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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hey, Kids: Take the PARCC Test, Qualify for an iPad Mini (??) | deutsch29

Hey, Kids: Take the PARCC Test, Qualify for an iPad Mini (??) | deutsch29:

Hey, Kids: Take the PARCC Test, Qualify for an iPad Mini (??)

refuse the test

 Louisiana is not a legitimate PARCC participant. Official PARCC vendor, Pearson, has no contract directly with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) for the 2015 PARCC testing that is supposed to occur in March and May 2015.

2015 PARCC scores cannot directly affect student promotion decisions because the scores will not even be available until fall 2015, after the 2015-16 school year begins.
It seems that the primary function of 2015 Louisiana “PARCC” is to grade schools. The secondary use is to form a baseline to use to grade teachers via value-added modeling (VAM).
The fact that 2015 Louisiana “PARCC” will directly affect schools and not individual students has created an atmosphere in which some Louisiana school administrators are trying to coerce students in grades 3 through 8 into taking the ten-plus hours of PARCC testing.
Consider the notice below, sent to parents of students at DeQuincy Elementary School in DeQuincy, Louisiana (Calcasieu Parish Schools):

The message behind the DeQuincy post above is that opting out/refusing to test “is ruining” the opportunity for the entire school to have a 30-minute recess following testing.
Then, there are the “free dress” passes and iPad drawing for students who submit toten-plus hours of testing for the purpose of saving the school from potential, state-Hey, Kids: Take the PARCC Test, Qualify for an iPad Mini (??) | deutsch29:

The Launch of “The Other PARCC” Unites Many | The Edu-Sage's Companion

The Launch of “The Other PARCC” Unites Many | The Edu-Sage's Companion:

The Launch of “The Other PARCC” Unites Many

Earlier today a group of parents, students, education advocates, organizers, and other members of the community gathered together in Montclair to launch the latest mini-documentary, “The Other PARCC: Parents Advocating Refusal on High-stakes Testing,” by filmmaker Michael Elliot. This mini-documentary is being released as teachers, students, parents, and public schools all over New Jersey are preparing to begin the first administration of Pearson’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)  performance based assessments (PBA).
Capturing the humanity and voice of the interviewees, Elliot weaves together a short, yet emotionally compelling piece to touch the hearts and minds of all. Their narratives give us a snapshot of why these individuals have either chosen to refuse the PARCC for their children, or why they are thinking about refusing. We hope you find our narrative moving and engage in this push back. This goes far beyond how our individual children feel stressed out, but rather how these individual stories are part of a larger pattern of reforms that are attacking what we know of childhood, child development, and learning. The stress our children are feeling and experiencing are just very human responses to being dehumanized through corporate reform and standardization.
Check out the video here:
It was almost three years ago when I first saw the sample test questions for the PARCC. The text complexity, confusion, and difficulty led me to conclude the test was a set up for our students, teachers, and public education. As a mother of two children, one of which who is school-age, and the other who is yet to begin, I knew there was something I should The Launch of “The Other PARCC” Unites Many | The Edu-Sage's Companion:

Long-Standing Education Advocate to Run for Philadelphia City Council | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Long-Standing Education Advocate to Run for Philadelphia City Council | NBC 10 Philadelphia:

Long-Standing Education Advocate to Run for Philadelphia City Council

Helen Gym is on the right.

One of Philadelphia's most recognizable education advocates has announced her candidacy for City Council.
Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, held a kickoff event Monday at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia surrounded by parents, students and union boosters.

Gym, a former elementary school teacher who was selected by the Obama administration last year for a Cesar Chavez Champions of Change award, has been a stalwart voice for education equity and government transparency for more than a decade.
"We're rejecting a punishing narrative of blame and failure," said Gym, "and instead we're making sure that the mentality around our children and our schools and this city comes through a framework of human dignity, justice and love for our children and those who care for them."

    In her speech, Gym highlighted a string of accomplishments including helping parents fight the district's plans to turn two of its elementary schools into charters last spring; pushing the Philadelphia Parking Authority to direct more resources to schools; and, recently, compelling the district to release the Boston Consulting Group's initial framework for school closures.

    "Over the years, we've fought to make this city a better place where we all can live," she said. "We might not have been in the halls of power, but we've organized, we have fought, and we have actually achieved real victories.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @nbcphiladelphia on Twitter | nbcphiladelphia on Facebook

    “I must do right by the children… I refuse to administer the PARCC.” | Reclaim Reform

    “I must do right by the children… I refuse to administer the PARCC.” | Reclaim Reform:

    “I must do right by the children… I refuse to administer the PARCC.”


    And today, in March of 2015, Peggy Robertson is being targeted by her school district for speaking truth to power. SUPPORT PEGGY ROBERTSON AND #defendchildren. See The Denver Post article
    Originally posted on Reclaim Reform:
    “I must do right by the children…”
    Do we realize that saving our children requires that we ALL “must do right by the children”?
    I know Peggy Robertson, a mom and a Colorado teacher who helped found United Opt Out.
    I have more respect for her as a human being and as a teacher than I have for any of the bought-and-paid-for politicians who shill for the profit making CCSS (Yes, it is private. Yes, it was created to make profits.) and all of the profit making multinational fund managers and “philanthropic” foundation investors who are part of the coup against sane levels of valid testing.
    Bill Gates once famously and publicly stated that it would take another ten years to see if the present “experiment” will work. Since his own children are not being experimented on, “I must do right by the children… I refuse to administer the PARCC.” | Reclaim Reform:

    Educator's refusal to give PARCC called into question by district - The Denver Post #defendchildren #optout #refusethetests

    Educator's refusal to give PARCC called into question by district - The Denver Post:

    #solidarity #defendchildren #optout #refusethetests @PegwithPen @UnitedOptOut

    Educator's refusal to give PARCC called into question by district

     Peggy Robertson is a Hero

    Among parent activists fed up with standardized tests, Peggy Robertson is a hero — an experienced educator who has witnessed damage wrought by high-stakes tests and is doing something about it.
    Last fall, the Aurora Public Schools educator took to her blog and addressed a manifesto of sorts to the "citizens of Colorado."
    "I am writing to let you know that I will be refusing to administer the PARCC in the 2014-15 school year," Robertson wrote, referring to new math and English tests debuting in Colorado schools this week.
    The post spread far and wide. A Washington Post blogger wrote about it.
    District officials, however, contend Robertson is in no position to take her provocative, potentially job-endangering stand.
    Aurora Public Schools spokeswoman Patti Moon said Robertson is a teaching partner at Jewell Elementary who helps with instruction. Moon said Robertson is not a teacher, "so she is not actually responsible for giving the test."
    Robertson called that an "interesting twist" and news to her. She disputed the district's characterization, saying everyone helps with state tests and she was required to give them last year.
    Robertson said her principal even assigned her to younger students during PARCC testing so she won't have to give the tests.
    The veteran educator is a co-founder of United Opt Out, a national group that has been organizing local meetings and citing cases of parents refusing tests being intimidated by school officials.
    To Robertson, the PARCC tests are part of an effort to privatize schools and enrich corporations.
    "I think people understand why I'm doing it," Robertson said. "Someone has to step up and say this is educational malpractice."
    At least two local teachers unions — in Aurora and Denver — have adopted resolutions supporting teachers who refuse to give the tests.
    Pam Shamburg of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association made clear the DCTA board did not vote to encourage teachers to refuse test administration.
    Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association, said the state's largest union hasEducator's refusal to give PARCC called into question by district - The Denver Post: 

    Parents Can Opt Out - United Opt Out National

    Click Here to go to United Opt Out National: 

    Click Here to go to the WebsiteUnited Opt Out Team

    CPS defends ouster of pregnant teachers as legitimate 'business necessity' - Chicago Tribune

    CPS defends ouster of pregnant teachers as legitimate 'business necessity' - Chicago Tribune:

    CPS: Dismissal of pregnant teachers was 'consistent with business necessity'

     In its first formal response to a federal discrimination lawsuit, Chicago Public Schoolsdenied the principal of a Northwest Side elementary school targeted pregnant teachers for dismissal and asserted performance ratings and layoff decisions that affected pregnant teachers were "consistent with business necessity."

    The district argues federal authorities "cannot establish a pattern or practice of discrimination" because the district's employment decisions were motivated by legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons.

    The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. government in late December, alleged that from 2009 to at least 2012, Scammon Elementary School Principal Mary Weaver took actions to oust eight teachers who became pregnant or returned to work after their pregnancies.

    Weaver subjected pregnant teachers "to disparate treatment with regard to performance evaluation ratings" and other matters, and "there existed a regular, purposeful, and less-favorable treatment of teachers because of their sex (pregnancies)," the suit alleged.

    CPS, in a response filed in U.S. District Court this week, denied it engaged in a pattern of discrimination and targeted pregnant teachers, while arguing that the affected teachers had neither grounds to sue nor the right to damages.

    "Insofar as the performance ratings, renewal decisions, and lay-off decisions made at Jonathan Scammon Elementary School between 2009 and 2012 had a statistically adverse impact on individuals who became pregnant or took a child rearing leave during this time period, such decisions were nevertheless lawful because they were legitimate, job-related and consistent with business necessity," the response states.

    The lawsuit also alleges CPS does not address discrimination over pregnancy in either its 2009 or its amended 2012 discrimination and sexual harassment policies. It wants the district ordered to take measures to prevent the kind of prejudicial treatment laid out in the complaint.

    Weaver is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which also seeks monetary damages for affected teachers in addition to new district policies to prevent discrimination. She has CPS defends ouster of pregnant teachers as legitimate 'business necessity' - Chicago Tribune:

    Quality Teachers Are Developed -- Not Found

    Quality Teachers Are Developed -- Not Found:


    Jaime Escalante

     Are quality teachers found or developed? This is not just a rhetorical exercise. The answer has everything to do with how we go about the whole management of our teacher workforce. 

    Born or made?

    Do we think that the effort is to just keep weeding out “bad teachers” until we have only the good ones per Bill Gates’ ideas? Or do we develop good teaching by a broad spectrum of research, practice, and observation that starts in our teacher education programs and follows the teacher through a long career of constant development?

    Current education “reformers” decisively side with the Gates approach seeing computers and technology as a way to multiply the effects of those few teachers who they perceive as having the necessary talent.

    And for all of the noise of Teach For America‘s feverish PR work, their approach really is to find perceived talent and intelligence and couple that with a prescribed curriculum that the newly-minted teachers had little to do with developing. It’s why in that program is just six weeks, and boom! You’re out in that classroom.

    Gates’ approach of finding “natural” teachers to multiply by way of technology and sending the rest out the door is a perfect fit for someone who wants to sell a lot of computers — like maybe Microsoft computers.

    From professional to service worker

    It is also a perfect approach for those who want to de-professionalize the teacher work force so that teachers become fully compliant service workers instead of independent thinkers who ask too many questions when bosses doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    And if school raiders can just turn teachers into the current popular model of service workers who are expected to do a job and not think, then they can save investors a lot of money and convert the whole education “thing” into a big-money enterprise.

    And as I pointed out in anQuality Teachers Are Developed -- Not Found:

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and baloney - The Washington Post

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and baloney - The Washington Post:

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and baloney

     New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s school reform proposals have infuriated educators across the state. Award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School is one of them and in this post, she  explains why. Burris, who has written frequently for this blog,  was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, was tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Burris has been exposing the botched school reform program in New York for years on this blog. Her most recent post was “Principal: ‘There comes a time when rules must be broken…That time is now.’

    (In this post, Burris refers to “value-added” scores, which refer to value-added measurement (VAM), which purports to be able to determine the “value” a teacher brings to student learning by plopping test scores into complicated formulas that can supposedly strip out all other factors, including the conditions in which a student lives.)

    By Carol Burris
    “Blaming teachers for the poor performance of their students on standardized tests makes as much sense as saying Rex Ryan is to blame for all the Jets’ failures.”
    That was the astute observation of the Albany Times Union’s editor, Rex Smith. Smith’s column came on the heels of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, which contained a reform agenda filled with hyperbole, logical fallacies and flat-out misinformation. For Smith, Cuomo’s transparent campaign to “demonize teachers” makes little sense. The New York public agrees. The latest Siena College poll shows that New Yorkers do not see teachers as villains, and a majority side with the teachers union over the governor in the recent “war of words.”
    And yet, Cuomo remains obsessed with teacher measurement and firing. Unhappy with the outcome of evaluations, he called them “baloney.”  He forgets that when the Boars Head delivery arrived in Albany, he was driving the truck. The evaluation system he now mocks is the very one he insisted be put in place.
    In 2012, Cuomo called the new evaluation system, APPR, “one of the toughest in the country.” He referred to it as “groundbreaking” and “exactly what is needed” to transform schools. New York Students Firstgave Cuomo credit for the teacher evaluation system—it was “because of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo and baloney - The Washington Post:




    Image result for BONNIE CUNARD MARGOLIN


    The Time Is Now!

    Vote Bonnie 
    Cunard Margolin 
    TALC President !

    The Time is Now !

    I am running for President of the Teachers Association of Lee County because I believe we are in a critical time for our public schools. The time is NOW to stand up, activate and organize. The time is NOW to revitalize our union and stand up to these relentless attacks on public education. The time is NOW to recognize that our teachers’ union is an important force in our nation and we must work together to improve our schools, defend our communities, and protect our democracy!

    I am ready to be your next TALC President. I have heard your concerns about class size and excessive testing. I have heard your concerns about family health insurance costs and inadequate pay raises. I have heard your concerns about the lack of curricular materials and training. I have even heard the concerns of our coaches, who have waited too long for a fair supplement. Yes, I have heard you. For years, I have been listening and  fighting on behalf of teachers to restore sanity to our schools. It is time to return that energy to our union. As your TALC President
    , I will stand up as a loud, strong voice for our teachers, fighting on the side of educators. I will work to empower Lee County teachers to regain their voice in our community. 

    The Time Is NOW ! 

    "Bonnie Cunard Margolin, a teacher and parent in the district, told board members that accountability is important, but should not be based on what she sees as excessive testing. "I think we all recognize that this current trend to test, test and retest our students by bubble, by essay, over and over each year, year after year, is not the answer," she said during the board meeting." 
    ~ Naples News, June 11, 2012

    Becoming Prisoners in This Education War | The War Report on Public Education

    Becoming Prisoners in This Education War | The War Report on Public Education:


    Becoming Prisoners in This Education War

    “Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.”
    Two nights ago, at an Orlando middle school’s “FSA parents’night,” I was accompanying Spanish-speaking parents. A teacher, the principal and even a counselor did a great job explaning “the beauty of FSA” and the computer test coming up next week.
    The three professionals in front of us were being exceptionally good soldiers doing a good job making sure neither those they are serving (the students) and themselves (and their families) do not get killed in this education war.
    Knowing the harm that these tests, and the FSA EOC do to students, teachers, principals, everybody at a school, and even the school itself, I couldn’t help to feel for all of them, but specifically last night for the teachers and the principal.
    I asked several questions to which they answered knowing (I read their body language) none of them are good for students, teachers/princpal, and the school, but like good soldiers, they were following instructions to the “t.” They were, like any other human in their situation would have done, defending their post. And defend it they did with care and professionalism and for a particular care for the children they knew were not really being served by the abusive accountability system.
    When they presented the “State mandated, locally developed EOC” tests as not of the high-stake test kind, I raised my hand once again. “They are high-stake tests because the purpose of the EOC are specifically to evaluate teachers (as per a PPT slide confirmed),” I said. Their eyes told me the whole story. But they could do nothing about it. Their lives, their families’, their bread and butter are in stake here too as much as our children’s future is.
    They are soldiers alright. But like the children–and parents– they are also prisoners of war following instructions they would rather not do. Their stoicism showed exactly that: Becoming Prisoners in This Education War | The War Report on Public Education:

    School Prepares to Terminate Teacher for Facebook Post Opposing Common Core Curriculum | Restoring Liberty

    School Prepares to Terminate Teacher for Facebook Post Opposing Common Core Curriculum | Restoring Liberty:

    School Prepares to Terminate Teacher for Facebook Post Opposing Common Core Curriculum

    junior high teacherDeborah Vailes has been teaching junior high in Louisiana’s Rapides Parish School District for the past twelve years. She is passionate about helping special needs children become better readers. Little did she know that an early morning post critical of the Common Core Curriculum on her personal Facebook page would lead to disciplinary action, suppression of her right to free speech, retaliation from school officials, and possible loss of her job.

    As a result, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, [yesterday] morning, filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on behalf of Deborah Vailes against the Rapides Parish School District and the principal of Pineville Junior High School, Dr. Dana Nolan.
    Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commenting on the reason for the lawsuit, stated: “Public school students have become ‘guinea pigs’ in a vast untested educational experiment dictated by the Federal Government. Our Constitution never envisioned federal control over education. But sadly, most states have voluntarily abdicated their responsibilities over education for federal dollars. Their decision will prove disastrous, not only for public education, but also for the freedom guaranteed by our Constitution. Debbie Vailes’ uncompromising love for her students prompted her to speak out. And her voice should not be silenced by a tyrannical principal.”
    On September 23, 2014, at approximately by 5:58 AM, Debora Vailes re-posted on her personal Facebook page a photograph of a little girl crying because of the shortcomings of Common Core. Later that day, her school principal, Dr. Dana Nolan, after discovering the post, gave Deborah Vailes her first written reprimand and ordered her to refrain from expressing any opinion about public education on social media and to remove her anti-Common Core post from the social media site – ASAP. (The school district refers to written reprimands as a “documented conferences.”) Dr. Nolan further informed Deborah that she could not to discuss her opinion in public – on any social media or any public forum.
    Two days later, Dr. Nolan held a mandatory faculty meeting of the Pineville Junior high school. She informed the faculty at the meeting that Deborah Vailes was reprimanded due to posting a negative opinion about Common Core on Facebook. Dr. Nolan warned the faculty not to share their personal opinions or speak-out in any way. After hearing about the Principal’s gag order, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, issued an executive order that teachers were to be afforded the same constitutional guarantees afforded to all citizens. However, his executive order did not deter the Defendant, Dr. Nolan, from continuing her vendetta against Deborah Vailes.
    Before Vailes posted her Facebook criticism of Common Core, she had a stellar personnel record; she had never received a reprimand. Since her public criticism, she has received three additional written reprimands. School administrators are now
    Read more:

    Make School a Democracy -

    Make School a Democracy -

    Make School a Democracy

    ARMENIA, Colombia — IN a one-room rural schoolhouse an hour’s drive from this city in a coffee-growing region of Colombia, 30 youngsters ages 5 to 13 are engrossed in study. In most schools, students sit in rows facing the teacher, who does most of the talking. But these students are grouped at tables, each corresponding to a grade level. The hum of conversation fills the room. After tackling an assignment on their own, the students review one another’s work. If a child is struggling, the others pitch in to help.

    During my visit to one of these schools, second graders were writing short stories, and fifth graders were testing whether the color of light affects its brightness when seen through water. The teacher moved among the groups, leaning over shoulders, reading and commenting on their work. In one corner of the classroom were items, brought to school by the kids, that will be incorporated in their lessons. The students have planted a sizable garden, and the vegetables and fruits they raise are used as staples at mealtime, often prepared according to their parents’ recipes.

    During the past four decades, this school — and thousands like it — have adopted what’s called the Escuela Nueva (New School) model.

    A 1992 World Bank evaluation of Colombia’s schools concluded that poor youngsters educated this way — learning by doing, rather than being endlessly drilled for national exams — generally outperformed their better-off peers in traditional schools. A 2000 Unesco study found that, next to Cuba, Colombia did the best job in Latin America of educating children in rural areas, where most of the schools operate with this model. It was also the only country in which rural schools generally outperformed urban schools. Poor children in developing nations often drop out after a year or two because their families don’t see the relevance of the education they’re getting. These youngsters are more likely to stay in school than their counterparts in conventional schools.

    Escuela Nueva is almost unknown in the United States, even though it has won numerous international awards — the hyper-energetic Vicky Colbert, who founded the program in 1975 and still runs it, received the first Clinton Global Citizenship prize. That should change, for this is how children — not just poor children — ought to be educated.

    It’s boilerplate economics that universal education is the path to prosperity for developing nations; the Nobel-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz calls it “the global public good.” But while the number of primary school-age children not in class worldwide fell to 57.2 million in 2012 from 99.8 million in 2000, the quality of their education is another matter. Escuela Nueva offers a widely adaptable model, as Unesco has described it.

    “Unesco reported the successful diffusion of Escuela Nueva in 20,000 Colombian schools with poorly trained teachers,” Ernesto Schiefelbein, rector of the Autonomous University of Chile, who has evaluated the program, told me. “As far as I know, there is no other example of massive educational improvement in a democratic developing country.”

    Another Nobel-winning economist, Amartya Sen, posits that political repression impedes economic growth — that prosperity requires that social and economic well-being be tethered to democratic values. Escuela Nueva turns the schoolhouse into a laboratory for democracy. Rather than being run as a mini-dictatorship, with the principal as its unquestioned leader, the school operates as a self-governing community, where teachers, Make School a Democracy -

    As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out -

    As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out -

    As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out

    Parents Can Opt Out United Opt Out National

    Click Here to go to United Opt Out National

    Click Here to go to the WebsiteUnited Opt Out Team

     So the new batch of tests in New Jersey, created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is faced with an unusually diverse list of enemies.

    “There are forces united against it on the left side of the aisle and the right of the aisle,” said James Crisfield, a former superintendent of the school district in Millburn, N.J. “We’re also talking about things that are happening to one’s child. You mix that all up into a caldron and it does create some really high levels of interest, high levels of passion — and, shall we say, enthusiasm.”
    New Jersey’s teachers’ union, the New Jersey Education Association, is in the midst of a six-week run of advertisements against the partnership, which features an emotional parent describing his overworked first grader, and another talking about the elimination of science classes to make way for test preparation. (Testing begins in third grade, but the union contends that schools begin grooming students for it earlier.)
    Teachers in the state who instruct classes to be tested will see 10 percent of their evaluation tied to this year’s exams. That is down from the 30 percent the state initially announced. The figure will be re-evaluated before a decision is made on next year’s percentage.
    Steve Wollmer, director of communications for the union, said the group does not oppose teacher evaluations. The union was motivated to get involved, he said, because true teaching is being replaced by test As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out -