After yesterday's rant about the Rotteness that is Common Core, with all its unique ability to highlight that nothing in the American system works for the people any more, but only for the corporations and their corrupt political sponsors, consider this rather thought-provoking article shared by Mr. S.D. on what's going on in just one American state with the "new standards" and latest trendy fad of the edugarchs:
If you thougght my rant about pampered and privileged corporations in the "testing business" was a bit over the top, consider only what one such privilieged group of corporations in just New York stands to gain:
There is a fable in which an Arab miller reluctantly allows his camel to stick his nose under his tent on a cold night in the desert. This is quickly followed by other parts of his body until the camel is entirely inside the tent and refuses to leave. The moral of the fable is to illustrate that once the “camel” (Governor Cuomo’s $2 billion Smart Bond Act) gets his nose in the tent, his body (competency based education) will soon follow. This is what we have with the Questar testing company, with which the NYSED Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia signed a $44 million contract (http://www.nysed.gov/news/2015/3-8-assessment-contract-awarded-questar-inc). The contract locks into place a five year deal and offers districts the “option to administer the tests on computers”. Isn’t that convenient.
As part of the NYSED press release, Elia is quoted as saying, “Questar, Inc. will also provide computer based TESTING (emphasis added) platforms that will help reduce the need for stand-alone field tests, and more importantly, help make our assessments even better instructional tools.” For the sake of brevity, let’s forget about the fact that the contract with Pearson is still in effect for the 2015-2016 school year and the multi-billion dollar British conglomerate will still be producing the spring 2016 NYS ELA and math tests.
And, of course, there is the familiar tactic of the corrupt edugarchs and politicians and billionaire busibodies with the "blame-the-teachers" for their "outmoded pedagogical styles" :
According to Questar’s April 1st publication (sadly, it is not an April fool’s prank), “Reimagining the Classroom Experience” (http://www.questarai.com/reimagining-the-classroom-experience/), Eric Rohy, Questar’s Chief Services Officer, writes, “Most educators agree that the current LECTURE-STYLE (emphasis added) approach to teaching is flawed.” He further writes, “….this approach limits the teacher’s ability to adapt his or her classroom to meet a number of 21st century teaching needs such as INDIVIDUALIZED AND PERSONALIZED INSTRUCTION (emphasis added), personalized learning, competency-based grouping and progression, seamless blending of instruction and assessment, and timely impact of assessment results to affect instruction.” WOW! When was the last time Eric Rohy visited an American classroom, the 1950’s? Teachers do not use “lecture style” anymore, nor have they in several decades.
And maybe that's the point: I learned from teachers who used the "outmoded" lecture style, and they were some of my favorite teachers. Rumor has it that a whole bumper crop of people in western history were taught by thaat "outmoded" method. Many were even taught at "home schools." Tthe product worked; that's whhy we kept buying it.
But now, the product does not work, has not worked, for several decades, and this is why the edugarchy and its supporting corporations mustt now use the mercantilist policy of government privilege and force to compell people to buy their overpriced and defective products. Think of it as Obamacare for "edgykayshun." After all, who of us would buy a used car from a dealer that immediately fell apart, cost an arm and a leg, didn't work, and endangered a family, if we had bought one from that same dealer before, and it did the same thing, over and over? And the answer, of course, is, we wouldn't.
My prediction? Amairikuh is going to have a brain drain of professionals, teachers, and even people, just plain fed up with it all, who simply will go elsewhere for their sake, and their children's, while Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Gates, the Schrubb family in all its mediocre glory, and the Clintons and the "testing corporations" continue to repackage their philosophical and pedagogical failures and corruption and resell it to the rest. And this, I suspect, is the real implication of Farley's closing remarks:
Would Bill Gates, President Obama, current US DOE Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, soon-to-be US Secretary John King, and Andrew Cuomo subject their own children to this education environment? No, nor should they and nor should we. I do not want my children to be connected to a tablet all day in the name of “individualized instruction.” I want a high quality teacher to teach my children.
If Commissioner Elia believes that the opt out movement will become a moot point due to competency based education and assessments, she had better re-think her belief. Opt out numbers are likely to hit 500,000 this spring. When the 2016-2017 school year begins, opt outs will be close to 1,000,000.
See you on the flip side...