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
Formative Assessment/Summative Assessment
Backward Design/Curriculum Mapping
Competency Based Learning
Data Based Instruction
Evidence Based Instruction
Flexible Learning Pathways
Hybrid Learning/Blended Learning
Outcomes Based Learning/Teaching
STEM v. the humanities/arts
Turn Around Schools
Race to the Top
Competing for Gains
Shared Responsibility & Leadership
Successful Teaching and Learning
The RESPECT Project
Response to Intervention
Competency-based report cards