Catching up a bit…

April 2, 2012

I haven’t been on this blog in a long time – my other one (Engaged Intellectuals) takes up most of the “spare time” I have for blogging.

But some folks keep stopping by this one looking for ways to stop the testing madness – or ways to pull their kids out of tests without facing legal ramifications. I wish I had the energy to keep up this blog – so many people need a place to share stories, vent, and find support to try to change things.

For the latest commenter:

I’m so sorry your 5th grader hates school now because of the FIVE POINTS that kept him from passing the test. You are like so many other parents struggling with this, it is incredibly painful and makes you feel helpless as a parent when an institution takes control over our lives like this – and our kids are paying such a huge price. There are processes that schools are supposed to follow when a child fails to pass the test, including holding a parent/teacher/principal meeting to discuss whether or not it makes sense to retain the child in the same grade or move forward with a strong plan to give them the academic support they need in the next grade. In other words, failing the test is not supposed to mean an “automatic” failing of the grade. There should be some serious conversations, and schools should be able to show how they are going to better meet the needs of your child in the future, whether in the same grade or in the next grade.

Check out EmpowerED Georgia – an organization of parents, educators, and concerned citizens about public education in Georgia.

And the National Center for Fair and Open Testing for important information and research against all this testing madness.

And send emails and letters to all the people you can who make policies in the state of Georgia.

Tell your personal story – tell them that these horrible testing policies are killing kids’ interest in school and formal learning, tell them about how these testing practices in school are creating conflict and hardship in your home for your family. Tell them everything you are experiencing, because you are not alone, you’re just one of the ones who happened to comment on a blog about testing. Others are looking in other places, telling their friends, crying on their own at home, and wondering what they can do to help their kids.

Maybe your child can write letters to – put their frustration and feelings of unfairness in words to their legislators. This can be a great educational experience too, they can learn about the General Assembly, learn about how policies work and how they impact citizens’ every day lives, and learn that they at least have a voice to speak out against policies that are counterproductive, or even damaging, to the citizens of Georgia.

Speak out.

And let me know what happens.

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Child Labor in U.S. Schools?

November 1, 2010

Thanks to the AJC for publishing my op-ed essay about merit pay, high-stakes testing, and child labor.

 

Here it is!


Will Parents Begin Opting-Out of High-Stakes Tests?

October 31, 2010

Check out this article from “Teacher Magazine”


Nice op-ed on testing and assessments

September 28, 2010

Check out this op-ed by Susan Engel that reveals the nonsensical nature of our fill-in-the-bubble testing craze…


Georgia Education Alliance has been renamed Empower Education for Georgia

September 24, 2010

Due to legal issues related to GAE’s complaints that GEA was too similar in name and acronym, the grassroots movement formerly known as “Georgia Education Alliance” has been renamed Empower Education for Georgia.


Go See ‘Race to Nowhere’!!!!

September 24, 2010

“Race to Nowhere” is a film made by a mother who became increasingly concerned about her children’s and family’s emotional well-being resulting from pressures at school, loads of homework, and family time that was decimated by requirements from school.

This concern intensified and catapulted the making of the film when a 13-year old “perfect” child killed herself in the community over a bad math grade.

A 13 year old killing herself over a grade in school?

What do we expect?

We are guilty of allowing school’s competitive nature to infiltrate the bodies and psyches of our children (and even parents).

We are guilty of abusing children who are pushed to stay up late at night finishing  homework and who cry and complain of headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, and depression all related to school.

We are guilty.

Who is we?

Policymakers, educators, parents, citizens, test-makers, test-scorers, publishers of testing materials.

All of us.

Can we finally come together around protecting children’s right to a human existence inside and outside school?

Can we finally coalesce around a fundamental belief that children are human beings who do not exist in the world to “produce” for adults?

Go see this film – and then find a way to order it – and then find a way to get as many people as possible to watch it.

Then change how our children are experiencing the world.

Race to Nowhere Website,  Film Trailer, and Organizing Ideas

Themes in this film that are related to recent hot topics in Georgia:

Stress and cheating

Testing

Homework


Get out the Vote!! Tuesday is Primary Day…

July 19, 2010

Hey everyone out there –

Tuesday is primary day and it’s a REALLY important primary – to make sure the candidates who support educators, children, families, and not the craziness we’re tied to at the moment (read: get some folks into offices that realize merit pay based on test scores is insane, that realize the CRCT madness is killing schools and children and teachers and administrators, etc.).

I don’t have to do it here, because the Georgia Education Alliance (a grassroots movement in Georgia that is VERY impressive) has done it for me – check out their website with candidate details and their endorsements.