By shrouding the test in secrecy, Pearson denies information to teachers to help diagnose student needs. The tests become useless by having no diagnostic value. ...teachers will be fired and students will be failed and schools will be closed without seeing the validity of the instruments of punishment. This is wrong.
These gag orders and the lack of transparency are fueling the growing distrust and backlash among parents, students and educators in the United States about whether the current testing protocols and testing fixation is in the best interests of children.
Diane and Randi have the Pearson issue ass backwards. High stakes tests were never intended to assist in the diagnosis of student academic needs. In my district in Newark, scores are not reported to teachers until the following school year when most teachers are no longer responsible for instructing those particular students. The purpose of the tests is to impose the consequences of closing "failing" schools and firing the teachers employed in those schools. Gag orders on exposing test questions are not fueling backlash against standardized testing. Common Core tied to high stakes testing tied to punitive consequences are the bedrocks of the marriage of the federal government to the school privatization industry.
Alan Singer reported in the Huffington Post that Pearson may be in serious financial trouble. According to Investopedia.com, Pearson underperformed the SandP Index by 23%. Singer suggested that Pearson may be over-extended in its ambitious push to expand its education, digital services and testing programs. The company is concerned that the United States market might shrink due to resistance to Common Core and testing. Will Pearson losing market share bring good tidings to Randi? Randi would be dismayed to discover any chinks in the armor of the federal privatization movement. Henry Mance of Media reported a 6 percent decline in Pearson sales in the first quarter of 2014. Randi shrewdly calculated that she might bolster Pearson sales in the United States by pressuring them to be more transparent in releasing test questions to the public. Randi miscalculated the depth and the breadth of the anger amongst students, parents, teachers and administrators over Common Core inextricably linked to endless testing. As a teacher, I am fully competent to assess and plan appropriate instruction for my students. I could not care less about ludicrous test questions devised by Pearson and others.
Here is the problem folks. Randi is beholden to Bill Gates for his financial contributions to the AFT. Randi loves Bill's Common Core experiment. She enjoys hobnobbing with the financial elites of our society. Diane seeks to portray BFF Randi in the best possible light. Randi was "deeply disturbed" to read in The New York Times about issues teachers, principals, parents and students were raising about Pearson tests. Randi is handsomely compensated to represent the interests of teachers in this country. She has to read The New York Times to familiarize herself with teacher opposition to Pearson testing?
She could talk to any teacher in my school for five minutes to get a run down on the quagmire of standardized testing. Those teachers would patiently explain the correlation between low standardized test scores and high poverty neighborhoods. Unlike the teachers in schools in more prosperous neighborhoods across town, who are for the most part rated effective or better, the hard working, highly qualified teachers in schools in our neighborhoods are more likely to be caught in the partially effective and ineffective traps. Randi's strategy is to minimize the onslaught on public education by pinpointing gag orders one time and VAM on another occasion thereby avoiding both a big picture analysis and an action plan.
In Newark, State Superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark Plan has encountered some glitches in the past week. The administration was unable to meet its self-imposed deadline for informing families which schools their children will attend in September. They are having difficulties working out the transportation details. If the goal is to move children all over the city to purportedly advance equity, transportation would appear to be a key component of the plan. So Randi when you get done writing BS letters to Pearson about marginal issues, you could hop on Amtrak from DC to Newark and help Cami and her pals figure out transportation routes. If you have any spare time, there is a long line of teachers who would benefit from real union leadership.
A Newark Teacher
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Ravitch and Weingarten Misdiagnose Pearson Issue --- by A Newark Teacher
Note - This article is written by a teacher in Newark who often writes for Ed Notes, not by me. I take a more nuanced view of where Ravitch stands on Randi and the teacher unions but I won't get into that here.