How much will the absurd Common Core SBAC Test cost Connecticut taxpayers?

3 Comments

The following is a “MUST READ” column for Connecticut’s parents and taxpayer.

In fact, it should be mandatory reading for Connecticut’s local school board members, superintendents, principals and all of the state’s local school officials.

So how much will the unfair and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Test cost Connecticut taxpayers?

It turns out that no one knows for sure, or if they do, they definitely aren’t telling!

Governor Malloy won’t give a number, nor will his political appointees on the State Board of Education.

State Legislators haven’t been told, nor have local cities and towns.

But starting in just over a month, every public school in Connecticut will be forced to stop teaching and start giving the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium SBAC Test.

And not only will school districts have to put aside instructional time and give the Common Core SBAC test this year, but they will have to do it next year, and the year after, and the year after that, and every single year until this nonsense stops and the state’s elected officials finally have the courage to stand up and put an end to the Common Core Test Scam that is designed to intentionally judge the vast majority of Connecticut’s public school children as failures.

While most of Connecticut’s local school boards and officials are remaining quiet about this disaster, in California it is a whole different story.

In California (and in many parts of New York),  local school boards and school leaders have had enough and are pushing back against the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s agenda of turning public schools into little more than testing factories.

In California, local districts have even gone so far as to bring a class-action lawsuit to force the State of California to pay for the unfunded mandate called the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC Test.

Today, the nation’s leading public education advocate, Diane Ravitch, writes about the lawsuit in a post entitled, “California: Districts Object to $1 Billion for Common Core Testing.”

According to media reports, the Santa Ana Unified School District of Orange County calculates that shifting from the previous paper tests to the new Common Core SBAC test “will cost the district about $12million, including 8.1 million for new computers, $3.3 million for additional internet bandwidth and other costs associated with “accessories and training.”

The total cost of implementing the Common Core SBAC Test — After the State of California has already allocated more than $1.25 billion for the Common Core testing system – is estimated to be at least $1 billion annually for the state’s school districts.

Of course, when confronted with the news, in a statement similar to what we’d likely hear from the Malloy administration, “a spokesman for the [California] Department of Finance declined to comment because officials are reviewing the claim.”

Note that the projected $1 billion additional burden on local school districts in California CAMES AFTER California State Government allocated  $1.25 billion to districts in one-time funds to help pay for classroom changes needed to implement the Common Core standards and Common Core SBAC Testing program.

The Orange County Register newspaper adds that the state provided another $26.7 million in state funds last year for high-speed internet access at schools with the highest needs and, “The governor’s latest budget proposal for next year adds $100 million for internet needs.”

However, here in Connecticut, relatively small amounts of state money have been allocated to help the state’s local school districts pay for the tremendous costs associated with ramping up and implementing the Common Core SBAC Testing Scheme.

Rather than spending their time and lobbying funds cheering on Governor Malloy and his corporate education reform industry agenda, perhaps the publicly funded Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the publicly funded Connecticut Association of School Superintendents (CAPSS) should stop taking positions that directly undermine their own members – Connecticut’s local school boards and superintendents – and start talking about legal and legislative action to force the State of Connecticut to fund this unfunded mandate or postpone the testing debacle until proper funding is provided.

While it is true that Connecticut may not want to follow California’s lead on all things, it sure would be helpful if more of Connecticut’s local school districts and local school officials were following their colleagues in California, (and other states like New York,) and standing up and fighting on behalf of their districts’ students, parents, teachers and taxpayers.

But NO – you want to know what the local taxpayer money that goes to CABE and CAPSS is being used for?

They are spending their time – and our money – joining the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s campaign to promote Malloy’s ant-public education agenda!

See:

CT’s Big Six to state legislators: “Continue investing in last year’s education reforms”

“A coalition of six of the state’s leading education and business groups – CAPSS, CAS, CABE, CBIA, CCER, CONNCAN – urge legislators not to back down from key pillars of last year’s education reform law

“This prompted the Big Six – a group composed of six education and business organizations – to urge lawmakers to protect progress made last year for Connecticut children by continuing to invest education reforms…”

And

BIG SIX INTRODUCES POLICY FOCUSES FOR NEW YEAR

“With the release of the Big 6’s Statement of Principles and Policy Recommendations, the coalition expects elected officials to keep education improvement efforts a priority during Legislative Session.

The Big 6 coalition represents key stakeholders and perspectives from the state’s leading education and business groups and continues to be united in a shared commitment to pursue systemic improvement in the state’s public schools so that every child gets an excellent public education.

Our partnership includes the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER).”

Interestingly none of the priorities pushed by the BIG SIX includes being honest with Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and taxpayers about the real cost of these “initiatives” or the fact that much of those unnecessary costs will be dumped on the backs of Connecticut’s local property taxpayers.

You can read more about the Big Six in any number of commentary piece written by fellow education advocates, but a good place to start is with Sarah Darer Littman piece that was published in CT Newsjunkie and entitled, “Legislate Based On Research, Not Hyperbole.”

Time to stop the Common Core and Common Core Testing Madness

18 Comments

Take note Connecticut;

Governor Dannel Malloy has pledged to “stay the course” on the Common Core and said he didn’t mind having teachers teach to the test as long as the test scores went up.  We can continue to follow the lead of Governor Malloy and the Corporate Education Reform Industry or we can actually do what is right for our children, parents, teachers, public schools and our society.

The movement to put the PUBLIC back in Public Education is building.

Will Connecticut’s elected officials step up or will they continue to follow Malloy’s “education reform” agenda?

From Washington State –

The Central Committee of the Washington State Democratic Party has passed a resolution that roundly condemns the Common Core standards. This is the first time a statewide Democratic Party committee has taken a public position against the Common Core, and it happened in the back yard of the Gates Foundation, which has provided the funding that made the national standards project possible. This could signal a sea-change for the beleaguered standards, because up until now, political opposition has been strongest in the Republican party.

More than 200 delegates representing 49 legislative districts, from 29 counties, gathered at the Red Lion Inn in the state capital, Olympia on Saturday, Jan. 24, where there was a showdown between “new Democrats” and a scrappy coalition of education and labor activists. Activists mixed in with the delegates, and carried homemade signs expressing their opposition to the Common Core. They also arrived early and made sure there were flyers on each chair carrying their message.”  (For more go to: http://edubloggers.org/2015/01/25/washington-state-democratic-party-committee-votes-to-reject-common-core/)

 

And from New York State -

The stopcommoncorenys website in New York State is dedicated to “HELPING PARENTS AND TEACHERS END COMMON CORE.” See https://stopcommoncorenys.wordpress.com

Stop Common Core NYS posted the following picture over the weekend – it was a stark reminder of damage we are doing to our children and another call to action about why we must all join together and beat back the Corporate Education Reform Industry and their inappropriate, unfair and absurd Common Core and Common Core Standardized Testing Scheme.

This photo was posted. Watch what happened next.

image

This photo was submitted by a parent. Her child is suffering with the age inappropriate, error and trick laden, too much, too soon, too fast, common core homework. This photo was shared on social media. Without asking for any response, it still received hundreds of commiserating comments within a half hour.

Below are some of the responses to this raw photo. They have been listed anonymously to protect the teachers involved. They need no names; they could be any parent. This is every child. Common core has failed all the children.

Legislators need to see these faces and hear these parents and teachers. This must stop.
——–
Heartbreaking! School should not make any child feel this way. We need to bring the fun back to learning.

Is this grounds for a class action lawsuit against New York State, NYSED and the Board of Regents?This picture is so upsetting.

I live this horrible reality everyday with my kids when I come home from teaching.

We have all seen our kids in this child

The is child abuse; we are mandatory reporters. If only CFS would prosecute

I’ve had this scene at my house more than once as well. I hate it.

This is exactly how my 6yr old gets with math homework. Poor kids..

Mine too.

My 10 yr old on a nightly basis.

This is so heartbreaking…kids shouldn’t dread going to school….if we thought there were a lot of kids that dropped out of school before just wait a couple years and they’ll all be leaving! Luckily my child is only 2 so I have a couple years to decide if I want to attempt homeschooling, if we can afford it, or if we are actually going to move out of NYS. Who ever thought we would become a nation whose leaders are so blind to see that they’re destroying the very people they supposedly “represent”. It’s sickening that citizens have to seriously consider uprooting their entire family to avoid the devastating effects of common core and to get a quality education!

This is what my 6 yr old looks like every day.

My 12 yr old has a nervous breakdown every night!!! Terrible

I HATE this! This poor baby.

My 9 year old every night with his math …. Breaks my heart

Educational malpractice…no love for learning here.

This could be my 6-year old twin daughters. We go through the same thing every night with math. One of them hates it so much that she’ll scream about all her homework just because of the math. This past week, I did an experiment. We didn’t do math homework. Both girls were much more able to do the rest of their homework without a meltdown.
The math homework is very often a repeat of what was already done in school. It’s just drill and kill.

Heart breaking for sure and VERY REAL; I have that child at home too. Just older. 7th grade! Cries like that over math too!,

I see it all the time w/ my kids for a couple of years now.

This happens in my house as well, sadly.

Poor buddy! This is child abuse that is being legalized. We must speak up for our children!!!

I too have seen this with up close and personal with my granddaughter for over a year now its child abuse plain and simple

What about us poor parents that didn’t learn this way! I have to learn all over again because not even I get this common core crap! I just teach them how I was taught it’s so much frigging easier!!!!

Poor baby. Breaks my heart. School work should NOT cause this!

That’s a Pearson worksheet for sure. I teach K and refuse to have my classroom resemble a factory with workers sitting quietly, behind shields!! I DON’T CARE! I will continue to do it my way, develop the whole child. They are not numbers, scores or HEDI ratings. They are children and this is a criminal and egregious act against the children of America! They don’t want to educate; they want a future of complacent workers for their corporations to grow as well as their bank accounts. Parents please this IS NOT education. Maria Montessori knew how to educate and enrich a child. She’d be revolting and so should we.

I see this all the time. Sadly.

My son is in 5th grade and he calls himself stupid! Teachers and parents MUST UNITE AGAINST THIS!!!!!

My 7th grader hates school. Guess what ? She didn’t before the tests. Every night and weekends Math homework even weekends – takes over one hr+ just on math – much of what is learned in class is not reviewed – you are screwed if you don’t understand. Tests every week. Never have I seen her this stressed and miserable about school. Now I pay a tutor on top of my huge school tax bill. I hear kids are doing worse than having meltdowns and losing sleep…what’s it gonna take for them to realize this. Tutor cannot believe what they are doing to them either. I loved school – I hoped my kid who loves to learn would have the same chance as me. It’s crazy.

My son was like that last year…I e-mailed the teacher I would never allow my son to get like that again and that if we can not get it done in 20 minutes (math then I will send it back to be re-taught….)

No child should be put through this. The government has no business being involved with education.

The math is developmentally inappropriate for his age. He can’t read it let alone cognitively translate what the worksheet wants. I read yesterday about a 6th grade test that had 11th grade reading material. This is cruel and a setup for failure.

They must first learn it in school, not by us! Teachers have too much to fit in now and if a child isn’t getting it, sorry, need to move on. Terrible!

I predict that the future will see an increase in student drop out rates, teen suicide rates and a lack of motivation for life long learning if Common Core continues.

my kids feel the same way with all this HW

I am teaching algebra in Kindergarten. The kids are so confused! Some of them just learned their numbers and how to count! Its ridiculous!

Every parent needs to call our “wonderful” Governor and tell their stories.

It pains and angers me to see my kids cry over HW!

I know this all too well and i think boys in general are having a harder time . This is my son some nights and it kills me .

It’s not just boys. My 2nd grade daughter cries weekly because “I’m not smart enough to do the math”.

How can we make a statement strong enough to get it through the thick self-centered skulls of our government. ..they sit on their pedestals and think they know more than the teachers and parents that work with these children every single day…

Been there and living it for 3 years now!! Kids are desensitized to it now and like those victims of abuse, are not only dumbed down but are numbed down as well.

We have the same problem, HW time is sad. At the end of the day they do not retain this crap. Our children do not want to do this they fell out of love with learning. We need to get back to the basics!

I teach several strategies in 2nd grade and modify homework to make it shorter. The repetitiveness of the CC is torturous. I have always taught that we all think differently thus problems may be solved in such a way that the work is valid!

It’s horrible, my son’s math test grades just keep going down and down..the sad part is I don’t even understand most of it so I can’t even help him. Now I’m looking into a tutor.

We went thru this for weeks.. until I decided enough was enough!!! I will not let my child feel this way over math! It’s awful. If she don’t understand it…we don’t do it anymore !!

I think reporters at press conferences should ask politicians to solve problems from Common Core Math exams, just so we can enjoy how stupid they look when they can’t solve them either!

(This is) the raw image that TRULY represents the reality of CCSS

My 9 y/o is like this all the time, it breaks my heart.

It is sickening. The only way to stop it is to refuse the tests. If nobody takes them, a clear, expensive message will be sent.

That’s my son EVERY night!

Powerful picture. I need to take one of my son and share it too.

My 6 year old was like this the other night while I tried to explain this math sheet(which made no sense to me or my husband).

We went thru this for weeks.. until I decided enough was enough!!! I will not let my child feel this way over math! It’s awful. If she don’t understand it…we don’t do it anymore !!

I hope the parent who took this picture sends it to the governor, Regents, every member of government, and to the media. This is not acceptable.

My son fights with us every night to do the homework. says it’s too hard. he can’t read the sentences and we have to read the sentences to even figure out what they hell they are trying to say. so if a 36 yr old and a 40 yr old can’t undertsand the questions how the hell can a 6 yr old who can bARELY READ UNDERSTAND THEM? this has gone too far. its time to take a stand, maybe have a statewide walk out on testing day or something but we have to let the government know this cannot go on that its torture and not important. we will never use it in college or the real world so why put so much pressure on our children to benefit yourselves. u dont care about us or our kids u just care about yourselves.

My teenage children get like this especially my 15yr old who has always loved math and been good at it…she gets the answers rt but bc she doesn’t use the common core method she doesn’t get full credit or any credit at all…

So sad ! I HATE that this is happening to our kids!!! I’d like to shove this common core down their throats!

We complain and sign petitions but it’s not enough we need to make a statement that will wake up the government and show them they are bullying our kids and teachers

My 9 year old spent 20 min crying because of the division homework. We tried to help but she kept saying that’s not the way my teacher teaches it. Nothing against her teacher, but this common core is pure cruelty to our children! 1+1=2. Simple and less complicated!

The instructions said “Make a 10. Then add”. It was difficult to explain to my son why 5 has to break down to 4+1 to be correct and not 3+2. This is beyond him right now. His brain does not work this way. He says he hates school. At 6 years old he should love school.

My 9 year old girls are having the same problems. One is actually regressing. In addition to all the work they have to do. Her teacher is a horrible for her. She is picking her fingers raw from stress. Something has t give for these kids. It’s so sad

I can remember, over the course of my elementary years, getting frustrated over homework maybe once or twice. The difference now is that this is an everyday occurrence for many children.

This just broke my heart. I see my fourth grader struggle with it also.

That’s me attempting to help my son during homework

My son is autistic I was told early on as long as he was in a restricted program he would not have to learn cc and yet in first grade he is but kindergarten he didn’t which is confusing to a child with special needs. Just getting the child to do the work is hard enough without cc confusing them. Thank god math is one of his best subjects but he still struggles regardless

Too many homes go through the same thing. It’s very sad. Cuomo doesn’t know about child development. If a child is NOT DEVELOPMENTALLY READY for certain skills, we’re doing more MORE HARM THAT GOOD. Why frustrate them? We will need more psychologists in schools.

Wait until they see the drop out rate in 8 or 9 years!!! Disgusting setting children up to fail.

It’s so sad. We go thru it every night and my son is only in the 1st grade.

Breaks my heart. We have been there many days and that’s when I close the.book and move on. When they calm down I try “my” way the old-fashioned way

Since I pulled my kids and put them in Lutheran school I can’t tell u how wonderful . They are happy healthy love school never cry or ask to stay home. This kills me knowing this was my boy last year in second grade

We deal with this in 1st, 3rd and 5th. It is real and I have similar photos. My kids do not take the state exams.

Very true, that was my son, and I am now home schooling, we have no more of that

Breaks my heart. Just teaching to hate school.

I feel bad for any child struggling in school. My son is having a hard time also .

Say NO to these stupid tests! Why put your child through it for what. So these Big Shots can make more money, that is what this is all about. They don’t care about your child.

It’s insane my daughter asked me to help with division Ok I can do that easily but NO..They don’t just do simple long division she had to do some sort of estimating with it!!! WHY GOD WHY

I started homeschooling. My husband and I both work. I hope refusing the tests helps…

I predict that there will come a time that these years will be labeled the Common Core Years and our students at this time, the Common Core Kids. In the history of education, neither will have a positive connotation. Heartbreaking for our children.

And the grande finale:

Looks like my son when it’s HW time….these poor children. Shame on Albany.
——
Shame indeed. Thank you to the parents and teachers for your heartfelt replies. These thoughts have not been edited.

*** *** ***

It is time time to push back against the Corporate Education Reform Industry and Governor Malloy’s unwavering commitment to the Common Core and Common Core Testing Scheme.

Feel free to add your thoughts or list information about how others can join the battle to protect our children and save our public schools.

 

It is time to restore the innocence of childhood by Thomas Scarice

4 Comments

Thomas Scarice is the town of Madison’s superintendent of schools.  This commentary piece first appeared in the CT Mirror.  You can read the original at: It is time to restore the innocence of childhood.

Just over two years ago, like most parents, my wife Kerry and I did the unthinkable.  We entered the bedroom of our then third grader, Ella, on a cold Sunday night, and tried to communicate, in age-appropriate language, the unspeakable tragedy of Sandy Hook.

We did this against our better judgment.  We did this to protect her from inadvertent comments from other children on the bus or playground.  That night, we left her room with a piece of her innocence that will never be restored.

Sometimes life crashes down on us, forcing our hand.  In our hearts, we knew that she was not ready for this information, nor could she truly comprehend it. At the time she was merely 8 years old.  However, we felt powerless, similar to the feeling while standing at the shore watching a violent surf crash just in front of you.  We felt tiny and helpless.

Moments like this happen.  But, moments like this ought to be the exception and not the rule.  As adults, we can, and should, pause to consider the moments when adults seize the innocence of childhood.  We should pause because they are counting on us to do so.

Some say the measure of a civilization is how it treats its oldest, youngest, and most vulnerable citizens. In an era of overexposed, overscheduled, overstimulated, overanxious, and overstressed children, I’d say our civilization needs to take a long look in the mirror.

As a father and an educator, I believe it is time to categorically restore childhood.  Childhood is not some mythical, romantic concept memorialized in literature and film.  Childhood is real.  The innocence of childhood is not only real, but it is fundamentally necessary.  It is the foundation of human development upon which all adult stages of development rely.

The fragile thread that runs through childhood is fraying as a result of a culture that has lost its moorings.  Wrongheaded education policies, reckless media, and pathological pressure cooker achievement environments (academic and athletic) indulge adults while leaving kids hollow and empty.

The result is an emptiness that cannot be filled by reactive therapeutic or pharmacological care.  Alas, this “race to nowhere” is littered with vain academic pursuits, anxious students, and child athletes pressed to unnaturally accelerate their development in unhealthy, harmful competitive environments.

Over the past decade, schools have deteriorated into data factories, reducing children to mere numbers, with a perverted ranking and sorting of winners and losers in high stakes testing schemes.  And now, a new test promising to revolutionize education will produce yet more meaningless data for adults starving to exploit children for self-gain, selfish career aspirations, blind ideological ploys, or for the purposes of establishing high property values on the backs of children, all the while sorting out which 8 year olds are on track to be “college and career ready”.

Even at the classroom level, children suffer from the unintended consequences of well-meaning adults unaware of the ways that children naturally develop and grow.  Frivolous homework policies invade private family time and rob children of necessary unstructured time to develop executive functioning.

Play, the natural way children learn, is reduced to filler, barely acknowledged for the critical role it fulfills in child development.  No one questions why the caged bird flies as soon as the cage door opens, nor should they question why children naturally play at a moment’s notice.

Even perhaps the most fundamental function of schools, the teaching of reading, has succumbed to the ignorance of this era.  New standards and tests with a myopic focus on text without regard for the reader (i.e. the child actually doing the reading), without regard for their interests, knowledge, and passions, will serve to further disengage children from the splendor of reading and give students more reasons to see school, and reading, as irrelevant.

With unprecedented childhood poverty rates, an explosion in the identification of attention deficit disorder, recent reports of soaring teenage suicide rates, one thing is clear: the violation of childhood knows no boundaries.

Children from all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds are victimized by adult ignorance of child development.  Sadly, those who have successfully shown the way, such as the revered Dr. James Comer of the Yale Child Study Center, no longer have the prominent seat at the table they deserve and our kids need.

We are left with a flagrant disregard for how kids naturally develop and grow, the consequences to which will have a creeping catastrophic effect.

Sometimes life does indeed force our hand.  One careless wrong turn, one fractured family, one tragic medical report, can strip a child of his or her naturally endowed childhood.  However, as adults, we are responsible for this sacred stage of development.

It is time to pause.  They are counting on us to do so.

Previous posts about Madison Superintendent Thomas Scarice can be found here:

Madison Public School Superintendent Thomas Scarice makes national waves – again.

A CT superintendent speaks: Madison’s Thomas Scarice and the Power of truth

Thomas Scarice: Superintendent of Schools and leading voice for public education (updated)

Diane Ravitch features Madison Superintendent Tom Scarice’s powerful letter on “education reform”

Common Core (SBAC) Results May Provoke Shock, Officials Urge Families to Stay Objective

26 Comments

Teachers, Parents, Public School Advocates, it is probably best to sit down for this one….

That bizarre and disturbing statement was the headline in a piece recently posted by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) following this week’s meeting of a Connecticut State Department of Education Working Group.

Reporting on the event, the CEA explained;

“Details are emerging about how the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) program will affect students, teachers, and communities.”

Wait?  “Details are emerging”?

The Common Core Standardized Testing Scam, known as the Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium (SBAC), is actually designed to ensure that about 70 percent of Connecticut students fail. [Governor Malloy – Our children are not stupid, but your system is! and Beware the Coming Common Core Testing Disaster and A system that labels children as failures (another MUST READ by Wendy Lecker]

Not only is the Common Core testing system created to generate the false impression that Connecticut and the nation’s public education system is failing, but by tying the Common Core SBAC test results to the new inept, illogical and counter-productive Connecticut Teacher Evaluation System, the incredibly expensive “golden nugget” of the corporate education reform industry aims to denigrate teachers and blow apart what is left of the teaching profession.

But despite this truth, Governor Dannel Malloy and his administration remain wedded to the implementation of the Common Core, the Common Core standardized testing program and a teacher evaluation process based on the results of those tests.

As the CEA’s January 21 2014 blog post explains,

“Most school districts in Connecticut administered a field test last year, but this year the program will be in high gear with educators administering the tests to students in grades 3-8 and 11 this April/May.

[…]

This year, the stakes will be high as students establish a baseline for the test. Jacqueline King, who works for the SBAC program, says the baseline data about Connecticut students’ performance on the first-time test has the “potential to shock” students and their families.”

The CEA goes on to report that at this week’s Working Group Meeting,

“Members of the working group [said they] are concerned about how test results will be messaged to ensure that the public understands that the SBAC program is still a work in progress.”

How the test results will be messaged??

That the SBAC program is still a work in progress?

It was Governor Malloy’s own Commissioner of Education who joined the other state education chiefs who voted to set the “cut score” so that 70 percent of Connecticut’s public school students would be deemed failures.

It was Governor Malloy and his State Department of Education that remain committed to linking the unfair test to the state’s new teacher evaluation system.

And it is because Malloy’s complete unwillingness to de-couple the Common Core SBAC test results from the teacher evaluation system that teachers across Connecticut are being coerced to teach to the very Common Cores Standardized SBAC test that their students will fail – and those failing scores will be used to “evaluate” the teachers.

The CEA article adds,

“Mark Waxenberg, executive director of CEA, raised a series of concerns at today’s meeting, saying that the new testing program is still in “the developmental stages.”

The article also noted that Joseph Cirasuolo, who is the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and one the most vocal supporters of Governor Malloy’s Corporate Education Reform Industry initiative, said the results from the Common Core SBAC tests could, “scare the hell out of parents.” He apparently added, people “are talking about this as if it has a level of precision that it does not.”

“The new testing program is still in “the developmental stage”???

“A level of precision that it does not have”????

These two individuals and everyone else involved in the discussions surrounding the Common Core and Common Core testing debacle know perfectly well that the SBAC test is designed to fail 70 percent of the students and that the SBAC test will be used as a significant factor in determining which Connecticut teachers are deemed to be “good’ and which will be deemed “not good.”

Instead of raising these “concerns” at a State Department of Education Working Group, the CEA, AFT and the other Connecticut organization purportedly committed to Connecticut’s students, teachers and public schools – such as CABE and CAPSS – should be demanding that the Common Core be halted, the Common Core Tests eliminated that Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system should be fully de-coupled from the SBAC test or any other standardized tests.

As if all of this wasn’t clear enough, in what is undoubtedly one of the most incredible and shocking comments to come out of the Malloy administration yet, the representative of the State Department of Education told the SDE working group,  “best practice dictates that educators should never make consequential decisions based on a single test score.”

OMG, What the____?????

Malloy, with the support of the Connecticut legislature is the one that MANDATED the expensive and wasteful Common Core SBAC tests be given and MANDATED that the Common Core SBAC test scores be used to evaluate teachers.

As the CEA post adds,

“Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education reportedly already has placed SBAC results on its list of multiple measures that colleges and universities can use to evaluate student readiness and placement. SDE officials also envision scenarios where high schools could include SBAC scores on student transcripts (as reportedly has been done in the past with CAPT scores)…”

The real problem is that the Common Core Standards were developed without the proper participation of educators and experts in child development.

Furthermore, as has been widely reported, some of the Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate and the foundation of the Common Cores Standards are demanding that students immediately perform at a level that is at least two grade levels above what students have been learning.

The Common Core Test (SBAC) also discriminates against English Language Learners and students who require special education services…not to mention, as noted, that the absurd and warped system is actually designed with a pass/fail rate that will ensure that nearly 7 in 10 students fail.

The real problem with the entire situation lies with the Common Core itself and the way in which the Common Core standardized tests have been designed to undermine the stability of public education in America.

The solution is that the leadership of the two major teacher unions, and all of the others committed to public education, should be retreating from their support of the Common Core and its associated testing scheme.

Yet even now, while the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers raise concerns and call for action, their fundamental position of support for the Common Core remains intact.

The National Education Association’s website reports that the,

“NEA believes the Common Core State Standards have the potential to provide access to a complete and challenging education for all children. Broad range cooperation in developing these voluntary standards provides educators with more manageable curriculum goals and greater opportunities to use their professional judgment in ways that promote student success.”

At the same time, the American Federation of Teachers says,

That if implemented carefully and with the needed supports and resources, these new standards will help improve education for all students.  At last July’s  AFT Convention, “AFT members today passed a resolution at the union’s national convention reaffirming the AFT’s support for the promise and potential of the Common Core State Standards as a way to ensure all children have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century while sharply criticizing the standards’ botched implementation. “

But the Common Core Standards are inappropriate, unfair, and discriminatory.  The Common Core standardized tests are inexorably linked to those Common Core Standards, and until we set aside the Common Core and the Common Core testing, our nation’s children, teachers and our entire system of public education system will remain the primary target for those who seek to destroy public education for their own financial and political gain.

And when it comes to the relationship between the Common Core, Common Core testing and the teacher evaluation systems, those who are responsible for speaking up for our children, our teachers and our schools simply say enough is enough and corporate education reform initiatives need to be dismissed and real action taken to reduce the barriers to academic success – poverty, language barriers, and unmet special education needs to name a few.

Perhaps the leaders of the CEA, AFT, CABE and CAPSS should also read or re-read the commentary piece published last year by Wendy Lecker, one of the state’s leading public education advocates.

Wendy Lecker’s piece entitled, “Solution to failed tests is not more tests,” first appeared in the Stamford Advocate, and she wrote;

Fact: Connecticut’s teacher evaluation plan, because it relies on student standardized test scores, is fundamentally flawed. Student test scores cannot measure a teacher’s contribution to student learning. In fact, the president of the Educational Testing Service recently called evaluation systems based on student test scores “bad science.”

Rather than admit failure, the Malloy administration is trying futilely to “fix” the fatal flaw. Last week, PEAC, the panel charged with developing Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system, working under the direction of Commissioner Stefan Pryor, approved a change which calls for more standardized tests to be included in a teacher’s evaluation.

The commissioner’s “solution” is to add interim tests to a teacher’s rating. Determining what tests will be used, how they will be aligned to the standardized tests, and how all the test scores will be rolled into one “score” for teachers, will likely render this change completely unworkable.

However, there is an even larger issue at play. Will the addition of more tests in a teacher’s evaluation help us measure whether a teacher is effective?

According to the Connecticut Supreme Court, Connecticut’s public schools must prepare children “to participate in democratic institutions, and to prepare them to attain productive employment and otherwise to contribute to the state’s economy, or to progress on to higher education.”

Thus, we want our children to acquire the skills and knowledge that will enable them to succeed in college and in life. We want teachers who will help our children develop these skills.

Standardized tests have no bearing on college success. Moreover, although standardized tests are supposed to measure cognitive skills, research from MIT has shown that increasing test scores does not increase cognitive skills.

Even more striking is that cognitive skills, while important, are not the most important skills in determining success either in college or in life after college. Research has shown again and again that non-cognitive skills such as self-discipline, taking responsibility, and listening skills are more critical.

A recent comprehensive study by Northwestern Professor Kirabo Jackson found that children with teachers who help them develop non-cognitive skills have much better outcomes than those who have teachers who may help them raise test scores. Jackson found that every standard deviation increase in non-cognitive skills corresponds to a significant decrease in the drop-out risk and increased rates of high school graduation. By contrast, one standard deviation increase in standardized test scores has a very weak, often non-existent, relationship to these outcomes. Test scores also predict less than two percent of the variability in absences and suspensions, and under ten percent of the variability in on-time grade progression, for example.

Increases in non-cognitive abilities are also strongly correlated with other adult outcomes, such as a lower likelihood of arrest, a higher rate of employment and higher earnings. Increased test scores are not.

In short, focusing on non-cognitive abilities, those not measured by test scores, are more important in predicting success in high school and beyond.

Jackson also found that a teacher’s supposed effect on test scores is not related to how well that teacher can improve non-cognitive skills.

Moreover, a new statement by the American Statistical Association reminds us that ranking teachers based on test scores does not even work for measuring their effect on cognitive skills.

ASA notes that teachers account for 1-14 percent of the variability in student standardized test scores. The majority of variability in test scores results from “system-level conditions”; meaning everything affecting a student outside the teacher’s control: the child’s socio-economic status, parental background, language barriers, medical issues, student mobility, etc. Rating systems cannot eliminate the “noise” caused by these other factors.

ASA further states that test scores at best “predict only performance on the test.” This conclusion confirms Jackson’s results, i.e that tests cannot predict how well a student will succeed in school or life.

In the context of this evidence, what does the PEAC change mean?

By adding more tests of the same skills in the same subjects, PEAC merely added more meaningless “noise.” This addition will not give us any better picture of how well a teacher teaches.

Worse still, adding more tests increases the focus on tests, increases the frequency of testing, and distracts us from considering the skills teachers should be helping children develop. And since Connecticut’s evaluation system completely ignores these non-cognitive skills, they will be de-emphasized in school.

Meaningful evaluations systems can be developed, but relying on faulty measures is simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and taxpayers deserve better.

YES!  Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and taxpayers deserve better.

It is the unparalleled levels of poverty, inequity and violence!

2 Comments

Jonathan Kantrowitz, is a public education advocate, political activist and blogger.  His blog appears on the Connecticut Post website and the sites operated by the Hearst Media Group.  In a post entitled, “U.S. has the world’s most educated workforce—but students face unparalleled levels of poverty, inequity and violence,” Jonathan Kantrowitz has written an extraordinary and profound piece about the real problems that are causing the growing educational achievement gap in the United States.

This article should be mandatory reading for the President of the United States, every member of Congress, every state governor and every state legislator.

At the very least, Connecticut’s Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo should read it and be required to respond  – in writing – as to why they are promoting policies that take our public education policies in exactly the wrong direction.

The following is Jonathan Kantrowitz’s post;

Source: Horace Mann League (HML) and the National Superintendents Roundtable

A new study released today challenges the practice of ranking nations by educational test scores and questions conventional wisdom that the U.S.educational system has fallen badly behind school systems abroad.

In their report, School Performance in Context: The Iceberg Effect, the Horace Mann League (HML) and the National Superintendents Roundtable examined six dimensions related to student performance—equity, social stress, support for families, support for schools, student outcomes, and system outcomes—in the G-7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus Finland and China. They then examined 24 “indicators” within those dimensions.

Of the nine nations, the United States remains the wealthiest with the most highly educated workforce, based on the number of years of school completed, and the proportion of adults with high school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees.

“Many policymakers and business leaders fret that America has fallen behind Europe and China, but our research does not bear that out,” said James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable.

Despite high educational levels, the United States also reflects high levels of economic inequity and social stress compared to the other nations. All are related to student performance. Measures included rates of childhood poverty, income inequality and violence. For example, in American public schools today, the rate of childhood poverty is five times greater than it is in Finland. Rates of violent death are 13 times greater than the average for the other nations, with children in some communities reporting they have witnessed shootings, knifings, and beatings as “ordinary, everyday events.”

The study is a unique analysis, which for the first time compares K-12 education internationally on an array of social and economic indicators, not just test scores. The goal was to look at the whole iceberg, not just the tip—and provide a clearer snapshot of each country’s performance, including its wealth, diversity, community safety, and support for families and schools.

Some key findings:

 Economic Equity: The United States and China demonstrate the greatest gaps between rich and poor. The U.S. also contends with remarkably high rates of income inequality and childhood poverty.

 Social Stress: The U.S.reported the highest rates of violent death and teen pregnancy, and came in second for death rates from drug abuse. The U.S.is also one of the most diverse nations with many immigrant students, suggesting English may not be their first language.

 Support for Families: The U.S. performed in the lowest third on public spending for services that benefit children and families, including preschool.

 Support for Schools: Americans seem willing to invest in education: The U.S. leads the nine-nation group in spending per student, but the national estimates may not be truly comparable. U.S. teachers spend about 40 percent more time in the classroom than their peers in the comparison countries.

 Student Outcomes: Performance in American elementary schools is promising, while middle school performance can be improved. U.S. students excel in 4th grade reading and high school graduation rates, but perform less well in reading at age 15. All nations demonstrate an achievement gap based on students’ family income and socio-economic status.

 System Outcomes: The U.S. leads these nations in educational levels of its adult workforce. Measures included years of schooling completed and the proportion of adults with high-school diplomas and bachelor’s degrees. American students also make up 25 percent of the world’s top students in science at age 15, followed by Japan at 13 percent.

“Too often, we narrow our focus to a few things that can be easily tested. To avoid that scoreboard mentality, we need to look at many measures important to shaping our future citizens. Treating education as a horse race doesn’t work,” said HML President Gary Marx.

A call for more nuanced assessments

American policymakers from both political parties have a history of relying on large, international assessments to judge United States’ performance in education. In 2013, the press reported that American students were falling behind when compared to 61 other countries and a few cities including Shanghai. In that comparative assessment—called the Program for International Student Assessment—PISA controversially reported superior scores for Shanghai.

“We don’t oppose using international assessments as one measure of performance. But as educators and policymakers, we need to compare ourselves with similar nations and on a broader set of indicators that put school performance in context—not just a single number in an international ranking,” said Harvey.

“Our study suggests the U.S. has the most educated workforce, yet students confront shockingly high rates of poverty and violence. Research shows that those larger issues, outside the classroom, are serious threats to student learning,” noted HML Executive Director Jack McKay.

For more of his posts, go to; http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/

Where’s the praise for Connecticut’s public education?

2 Comments

James Mulholland is a longtime Hartford teacher and public education advocate. The following commentary piece was first published in the CT Mirror.  You can read the full piece at: http://ctmirror.org/op-ed-wheres-the-praise-for-connecticuts-public-education/

Where’s the praise for Connecticut’s public education? by James Mulholland;

Connecticut’s economy is booming with a job base that has not seen such growth in 17 years.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for the 10th straight month, U.S. payrolls grew by more than 200,000, the longest streak in nearly 20 years.  Many factors contribute to the recovering economy, but one factor is conspicuously absent from media reports and political discourse: public schools and the dedicated teachers who work in them.

Why the oversight?  Maintaining a competitive workforce has often been a primary reason for school reform for decades.

In 1983, A Nation at Risk stated, “The public understands the primary importance of education as the foundation for a satisfying life, an enlightened and civil society, a strong economy, and a secure nation.”  In 2006, President Bush announced the creation of the American Competitiveness Initiative.  The initiative asserted, “The bedrock of America’s competitiveness is a well-educated and skilled workforce.”

More recently, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced his 2012 agenda for education legislation by stating in a press release, schools “that are missing the mark are causing serious damage to Connecticut’s next generation workforce — and our overall economic competitiveness.”

School reformers who assert that failing public schools are the cause of economic deterioration tell this narrative time and time again, but it’s a false narrative supported primarily by standardized tests scores, the validity of which has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism.

One yardstick for measuring our economic health against that of other nations is, curiously, not an economic one, it’s PISA: the Program of International Student Assessment.

PISA is an international assessment given to 15-year-olds in 65 countries every three years.  The most recent assessment was in 2012 and the next cycle of PISA will take place in 2015. The scores of the United States on this assessment are never very good and are often used to convince the American public that its public school system is failing.

For example, in 2012, the U.S. average score in mathematics literacy was lower than the average for the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and lower than 29 other education systems. (Connecticut’s rankings are better than those of the United States overall.) The countries of Japan, Vietnam and the Slovak Republic all scored higher than the United States.

Reporting of the scores is often accompanied by a lot of hand wringing that PISA scores reflect our national economic health; like an oracle, mediocre scores are thought to predict our nation’s economic demise.  Even the New York Times chimed in: “The lessons from those high-performing countries can no longer be ignored by the United States if it hopes to remain competitive.” (New York Times, “Why Other Countries Teach Better”, Dec.17, 2013)

With such poor student outcomes that supposedly reveal a failing education system, one would think the U.S. would have subsequent poor rankings on economic measures, but this is not the case.

Each year, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks approximately 140 countries for their overall competitiveness.  In 2012-13, the United States was ranked seventh, ahead of Japan, the Slovak Republic and Vietnam, which were ranked 10th, 71st and 75th respectively.

However, when we look at the 2012 PISA mathematics scores, Vietnam ranked just behind Germany.  With those PISA scores, one would think that Vietnam would have a much higher competitiveness ranking than 75th. In 2013-2014, the United States ranked fifth on the Competitive Index and, in 2014-2015, the United States ranked third, ahead of Finland and Germany.  Only Switzerland and Singapore had a higher ranking.

School reform advocates often conflate PISA scores, and standardized tests scores in general, with economic prosperity and security.  However, the scores are unrelated and do not indicate the strength of our economy.

Standardized test scores are too often used as part of a marketing campaign to mislead the public and discredit the public schools. Those who use them in this way like to remind us of the important role schools play in the economy, but praising schools when the economy is thriving does not fit their narrative of failing schools.

The silence is deafening.

Kids Not Testing

1 Comment

In an op-ed published in today’s CTMirror, Robert Cotto, Jr., a lecturer in educational studies at Trinity College and one of the only elected member of the Hartford Board of Education makes the case for dumping the corporate education reform industry’s obsession with standardized testing.

Robert Cotto opens his commentary pieces with;

“As the debate over Connecticut’s state budget looms, the legislature must consider smart ways of maintaining support for our state’s children and families. They must also figure out how to save while doing the least harm.

Reducing the number of standardized tests that kids take could be a way to save more for what matters most in education.

For years, Connecticut required students to take tests in only grades four, six, eight, and ten. In order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Connecticut began giving tests to all children in grades three through eight and ten. Twice the number of children tested and new tests equaled more money spent. State spending for the tests more than doubled from $5.3 million in 2005 to $13.4 million in 2006.

Recently, the State of Connecticut allocated more than $18 million each year for tests. However, this amount does not reflect the hidden costs of spending on test preparation. With Connecticut’s No Child Left Behind waiver, both the amount of testing, consequences, and funds to impose the controversial “Common Core” will likely increase.

Reducing the tests that students take in each subject to only grades four, six, eight, and ten could save millions of dollars. The funds saved could help limit any budget cuts that will affect communities across the state, particularly for the most vulnerable children and families.  Cutting testing in this way could also result in yearly savings of up to $9.5 million. That’s half of current state spending to administer the tests.

At best, the evidence is mixed regarding the impact of spending more on testing and ratcheting up punishments.

And Cotto adds;

“Children best develop their abilities, talents, and interests when their schools, parents, educators, and communities support them together. In school, this would mean focusing on quality teaching and leadership, building on children’s academic strengths and interests, developing balanced and culturally relevant curriculum, confronting racial and economic isolation, and standardizing fairness in resources and support.

Outside of schools, this means supporting the well-being of children and families. In places likes Finland, the investment in children and families health and well-being, in addition to fairness in school resources and quality, has resulted in educational equity and shared prosperity. Instead of building up our system of testing, we must build up our system of support for communities.

Helping kids inside and outside of school. That’s a winning strategy.

With limited testing, there could be more time and funds for supporting kids’ academic progress and development. Time not used for testing could go towards building on children’s academic strengths and talents. Funds saved could mitigate cuts to schools, like the disappearing library, and supports for communities’ economic progress, health, and well-being.

With less testing, we can focus on support for students and develop better methods to assess the goals of public education. Maybe we can save even more as we recognize that public education will be better with more attention to learning and support for communities, but limited testing every two or three grades.”

Take the time to read his entire piece at:  http://ctmirror.org/op-ed-smart-money-is-on-children-not-testing/

The key factor driving academic performance is poverty…

9 Comments

And a new study from the Southern Education Foundation reports that low income students are now a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools.

Using data from the 2012-2013 school year, the study determined that 51 percent of all students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible under the federal program for free and reduced-price lunch, a standard measure of the number of children living in poverty.

The Southern Education Foundation also reported that, “In 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40 percent of all public schoolchildren. In 21 states, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a majority of the students in 2013.”

According to the report, even in Connecticut, the state with the highest per capita income in the nation, more than one in three public school students come from homes in poverty.  That number of public school students coming from poor households skyrockets in many of Connecticut’s poorer cities and towns where more than 8 in 10 students qualifying for free or reduced school lunches.

The Washington Post article covering the new study quoted Michael A. Rebell, the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University, who explained, We’ve all known this was the trend, that we would get to a majority, but it’s here sooner rather than later…A lot of people at the top are doing much better, but the people at the bottom are not doing better at all.

Kent McGuire, the president of the Southern Education Foundation, which according to the Washington Post is the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, discussed the harsh reality associated with reaching a point where a majority of school children are now living in poverty.  McGuire said, “The fact is, we’ve had growing inequality in the country for many years, it didn’t happen overnight, but it’s steadily been happening. Government used to be a source of leadership and innovation around issues of economic prosperity and upward mobility. Now we’re a country disinclined to invest in our young people.”

The Corporate Education Reform Industry claims that the Common Core, more standardized testing, doing away with teacher tenure and privatizing public education by shifting to privately owned, but publicly funded charter schools will solve the biggest problems and challenges facing public education in the United States.

But the real truth is that the root problem is the fundamental lack of adequate resources for public schools, which in turn, prevents public schools from providing the breadth of support and services that would be needed to give poor children a real opportunity for academic success.

The recent Washington Post highlighted the funding problem reporting,

The amount spent on each student can vary wildly from state to state. Vermont, with a relatively low student-poverty rate of 36 percent, spent the most of any state in 2012-2013, at $19,752 per pupil. In the same school year, Arizona, with a 51 percent student-poverty rate, spent the least in the nation at $6,949 per student, according to data compiled by the National Education Association. States with high student-poverty rates tend to spend less per student: Of the 27 states with the highest percentages of student poverty, all but five spent less than the national average.

And The Southern Education Foundation concluded their report with a stark warning;

 “No longer can we consider the problems and needs of low income students simply a matter of fairness…  Their success or failure in the public schools will determine the entire body of human capital and educational potential that the nation will possess in the future. Without improving the educational support that the nation provides its low income students – students with the largest needs and usually with the least support — the trends of the last decade will be prologue for a nation not at risk, but a nation in decline…”

You can access the full report at: http://www.southerneducation.org/Our-Strategies/Research-and-Publications/New-Majority-Diverse-Majority-Report-Series/A-New-Majority-2015-Update-Low-Income-Students-Now

When the Corporate Education Reform Industry tramples the 1st Amendment

1 Comment

Fellow Education Blogger and Public Education advocate Marie Corfield (From New Jersey) has a blog today that will concern everyone in the battle to push back the Corporate Education Reform Industry.

Marie is a mother, artist, teacher, education activist, former NJ State Legislature candidate and is “that” teacher in the infamous Chris Christie You-Tube video of the thug bashing teachers.

Her blog is about the incredible maneuver being taken by the New Jersey Charter Schools Association and it highlights the despicable and UnAmerican actions being taken by the charter school industry and the Corporate Education Reform Industry.

Here in Connecticut there are a number of charter school front groups including ConnCAN, Northeast Charter Schools Network, Families for Excellent Schools, the Coalition for Every Child, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), Excel Bridgeport, Achieve Hartford and others.

Marie Corfield writes;

When the facts aren’t on your side…

When you’re up against the wall…

When you’ve been caught with your hand in the cookie jar…

You take the cheap shot.

That’s what the New Jersey Charter Schools Association did last week when they filed ethics charges against Rutgers Professor Julia Sass Rubin who, along with doctoral student Mark Weber (aka. Jersey Jazzman) published this study on the segregationist practices of the state’s charter schools which concludes what we already knew (from JJ’s post):

New Jersey’s charter schools do not serve nearly as many children in economic disadvantage, who have special education needs, or who are English language learners as their host districts’ schools. 

Here’s the crux of the NJCSA’s complaint:

As an association of educators [more on this below], the NJCSA embraces the right of all educators to speak on matters of public debate. But the NJCSA and its members will not stand by as Dr. Sass Rubin devalues the reputation of our State University, a reputation that has been earned over years of excellence in research and academic achievement, to endorse her personal opinions and advance her personal advocacy interests. Because Dr. Sass Rubin has promised two further ‘studies,’ the NJCSA has filed this complaint today to ensure appropriate corrective action is taken before Dr. Sass Rubin releases her personal views as Rutgers research and creates further embarrassment for Rutgers University. (emphasis mine)

Does anyone besides me find it interesting that this press release is not on the NJCSA’s website? I mean c’mon, this is big ‘reformy’ news! Sadly, I found it on the uber-‘reformy’ and always entertaining (for its sheer lack of veracity) NJ Left Behind blog.

Why? Maybe because the NJCSA knows it got caught red handed. Maybe because they know these are not Julia and JJ’s personal opinions. The data they presented is right out there for the whole world to see on the NJ DOE website—data that the charter schools themselves reported. There was nothing to OPRA. Any 5th grader who knows how to do a simple web search can easily find it.

Ooops.

They’re backed into a corner and have nothing left to do but pull a trick out of the bag of their biggest cheerleader: Gov Christie. They launched a personal attack. They skirted the real issues and went for the low-blow. Educator/blogger Peter Greene reports

The NJCSA is behaving like a punk, and like a weak punk at that who lacks the tools or the skills to come at Rubin and Weber directly. And they have more work to do, because as Weber points out on his own blog, the conclusions have already been acknowledged as the truth by [‘reformy’ Newark Superintendent] Cami Anderson and [‘reformy’ Camden Superintendent] Paymon Rouhanifard, so NJCSA better start ginning up a full scale job-threatening division for the entire state.

You should read Marie’s full post.  It can be found at: http://mcorfield.blogspot.com/2015/01/njcsa-attacks-1st-amendment-rights.html

Malloy brags about raising test scores in his Inaugural Speech

5 Comments

During his 2015 inaugural address, Governor Malloy gives himself credit for rising standardized test scores. But the 2nd term governor fails to address the oncoming Common Core Testing debacle, commit to holding charter schools more accountable or announce that he will fix his unfair Teacher Evaluation program by decoupling it from the unless Common Core Test scores.

Yesterday, after being sworn in to a second term as Connecticut’s Governor, Dannel Malloy gave his State of the State Address to a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Malloy outlined what he deemed to be his accomplishments to date and spoke of plans for the next four years, much of which appears to be focused around improving Connecticut’s deteriorating transportation system.

Interestingly, considering how much attention public education issues received during the recent gubernatorial campaign, this vital topic did not get much play in Malloy’s speech, although the governor – who once said that he didn’t mind schools teach to the test, “as long as test scores went up,” – did proudly proclaim that his first term accomplishments include that fact that his administration had “raised test scores” in Connecticut.

Considering the turmoil caused by Malloy’s corporate education reform industry agenda, Malloy’s comment was a rather callous reminder that the governor and his pro-charter school allies remain fixated on producing an education system driven by test scores.

Other than announcing that “We’ve built better schools, raised test scores, made college more affordable, and put Connecticut on a path toward universal pre-kindergarten,” Malloy made no mention of the massive Common Core testing scheme that will be swamping Connecticut’s public schools this year, neither did he explain why his administration supported the Common Core “cut scores” that are designed to ensure that the vast majority of public school students and teachers are deemed failures.

See:  Beware the Coming Common Core Testing Disaster

For parents, teachers and public school advocates who were looking to see if Malloy was going to soften his pro-corporate education reform industry agenda, there was no sign that the governor intended to hold Connecticut’s charter schools accountable for their use of public funds nor was there a suggestion that the Malloy administration was going to fix their unfair “Teacher Evaluation” program by decoupling the inappropriate Common Core Test scores from the evaluation process for Connecticut’s public school teachers.

While Malloy shied away from talking about education, his corporate-funded education reform supporters were much more vocal, holding a press conference yesterday calling for, among other things, more charter schools.

The press conference was organized by a new education reform front group called, “For Every Child.”  The new lobbying entity includes most of the same groups that spent in excess of $6 million lobbying for Malloy’s initial education reform initiative, including ConnCAN, the Achievement First, Inc. charter school management company, the Northeast Charter School Network and Families for Excellent Schools, another pro-charter group entity.

As reported in a New Haven Register article entitled, Connecticut education activists continue push to address ‘failing’ schools,” the group will be using their resources to push for more charter schools.

According to the Register’s article, the Rev. Eldren Morrison of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, who received permission last year from the Malloy administration to open the Booker T. Washington charter school in New Haven, said, “The problem is that there are not enough (charters).”

And in what can only be considered an absolutely incredible moment of irony, the new charter school operator went on to complain about the “’grueling’ process for charter schools to open.”

Grueling process for charter schools to open?

As Wait, What? readers will undoubtedly recall, [now former] Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Malloy’s appointees quickly and easily approved the application for The Booker T. Washington Charter School after Commissioner Pryor and his staff wrote an April 2, 2014 announcement that it was the highest rated charter school application.

How did Pryor and his staff determine that Booker T Washington Charter School should be approved?

Because in their words, the Booker T Washington Charter School was going to be managed and run by the Jumoke/FUES charterer school company.

The same Jumoke/FUSE charter school company that was given two no-bid contracts to run neighborhood schools in Hartford and Bridgeport.

The same Jumoke/FUSE that has now been disgraced, along with its charlatan CEO, the man formerly known as “Dr.” Michael Sharpe.”

Even a modicum of investigation on the part of Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education would have led to the denial of the Booker T. Washington Charter School, yet Rev. Morrison, who now has a lucrative five-year charter to run a private school with public funds has the audacity to claim that Connecticut’s charter school application process is “grueling.”

For more on Booker T. Washington Charter School read;

Malloy’s new charter schools – 1st up the Booker T. Washington Charter School in New Haven

Merging Church and State – The Booker T. Washington Charter School

“We need a school that’s going to promote God’s principles”  

 

Older Entries