Pryor to drop a $1 million to persuade voters to support Common Core

It’s no joke…

According to an article in the Waterbury Republican-American, despite the fact that the federal government is forcing states to adopt the Common Core and Connecticut is already well down the path of implementing the Common Core, the Malloy Administration and its Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor are planning to drop $1 million in taxpayer funds on a PR effort to “persuade”  people to support the ill-conceived and poorly implemented program.

The Republican-American’s Bruno Matarazzo Jr. writes;

“The state is looking to spend up to $1 million to hire a public relations firm to help promote the new Common Core curriculum standards, which have faced a growing number of opponents.

Four bids have been submitted to the state Department of Education but no firm has been picked yet, according to department spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly.

The department wants to hire a company to help state education leaders develop a communication strategy and implementation-through-media campaigns, marketing material and public events, according to the department’s request for proposal.

The move is to counter the growing number of people who are opposing the new standards, which nationalize curriculum standards across the country.”

Matarazzo adds;

“The biggest threat to the Common Core, according to the State Department of Education, has been the state’s ability to counter the negative messaging effectively, according to a question and answer section of the request for proposal document.

The state downplayed the plans to hire the PR firm, for a contract that would run until December 1, 2014.

“Most educators are knowledgeable about the Common Core and are enthusiastic about the implementation of these college- and career-ready standards. One of our main priorities has been finding the best ways to support teachers and administrators during this transition,” said Kelly Donnelly in a statement.

“As critically important as it is to support teachers and schools with this implementation, we think it is equally important to ensure that parents, communities, future employers and the general public also understand how the transition currently underway in our schools will better support student success and prepare a world-class workforce.”

The full article, which is behind a pay wall, can be found at:  http://www.rep-am.com/news/local/773443.txt … but even if you don’t read the full piece … you get the sense.

School libraries without librarians and books, many schools across Connecticut that don’t have the resources to purchase critical services and Commissioner Pryor is planning to spend $1 million on a pro-common core public relations campaign.

And in Washington – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan explains problem with Common Core…some Kids “Aren’t Brilliant”

The following blog is cross posted from Some Kids “Aren’t Brilliant”? This Duncan Blunder Is Bigger Than It First Appears by teacher, public education advocate and blogger Mercedes Schneider.

In May 2010, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the first annual “Mom Congress” at Georgetown University. Duncan’s goal, as reported on the USDOE website, was “to discuss how to effect meaningful change in American education and to mobilize millions of parents to become more involved in their children’s learning.” [Emphasis added.]

Duncan wants parents to be “more involved” in the educational process. But there is a hitch– as there always is with the reformer version of “parental involvement”:

The parental involvement must coincide with the reform agenda.

Consider this excerpt from Duncan’s speech at the May 2010 Moms Congress:

Parents can serve in at least one of three roles: Partners in learning, advocates and advisors who push for better schools, and decision-makers who choose the best educational options for their children.

When parents demand change and better options for their children, they become the real accountability backstop for the educational system. Parents have more choices today than ever before, from virtual schools to charters to career academies. And our schools need empowered parents.

We need parents to speak out and drive change in chronically-underperforming schools where children receive an inferior education. With parental support, those struggling schools need to be turned around now—not tomorrow, because children get only one chance at an education. [Emphasis added.]

Our little Democratic US Sec of Ed is promoting the Jeb Bush/American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) agenda of school closure, online schools, charters, and vouchers.

These are the “choices” Duncan is willing to allow parents to make.

But what if those moms decide that they do not want the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (also a Bush-endorsed reform) Duncan is so fond of defending?

Well, first Duncan tries to ignore these mothers’ (and other caregivers’) complaints and publicly attribute CCSS opposition to“ideologues and extremists in our [political] parties”. (It seems when it comes to education reform, the US no longer has two political parties, just one mammoth party in favor of education reform.)

However, parental complaints against CCSS continue to mount (just peruse Diane Ravitch’s blog on the subject).

In my own school district in Louisiana, parental discontent over CCSS led to our district’s drafting an anti-CCSS resolution in October.

Bottom line: A growing number of parents do not want CCSS.

So, how does Duncan decide to address the anti-CCSS sentiment that is clearly originating with parents?

He hones in on the “White suburban” mothers and chooses to publicly state that these mothers just can’t seem to admit that their children “aren’t brilliant.” Notice how Duncan immediately attempts to put words into parents’ mouths by his adding that the parents are also upset with the quality of the schools their children attend:

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were….” [Emphasis added.]

Aside from the obvious foolishness of Duncan’s singling out “White suburban mothers” and publicly insulting both them and the intelligence levels of their children, Duncan has actually made a bigger blunder:

He has just undermined the entire foundation of education reform: Lack of educational achievement is never the child’s fault. The child has limitless potential. If children aren’t ”college and career ready,” it’s the teachers. It’s the schools. Never the kids.

Duncan used to promote the “potential in every child” mantra. He eagerly reinforced it when speaking at the Moms Conference in 2010:

To see the extraordinary potential that every child has, no matter where they come from—that is what I learned from my mother’s work–and that is what drives me today. We cannot let any child fall through the cracks…. [Emphasis added.]

So let’s get this straight: When it comes to enlisting parental involvement in school closures, and online education, and vouchers, and charters, Duncan is doing so because he believes in “the extraordinary potential that every child has.”

However, when  it comes to parents’ knowing that CCSS is the problem and not their children– when it comes to parents fighting CCSS because they see their children “falling though the CCSS cracks”– Duncan insults both children and parents and clings like a needy lover to CCSS.

If the “problem” is that the children “aren’t brilliant,” as Duncan says– that the children lack the potential to master CCSS– then basing teacher evaluations on student test scores is moot, and grading schools is moot,  and school choice to “improve educational options” is moot, and closing community schools only to replace them with charters is moot.

NOTE:  A number of readers have a pointed out that there is a petition circulating to demand that the President remove Arne Duncan from his post:

Here is the link the the petition:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-arne-duncan-secretary-education/w0DYCDDm

A profound observation from a Connecticut teacher and public education advocate…

More and more parents are questioning the Common Core standards and testing scheme being pushed by the corporate education reformers.  A recent letter to the editor entitled, “Many parents don’t understand the impact of Common Core,” prompted Connecticut educator (and Wait, What? regular) Linda Hall to provide this background piece about the Common Core.

Linda writes as a teacher and parent to elaborate on the full impact of Race to the Top law (RTTT) and the fact that the federal government tied education funding to the requirement that states accepted the Common Core and agreed to implement a teacher evaluation system which tied test scores to “performance”.

Linda further explains;

Kids are now mules for a teacher evaluation program and they are guinea pigs for the testing industry. If you hear about more money being spent on education, please be aware it is funneled towards: testing, computer upgrades, more administrators, consultants, standardized assessments and CCS materials.

Evidently we can’t trust our teachers anymore. As a matter of fact, professional judgment is now an oxymoron. The present evaluation system is NOT about improving.  It is all about PROVING.

Teachers must constantly collect quantitative data to prove their worth, namely test scores. Applying business principles to educating children is the new frontier. However, teachers are accountable every minute of every day. We are accountable to your children and here are the “metrics” we use: looking, listening, sharing, creating, enjoying, supporting, mentoring, trusting, respecting and cheering.

Here’s the theory: once we get rid of all the bad teachers, test scores will improve. Apparently higher test scores equals a better education for all, thus all national problems will be solved. Politicians simplify a complex problem on the backs of teachers and ignore the growing income inequity in our country. It appears that’s not an issue they’re capable of solving. 

If you think this system will weed out low performing teachers, you are mistaken. We will lose the experienced, creative, independent thinkers. But maybe that’s the goal. Who wants qualified, confident professionals teaching problem solving and critical thinking if test scores are all that matter?

So don’t fall for the national plan. There are always winners and losers in a race. Since RTT is a stimulus plan for the education industrial complex, masquerading as reform, who are the winners?

Linda Hall
Connecticut Educator

This piece first appeared in the Republican-American Newspaper

Wendy Lecker – “Common Core using children as guinea pigs”

Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Barak Obama, Arne Duncan and the entire Corporate Education Reform Industry is busy selling the American people on the notion that without the full and complete adoption of the Common Core Standards, Common Core Curriculum and Common Core Testing Scheme, America’s best days are behind us.

Jeb Bush Defends Common Core At ALEC Meeting and Jeb Bush defends Common Core and Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush warn Michigan legislators against abandoning Common Core standards and JEB BUSH AND JOEL KLEIN:  The Case for Common Educational Standards and Arne Duncan tells newspaper editors how to report on Common Core and Arne Duncan: Beating Up on Common Core Is ‘Political Silliness’ and Arne Duncan Defends Common Core, Ridicules Critics and Obama quietly implements Common Core.

Their message seems to come down to the false rhetoric and hyperbole that the choice facing American education is the adoption of “The Common Core Standards” or nothing.

They’d have us believe that one path would lead our nation and its children to success, the other to ruin and failure.

It is almost as if they take great pride in the fact that the simplistic arguments have no academic basis in fact.

The truth is that these corporate education reformers have become the living, breathing example of those who live by the creed, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Well the facts are exactly what pro-public education advocate and fellow blogger, Wendy Lecker, has been bringing to the discussion over and over again.

In here latest column, entitled “Common Core using children as guinea pigs” uses the truth to condemn the incredible lies the corporate reformers are trying to force upon public education in America.

As usual, Wendy Lecker’s latest piece published in the Stamford Advocate and other Hearst Media Group newspapers is a “Must Read.”

Common Core using children as guinea pigs (By Wendy Lecker)

The nationwide rollout of the Common Core standards is an experiment on our children that violates all standards of human subject research.

The Common Core was rushed into schools before the curricula were developed and aligned to the standards, and before the tests were finalized and aligned to the curricula. Alignment is independent verification that a curriculum addresses standards, and that tests assess what the curriculum teaches; and is particularly necessary when high stakes are attached to tests. Those who insist that test scores should determine teacher effectiveness, school quality and whether a student is ready to graduate have a responsibility to guarantee that the tests actually measure what teachers teach and students learn.

The Common Core is being implemented not only before the curricula and tests are independently deemed valid. The curriculum in many cases is not even written. New York’s Education Commissioner admitted that the Common Core curriculum modules are being written as the school year unfolds. A curriculum not yet written cannot be aligned. Likewise, the Common Core tests are not finalized. The tests are being developed independently of the states and school districts; by contractors hired by two multi-state consortia. It is impossible that these unfinished tests are aligned to curricula now being taught.

This type of experimentation would never be allowed in research. Human subject research must adhere to three basic principles: (1) respect for individuals; respecting their autonomy; (2) beneficence; doing no harm and maximizing possible benefits while minimizing risks; and (3) justice; taking special care not to exploit vulnerable groups.

Ethics requires that subjects participate in an experiment knowingly and voluntarily. A recent poll revealed that the majority of Americans know nothing about the Common Core. Moreover, parents, children and teachers had no choice but to comply with the standards and tests.

The most glaring ethical violation concerns the prohibition against doing harm. The focal point of the Common Core is high-stakes standardized testing. We now know that education based on high-stakes tests not only fails to raise achievement but also harms learning, by narrowing the curriculum, increasing anxiety and diverting resources from methods that actually improve achievement. Officials imposing the Common Core knowingly embarked on a course that hurts students. At public hearings, parent after parent told New York’s Education Commissioner King that their children now hate school, and children testified about their anxiety and despair. A Greenwich, Connecticut official acknowledged that Common Core testing in 11th grade, when students take AP tests, SATs, SAT subject tests and ACTs, will cause undue stress. Parents and teachers report that the Common Core makes no adjustments for children learning English or students with disabilities.

In rolling out this untested program, officials jeopardize valuable learning time. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that even 10 days of lost learning is a significant deprivation. The Common Core tests are much longer than previous tests. The high stakes attached pressure school districts to spend inordinate amounts of time on test prep. If it turns out that these standards were not a success, our children will be unable to recapture the years lost to an ineffective testing regime.

The Common Core requires massive investments in textbooks, tests, training, and technology. Money is spent on the Common Core experiment at the expense of strategies with a long track record of success, such as high-quality preschool, small class size, wraparound services and extra help for at-risk children.

The benefits of the Common Core are speculative at best. A New York comparison of the 2013 Common Core tests, the previous standards and college completion rates, revealed that the previous standards were better predictors of college readiness. Moreover, the evidence is clear that neither tests nor standards raise achievement. Countries with national standards fare no better than those without, and states with higher standards do no better than states with lower ones. In states with consistent standards, achievement varies widely. The difference in achievement lies in those resources that states are now foregoing to pay for the Common Core.

As for justice, schools serving our most vulnerable students suffer most from a narrow test-based curriculum. A new report in New York reveals that poor children and children of color are least likely to be in schools with libraries, art and music rooms, science, and AP classes. Expanded Common Core testing will disproportionately harm our neediest children.

It is time to ask policy-makers why they made our children guinea pigs in the rush to impose the not-ready-for-prime-time Common Core.

You can read Wendy Lecker’s full column at:  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-Common-Core-using-children-as-guinea-pigs-4907921.php

Our Orwellian education policy, Part 2 (Another Must Read by Wendy Lecker)

Two weeks ago, Wendy Lecker, Connecticut public education advocate and commentary writer for Hearst Media, Wendy Lecker, wrote Part 1 of a piece about George Orwell’s definition of “doublethink” explained Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reform strategy. (Part I can be found at: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/08/27/orwellian-education-policy-wendy-lecker/).

As she explained so clearly, Malloy’s playbook consists of starving our neediest children of educational basics, while claiming he is “helping” them prepare for the 21st century.

Part 2 of the piece is now up on the Stamford Advocate website and can also be found at other Hearst Media sites.

Wendy Lecker writes; “War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Ignorance is strength.”

“These phrases are well-known examples of Orwell’s doublethink. Our state and national leaders have brought doublethink to our schools, claiming that “Standardization breeds creativity” and “Compliance breeds independent thinking.” Because standardized tests are imprecise and unstable measures, they were never intended to be used for decisions regarding teacher or school quality, or student placement.

However, the sanctions associated with the No Child Left Behind Act forced schools to focus almost exclusively on testing. As a result, schools have narrowed curricula, limited teaching methods and shifted their emphasis to teaching to the test. Furthermore, cheating scandals have become all too common. Another direct impact of this misguided policy has been the diversion of limited funds away from proven measures such as small class size.

Fifteen years of the destructive overemphasis on standardized tests has failed to improved student learning, and the public gets it. In a recent national poll, only 22 percent of Americans believe that standardized testing helps school performance.

Ignoring the abundant evidence regarding the negative effects of standardized testing, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2012 education reform legislation increased the emphasis on testing. Declaring that he didn’t mind teaching to the test if it raised scores, he imposed pre-K standardized testing, testing in the early elementary grades, teacher evaluation based on test scores, and the new, costly and unproven Common Core testing. This legislation increases the range of grades tested, the frequency of standardized testing and the stakes attached to the results.

When the 2013 Connecticut test results revealed that Malloy’s tests-above-all strategy failed, it was amusing to see his “no-excuses” crowd scrambling for excuses. However, it was disturbing that this failure did not prompt a re-evaluation of that failed strategy. Employing typical Orwellian contradictions, state Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor assured superintendents that he supports developing “well-rounded” students and the Common Core State Standards are just the tool to do so.

A well-rounded person has been exposed to multiple subjects, experiences and styles of learning. She can think creatively and critically because she has a wealth of skills and experiences upon which to draw to form her own conclusions about the world.

Implementation of the Common Core is antithetical to the well-rounded education. The Common Core’s focus is computerized standardized tests, with more multiple-choice questions than ever. Since computer-scoring can only assess basic writing skills — not critical thinking or creativity — the essays cannot measure “higher order” skills.

The Common Core’s roll-out intensifies the homogenized, test-focused approach to instruction. In one needy Connecticut district, children were handed identical “contracts” with the following expectations: “all children will grow by at least one level on the Common-Core aligned rubric each trimester;” and “all students will improve their reading levels by at least two years by the end of the school year.” The Common Core rubric and tests define learning.”

You can read the rest of Wendy Lecker’s piece at:  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-Our-Orwellian-education-policy-Part-2-4793521.php

But as she concludes,

“To suggest that these reforms are “good for our children” is the most Orwellian claim of all.”

Deck Chairs on the Titanic Failure of American Education (A must read)

 

It was George Orwell who provided us with the powerful reminder that, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

But more and more hero educators and education heroes are standing up to do just that.

Diane Ravitch, the country’s leading voice for public education, defines a “hero educator” as someone who has “brains, courage, integrity, and a deep understanding of education and children.”

In a recent blog, Diane Ravitch called Steve Nelson, the headmaster of the Calhoun School in Manhattan, just such a hero educator.  She directed her readers to a great piece Nelson recently wrote for the Huffington Post.

The piece is entitled Deck Chairs on the Titanic Failure of American Education, and I urge you to take the time to read this piece for it successfully cuts through the rhetoric and lies that are being foisted upon us by the likes of Governor Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, Special Master Steven Adamowski, faux superintendent Paul Vallas and the education reform industry.

Steve Nelson writes,

The well worn, one might say utterly trite, cliché is unavoidable: The shift from the wrong-headed policies of No Child Left Behind to the new Common Core and its tests is nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic failure of education in America.

I suppose some of the architects of both policies are well intended, albeit questionably qualified, although the influence of Pearson and other corporate entities should raise our national eyebrows. But the real problem is that neither of these approaches will ever work. As long as the conversation is boxed in by the concept of “standards” and “standardization,” the die is cast.

One short blog post can’t do justice to the myriad ways that these policies and practices violate understanding of child development and learning. I offer just a few.

Actual children, as opposed to the abstraction of children as seen in policy debate, are not “standard.” Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of child development knows that children learn in different ways and different times. Some children “read” (meaning a very limited ability to recognize symbols) at age 3 or 4. I have known many students who did not read well until 8, 9 or, rarely, later. The potential (or ultimate achievement levels) of these children does not correlate with the date of reading onset.

It is rather like walking. Children who walk at 9 months do not become better runners than children who walk at 15 months. “Standardizing” the expectation of reading, and setting curricula and tests around this expectation, is like expecting a child to walk on her first birthday. If she doesn’t, shall we get our national knickers in a knot, develop a set of walking tests, prescribe walking remediation, and, perhaps inadvertently, make her feel desperately inadequate? In the current climate, Pearson is ready to design walking curriculum and its companion tests. The Gates and Broad Foundations will create complementary instructional videos.

This variation in development continues long beyond early childhood. In response to a parent’s concern about a 5th grader who didn’t “get” long division, a teacher at my school pointed out that in his many years of teaching, not a single student failed to “get” it by 8th grade. Every good teacher knows that in any class, from the enviable small classes of my privileged private school, to the impossibly unwieldy classes in underfunded urban public schools, students will fall along a continuum that requires the material and the pedagogy to be flexible. Expecting great things from a standard curriculum and standard expectations is pure fantasy, whether the standards are based on mindless reiteration of material or much touted “critical thinking skills.”

Equally misguided is the standardization of expectation in the form of a Common Core-centered pedagogy. Nearly all educators are at least marginally aware of the notion of multiple intelligences, most prominently put forth by Harvard’s Howard Gardner in 1983. Since then his theory has been powerfully affirmed through advances in brain science. The implications for education are enormous. At the very least, most good teachers recognize the need for differentiated instruction, which at a base level uses a wider range of a child’s particular strengths to lead them toward the learning we intend.”

The Common Core and the practices it spawns ignore this reality of real children too.”

You can find the rest of Nelson’s piece at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-nelson/common-core_b_3767842.html

 

Education Commissioner Pryor: Test scores dropped because we were teaching to the wrong test…

Wait, What?

According to the CT Mirror, “Pryor said some of the more pronounced decreases in lower grades may be due to the shift to the Common Core curriculum, which has a different pace and a more analytical approach. Students using the new curriculum haven’t covered some of the areas in the test.”

So let’s get this right…

Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education is saying that because Connecticut, along with most of the rest of the nation, has started the process of shifting to a “Common Core” oriented curriculum, children didn’t have enough time to learn how to answer the questions on the old Connecticut Mastery Test…so the scores dropped.

This is the same Stefan Pryor who, along with Governor Malloy, successfully pushed through a law last year that mandates that teacher evaluation programs, starting this year, be BASED ON THE CONNECTICUT MASTERY TEST SCORES!  (Although it is important to note that Pryor and Malloy are now seeking to postpone the new testing system until after the next gubernatorial election).

In fact, not only did Pryor and Malloy demand that teacher evaluation programs be based on how well students did on the Connecticut Mastery Test but they wanted the test results to count for fifty percent of a teacher’s entire evaluation.  Only in the face of opposition did they finally agree to lower that number to twenty-two and a half percent.

But now, just a year later, Pryor is saying that although he knew the shift to the Common Core was taking place and despite the fact that shifting to the common core would lead to lower test scores on the Connecticut Mastery Test, he still spent $25 million or more conducting the 2013 Connecticut Mastery Test and never once suggested that teacher evaluation plans would need to take into account the news that at drop in scores was not a reflection of a teacher’s performance.

So as a result of the policies being pushed by Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Connecticut teachers and students spent thousands of hours during the past school year prepping and taking the Connecticut Mastery Test and state and local taxpayers spent tens of millions of dollars paying for the Connecticut Mastery Test but the man in charge of the entire testing scheme now says that “some of the more pronounced decreases in lower grades may be due to the shift to the Common Core curriculum…[and]…Students using the new curriculum haven’t covered some of the areas in the test.”

Once again we are left shaking our heads and saying “you just can’t make this sh*t up.”

“Superintendents get pre-school pep talk from Malloy and Pryor”

As the CT Mirror reported, “Like a football coach in a pre-game pep talk, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged the state’s superintendents Wednesday to have courage as they face the challenge of moving their schools to a new national curriculum with a new standardized test.”

In the annual “back to school” Connecticut school superintendents meeting, Governor Malloy stood in the front of the room at the Legislative Office building and told the superintendents;

“Sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.”  Oh wait, that wasn’t what Malloy said…That was what Knute Rockne said in the movie, “Knute Rockne, All American.”

What Malloy told the superintendents was,

“These are confusing and difficult times, but they are necessary times if we want to accomplish what we want for our children.”

And Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, added,

“I would like to, with you, increasingly inject into our dialogue the notion of the well-rounded student as we pursue these goals,”

Pryor, one assumes, was referring to the age old attempt by Connecticut’s superintendents, administrators and teachers to produce non-“well-rounded” students.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to explaining that the new Common Core curriculum was “good,” that implementing the Common Core was “difficult,” that the recent drop in standardized test scores was a result of towns shifting to the Common Core and that Connecticut would be getting a federal waiver that would allow school districts to delay, by one year, the new state mandate requiring that standardized test scores to be used as part of the teacher evaluations process.

In response to the standardized test hubbub and the political spin coming out of the Governor and Commissioner of Education, the Connecticut Post, which has become Connecticut’s primary newspaper to provide meaningful editorial commentary about the education reform movement observed;

“What is harder to accept is the governor’s explanation that the results reflect “a conversion from teaching one skill set to another skill set,” referring to the Common Core standards that go into effect in the coming year. Test results next year would reflect that conversion, but they shouldn’t have had a major impact this year. In fact, if other states that have adopted new tests geared to the Common Core are any indication, Connecticut will likely see a steep drop in scores on the new tests, which does not necessarily mean that students aren’t learning as well, only that they are being tested differently.

It remains true that test scores are broadly predictable based on the wealth of a community. Line up the towns and cities in Connecticut by average annual income and separately by average test scores, and those lists would look very similar. Much as we hear that better teachers or more dedicated principals are all we need to improve student achievement, it’s remains true that many factors are outside a school’s control.

It would be nice to hear state education officials make clear they understand that rather than repeatedly citing “no excuses” nostrums.

It would be even better to reach a point where education is no longer quite such a game of numbers, where high-stakes testing is phased out and decisions about schools don’t come down to a tension-filled annual release of test score data. Given the trends, we are far from reaching that particular goal.”

It is rather a sad commentary that when Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor had the opportunity to really address the needs of Connecticut’s public education system, they stuck to their inappropriate talking points which overlook the profound factors of poverty, language barriers and special education needs and instead focus on developing disruptive and destructive policies that are even more reliant on standardized test scores.

Alternatively, after hearing about Malloy and Pryor’s locker-room speech, it’s not the movie “Knute Rockne, All American” that comes to mind but more like the movie “Ground Hog Day” or worse, the “Dumb and Dumber” series of movies.

You can read more on the superintendents meeting here: http://www.ctmirror.org/story/2013/08/14/superintendents-get-pre-school-pep-talk-malloy-and-pryor

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/malloy_disappointing_test_scores_evidence_of_transition/

http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Few-conclusions-from-test-results-4732673.php

and here at Wait, What? – http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/08/14/forget-what-we-said-forget-the-law-malloy-and-pryor-lie-their-way-through-another-meeting/