Monday, April 28, 2014

Choosing A Kindergarten, Ready for Graduation: Looking at the "Long Haul"

As I've written about before, when my oldest son was ready for kindergarten, I was choosing between the local Hebrew Day School, our local public school, and Ann Arbor Open.

On the side of the Hebrew Day School: all-day kindergarten; small classes; an immersion language curriculum; and a school that was willing to let us sit in on classes and observe.

On the side of Ann Arbor Open: multi-age classrooms; progressive education; and the requirement to volunteer and observe a classroom.

On the side of our local public school: basically, nothing, even though it has a stellar reputation, because I had myself experienced and loved "open" education. It had the same negatives as Ann Arbor Open (half-day kindergarten and larger class sizes than the private school) and--in my opinion--none of the positives. I couldn't sit in on a class there, and kindergarten roundup was very unsatisfying.

To round things out, my husband was a strong public schools proponent and thought we should try the public schools first.

That was then...

In any case, I was reminded of this the other day when I heard someone say they were choosing between a private school or the new Northside STEAM program but were wondering about who the teachers would be at the STEAM school.

[Funny--I just realized I was never worried about the teacher quality at any of the schools I considered.]

I was giving the biggest weight to the full-day kindergarten.

One day I was talking to my colleague Cheryl, whose kids went to the Open School and were much older (like, fifth or sixth grade!)--and she said,

"Ruth, kindergarten is only eight months long. 

You have to look at the long haul!"

And so I did. 

That was the best advice I ever got about choosing a school. If you don't want to be someone whose kids change school every year or two, then you need to think about the long haul.

Gabe and me: This is now!

Maybe because that conversation is embedded in my mind, it's hard to believe that this weekend, the little kid I was worried about then graduated from college.

Time flies when you're having fun!

(Just for fun: You can read a piece Gabe let me publish a few years ago when he was still in high school.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why Girls and People of Color are Less Likely to Choose Science

One summer, in the middle of college, I worked for a Parks Council project in Central Park in Manhattan, supervising 24 high school students on a jobs training program. I wrote about this experience in the context of a proposed jobs bill by Obama back in September 2011.

In 1983, I scored a summer job working for the Parks Council in New York City.  I was a "supervisor" of two team leaders and 24 high school students for a CETA jobs program. There were 20 African-American kids and 4 Latino/Latina kids; the team leaders were a Latino community college student and an African-American student from Howard University. I was the only white person, for the first time in my life.
Do you remember CETA? It was the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, a federal program that offered people with low incomes, as well as the long-term unemployed, with jobs and job training programs in the public and non-profit centers.
I think because I was white, I got assigned to the tony southern end of Central Park. Some of the other New York City parks were not so nice, and they had longer commutes from my house. At lunchtime I could sit by myself, or with my boyfriend, and watch Dustin Hoffman eat his lunch with his friends. Yes, he would come to the park too. 

The animals had been removed from the Central Park Zoo by 1983.
Our headquarters were in the Central Park Zoo, which was mostly closed for renovation in 1982--a good thing since the original animal stalls were truly prison cells. There is a nice history of the zoo here. The only animals that I remember still being at the zoo were the sea lions. (Photo taken from here.)
The kids taught me slang--"I've got my main squeeze and my two side squeeze"--as well as why we couldn't rake leaves in certain areas (rats). I'm not sure what I taught them. . .
But one day we were on a field trip and one of the girls came up to me. She had just finished 10th grade and she was probably the most diligent worker in the group. Her mother was from Jamaica and worked as a nurse's aide.
"I was thinking," she said to me, "that maybe I could become an LPN [Licensed Practical Nurse].""Great!" I said. "That's a great idea!"
But in my heart, I thought, "Why be an LPN? You're smart enough to be an RN or a BSN. In fact, why not be a doctor? You're smart enough to be a doctor."
I didn't say that to her though.
Why didn't I say that to her? Well, probably partly because I was only 20. I couldn't even give myself career advice.But probably also because I wasn't trained to have Great Expectations from poor black kids.
I flashed back to this memory when I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson address the question, "Why don't girls choose science?" It's worth--really worth--listening to his answer. [I couldn't figure out how to set this to start at 1:01:31, but that's where you want to start it.]

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Alaska History Lesson: The Good Friday Earthquake

I was looking for some recent news about earthquakes, and I found the most fascinating information about the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake in Alaska. Sometimes the web is a wonderland.

If you have some time this weekend, I highly recommend a documentary, Though the Earth Be Moved, of the first 72 hours after the earthquake. I couldn't get it to embed, but here is the link.

Here is a photo tour of Alaska after the earthquake.

Here are photos from the USGS Photographic Library and lots of additional information here.

Here is a fact sheet on Enduring Legacies. (It turns out that this earthquake helped prove a lot of theories about subduction zones and plate tectonics.)

Many films are available from the Alaska Film Archives.

And many more links can be found here.

All of this was fascinating, but it makes me glad I live in a state that doesn't have a lot of threats of natural disasters.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Step: Ann Arbor Open Is Allowed to Abandon the NWEA MAP Test

Ann Arbor Open parents got this letter today from Kit Flynn, Ann Arbor Open's principal:

Dear parents, 
AAPS Superintendent Dr. Swift, (in consultation with LeeAnn Dickinson-Kelly, Dawn Linden and me), has decided to forego any further administration of the NWEA MAP Test for Ann Arbor Open School. There is agreement that this particular measure is not the best fit for our program.
The balloons were not part of the letter
Kit Flynn sent out. They reflect my feelings.
I took the picture from this free clip art site:

The teachers at Ann Arbor Open are committed to preparing all of our students for any required assessments that are mandated by the district and the state. Quality instruction includes quality assessment as part of the learning process. Our goal is to inform students and parents on areas where students show growth or may need further support, and to inform teachers on the instructional needs of specific students. We believe that authentic learning of needed skills will result in student growth, and want to use assessments that we believe will contribute to their success.
The district assessment committee's charge is to examine current assessment practices, understand state requirements, clarify core values and bring forward proposals to inform and advise an amended Assessment Plan for 2014-15. They will begin meeting soon.
While the district assessment task force begins their work, we will also be considering how to best measure our students' growth. Ann Arbor Open staff will spend time reviewing possible assessments and methods for monitoring progress for our students, especially students who need additional support or are below grade level in key curricular areas.
The staff members of Ann Arbor Open are feeling very grateful today - grateful to our supportive parent community, and grateful to the leadership of Ann Arbor Public Schools for acknowledging our program's unique needs.


Kit Flynn

I hope this is the beginning of a trend. I think this decision means that right now the only Ann Arbor middle school giving the MAP test is Scarlett Middle School. However, all of the other elementary schools are still giving the test.

Also, the long-awaited Assessment Task Force is going to start meeting next week.So, in general--toast this small success, but recognize it for the baby step that it is, and let's keep working  toward more authentic assessment, and less testing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Passover, Pedagogy, and Liberation

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(I know! I put that at the top! Radical, right? Initially, it was an accident, but the good kind. By the way, if you do try and subscribe by email, remember that you need to "verify" your subscription.)

What follows is a repost from April of 2011. While I am busy preparing for Passover (and since--fair play--I'll have a Good Friday post up on Friday) I thought I would repost this discussion of a major Passover theme--liberation--and why the Passover Seder is such a fantastic example of good educational practice.

So here it is.

Passover, and...

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Several years ago, we asked friends and family coming to our house for the holiday to each focus on a particular section of the Passover Seder. Seder means "Order" in Hebrew, and at Passover, Jews tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt at a Seder, using a Haggadah, a book that means "Telling," and that has a certain order to it. One of the sections of the Haggadah is called Maggid, loosely translated as the Story. In other words, it's the narrative.

So, my friend brings this question about the Maggid section:
This is the Story part of the Haggadah, but there is no story here--at least, no story about the Exodus. Instead, there is a description of four kinds of children (wise, wicked, simple, and one who doesn't know how to ask)--and a suggestion as to how to answer their questions.
There are songs and activities.
There is a place where the youngest person at the table asks four questions about the Seder's symbols.
There are obscure references to historical occurrences that on the surface don't seem to have anything to do with the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Why is there no story in the Story?
Is this really the Socratic Method? Depending on who you talk to, the Socratic Method means slightly different things, all involving questions and answers. Rick Garlikov describes the Socratic Method as "Teaching by Asking Instead of Telling." According to Wikipedia,
The Socratic method (also known as method of elenchusSocratic irony, orSocratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.[1]
No, this is not the Socratic method. But the Seder uses outstanding educational techniques--requiring interaction between members of the group; hands-on activities; thought-provoking questions; and even some performance (traditionally, the youngest person in the room masters and chants four questions). And the result? The seder is probably the most observed Jewish practice in the world.

*   *    *    *    *    *
Pedagogy of the Oppressed is the most well-known book of Paolo Freire, and it is a book that, I confess, I have not been able to read all the way through (dense!)--but the essence is this:
In the book Freire calls traditional pedagogy the "banking model" because it treats the student as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, like a piggybank. However, he argues for pedagogy to treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge. (Wikipedia)
[Note: Freire is referring to "traditional pedagogy" as the pedagogy common in Europe and the Americas in the 1800s and 1900s.]

Ultimately, the Haggadah is at least a thousand years old in one form or another, and the story of the Exodus from Egypt is even older. Since it is a story of slaves throwing off the shackles of slavery, so I will close with a few quotes from Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
"Looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the future."
"The greatest humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves..."  
 "… Without a sense of identity, there can be no real struggle…" 
"No one is born fully-formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are."  
"Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other." 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Smarter Balanced Pilot: How Will the Testing Be Given? Can You Get Out Of It?

Read Part I:
Smarter Balanced Test: Try It Out Before Your Kids Take It

Read Part II:
Smarter Balanced Comes to Ann Arbor a Year Early. Why?

Read Part III:
What is in the Smarter Balanced Test?

Part IV: How Will These Tests Be Given in the Ann Arbor Schools? What Are the Likely Impacts?

Reduced learning for freshmen, sophomores, and seniors

To begin with, each school in Ann Arbor has been given some latitude in how the tests will be administered. In some buildings, the principals may choose to shorten the other classes in a day, and clump the tests at one time (for all the juniors). In other buildings, the principals may choose to pull out the students only from their English and Math classes.

Either way, you end up interrupting the other classes. For example, in the case of math, where students may be a year ahead, at grade level, or a year behind, an Algebra 2 class may have sophomores, juniors, and even a few freshmen or seniors. So when you pull the juniors out of the math class for the pilot test, will the teacher continue to teach the other grades? If they teach them something substantive, the juniors lose out on the lesson and the teacher will likely need to repeat it. If they don't teach the other students something substantive, then it's likely a waste of time for the others. Either way, that is a lose-lose situation.

Another choice is to change the length of time for the class periods. In that case, every class would meet on a certain day (say, for 35 minutes instead of the usual class period). If that happens, then every class is shortened, and the other grades also have less time in school.

In the winter, when the schools gave the (mandatory) MEAP to juniors, my son (a freshman) had a couple of days off in school, and another day where the classes were half an hour long. Whatever you think of the testing itself for the juniors, that was definitely a waste of time for him.

Access to Computers

Probably the other largest area of concern has to do with access to computers. At the comprehensive high schools I think there are 350-400 students in the junior classes. In order to take the test, every junior needs a computer. This is between 10 and 15 classes worth of students. Can the schools even give every junior a test at the same time? Do they need to commandeer every mobile computer lab? Take over all the general purpose computer labs? During that week (just like during the NWEA MAP test, which will be given in the elementary and middle schools in May, again), other students won't be able to use those computers for research, powerpoints, web site creation, or computer programming.

Notification of Parents

Parents were notified immediately before spring break. A friend sent me the notice that Skyline parents got. Here is a copy of the letter. And here is a copy of the "Smarter Balanced" fact sheet.

I personally thought the letter was pretty reasonable. (I couldn't tell if it was only sent to parents of juniors or to all parents--it reads like it was sent to all parents.)

But one friend whose children are at Skyline had a slightly different reaction:

REALLY????? MORE testing for Juniors? And they make it sound like we've won a prize!
Dear Valued Skyline Families,
Skyline High School was chosen by the Michigan Department of Education to participate this spring in the pilot of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  (Emphasis added.)

At Skyline, the principal (Cory McElmeel) writes:
For our school, students in 11th grade have been selected to take the pilot test in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The mathematics portion of the assessment for non-accommodated students will take place during 4th and 5th periods on Tuesday, April 15th and Wednesday, April 16th.  Students with accommodations will take the mathematics assessment during 1st and 2nd periods on those same days.  The English language Arts portion of the assessment for non-accommodated students will take place during 1st and 2nd periods on Tuesday, April 23rd and Thursday, April 25th and during Skytime on Wednesday, April 24th.  Students with accommodations will take the English Language Arts assessment during 4th and 5th periods on those same days.

So, the letter is not the problem--but you might think it's a problem that students will lose a couple of hours of school on four different days. And as I mentioned, that cannot help but affect students in the other grades. Or, as a second friend wrote me, 

Here’s my beef:  Juniors just had a bunch of testing in mid-March, which came the week before final exams. Now here were have another bunch of testing, coming just a few weeks before AP exams.

The Solution Is In Our Reach: Opting Out Is Easy

Now, the real reason I said I feel the letter is reasonable? Try this part of the letter: 

Participation is voluntary and confidential, and your child’s grades will not be affected by his or her participation. . . If you do not want your child to participate in the pilot or if you have any questions regarding your child’s participation, please contact me.

In other words--the district is making it very easy to opt out of this test. Just email the principal of the school your child is in, and say, "I do not want you to administer the Smarter Balanced test to my child."  

And by the way--the NWEA MAP test is coming soon to an elementary or middle school near you, and you can employ the "opt out" strategy for that test as well. It's not mandatory. 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

What is in the Smarter Balanced Pilot Test?

Read Part I:
Smarter Balanced Test: Try It Out Before Your Kids Take It

Read Part II:
Smarter Balanced Comes to Ann Arbor a Year Early. Why?

And here is Part III.

What is in the Smarter Balanced Pilot Test and How Will It Be Given?

The Smarter Balanced Test is a non-timed test (although there is a certain amount of time that they expect the test to take. It is given on a computer. The testing can be split up over several days. The test itself includes a variety of types of questions, including questions that are "drag and drop" (you drag objects into a location and "drop" them there); "click stick" (also known as click-stick-click-drop, and it requires less fine motor skills); multiple choice; and short answer questions. All of the answers, including the short answers, are graded by a computer. Smarter Balanced calls the computer program that delivers the test the "test delivery system." I'm not sure why I find that so humorous, but I do.

There are two parts to the Smarter Balanced Test. There is a "non-performance task" section--estimated to be two hours long for the English Language Arts section, and two hours long for the Math section. And there is a "performance task" section, which involves a half-hour classroom activity that is supposed to provide a "baseline" for a theme, and related to that there is an ELA section (estimated at two hours long) and a Math section (estimated at an hour and a half).

The idea of the performance-based task is that it allows testing of critical thinking and problem solving. The example I was given was that if you had a class task about teen driving restrictions, that there would be baseline information shared about those, and students would then be able to incorporate that information into their activities.

The classroom task itself is considered "non-secured," but at the same time, "Students may take notes during this time, but the notes must be collected before proceeding to the PT. Students may not use notes taken during the classroom activity for the PT." (Source.) Also, if students are absent the teachers are supposed to try to give the students who missed a similar experience.

The pilot tests are not "adaptive," they are "fixed." (In other words, they are the same for every student. Supposedly, the actual test will be made adaptive next year.)

Read lots more about the Smarter Balanced test here:

Classroom Task and Performance Task Administration Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions for Spring 2014 Field Test

Here are the goals of the Smarter Balanced test, as taken from the Smarter Balanced Assessment web site:

  • Accurately describe both student achievement and growth of student learning as part of program evaluation and school, district, and state accountability systems; 
  • Provide valid, reliable, and fair measures of students’ progress toward, and attainment of the knowledge and skills required to be college- and career-ready; and 
  • Capitalize on the strengths of computer adaptive testing—efficient and precise measurement across the full range of achievement and quick turnaround of results. (emphases added)

Just a comment about that "valid, reliable, and fair measures" piece. In case it's not obvious, if you don't read well, you are not going to do well on the math test, even if you are a math whiz.

As for "efficient and precise measurement," given that computers will be assessing students' writing, I'm not sure how precise it will be, although it certainly will be efficient!

But enough about the test.
I'm more interested in the testing.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Smarter Balanced" Comes to Ann Arbor a Year Early. Why?

A few weeks ago, a couple of teachers emailed me. Here's a sample email.

"If you haven't already heard, I thought I'd alert you that Pioneer (and some of the other comprehensive high schools) have added at the state's request about ten hours of additional testing - 4 1/2 in English and 4 1/2 in math. It is some sort of pilot of the Smarter Balanced test. This will happen in April, right before APs, for the junior class. The juniors will miss 5 English and 5 math classes in April! There is an "explanation" but it all seems really fishy to me. There was mention of the state paying us do do this, but then we were told that wasn't true. It all seems suspect to me and really a crime against our juniors who have already done the MME." (Emphases added.)
I started doing a little investigating,  and that's why I wrote, last week:

Smarter Balanced Test: Try It Out Before Your Kids Take It

(You can find the link to a sample test there.)

I also asked for some information from the school district, and I appreciate the time that Jeanice Swift, LeeAnn Dickinson-Kelly, Jane Landefeld and Merri Lynn Colligan spent explaining both the pilot test and the district's point of view to me. I think it's fair to say that the district's point of view is not the same as the parents' or teachers' or kids' point of view (at least not based on the emails I've gotten or seen posted on Facebook). That is at least partly because the district is beholden to the state in a way that the parents, teachers, and kids are not.

So, in fact--yes. All of the high schools will be piloting at least some portion of the Smarter Balanced test--with the exception of Community, which apparently did this pilot last year.  By ALL of the high schools, I mean: Pioneer, Skyline, Huron, Ann Arbor Tech, and Clemente. Huron will only test the English Language Arts (ELA) test, and the others will test both ELA and Math. The decision of which schools to test was made by the Smarter Balanced Consortium itself and not by the district.

The test window is from April 7th to May 16th for all of the schools (which really means it starts April 14th since the schools are closed this week), but Pioneer got an extension to June 6th. (I don't know why, but...) Each school has a fair amount of autonomy as to how the tests will be given. More about that later.

So why is this happening? 

The district got a Technical Readiness Infrastructure Grant. To receive it, the district needed to promise to meet nine criteria. (I think some other districts in the county also got this, but I don't know which ones. In the grant they refer to charter schools as "districts" as well.) I am hoping to get the district's grant itself, soon, but in the meantime, you can enjoy reading the RFP and the FAQ and all that other good stuff from the state Department of Education itself. One of the requirements is that at least 20% of district students "pilot" online assessments of various stripes--there are many more of those than even I was aware of!

Read the state's RFP. Here's a little excerpt:


The Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant Program will fund the following

1. Developing and implementing collaborative purchasing arrangements for
statewide network services, and personal learning and assessment devices.
2. Establishing sustainable, cost effective collaborations of technology and data
related services to assist schools and districts to become “test ready.” 

3. Building the capacity of educators at ISDs, public school districts, and public
school academies to effectively plan and implement online assessments and
“Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” learning.
Update 4/7/2014: Just to give a balanced perspective here--even though I read the grant's purpose as being All About Testing, a friend who is a teacher in another district that has this same grant wrote me (after I posted this), that there are some very good things coming out of the technology infrastructure grants. 

She wrote, 
In my experience, it's not at all about extra testing. Our team is 100% responsible for implementation and we are using it to do teacher training on subjects like using gaming in classrooms and integrating byd (cell phones etc) into classrooms without access to computer labs. I'm using my time to do pilot programs on 20time which is very unschooling and open in philosophy, and a minecraft classroom.

And here are some reasons that the district thought applying for this grant, and doing this extra testing, would be a good idea. (And here, I'm trying to put forth the district's "best foot," so to speak.)

Smarter Balanced is going to replace the MEAP next year, and:

a. since the test will be given online, this gives the district a chance to test their systems and technology
b. allows teachers and administrators to get a much better idea of what the test is like (those "sample" tests you can take don't really do it)--this could allow them to prepare for professional development and prepare students as to what to expect
c. they get paid for it--not a huge amount, but $10/student in the district. Given the tightness of the budget, that is not insignificant. (Although it does also tell you how much staff time and effort these online assessments take. I think the district sees this as a mostly-break-even deal.)

Last, but not least, the district sees this as preparing for mandated, high-stakes testing.

There is more that I could say. There is more that I will say. (All week!)

But for right now, I think the key points to remember are:

a. It may be state mandated in the future, but it isn't mandated this year. This year, it is voluntary.

b. When it is mandated, it is really high stakes for the district, but not really for the students. (It won't be used, for example, for grade promotion.)

c. Current plans from the state are for the Smarter Balanced test to be given to 3d to 8th graders, and high school juniors.

d. Kudos to the district for making it clear that taking the test is voluntary, and making it easy for parents to opt their children out of these tests. You just have to send the principal an email or letter saying that is what you are doing.

Read more about the money flowing between the various companies for all this testing. But Michigan's school districts are so hungry for cash that they will comply for chump change.

Coming soon:
--What is in the pilot, and how is it being given in different schools?
--What does the school letter look like? How are parents and teachers reacting?
--Word choice: assessment vs. testing
--Will other kids/classes (9th/10th/12th; other subjects beside English and Math) lose out?
--If we didn't use tests, what other outcomes could we use?

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Brush With Fame: Brooklyn Parents Opting Out

Today, I had a brush with fame.

I know, you're thinking that it had something to do with President Obama's visit to Zingerman's. And it didn't--although both my son and our exchange student were trapped in Community High School during the Obama lockdown. [Recap: They didn't get to meet the President, though they did meet some secret service agents. Our exchange student almost missed getting to the Skyline Junior Varsity first tennis match--versus Canton. Skyline won. Go Skyline!]

Liz Rosenberg, Kemala Karmen, and
Dionne Grayman are the co-founders of Kemala is on the far right.
In any case, the brush with fame that I'm talking about has to do with the fact that our dear friend Kemala Karmen, one of the co-founders of, is extensively quoted by Diane Ravitch at an "Opt Out of Testing" rally.

And by extensively, I really mean that Ravitch's entire blog post is devoted to Kemala's remarks! I know, I know, Diane Ravitch publishes several posts a day--unlike me. Nonetheless, it's still pretty cool. states, in its "About Us" section of its website, "Democracy is something that public school parents must have more access to. That’s why we are creating this organization." I couldn't possibly agree more. That's why I write this blog.

Here is some of what Kemala has to say:
“Now we can add one more way in which Brooklyn is blazing a trail: the parents of Brooklyn, outraged by the hijacking of our childrens’ educations, outraged by the assault on our public schools and on our public school teachers, we parents of Brooklyn are taking a stand. Whether we live in Brownsville or Cobble Hill, Ft. Greene or Greenpoint, we are saying ENOUGH! Stop using the blunt instrument of the state ELA and math tests to rank and sort our children, our teachers, and our schools. . . 
“So now, we parents are invoking the only tool we have left. In growing numbers, we are refusing to let our children take these tests. No test score means no data. No data on which to base teacher evaluations. No data on which to justify school closings. No sensitive, personal data that follows our children from year to year, from school to school. . .  
This morning parents at our District 15 school stand together with parents at other Brooklyn schools to announce the explosive growth of test resistance in our borough, a movement that is gaining momentum elsewhere, too—in the city, and the state, and, really, anywhere in the country where parents see the joys of teaching and learning constrained, the spark of curiosity and creativity snuffed out. . . 
It may be April Fools Day, but these tests and, indeed, the whole edifice of corporate “education reform” built upon these tests is no joke. It is no laughing matter when millions are diverted away from our children’s classrooms and into the hands of for-profit companies. It fails to amuse when our class sizes become so large that even our best teachers are hard pressed to know each child. 

Kemala, I'm proud of you! Read the full text of Kemala's speech here.

[And for another post on assessment, you might enjoy "Should there be public ratings for airline pilots?"]

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