Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's About Taking a Stand!
By:  A LI school psychologist



My 2 cents about why this "opt out" movement is so important. 

Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation, with the media leading the way. If I see one more ad thanking Cuomo, I might implode. This whole issue is not about *a* test. It is not about how any particular child performs on a test. And it is not about teachers not wanting to be evaluated or held accountable. It is about an untested, unproven curriculum that is supposed to get our kids "college and career ready" with no data indicating that this is an appropriate way to do so. This "Common Core" was not piloted and studied for efficacy. It is not based on our understanding of human development. It was developed primarily by business people FOR business people.

 The developers of the Common Core did not look to the highest achieving countries and ask, "What are they doing right?" "How can we do that?" No, that's NOT what they did. Instead, big business (i.e., Pearson) said "Here's a curriculum. We, the business people, think it's good. It's going to cost you all a ton to get the teaching materials but we think it's good. Don't worry if your students don't do well with it...we'll SELL YOU remedial materials and practice test materials. We'll SELL YOU the tests and you'll PAY US to score them. Don't worry...we'll hire people with NO EDUCATIONAL expertise to score them..If your kids don't do well, we'll SELL YOU MORE remedial materials" and so on. And in turn, we'll make a hefty campaign contribution to your Governor. See, WE all win. Well, not the kids but so what? They'll just continue to use our kids as pawns to feed their greed machine.

 I am NOT a teacher. I am a psychologist who holds a dual doctorate degree in school and clinical psychology. I can tell you that in my educated opinion, the Common Core needs a lot of work and we are going about teaching in the wrong way. One size does NOT fit all. Children learn in different ways and have different strengths. There is no singular path to success. Albert Einstein would not have performed well on an ELA assessment. He was learning disabled but brilliant. But if he had been tested today, he would not have been identified as "college or career ready". 

Every person has value and a place in society. An individual's value can't be determined by a score nor can their future contributions to the world be determined by a score. So this is NOT about making a kid take a test because "you can't opt out of life". It is about taking a stand...an act of "civil disobedience" to prevent our schools from being turned into factories. It's about stopping ignorant business people from limiting the creativity of our future generation. It's about doing the RIGHT thing for this generation as well as future generations of learners.

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