Standardized Testing

Pennsylvania Wants YOU to Give Standardized Tests to Your Kids at Home – Education Article

    A multi-million dollar corporation wants to make sure Pennsylvania’s children keep getting standardized tests.  Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) and the state Department of Education are providing the optional Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) assessments for use in students’ homes.     Students are not required to take the CDT in the Commonwealth unless their district decides to give it. The test is encouraged by the state as a way of telling how students will do on the required tests.…

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Why High Stakes Testing Was Cancelled This Year (and Probably Will Be Next Year, Too) – Education Article

 There are at least two silver linings to the current Coronavirus catastrophe for education.   One – with nearly all public schools closed, March was the first month since 2002 without a school shooting.   Two – districts nationwide cancelled high stakes standardized tests in April and May.   Taken together, these are two victories that no one could have predicted before November.   Gun safety restrictions remain laughably lax in the US compared to the rest of the world.…

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The Internet is NOT the Best Place for Kids to Learn After the Coronavirus Pandemic – Education Article

 If the Coronavirus quarantine has taught educators one thing, it’s this.   Online learning is not better than in-person schooling.   After all these years of corporations throwing apps at us and well-meaning administrators providing us with devices and philanthrocapitalists pumping billions of dollars into ed tech first academic schemes, we can all see now that the emperor has no clothes.   When schools nationwide are closed to stop the spread of a global pandemic and learning is restricted to…

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Save Our Schools From Coronavirus Budget Cuts – Education Article

    America is one dumbass country.   We don’t do the metric system.   We don’t do universal healthcare.   And during a global pandemic, we don’t demand the government pay us to stay home and stop the spread of the disease.   Instead, we demand the government let us go out and get sick.   It should come as no surprise, then, that we deeply under-fund our public schools.   There’s always money for a new war or…

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HBO’s “Bad Education” Aims at Public School Theft While Ignoring More Frequent Fraud at Charter Schools & Testing Companies – Education Article

 “Bad Education” is a frustrating movie to watch as a public school teacher.   It does a fine job telling the true story of a wealthy New York district where administrators stole millions of dollars for themselves.   But it ignores the far more frequent waste and malfeasance caused by school privatization, high stakes testing and runaway ed tech.   Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but there is no subject more political than public schools.   During the current Coronavirus…

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You Can’t Have My Students’ Lives to Restart Your Economy – Education Article

    It’s okay if a few children die to start up the economy.   That is literally the opinion being offered by media influencers and policymakers as Coronavirus social distancing efforts continue passed the 30-day mark.   In the midst of a global pandemic, we’ve closed down all nonessential businesses while people self quarantine at home waiting for the curve of infection to plateau and then drop off. Medical experts tell us this is the only way to ensure…

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The First Taste is Free: Ed Tech Follows Drug Dealer Sales Techniques with Schools During Coronavirus Crisis – Education Article

  “Pst! Hey, Kid! Come here!”   Educational technologies are a multi-billion dollar industry.   “Who? Me?”   The coronavirus pandemic has closed schools across the globe, and districts have tried to solve this problem by putting their classes online.   “Yeah, you. I’ve got some… candy I want to give you.”   Nearly every ed tech company has offered help with this processes.  “Oh boy! I sure love candy… Wait a minute! How much does it cost?”   Teachers,…

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Randi Has a Good Idea for the End of the School Year – Education Article

Randi Weingarten proposes an alternative to end of the year tests. This is such a good idea that Congress should consider making it a replacement for annual standardized tests, which are inherently an assertion that teachers can’t be trusted to judge their students’ progress. Furthermore, Randi’s idea of testing what students know and can do will inspire student thoughtfulness and creativity, which is far superior to picking the right answer. Classrooms that would have been abuzz with activity now sit…

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Top 10 Things I Want My Students to do During the Coronavirus Quarantine – Education Article

      Dear Students,   A schoolteacher without a classroom is kind of like a firefighter without a fire.   Or a police officer without crime.   But here we are – self-quarantined at home.   Our classroom sits empty, and everyday this week we sit here at home wondering what to do.   I want you to know that I’ve been thinking about all of you.   I hope you’re doing alright during this unprecedented moment in history.…

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Public Schools Can Recover from the COVID-19 Quarantine by Skipping High Stakes Tests – Education Article

 There is one plus from being sick during a global pandemic.   You get perspective.   While all the schools in Pennsylvania are closed for at least the next two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (colloquially known as the Coronavirus), I self-quarantined a day early.   No, I don’t think I have the virus, but I’m not taking any chances.   Still, sitting here at my laptop with a steaming mug of tea, I’m filled with optimism.…

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Don’t Extend Kids’ School Day; Shorten Parents’ Work Week – Education Article

It’s rough being the parent of an American school student.You often leave for work before your kids have even made it to school yet – and you get home long after they’ve returned.When exactly are you supposed to parent?   Your kids have to get themselves to school. They have to get themselves home. And helping with homework, talking about their days, even setting a good example are all luxuries you have to pay dearly for with an ever-shrinking amount…

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Educators and Students Have Privatizers on the Run, Says Ravitch – Education Article

Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education in President George H.W. Bush’s administration and NEA Friend of Education in 2010, has written a new book that she wants every public school educator to read. In “Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools,” [Knopf: 2020] Ravitch explores how profit-minded billionaires like Sam Walton or Eli Broad—she calls them “disrupters,” never “reformers”—are behind large-scale efforts to squeeze public money out of public schools through…

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Trump Administration’s “Junk Food Loophole” is Symptomatic of School Privatization – Education Article

  Who wants children to eat more junk food?     Apparently the Trump administration does.     This seemed to be the Department of Agriculture’s concern when it announced plans last week to further reduce regulations for healthy meals at the nation’s public schools.   The Department’s new scheme would change the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to include what critics call a “junk food loophole” in meals offered at public schools – usually breakfasts and lunches.  …

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AstroTurf Alert: National Parents Union is Thinly Veiled Union Busting Backed by Billionaire Cash – Education Article

 How do you do something disgusting without hurting your image?     If you’re the Walton Family, you hide behind a mask.     That’s what their latest AstroTurf front group is – the so-called National Parents Union (NPU).     It’s a way to bust teachers unions, destroy public schools and profit off of students behind the guise of a friendly parents organization.     Oh, it’s all funded with oodles of cash from the Walton family and other…

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Robots Will Never Replace Teachers. They Can Only Displace Us – Education Article

 My favorite movie of all time is “2001: A Space Odyssey.”     And my favorite character is the computer HAL 9000.   In the future (now past) of the movie, HAL is paradoxically the most human personality. Tasked with running the day-to-day operations of a spaceship, HAL becomes strained to the breaking point when he’s given a command to lie about the mission’s true objectives. He ends up having a psychotic break and killing most of the people he…

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Economists Ate My School – Why Defining Teaching as a Transaction is Destroying Our Society – Education Article

    Teaching is one of the most misunderstood interactions in the world.     Some people see it as a mere transaction, a job: you do this, I’ll pay you that.     The input is your salary. The output is learning.    These are distinctly measurable phenomena. One is calculated in dollars and cents. The other in academic outcomes, usually standardized test scores. The higher the salary, the more valued the teacher. The higher the test scores, the…

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