Wednesday, April 22, 2015

High stakes testing impact on the black community - so-called civil rights test supporters - ignore at your peril

A 2012 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that the same suspicious patterns of radical test score improvement seen in Atlanta could be found in more than 200 school districts across the country, from Philly to Portland, and from Alaska to Alabama.... Black Agenda Report
So desperate to have some policies to promote equity when the country was turning conservative, civil rights leaders forgot their historic opposition to high stakes testing, with tragic results....Stacey Patton, Dame Magazine
The one-percenters need us to believe public education in our communities is some new kind of sewer infested with incompetent teachers who are cheating children and the public every week they draw paychecks. The long, long crisis of public education has been designed, engineered and provoked by powerful bipartisan forces to justify their long game, which is the privatization of public education. That's the Big Plan... Bruce Dixon, BAR
If the black political class and black educators really stood for the interests of their students and communities they would be educating black parents and students across the country about their right to opt out of tests that serve no legitimate educational purpose, as teachers in Chicago and Seattle are already doing.

But that's problematic too. Opposing standardized testing would place the black political class in conflict not with the slippery nebulous demons of institutional racism, but biting some of the very real and easy-to-find hands in corporate America that feed it. Taking issue with standardized testing, Common Core and the drive to privatize education would put black educators in opposition to corporate America, to the Gates, Walton Family (Wal-Mart), Eli Broad and other foundations, and to Republicans and Democrats including President Obama and Arne Duncan, his Secretary of Education. This is not an easy thing to do when national black “civil rights” organizations from the National Action Network and the National Urban League have eagerly accepted corporate-engineered school reform with corporate dollars, and President Obama is deeply beholden to the charter school sugar daddies.... Bruce Dixon
Boy, Dixon lays it out there. Mulgrew used the "civil rights leaders support testing" excuse for opposing the opt out movement. The worm will eventually turn and the so called civil rights leaders who support testing will be repudiated by people in the black community. There are articles popping up out of that radical wing of the black community -

This one at Dame Magazine is very heavy:  http://www.damemagazine.com/2015/04/13/dear-white-people-your-kids-are-getting-screwed-too
Dear White People, Your Kids Are Getting Screwed, Too!
The Atlanta cheating scandal and growing White middle-class anger over the explosion of Common Core tests have more in common than you might think.

From Black teachers being imprisoned for forging answers on tests and Black parents being jailed for “stealing” a better education for their kids, to White middle-class parents organizing a nationwide revolt against standardized testing, we are seeing a repudiation of our failed educational policies. Many might see these as totally separate issues, reflecting the power of race and class, but each represent varied responses to an immoral national strategy that had its major impact on inner-city communities more than a decade ago and has now targeted suburban schools.

The architects of this policy, men with deep pockets like Bill Gates helped by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, decided to use standardized tests to achieve education “equity” despite their racist origins and character.
And even more strangely, many civil rights groups and leaders promoted testing by selling it as the answer to eliminating the notorious achievement gap, and encouraging their constituents to embrace this new form of oppression. So desperate to have some policies to promote equity when the country was turning conservative, civil rights leaders forgot their historic opposition to high stakes testing, with tragic results.

And some groups became poverty pimps and virtue rackets that sold out for corporate money. At the end of the day, the rhetoric of civil rights set the stage for the educational holocaust in communities of color, and for the Atlanta scandal.

Historically, standardized tests have been the basis of narratives claiming the genetic and cultural inferiority of Black children. Throughout the early 20th century, these tests provided the “scientific legitimacy” for segregation, prompting widespread opposition from Black psychologists and sociologists who identified them as a White supremacist scheme.

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision did not result in an abandonment of racially biased testing. Testing data has since rationalized funding disparities, the achievement gap, and policies resulting in the cradle-to-prison pipeline. It would be akin to using Jim Crow to facilitate integration, or the KKK to bring about law and order. Oh, wait …
The article gets pretty tough on white people and some might view it as divisive but it makes some very important and interesting points:
- See more at: http://www.damemagazine.com/2015/04/13/dear-white-people-your-kids-are-getting-screwed-too#sthash.X0MvhCZf.dpuf
Here is one from the Black Agenda Report by Bruce Dixon: excerpts

Demonizing Teachers, Privatizing Schools: The Big Lies and Big Plans Behind the Atlanta School Cheating Scandal

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Should we be wondering if the prosecution of cheating Atlanta teachers for racketeering was racist? Or should black parents and educators be leading a movement against high-stakes standardized testing as the gateway tool to privatizing public education in black and brown communities across the country?

 -----
Since at least 2001, when George W. Bush's conservative Republicans teamed up with Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy's liberal Democrats to pass and implement the No Child Left Behind Act, it's been the policy of both capitalist parties implemented by the federal Department of Education to create, to provoke and to exacerbate a phony educational crisis. This program of crisis-creation has been backed by Wall Street, by banksters and hedge fund types, by giant corporations like Wal-Mart and powerful right wing interest groups like the US Chamber of Commerce as well as the so-called philanthropic tentacles of corporate America like the Gates, Broad, Heritage and Walton Family Foundations. The solution to the fake crisis has been the whole industry of testing experts, turnaround consultants, diploma mills for fake principals, lucrative charter school companies and their contractors, and the private but government sanctioned agencies that rate school districts. Even the agencies that rate school districts are staffed by the same “run the school like a business” experts approved by the US Chamber of Commerce who were employed to write President Obama's Race to the Top program, which punishes school districts that don't privatize or implement “run the school like a business 'reforms'” fast enough.
High stakes standardized testing, like the tests educators cheated on in Atlanta, is an essential tool in provoking the crisis, but it's a big lie. These kinds of tests don't reflect student progress or teacher competency. They track to family income, and family income in the US correlates largely to race. So as Glen Ford put it back in 2012

“The standardized tests were bombs, designed to explode the public schools and the teaching profession. Everyone involved knew that inner city kids would fail the tests in huge numbers, setting the infernal machine in motion for the closing of schools and the wholesale firing of teachers...”

The bombs were planted not just in Atlanta, but in thousands of school districts across the nation, with predictable results. A 2012 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that the same suspicious patterns of radical test score improvement seen in Atlanta could be found in more than 200 school districts across the country, from Philly to Portland, and from Alaska to Alabama. Clearly, cheating teachers and principals in Georgia were and likely still are doing the same things the same way as their colleagues across the country.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
 Read more at: http://www.blackagendareport.com/big-lies-big-plans-behind-atlanta-cheating-scandal

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