Delaware Children Are Pawns To American Institutes for Research & Not Just For The Smarter Balanced Assessment

“When you are using the test for accountability, you’re not really using it to measure the kid, but you are using it to measure the school or the teacher or the district.” Jon Cohen, President of Assessment at American Institutes for Research

Today we find out the Smarter Balanced Assessment results for Delaware.  This test was designed by American Institutes for Research.  They also created DCAS.  Known as AIR, they are everywhere.  Your child is a mere data point to them so they can help states hold schools and districts accountable for their own tests.  I first wrote about them at the end of April, and what I found shocked me then.  Watch this video, and think of your child taking this assessment.

This is a company who promises Delawareans they will keep your child’s data safe.  Which is interesting, considering they can’t do the same for their own employees so how safe is your child’s information?  This is a company that proudly boasts on their own website how they delivered 60 millions tests to students this year, including 12 million Smarter Balanced Assessments.  But they aren’t just satisfied with American students, they have their paws in international organizations as well with their project called “International Development, Evaluation, and Research”:

IDER is developing a benchmarking tool as part of the World Bank’s System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results project that will allow countries to analyze their progress in implementing curriculum based learning standards. The tool will be developed in conjunction with extensive research on the conditions and policies needed to promote standards-based education systems.

I wrote last week about how these assessment developers really operate, and the very dangerous implications it can have for students, especially those with disabilities.  But did you know AIR’s founder, John Flanagan, was heavily involved in eugenics experiments to help the “superior” race.  You can read about this very sordid past with the practice of eugenics which is defined as:

Eugenics: the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.

In a sense, what the corporate education reformers are doing with education isn’t really different than what the eugenics movement attempted.  They are trying to improve the student population by controlled standardization to increase the occurrence of desirable outcomes: the complete destruction of a particular “race” of education: public education.  What companies like AIR do is create the conditions and situations for our schools to be seen as “failing” and then set up the method by which to prove it, tests like Smarter Balanced.  As seen in the accountability matrices for Delaware, and the fact that future priority and focus schools will be based on these measurements, and they are all based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, is it any wonder our schools aren’t improving?

Even when states like Florida, who withdrew from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, still used AIR to implement their state assessment, major problems still occurred.  So much so that their own Governor issued a findings report on AIR’s psychometric practicalities and the bungling of the test last Spring.  That report just came back, but unfortunately Florida’s Governor used education reform companies who are well-connected with their Governor to issue the report.  Furthermore, the analysis was done using AIR employees as part of the state’s Technical Advisory Committee.  You can read it all here:

http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/FSA_Final_Report_08312015.pdf

This is a company who has their hands in every aspect of education: assessment, turnaround schools, discipline, achievement, academic standards, accountability, teacher evaluation, and more.  Aside from a few states, I have not seen AIR mentioned as one of the chief education reform companies, but in my eyes, as well as thousands of others, they are at top of the list.  They have received over $1 billion dollars from the US DOE, and in just five years, $38 million from Delaware.  What are the results of this companies assessments in our state?  What progress has been made?  We all know the answer to that.  Remember this company and the above video when you hear so much about the Smarter Balanced Assessment today and in the coming weeks.  Remember their dark history and their very influential present.  Remember they’ve had their hands on Delaware student data for over five years now.  And ask yourself, why does this company know EVERYTHING about my child?  After you finish reading this article, go to AIR’s website.  Peak around, check them out.  See how many countries they are involved in.  See how many different areas of everyday life they have a direct hand in.  Do the research yourself, and if you still don’t have that queasy, unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach, if you aren’t horrified by this company, then do some more research.  Look into all these companies.  And ask yourself, how in the world did education ever become about this…

It’s Optoutpalooza! Student Walk-outs, Computer Opt Outs, & Teacher Protests

“Today’s fiasco once again demonstrates that Florida testing policy is being driven by politicians and ideologues, not educators.”

“We Are Not A Test Score.”

“We honestly believe that The State of New Jersey, by forcing us to administer this time-devouring test, is engaged in behavior destructive to the educational well being of our students.”

While the Smarter Balanced Assessment doesn’t start in Delaware for another eight days, many states started the Pearson created PARCC test today.  But it looks like many students and teachers didn’t take part.  Diane Ravitch must have had a field day with her blog today.  Every article was about huge problems with this test.  Another blog, based out of Florida called Scathing Purple Musings had plenty to say about it as well!

In New Mexico, hundreds of students just walked out of the tests!  The biggest walkout occurred at Albuquerque High School.  Students had signs indicating “We Are Not A Test Score” and “Common Core Fails”.  All told, twelve high schools in the state had walkouts.  Another student in the Santa Fe School District got suspended for telling students they can opt out of the test.  Diane Ravitch put the student on her blog honor roll!

In Florida, it looks like the computer system was sick of standardized testing as anywhere from 8 to 12 school districts were unable to log into the system.  While this wasn’t the PARCC, it was the first day of the Florida Standards Assessment.  Leon County has told the state they won’t try to give it anymore until the state DOE can confirm it won’t happen again.

Illinois had bad news today.  The Superintendent of the Chicago School District had announced she was only giving the PARCC to 10% of students.  She caved on this today which I’m sure shocked the other 90% of the students.

But the biggest news came out of Newark, New Jersey.  Teachers at one of the most successful schools in the state, Science Park High School, wrote a very long letter protesting the PARCC test, calling it “Thirty days of destruction.”  But in the rest of the state, thousands of students walked out and opted out.  30% of the students refused the test in one district alone.  That should be an interesting conversation with the state DOE!

Speaking of the DOE, I wonder how many will show up tomorrow night at the Delaware PTA sponsored parent opt out town hall event?

All of these articles can be read at http://dianeravitch.net/ and https://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/

Big Fight For A Little Girl: Abbie’s Story, Retweet, Reblog, and Repost!!! She Needs Our Help! @washingtonpost @nytimes @DianeRavitch @ed_in_de #edchat

Abbie Maas is a 9 year old girl in Florida.  Like any child, she wants the love of her parents most of all.  Abbie has never done something that you and I take for granted.  She has never spoken a single word.  Abbie has Autism.  Diagnosed at 2 years old, her parents have been told she is brilliant, as many autistic children are. 

Abbie’s parents went after her school due to a lack of special education services for their daughter.  The parents won, but the school district doesn’t even offer the kind of services that Abbie needs at this point in time.  It is between a private school or the school district would have to provide for a one-on-one paraprofessional.  Abbie needs the best possible accommodations for her disability.  That would be in the private school.

Below is from the parents Facebook page, Big Fight For A Little Girl.  No child should ever be in this position, nor should the parents.  To all of you reading this, please take the time tomorrow morning to call the below phone number to support Abigail Maass.  

About

Every child has the right to a free and appropriate public education. Unfortunately, some kids slip through the cracks and our Abigail is one of them.
Description
Our daughter is a 9 year old girl with Autism. Her name is Abigail and this page is about our fight for a free and appropriate education for her in Duval County. We have exhausted all means to get her the education she deserves. We filed for due process and went to court. We were the prevailing party and we still don’t have answers as to what the district is doing for her education. School starts in 14 days and we don’t know where she will be attending, who will be her teacher, and whether they have a one on one student focus paraprofessional on staff. The final order was written that she was awarded compensatory education and ABA services. Duval doesn’t offer this curriculum and the cost is astronomical. We can send her to a private school that is well versed in ABA for $46,000 per year vs. hiring an ABA therapist as her one on one for $100,000+ per year. We need your help to get decisions to be made for our daughter’s education. Please “like” and share this page. We need emails and calls to be made on our behalf.

This is as of earlier this evening.  Please call Mrs. Gail Roberts tomorrow with the below information. 

So the buck has been passed yet again. Apparently the decision of Abigail’s future rests on the shoulders of Mrs. Gail Roberts of Duval County’s ESE dept. We would ask that you call and email Mrs. Roberts tomorrow morning. Please be courteous and merely state your support for Abigail and that you would appreciate Mrs. Roberts making a decision based solely on the appropriate educational needs of Abbie. We so very much appreciate all of you.
Email: robertsg@duvalschools.org
Phone: 904-348-7800
 
Abbie represents what is so fundamentally wrong with special education in our country.  No school district, board or state should put parents through this kind of torture.  I have already emailed Mrs. Gail Roberts.  Please take a few minutes to help Abbie out by calling or sending an email.  For more information, please like Abbie’s Facebook page: Big Help For A Little Girl.
 
Here is a link to a local newspaper article on Abbie’s story:  http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/education/2014/08/06/autistic-child-duval-county/13686991/
 

One Florida Community Complains About TOO MANY Charter Schools Opening

I wish all communities would complain about TOO many charter schools opening!!!!

Scathing Purple Musings

From Sun Sentinelreporter Arun Sivasankaran:

Tamarac city officials have shot down a proposal to open a charter high school within the city.

At a recent City Commission meeting, officials went against staff’s recommendation and voted unanimously against granting a special exception to open an alternative high school named International High School. The denial is in the backdrop of complaints by city residents that too many charter schools are opening in the city.

The city’s planning board initially referred the matter to the City Commission without any recommendation. After city officials voted to send the item back to the planning board, the board voted 3-2 in favor of approving the request by the property owner, American Charter Development, and the school operator, Newport Education Partners.

Voting against the application, Mayor Harry Dressler referred to “existing deficiencies” in the city’s code in addressing the issue of special exception for charter schools…

View original post 240 more words

Horrible Special Education & Discrimination in Charter Schools isn’t just a Delaware thing, USA Snapshot #netde #eduDE @delaware_gov

Delaware charters have become well known for being very bad at accommodating children with special needs.  It’s not all of them, but the bulk of them have a very hard time giving children what is required by federal law.  Recently, Kendall Massett, the executive director for the Delaware Charter School Network, wrote an article on a Delaware blog asking parents to tell why charters are so great.  To get the word out about why parents should choice their children to charters.  She also talked about how her organization wants to get more charters in Delaware’s other two counties, Kent and Sussex.  No thank you, Kendall.  We have more than enough.  Until your “great” charters fully follow the law, I don’t want to hear about MORE charters in Delaware.

To be fair though, I decided to see if this is just a Delaware issue.  It’s not.  It’s all over the country.  New York, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and more.  I went through different search sites, and found an overwhelming amount of links.  All I put in was “charter schools not accommodating special needs”, and they appeared.  I’m going to put several links up, and I encourage every special needs parent and non-special needs parent around the country to pass the word around about America’s charter schools!

Included in these articles are special education issues, as well as numerous other tactics and illegal activities America’s charter schools have accomplished in their 18 year existence.  Well done charters!

Massachusetts: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/07/13/charter-school-battle-erodes-middle-ground/ehBkNEg8rtplHN1Gta18CK/comments.html?p1=ArticleTab_Comments_ Continue reading