In my last post, I discussed the many factor that make the SOS March attractive and pull me towards this movement and event. Now for the things that are pushing me towards the march. The things I want to get away from as a both a parent and an education professional.
How did I get here? I keep seeing the administration, the Department of Education, and their media apologists saying they don’t want a system based solely on test scores, and how they want to “move away” from NCLB which is bad. But all they seem to be offering is, a system based on test scores. Granted they haven’t replaced NCLB yet, but what they’ve done with Race to the Top makes it clear, schools will be judged on test scores. Fewer will be found “failing”, but those that are have been in our poorest areas and many have large numbers of English learners, and will be subject to a level of reform seen only rarely under NCLB.
For those who say, that’s not what the administration wants, I will point out that the school I have recently left was “chosen” for reform solely based on it’s test scores. Not on the services being offered to students, not on the number of parents who would turn out at our community meetings, not on the school climate, which outside consultants who came in to “pick over our bones” listed as very positive. This reform was done NOT under NCLB rules leftover from the Bush era, but as part of legislation my state passed to qualify for Race to the Top, which is entirely a Duncan/Obama production. This was the program that led to the Central Falls, RI reform. We know what they want, to judge schools based on standardized tests. I know what it will look like, a very top down model with no room for classroom teacher input. This is not based on research, or any good experience (unless you count Renaissance Chicago as a plus — something few outside of the halls of the USDoEd seem to). This is my chance to say, and do something, and wash the bad taste of the last few years out of my mouth, metaphorically speaking.
We know what’s at stake, we know what the plan is, now the question is, what are we going to do about it? I know what I’m doing, marching to the State Capitol at the end of July. Please join me, here, or in DC, or wherever you can.