized tests do measure with some accuracy: Our high level of poverty and wealth inequality. To address that would mean removing our racial and gender caste system as part of a massive economic transformation.

              That will have to come from the bottom up. Not the top down. That's another reason why we need to get rid of the so-called corporate "reform" which is dumbing down our schools while profiting off of the process.

              "Don't believe everything you think."

              by BobboSphere on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:24:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Although my principal may disagree (6+ / 0-)

        I consider myself a bad teacher. I 'teach' special education, including math and reading for grades 4, 5 and 6, which includes trying to cover 5 - 6 hours a day for both push in and pull out hours for 25 students in 6 different classes. Don't forget all those PPT's I have to attend, and the testing and IEP and report writing.

        It's an impossible job, and I can't find time to even try to keep on top of the planning. I spent this 'day of rest' finishing up my evaluation form for the teacher evaluation Form B - Student Learning Objective and scheduling 9 PPT's, along with all the paperwork and emails for both. The teachers still haven't sent me their lesson plans, so once again I'll be winging it when I go into their classes tomorrow, although I've sent out an email and cc'd our principal.

        It's impossible to be an effective teacher these days.

        If you can read this, TFA didn't teach you (and won't be there for your kids, either). Thank a public school educator.

        by Sprinkles on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:56:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Intrinsic motivation drives learning (6+ / 0-)

    When schools are driven by testing rather than by intrinsic motivation, students learn less and less over time.  They get burned out and come to see what is presented in schools as necessarily difficult and painful to learn.

    There is currently a tension between getting students to learn the basics, and preparing them for a future in which many of the occupations don't even exist yet.  The basics crowd tends to panic and go overboard on testing, as if everything must be learned in sequence and early.  The preparing for the future smaller crowd wants to get more creativity into the curriculum.  But children are naturally creative.

    If we start with the more rational idea that learning is natural and potentially enjoyable, flexible curricula will be developed that includes things that students want to learn about now.  They will soon find that in order to pursue their interests, they will need to learn most of the so-called basics, and what they don't get of these basics likely won't be needed.

    We have to get away from the idea of doing things to children in school and replace it with the idea of doing things with children.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 10:24:59 AM PST

  •  Great diary. My time of formal (5+ / 0-)

    schooling is long past, and thank God my sons all graduated before the testing craze did much beyond moan on the horizon.  

    I always hated tests like these because to my mind they were based on trickery.   The best teachers taught us to question self-evident facts, and to dig deeper in the context.  Context could reverse a "fact" at times.   Then a standardized test would come along with simplistic factoid questions we'd already learned to suspect.   Often what we'd learned was the correct answer wasn't there.    No way to write it in and explain.   No way to qualify the answers we were given.   It was like being tied to a chair and then told to run up the stairs to test agility!    It was designed to NOT show what it purposed to test and to mark us as failures.

    What a waste of time and abuse --no, betrayal -- of the educational process!

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:16:05 PM PST

    •  I came to hate these tests as well (3+ / 0-)

      When I was in the first grade, I took a test that said I was too dumb to learn how to read. About mid-year we got a new teacher who either didn't know about my test results or didn't care. She taught me to read. By second grade the school library was one of my favorite places. Go figure.

      After grad school in urban education I was motivated to read about the history of standardized testing and its misuse. I ended up teaching a test prep class for adults on Chicago's West Side.

      Along with practice in the SAT and the ACT, we would read about how standardized tests discriminate on the basis of  race and class. I wanted people to see these tests as the unscientific profit-making machines they really are.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:36:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's more than standardized testing (3+ / 0-)

    in the Chicago Public School system. The school closings which were a transparent ploy to give building to for profit private charter school operations succeeded with hardly any public opposition. The teacher's union and other public employee unions need to get behind a real progressive candidate to beat Rahm or there won't be a Chicago Public School system in a few years.

  •  I'm waiting to hear the alternatives (0+ / 0-)

    I hate to say this, but while standardized tests have drawbacks, so does complete lack of external accountability. I haven't seen much energy go into devising alternatives. Sorry, but having one teacher in the system go praise another doesn't work for me. People aren't going to fund schools unless the schools find a way of demonstrating that they are doing the job.

    This is the most inspiring teaching story I've read in a while. Note that exciting kids' curiosity resulted in their scoring huge on the standardized tests.

    Since my sons went to public schools, I don't have to pretend they are better than they are.

    •  Poverty is the biggest enemy of education... (0+ / 0-)

      ...in the USA and because of our racial and gender caste system, poverty hits racial minorities the hardest. The parents at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy are majority low income Latino and African American. They want their children to be educated and see the endless testing that goes on as taking time away from that education.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:38:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  give to each poor school ALL the money spent on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BobboSphere

      preparing and administering the whole year's worth of testing as a windfall to do what they want with, along with releasing the time spent teaching towards the tests to be taught the direction local teachers want it, and even without making any other changes, see what comes of it.
           What? Experiment on the children? Well it seems like we're already doing that. Let's try a more positive aspect of science by giving something some space & nourishment to grow.

      Too much testing seems like reading the rules to Monopoly or Scrabble over and over and then answering questions about them without ever feeling the dynamic flow of playing a game. Of course

      exciting kids' curiosity resulted in their scoring huge on the standardized tests.
      Are we gonna get to play? Tell me the rules quick!
      That's a far cry from 'read the rules for no apparent reason and then spout them back to me.'

      We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

      by nuclear winter solstice on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:05:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  BobboSphere! (0+ / 0-)

    Way to go!

    Superb reporting and writing!
    Thank you for sharing both the information AND your ability to write an effective piece!

    --------------

    The pictures... all GORGEOUS and BEAUTIFUL people!

    Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:26:02 PM PST

  •  It’s a little over 50 years old now, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobboSphere

    but Banesh Hoffman’s 1962 book The Tyranny of Testing is still well worth reading on the subject of standardized tests.

  •  I am heading out now for a silent vigil... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsmechanic

    ...in front of Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy in solidarity with the teachers, parents and students who are planning to boycott today.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:16:55 AM PST

  •  Our schools are succeeding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobboSphere

    This is a false crisis.

    Support public schools and teacher unions. Don't fall for the crisis and union busting rhetoric.

    Over the last 30-50 years, test scores have improved, more are graduating, we are serving multilingual students and those with disabilities, and we are doing well internationally. Hopefully, privatization, union busting, NCLB, and Race to the Top will not reverse these trends

    Yes, there is inequity between schools, but it is a social problem. It is poverty, as the diary states. Help the schools in those areas attempt to close the gap, not punish them and increase the gap, as race to the top does.

    Yes, there are bad teachers, but this does not explain the inequity, and they are not responsible for this nonexistent crisis.

    For anybody interested, if you haven't yet read it, I suggest Reign of Error.

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