Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Unequal United States - Which State is Best to Teach in? by Momma Brown's Blog

Originally posted at: https://medium.com/march-for-public-education/the-unequal-united-states-which-state-is-the-best-to-teach-in-abf003a31e0c

Divide and Conquer. 
In one of the Facebook groups that I follow, a member posed this question: “Just out of curiosity: what’s the best state to teach in, and why?” A flurry of comments came in — 347 comments were generated from that one question! I found the responses to be both enlightening and disturbing.
Some of the comments were humorous:
“A state of bliss.”
“A state of denial.”
“A state of sobriety.”
“A state of intoxication.”
Some comments looked outside of the United States:
“Finland” (This country was written many times.)
“International schools.”
While a few teachers commented:
“No state.”
“None, get out of teaching.”
“Don’t go into any state of teaching.”
Most respondents answered very strongly concerning the state they taught in. The “best” states characteristics tended to be geographically north-eastern, union-supported, secure in teacher tenure rights, and included average to above-average teacher pay, including pensions.
The top state responses: Massachusetts, New York (but not always NYC), New Jersey (but there was much discussion over Governor Christie), Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and northern Virginia (not southern), Minnesota, and California.
The meh states included Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The characteristics of states to avoid included: hostile governors, anti-union sentiment, right-to-work laws, lacked teacher tenure rights, lacked pension benefits, and paid teachers unlivable wages. These “bad” states were listed as: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.
I was happy to see New York (my home state) cited favorably frequently among the comments. Although Governor Cuomo and the Board of Regents have caused havoc to the teacher evaluation process and continue to over-test our children, it was a bit encouraging to hear from NY teachers that they still believed in our public schools. I am sure all the New York teachers posting could easily point out huge issues in New York schools, but the negative comments are nothing close to what teachers from the “bad” states were saying.
Florida was touted as the worst of the worst.
Why is this stark inequality so significant? Because inequity is the fuel for the fire of corporate education reform. Inequity ignites the narrative of “those failing public schools” and the “need” for more choices. Inequity attracts residents and teachers to flock to certain “good” schools in certain “desirable” areas. Inequity promotes corporation’s profits recruits corporate charter school investment. Inequity increases segregation along both racial and socio-economic divides.
The “state” of public education is so disparate and the inequity in funding is so varied that we can no longer define “American Education.” Instead, each state’s education has its own meaning — creating savage inequalities in the United States.

So which schools has Betsy DeVos visited in her short tenure as the United States Secretary of Education?

  • Jefferson Middle School Academy, Washington, D.C. on February 10, 2017.
  • St. Andrew Catholic School, Orlando, Florida, on March 3, 2017 (accompanied by Trump).
  • Carderock Springs Elementary School, Bethesda, Maryland on March 23, 2017, where she read from Dr. Suess’ Oh The Places You Will Go.
  • Kimberly Hampton Primary School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina on April 3, 2017 — a school run by the Department of Defense.
  • Excel Academy Public Charter School, Washington, D.C., on April 5, 2017, (accompanied by the First Lady and the Queen of Jordan).
  • Christian Academy for Reaching Excellence (CARE) Elementary School, Miami Florida on April 6, 2017.
  • SLAM Charter School, Miami, Florida on April 6, 2017 (the school is supported by the rapper, Pitbull).
  • Royal Palm Elementary School, Miami, Florida on April 7, 2017 (this is a traditional public school).
  • Van Wert Elementary and Van Wert High School, Van Wert, Ohio on April 20, 2017 (accompanied by Randi Weingarten, the president of the AFT).
  • Ashland Elementary School, Manassas, Virginia, on April 25, 2017 (student population is largely from military families).
  • North Park Elementary School, Los Angelos, California, on April 28, 2017 (after a teacher and her student were killed by a gunman).
  • Cornerstone Christian School, Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2017 (as the name suggests, this school is Christian school).
  • Center City Charter School, Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2017 (first Catholic-to-charter school conversion).
  • Granite Technical Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah on May 9, 2017.
Source: Education Weekhttp://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/04/weingarten_devos_van_wert_hold.html
Overwhelmingly Betsy DeVos has visited schools that fit her perspective of “good” schools. These schools tend to be located in regions of the United States where funding for public education is abysmal and where school vouchers, educational scholarships, and white flight from public schools is typical. And, with the exception of a few schools listed above, most of these schools are located in states where professionals are urging their fellow teachers to avoid.
In war, a great strategy is divide and conquer. Public schools in the United States are already horribly divided — divided by curriculum, funding, facilities, teacher preparation, race, and socio-economic factors. The public’s opinion of schools is at all time low. Make no mistake, the war on public education is waging. Betsy DeVos and the forces of privatization and corporatization are closing in. Their victory would be a tremendous loss for the children of the United States.
It is time for battle. It is time for public school advocates to lead. It is time for teachers to find their voices, collectively. How does the resistance begin? The first step comes in sensible shoes during the upcoming March For Public Education in our nation’s capital on July 22, 2017, or in sister-city marches across the country.
The July 22, 2017, March for Public Education is critical. Please consider clicking the heart ❤️ icon above, following the March For Education Blog Publication, following on Twitter, liking the page on Facebookparticipating in the march, and donating to the marchYou can also buy a t-shirt to support public education by clicking here.

Why Care About Other People’s Children by Steven Singer

Originally posted at: https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/why-care-about-other-peoples-children/

As a vocal critic of charter and voucher schools, one of the most frequent questions I get from readers is this:
“Why should I care about other people’s children?”
One reader put it this way:
“Why should my child’s education and safety have to suffer because of difficult and violent students? …it isn’t my responsibility to pay for a miscreant’s education.”
The question says more than any answer could.
It shows quite clearly that school choice is an essentially selfish position.
That’s why some folks champion privatized education – they only care about their own children. In effect, when a parent sends their children to a charter or voucher school, they are telling the community that they don’t care what happens to any one else’s kids so long as their kids are properly cared for and educated.
It is the root cause of most of our problems in education today and has nothing to do with children. It’s all about adults – adults lacking empathy.
On the one hand, I get it. As a parent, you can’t help but love your child more than anyone else’s. You would beg, cheat and steal to make sure your child has enough to eat, is clothed and sheltered, has everything she needs to succeed in this world.
That’s a position for which few would show any embarrassment. It’s just being human.
But it shouldn’t also mean that you don’t care at all for other children.
I’d like to pose a radical thought – loving my child does not mean I’m indifferent to yours.
Children are innocent. They haven’t done anything to earn the hate or enmity of the world. They see everything with fresh eyes. Many of them haven’t even learned the prejudices and ignorance of their parents. And even where they have, it is so new it can be changed.
When you look at a babe in arms do you feel the same indifference? I don’t.
Perhaps it’s just the way we’re built. I feel an immediate nurturing instinct. I want to protect and provide for children – any children – even if they’re not mine.
If you saw a baby all alone crying on the side of the road, would you stop to help her? I would. I couldn’t help it. I can do no other.
If I saw a toddler in distress, a tween, even an unruly teenager in need, I would try to help. And I think most of us would do the same.
Doing so wouldn’t hurt my child. In fact, it would show her how a decent person acts towards others. It would teach her empathy, kindness, caring. It would demonstrate the values I try to instill in her – that we’re all in this together and we owe certain things to the other beings with which we share this world.
Why would you not want to do that?
We do not live in a world where you have to choose between your child and all others. There is a middle course. We can do for all society’s children without unduly sacrificing our own.
And if we can, why wouldn’t we?
Public school is essentially a community endeavor. It is an attempt to give everyone in your neighborhood the same start, the same opportunity, the same advantages.
It means allowing all children who live in the community the ability to attend the community school. That’s better than selecting the best and brightest and to Hell with the rest.
It means the community pooling its wealth to help all students. That’s better than dividing that pool up and pitting one group against another so that some get what they need and others don’t.
It means having an elected school board who holds public meetings, deliberates in the open and has to offer almost all documents to the light of day. That’s just better than an appointed board of directors who hold private meetings behind closed doors and who aren’t compelled to show any documentation for how they’re spending public tax money.
When you send your child to school – any school – she will have to deal with other students. She will meet children who are mean, unkind, unruly and a bad influence. But this is true at all schools – public and private, voucher or charter, secular or parochial. The biggest difference is racial and economic.
Our educational institutions today have become so segregated by class and race that even our public schools offer white middle class and wealthy students the opportunity to learn in an environment nearly devoid of children of color or children who live in poverty. This divide is drastically widened by charter, private and parochial schools.
So when people complain about the class of children they want to keep separate from their progeny, it is always imbued with a racist and classist subtext.
What they mean is: I don’t want my child to have to put up with all those black students, all those brown children, all those unwashed masses of impoverished humanity.
proudly send my daughter to public school for the same reasons that many withhold their children from it. I want her to experience a wide variety of humanity. I want her to know people unlike her, and to realize that they aren’t as different as they might first appear. I want her to know the full range of what it means to be human. I want her to be exposed to different cultures, religions, nationalities, world views, thoughts and ideas.
And I want it not just because it’s better for my community – I want it because it’s better for her, too.
I want my daughter and I to both live in a world populated by educated citizens. I want us both to live in a society that treats people fairly, and where people of all types can come together and talk and reason and enjoy each other’s company.
Only under the most extreme circumstances would I ever subject her to charter, private or parochial schooling. And things would have to come to a pretty pass for me to home school her.
Imagine! Thinking I could offer my child all the richness of a public school experience, all the knowledge of a district’s worth of teachers, all the variety of social contact – how vain I would need to be to think I could do all that, myself!
Some people want their children to become little versions of themselves. They want to create a generation of mini-me’s who’ll carry on their way of thinking into the future.
That’s not my goal at all.
I want my daughter to share my core values, I want her to learn from my experiences, but I don’t want her to think like me at all. I want her to be a new person, special and unique.
If you stop and think about it, that’s what most of us want for our children.
It’s a common goal that can be achieved with a common mechanism.
So why should we care about other people’s children?
Because it’s better for ours. Because doing so makes us better people. Because all children are ends in themselves. Because they’re beautiful, unique sparks of light in a dark universe.
If those aren’t reasons enough, I can’t help you.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Inspiration, Encouragement & Empowerment by Teresa Shimogawa

I debated whether or not to share this with the masses. It's a letter I gave to the founding members of the club of which I am the advisor. After several days of contemplation, and since I've already given it to my girls, I thought I might go ahead and take the risk and share it to encourage others to connect with our youth. There is no garbage can for human beings. I've come to the conclusion that adults are really just children who have aged on the outside. They may or may not have grown on the inside. 

As somebody who has experienced brokenness and has had to rebuild and grow resilience, I've also learned that we can't force people to learn on our schedules, they must do it on their own. As teachers, it is our job to be patient and give them repeated opportunities to learn without judgement. We can't understand somebody else's journey if we haven't walked in their shoes. All we can do is practice empathy and patience with an open mind and give them every chance to succeed. They won't always succeed. But they'll remember that we believed in them. Kenneth was always trying to teach me that. I finally did, when I was ready.

May 19, 2017

Dear Founding Members,
Next week you will graduate from high school and begin your lives without the constraints of mandatory K-12 education. As exciting as this feels right now, it should not be the end of your learning. I believe that we should all be life-long learners. There is no such thing as knowing everything. While this doesn’t necessarily mean your learning always has to be through traditional means, having a college degree will give you privilege that others won’t have. It will open doors of opportunity, fill your mind with knowledge, connect you with people, and help you grow as a person. 

Find what you are passionate about and immerse yourself in the study of it. Then go find more things that you are passionate about to learn. There are an infinite amount of things to learn. Spend more time reading than you do engaging in passive activities. Participate. Participate even when you can’t see why or how it would benefit you. Participating leads to learning.There is always something valuable about experiences, and everything you do today will prepare you for the person you’ll be in all of your tomorrows.

Keep being the champions of great causes. Help people. Be bold, but remember a leader has to inspire others to take action. Build relationships. Be fair and compassionate with people. You never know the burdens they carry, just as they don’t know about your burdens.

Take care of your health. You only have one body. Develop healthy habits that will stack the odds in your favor for living a long, happy life.

Say yes to something beyond your comfort zone, and start saying no to the things that no longer serve your heart.

Live in a way that stays true to the woman inside of you. Don’t let society, relationships, friends, careers, laziness, addictions, tragedy, setbacks, friends, lame excuses, or anything else prevent you from living a purposeful, meaningful, balanced life. Life will attempt to bury you under a pile of B.S.. Life is pretty freaking hard, Ladies. Be more stubborn than all the odds stacked against you. Don’t let yourself get buried. The longer you wait to unbury your true self, the harder it will be. You may get lost. That’s normal. Take the time to check in with yourself. Journal. Spend time alone. 

Think clearly. Focus on your goals and do the best you can. We all make mistakes. When you make a mistake, fix it. Learn from them. Don’t repeat. Never, ever, ever, ever give up. You have too many important contributions to make in this world and in history. Humanity needs you.

Know that your past does not determine who you are today or tomorrow. You always have choice, and you can choose to live a happy life. Happiness is a direction, not a destination. Only you can make yourself happy. Only you can destroy your happiness.

Know that feelings are temporary. They aren’t meant to stay. Let yourself feel and then let the feelings move on. It takes hard work to keep a clear, focused mind. Invest the time to think. It’s worth it. Keep your impulsive instincts in check. It’s so easy to react when you are young. Impose a waiting period on your actions when necessary. Learn to trust your gut.

Keep an open mind about people. People are weird and annoying. So are we. Don’t write people off too quickly. When you can, give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be a doormat, but don’t be quick to burn bridges.

Do your research in life. Research the heck out of everything, from cars to schools to jobs to how to fix things around the house.

Save your money. Don’t waste it. Strong women are independent in many ways, but financial independence is the hallmark of a strong feminist. Only then are you truly free.

Don’t fall in love with the first anything. That includes significant others, cars, houses, whatever. If you fall in love, don’t get one-it is (where you have tunnel vision only for that person). Always ponder the statistical odds of meeting “the one” at the age of 18 and that should help you put life into perspective. You live in a vast ocean with many fish to choose from. Guard your heart. Be choosy about who deserves your time and attention. Not everyone is worth your time.

When you do find that special man or woman to share a life with, if that’s what you choose to do, make sure that person supports the woman you’ve always been, the woman with hopes, dreams, and goals. You should never have to sacrifice that woman for anything or anybody, if that’s who you really are. You’ll know Mr. or Ms. Right is the one when they would never ask or want you to be anyone other than yourself.

Travel as much as you can. Once you have experienced a new country you won’t ever want to stop seeing the world. Once you witness with your own eyes and ears and senses that there isn’t only one way to live, it opens your mind to a world of possibility and opportunity.

If you want something, you’ll make it happen. Don’t wait for your dreams to knock on your front door. You must manufacture your own destiny.

Too much of anything is never a good thing. Knowing how to strike balance in your life is a skill you can develop, and it is something we all must work on throughout our lives. It’s not a one-and-done. You’ll have to calibrate, make adjustments, add, cut, and more over time. That’s what is so beautiful about life. You can wake up every morning to the smell of possibility.

Don’t cheat your way through life. You only cheat yourself, and you will have to pay the consequences at some point. At the end of your life nobody will be standing there high-fiving you for fooling everyone with your cleverness in taking shortcuts. People can spot the inauthentic vs. authentic people. They may not tell you, and you may think you’re getting away with the dishonesty, but it stains your reputation. At the end of your life it will just be you and the emptiness you allowed to grow inside of you. Don’t be that person.

At this age you probably feel invincible. You’ve got wide open space in front of you and lots of time, or so it seems. Know that time is an illusion. Ten years may seem like forever. But now that you’re out of childhood, ten years will pass as quickly as a blink of an eye. In ten years you will lose loved ones. Your body will change. You may or may not have a family of your own. You may have traded your tube tops and ripped jeans for t-shirts and yoga pants. You will not have all of the same friends. Your favorite band won’t be your favorite band anymore.

Don’t be scared of change. You will change. Change is healthy and normal. If we don’t change, we become stale and obsolete and stupid. As we acquire skills and knowledge and experiences, of course we will change! But we are taught to fear change. Instead, embrace it. Own it. The good, the bad, the painful, the joyful. All of it. Because we are human we get to feel everything. And most importantly, we get to learn from it all. That’s the key: make an effort to have a positive influence on the inevitable change you will have in your life. This happens through the choices that you make.

Picture the woman you want to be in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years, 60 years, or even 70 years from now. If you take care of yourself you will increase your chances of meeting that future you. Don’t sabotage yourself.

You’re not living by someone else’s timeline. This is your life. You do things when you are comfortable and ready. You must learn to have boundaries and learn to protect your boundaries. This will be important in your careers, relationships, and just life in general.

Make a life that you can enjoy. Find what is meaningful to you. Know that it is possible to live a life that doesn’t feel like drudgery. It’s all about choices and perspective.

The biggest mistake in my life was that I was always rushing from one destination to the other. I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. I graduated from college in 3 years. I couldn’t wait to move out of my parents’ house. To have a career. Get married. Have a child. Have another child. And another. And then my husband died. You wish you could go back in time and savor moments, even ridiculously small moments like trips to Costco, which you’d now give anything to have again. You often realize your mortality when it is too late. But it’s never too late to live fully. Enjoy the journey and appreciate all of your days.

Don’t squander your time. It is not unlimited. You may live 70+ more years or you might die next week. Live with purpose. What is meaningful to you? How do you think you can contribute good into the world? You will do great things. What will they be? What do you want to be known for? Isn’t it exciting to wonder and plan for this?

Each of you recognized a need for a feminist club on campus. Each of you knows that we still have a long ways to go to fight for equality and equity for women and other disadvantaged groups in society. You have the opportunity to continue your work advocating for others. You can do it. I’m picturing all of you as 80-somethings, taking a break from time with your grandkids to go to a rally or perhaps volunteer for a great cause. I envision all of you making gray hair and soft, older female bodies as normal as the sun rising and setting each day in a world that stigmatizes women for aging. We need bold, fearless young women like you to pave the mindset and societal attitudes of the future.

You will feel lots of pain in your life. Some of you have already experienced pain. This is the price of living. But that doesn’t mean you have to live a life of suffering. Look your pain square in the eyes with the audacity of the world’s most stubborn woman who won’t back down. Promise to face your problems head on instead of burying your head into the sand. In life we have two choices: lay down and crumble, or do great things. Your life doesn’t have to be over when you face adversity. There are so many beautiful things in the world, you just have to open your eyes and mind to see them.

Inside each of you is a fighting spirit with her own story. Own your story. You have so many more chapters left. You get to fill those empty pages with plot lines and characters and settings. Some of it will be imposed on you--the universe can be cruel. Still, there will be many choices for you to make. Choose carefully. This is YOUR story. As they say, “edit your life ruthlessly and frequently.”

When it all feels too heavy, don’t give up. People will want you to quit. Sometimes life feels like we’re one of many crabs thrown in a boiling pot of water, the crabs pulling each other down and inevitably everyone gets cooked. Don’t pull other people down, but don’t let them pull you down either. Choose your referent group (the people you hang around) wisely. Remember, your life is your story. You get to pick the characters in your chapters. You are the author. Nobody else.

Thank you for being the founding members of a club that means so much to many students on campus. The 2017-2018 FU cabinet has excitedly been planning next year, and they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do it if a group of fearless young ladies who wanted to change the world hadn’t put their heads together to make it happen. You have already begun your legacies--how exciting is that? I’m optimistic and thrilled to wish you all much happiness as you embark on your life journeys.

Thank you for also giving me hope in my own life. The past year was personally difficult as I embarked on my own journey of being a new widow. The hope, optimism, and curiosity I saw in each of your eyes gave me another reason to show up each day even when I felt like things were too difficult. I am a better person because of knowing and working with you ladies. Thank you for choosing me to be your advisor.

I have gifted each of you with a book that I myself have read. It’s about life. It’s about loss. It’s about finding meaning in your life. It’s an easy read, and if you’re like me, by the time you get to the end you’ll be in your pajamas eating your favorite cake and sobbing over the complexity and fragility of life. And then you’ll lift your head high, take a deep breath, and promise yourself that you will kick butt with whatever time you have been gifted. I hope it inspires you the way it did me.

If you ever feel like you need somebody to talk to, you know where to find me. Now go kick butt.

Ms. Shimogawa

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Field Tests or Field Days: That is the Real High Stakes Question by Dr. Michael Flanagan

Back in the day, long before the push for high stakes testing, springtime was the sweet spot of the school year. The calendar would include things like field trips and field days. But now that public schools have become a for-profit testing market, children sit for field tests instead.  

Teachers and students across the country have been living under the pressure of high stakes testing for years. Here in New York, we have just completed the grades 3 - 8 ELA and Math Common Core assessments, brought to you by Pearson publishing. Students have also just taken MOSL exams, the NYSESLAT,  AP exams, SAT’s and PSAT’s, LOTE exams, and student surveys. These standardized exams are in addition to baseline and endline assessments, as well as teacher created tests, quizzes and final exams.

High school students, beginning the second week of June, will take the NYS Regents exams. All high school students need to pass five Regents exams in order to graduate. CTB McGraw-Hill has the contract to produce those standardized exams. Little known to most parents, on top of all these high stakes assessments, field tests are administered to many of our students.

Field tests are basically product development for private testing corporations, with our students being used as unpaid labor. Field test samples such as stand alone exams or embedded questions are designed by the publishing corporations to obtain statistics, norm student responses, and evaluate the test questions under testing conditions. Field tests take between three and six hours depending if there are students with disabilities who receive testing accommodations. The responses on the field tests are eventually used to evaluate students, teachers and schools.

Since the passage of NCLB in 2001, public schools throughout the country have had to meet federal accountability standards. Field tests are used throughout the country to create exams such as PARCC and the FCAT's. Student answers, especially written responses, are then used as the rubrics for grading the actual exams. Field tests do not in fact mean anything to a student’s grades. Their teachers never see their responses.  

How is it our children are being used in this for-profit endeavor? The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) -- one of the lobbying groups responsible for Common Core -- sponsors an annual national conference on student assessment. Companies like Pearson, CTB McGraw-Hill, Questar, the College Board and others decide how to make our children their tools. Their newest money maker of course is marketing for computer based testing. Putting pressure on school districts to spend money for testing software and computer upgrades, to accommodate more testing, in order to sell more products. Questar, in their manual about computer based testing, makes no mention of parents rights to opt-out, or the fact that our children are used as guinea pigs for their profits.

The New York State Office of State Assessment is responsible for the contracting and distribution of state assessments. The materials are largely available through EngageNY. The State Education Department selects school districts to administer the field tests. More than 87,000 students in 774 NYC public schools alone will be subjected to field testing for profit. There are approximately 22-25% of field test questions already embedded in the New York State Common Core exams. New York has a history of attempting to mislead the public about field testing. New York State law does not require school districts to participate in field tests but the education department and the lobbyists have tried repeatedly to make field tests mandatory. The reason being, if students know that the tests have no bearing on their grades, they are less likely to try their best. As of 2017 they are still not mandated. However, if you ask most parents they will have no clue their children will be sitting for three hours or more in May and June taking tests that do not count, in order for billion dollar corporations to profit from our tax dollars.

What is next? Will we now be allowing drug companies to use our children as lab rats for the marketability of a new drug? Or perhaps cosmetic companies can just spray chemicals in our kids eyes to see if a new makeup product is hypoallergenic? When did it become okay to put the interests of a corporation’s bottom line, over the welfare of our children?

The opt-out movement has been successful in New York. Activist groups such as NYSAPE (New York Allies for Public Education) have helped organize resistance to over testing. The NYSUT (New York State Union of Teachers) is also opposed to field testing. Parents can refuse to have their child take field tests. There are links to sample refusal letters for stand alone field tests. There are several school districts that do opt-out of field tests. Also, since almost 25% of New York’s Common Core questions are already embedded in the actual tests, that means students who are sitting for 18 hours over six days under high stakes testing conditions, spend four and a half of those hours answering questions that will not be used for their grade. That is four and a half hours our children could be learning something meaningful, instead of working for Pearson publishing for free.

What are the benefits to the students and teachers for taking field tests? Arguments could be made that high school students who must take the NYS Regents might benefit from the practice under testing conditions three weeks before they must sit for this year’s exam. However, that benefit must be weighed against the loss of class time for the teachers involved. And it must be weighed against the cost of paying teachers for lost prep periods spent on proctoring. There is no benefit for 3 - 8 grade students to sit for more testing, after just finishing 10 school days of Common Core and MOSL exams.

Our children are being used as free labor to norm exams that only serve three purposes: evaluating students, evaluating teachers and making corporate profit. Even in New York where the opt-out movement is strong, we have thousands of kids sitting at the end of the year for the benefit of corporations. This information about field testing is suppressed at the state, city and school levels, in order to maintain testing profits.  

Educators know that students thrive through actual learning; creativity, class presentations, discussions, projects, art and music. They are also enriched by taking part in arts festivals, theater productions, producing student films, performing in talent shows or poetry slams. Springtime should be for field days where students can compete, exercise and bond with each other. Where they have the opportunity to work as a team, and actually enjoy school.

Many schools still manage to include these enrichments in our children’s education, but that is in spite of the pressure to have students perform well on these high stakes tests. The end of the school year is supposed to be for celebrations and reflection, not for meaningless testing in order to ensure corporate profit.

When do we stand up for our children and not let them be used as fodder for the for-profit testing industry? #StopThisMadness