This is our opportunity to make a difference.
The “education reformers” and their corporate partners are making their push to undermine and destroy public education.
Public school teachers are on the picket line in Chicago. The strike is not the traditional battle over fair pay, as much as it is a about a group of courageous teachers, willing to standing up to the forces that see children as a vehicle for making money.
The reforms will say or do anything to deny their true intent.
But as noted earlier, in the greatest irony of all, it was Paul Ryan, the politician who can’t seem to ever tell the truth that actually explained what is happening in Chicago.
Yesterday Ryan proclaimed. “We stand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”
Adding moments later, he added, “We will stand with education reform…”
The one time Ryan tells the truth is to make it clear, the Chicago Teachers Strike is about our generation’s equivalent of the fight against the Military Industrial Complex.
There is a group of corporations, led by a group of “education reformers,” and backed by a group of Republican and Democratic politicians, all of whom are engaged in an effort to destroy public education, and hand the nation’s education system over to corporations and consultants, who can then make a huge amount of money.
The “reformers” weapon of choice is turning American public schools into standardized testing factories. Despite the academic evidence that proves standardized testing doesn’t lead to educational achievement, the massive increase in the use of standardized testing is designed to make the educational industry rich…and it is doing just that.
In this era of scarce resources, where class sizes grow, students don’t have the supplies they need and “non-essential” courses like art, music, and foreign language courses are being canceled, the money being diverted to more standardized testing is skyrocketing.
From 2000 to 2015, taxpayers in the State of Texas will shell out $1.2 billion to the Pearson Corporation for developing and scoring standardized tests.
New York City plans to spend over half a billion dollars on technology in schools, not to ensure that children have access to computers, but to make sure that there are enough computers so that all students can take the new computer based standardized tests that are required under the Race to the Top Program.
George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program required over 17 different standardized tests, and the Bush/Obama “Race to the Top” program requires even more.
When Connecticut’s Governor, Dannel Malloy, introduced his “education reform” package last February, it included a proposal for a new standardized test for all 11th graders in Connecticut.
Halfway through the legislative session, Malloy uttered his now famous line; “I don’t mind teaching to the test, as long as the test scores go up.”
When the Connecticut General Assembly finished up with Malloy’s “education reform” package, the concept of a new 11th grade test was replaced with standardized testing in kindergartners, first grade and second grade.
Just this month, Paul Vallas, Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools, and education reformer extraordinaire, announced an unprecedented standardized testing assault on Bridgeport’s students and their teachers.
Paul Vallas unilaterally announced that starting this year, in addition to the two weeks of Connecticut Mastery testing that is required by the Connecticut State Department of Education, Vallas is ordering that all students in grades 3-11 complete three additional two-week rounds of standardized testing.
Students in Hartford already face this type of abusive policy.
The evidence could not be clearer. Poverty, language barriers and percent of students who need special education services are the three greatest predictors of standardized test scores. Faced with the challenge of confronting those issues, corporate “education reformers” say those problems can be resolved simply by adding more standardized testing and then using those results to inappropriately identify which teachers should be retained and which should be fired.
The logic of their strategy is beyond absurd.
Yet key leaders at the federal and state level, including Democrats, are pushing for a strategy in which the only beneficiaries will be the corporations that are salivating at the chance of getting the multi-million dollar contracts.
It is time for parents, grandparents and all of us who believe in the sanctity of a quality public education to stand up and enough.
And we can start by signing the attached is a petition that is sponsored by Parents Across Connecticut, and other organizations that are sick and tired of the politicians who are selling out our children, as a way to appease the corporate education reformers.
Please take a moment to sign this important petition.
Make sure you ask each and every one of your friends, families and colleagues to sign as well.
Us the power of social networking to make it clear to Connecticut’s elected officials that they must stop the over reliance and standardized tests and shift those resources to programs that actually educate our children.
This is the moment to fight back.
It is the moment to stand up to those who want to privatize our schools.
It is the moment that we can begin to take back our government and our economy.
ALSO, PLEASE NOTE: While this petition is legitimate and will only be used in the effort to reduce standardized testing, carefully determine who is sponsoring any other petitions that pop up immediately after you sign this one or any other on-line petitions that are recommended to you. In the past, Michelle Rhee, the anti-public education activist, has posted innocent-sounding petitions, for example, anti-bullying petitions, that pop up. By signing those without realizing who is sponsoring them, people have had their names and contact information used by her organization. If you do not know the organization behind the petition, DO NOT SIGN it.”