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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jargon, Big Brother, and Underestimating Us

It has been over a year since my heart was broken with the realization that the Federal and State Department of Education want to close all of our public schools, open up education to the free market, and manipulate and mislead the public in order to do so.






It sickens me that so many of our politicians are running scared thanks to Citizens United. They need the money from the big donors (Think Gates, Waltons, Broad. If you are not familiar, please look them up. And while you are at it, Look up ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council), so that their opponents don't outspend them. So many of us believe that the more ads we see, the better the candidate. And the candidates think it is worth it to accept the big money and let the billionaires run the country.



 In the depth of winter, on the darkest days when I was the most worried about public education, it occurred to me that there is only one thing that has more power than money. Us.





What if the politicians who mislead and misspeak about our public schools are just waiting until We, the Parents, We, the Grandparents, We, the students SPEAK UP AND SAY, "NO MORE!"

No more telling us that our schools are failing when they are not. No more testing, testing, and testing our children (and threatening their high school diplomas if they don't pass the Keystones). No more  curling up in bed by the fire with the testing companies, and smoking a cigarette after they count our wasted tax dollars. 





It is happening all over the country with the opt out movement. Parents are simply opting out of the tests. In PA we can only opt out of PSSA's for grades 3 - 8. The Keystone exams need to be changed by our next Governor. If you are a Democrat, vote carefully in the May primary. Many of the candidates avoid mention of the Keystones, testing, and privatization. Don't let them off the hook. Question them, push them.
Read my blog post about what the NAACP has to say about the Keystones here.



So how can you know when you are being, shall we say, underestimated by politicians, the Department of Education, and misled by the media? Easy. Listen for jargon. Below is a list of key words that should set off warning bells for you. Some of these terms were originally used correctly and meant something different than they do today. Thank you to edglossary.org & the Department of Education.
Want to know more about these terms? Look 'em up. We need to know this stuff.

21st Century Skills
College and Career Ready
Computer Adaptive Technology
Computer Adaptive Test
Professional Learning Community
Stakeholders
Close Reading
Formative Assessment/Summative Assessment
Backward Design/Curriculum Mapping
Benchmark Assessment
Competency Based Learning
Personalized Learning
Data Based Instruction
Evidence Based Instruction
e-portfolio
Rigor
Grit
No Excuses
Flexible Learning Pathways
Learning Loss
Valued-Added Model
Hybrid Learning/Blended Learning
Outcomes Based Learning/Teaching
STEM v. the humanities/arts
Summer Slide
Turn Around Schools
Race to the Top
Competing for Gains
Educator-Led
Shared Responsibility & Leadership
Successful Teaching and Learning
Engaged Communities
Teacher TV
The RESPECT Project
Merit Pay
Response to Intervention
Competency-based report cards
Khan Academy
Flipped classrooms




I will stop, but the list could go on and on. So often the terms are familiar. Many of them were once used and respected by great teachers and administrators. This is why they resonate with the public and sound like they mean something positive when they no longer do. Sadly, this is really all about the money. Public education is now seen as, "...the world's most data mine-able industry by far..." 
Watch this video which is actually titled, "Education Datapalooza.

 
 I know I am growing tired of what a dear friend calls, "Word Salad." Parents, students, school board members, and friends of public education, please listen for the jargon and speak up respectfully. We are the constituents, we are the tax payers. The government works for us. The more we know, the sooner we can tell the powers that be that we don't want the doublespeak. 

We want our public schools, and we want them controlled locally by an elected school board.





No more jargon. No more big brother. No more underestimating us.






 





















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