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[Xmca-l] Re: Opt-out movement



Re Greg T:
*Although not a massive supporter of the overall project, he said that the
one good thing from NCLB's testing program was that it meant that schools
that were failing students could now be held accountable. ... Testing gives
hard numbers to say that certain schools are failing and need to change.*

Of course, one could take the view that whether schools that serve the poor
are failing is utterly beside the point -- or in other words, that the fact
that they are failing is *precisely* the point. To my money, the "education
reform" perspective worth following here isn't the earnest left-liberal
policy wonkery of someone like Ravitch, but a more cynical,
leftist-flavored take like that of David Labaree's "Someone Has to Fail:
The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling". Here's from the first few
paragraphs of Labaree's intro:

*When people continually repeat behaviors that turn out badly for them, we
consider it a sign of mental illness. In this sense, then, the American
tendency to resort to schooling is less a strategy than a syndrome. We have
set up our school system for failure by asking it to fix all of our most
pressing social problems, which we are unwilling to address more directly
through political action rather than educational gesture. When it fails, we
fiddle with the system and try again. Both as a society and as individuals,
we continue to vest our greatest hopes in an institutions that is clearly
unsuited to realizing them.*

cf. this from the first few paragraphs of Oscar Wilde's "Soul of Man...":

*The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated
altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves
surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation.
It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The
emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I
pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is
much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy
with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions,
they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of
remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the
disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the
disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping
the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the
poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty.
The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that
poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really
prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were
those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the
system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by
those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England,
the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good*

On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:57 PM, Greg Mcverry <jgregmcverry@gmail.com>
wrote:

> I doubt the NAACP support for annual testing has to do with Gates funding.
> Many believe that before the testing the inequities in education were
> pushed under the rug.
>
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 1:30 PM Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Interesting Peter, the line that showed up on my gmail list was:
> >
> > "Be very suspicious of civil rights groups."
> >
> > Seems a strange landscape we are navigating.
> >
> > ​-greg
> >
> > On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 9:36 AM, Peter Farruggio <pfarruggio@utpa.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Be very suspicious of civil rights groups that support the status quo
> of
> > > test and punish neoliberal policies. Ravitch here shows that ALL of the
> > 20
> > > signatories are funded by the Gates Foundation
> > >
> > >
> > > http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/29/do-civil-rights-groups-
> > want-more-high-stakes-testing/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Mcverry
> > > Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 9:45 AM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Opt-out movement
> > >
> > > Here is a press release of the 20 civil rights groups who have signed
> on
> > > to annual testing:
> > >
> > > http://edtrust.org/press_release/more-than-20-civil-
> > rights-groups-and-education-advocates-release-principles-
> > for-esea-reauthorization-the-federal-role-must-be-honored-and-maintained/
> > >
> > > The full text is available.
> > >
> > > For a nuanced, but with a strong pro-reform slant, here is a Fordham
> > piece
> > > on opt-out:
> http://edexcellence.net/articles/opting-out-race-and-reform
> > >
> > > But I agree, too often #edreform is done to and not with.
> > >
> > > On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 10:34 AM Glassman, Michael <
> glassman.13@osu.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hi Greg,
> > > >
> > > > Do you have a link on this.  I would be really interested to know
> what
> > > > the thinking of the NAACP is and who is pushing this particular idea.
> > > >
> > > > You can also take it and flip it around.  Why are affluent and
> > > > privileged whites - the same group that is strongly pushing and
> > > > materially benefitting from the emphasis on testing (who runs
> Pearson,
> > > > who is pushing corporate charter schools) also looking to escape it?
> > > > Why does Rahm Emmanuel put his children in the University of Chicago
> > > > laboratory school?  Why do so many of the people pushing testing
> > putting
> > > their children in Sidwell Friends
> > > > school?   It raises some really disturbing questions I think.
> > > >
> > > > Michael
> > > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> > > > mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Mcverry
> > > > Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 10:21 AM
> > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Opt-out movement
> > > >
> > > > Yet there is also data to support that the opt-out movement is really
> > > > a movement of affluent and privileged whites.
> > > >
> > > > In fact the NAACP has come out strong in support of annual testing as
> > > > a neccisity. Some go as far to call the importance of keeping annual
> > > > testing a civil rights movement.
> > > >
> > > > I think the opinions of  both NAACP wrong and those who look to
> > > > accountability based reform as a means to improving disparities
> > > > between students of color and their suburban peers are wrong.
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 10:17 AM Beth Ferholt <bferholt@gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Here in the NYC area it is now a large and quickly growing, as well
> > > > > as a diverse, parent movement.
> > > > >
> > > > > I am generally pessimistic, despite the time I have chosen to
> devote
> > > > > to this movement, but there are three very good things to come out
> > > > > of it
> > > > > immediately:
> > > > >
> > > > > The children see their parents and teachers fighting back,
> together,
> > > > > because we care about them here and now -- we are present with them
> > > > > in their daily lives, not telling them what will be good for them
> > > > > when they grow up.
> > > > >
> > > > > May children enjoy joining the fight.  Their tactics are very
> > > > > interesting, worth us thinking about, even if they are also funny.
> > > > > A huge march I went to this weekend had a sign that said: "Quomo,
> > > > > end testing, eat fresh Pizza."
> > > > >
> > > > > The teachers I work with, no matter what their schools are allowing
> > > > > them to do, feel deeply respected and supported by this movement,
> > > > > during this time when most of them are wondering whether or not
> they
> > > > > can remain in their chosen profession.
> > > > >
> > > > > Some of the NYC teachers are also opting their students out without
> > > > > the UFT or parents' support, just risking their jobs for their
> > > > > students, and while this cannot be widespread it creates empowering
> > > > > stories that intergenerational groups enjoy telling and retelling.
> > > > >
> > > > > In NYC we find out on Wed. if students getting higher scores one
> > > > > year to the next, on the tests, will now be the primary criteria
> for
> > > > > firing teachers.  We'll also find out if all schools of education
> > > > > with teaching candidates who do not pass the new Pearson teacher
> > > > > exams (results are back and almost the only teacher candidates
> > > > > passing identify as white) will be closed down by Cuomo in three
> > > semesters.
> > > > >
> > > > > Du Bois was writing about this, it's not new, and there is also
> > > > > probably little we can do to change the tide, but at least in NY
> > > > > things may look very different for public schools preK-graduate
> > > > > school within a few short years.
> > > > >
> > > > > We'll see if Cuomo's budget passes on April fools day,
> > > > >
> > > > > Beth
> > > > >
> > > > > On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 12:48 AM, Peter Farruggio
> > > > > <pfarruggio@utpa.edu>
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > Yes, it's still unsafe for teachers to boycott the tests in most
> > > > > > places, although the local teachers union in Seattle coordinated
> > > > > > such an action last year. But the opt out movement is led by
> > > > > > parents, certainly with teachers supporting it in the background,
> > > > > > and it has blossomed this
> > > > > testing
> > > > > > season. Certain administrators have been using bullying tactics,
> > > > > including
> > > > > > outright violations of parents' rights; but the resistance to
> > > > > > incessant testing will continue to grow as parents organize and
> > > > > > coordinate their actions nationwide. Education is and always has
> > > > > > been political, and the politics have become harsher with the
> > > > > > neoliberal push to privatize
> > > > > schools
> > > > > > and everything else.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Teachers can and must play a role in defending democratic
> > > > > > education, and that means helping to stop the testing madness.
> The
> > > > > > best thing they can
> > > > > do
> > > > > > at this point is to find ways to educate parents about what is at
> > > > > > stake
> > > > > and
> > > > > > how to exercise their parental rights. If that means conducting
> > > > > clandestine
> > > > > > informational meetings in church basements, so be it.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > See below
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > http://unitedoptout.com/
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=5528&section=Articl
> > > > > > e
> > > > > >
> > > > > > http://fairtest.org/get-involved/opting-out
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Pete Farruggio, PhD
> > > > > > Associate Professor, Bilingual Education University of Texas Pan
> > > > > > American
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > > > > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
> > > > > > Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2015 11:04 PM
> > > > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Opt-out movement
> > > > > >
> > > > > > This is related to the other thread since one of my initial
> > > > > > responses to the comments there was: As teachers, why not just
> > > > > > stop paying attention
> > > > > to
> > > > > > all the testing and do the stuff that we know really matters?
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Here is one answer for why not:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08ntklteK_c&annotation_id=
> > > > > 54833ffb-0000-2b41-a517-001a11c17db2&feature=iv&src_vid=JM1ddULfdhU
> > > > > >
> > > > > > It is a video about a school in Chicago where 75% of the students
> > > > > > opted out of taking a standardized test and the fallout that
> > > followed.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Scary.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > -greg
> > > > > >
> > > > > > --
> > > > > > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > > > > > Assistant Professor
> > > > > > Department of Anthropology
> > > > > > 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > > > > > Brigham Young University
> > > > > > Provo, UT 84602
> > > > > > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > --
> > > > > Beth Ferholt
> > > > > Assistant Professor
> > > > > Department of Early Childhood and Art Education Brooklyn College,
> > > > > City University of New York
> > > > > 2900 Bedford Avenue
> > > > > Brooklyn, NY 11210-2889
> > > > >
> > > > > Email: bferholt@brooklyn.cuny.edu
> > > > > Phone: (718) 951-5205
> > > > > Fax: (718) 951-4816
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Professor
> > Department of Anthropology
> > 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > Brigham Young University
> > Provo, UT 84602
> > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >
>