Saturday, April 5, 2014

All Week 4-5-14 @ THE CHALK FACE


Teachers. Remember #optout is for you.
Now that the opt out season is in full swing and the Testing Resistance has spread across the country, we should take a minute to reflect and remember the purpose of opt out. Despite what the “chancellor” Rhee has to say, opt out is the only movement that can save the idea of public education […]

Fordham’s Mike Petrilli: Selling Common Core in States with Better Standards
  This post is about the for-profit “reform”-promoting think tank, the Fordham Institute. The Fordham Institute likes to grade. Mind you, Fordham doesn’t bother to grade itself. But it does promote the grading of teacher training programs via an entity it birthed in 2001, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), and it also promotes the grading of teachers […]
Remember the musicians who changed their tune
As organizations jumble and revise their official positions, remember those who tried to stifle you in the past. Forgive, cooperate, but never forget those who told you that, for instance, opting out was a great and radical evil. Remember those who called you crazy, passionate with no sense, and tried to tease you into submission, […]
Use caution with those attempting to write books on the backs of your labors @testingtalk @Skrashen
I viewed a passing mention of some new phenomenon called “Testing Talk,” which is a website devoted to soliciting feedback on the slate of Common Core tests being implemented nationwide. I have one very simple question: who is sponsoring this? Another simple question: why the lack of overall diversity on the “committee.” And, what does […]
What an anti-test activist can do in a school during testing
For me, nothing, just stand aside. That’s all I can do, unless I’m prepared to jeopardize my employment and, selfishly, the employment of others in my school. I’m a Kindergarten teacher, so thankfully we are insulated from most of testing’s ill effects. But I can report on how the administration of testing during the specific […]


Skepticism or Cynicism for Obama Education Agenda?
Skepticism or Cynicism for Obama Education Agenda?. via Skepticism or Cynicism for Obama Education Agenda?.Filed under: PAUL THOMAS: Becoming Radical

APR 03

Common Core Can’t Bring Teaching Back to Teachers
Before attending the United Opt Out conference in Denver, I began to do a little more research on the trends in the Common Core debate for some of my upcoming presentations.  One of the interesting things I came across was a PowerPoint created by Ellen Bernstein of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF), a local chapter of […]
National Poetry Month: “What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?”
National Poetry Month: “What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?”. via National Poetry Month: “What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?”.Filed under: PAUL THOMAS: Becoming Radical

APR 02

The Common Core License: Open for NGA and CCSSO Alteration
The so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are being billed as “Preparing America’s Students for Success“; as “important for your child”; indeed, as The American Education Solution: The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the […]
The Ongoing Debate on Public and Private School Effectiveness: Vouchers, Representative Samples, Fundamentalism and Wal-Mart
To no one’s surprise, the market-oriented EducationNext, “a journal of opinion and research,” does not like the findings outlined in the recent book, The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, which I wrote with Prof. Sarah Theule Lubienski. After all, the two large, nationally representative datasets we analyzed do not lend support […]
On Children and Childhood
On Children and Childhood. via On Children and Childhood.Filed under: PAUL THOMAS: Becoming Radical

APR 01

Some High-profilers Gunning for Common CoreSome High-profilers Gunning for Common Core
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) surely are causing quite a stir. That is what happens when non-teachers try to impose their wills upon the American classroom. (I have written extensively on CCSS, including its creation, promotion and funding. For hours of enlightening CCSS reading, click here. To read about the contract between states and the […]
Why Did Raj Chetty Allow His Research to Be Used Against Teachers in Vergara?
An expert witness for the plaintiffs in Vergara v California, Tom Kane, argued that effective teaching, and presumably ineffective teaching, in the Los Angeles schools can be measured. Vergara, of course, seeks to strike down teacher due process and it is about as overtly anti-teacher of an action as can be imagined.  In a previous […]

MAR 31

Whatever Will We Do If We Dump Common Core?
A component of pushing the so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) involves panicking the public into believing that in the absence of CCSS, states will have no standards. This message is promoted in the Associated Press. On March 30, 2014, Melinda Deslatte offers the following If Not CCSS, Then What? message in her coverage of the Louisiana capitol: […]

MAR 30

Video: iRefuse Rally in Long Island, NY (March 29, 2014)
In my post, The Deceptive Push to “Implement” Common Core, I mentioned that my discussion of deceptive “implementation” was part of my remarks at the iRefuse Rally in Long Island, NY, on March 29. I noted that I would post a video link as soon as one was available. Here it is, in this post. Approximately […]
We are officially in syndication, and have an updated show page
At the Chalk Face is now officially in syndication, with our first two stations secured in the Boston area. I also updated our main show page, and then stuck it to the blog’s homepage. We have to get this show out there as an oppositional voice to the corporate reform movement. Let any local radio […]
The Deceptive Push to “Implement” Common Core
I just returned home from speaking at the iRefuse Rally on March 29, 2014, in Port Jefferson Station, New York. My trip was an adventure in many ways, not the least of which was in my managing to get to New York. In short, my flight to NYC was canceled; I was able to fly to Baltimore […]
Unions? We Don’t Need No Stinking Unions
Unions? We Don’t Need No Stinking Unions. via Unions? We Don’t Need No Stinking Unions.Filed under: PAUL THOMAS: Becoming Radical
The Edtech Trinity: Time, Training, and Tools
Edtech tools will never replace teachers, but teachers who use edtech tools will replace those who don’t. There’s absolutely no denying that edtech tools are changing the teaching profession. As a result, I’ll argue that the edtech trinity in education must include time, training, and tool searching. As the edtech industry grows and becomes more […]
Of Me I Sing …. Really?
A response from the United Opt Out organizers: Morna McDermott, Tim Slekar, Ruth Rodriguez, Peggy Robertson, Ceresta Smith and Shaun Johnson) In the effort to stay “current” in reporting about the rising tide of the Opt Out movement (aka high stakes standardized testing refusal), journalists are eager to tell the story…but do they do their […]

MAR 29

Recent #optout episodes of @thechalkface
As testing season is upon us, we’ve got a couple of recent, special episodes on the subject of opting out or refusing state testing. In the few years we’ve been covering this issue, this is the first time, at least to my knowledge that, one, massive opt outs are occurring, two, they’re being covered extensively, […]
College Athletes’ Academic Cheating a Harbinger of a Failed System
College Athletes’ Academic Cheating a Harbinger of a Failed System. via College Athletes’ Academic Cheating a Harbinger of a Failed System.Filed under: PAUL THOMAS: Becoming Radical