The WAVE -- www.rockawave.com - Publish date: March 31, 2017
School Scope: Opt Out of Test Movement is Still Alive Despite Attempts to Kill It
By Norm Scott
NYC schools chancellor Carmen Farina hates the opt out movement because it so threatens the education establishment which uses testing as a bludgeon. Even if your child aces tests, our claim has been that the process itself is harmful to overall development of children educationally, emotionally and intellectually. Many top performing nations have de-emphasized testing, especially for children under high school age.
Farina and the testing establishment have threatened schools, teachers and parents with all sorts of punishment and sanctions, many of them untrue. Principals at schools with high opt-out rates last year have been pressured to intimidate parents who even ask questions about opt out.
I know you will be reading this at the end of the week that ELA tests were given statewide, but there will be a math test the first week of May but even if your child took the tests and you are a believer in the value of tests I urge you to read this blog by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters: It's not too late to opt out & more reasons to do so-- including to protect your child's privacy and deny them the data! https://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2017/03/countless-reasons-to-opt-out-including.html
A lot of people are not aware that their childlrens’ data is being shared and even sold. “Deny them the data” has become somewhat of a rallying cry.
Consider the points made in the letter to parents below by a parent of three children – and check out the link: Top 10 Reasons to Opt Out - https://vimeo.com/208262836
The state tests are coming up. Before your child sits for 6 days worth of standardized state exams please take a few minutes to review the reasons for considering to opt out of these tests.
I am both a parent and an education advocate, and will be opting my two children out of the state exams. Like every parent, I care deeply about my children's education and future. Actually, I care about the quality of every child's education and am concerned about these specific exams undermining public schools' ability to teach to the WHOLE child. The Opt Out movement has proven to be the best way to make systemic changes to public education.
Who else believes children should opt out of the state tests? Leading education experts such as Diane Ravitch, Carol Burris and Leonie Haimson, as well as the parents of 240,000 NYS students who opted out last year. This year, the New York State Teacher's Union (NYSUT) has even taken out billboards to inform parents of their right to opt out of the state tests.
Our children are not standard. They have talents and qualities that these tests will never measure and are not designed to encourage. They measure cramming, access to expensive tutors, and rote learning. None of these qualities are skills that will prepare our children for college and even less so for the real world.
Ultimately, the decision to opt out is yours. But before the kids go to school on Tuesday, take the opportunity to be informed about the movement. Again, please take the time to read through the links below. But just in case you DON'T open the links below, I'll sum it up with this: State exams are driven by politics and corporate greed while your child's learning and potential is a distant priority. A multiple choice test won't teach our kids what it takes to cure cancer or solve world hunger.
Mom to Aries (3rd gr), Alexa (5th gr.) & Hailey (10th gr.)
“Awesome” said Jamaal A. Bowman Founding Principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action MS, who shared his own video on testing and opting out. https://youtu.be/J6kNcUDwjE8
Norm never opts out of blogging at ednotesonline.com
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Central Park East 1's Monika Garg is the WORST pri...":
I worked under Garg for two years when she was an AP. She literally turned our school upside down with mismanagement, corruption, bullying and unfair targeting of anyone she didn't like. She acted like an expert in everything when she knew so little about most things. She used her bully-style to make up for the lack of substance. When we found out she was leaving our school (and her awful boss Minerva), many teachers who were planning on leaving decided to stay.
Sign the CPE petition: http://www.savecpe1.org/
The funniest line of the night at the PEP was Farina saying that they do things in the interests of children.
Why does the DOE and UFT coddle bad principals who always get protection. There are so many mini-Trumps in the system who can brag they can kill someone in broad daylight and get away with it. And they do kill teacher careers and children's hopes.
Chaz's School Daze: Anoither Case Of The DOE Double Standard When Disciplining Administrators - Santiago Taveras.
Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez had her last day of hearing on Friday and will be out of the school at least for a month while waiting for a decision though experienced hands believe no matter the outcome she won't be allowed back at the school. And the UFT will be silent publicly.
NYCDOE's own criteria Garg is the WORST principal in NYC
Mar 27, 2017 — D4 SUPERINTENDENT ALEXANDRA ESTRELLA, WHY ARE YOU SUPPORTING GARG?
GARG’S RECORD AS WORST PRINCIPAL IN NEW YORK CITY:
- Greatest percentage drop in English test scores, citywide*
- Greatest percentage drop in Math test scores, citywide*
- Lowest rating in Trust, citywide**
- Lowest rating for Effective Management, citywide**
- Lowest rating in Tracking Student Academic Progress, Citywide**
- Lowest rating in Awareness of What is Going on in Classrooms, citywide**
In addition to her exploitative use and abuse of students to target teachers, Garg had the greatest drop of nearly every measure for principal performance, citywide.
*Drop from NYS 2015 test scores to 2016 (see Chalkbeat, August 2, 2016)
**NYCDOE School Survey 2016
Please distribute this information widely, and continue to share our petition. Monika Garg must be removed for the safety of our children, the protection of our teachers and the existence of this magical school. #savecpe1
In response to our recent coverage of NYSUT finances -
and our concerns that ST Caucus was paying attention, NYSUT ST Caucus presidential candidate sent us this response:
Thanks for your reporting on NYSUT budget issues and the upcoming elections. I'd like to give you the heads up on where ST is on the NYSUT budget issue.
We have been concerned for sometime over NYSUT's finances; this is why we opposed raising the number of officers from four to five, two years ago. There is a lack of confidence in the reporting of the current leadership. At last year’s President’s Conference, Martin Messner’s budget report indicated NYSUT was on a stable financial footing.
A couple of months later, however, during PSA negotiations, the officers claimed NYSUT was facing a financial crisis. Therefore, leadership’s budget discussions seem to be more about political messaging than they are about guaranteeing NYSUT will be stable in its vision and capability moving forward.
We have two platform positions that deal with NYSUT's financials directly. First, we are proposing reducing the number of officers from five to four. This would be a 20% reduction in officer salaries and expenses. Second, we are proposing reducing officer salaries by 15%. Though these efforts in isolation will not be adequate to restore NYSUT to fiscal stability, they are necessary precursors to any meaningful discussion with NYSUT staff.
We have been clear that any fiscal reorganization within NYSUT requires transparency, shared sacrifice, and shared vision. The current NYSUT leadership lack these, and are simply not up to the task of bringing fiscal order without negative fallout that could impact members. The most recent PSA negotiations are evidence of this.
We must also look at the metro funding rebates. Five of the largest locals in the state are reimbursed 32% of their dues as they decline field services, but they receive additional rebates to bring the total in some cases to 50%. PSA, for example, gets 50% of their dues reimbursed, or at least they did when Dick was President. He did this to prevent them from disaffiliating. We have made many requests to NYSUT to get current reimbursement data, and they have not been forthcoming. Instead, they have referred us only to public disclosure documents.
We must also remember that NYSUT's economic future is not just a fiscal issue. In the near future, members may have the right to refuse dues payments. To protect the organization, we must transform NYSUT to be focused on member advocacy. I've only been at this for a little over twenty years, so I'm not sure what NYSUT was like at its inception, but I believe we have lost our focus. Our advocacy seems to be more about the perception of being power brokers on the state and national levels, and not in representing teachers, aides, bus drivers, and professors. We have ceded control of the conversation to education reformers, and we have failed to correct the record.
If members are going to keep paying dues, they need to see us engaging in fights that have meaning to them. This is probably the most important variable in NYSUT's future.
In short, we are aware of the uncertain economic situation within NYSUT, and we have grave concerns that if not addressed properly, this house of cards could come tumbling down, leaving members vulnerable to the worst of the political winds out there.
The Freedom Party makes Trump look sane.
Trump would screw anyone to make a deal that would make him look good. Ie. See Nixon goes to China.
Today's Times has an interesting piece
. [Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War]
A precedent-flouting president who believes that Washington’s usual rules do not apply to him, Mr. Trump now finds himself shackled by them.
In stopping the repeal of President Barack Obama’s proudest legacy — the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years — from even coming to a vote, the rebellious far right wing out-rebelled Mr. Trump, taking on and defeating the party establishment with which it has long been at war and which he now leads.
Like every one else who has tried to rule a fissured and fractious party, Mr. Trump now faces a wrenching choice: retrenchment or realignment.
Does he cede power to the anti-establishment wing of his party? Or does he seek other pathways to successful governing by throwing away the partisan playbook and courting a coalition with the Democrats, whom he has improbably blamed for his party’s shortcomings?
Imagine this scenario: Trump thinks Freedom caucus is even crazier than he is and wants to get even. He rounds up 30 moderate Republicans and offers Dems a deal. Now Dems would have to admit that Obamacare is massively flawed and not try to defend it -- in other words -- the "fix Obamacare" line will not play. Admit the need to scrap it and start over.
Now comes the tricky part -- call for single payer which of course Trump and Republicans will never do -- but given the polls we see it is popular, especially when we see that we pay double per capita vs single payer plans.
Be like Bernie -- single minded. Criticize Obamacare for not having public option ---
The experience has put Trump in a dealing mode since his own party -- which we know is only expedient -- is so divided -- and the Dems may be holding more cards than we thought possible -- if only they were competent, which is what they are not.
The Dems will defend the past and justify the neo-lib Obama/Clinton agenda -- it is in their DNA -- and in the DNA of the uft.
March 24, 2017
School Scope: War in the Democratic Party as Bernie Popularity Soars
By Norm Scott
Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America, by a wide margin of 61% according to a FOX news poll (http://www.businessinsider.com/most-popular-politician-in-the-us-bernie-sanders-fox-news-poll-2017-3
) . Yes FOX. Now Bernie is not actually a Democrat but calls himself a Democratic Socialist and at this point there is no such viable party in this nation as there is throughout the world. People tend to conflate social democracy with communism and nothing could be further from the truth. Stalin wiped out social democrats, as have every communist nation because SDs believe in private property, a fundamentally free market economy and regulated capitalism. Scandinavian nations are prime examples. Universal single payer health care is an essential, as is free education. Both of these were basic to Bernie’s program and both ideas seem to be fundamentally off the table to both parties. Don’t expect me to explain Bernie’s enormous popularity as his basic ideas are ignored and in fact often mocked, not only by the right, but by the center and even many liberals.
There is a tendency to place all Democrats into one big lump and declare them all liberal/lefties when in fact there is a wide range of division. The right-center flank of the Democratic Party is pretty much where the mainstream Republican Party was pre-Reagan. The so-called center is now being branded as the Clinton/Obama wing of the party, which includes the party leadership (Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi) while the left of the party is the Bernie wing. Make no mistake about it, war is raging in the party if not openly at this point but behind the scenes and certainly in print.
The flash point came recently in the election for the relatively obscure Democratic National Committee chair. Early on, Bernie’s people backed a left-leaning Ohio Congressman, Keith Ellison, who is black and a Muslim. This was soon after the Hillary election disaster and the Clinton/Obama wing was busy licking its wounds. In the vacuum, many people signed on. But it didn’t take long for the C/O wing to fight back. Apparently Obama – and those of you who think he is a lefty, you are reading the right stuff – convinced his labor secretary, Tom Lopez, who did nothing for labor, to run against Ellison. Perez won, but by the narrowest margin in history – basically it is the super delegate types who voted. He tried to make peace by naming Ellison a co-chair, but the entire affair hasn’t played very well with the real left of the party – the Bernie wing – which wants the party to break ranks with its corporate money wing which supported Hillary.
There also happens to be a left to the left of the party of varying degrees of leftism and there is talk about the need to leave the Democratic Party and form a new party – maybe even one along the lines of the European social democratic parties.
The Greens seem to occupy some of that space. Others want something even more left – a labor party and an avowed anti-capitalist party.
For a political junkie like me, this is better than sports and in fact I now divide my time between watching/listening to sports on WFAN and to NPR and CNN, though I do get things confused at times. Who’s pitching for the Yankees? Keith or Tom?
Anyone who writes, or reads, were saddened by the death of people’s journalist Jimmy Breslin. I never met Jimmy but did get close a couple of years ago when I was the cameraman on a shoot in his apartment where his wife, major political figure Ronnie Elbridge, was being interviewed for a feature for a show called Active Aging, a Manhattan Neighborhood Network program about people of a certain age who keep doing amazing things. Jimmy was home but in another room so we never got to meet him. Don’t we need an army of Jimmy Breslin-type reporters, a pretty much extinct breed, today more than ever?
Norm shares his junkie thoughts on his blog, ednotesonline.com
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