Sunday, August 25, 2013

NYC Parent Urges: Consider opting out of the tests next year as a way of resisting corporate education reform and the monetizing of our children's school experiences

Dear Parents and Guardians,
Your child's scores are now available on ARIS Parent Link. For what it is worth, there are a few things that I think we should all do:
1) Ignore the test results and do not tell our children what their "number" is, no matter how high or low;
2) Know that these tests are part of a movement to privatize public education by convincing parents that our children are underperforming, compared with other countries, and a massive restructuring of the public education system is the only thing that will save the future of the US; this would involve higher standards, better teachers (which requires a de-unionized teaching force), more charter schools, vouchers for private schools, and market-based methods to make parents consumers of "public" education; they say that this is needed because of the "new" US economy, where because of economic and labor policies, we have an increasingly bimodal distribution of jobs (you are either a Walmart Greeter or a Scientist, with few solid working- and lower-middle class options left);    
3) Recognize that no elite NYC private schools use high stakes standardized tests in this way and that the country that is held up as a model of universal, high quality public education, Finland, also does not use test scores in this way; 
4) Know that our state has purposefully set up our children to fail in order to "shock" us into submission and turn on our children's teachers and their unions;
5) Resist the urge to pressure our children's teachers and schools to do better on these tests; this will only totally eliminate the arts, sports, sciences, recess and other activities that have been diminished in the pursuit of high scores and that children desperately need; these are the things that keep some of our most vulnerable children in school;
6) Be aware also that our children's test scores are being given by the state to inBloom, a private company that will store all of children's data in a "cloud" and offer it to other private companies to make more educational "products" that are typically "personalized" and computer-based and designed to further undermine face-to-face instruction, classrooms and human teachers.  See here for inBloom:  See here for criticisms of it:
7) Consider opting out of the tests next year as a way of resisting corporate education reform and the monetizing of our children's school experiences.
So that is what I think we should do; feel to agree or disagree!
(D6 parent)

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