About a year ago, I came across Peg with a Pen. Her blog fascinated me… and exposed me… to so much information I hadn’t been aware of before. Have you ever had one of those moments when you were handed a nugget of knowledge, and with it, there could be no going back? Peggy Robertson’s words instantly traveled off the page and made their way into my heart. The truth has a way of doing that to a person. The realization I had been handed a set of lies was startling. As educators, we often embrace ideologies without question.
I began to question.
And I found Peg with a Pen.
I hope you will spend some time getting to know her too. She is one of those gifts, meant to grace our earth, and reveal truth to the innocent and unknowing. More of us need to spend time unraveling the tangled web, research with eyes wide open, and understand what is happening to our children, teachers, and schools… The maze is complex, yet the interconnection between all the major players slithers from dot to dot, and leads to the same dark cave every time. There are powerful people in high places making decisions with the purpose of making large profits off of our children.
How are they doing this?
Write a set of standards, don’t involve educators, offer large sums of money to educational organizations to gain support, write expensive tests designed to fail 70% of children, track every student from womb to work, and develop products to sell to schools to use to help children pass the test.
What if you found out it was the same people involved in each of these steps?
Would that give you pause?
I sure hope so.
So, if you haven’t had the honor, let me introduce you to Peggy Robertson, administrator and founder of United Opt-Out. She is an instructional coach in an elementary school, like myself, and resides in Colorado. Her perspective, from inside the walls of a poverty school, will enlighten anyone who is ready to lift their head out of the sand, and learn the truth.
Just within the past few days, I was honored by Peggy accepting my friend request on Facebook. The first post I read, written by her, reached out to me and shook me from within.
Because the story she shared is nearly identical to my own.
“So this is what it looks like in elementary schools in Aurora, CO today. CMAS (Colorado’s state test) for fifth grade. DRA2 testing for everyone and PALS testing plus DRA2 for our READ act kiddos (remember our children with the greatest need get tested the most). TS Gold and god knows what else for kindergarten. All due by May 8th.
I spend my days walking around with my computer testing kids with PALS and/or helping teachers figure out how the hell to keep the ENRICH goals/data up to date online.
Meanwhile teachers are all completing their teacher evaluations which are 31 pagers long I believe, and require filling in so many bubbles – I think I counted 270 – plus leaving comments and adding evidence (which I refuse to do because it’s BS). After you click on all these bubbles, etc. etc., you are supposed to go in and type comments about how you are meeting your goals – of which none of us have a clue what our goals are anymore by the time we’ve filled the damn thing out. All of this online, of course, a data mining extravaganza. Just a side note: did you know a military evaluation for employees is only 2 to 3 pages long?
Back to the reality in my school…
I am truly the data manager and data collector.
If anyone expects this to stop anytime soon, all parents must refuse all these corporate tests. I want to quit, but I can’t imagine leaving the children alone in there with no one on watch to expose it… and… we need more teachers to expose it. Next year, we must have more teachers on board, educating and speaking the truth to these parents in urban areas.
The revolution is truly just beginning. It tipped this year, but now we’ve got to flood the airwaves, the neighborhoods, and drown out the messaging, the testing, and the arrogance of politicians and business folks who continue to spout untruths to save a test and punishing system which harms children, while keeping the light focused on the wrong folks. We must turn this light on the POLITICIANS who continue to attempt to keep a system in place, which denies reality of social policies, and MUST change if we ever hope to end child poverty and truly create equitable and democratic schools.”
She is right.
Does any of her short story resonate with you?
Anything she writes sound familiar?
Is your school saturated with tests?
WaKids for Kindergarten, DRA, ELA Curriculum Tests, Math Topic Tests, Math Mid Module Tests, Math End of Module Tests, Math Exit Tickets, ELA SBA Practice Tests, Math SBA Practice Tests, ELA Practice Performance Tasks, Math Practice Performance Tasks, Amplify Interim Assessments, Amplify Quick Checks, (next year add Amplify Benchmark Assessments), and the SBA Snake itself. For 5th graders add the MSP Science Test and the state Social Studies Test.
Next year, schools will have to implement State Superintendent Dorn’s technology standards in Washington State starting at kindergarten. All tested of course. It seems all the school’s computers will be used for… is testing. I’m interested in how we are supposed to teach keyboarding and technology standards, let alone use the computers for quality instruction and research, when they are consistently unavailable because they’re ransacked by curricular, district, and state tests?
When does this end?
Listen to Peg.
It is time to drown the serpent and OPT OUT.
We need more parents and educators to speak up and speak out.
Our children need us to expose the Viper.
My blood is boiling… is yours?
RAZ ON FIRE