A blog post for no other reason, but to mark this glorious day in history…
For more snark – Check out GrassRoots Mom Podcast
Are our children being used in a new, horrible form of the Hunger Games? Are the odds ever in their favor?
Are you willing to be a tribute for your child? Listen in to learn how …
OK. Let me just put this out there. I’m guessing since I’ve been a card carrying, blue dog democrat, for decades, I have earned the right to say it. So here goes.
I hope the Republicans do block President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.
Yup. I don’t trust him. I did once.
I definitely don’t anymore.
Go ahead. Attack away at me for saying it. But, tell me this.
Do you trust a man who gave you Rahm Emmanuel, Arne Duncan, The Race to the Top, and John King?
Nope. Neither do I.
For more snark by GatorbonBC, check out my podcast: GrassRoots Mom
Some of my favorites …
Oh Your data wall is so pretty! The high level kids are butterflies and the low level kids are worms. How cute! Oh? Those are caterpillars? Oh, Of course …
Spreadsheets are my life. Ask me for a benchmark, I will print you a pile of proficiency before you can say jebs a jerk 5 times fast …
Today, kids, we will practice three important lockdowns that could save our lives … tornado lockdown, intruder lockdown, and testing lockdown.
But, I don’t understand? How do you show the kid met the benchmark without data?
This test is transformative, I tell ya… It will teach me how to be a better teacher. I just know it will.
I’m concerned. You’re 1st grader is not college and career ready. We recommend tutoring and soon …
You don’t have a choice.
No choice? Meh. I bet I do ….
For more GatorbonBC ranting, follow me at Grassroots Mom Podcast
Eat a biscuit. It’ll be OK…
I am excited to announce my first book, Meh. When A Teacher Shrugs. This is the story of two students who must learn to cope when their favorite teacher gets fed up with testing and walks off the job. Follow their journey as they face the ultimate test of their integrity.
If you haven’t had a chance to purchase a copy of Meh. When A Teacher Shrugs, check out my Margo Lynne author page to download a copy or purchase a paperback! I even give a sneak peak into the book ! Be sure to leave your email to join my book club for blog posts, great offers and freebies !
Download on Amazon here :
Chicago has got it going on …
By it – I mean a huge ‘Opt Out’ movement. Parents have figured out that their children are taking too many standardized tests. They have figured out that the high stakes attached to those tests are destroying their schools and robbing their kids of a true education. And, they have had enough.
Take a look at this video of Chicago parent, Rousemary Vega, at today’s Chicago Board of Education meeting. She opted her child out of testing and now she is speaking up for Chicago teachers who are being threatened with disciplinary action.
She questions the Board: “I opt my children out of ISAT testing and the teachers get in trouble for it?” Then she speaks up and tells the truth, to a crowd of applause: “You shouldn’t punish teachers for standing up for our children. They are the ones who know what is going on in the classrooms.”
Watch her video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS6Q2WzFliA
It is no wonder that Rousemary is what we fondly call a BADASS MOM. She has had it with these so called reforms that led to the closing of her own children’s neighborhood schools. She has had it with the over testing of her children. She has had it with these for-profit charter schools and management companies that are pilfering off her neighborhood schools.
She tells the Board of Ed: “Private, charter, whatever it is … it all sounds the same – Ching Ching Ching Money Money”
Then one by one, in the space of her two minutes at the microphone, she asks the right questions:
“Can we be respected as parents?”
“How fair is that for my student?”
“How do I explain that to my kids?
“How do I explain that their school wasn’t good enough for them but it is good enough for outsiders?”
“Why do you break up communities and expect us to sit still?”
And as she is escorted away, with her voice choking back tears, she calls out the words that bring tears to every mother watching: “I need more than two minutes … as a mother I am asking for … “
End tape. Rousemary didn’t get another minute.
But she will be back. And, she will continue to inspire teachers and parents everywhere. And they will be back, too …
One by one. This will happen.
Thank you, Rousemary Vega. You are my personal hero !
For more on the situation in Chicago, check out this article:
For more on opting out : UnitedOptOut.com
Photo Credit: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/
I have recently considered doing a regular pod cast on education. I debated a name for this new series. Tonight, I decided on a name. While listening to my favorite podcast, a 1930’s radio show entitled, ‘Behind the Mike’ I decided to call my show ‘Behind the Test’.
I hope to dive deep into this recent obsession with high stakes testing in schools. To start off this announcement, I will share a tweet by a friend today. She is opting her child out of testing.
Retweeted (@MSGunderson): My son, who is in 8th grade and opted out, asked me to write this on his forearm in protest. http://t.co/HlkPnPfND5
This is the state of testing in education today.
Read the writing on the wall … on the arms … behind the test.
To repost friend and fellow education advocate, Dr. Mark Naison : “Interrogation of opting out children by lawyers for the Chicago Public Schools is one of the sickest examples of police state tactics I have heard of in some time- a new low at a time when the bar of decency and morality has already been lowered substantially. We all need to stand up against this as if it were our own children being interrogated, because it is only a matter of time before others in power duplicate this outrage.”
More on Chicago Schools here:
First podcast tomorrow, March 22nd. #BehindTheTest
Behind The Mike:
I am a teacher in Florida.
Today, during spring break, a friend and colleague encouraged me to log into my school email and read a letter from our FL Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart.
Her letters tend to come wrapped in much controversy, so I took the plunge and opened the email. Here is her letter below. I will reserve judgement, except to share a few info links below the letter (to give it a frame of reference, ya know).
I am assuming sharing is allowable as our Commissioner’s communication department preempted the letter with the words: “We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and your students’ families.”
So, here is me sharing. What do you think?
I have already heard from one parent who responded with links re the Gates connection. See links below Commissioner Stewart’s letter:
Dear Florida Educators:
Thank you for all you are doing to prepare Florida students for success in the classroom and beyond. Please see Commissioner Stewart’s letter to teachers regarding Florida’s new statewide assessment at http://www.fldoe.org/pdf/CommissionersMessageTeachers3-17-14.pdf.
We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and your students’ families.
Sincerely, The Office of Communications and External Affairs
Full text below.
MESSAGE TO TEACHERS FROM COMMISSIONER PAM STEWART
I know that this has been an exciting time for all of us involved in education and especially for those of you who are devoting each and every day to helping prepare Florida children for success in college, career and in life. Your work has resulted in improved student performance in so many areas and in Florida becoming a national model in public education. I cannot thank you enough.
With your input and dedication, we have successfully taken the steps to implement the Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts for all students. I appreciate the support and excitement so many of you have shown for the new standards, and I have heard from so many of you who are embracing the flexibility in your daily instruction and opportunities for our children to develop more critical and analytical thinking skills.
Building on our history of improving student achievement, we are ready to move forward. With the State Board of Education’s unanimous approval of updates to the Florida Standards in February, I have chosen the not-for-profit American Institutes for Research to provide the new English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessment, which will be administered in the 2014-15 school year. I am confident that this new assessment is the best decision for Florida’s students. The new assessment will measure each child’s progress and achievement on Florida Standards. With the high quality instruction that you provide, the assessment will help us keep all students on their path to be college and career ready. In his Executive Order, Governor Rick Scott outlined the objectives for this new assessment, and these assessments meet each of those.
I also have heard over and over from teachers that you want tests that provide a more authentic assessment of our students’ grasp of the Florida Standards. These assessments will do that, because they will include more than multiple choice questions. Students will be asked to create graphs, interact with test content and write and respond in different ways than on traditional tests. New question types will assess students’ higher order thinking skills in keeping with the higher expectations of the Florida Standards. Later this spring, students, educators and parents will be able to preview samples of new question types by taking practice tests that will be made available for anyone interested in reviewing them.
I am sure many of you will have questions and will receive many questions from parents and colleagues as well. We have prepared some answers to potential questions. Please feel free to review that document and our press release announcing this decision at http://www.fldoe.org/eduaccsummit.asp.
I am proud to say that the Florida Standards and this new assessment are the result of unprecedented input from teachers, educators and the public. We will continue to work directly with teachers and school districts as we develop this new assessment.
We will also continue to provide information to support your work. Please share this message and encourage your colleagues to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue receiving updates on this and other topics.
I look forward to working with you together on this truly historic effort to help our students succeed. Thank you for all you do.
There you have it. I shared with some close friends immediately.
One parent responded with this information: “From Gates Foundation website…. “Partners include representatives of the following institutions and organizations: American Institutes for Research…”
“We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and your students’ families.” #TheirWords #DoIt
FLORIDA PLEASE SHARE AND RALLY TOMORROW !
Awake The State Rallies all over Florida tomorrow, March 4th.
Find a rally near you !
Make a sign with the VAM equation
Tell THEM to keep their junk math away from our kids and our pensions.
When I say THEM …
I mean those particular Representatives and
Senators behind these destructive education policies.
I mean the Governor we see on commercials.
I mean the reformer profiteers with their corporate charter schools,
who are waiting in the midst for our schools to crumble.
I mean THEM … the billionaire Jeb and Gates club … THEM.
Let THEM know our kids are not data points.
Let THEM know our teachers are not dispensable.
Let THEM know our public schools should not be ripped apart and then
flipped onto the real estate market like cheap condos …
Let THEM know if they try,
THEY WILL LOSE.
Speak up tomorrow… Awake – Activate – Agitate
See AwakeTheState.com for a rally near you.
“Somehow, 98 percent of teacher evaluations suggest we accomplished that, even though school grades dropped statewide … That’s not to say our students or our schools are failing. Far from it. It does show that one critical tool for improvement has not yet worked the way it should.”
Here is a no brainer … maybe it is not the teachers or the students.
Maybe, just maybe, it is the test? Hmmm?
If you got a ticket for driving 100 mph on a highway and you know you were only going 60 … you would go to court and the officer would have to show proof of maintaining and calibrating his radar.
I want to check Pearson’s radars (woops, I mean tests). Don’t you?
Florida parents … call, write FL DOE today. Ask to see your child’s tests and answers. You have the right. I bet you will find the answer you are looking for.
After all, the only growth Pearson Test Corporation is measuring is the growth of their profits. #ChaChing
photo via totallyfreedownload.net