Monday, April 21, 2014

"You Are Only as Sick as Your Secrets...." Anonymous 12 Step Wisdom

T.S. Eliot supposedly said one time: Good writers borrow. Great writers steal. I am about to attempt greatness here in thieving Perdido St. School Blog's upper half from today's post :

Time for this Shit to End

How To Fight The Testing Industrial Complex
Michael Fiorillo left this comment on NYC Educator's post about why NYSED and Pearson insist the NY State 3rd-8th grade tests must remain secret:

The destruction of public education hinges on everyone's passive acceptance of high stakes exams encroaching more deeply into every classroom. They are the weapon used to close schools, deprive students of a well-rounded education, and beat teachers into submission. They are the primary lever for getting everyone to accept the de-skilling of the teaching profession, and teaching's devolution into temporary, at-will employment.

The tests are also the primary tool for imposing the "social learning" embedded in the testing regime itself, whereby young people are socialized into passive acceptance of the exercise of arbitrary power, tolerance of tedium and absurdity and surveillance/data mining, so as to be powerless worker bees in the future.

Passive acceptance of the exercise of arbitrary power, a high tolerance for tedium, absurdity, and surveillance/data mining: that's what the so-called reformers really mean by students being "career ready."

This abuse will continue as long as we are cowed into respecting the "proprietary" claims of the test makers, which are totally illegitimate. These tests are paid for with public dollars, are used as gatekeepers for public school students, and are the de facto drivers of public school instruction; the public has an intrinsic right to see them and openly discuss their validity.

That right has moral, if not legal, precedence over any copyright claims.

As of now, the only way to force that debate is for teachers to engage in civil disobedience and provide the public service of making these exams available for open examination by all interested parties.

It's time for photocopies, or scanned and scrubbed digital photos of these exams, to be sent to the newspapers, elected officials, parent groups and blogs. They should be handed out at PEP meetings, so that the Chancellor is forced to acknowledge their presence. They need to be distributed so widely that their "secrecy" becomes a dead letter, the media cannot ignore them, and so that threats by Pearson and it's wholly-owned subsidiary, the New York State Department of Education, become irrelevant.

I can't say enough about my agreement with Michael's dead on take here. If we continue to be cowards who tiptoe around squeaking to the drum of NYSED, Pearson and Gates then we get what we deserve. It's time this shit got handed out. To think that parents aren't allowed to see the bullshit tests Pearson shoves at our kids filled with ads for companies that Pearson has connections with is so insane, so fucking complete bullshit, I can't believe Pearson has a single window left intact anywhere. I experienced a very bizarre and unsettling interaction with  corporate trained drones over the weekend that neatly explains why so many billionaires are so in love with Common Core, high stakes testing, evaluating teachers with high stakes tests, breaking unions and bringing in the White Guilt Acolytes of TFA to git 'er done on the cheap before they flit off to MBA land or Law School. More on that later but for now I want to hear your reasons for not photocopying these bullshit tests and spreading them everywhere, far and wide...No Excuses as Michelle Rhee might say. 

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