Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

Testing Season in Ohio, AGAIN!

testing season

Today isn’t “Good Morning” to me. I’m angry. I awoke non-refreshed after yet another night of broken sleep because of state testing. This is all really getting to me. I’m sick of dreams about kids crying, computers shutting down, trying to hurry to cover more information in class, etc…

Maybe it’s because there is one week left before my fifth-graders will start sitting for 90-minute sessions (which will affect weeks of our school routine) taking state reading tests that I feel with ever fiber of my being are so developmentally inappropriate I could prove it in a court of law.

I’ve spent the past few weeks working late in my classroom. Some nights, I come rolling into my driveway after 7 p.m. I tell myself EVERY YEAR that I will no longer care about this or get sucked into the testing madness. Yet, I take to heart the care of the children on my watch. Because I want to soften and buffer the test-prep for ten-year olds, I keep working after hours to come up with themes of learning and “surprises” to help keep them jumping through state hoops. I try to make the testing game fun, even though everyone loses in the end.

Don’t even tell me schools shouldn’t be doing test prep. Have ‘ya seen the computer program students must master for testing? It’s NEW to them. Actually, it’s the newest of new to them. This is the freaking third state ever-changing test our little elementary children have had to take in the past few years.

They’ve been the victims of:
Ohio NON-Achievement Assessments
then
PARCCC is CCRAP Assessments
and now
“AIR”HEADs MADE THESE TESTS Assessments

Our poor guinea pigs.

Unless you’re a classroom teacher, you can’t fully understand. Even administrators who care so much and have test scores attached to their evaluations, miss parts of the ins and outs of what state testing is doing in mass to individual children on a day to day basis. You have to work like a dog to make preparing for this test fun and engaging. It’s exhausting. (A word of thankfulness: Our superintendent is speaking out at the state level, too. I know from experience he will always put children first.)

Sadly, parents definitely don’t fully understand the assessments that are going on in classrooms because the state specifically withholds information from them. Parents aren’t allowed to see the tests, or even the surveys the students are taking at the end of the tests. Parents aren’t even allowed to know what data is being collected.

Most districts candy coat information to parents (to deter them from refusing the testing for their children, no doubt) going so far as to say that these tests give us valid information.

It’s a lie.

There is nothing valid about this testing. There is not one released test question or graded tests we’ve been “allowed” to see. There is not one way we have of knowing which question a score is attached to in any way, shape, or form.

The phantom scores don’t even come until AFTER a child has moved on to a new grade or in my students’ cases, the middle school.

The people who should be screaming from the rooftops are the teachers because they are in the room on test day to see how inappropriate the testing is and yet, the state has effectively attached their evaluations to these same test results.

In short, a child’s test score equals half of a teacher’s AND a principal’s job evaluation score.

Legislators have removed the Safe Harbor for this bogus system, so guess what?

This year’s student scores will count for a teacher’s 2017-2018 evaluation cycle.

This makes the Ridicu-List.

(To be honest, the Ohio Teaching Evaluation System (OTES) is the least of my concerns. I’m on my way OUT of education and thus far, have been given the state’s top label rating, so my stress isn’t on behalf of me, it’s on behalf of kids.)

High-stakes standardized testing is an education tumor that appears in kindergarten, metastasizes in third grade, and has started to spread by fifth. In middle school, children are so sick of testing they’re becoming lethargic. By high school, some students are goners. Literally. #dropout

Two-thirds of my students came in reading below level this year. Why is that when they had an incredible fourth-grade reading teacher and they passed the Ohio Third-Grade Reading Guarantee?

Because:

Education testing tumors are stealing classroom learning time from children. You can’t keep stealing children’s learning time year after year for dozens of hours of state testing and expect children to learn more, not less.

Education testing tumors are stunting natural reading growth. We don’t read in real life the way we test. We don’t, as adults, do the new “A/B” questions or the “hot text” questions after we read the newspaper. We are unnaturally pushing 8-year olds to be able to type multi-paragraph essays on Chromebooks “on-demand” without even one comma out of place. TOO MUCH TOO SOON!

Education testing tumors are zapping children’s love of literature. Most schools have even gotten rid of their librarians or cut their hours or traded them in for computer programs.(I detest this the most.)

FYI, Ohio elementary schools give one test after another to third-graders, watering them down as they go, until a child can finally pass one test, any test, to fulfill state guidelines. Of course, this means that third-graders are enduring a true theft of critical learning time that can never be regained.

How many hours have my fifth-graders (who were once those same third-graders) already had butt-in-the-seat classroom hours taking high-pressurized, high-anxiety standardized tests prior to this year in which I have to make them do it all again?

Dozens.

My kids will take more hours of testing this spring than they have even had art, music, or physical education classes this entire fifth-grade year.

These kids are 10 years old for God’s sake.

At least some kids are getting spared from the madness. Private school kids and homeschooled kids don’t have to hit the 100 Hours Club of Public School Testing.

Good on ’em. All parents should fight for the same rights and freedom for learning for their children as well.

Actually, parents should be RISING in MASS to stop this insanity. After all, these are their kids and it’s up to them to protect them.

I would NEVER, EVER allow the state to treat my OWN children this way. Heck, I’m the bigmouth who is speaking out about the way the state is treating other people’s children!

There is so much more to say and I’d love to spew about the specifics (like the state’s 10-point writing rubric children are scored on or the compare/contrast three essays insanity), but I need to get ahold of myself, have a cup of coffee, and try to stop thinking about what is in store for these poor kids the week after next.

Testing Season Sucks. Any legislator who is fighting for this (the same legislator who didn’t even have to take a test for his/her OWN job) should have to sit and take these tests, too.

Oh, that’s right. He’s not even allowed to see the same tests he’s mandating.

Nice.

Have a great day.

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Please Sir, Can I Have Some…Scratch Paper?

scratch paperI am a “people person.” Pearson, publishing/testing power-mongers, are the exact opposite. They, as an entity, are totally lacking anything resembling empathy. They have numbed their humane senses with numbers. They have dulled their public relations with the dollar signs and data. What seems to them like practical ways to protect their intellectual property translates perpetually into trying, pressure-packed situations for millions of individual’s lives.

It is intolerable interference in what are already intense testing scenes.

From stories I hear daily, it appears to me that Pearson is suffering from near paranoia (among many other things) which in turn is costing countless people so much time and money. They callously continue as kings in counting houses, completely impervious to the fact that behind every single number they tally, is a story, a journey, a struggle, a goal, a dream, a family, and ultimately A LIFE. The power to leave stories unfinished, to negatively alter so many journeys, to increase existing struggles, to hinder goals, to damper dreams, to adversely affect whole family situations, and ultimately to crush lives should never belong, on such a macro-scale, to any one empire entity.

Their crippling control factor in ordinary people’s daily lives must somehow be forceably, legally downsized. I wish I had the time, in a professional journalistic manner, to research and report the negative chain reactions that have started with a singular Pearson testing condition or result. I wish I could gather the damning data that I KNOW EXISTS. Instead I offer two singular scenarios that to me represent the millions of ridiculous realities.

The first story is from last year! When I initially read this story all I could think was how all diginity and common sense had fled Pearson testing sites. Who knew boot tops had to be a certain width in order to take a teaching certification test?

A teacher went to get state certification in New York. They scanned both sides of her hands and told her that her Ugg boots were too wide and she would need to test barefoot. She refused. They then brought out a ruler and measured the opening and decided it was acceptable afterall. She felt like she was being treated like a criminal, not a college-degreed professional just to take the certification test.

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Unfortunately for adults there are no OPT OUT/TEST REFUSAL opportunities. Pearson holds all the cards. There are no other choices. It is do or die circumstances. Either jump through their hoops or fail, period the end.


This second story was just relayed last week:

Fellow Bats! (www.facebook.com/groups/BadAssTeachers/)  I am as angry as I have ever been in my life! I am retaking the math portion of the elementary subtest this Friday.
I took the original test 30 days ago. The testing center provided dry erase materials and markers only. Which, of course, did not work. My timed test was interrupted several times to get a new marker which did not show up, and so on. Very stressful! I called Pearson to request scratch paper and pencil and explained why. I was denied! Pearson says it
is a testing violation. I was on the phone 2 hours with 10 minutes total being spent with a customer service rep. I feel I purchased that test (twice!) and should be provided with paper and pencil to work the math problems. I fully expect it to be shredded. I administer the PARRC and the students are provided with scrap paper! Any works of advice!?? I told Pearson I would contact my attorney. Yes or no??

There was a resounding response encouraging her to sue. So many seem to have complaints via personal encounters with pervasive Pearson and thus long to see them get a fraction of their comeuppance. But, lawsuits to Pearson are accepted as part of what just goes along with owning an oligopoly. For them it is just business as usual that people are upset or treated unfairly.  I was a lone wolf crying save your money. I even went as far as to say her dollars would be better spent attending our BATs Congress in DC this summer. Pearson does not give an iota about a mere teacher in mere Ohio having to pay a half pence in their mind for another mere test. It does not ever concern them that this aggravation rippled into her motherhood or her teaching profession with emotional and energy draining effects.

These, are just tiny examples of the stress on adults in testing sites. It is not even the tip of the iceberg, but rather like two crystals on the tippy tip of a huge iceberg. In this little burb, I have not even touched on the MILLIONS of children that are seating the PARCC tests this week. (<<OPT OUT/ REFUSE!) In this small blog area I have not discussed at all that in 2013 a half a million folks passed the GED,but  in 2014 only 51,000 passed the GED.

Pearson is daily determined to prevent cheaters so much so that they have entire teams of psychologists studying such. Compassion might dictate researching the numerous psychological ramifications of the nervousness behind test taking and humanity would look to alleviate that in order that more might meet success. But Pearson only sees profit never the actual people. In a million years they would never grasp the weight one sheet of scrap paper could hold in a person’s life.

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Massive Testing: Been There, Done That – 100 Years Ago

Intelligence tests_clip_image002_0000

I am NOT an expert.  As a matter of fact, I am humbly brand new to the topic I am about to discuss. These are my singular opinions and observations – not the words of any group affiliations. I am writing from the simplest level of comparison rather than conclusion. In toggling back and forth between a hundred years ago and today, if one did not know the dates, some of it might not be able to be discerned if it is from the 20th or the 21st century.

I am unquestionably a grassroots activist fighting for PUBLIC SCHOOLS, and advocating for children and teachers. Simultaneously I am in my 26th year of homeschooling my five children. My two sons, who are still being taught at home, are 15 and 18 – a freshman and a senior. We are studying from the book Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement.This is a Resource Book by Facing Ourselves and Our History. When I say “studying” we are reading verbatim straight through the book at a pace of one section daily. It is part of our studies this year in order to better understand racism in a broad institutionalized manner, not just from current news events. For them it has been an eye-opening experience and for me it has been a jaw-dropping journey.

We are well over half finished with the book, but I know for myself I will never be finished with this subject. This book has jolted me in ways I never expected. In an uncanny, disturbing manner, while we are almost weekly holding meetings to help parents REFUSE TESTS in the Ohio Opt Out Movement, and as I am daily reading about PEARSON’s ugly oligolopy in worldwide education, the book’s quotes from one hundred years ago seem relevant today. Seriously, I have been startled by the way much of “intelligence testing” in its origins and explanations, all pompous in junk-science with a drive towards being able to (wrongly) sort and categorize the people with faulty data exclusive of important variables and by way of completely ignoring all other valid sets of research, aligns with today’s toxic testing propagation.

I truly hope I do not give the topic disservice because it is deep, and there is no way in a blog to do anything more than entice the reader to explore more on their own. It is tricky to pull these paragraphs out of the book, without expounding and building on the whole topic, or without supplying the background and context. I long for every single person to read this book cover to cover and for teachers to teach this material. Thankfully, when I scoped out the availability of related resources online, I found a researcher’s treasure trove.

Please do not let the brevity of this blog be the end of your exploration into these matters. Please also, if you pass the link on, do not let that be the end of the discussion but rather the rippling beginning of necessary conversations. I feel this all is important enough to warrant hundreds upon thousands, well truthfully, I would like to see millions digging into this. There are horrible dangers and ramifications to all of this current-day data-collecting and rigid competitive comparisons of whole people groups (THINK PISA) that are looming. There are inhumane terrors that skulk in the shadows of assessing people on a grand scale and then assigning people their “place in the world” via numbers, and bogus sets of numbers, at that.

100 years ago (from ch. 5 intro):

Eugenicists believed that French “intelligence tests”, designed to examine school entrance readiness and thus offer extra help to those who needed it, were the perfect tool to separate the “fit” from the “unfit”. They touted the tests as being able to “not only improve education but also end poverty, prevent crime, and wipe out disease…” But instead, these tests grossly “limited possibilities” for individuals and groups. Science or data was skewed “to justify social inequalities, deny opportunities, and legitimize discrimination.” In an intolerable manner, these tests and their results were used to create an onslaught of punitive, life-altering consequences, which kept children from schools, adults from college or certain jobs, and blocked entrance into our country for immigrants. Actually the extent of the damage from the misuse of the results from these tests had folks unnecessarily institutionalized, prevented  from marriage, and cruelly sterilized, and yes, this was in America. Tons of ‘uncivil’ laws were formed as a result of these tests. But by far and wide the most abhorrent misuse of these early tests was to build a huge agrument of the superiority of the white race over others deemed, damned and doomed by a set of drudged up data.

Today (From a Washington Post Article):

Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, waves his banner of the power of tests to help the neediest schools, yet the punitive side to those falling short of meeting the marked requirements of the tests are unacceptably harming individuals, and whole people groups. Detrimental life-altering consequences to students, teachers, schools, and districts, have washed over any of the supposed intentions.

“No Child Left Behind dramatically expanded the federal role in education. For the first time, states were required to annually test students and make public test scores for different groups — including racial minorities, the disabled, English-language learners and the poor. States were required to make progress toward academic goals for those groups or face penalties.” Conversely RttT test sets are nearly completely void of accomodations for any challenged learner groups. IEPs are being ignored. ESL students test in English only. Unfunded mandates shred the gap between the have’s and have nots.
“The waiver strategy and Race to the Top exacerbated the test fixation that was put in place with No Child Left Behind, allowing sanctions and consequences to eclipse all else,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “From his words today, it seems the secretary may want to justify and enshrine that status quo, and that’s worrisome.”

100 years ago (from reading 7 of ch. 5):

“…Ellwood Cubberly, a professor if education at Stanford and an eugenicist, wrote in 1916:
Our schools are factories in which the raw products are to be shaped and fashioned into products…The specifications for manufacturing come from the demands of 20th century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down. This demands good tools, specialized machinery, and continuous measurement of production,”

Today:
What comes to your mind when you read that quote? I immediately pictured this popular meme:common-Core-1

“Specifications laid down”  = Standardized: Common Core??
“good tools” =  Chromebooks at $200 a pop that will be outdated in two years??
“specialized machinery” = robotic, scripted, low pay-grade transient teachers (TFA)??
“continuous measurement of production” = 27 hours a year of seating tests per student??

A little less than 100 years ago (reading 3 ch.5):

Tests and their sets of scoring and data collection permeated every social institution, and most pervasively the schools. With the tests came their own sets of labeling language. The intelligence tests designed to sort the “fit” from the “unfit”, became tests to spot “feeble-mindedness” created by Alfred Binet, which in turn were translated by Henry Goddard, who added his own labeling system. “He labeled those who earned 25 points or lower “idiots,” those who scored between 25 and 55 “imbeciles,” and those between 55-75 “morons.””

Today:

Teachers recieve labels, based on students’ scores on the tests. These numbers are tatooed on their permanent professional records. This is known as Value Added Measures or Models.
25% growth/VAM:
Highly Effective  22-25
Effective  10-21
Developing  3-9
Ineffective  0-2

100 years ago (reading 3 ch. 5):

The very creator of the original tests, Binet, stated in a powerful, but totally ignored warning:
“Some recent thinkers seem to have given their moral support to these deplorable verdicts by affirming that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be increased, We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism: we must try to demonstrate that it is founded upon nothing.”

Today:

Students and schools are being forever labeled, based on test scores as FAILING OR NOT FAILING.
Schools are being closed from findings based “on nothing!” Highly qualified, experienced, passionate teachers are leaving the profession via this ruthless smear campaign in dangerously high droves. Others, many others, are reacting by fighting back. They are demonstrating protest through the third check system in the United States, as lawsuits are now springing up everywhere.

I could easily fill another 17 blogs with this same amount of direct comparison of testing-related quotes, either in the form of the one’s selling their “snake oil” or in the truths presented but evaded. At the turn-of-the-century much research refute and many warnings were offered in sound scientific manner but those pushing “their agendas” marched on and saturated the higher learning institutes, all public k-12 schools, churches, and numerous other large groups with so much literature and “data sets”, that people by the majority masses were duped into believing their validity. The ripple effects of all of this are still sadly seen today. We are still cleaning up the toxic mess the eugenicists and racists of that era made, 100 years later.

Why, oh why has all of this hypertesting mode even been allowed to get as far as it has gotten?? How, oh how will we be able to stop ‘it’ all dead in its path. How long will it take us to clean up all of the macro-scale mess being made??

In Ohio, just yesterday, an emergency education bill came into play that would seek to completely halt all PARCC testing for the remainder of this school year. (Round 2 of PARCC tests start in two weeks.) In the last few months SAFE HARBOR BILLS have had to come into play to protect students and districts from Ohio’s other education ‘distortion’ bills. (I am still trying to wrap my mind around bills needed to protect us from bills.) Parents’ protective sensors are kicked into high gear as they are firsthand seeing the TIME these tests steal and the STRESS they induce. But no one can see around the future bend of these tests. If a listing of who is “career and college ready” is being collected,  it only makes sense that a list will also exist of who is NOT “career and college ready.”

We must discuss the pride and greed that had some so worried after our international rankings in certain subjects. Those pushing reform have never once been shy in saying it is so we can be globally “competitive.”  We also need to own that there is a very real potential for all of this macro-scale competiveness to go horribly wrong.

We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of what disgusting social dangers all of this can hold. A teacher last night could not emphasize her words enough, that it is NOT JUST PARCC (or SBAC) but this massive testing mentality that must go. I concur!

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Education, Ohio, Test Refusal

Portal to PARCC Chaos

Portal to PARCC Chaos
chaos (1)

A View of Posts from Ohio BATs in One Day!

We are growing by leaps and bounds—100 members per week…for several weeks now. 1600, with connections and branches into several other groups that are easily coming up on the same numbers.

I should be excited, elated even, since we have worked towards being a huge enough presence to make the huge difference we are looking to make. But, I have actually found myself literally clenching my jaw, and almost depressed as our numbers increase. Two nights this week I slept horridly, my rest affected directly by all that folks are sharing. I guess one can imagine how bad something is going to be or feel, but the accuracy of that prediction is something so painful to the psyche when it all becomes reality, that I do not know how to even express it all. Staying calm in the clamor of the chaos as Ohio embarks on this ‘over-testing white-water rafting ride’ is grueling. And for a person, such as myself, who needs humor like we all need air, I am feeling underneath some of it, for NONE of this is funny.

Here are some two-word glimpses just from today’s postings: cautioning teachers, terrible system, frustrates me, stepped on, can’t speak, scare tactics, complete insanity, moral outcome, money maker, just sick, organize more, madness stop, very non-supportive, black sheep, stop bullying, scare tactics, so wrong, [make] them suffer, bitter pill, to blame, got irate, demeaning behavior, real concern, a disaster, going nuts, about to cry, cut-off score, philosopher kings, so sickening, destroy education, manipulate data, smell something rotten, jump ship, massive bribery, government control, every aspect, slip-sliding away…

Amazing what just two-word snags and snippets from a plethora of threads and posts can offer up to others not reading all of it. The negative emote goes on and on and on… Parents, Teachers, and Students…all sharing their ire and/or confusion!

cha·os ˈkāˌäs/

complete disorder and confusion.

“snow caused chaos in the region” [PARCC IS CAUSING CHAOS COMMONLY EVERYWHERE]

synonyms: disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlampandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom;

muddlemessshamblesfree-for-all;

anarchy, lawlessness, entropy;

informal hullabaloohooplatrain wreckall hell broken loose

PARCC = Pure*Asinine*Ridiculous*Corporatist*Chaos

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Education, Ohio, Opt out, Test Refusal

FIGHT FOUR-WAY FEARS!

“Little Tommy TestTaker sang for his District’s Deal Breaker
While Little Suzy Stupor, they Standardized her future.” ~kelly

I am a widow with five children.  I have tremendous patience, or so I have been told.  It seems to take much to push me “over the brim”- but I have had it.  I am there now in Ohio.  I no longer feel tolerant for those who are ill-informed or intentionally deceitful.  I want folks to see the strings on the carrots, not the piped-out, propped-up promises. The worry of “the damage to districts” is the biggest decry currently to those seeking to refuse to have their children partake in the numerous PARCC or similar standardized tests. I feel our largest fight right now is against fear.  The districts are afraid. The teachers are afraid. The parents are afraid.  And, most gut-wrenchingly, the students are afraid.

In the last 24 hours these are a sampling of the waves of thoughts:

“At my grandmas church today, a fifth grader stood up and asked for prayers as he will be taking his PARCC test soon and he “knows it will be very difficult” and he “is afraid [he] will not pass“,

a parent voiced to me in person “I am afraid that I will be seen as crazy, if I am the first one in my school opting my son out”

a teacher concerned about opting her own children out of her school district wrote “I am so sick of being scared”,

and now a superintendent responded to a parent’s questions about opting out with this fear-riddled answer— “The on-line testing required by the state is too intrusive to the learning process in our schools. The student day is disrupted from mid-February to mid-May and our computer labs cannot be used to promote student learning. That being said, opting out of these tests only hurts the district, not the Ohio Department of Education and our State legislators who require these tests. I encourage parents who believe as I do that these tests are too intrusive to the learning process to contact the following people:
Troy Balderson, State Senator
Tim Schaffer, State Representative
Dick Ross, State Superintendent
John Kasich, Governor”

I am the lead administrator in Ohio BATs. I have watched painfully, since the beginning of the year, as Buckeye parents and teachers awaken to the nightmare we plead to prevent.  For two years, we who have fought education ‘reform’ in our Teacher and Parent activist group have known this time would come.  But, like knowing a surgery date, that knowledge has not diminished the pain. Common Chaos or Common Confusion have come.  Much of it is rooted in FEAR.  I want truth to dispel these fears!

Dear fifth grader, I am sorry and so sad to say your fears are founded on truth.
Schneider: The Rapid Decline of Pearson’s PARCC Test …
Dianeravitch.net/…/schneider-the-rapid-decline-of-pearsons-parcctest/Dec 20, 2014 – I desperately need these practice PARCC testing days to teach! …..based on the tests scores designed to produce artificially high failure rates.

Dear Parent, I am sorry and so sad to say your fears may also have some validity.
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid.
Courage means you don’t let fear stop you!”
~Bethany Hamilton

Dear Teacher, I am sorry and so sad to say that your fears are ever so real. You are S.O.L.  “SHIP OUT of LUCK”.  The only way out of this storm right now is THROUGH!  Consciously alter your fear to FIGHT. Your nervousness to angry energy.  And by all means, if there is NOT support in your school, come into Ohio BATs and be with others.  Numbers are our safety net right now!
ship

Wow, so are readers scratching their heads by now? I said I wanted to discharge FEAR and yet three out of four instances, I have said the darkness of fear is real.  It is not a trick; it is all truth.  And it brings me directly to the DISTRICTS.

DEAR DISTRICTS (Superintendents, Admins, and Principals, etc), IT IS YOUR DUTY to recognize the FEARS in your communities, not to ADD INTO IT ALL OR FEED IT MORE!  Your schools are already predestined to be deemed a public letter grade, and for many a failing grade letter. Reformers need you and your schools out so the ‘Pirates of Privatization and Profiteering’ can head your way with charters and TFA! Your teachers are already damned and doomed by the bogus algorithms connected to the results from these high-stakes testing scenarios. The money dangled in front of your district for RttT has long been gone or never really was.  Your district has already been operating on less-than-required-to-properly-resource-funds for several years now.  Education CUTS never heal.  (Go here and look up your county’s “cuts to education” -it will match your books!)

To push pressure off onto parents to not “refuse” testing and ultimately lay responsibility on a child to not only TAKE TESTS, but to do well on them so that you can obtain funding for the district is desperate and cowardly.  To think that writing letters to legislators is the answer (as if that has not already been going on) is delusional.  (And yes, I am daily still writing letters, as should all be writing to our legislators.  But, the ground has to move now— not the clouds.)

Districts are the only ones to have “safe harbor” in 2015 against the punitive repercussions of PARCC PLUS!   (Unless of course, HB7  seeking “safe harbor” for students passes somewhere further on Weds. Feb. 11th  )

Dare I say to the District Leaders, YOU NEED TO OWN YOUR LINE OF DEFENSE FOR YOUR COMMUNITY!
You need to quit looking over your shoulder at the threats from on high, and start staring hard in the tearful faces of your students (kids, children, babies—all of those terms work) and your teachers.

I seriously so needed to hear the  superintendents’ voices who are speaking out against all of this over-testing recently and ongoing. They are bold in their bravery and bonded in the truth they speak.

Dear Districts, DO NOT DISSUADE PARENTS from ‘stabbing at the eye of this beast’ by exercising their constitutional rights to protect their children. You do understand your job is also in the beasts’ ‘line of firey breath’?

If you want to be afraid of anything,  you should fear your primary stakeholders finding out later that you gave them a boatload of guilt manipulations. Your parents with all of their upset should be welcome openly to express those feelings and act as they best see fit for their child(ren) without nary a hindrance sentence from you or your offices either verbally or written. Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

When my husband was dying, we were so afraid….our fears were so real….five babies we had between the ages of 1 ½ and 13. My husband chose Garth Brook’s song “The River” to help us through. I find it apropos for all that all are experiencing now. Let’s ALL SAIL OUR VESSELS!

~Kelly A. Braun

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