Friday, May 20, 2016

Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You! | The Progressive

Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You! | The Progressive:
Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You!

Several weeks ago a fourth-grade school teacher posted a blistering online commentary on the Common Core PARCC test. Among other criticisms she wrote:
Right out of the gate, 4th graders are being asked to read and respond to texts that are two grade levels above the recommended benchmark. After they struggle through difficult texts with advanced vocabulary and nuanced sentence structures, they then have to answer multiple choice questions that are, by design, intended to distract students with answers that appear to be correct except for some technicality.
Columbia University’s Teacher College Professor Celia Oyler read the anonymous commentary and reposted it in mid-May. In response, she received an official letter from the CEO of PARCC threatening legal action unless she removed the post because it contained “copyrighted material.” The PARCC letter also demanded that she provide the company with the name of the anonymous teacher who wrote the article.
She wasn’t alone.  
Other education bloggers and advocates who posted a link to Oyler’s original article or tweeted about the story also received an email warning that they should remove the link or expect legal action. The Common Core PARCC test is paid for with taxpayer funds and the test is given by public school teachers in public schools, but public criticism of the test is, according to the PARCC, an infringement of the company’s rights.
Oyler refused to provide the name of the author but did remove materials that she deemed might be copyrighted.  She also renamed her post: The PARCC Test: Exposed [excerpts deleted under legal threat from Parcc].
Blogger and Progressive Education Fellow Peter Greene put it this way:
So this is what we've come to—it's an act of brave rebellion, a risk to career and livelihood, to publish some questions from PARCC's Big Standardized Test.

At Outrage on the Page, an anonymous teacher has taken the what-shouldn't-be-dangerous step of publishing actual questions from the fourth-grade PARCC. This is a dangerous move because, of course, we are all sworn to secrecy about our BS Tests. In PA I must swear that I won't look at the test, and if I do, I will promptly forget everything I see there. We've known for a while that Pearson has a security team that monitors social media for any student security breaches. Because at the end of the day, BS Test manufacturers are more worried about their proprietary money-making property than they are about making a good test or providing real test results.

You know what kind of test needs this sort of heavy security? A crappy test. 
So who is PARCC? And where do they get off claiming that their interests trump freedom of
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