Saturday, November 28, 2015

More on FairTest and Why You Should Call Your Legislators TODAY | Save Maine Schools

More on FairTest and Why You Should Call Your Legislators TODAY | Save Maine Schools:

More on FairTest and Why You Should Call Your Legislators TODAY


o days ago, I wrote a blog post warning that FairTest was giving bad advice regarding the ESEA rewrite.
Admittedly, I wrote the post in a bit of haste.  I had a baby tugging at my leg, family members begging me to get off the computer, a fiery incredulity at what FairTest  had written  regarding its support of the new ESEA, and – yes – a heart-pounding sense of panic over how much confusion there seems to be regarding what will be in the new ESEA, and how very little time we have left to stop or delay the vote (t-minus 5 days).
So, I apologize for not making clear my view on this issue.
First, let me be clear that no, I do not know Monty Neill or Bob Schaeffer of FairTest, and I trust those who tell me that they are both firmly dedicated to education and our students.
But here is what I also know.
I know that unbeknownst to many of us, two distinct Opt-Out movements have grown up side by side.
One is true grassroots – the parents, teachers, and students who have hadenough of corporate education reform, and who see opting out as a way to protest the usurpation of our schools
The other is what I will call “Corporate Opt Out” – the opt out movement quietly encouraged by groups like the  Education Commission of the States, next-gen ed reform masterminds like Tom Vander Ark, as well as the very testing companies that have already sold  their “summative testing” branches to focus on the  impending shift to embedded, competency-based assessment.
Corporate Opt Out has skillfully positioned the impending ESEA rewrites as a response to the voices of the people, who are worn down by years of NCLB-era reforms.
But this is not what the ESEA rewrites are.  They have been planned and  pre-cooked behind the scenes by the very industries we seek to protest against.
Somehow, whether intentionally or not, FairTest has become allied with Corporate Opt Out.
They have signaled this not only through their advocacy of the ESEA rewrites, but also through their work behind the scenes as part of the Forum for Educational Accountability.
Here is some of what the FEA, chaired by Monty Neill of FairTest,  advocates:
“Support development of local and  state assessments that enable assessment of higher order thinking and that are instructionally
useful. Authorize significant sums to encourage states to develop these new systems.”
 “FEA supports the Guidelines’ having states expand their collection of “statewide longitudinal data systems” to include out-of-school factors such as students’ health and postsecondary experience.”
“Reforming the school improvement process to provide more assistance and give schools more time to implement necessary changes once they adopt an improvement plan.”
Read carefully, and you will see that these recommendations are identical to those being advocated by a swath of corporate reformers – including the Gates Foundation.
“Assessment systems” may sound nice to the battle wary among us, but believe me when I say that all your most detested testing companies  More on FairTest and Why You Should Call Your Legislators TODAY | Save Maine Schools: