Please Lord, give me strength to make it through another call to end testing by our favorite anti-testing friend Lisa Guisbond in Commonwealth Magazine today.
Lisa is once again worried about how children and families might feel when told schools are failing in Boston.
Is anyone worried about how children might feel after actually being failed by schools in Boston?
After being lied to about their ability to get a high quality education in one of the “top urban districts in the nation” only to find they need to take two years of remedial courses before being able to take a college level course? That is — if they even end up graduating?
Lisa, you’ll remember is also the president, executive director, director, etc. of no less than four different union backed “grassroots organizations” that form “coalitions” that hate anything that might disrupt the comfortable status quo in Massachusetts education that has led the Commonwealth to near “worst-in-the-nation” status when it comes to educating children of color and low income children.
Oh yes — here in Massachusetts we have the same five people running 10 “different” organizations in a “broad coalition.”
Without any traceable 990 forms from the IRS around where they get their funding. (Hint: It’s all the Massachusetts Teachers Association.)
But I digress — more on that to come.
Once again we are expected to all bring out our hankies and dab the tears away when thinking about the emotional turmoil of families who are finally getting the straight dope about the quality of school they are placing their children into.
As a parent of three latino boys in the public schools system, let me be clear:
YOU WILL TAKE THOSE TESTS FROM MY COLD. DEAD. HANDS.
Why? Because before testing, when parents would complain about the quality of education their children received, we were often told it was “all in our heads” and there was “nothing to worry about.”
Lisa might not be familiar — but anyone else remember those days? When maybe you had a feeling that your child was not really learning anything in the 4th grade?
Mrs. Johnson is just SO NICE.
Everyone loves her!
And she gave your child a B on her report card.
You don’t have any evidence to show that — it’s all in your head.
Except, of course, except the fact that you could see that your child was nowhere near grade level in reading, had minimal math skills. And everything you were told on your behavior-based, subjective, teacher-generated report card was a lie.
You see, it’s easy to fill a building with nice people who love our children — but much, much harder to fill them with people who can actually teach them.
Guisbond points to recommendations from the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment as a solution. But has I’ve pointed out previously both on this blog and on twitter — MCIEA is a joke. Their mission is to narrow academic proficiency to a passing “nice-to-have” metric to sit along side a bunch of touchy-feel, intangible and unmeasurable “outcomes” when determining whether a school is successful instead of our current system of accountability.
Why? It’s members consist of the two groups:
Teachers unions – who hate testing because it allows us to determine whether teachers are actually doing a decent job in the classroom and hold them accountable for getting the job done. When tests come out indicating that a teacher may be having some trouble teaching particular concepts to children and may need additional training, support and potentially removal from the classroom because they like … aren’t good at teaching.
Superintendents – who hate testing because it allows school committees to hold them accountable for actually running their systems correctly and achieving tangible outcomes for children. When tests come out indicating that a school system is not performing, school committees hear from angry mobs of constituents who are angry not only that their children aren’t being educated, but also because their property values are going down due to the crappy education system.
The legislator who is helping this “consortium” is none other than Pat Jehlen (D-Anti-Testing/Anti-Charter) who happens to be married to a retired NEA staffer who now ghostwrites “Schoolyard News” about the Boston Public Schools.
So imagine this group — without convening a broad group of stakeholders to the table — coming up with literally anything other than, “please stop testing!”
Here’s the bottom line: without test scores, the complaints of students, families and the community about a lack of equity between schools in terms of resources and quality is immediately reduced to anecdote. Anecdotes are dismissed. Status quo is maintained. Comfortable adults stay fat and happy, children enter the school to prison pipeline.
Now, Lisa lives in Brookline and I don’t believe her children face the reality of being candidates for the school to prison pipeline as mine do, so maybe she just doesn’t fully understand the context of what’s at stake when we are more worried about how people feel about being told the truth than actually being told the truth.
But, as always — I want to make sure we’re crystal clear about the consequences of the achievement and opportunity gap for children like mine:
POVERTY, INCARCERATION and DEATH.
So who knows? Maybe the Whole Foods over in Brookline is filled with joyful learners who are now bagging groceries for families like Lisa’s because even with all that joy, they weren’t able to master the concepts needed to get to and complete a college degree and are now content to scrape by living hand to mouth warmed by their joyful memories of Mrs. Johnson being JUST. SO. NICE.
Or maybe if you have the resources to live in Brookline you also have the resources to pay for additional support if you’ve been shortchanged by the traditional public education system.
As for me? I want more for my children.
Frankly, I’m much more worried about how my children are going to feel when they find out that they were robbed of their shot at a high quality education because the adults in the room didn’t have the intestinal fortitude required to stand up and demand more than blind allegiance to the status quo.
Sorry about your feelings though, Lisa.