Archive for the ‘teachers for freedom’ Tag

The Garfield Stand: Seattle Teachers Refuse to Promote Meaningless Standardized Test   1 comment

The Garfield Stand and the Common Core

This article was originally published January 12, 2013 on The Underground Parent at http://undergroundparent.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-garfield-stand-and-common-core-will.html and is in part republished here, with permission from the author.

What is the Garfield Stand?  It is what the teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School are doing—they are taking a stand on important issues related to student assessment.

You can read about it in the letter from teachers at Garfield High School and at additional links provided below.

Teachers at another school, Ballard High School, are not just in sympathy with their Garfield colleagues; they are taking the same stand.

…Read the letter from the Garfield teachers.

The Ballard teachers wrote a letter supporting their Garfield colleagues.  That letter is copied below.

In a few years how many of the statements below will have a ring of truth if MAP is replaced with SBAC or PARCC assessments [Common Core national tests]?

25 teachers at nearby Ballard High School signed a letter against continuing to use the MAP test,

and in support of our Garfield colleagues

Whereas  

  • The MAP test is a resource expensive and cash expensive program in a district with very finite financial resources,
  • The MAP test is not used in practice to inform student instruction,
  • The MAP test is not connected to our curricula,
  • The MAP test has been repurposed by district administration to form part of a teacher’s evaluation, which is contrary to the purposes it was designed for, as stated by its purveyor, making it part of junk science,
  • The MAP test has also been repurposed for student placement in courses and programs, for which it was not designed,
  • The MAP test was purchased under corrupt crony-ist circumstances (Our former superintendent, while employed by SPS sat on the corporation board of NWEA, the purveyor of the MAP test. This was undisclosed to her employer. The initial MAP test was purchased in a no-bid, non-competitive process)
  • The MAP test was and remains unwanted and unneeded and unsolicited by SPS professional classroom educators, those who work directly with students,
  • The MAP test is not taken seriously by students, (They don’t need the results for graduation, for applications, for course credit, or any other purpose, so they routinely blow it off.)
  • The MAP test’s reported testing errors are greater than students’ expected growth,
  • The technology administration of the MAP test has serious flaws district wide which waste students’ time,

Therefore
                        We, the undersigned educators from Ballard High School do hereby support statements and actions of our colleagues at Garfield High School surrounding the MAP test. Specifically, the MAP test program throughout Seattle Public Schools ought to be shut down immediately. It has been and continues to be an embarrassing mistake. Continuing it even another day, let alone another month or year or decade, will not turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse.

…It is unfortunate teachers feel the need to take such a stand.

Should they, and other teachers across the country, be making more of the decisions that will directly effect their instructional practices and their students’ education or should those decisions continue to be made by… state departments of education, business and corporate offices, wealthy foundations, and Washington, D.C.?

Links to further reading on the topic:

Seattle Ballard High School teachers have followed suit: No MAP test!

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/seattle-ballard-high-school-teachers-have-followed-suit-no-map-test/

The letter from the teachers at Garfield High School regarding the MAP test

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-letter-from-the-teachers-at-garfield-high-school-regarding-the-map-test/

Letter of support for Garfield High School teachers from Diane Ravitch

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/letter-of-support-for-garfield-high-school-teachers-from-diane-ravitch/

Garfield High School teachers say “NO!” to high stakes testing

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/garfield-high-school-teachers-say-no-to-high-stakes-testing/

Standardized test backlash: Some Seattle teachers just say ‘no’

http://news.yahoo.com/standardized-test-backlash-seattle-teachers-just-no-230447459.html

Garfield High teachers won’t give required test they call flawed

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020106684_notest11m.html?syndication=rss

Garfield High teachers refuse to give standardized test

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Garfield-High-teachers-refuse-to-give-MAP-test-186403421.html

Garfield High teachers refuse to administer District-mandated reading and math test

http://capitolhillseattle.com/2013/01/11/garfield-high-teachers-refuse-to-administer-district-mandated-map-test

Garfield High School teachers boycott MAP assessment test

http://www.king5.com/news/education/Garfield-High-School-teachers-boycott-MAP-test-186401601.html

This article was originally published January 12, 2013 on The Underground Parent at http://undergroundparent.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-garfield-stand-and-common-core-will.html and is republished here with permission from the author.

Utah Teacher David Cox on Common Core   11 comments

On Common Core: Education Without Representation

As it is going, teachers will be little more than robots, constricted in everything they do.

Guest Post by Utah Teacher David Cox

When I was first hired, what one taught was decided by the texts that teachers and the principal decided upon.

So I had a great deal of say.  It was school based, though the state had recommendations of what, and at what grade level, but recommendations were all they were.

Some time after Nation at Risk, 1983, it became the vogue thing for districts to write up “standards.”  That came about to counter what so many teachers were being taught by constructivist professors (as one of mine at BYU did) that, “If you want to cover the text…(wait for it) use a dish towel.”  You were to teach what they, the students, wanted to learn.  It was “democratic” learning (student driven).  In other words “just teach whatever!”  The standards movement came about to stop constructivism, because the Back-to-Basics movement wasn’t able to, since it was directed at teachers and not the professors, who were the source.  Alpine SD used teachers, I was one of many, who wrote these and lesson plans to go with them in the old ACE (Alpine Curriculum for Excellence).  It actually was very good –and specific.

Then the State Board of Education decided they had to get into the act and State Standards were created through USOE.  These were much inferior to the ACE.  At first we were able to “align” the standards together, which I worked on using Career Ladder monies.  Finally they were shoved down our throats and we had to give up the ACE for these inferior state standards, which were quite non-specific.

Now we are having National Standards crammed down our throats, which will be backed up with tests that will end up dictating even the methods used to teach.  Why?  (Here’s the irony.)  Because they are being created by professors who are as constructivist in philosophy as the original standards movement was created to get rid of!  And these “standards” (inferior to many states’ previous standards and heavily influenced by the aforementioned philosophy) are being required in order to get federal dollars and wavers from NCLB.  How can any district back out?

And as these become entrenched in a few years the politically correct police from Washington will start telling us EXACTLY what we can and can’t teach (history will be added, think of how that will be slanted) and how, and it will be things we in Utah will disagree with strongly depending on the administration in power.  What’s worse, there will be no other choice.  Already charter schools are being required next year to teach it, and even private schools will be required to become accredited, of which the first requirement will be to adopt the national curriculum.  The next step, as has happened in Sweden this past year, even home schooling will be abolished.  Do you see why I’m terrified?!

I’ve watched it happen from day one and followed it very closely.  I’ve seen all the changes, and it isn’t better.  Back then, you couldn’t guarantee perfect teaching, but many teachers did a very good job.

As it is going, teachers will be little more than robots, constricted in everything they do.

This will almost prohibit great teaching.

The real irony is that conservatives tried to forcibly get rid of the faulty constructivist teaching by using government power with the standards and accountability movement.  And after getting the force of government in place, liberals turned it around and took control and are in the process of completely implementing their agenda.  If they had truly understood human agency and the real conservative philosophy, they would never have tried to use government to “guarantee” correct philosophy, because if you give government enough power to control it, it will end up controlling you.

Here is why I strongly oppose Common Core:

 

As a retired teacher, former legislator, and grandparent, I am strongly opposed to the Common Core for three main reasons.

 1. I want standards, not standardization. Standardization forces everyone to come down to a common level, the lowest common denominator. Locally adopted or created standards build the intellects and support of and from the local parents and teachers. Nationally imposed “standards” bring avoidance and lack of responsibility along with agendas I oppose, such as #2.

2. The philosophy of those who created Common Core is constructivism. They believe the student must construct their own set of knowledge (discovery learning). This is the philosophy that gave us “Whole Language” instead of reading, English, and spelling. It gave us “Investigations Math” instead of real math. It dumbed-down history and geography into “Social Studies.” The Common Core itself is dumbing-down Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus into Math 1 and 2, etc.

3. Finally, though the standards themselves were not directly created by the national government, they are being imposed by incentives. The real nationalizing threat comes from the tests that ARE nationally created and which drive the implementation of the standards. I want our schools to listen to the parents, not to Washington politicians and educrats.

The real answer to improvement will only come when we give both freedom and responsibility to the local community. That is the story of America, the story Europeans didn’t (and still don’t) believe, that, given freedom to either succeed or fail, the common man will usually do what is necessary to succeed. Nationally imposed education will not do this, neither will vouchers, which would only, with the funding, pass on the government interference that is hampering the public schools to private schools. To solve this we need to create new, community-sized school districts. Doing this will bring the community together on behalf of their own children. The adults will grow in the process of local decision-making and control of education, and that will then raise the children.
Only by creating new smaller districts will we return liberty and responsibility to the local parents and teachers. Only then will true accountability be accomplished. Only then will true educational quality and efficiency be possible to achieve. It truly takes a community to educate a child. We cannot lift the children without lifting the adults too.
That cannot be accomplished by nationally created and imposed standards.
It takes governing from the local level to lift and build the people. That is what the United – “States” are all about.

-by David Cox

Teachers and Mothers Against Common Core (Video)   Leave a comment

Alisa, Renee and I speak out about our opposition to Common Core.

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