Monday, May 4, 2015

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Opting Out Talk is Not Dying Down

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Opting Out Talk is Not Dying Down:

Opting Out Talk is Not Dying Down

Diane Ravitch had this recording of a weekly ed reform show from Michael Petrilli at the Fordham Institute.  In the first 7 minutes of the show, he worries about the opting out going on in NY state.  It's everything from unhappy tweets to 1,000s of parents (actually hundreds of thousands) opting their kids out and hey, what does it all mean?

He and his co-host say they just can't tell exactly why parents are doing this.  They opine that it can't be because Common Core testing is costing so much the arts are being cut (surmising that "affluent" schools just can't be cutting the arts).

They fret over this "big deal now" and what if it spreads nationwide? He says:
If this goes national, this whole school reform thing is in serious trouble."

Sorry, Mike, the genie is out of the bottle.

Speaking of Ravitch, she also has news from Minneapolis via the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The newest math scores for Minneapolis South High School’s 11th-graders plunged more than 25 percentage points compared with 2013. At Southwest High School, scores dropped 22 points over the same period.

The dramatic fall off at two of Minneapolis’ best schools is not because of a crisis of academic achievement, but rather historic numbers of top students who are exercising a little-known right to opt out of standardized tests.
She gives several reasons why parents are opting out (really, it's no mystery but the corporate ed reformers make it sound like it is). 
Parents know that the absence of transparency by the test-makers in not in the interest of their children and that the tests are designed to fail the majority of students because their passing score is set unrealistically high. Some parents understand that the tests provide little or no diagnostic information about their children (most Common Core tests provide NO diagnostic information, just a score.) Some are protesting the Common Core,  some are protesting the federal takeover of their state and their local schools. Some are protesting the tests themselves.
The NY Times also has a good debate in Room for Debate between Patricia Levesque who works for Jeb Bush's "Foundation for Excellence in Education" and Kevin Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center.

I made a comment where I call out one of Ms. Levesque's paragraphs.
 "We do this by determining what children need to know, not what we think they can learn based on their circumstances. We then measure their progress and hold adults in the system accountable for doing their job. "

And there you have it - testing's not-so-subtle backstory.

That first sentence is a backhanded way to try to make anyone who 

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Opting Out Talk is Not Dying Down:

I'm Not Running for Seattle School Board

I appreciate all the encouragement and offers of help to run for the Seattle School Board but I have concluded that it's just not the right time in my life to do so.

It's bittersweet to say no because I believe that I know this district and I care deeply about public education.  I would have worked my hardest to get elected and, if elected, would have become part of a team - the School Board - to create better academic outcomes for all students in public education.

My husband always wanted me to run.  But he was my biggest supporter, my sounding board and a shoulder to lean on and it's just too soon to do this without him.

Naturally, I will try to interview all the candidates, do my research and come up with my best recommendations.  I will try to announce all candidate forums so you can find at least one chance to meet and hear the candidates for School Board speak.  (Please let me know about any in your neighborhood - I don't want to miss any of them.)