Creepish

8 February, 2015
Rat Fink

Story time:

Friday, I received my first warning of sorts that I, as a faculty member, might be getting too close to the CC high-stakes testing controversy. An anonymous someone put this document from the Ohio Department of Education in my mailbox, as if to say, You’re fighting a losing battle, because there is no law that supports test refusal, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. Well, I sent an all-faculty email, asking for the person to please contact me. You know, because I have information for him/her. Truth is, ODE is having to regroup, which is resulting in scare tactics threatening retention and denial of graduation. The plot is not without precedent: give the people just enough incomplete propaganda, and they’ll acquiesce out of fear. I’ll let your imagination run wild on how many times, and in how many different scenarios, that trick has played out in world history.

Edit: The person contacted me, and all is OK.

ODE is banking on the assumption that parents will not question this edict, and they’ll just “go along to get along.” Whether or not that will happen in my district has yet to be seen, but quiet obedience is not cutting the muster in other areas, and you know, stuff like that tends to develop a life of its own. It wouldn’t be the first time a band of citizens rose up to fight the Billionaire Boys’ Club.

The fact remains that while some tests are validated and distributed for good cause, the endless days of mindless drilling for PARCC and AIR and dozens of other ill-begotten, inappropriate, unnecessary acronym tests are hurting children (especially those in the elementary grades), while blind eye after blind eye turns away. For over a year now, I’ve been borderline silent — at least overtly, publicly — about it. In fact, this is the first time that I’ve really released the Kraken on the subject. So, when I press “Publish” on this post, I guess it’s on. Let ’em come after me, because I won’t back down. Common Core and HST are bad for kids. You may not notice it now, or even a year from now. But let these kindergarteners process through the system, and check on them when they’re juniors. You do it, because I’ll be unable to bring myself to look.

I read an op-ed yesterday that described the inappropriateness of CC as “outrageously wordy micromanagement.” That about says it all for me, and I’m not even a victim of CC — yet. I predict my swan song will be written when I patently refuse to insult and degrade my students and my art in the name of profit any further, and somebody high up decides that choral music is too much of a non-event in the big scheme of getting kids “college and career ready,” and needs to be put in the dustbin with the rest of the creative processes that used to happen at school. Because what can’t be counted doesn’t count. Anyone who supports Common Core/HST and disagrees with that statement is lying, either to you or to himself.

I also predict that many unlovely comments will be made about me — both in secret and to my face — on this issue. It’s all right; I’m ready. Because, to quote Bill Shakespeare, truth will out. I just hope I’m around to see it.

Hopefully, many will join to take up this sword and fight to save our neighborhood schools, because frankly, continued silence only indicates compliance. The fight against CC/HST is not a conspiracy; it’s a national emergency.

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Patti Seidel
Patti Seidel
8 February, 2015 9:56 am

Wow. This sounds like bullying to me! An anonymous warning? What are we into here? If CCSS and PARCC and AIR are so stupendous, then why the threat to keep quiet? I am so confused by it all. I have parents asking me questions that I don’t have answers to because, to be frank, we haven’t been educated in this whole area as teachers. I had a parent call me at home to question me on the PARCC. She told me that a friend of hers is a superintendent at an Ohio district. He got the parents and the board… Read more »

Stoney
Stoney
8 February, 2015 11:15 am

Last week i grudgingly printed off the 7th grade PARCC practice test and did my best to be a “standardized test “cheerleader”. We got through the first section. The second section had three different passages about electricity. The students have not yet studied electricity. I know the argument against that statement. When we got to the essay which was very long and involved-I just wandered around while they tried to write about something they just are not ready for-and my heart broke. The glazed, uninterested and frustrated faces literally made me sick to my stomach. I love teaching and I… Read more »

David
David
8 February, 2015 12:11 pm

Fear has always been the great divider of Truth; those unsure are fearful of that which they do not want to be true as opposed to those who are certain of their truth. Coming to you anonymously is a fear response! How sad for your colleague! I know my friend Ms Finster, for decades now, always comes at something straight and never anonymously! My life is littered full with teachers that I love and care about deeply and PARCC and the like are nothing more than shackles on their lives and their passion to teach. It is such a wonderfully… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
8 February, 2015 1:45 pm

So no one else got this document from the Ohio Department of Education in their mailboxes? You are the only one?

I guess that the person doing this is threatened, then. If that is so then that is usually reason to carry on!

Fight the fight, just be careful sweetums. Bad things can happen to good people. :)

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Mavis
Mavis
8 February, 2015 2:27 pm

I’m not a teacher, just your sister. You have been fighting for the right thing most of your life. You’re one of the bravest people I know! The person that put that “thing” in your mailbox, is a coward. If they’re so against what you stand for, why the secrecy? Your family and friends are on your side, Birdie. We love you and will also protect you!

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Jennifer
Jennifer
8 February, 2015 6:12 pm

For the last several years, I’ve sympathized with parents and grandparents who told me, “I sure didn’t learn this in kindergarten!” I understand– from my kindergarten experience, I seem to mainly remember snack time, play time, and field trips. I continually tell them, “It’s not my mandate- it’s from the state.” I find myself feeling as if I may be caught doing something wrong when, during the course of our school day, I give my 5- and 6-year old students some extra recess or indoor play time… It’s becoming worse with the push for testing at the younger grades. In… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
10 February, 2015 1:08 pm
Reply to  Jennifer

Jennifer how frustrating!!! I used to teach First Grade and the last couple of years I taught we had to give an assesment test, I don’t remember what it was called. The hardest part for the children was filling in the circles!! And sitting still for that long. I can’t even imagine Kindergartners having to sit at a computer for almost an hour taking a test. It just goes to show you that the developers of these tests have NO CLUE. Hang in there, I hope things can get better for teachers and students alike and you can get back… Read more »

Katherine
Katherine
9 February, 2015 2:47 pm

Here is a useful list of links for parents and educators wishing to opt out of testing including support groups, form letters, petitions, and a news story about a teacher boycott: http://www.fairtest.org/get-involved/opting-out

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Greg
Greg
16 February, 2015 11:02 am

Various forms of “standardized” testing have been around for over 50 years. However they were used for diagnostics only! That is, they were used to isolate certain issues for which a class might be deficient. For example, in math studies, a diagnostic test might find that a particular class was lacking in fraction skills. The results could then be implemented with more emphasis put on the study of fractions. When I was “in the trenches” the notion of using “industrialized” words such as benchmark spooked me. It was if a student was being used as a raw machine part which,… Read more »