If you didn’t get that headline, the tests and the high stakes associated with them are soooooo bad, that if they are truly inseperable as Bill Gates himself has said, Common Core has got to go… Yes, the tests are that bad…   ITTS… It’s The Test, Stupid…..

Briefly here is how it went down.

We decided we needed new standards because NCLB wasn’t doing that well.  The order went out to make standards.  Everyone in a recession signed on to new standards (really who wouldn’t) to get the desperately needed money that came with it.  At this point, all was cool; things were still on the up and up.  We were told and we believed the Governors and state superintendents of Education, sat down, developed a test that as fair, comprehensive, and would determine who should go forward, and who really needed to stay back a year and play catch up….  We were all fine with that…

Business leaders said they needed workers who were more business like, and that got put into Common Core Standards too, so the product we graduated would be better acclimated to jump out of school into a work environment… We were cool with that.   And  since we were giving out tests anyway, why not use them to determine who the bad teachers were, and wean them out, so good, no great, teachers could take their slots.  Even teachers were fine with that….

So Common Core moseyed along under the radar… and was piloted across several Delaware schools…  That is when shit hit the fan. What is this crap, every parent started asking?.  How come you are dumbing down my child, every incredulous parent wondered? Why can’t my child learn the good stuff, that made school fun when we were learning, and still keeps us inquisitive today?  You are killing off the intelligence of our children, every parent of this pilot program was saying to each other…

We looked at other states.  Kentucky failed 70 percent of their children… Does that mean thye all get held back?  Obviously not.  So then what?

Little did we know that the tests we were developing to determine whether a person passed or failed, was really determining how great a college they would get into?  Wait a second.  These tests are to test competency.  Not superman smarts… Most adults can’t pass these tests, and you are going to fail my child?  You are going to hold my child back a year, when they know more than any class before them, just not what is on your stupid test?

New York took a dry test run last spring.  If the test was doing what it was supposed to do, determine who advances and who fails, only 30% of the entire state of New York, our second most populous state, would pass.  70% would retake the class….   How is that even possible?  And what if they come one point shy of passing again?  Do they take that class a third time?  Yes.. according to the dumb rules put in place, they would…

Which is why common Core as got to go… The curriculum is based on the test.  the test unfortunately has nothing to do with the curriculum.. It is an excuse to fail students who make A’s in class…   Teachers all over New York state said that problems on the test, were not covered in the packets sent to teach students to the test…  Bringing up a very valid point.  When a teacher makes up a test herself, she can plan far ahead and make sure that item is learned.  But when no one has any idea of what will be on a test, one has no idea over what to stress and what to teach…  One has to trust the material sent.  And when that material does not cover the test, students have no idea what the answer should be…

The test is very wrong.  and if it is inseparable from Common Core, then Common Core has got to go…..

Do any teachers support it?  Only in Delaware and only if they are friends of Frederika Jenner, the head of the DSEA.  Most teachers are silent, not bucking the union, and from asking around, I would venture that 98% are against Common Core’s tests… When I approach a strange teacher asking about Common Core, they are very defensively in favor of it.  Until by my questions they gradually  understand I really do know a lot about Common Core and think it is a travesty, and only then, do they open up and tell me all their problems.   I’ve talked to over 100 teachers and only one, a brown nosed individual (republican type A, you know exactly what I mean) was in favor….

99% of teachers are against being held accountable on a standardized test over which they have zero control over what gets taught, or what get put on the test….  Of them, only Frederika Jenner thinks it should be that way…

Tennessee’s teacher’s union, TEA  (Tennessee Educational Association), today called for a moratorium on the PARCC assessment!

This past week for the first time, the state of New York admitted big problems with using the PARCC tests to hold teachers accountable.  Educators supposedly  earn one of four job-performance rankings — highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. Teachers who are rated “ineffective” for two consecutive years can lose their jobs… Based on last spring’s test, 70% of teachers would lose their jobs… even though every one of them graduates some A students… It’s Bizarro World.

And finally from Florida, as a lesson to all states, The Florida Times-Union newspaper sued their state Education Department to get access to what are called “value-added” scores of teachers that are used to make high-stakes decisions about their jobs…. These scores come from student standardized test scores, which are then plugged into a complicated formula that supposedly can calculate the “value” a teacher adds to a student’s achievement….  Got it?

“For example, if you had a Teacher of the Year who had negative value-added scores, then something’s wrong. Either the subjective evaluation of Teacher of the Year is wrong or the value-added model is wrong,”

The First District Court of Appeals granted the newspaper’s request, forcing the department to turn over the scores.. In Florida, half of a teacher’s evaluation comes from these scores and the other half from administrative observation; the ratios are different in different states.

These formulas can’t determine a teacher’s value with any constant validity or reliability, and testing experts have urged policy makers not to use it for any high-stakes decisions about students, teachers, principals or anybody else….  Unfortunately, in  a large part to Gate’s money, this advice was ignored.

In this particular release of data, the most obvious and perhaps the most egregious one is this: Some 70 percent of the Florida teachers received VAM scores based on test results from students they didn’t teach and/or in subjects they don’t teach.

In subjects for which there are no standardized test — which is most of them — teachers are evaluated on school-wide averages.. English and Math only include about 30% of Florida’s teachers.   Kim Cook of Alachua, Fla.was evaluated at Irby Elementary, a K-2 school where she works and was named Teacher of the Year last December. Forty percent of her evaluation was based on test scores of students at another elementary school whom she never taught

This caused the Florida State Legislature to pass a bill making it illegal to evaluate teachers on standardized test scores of students they never taught..  However, the bill still allows teachers to be evaluated on students they may have in one class, but in a different subject. That means a social studies teacher can be graded on the reading and math test scores of his/her students….

Make no sense?  Exactly.  How did this come about?  Very logically, actually.  In scrambling how on earth to meet the mandate of holding every teacher accountable in order to receive RTTT and Gate’s billionaire funding, very creative ways had to be found to hold teachers accountable especially when there were no tests with which to do so!

Now do you get what Frederika Jenner has done to Delaware’s teachers?

All test scores… are meaningless.

So why are we using them?  Why are we pursuing a proven wrong approach in Delaware?  Why are we the only state that has not said:  ‘Hey! Wait A Minute! What are we doing here now?”

The real tragedy of taking the Smart Balance Assessments and using them to hold all teachers accountable, is not embedded in the tragedy of making our entire school system look worse than it is, simply because Mark Murphy has set the test curve too high…  No, the real tragedy is that we have human beings turning a very blind eye, to the consequences of using entirely meaningless data, to promote or end a lifetime teacher’s career….

The tragedy is that Frederika Jenner is behind continuing this sham. The tragedy is expounded in that no one in the General Assembly, save John Kowalko, Paul Baumbach, Edward Osienski,  and  Charles Potter  put up any opposition to this diabolical Himmleresque plan to ghettoize, cleanse, and exterminate long termed unionized teachers from within our public schools. Might as well pin the large yellow star of failure to their lapels, starting now…

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