Thursday, March 27, 2014

WPIX Video: Opt-Out, Test Resistance Breaks into Mainstream -

Diana Zavala of Change the Stakes,  Jeannette Deutermann of Long Island Opt out, Lisa Rudley of NYSAPE -  WPIX this morning. ..
http://video.pix11.com/Opting-out-of-standardized-tests-25755159?playlistId=11929#.UzQ1DPldXTp.
Yea for our own Diana, former NYC teacher and parent activist supreme.

Finally, the key to the ed deform movement - high stakes testing for kids and teachers - is beginning to come apart. Even that bastion of media ed deform - NBC - The Today Show - did a segment the other day about that pre-k teacher in Mass. who quit. OK, so they had Michelle Rhee on, but their poll showed over 6000 opposed and less than 100 in favor on the current testing issue.

It is time for teachers to step up and inform and assist parents who want to opt-out - and we know some principals will go crazy, so we need to figure out ways to do that.

I believe this movement will also begin to impact on the test-intensive charter schools where parents will also begin to get fed up. We just have to get to them.

One thing - and you'll see when I post a video of the District 14 forum we took part in last week - is that right now it is mostly white, middle class parents who are opting out. So CTS has begun to penetrate into places like East NY and Brownsville and Bed-Stuy --  CEC 19 in East NY is holding a forum on Tuesday - Katie Lapham from MORE and Janine and Fred Smith from CTS will be there and I hope to tape.

Below is a great video segment where the parents opposed to common core did not come off as right wing nuts as the pro-common core people have tried to paint them.

Diana and parents from NYSAPE were part of a long segment in WPIX this morning where they were given an opportunity to address the high stakes testing issue in some depth. Diana gave a great response to the question about what has changed by linking the tests to teacher eval which has nothing to do with the child. And one of the other parents nailed the State Ed Dept statement asking why parents wouldn't want to know how their children are doing by pointing to the fact that neither they nor teachers ever get to see the results of the tests - other than a number 6 months later.

This is only the beginning -- lots more coming from our little flagship group of mostly parent activists. When all is said and done in terms of my 44 years of activism, being part of the founding of this group as an offshoot of the Grassroots Education Movement 4 years ago, will go down as one of my proudest achievements. And the best thing is that I don't have to do any heavy lifting - just watch them and kvell.

Here is a summary from Fred Smith:
Questions allowed Lisa, Jeanette and Diana to be articulate about a wide range of issues.  Segment began with references NYSAPE website for information on opting out and went to a reporter on scene in anticipation of today's Hamilton Heights protest (Test Free Zone). Then it came back to the studio.  Lisa kicked off with being able to opt out.  Jeanette then told that there was no educator input in development of CC.  Diana- debunked the myth that there were no standards before the Core and the fact that the USA has been a world leader in innovation.  Other points built the case for opting out:
LR- Testing has come at the expense of instructional time; schools are now a test-driven environment.
JD- Whatever Andrew Cuomo is now saying, his policies (ATTR) have been at the center of the problem. Pervasive test prep--teacher careers in balance. Focus of school year is on testing. She points to upcoming ELA and Math tests, as well as field tests, as the place to opt out.
Reporter asked about financial consequences to schools/districts if parents opt kids out.  JD answered that no funding was withheld on LI.  She and LR said there is no evidence that federal money will be taken away (waivers) and that money would remain to be allocated in a different way--not lost.
LR- References an Academy of Sciences study that said there is no benefit to the testing--which does not provide a valid measure of educational outcomes or contribute to children's learning. The amount of ELA and math testing time alone has increased enormously since the start of NCLB. Testing companies like Pearson are calling the shots and making decisions aimed at profiting them.
DZ- Makes CtS points about how testing has gone much too far in NYC-- promotions denied to kids who do well all year but stumble on the test; teacher evaluation dependent on scores of 8-year olds; summary judgments being made about schools (school report cards).
An official SED statement was presented: Tests offer opportunity for parents to gauge the progress a child is making toward meeting standards.  Why wouldn't a parent want to know how well child is doing?
JD- Knocked that one out of the park: Teachers and parents don't get timely feedback.  Maybe some information six months after-the-fact. No details and results not useful diagnostically to improve instruction. Not useful to teachers. Curriculum has been "highjacked" and there is no benefit to children or classrooms.
At the end, the host of the show said that this is a story--to be continued....
(The above account is based on a DVR I made of the program.)
Thanks again to this trio, who have been unsparing in their efforts and commitment to do what is best for children and public education.
Fred


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4dJ2_Vx0sI




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