Utah’s Dr. Gary Thompson wrote an open letter to Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond tonight.
Dear Dr. Hammond:
How does placing students in front of an experimental test that has yet to undergo extensive validity measures equate to accountability in the traditional manner in which you speak?
Let me answer that question for you in three simple words:
Dr. Gary Thompson
I want to give context so that you can fully appreciate the letter’s significance.
Darling-Hammond, of Stanford University, is on the list of “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” for good reasons. She works for private organizations that crush Constitutional control of education; she promotes and writes books about socialist redistribution of wealth, and she plays key roles in the Obama administration’s fed ed goals. She’s been an advisor and/or board member for:
Dr. Thompson pointed out to his Facebook friends that Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has been very busily publishing this month.
Her sudden articles in the Huffington Post, The Hill, Stanford University, NEA, ECE and elsewhere show that now, while Congress heatedly debates the ESEA/No Child Left Behind disaster, she’s desperate to persuade Congress to use Common Core and its tests as “an engine to drive better educational practice.”
Darling-Hammond paints a pretty, distracting frame around her ugly baby, the Common Core. She pretends that the whole reason parents are pushing back is only high stakes testing and she mentions nothing else that parents are screeching about. Apparently to her, the Constitution has nothing to do with it; experimentation on children has nothing to do with it; data mining has nothing to do with it; unpiloted and shaky standards have nothing to do with it; validity-report-lacking tests have nothing to do with it. She keeps the “conversation” on the clearly obvious: that basing teachers’ entire value on a test students take is stupid; that stressing those test results rather than a child’s whole education is even more stupid. (Yes, the sky is blue and the grass is green.)
But what she’s really pushing for is NOT what parents want. In “The Hill” blog post, she pressed for federal enforcement of Common Core tests: “urge the federal government to make sure districts provide annual assessments of student progress, while allowing states to develop systems of assessment”. She added, “The Feds should continue to require states to flag districts that require improvement” and “the Feds need to treat accountability as an ongoing process…”
Her article in HuffPo praises California for allocating $1.25 BILLION for Common Core and for eliminating “all the old tests while bringing in new and better Common Core assessments” and concludes: “the Common Core standards in California are an engine to drive better educational practice“.
Her strategy seems to be to get readers to start nodding with her about the high stakes tests, and then forget to stop nodding when she crosses the line and promotes a unicorn: a gentler, kinder version of the same darn Common Core tests. She uses the term “we agreed” seven times to make her point in one article, as she claims that reformers from a wide spectrum of political camps agree with her. Dr. Darling-Hammond, please know the wide spectrum of political camps is loaded with those who disagree with you. Case in point: Dr. Thompson (an Obama voter in the last election) and me (long ago lovingly and correctly labeled a “right wing nut case” –by Dr. Thompson.)
Dr. Thompson put it this way to his Facebook friends tonight:
“Advocacy should never be used as a means to effect change in ethics,” –but because Darling-Hammond is doing so– “it makes it real easy for small-town Utah doctors like myself who do not hold positions of import at Stanford University to effectively ‘slam’ the Dr. Hammonds of the world… Not once did she mention the words ‘valid testing‘. Parents are, and always must be, the resident experts of their own children. I will always challenge those in positions of power who use pseudo science to back their claims. It is an affront to my profession.”
Then he posted his pointed letter to Dr. Darling-Hammond.
May his letter go far and wide. May Darling-Hammond enjoy the mountains of money she’s made $erving the institution$ that aim to $tandardize education and data so that they can control citizens more effectively. –And may Congress see right through her words.
Congress just might.
This month we saw Senator Vitter’s Local Control of Education Act pass the U.S. Senate. (Read it here.) It doesn’t end Common Core, but it spanks the Department of Education for ramming it down our throats, and prevents conditional-on-common-standards-grants.
So there is definitely, definitely hope.