Can the Left and Right Find Common Ground on Common Core and High-Stakes Testing?
Yes, but ask a few important questions before you decide which team you're on.
April 15, 2013 - 2:30 pm
But parents and educators (education activists in particular) diverge when it comes to whose interests are at stake. While parents are concerned first and foremost about their children, teachers also have an interest — for better or worse — in preserving their careers and the monopoly of the public schools.
Slekar, the former teacher from Pennsylvania, explained,
Look, learning to write for a low-paid temp worker so that you get the right score so that a teacher and school won’t get punished is not the learning I want for my child or any child in any public school. This is not the promise of public education and this is not accountability. This is fear, intimidation, and blame, and I will not let my children take part in it anymore. No more false labels of “failing,” “below basic,” “needs improvement.” This is the language imposed on us by standardized tests and pushed by the reform movement. It is meant to destroy powerful public schooling and relegate most children to menial jobs in a dead-end economy that only creates wealth for the powerful. No more. [emphasis added]
Note the concern that the school will be “punished” and that the testing will “destroy powerful public schooling.” Preserving the “powerful” system seems to be an equivalent goal to desiring a good education for his son.
While most parents are primarily concerned about their individual children and making sure they get a good education, those in the “Opt-Out” movement see high-stakes testing and the Common Core as part of a diabolical plan aimed at destroying public education, their profession, and even “democracy” itself. [Obligatory reminder that our form of government is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.]
This is a conspiracy of Bilderberg or Trilateral Commission proportions — and, by the way, the billionaire corporate enemies are all connected.
Former assistant secretary of education and early endorser of No Child Left Behind Diane Ravitch told NPR that,
I came to the conclusion … that No Child Left Behind has turned into a timetable for the destruction of American public education. I had never imagined that the test would someday be turned into a blunt instrument to close schools — or to say whether teachers are good teachers or not.
Peggy Robertson, a United Opt Out activist, speaking at the Occupy the DOE rally, insisted that teachers need no outside accountability and can be trusted to determine if their students are progressing:
We do not need these tests. Teachers already know how to assess their learners. We are professionals. We are reflective practitioners. Mainstream media, end the mass amnesia. Tell the people that teachers already know how to assess their learners.