Michelle McNeil, reporting on ESEA Flexibility, September 28th, 2011:
To be freed from [NCLB's 100% proficiency] 2014 deadline, and to have more flexibility in using Title I money, states will have to agree to do three main things. They will have to adopt college- and career-ready standards and tie state tests to them….
Arne Duncan speaking at the Education Sector Forum, September 30th, 2011:
There exists a naked ambition amongst the networked and privileged #edreformers to measure learning by test scores, to measure teachers by test scores, to measure teacher preparation programs by test scores, and to use the wealth of billionaires to insure that all media-covered and -sponsored conversations about the purpose of public education come back to test scores.
There is nothing in the unseemly and Constitutionally suspect federal agenda that does not explicitly benefit an individual, organization, or school system helmed by one of the yes-persons paying homage to a fellow yes-person in the public-private mash-up that is – in my estimation – our President’s attempt to get by on the money of billionaires rather than the money of education unions, with whom I disagree on labor relations, homeschooling, and some pedagogy.
Frankly, I am heartbroken and greatly angered by the cynicism and hypocrisy of it all – it’s as if President Obama, Arne Duncan, and the handful of would-be crusaders from Class Warfare have decided to spin the law using executive decrees so that they can advance their education agenda no matter what. Forgive me my naiveté – my guys? No! Couldn’t be!
I decry No Child Left Behind for its subservience to standardized testing and all the damage it does to education in the name of schooling. It is so important that we assume accountability for gifting an inspiring education to every child; it is also so important that we understand there are better ways to assess ourselves and our students than standardized tests.
However, No Child Left Behind is the law, and I don’t decry the rule of law. It’s better to dismantle standardized testing legally than to create more opportunities for testing growth on standardized tests outside of NCLB.
And it’s better to protest than to pretend.
If you would occupy your statehouse to keep your job, pay, and benefits, please also consider occupying your classroom.
- Give your students at least a day a week to follow their passions.
- Get rid of your furniture. Help kids borrow, bring, or build their own.
- Get rid of your textbooks. Or redact them.
- Ask kids to make sense of the world as it happens across media and technologies.
- Build communities instead of reinforcing expectations.
It will be very scary, but not as scary as what others face. It will be very uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as remaining silent. It will cost us some, but without making some sacrifice we shouldn’t expect or ask our students to save us or our world.