Monthly Archives: May 2015

A High School Junior Beheads a Snake… EOC Biology Test

Sometimes stories start bad… and end well.

The mean ole’ step sisters wouldn’t let Cinderella go to the ball… yet in the end, the glass slipper fits, and she lived happily ever after with the prince.  Or…

The kingdom is saved when the knight slays the dragon.

The mystery is solved.

The bad guy is caught.

The treasure is found.

In this story… A Snake is Beheaded.

And for me that is definitely a very good ending.

I’ve been writing stories regarding the SBA Snake and its impact on our children.  I pretty much classify snakes in the “do not like, close to hate” category.   The image of the slithering, tongue flicking reptiles are the nearest metaphorical picture I could conjure up when I thought about the SBA. A scaly, toxic, harmful, serpent … injecting poison into our schools.

Then Story Seven came my way, and I realized a den full of snakes lurk.

Especially for our high school students.

The End Of Course (EOC) Biology Test… one of the vipers.

The Quick Short Story

A frustrated mom sends out a cry for help for her son. The words are written and shared.  A science teacher in Western Washington provides guidance, and an amazing retired teacher reads the story.  Within one week, the mom, courageous son, and darling kindergarten daughter find themselves on a road trip to Seattle from Spokane. The amazing retired teacher opens her home, hosts the family for their stay, and they are invited to a retired teacher’s dinner.  The courageous son is asked to speak.

And…

None other than Randy Dorn, Superintendent of OSPI, would also be in attendance at the retirement dinner.

The evening of May 26, 2015 begins and the climax of the story arrives.

The courageous junior is introduced, hands Superintendent Dorn a letter, and takes the mike.

In two minutes he Beheads the EOC Biology Test:

Tomie 3

And his letter completely slays the beast:

Dear Superintendent Dorn,

My name is Tomie Leeds; I am currently a junior attending John R. Rogers High School. I am writing to you today about my experience with the problems that the EOC testing has created for many others and me. I have felt extreme tension due to the qualifications that have been put on my graduation and future progress.

Speaking for many other students and myself, I think its safe to say, that we are angry, irritated, and being considered “Not College Ready”, because we are not able to pass one or more of the EOC tests required for graduation.

I have currently taken the EOC Biology test twice and have gotten the scores of “385” and “390”. Although these are high numbers, they don’t meet the requirements of a “passing” score of “400” – which is required for being able to graduate with a High School Diploma! In the event of failing once, or multiple times, it is a stressful and seemingly impossible road when trying to study for any of the EOC tests or retests. Our teachers are required to “prepare” their students to be ready for the test, but they aren’t privy to what will be in the test, are not allowed to review the tests, or to grade them. How then, can a teacher truly be able to “prepare” others, or myself to be ready for testing!?!

I’d like to address my own testing failures. I have taken the Biology EOC 2 times, and failed, as previously mentioned. I will take it again on Thursday when I return home to Spokane. However, I have no idea what I got right and what I got wrong the last two times, so I am unsure how to prepare this time or on future preparations and test taking, in the event that I fail again.

Mr. Dorn, I am not a stranger to working hard and pressing through. Until 3 ½ years ago I was being raised in an abusive, neglectful, and unsanitary environment (to be gentle). I had not attended most of the 7th grade, but “No Child Left Behind” sent me through to the 8th grade. I dropped out of the 8th grade just weeks after it began and locked myself in a “safe place” in my room and disappeared into a role-playing video game for hours and days on end. In February of 2012 I relocated to Washington State where I moved in with my Uncle Michael and his wife Jenn. I attended only 6 weeks of the 8th grade, and because I had a 3.5 GPA, again, they pushed me through to attend High School. I completed my freshman year with a 3.975 GPA. At that point it was decided that I ”must be bored out of his head” and I was then placed and have been placed in honors and AP classes ever since. This has not been easy for me but I have done well. I am not a 4.0 perfect scoring student. I don’t believe I am just average either. I have performed to the best of my abilities, with a lot of push from Jenn. But recently, having learned that my opportunity to graduate was on the line because of EOC testing, not even Jenn’s pushing was helping.

To be honest, sir, I had given up. It felt like it didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do because no amount of success and achievement on my part would compensate for failing the EOC in any of the 3 areas. I am an individual with abilities that do not match anyone else. My testing in class should be sufficient and if I pass, I pass. My success, or passing grade is not the result of my teacher’s abilities or lack thereof. My success and my failure have everything to do with what I put into my education. I am fortunate to not have learning disabilities, to not have been born under the influence of drugs or alcohol or to live homeless, though my situation was close. But, there are many that have been. These testing and forms of Education “reform” makes it impossible for those to meet the standards of “passing” scores unless the education system is brought to their level. Education is and should continue to be a limitless universe of possibilities. It should be designed or returned to the education that encourages fun in learning, flexibility to teach and discover at an individual level while meeting the class as a whole in the middle somewhere. Education cannot be confined to a tiny, limited space. Put a goldfish in a bowl and he will grow only to his spatial limits, but give him a tank or fresh water pond and his size is limitless. Each child from my little sister in kindergarten to myself and beyond has all been given different talents, levels of ability both physically and academically. We cannot sit and think that each child born is simply a number to be passed through a system of data and data regurgitation. We need each child to be seen as what they are, an individual with limitless possibilities that will vary from one to another with the opportunity to succeed as such!

It is my hope that my family’s visit today will help to make this process begin in a direction that reform becomes restore. I would appreciate a written response from you to my inquiries and concerns. Thank you for your time and I’ll be looking forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Tomie E.T. Leeds
Junior at John R. Rogers High School

The End

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

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Amplify… A Modern Day Medusa

Prologue

Medusa was originally a ravishingly beautiful maiden, “the jealous aspiration of many suitors,” but because Poseidon had raped her in Athena‘s temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa’s beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone.

The Chronological History of inBloom, SLC, News Corp, Wireless Generation, and Amplify:

I will begin this document by challenging anyone reading this, to ask themselves if this testing and data tracking is an ethical practice. Is it okay for our children to be used for profit? Is the sacrifice of funds to these testing companies the best use of limited dollars? Do elementary children need to be sitting at computers to be constantly tested? Does this ultimately improve student learning?

Note: My comments are in bright red.  Please feel free to scroll. This is a lengthy document.  All underlined titles are a direct link to the report or article if you desire to dig deeper…

October 12, 2012

Wireless Generation Proposal

Well, well, well.

It isn’t surprising Wireless Generation has been a bedfellow with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium from the onset.   The magical wand was merely waved at some point to rebrand Wireless Generation as Amplify.   In previous posts, I made clear, if it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, it is a duck.

It is a little fascinating to watch these corporations change their names as they push their agendas into our schools to make big money off of our children.

Why would a company change their name?

Have you thought about this?

What’s the purpose of a Shape Shifter?

Let’s look closely at the very first statement in this proposal:

“This proposal contains certain confidential and/or proprietary information of Wireless Generation that is exempt from public disclosure.  Such information should not be used for any other purpose than the evaluation of this proposal, nor should it be disclosed to any third party, except to the extent required by applicable law.”

Consider it Revealed.

The Proposal Between Wireless Generation and SBAC

October 27, 2012

Shameless Shape Shifters

By Gary Stager

“Imagine my surprise when the “documentary” appeared on the front page of the Amplify.com website. Amplify Education is the new kinder gentler branding of the Murdoch-owned drill and test run empire by Joel Klein, a guy known for stamping out classroom creativity. The rebranding was necessary due to the growing unpopularity of the test-prep industry, Murdoch’s infamy and a $27 million dollar no-bid contract rejected by the NY State Comptroller.”

And…

“Had the “filmmakers” included any of Sylvia’s CMK presentation, their audience would hear the tragic story of how the narrowing curriculum, endless test-prep and data obsession resulting from the sorts of products sold by Amplify Education have wrecked her school and how she is now left to do most of her learning at home.”

And…

“Corporations, like Amplify Education, will stop at nothing to extract large sums of money from public education. Taxpayers need to click past the photos of cute kids and teachers building with LEGOs to follow the money.”

December 27, 2012

Joel Klein: Shameless

By Jersey Jazzman

Parent advocate Leonie Haimson called him “an educational Bernie Madoff” at the end of tenure in NYC. His greatest scheme was convincing New York’s voters that he had worked miracles while leading the schools in NYC; it’s clear he did not. Klein was happy to keep pointing at rising state test scores as proof of his success, but those scores turned out to be an illusion. On national test scores, Klein’s NYC did no better – and, to be fair, really no worse –than other major US cities.

That, of course, never stopped Klein from tooting his own horn. He’s now taken this unbridled enthusiasm for his own apparent genius into the private sector: this week, he made a big pitch to investors to get in on the ground floor of his new company by both touting his own successes and vilifying the rest of the education system.”

And…

Folks, what you are about to see is worthy of a master grifter plying his craft on easy marks. Ready?

To drive the failure and high cost of America’s schools home, the Amplify investor presentation includes the following chart.”

Inbloom 2

“OMG!!! This is outrageous! Look at all that money we’re spending! And look at those flat test scores! American education is a disaster! Get out your checkbooks, American investors! We need Joel Klein’s tablets, and we need them NOW!

Except…

Except Joel Klein just told us how great he did in New York City – and he wasn’t using a bunch of digital junk when he was the chancellor. Hmm…

Not only that; the graph above uses two separate, completely unrelated y-axes on either side. That doesn’t seem right, does it? I mean, is it really fair to say a gain on the NAEP from 250 to 500 is equivalent to a spending gain from $3,000 to $11,500? Maybe there’s another way to look at this…

Which is just what I did. Using the same sources as Klein’s presentation, here is the same data* presented in a different graph:

inbloom 3

“Wow, look at this! Math gains have shot up while spending has remained basically flat! And even reading gains have outpaced spending gains! Our schools are doing great with just a small increase in costs! Maybe we don’t need Joel’s tablets after all…

Obviously, all I did was change the scales of the y-axes.

And the beauty of this is that my graph is no more deceptive than Klein’s. Or maybe it’s better to say it’s no less deceptive: both graphs make the mistake of assuming gains in spending can be accurately compared to gains in tests scores. They can’t – and anyone who tries to conflate spending with test score gains is selling you snake oil.”

February 5, 2013

With $100 million From the Gates Foundation and Others, inBloom Wants to Transform Education By Unleashing Its Data

By Rip Empson

“What’s more, in his annual letter to supporters of The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation and in subsequent interviews last week, Bill Gates discussed the the importance of giving schools better ways to collect, gather and analyze data and the enormous impact that big data can have in “saving” a troubled public school system in the U.S.”

And…

“To wit: When News Corp. purchased edtech startup Wireless Generation for $360 million in late 2010, Rupert Murdoch said of technology’s potential to transform learning: “When it comes to K-12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching.”

I find it incredible data can have such power to “save” our schools.

 In order to get the “data” our children must test.

They must answer questions only about that which is measurable.

Let the testing monster “Bloom” before your very eyes.

inbloom 7

It’s also comforting to know how Mr. Murdoch sees our children.

$500 Billion in profit.

And… data and tests and tablets extend the reach of great teaching.

Choke.

 March 13, 2013

InBloom 3 months new in NY, and parents have raised concerns.

“Other states that have already signed on to release student data to inBloom are Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Louisiana.”

March 18, 2013

Amplify Insight Creating a Digital Library of Assessment Tools For Smarter Balance

(Since we are the governing state of SBAC, Washington managed the bidding process of Amplify Insight)

“Amplify Insight will develop the technology behind the digital library and create professional learning resources, develop instructional modules, and oversee educator engagement. That work includes forming “state leadership teams,” which will attempt to recruit an average of a hundred educators from each of 21 governing states. These educator teams will provide feedback on the development of formative assessment resources and professional learning tools created by the Consortium and provide additional resources for classroom use.”

And…

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has given a $12.5 million contract to Amplify Insight (formerly known as Wireless Generation) to develop a digital library of formative assessment practices and professional learning resources for teachers.

April 4, 2013

More Details on InBloom’s Plans for Student Data

“InBloom, which had its formal launch at SXSWedu, boasts 9 states(Delaware, Massachusetts, Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky) that will pilot the program. Many companies are on board too, with plans to use and integrate inBloom data. These include Amazon, Clever, Compass Learning, Dell, eScholar, Goalbook, Kickboard, LearnSprout, Promethean, Scholastic, and Schoology (for the complete list of inBloom partners, see here)”

April 29, 2013

Exposed: How Murdoch, Bill Gates, and Big Corporations Are Data Mining Our Schools

By Peter Rugh

“Starting next year, those scores, along with students’ personal information – race, economic background, report cards, discipline records and personal addresses – will be stored in a database designed by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

That’s right, Rupert Murdoch can read your child’s report card anytime he likes and he knows where your kid is sleeping. The database will be managed by inBloom inc, a non-profit outfit that, like Wireless Generation, is under the domain of billionaire Bill Gates – who, together with the Carnegie Corporation and other philanthropic organizations, set up the company via his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

inBloom is receiving $50 million for their services from the New York Education Department through a contract awarded last fall. Data analyzing firms, educational software designers and other third-party venders, both for and not-for-profit, will be granted access to student information.”

And…

“According to inBloom’s privacy policy, the company is not responsible for security breaches; though it will “use reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure student records are kept private,” inBloom “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored in inBloom or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”

The parents of Washington State have the right to know all of this.

The history reveals the truth.

Why did Spokane and Seattle School Districts dive into this?

Ethical?

A good use of tax payer dollars?

 April 30, 2013

Parents Outraged Over NYC Schools Data Sharing Program

By Mary Frost

“The outrage level only got higher after families learned that the city had already handed their children’s personal information over to inBloom Inc., a Gates-funded corporation, which plans to share students’ information with for-profit vendors to help them market “learning products.”

May 19, 2013

NYC Public School Parents: My twitter interchange with Murdoch about Amplify’s losses, and a NYC parent responds to Amplify’s sales pitch

By Leonie Haimson

“Actually, according to a presentation Joel Klein gave in December about NewsCorp’s bid to capture a larger share of what he described as the $673 billion US education market, through online learning, Amplify’s tablets and the new Common Core standards, Klein predicted a loss of $180 million in FY 2013, which he called “disciplined investment.”

And…  the parent letter…

“As a parent, educator and human, I am horrified by your product, the “charming” back story for it and the underlying premise of the story.  You are endorsing the view that everything that doesn’t involve a screen is boring.  Human interaction, and direct interaction with three dimensional physical objects for science, math, sports etc. is obviously just not stimulating enough for our kids.  I “power-down” at work- when I’m teaching and interacting with students and colleagues!  We have no evidence that screen based learning is good for kids, but we have plenty of evidence that too much screen-time has negative results on kids’ development and harms adults as well.  Kids are already in front of screens too much; so we now think it’s a good idea to have kids “plugged in” during school too?  God help us.”

July 20, 2013

Colorado Education Association Promotes inBloom – Without the Facts

By Peggy Robertson

“She fails to mention that inBloom can share student data with for-profit vendors to allow them an opportunity to tailor their educational products to students’ needs. She fails to mention that “personalized learning” too often means hooking children up to computers with software programs – which is really depersonalized learning.

And…

She fails to mention that federal privacy laws were weakened to allow for-profit companies access to student data without parental consent, and that Jefferson County schools are not allowing parents to opt out of inBloom. This despite the fact that inBloom has said they will not be responsible if the information leaks out either in storage or transmission.

And…

She fails to mention that inBloom is collecting 400 data points on each child – including the most sensitive information: names, addresses, test scores, grades, economic and racial status, as well as detailed special education, immigration and disciplinary records. These data points could create a detailed profile and follow your child throughout his/her educational career; this could indeed narrow your child’s opportunities within school and after graduation.”

400 Data Points?

Choke.

August 29, 2013

Inside New Corp’s $540 Million Bet on American Classrooms

By Travis Andrews

These kids aren’t technically campers, and these Millennials aren’t counselors. Instead, the children are product testers (paid weekly in $100 Amazon gift cards) for News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch-founded media conglomerate that began Fox News. The “counselors” are News Corp. employees, tasked with recording these children’s every reaction to the educational games into which News Corp. has poured at least $180 million, according to Bloomberg, on top of the $360 million it spent to acquire the technology.”

$100 gift cards.

Hmmmm….

What is Amazon’s connection?

Oh… that’s right.

Amazon is the company holding the student data in the cloud.

 October 8, 2013

inBloom, Educational Technology and the Murdoch-Klein Connection: A Son-of-Frankenstein B-Movie Sequel?

By Andrea Gabor

“For New Yorkers, inBloom may seem like something of a son-of-Frankenstein B-movie sequel (non-New Yorkers will want to know why…) inBloom traces its roots to a technological lemon. Several years ago, IBM and Wireless Generation developed ARIS (Achievement Reporting and Innovation System), a portal for the New York City Department of Education, which was widely seen as a failure.”

And…

“In 2011, The Daily News disclosed that Wireless Generation was poised to win a no-bid $27 million contract to build an ARIS-like portal for New York State as part of the requirements for the state’s Race-to-the-Top bid. Joel Klein had just left his post as schools chancellor to become CEO of Wireless Generation. (The company noted that it had been in talks with the state long before Klein officially departed the NYCDOE for News Corp. in November of 2010.)”

And…

“But by then, the Gates Foundation had already announced plans to help fund and develop the data-collection platform that would become inBloom and that would have a Wireless Generation-developed operating system. At the time, Sharren Bates, the official who had “launch(ed)” and “led” NYCDOE’s ARIS, was working as a Senior Program Officer at the Gates Foundation. Earlier this year Bates became the chief product officer for inBloom.”

Have you caught on yet?

Is your head spinning?

Such an incestuous quagmire.

And just for the record:  Joel Klein was the ex-chancellor of New York.

Now CEO of Amplify.

Choke.

December 21, 2013

Leonie Haimson: The Woman Who Stopped Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and the Ed Profiteers

By Diane Ravitch with Leonie Haimson’s letter embedded

Leonie almost singlehandedly stopped the effort to mine student data, whose sponsors wanted confidential and identifiable information about every child “for the children’s sake.” Leonie saw through that ruse and raised a national ruckus to fight for student privacy. Privacy of student records is supposedly protected by federal law (FERPA), but Arne Duncan weakened the regulations so that parents could not opt out of the data mining.

It is not over. The Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation put up $100 million to start inBloom, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation got the contract to develop the software, and amazon.com plans to put it on a “cloud.” They will be back. We count on Haimson and the many parents she has inspired to remain vigilant on behalf of our children. As a grandparent of a child in second grade in a Brooklyn public school, I have a personal interest in keeping his information private.”

I have a personal interest too.  My son is in 2nd grade in Spokane Public Schools.

January 8, 2014

inBloom and Data Mining: A Common Core Cousin

By Mercedes Schneider

This one left me speechless.  The Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) became inBloom on February 5, 2013.  The research Mercedes puts into her writing speaks for itself.  Settle in.  This one will show all the players and connections. The “bucket” becomes its own nonprofit.

April 2, 2014

InBloom and the need to Protect Student Privacy

“Prior to the state’s severance with inBloom, more than 40 Superintendents across the state of New York gave back Race to the Top funds so that they did not have to sign up for the data dashboards — though the state insisted that their student data would have been shared with inBloom anyway.  Many, including Superintendents David Gamberg of Southhold and Mary-Fox Alter of Pleasantville, wrote letters to inBloom, demanding that their data be deleted,  which the company refused to do. In a recent survey, 75 % of elected school board members said they opposed the sharing of data with inBloom, and 78% say parents should be allowed to opt out.”

And…

Created and funded by the Gates and Carnegie Foundations with $100 million, inBloom Inc. was designed to collect a maximum amount of confidential and personally identifiable student and teacher data from school districts and states throughout the country. This information — including student names, addresses, grades, test scores, economic, race, special education status, disciplinary status and more — was to be stored on a data cloud run by Amazon.com, with an operating system by Wireless/Amplify, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. InBloom Inc. planned to share this highly sensitive information with software companies and other for-profit vendors.”

And…

“When it launched, InBloom Inc.  announced that nine states were “partners” in its data-sharing plan. However, after protests from parents and privacy advocates, three of these states have pulled out completely (LA, CO, NC), put their their data-sharing plans on indefinite hold (MA for its one “pilot” district, Everett), make data-sharing completely voluntary on the part of districts (IL) or  now say they never planned to share personal student data in the first place (KY, DE, GA).  New York was the last inBloom participant to share data statewide, involving the personal information of 2.7 million students, and intended to do this without any parental notification or consent.

Because of the egregious over-reaching of the Gates Foundation and inBloom, parents throughout the country have now been awakened to the myriad threats to student privacy as a result of the weakening of FERPA, the federal legislation to protect student privacy,  the wide variety of data-sharing practices that districts and states are engaged in, the P12  state longitudinal data systems required by federal law, and the huge push for data-collecting, data-sharing and data-mining, all in the  name of “personalized learning.”

This is outrageous.  How could this information be out in the open, and school districts like Spokane and Seattle think it will be any different?  Why would they contract with this company?  Is it possible the history of Amplify was unknown?

April 14, 2014

Amplify Tries To Build An Identity Outside of News Corps Shadow

“Put another way, Klein views Amplify partly as a traditional education company like Pearson and McGraw-Hill and partly like technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Google, who have been trying lately to break into the $1 trillion education market.

‘Unlike the great tech companies, we have a very heavy strand of educational DNA, and unlike the older ed companies, we have a strong focus on tech,’ Klein said.”

This makes me chuckle.

Now, why would Joel Klein want a new identity for Amplify?

Um.

inBloom’s failure?

Or

The owner of Amplify is still Rupert Murdoch?

Shhhhhhhhh…

No one is supposed to know.

 April 21, 2014

InBloom to Shut Down Amid Growing Data-Privacy Concerns

“The backlash prompted a string of withdrawals by planned partners in Colorado, Louisiana, and elsewhere.” 

April 24, 2014

What the Failure of inBloom means for the Student-Data Industry

Protests and lawsuits from parents in IllinoisLouisianaColorado, and other states caused many districts to pull back from the partnership.”

May 1, 2014

Privacy Fears Over Student Data Tracking Lead to inBloom’s Shutdown

“For many parents, the software got a little too personal. Although there weren’t any documented cases of InBloom misusing the information, parents and privacy advocates around the country argued that digital records on kids as young as 5 could easily be sold to marketers or stolen by hackers. Six of InBloom’s nine client states had pulled out over privacy concerns by the time the company said it was closing shop. “The risk far outweighs any benefits,” Karen Sprowal, a mother of a fifth grader, testified before a New York State Senate committee in November. “Just know that there’s a lot of parents like me that’s out there that say, ‘Hell, no.’ ”

April 7, 2015

News Corp.s $1 Billion Plan to Overhaul Education is Riddled with Failures

Tablet computers and online curriculum were supposed to revolutionize schools. That hasn’t happened.

“Amplify’s experience shows how even the most deep-pocketed new players find it challenging to change the way children are taught. Billionaires such as Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and real estate and insurance investor Eli Broad have expressed frustration their philanthropy hasn’t done more to improve student achievement. Murdoch is discovering his own challenges as he seeks to make a profit from overhauling education — as have other education entrepreneurs before him.”

I also find it very interesting, within this article, how it states most schools are not set up for the broad width necessary or have the internet speed.   Could this be the reason Spokane School District made the following bid with MicroK12 on March 25th?  (Found in School Board Minutes)  $4,000,000?

Micro12 Purchase

Also noteworthy, are the minutes from April 15th.  Spokane School District will pay Amplify the following amount.

Purchase of Amplify

Furthermore, as per the curriculum contact notes, Spokane School District has also contracted with Amplify to write Benchmark Assessments.  It was noted within the curriculum contact document how teachers no longer would need to use the assessments embedded within the curriculum materials adopted, rather they would be able to use the assessments written by Amplify.  I find this fascinating.  Pay for curricular materials that come with embedded assessments, and pay another company to write MORE assessments.  Why would it be necessary to have Amplify write these Benchmark Assessments? And how much more money will the school district pay for this service?

Hmmmm….

Easier Data Tracking?

And…

How much money will Joel Klein and Mr. Murdoch be making?

I’m not smiling, are you?

April 7, 2015

Bloomberg’s News: Murdoch’s Amplify Floundering

By Diane Ravitch

“By the end of June, Murdoch’s News Corp. will have invested more than $1 billion in Amplify, its division that makes the tablets, sells an online curriculum and offers testing services. Amplify, which never set a timetable for turning a profit, has yet to do so. It reported a $193 million loss last year, and its annual revenue represented only about 1 percent of News Corp.’s sales of $8.6 billion.”

Have you thought about asking the question: “Whose $193 million did they lose?”

I have.

It’s where tax payer dollars have gone in states across our nation.  The trusting parent’s money used, who believe the school system is making the best choices for their children.  Legislators voting for the best interest of children is assumed.  The powers that be can’t figure out how to find the money to lower class size or honor teachers with a state voter approved COLA, yet can find millions of dollars to pay testing companies.

News Corp.’s sales are $8.6 billion.

Choke.

April 27, 2015

California Parent Thanks Leonie Haimson

By Diane Ravitch

“Today it was confirmed that 200 students out of a class of 464 Opted Out at Palos Verdes High School’s 11th grade class. Only approximately 40% are taking the SBAC.

Palos Verdes High School has a 98% rate of students going on to college. We are already ‘College Ready’.

If Smarter Balanced thinks that CA parents have already been dumbed-down, think again.

Parents and community are waking up to the Smarter Balanced profiteering scenario and they don’t like what they are finding out.”

Remember, SBAC paid Amplify $12,500,000 to write practice test items.

SBAC and Amplify very close cousins.

The Parent Continues:

“Parents here questioned “Where is the Smarter Balanced Privacy Policy?” only to find out from Leonie that there is none. Absolutely no Privacy Policy to be found. How reassuring.

Parents are questioning why Smarter Balanced has ‘locked out’ the public, school boards, administrators, parents and community from any information regarding the Smarter Balanced Executive Committee, its’ elections, decisions, agendas, minutes, etc.

There is no way to access the SB website for any of this type of information since September 1, 2014.

Yet Smarter Balanced is dictating policy decisions, lessons and testing to 17 states who have paid them with public funds.

Any decisions made by Smarter Balanced are done in secret, while Smarter Balanced functions on public funds.”

Amplifies Privacy Policy is included in a link below.

Children’s Data is not safe.

And it IS being used to make profits.

The Federal Government, State Governments, Departments of Education, School Districts, and School Boards ARE voting to give billions of dollars to these private testing corporations. They are using public funds, tax payer dollars, to pad the pockets of these conglomerates.

Where could this money be going?!

Our children and teachers and schools are being used.

Period.

 May 9, 2015

Just When You Thought You Had Enough, The Seattle Public School District Bought Another Standardized Test, Amplify

By Dora Taylor

“Just when you thought you had enough, the district is spending more money on more standardized tests. The Seattle Public School district wants to buy Amplify’s mClass Beacon to implement it district-wide in 2016. It is to be administered at the end of the school year but because of the testing that is already set into place, there is no time for students to take it in May or June so it will be given in February.

The cost of the pilot program implemented in 50 schools in 2014 came just under $250k. That is under the $250,000 threshold required for approval by the Seattle school board. Coincidence? I think not. This was the same tactic used when folks at the Stanford Center decided we needed more of the MAP test. The school board and public were not given the opportunity to discuss, debate or vote on either battery of tests.

Now the district wants to implement Amplify across the district at an estimated cost of $433,160.

And…

From Amplify’s website (How safe is our children’s data?):

“Please note that when you use certain (Amplify) products, services, applications or other websites, our use of your information may be governed by a separate legal agreement or a privacy policy specifically posted in connection with those offerings. If you have any question as to what legal agreement or privacy policy controls the collection and use of your information, please contact us using the contact information below….

To improve our products and services. We may use your personal information for our business purposes, such as data analysis, audits, developing new products and services, enhancing the Site, improving our services, identifying usage trends, and determining the effectiveness of our promotional campaigns.

To share with our affiliated education companies. Amplify may share your information with Amplify’s affiliated education companies for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy.

To allow service providers to assist us. We may engage third party service providers, agents and partners (“Third Party Agents”) to perform functions on our behalf, such as marketing, analytics, credit card processing, shipping or stocking orders and providing customer service. We may disclose your personal information to such Third Party Agents to enable them to assist us in these efforts.

To protect the rights of Amplify and our users. There may be instances when Amplify may disclose your information, in situations where Amplify has a good faith belief that such disclosure is necessary or appropriate in order to: (i) protect, enforce, or defend the legal rights, privacy, safety, operations, or property of Amplify, our parents, subsidiaries or affiliates or our or their employees, agents and contractors (including enforcement of our agreements, including our terms of use); (ii) protect the rights, safety, privacy, security or property of users of the Site or others; (iii) protect against fraud or for risk management purposes; (iv) comply with the law or legal process, including laws outside your country of residence; (v) respond to requests from public and government authorities, including those outside your country of residence; or (vi) allow us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain.

To complete a merger or sale of assets. If Amplify sells all or part of its business or makes a sale or transfer of its assets or is otherwise involved in a merger, transfer or other disposition of all or part of its business, assets or stock (including in connection with any bankruptcy or similar proceedings), Amplify may transfer your information to the party or parties involved in the transaction.

*****

5. Security Amplify uses commercially reasonable administrative, technical, personnel and physical measures to safeguard information in its possession against loss, theft and unauthorized use, disclosure or modification.

6. User control If you would like to review, correct, update, suppress or otherwise limit our use of your personal information you have previously provided directly to us, you may contact us using the contact information provided below. In your request, please make clear what information you would like to have changed, whether you would like to have your personal information suppressed from our database, or if you have other questions about your personal information. We will try to comply with your request as soon as reasonably practicable.

7. Data retention We will retain your personal information for the period necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this Privacy Policy unless a longer retention period is required or allowed by law.

Even after we have deleted your information from our systems, copies of some information from your account may remain viewable in some circumstances – where, for example, you have shared information with social media platforms and other unaffiliated services. We may also retain backup information related to your account on our servers for some time after cancelation for fraud detection or to comply with applicable law or our internal security policies. Because of the nature of caching technology, your account may not be instantly inaccessible to others, and there may be a delay in the removal of the content from elsewhere on the Internet and from search engines.

8. Sensitive information We ask that you not send us, and you not disclose, any sensitive personal information (e.g., social security numbers, information related to racial or ethnic origin, health, or criminal background) on or through the Site or otherwise.

9. Your California Privacy Rights If you are a resident of California, you may request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to our affiliated education companies for their direct marketing purposes. To make such a request, please write to us at: Amplify – California Privacy Rights 55 Washington St., Ste. 900 Brooklyn, NY 11201 Attn: General Counsel

10. Contact us If you have questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us at: Email: privacy@amplify.com Mail: Amplify, 55 Washington St., Ste 900, Brooklyn, NY, 11201 Attn: General Counsel”

Are you okay with this?

I’m not okay with this.

No way. No how.

Holy Cow!

May 9, 2015

Ten Things You Need to Know About Amplify

By Carolyn Leith

The above article speaks for itself.

And… just what is an SBAC “blueprinting tool”?

Epilogue

I was hired as a Data Coach in Spokane Public Schools, and I have yet to be asked my opinion on the Amplify mClass Beacon Assessment Management and Reporting System.  As of now, I am the Amplify Coordinator in my elementary school.  I became concerned when I previewed the learning maps each child is assigned through Amplify.  My first thought was, “Oh my god, this looks like a map of a brain.”  Tiny little hexagons change green as students regurgitate correctly or turn red if they miss an item.  I instantly thought of my own 8 year old child being data mined and tracked like this. Especially after learning how Amplify is given permission to share student data.

As a parent, I am not okay with this.  This obsession with testing is creating a stressful learning environment for our children.  I become more apalled everyday by what I see education becoming.

Do we really want our children to become like the chinese?

Chinese students are world-class test takers. It costs them all of their time.

All. Of. Their. Time… so much so that investing in amino acid IV drips is considered money well spent at Hubei province’s largest high school. The school pays 90 percent of the cost of the IV, and the student, 10 percent. (In 2012, the cost of one amino acid IV drip was 100 Yuan, or approximately $16.)

So, yes, when it comes to test taking, China and South Korea will beat the US every time.

IV or no IV, testing is what they do, but when there is no test for which to cram, outcomes are quite different. Consider the number of Nobel Prize winners by country. This list is from 2013, but it surely proves a point:

Mastering tests does not transfer to winning Nobel Prizes.

The USA leads the world in the number of Nobel laureates: 344 as of 2013.

No other country even comes close to that number.”  Mercedes Schneider, Chinese High School Pays for IV Drips for Studying Students

I’m receiving stories of the pressures high schoolers are being given right here in Spokane…

Interesting to consider the suicide rate in China in its youth… and consider what is happening in Spokane… Hmmmm…

I’m concerned about the mindset we are instilling in our children starting in Kindergarten.  Plans for next year include putting Kindergarteners on the computer to test through Amplify. 

inbloom 11Is the goal for our children to teach them, starting at 5, what matters the most, is passing tests?

What of play, imagination, innovation, curiosity, creativity?

Funny how these are all the things a test will never capture, and they are the root of what has made our nation great.

There is one difference between Medusa and Amplify.   Amplify was never beautiful to begin with.   It is being sold to school districts for huge sums, made to look like a shiny silver bullet, where in reality…

Amplify is a head of snakes.

And it will turn our children, teachers and schools to stone.

 

Passionately Submitted,

 RAZ ON FIRE

Testing is Becoming A Den of Snakes

I received the following story from a mom of a junior attending a high school in Spokane School District.  It crossed my computer screen late last night.  My sleep was restless.  Each time I woke up, this story entered my heart and made my blood boil.

Tossing and turning.

What can little ole’ me do?

For those of you who are close to me, one thing you know is I am a snake phobic.  I have been since I was a very small child.  Kind of silly.  Yet, here I find myself writing a SBAC Snake Series.  Just seeing pictures of snakes makes my skin crawl.  I envision the Indiana Jones scene in which the snakes are slithering over and under each other in the temple.  I couldn’t watch.

Another story came out of California, of a family who built their home over a snake den.  Unaware.  I again envision the hoard of snakes wiggling over and under each other and crawling up through the vents.  The occupants would kill one snake only to face another and another and another.  A snake exterminator didn’t work. Eventually the family vacated their brand new home after trying every avenue to eliminate the snakes.

Deep Breath. Den of Snakes 2

Mercy.

The following story made me feel like this family.

I’ve got my machete out and I’m trying to chop off the heads of all the Testing Snakes.

The SBA is like a huge King Cobra.

And there are many other snakes among us.

Story Seven

“I’m having an impossible time with my son’s High School (Spokane WA) My son is in the national honor society, an ACE Scholar, 3.8 GPA, honors and AP classes, has 18 of the 22 required credits for graduation (he’s only a junior) and he’s being told he won’t graduate next year because he hasn’t passed the Common Core standardized test (EOC) for biology (missed by 10 points). He got a C when he took AP biology. I’m so angry. What can I do?! Who do I talk or go to? I’ve been to the counselor, the vice principal, and now here. I need help. I’m going to explode with rage soon. Can anyone help me help my amazing son get this EOC test off his back?!?”

From a Mom with a conscience (emphasis mine)

Concluding Thoughts

What are we doing to our children? What messages are we sending? Can anyone honestly say this young man isn’t “college and career ready”?

Seriously.

He has four years of high school. Taken AP classes. Shown the new buzz word… “grit” and he won’t graduate because of one biology test? And he passed his AP Biology Class.

UNETHICAL.

What is this kind of stress doing to this young man? Is this test crazed data addicted system making him feel like a failure?

This is complete BS. Yep, my blood is boiling.

I wonder if they will make him take a “remedial” biology course his senior year from curricular materials written by Pearson? This wave of over testing is all about the “dang” money.

While the Chinese pay for IV Drips to keep their children awake to test prep, and the United States tries to “be more like them”, our children are pushed to have more “Grit”.

Yep.

We are fighting a den of snakes.

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

This Story has A Happy Ending…

Read: A High School Junior Beheads a Snake

References:

1)  Why Teaching Kids To Have Grit Isn’t Always a Good Thing

2)  Chinese High School Pays For IV Drips For Studying Students

A List of Friendly Opt Out Schools in Washington State

It is time to compile a list of schools who are honoring the parent’s right to opt their child out of the high stakes tests. The following schools listed are those schools who have treated the parent and the child with dignity.  There are zero problems opting out.

Definition of Friendly Opt Out Schools:Firendly 1

  • Honor the parents letter without pressuring or trying to convince them to reconsider
  • Do not make it necessary to “meet with the principal” first before the Opt Out request is honored.   This is NOT required by the law. The Opt Out letter and/or form is all that is necessary
  • Treat the child with dignity and finding an educational alternative for them during the testing in which the child is not made to feel shame
  • Are truthful about the testing and understand the child has shown how much they have learned in various ways
  • It could be the school allows the parent to keep their child home on the testing days without marking it unexcused. However, if the parent requests an alternative be found during school, it is. (Children can help classes in lower grades emphasizing leadership, they can assist the librarian in putting away books learning a new skill, they are allowed to read a book, work on assignments, etc.)

Schools exempt from this list do the following:Ali 11

  • Tell the students at school they will have to repeat the grade they are in if they do not take the test
  • Have parties after the testing, and exclude the children who opted out, making them feel shame (yes, this is happening to elementary age school children)
  • Offer extra credit to the students taking the test
  • Threaten suspension
  • Make the child sit and stare at the computer screen during testing. (Many do not allow the child to read a book. They literally must sit and stare for hours on end)
  • Lie to children and parents saying they can’t qualify for higher level courses if they don’t take the test
  • Lie to children and parents saying they can’t qualify to graduate unless they take the test
  • Bully, harass, instill guilt

Here is who has made the list so far with zero problems:  Friendly 2

Adams Elementary, Central Valley School District in Spokane Valley

Ballard High School, Seattle School District

Ballou Junior High, Puyallup School District

Beaverton Lake Middle School, Issaquah School District

Benton Schools, Kiona Benton School District

Broadview Thompson Elementary, Seattle School District

Central Valley High School, Central Valley School District in Spokane Valley

Challenger Elementary, Issaquah School District

Chewelah Elementary, Chewelah School District

Columbia Burbank Middle School, Columbia School District, Walla Walla County

Cougar Mountain Middle School, Bethel School District

Davis Elementary, College Place School District

Dieringer Heights Elementary, Dieringer School District

East Valley Central Middle School, East Valley School District #90, outside Yakima.

East Valley Middle School, East Valley School District in Spokane Valley

Elk Plain School of Choice, Bethel School District

Emma L. Carson Elementary, Puyallup School District

Enterprise Middle School, Richland School District

Finley Elementary, Finley School District

Finley Middle School, Finley School District

Freeman Middle School,  Freeman School District

Freeman High School, Freeman School District

Garfield High School, Seattle School District

Garry Middle School, Spokane School District

Glacier View Junior High, Puyallup School District

Hamblen Elementary, Spokane School District

Hazel Wolf K-8, Seattle School District

Indian Trail Elementary, Spokane School District

Ingraham High School, Seattle School District

Lake Spokane Elementary, Nine Mile Falls School District

Lake Tapps Elementary, Dieringer School District

Lakeside Middle School, Nine Mile Falls School District

Lakeside High School, Nine Mile Falls School District

Lawton Elementary, Seattle Public Schools

Lidgerwood Elementary, Spokane School District

Mountainside Middle School, Mead School District

Moxee Elementary, East Valley School District #90, outside Yakima

Nathan Hale High School, Seattle School District

North Tapps Middle School, Dieringer School District

Northwood Middle School, Mead School District

Nova High School, Seattle School District

Olympic View Elementary, Seattle School District

Progress Elementary, Central Valley School District in Spokane Valley

Richland High School, Richland School District

Riverside Elementary,  Riverside School District

Riverside High School, Auburn School District

Riverside Middle School,  Riverside School District

Riverview High School, Finley School District

Roosevelt High School, Seattle School District

Salmon Bay K – 8, Seattle Public Schools

Sehome High School, Bellingham School District

Sequim Middle School, Sequim School District

Shadle Park High School, Spokane School District

Shiloh Hills Elementary, Mead School District

Spokane Odyssey Program, Spokane School District

Spokane Public Montessori, Spokane School District

Stevens Elementary, Spokane School District

Trentwood Elementary, East Valley School District in the Spokane Valley

University Elementary, Central Valley School District in Spokane Valley

Washington Middle School, Olympia, WA

White Bluff Elementary, Richland School District

Willard Elementary, Spokane School District

 

There are many others… will add as received.

Email: razmathr118@yahoo.com

Passionately Submitted,

 RAZ ON FIRE

Header for Blog 5

A Courageous High School Senior Stands Up To The SBA Snake

As I contemplate upon this story, my mind travels to Rosa Parks. This courageous woman was willing to defy the law and make a stand. Who has this kind of courage? What kind of person does it take to stand against the norm or what is accepted as “law”? Who has the ability to make a ripple in history and curb its trajectory?Ali 4

“On December 1, 1955, African-American seamstress Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was returning home from her job at a local department store on the Cleveland Avenue bus. She was seated in the front row of the “colored section.” When the white seats filled, the driver, J. Fred Blake (1912-2002), asked Parks and three others to vacate their seats. The other African-American riders complied, but Parks refused. She was arrested and fined $10, plus $4 in court fees.”Montgomery Bus Boycott

There are two key phrases above worthy to highlight:

  • The other African-American riders complied
  • Parks refused

Doesn’t this exemplify the parallels of today?

There are those who are quietly complying with the “laws”, being good boys and girls, men and women.  Quietly taking marching orders, and doing exactly what they are asked to do.

Then there are those who refuse. (Despite the complacent souls all around them).

Boycott.

Opt Out.

Declare, “Enough is Enough!”

Ali 5Rosa Parks’ small act of refusing to give up her seat, spearheaded the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and is regarded as the first large scale demonstration against segregation in the U.S.  The boycott of public buses by blacks, in Montgomery, began on the day of Parks’ court hearing and lasted 381 days.

Wrapped within this story is a hidden little nugget.

Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, 15-year old Claudette Colvin (1939- ) was arrested for the same act.  The city’s black leaders were going to stage a protest, but it was found out Claudette was pregnant with a child.  Therefore, they deemed her an inappropriate symbol for the cause.

Such were the times.

However, this does not negate the fact a 15 year old had the moxie (courage) to refuse. A fifteen year old, young, black woman, stood against the “powers that be” and the “law”, in a time when African Americans were looked down upon and considered less than those in charge.

The following young woman sent me this story yesterday.  There is no doubt she possesses the same fearless spirit of Rosa and Claudette.  A young woman, with a bright future ahead, speaks out, speaks up, and takes a stand.

Complete Moxie.

Courageous.

Story Six

High School Senior Challenges The Reptilian Monster

Ali 11

Hi,  

I am a senior attending a high school in Bellingham, Washington.

I was in Algebra 2 this a.m. when my teacher started to excuse the juniors in my class to practice for the Smarter Balance Assessment. I stood up in the back of the room where my desk is and said, “You do NOT have to take the test, you can opt out.” 

My teacher, we will call her ‘Mrs. L’, said, “No, you kids need to go, and if you don’t take it, you will be suspended.” 

I then said “No, that is wrong, it is not required what so ever.”

She then excused the kids and told me to go on up to the office. I said “Fine, but I know I am right.”

I go up to the office and the principal, ‘Mr. K’ asked me, “What’s up? Why did you get sent up here?”

I said, “I just told the kids that they can opt out from the SBA and ‘Mrs. L’ told me to come up here.”

He said “Okay, I’ll be right back.”

I was not put in any of the offices in the main office. He just told me to sit in a chair next to the main office secretary. My counselor never came in. ‘Mr. K’ never left the office. He came back about 10-15 minutes later, looked at me and just said “Alright, go back to class (me).”

I never got written up, my parents were not called, and nothing that I know of went into my file. Even if it did, I don’t care. I stood up for what I believe in and I graduate in 40 days. This is the first time I have EVER been sent to the office. We will see how the rest of the week goes. Practice testing is for the rest of the week, and the real testing is happening for the next two weeks. I plan to speak up every day until everyone knows.  

Here is the Facebook event link that the kids from three Bellingham High schools have made. You can share this on your blog also:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1055265677834398/

Thanks so much! 

A High School Senior with a Conscience (emphasis mine)

Concluding Thoughts

I’m extremely proud of the youth from these three Bellingham High Schools. They are refusing to blindly follow a state “mandate” and are willing to use their voices and boycott what is ethically wrong. Read their stand:

Ali 1

This is the courage it will take to rid our nation of the Toxic Testing Snakes.

Ali 2

In honor of the brave, young lady who stood up in the back of her classroom, and to all the gutsy students attending a Bellingham High School, I dedicate the following:

“Robert Kennedy once said that few will have the greatness to bend history,

but each of us can work to change a small portion of events,

and in the total of all those acts,

will be written in the history of a generation.”

I personally thank each of you for being dauntless.   Your stand for what is right and true will make a difference in the future of many children… including your own you may have someday.

Respectfully Submitted,

 RAZ ON FIRE

The SBA Being Sold Like Snake Oil… Story Five… Puyallup, WA

In my previous posts in this series, it has been established the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment) is a black snake injecting its venom into our schools. It continues to flabbergast me each time I hear a story about who is promoting this test. A vision entered my mind of charlatans peddling snake oil. I see them around oval tables in ivory towers squeezing the SBA for all it is worth and figuring out ways to sell it to the public.

Drip. Drip.

Bottles are filled.

Robo-calls are made.Snake Oil 3

Letters are sent out from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Schools signed by Mr. Randy Dorn, espousing the “wonders” of the SBA, and “how it helps determine who is career and college ready”… “Without the scores, there is just no way to know who will be successful in college”… “The SBA is ‘THE’ answer we all have been waiting for to solve the ills of the educational system”.

The snake is squeezed.

Drip. Drip.

Threats are made. Superintendents of school districts feel the pressure of the poison. They in turn, pressure the administrators under them, and those put pressure on the principals, and they in turn drip the venom onto the teachers.

Snake Oil.

Story Five

The following story comes from a parent of a junior attending a High School in Puyallup, WA.   (It has already been determined 11th graders do not need to pass the SBA in order to receive a diploma in Story Three) Read what she shares, and determine if this is a case of a swindler selling snake oil.

Assistance, please….I have written my daughter’s high school three times to opt out my junior. No response to date. Today, she received her SBA schedule. She let the teacher know that she has been opted out and will not be taking the tests.

The teacher’s response was, “Too bad. You’re taking them anyway. It doesn’t matter what your parents say, they are state mandated.”

I need to know what I can do because I work 3 minutes away from the school and am about to go there and go ninja spider monkey crazy on them….

I’d want to go ninja spider monkey crazy on them too. As an educator, it makes me sad teachers have been pressured to enter into this sham. More teachers are rising up and pushing back, however, others march to the music of the snake charmers. They deliver the snake oil in hypnotized fear imparting the message of the money backed con artists.

The next day the parent updated the group with the following:

***Deep Breath***

I finally succeeded in opting my junior out of her SBA. Today, her English teacher told the class, while explaining the tests: “Those of you who have opted out will show a zero on the transcripts that colleges will see. This means you won’t be able to take any 101 classes, only 98 classes which are High School level. They also base these on my performance, so if you fail or opt out, I get fired.”

Grrrrrrrr.

Drip Drip.

Snake Oil.

Here are some responses from other parents to this story:

1) For the record, I had absolutely no problem at the elementary school or the Junior High my children attend in Puyallup. It was truly hassle free and one of the principals actually called me to tell me when they were practice testing ahead of time. So the high school principal is the root of the issue. You could also talk with administrator (name left anonymous) in the downtown office 1:1. She’s nice.

2) This is not acceptable and is emotional manipulation in addition to being a blatant lie.

3) It was a lie, the teacher is speaking out of fear or anger….either way the teacher is uninformed. As a parent, I feel for all our teachers who are having to deal with what their districts push on them. They are feeling it from up above. It’s coming from the top down, and it’s sad. Parents need to attend board meetings and make these things known.

4) My 6th grade son’s English/Social Studies teacher told her class if they didn’t do well on the test, she’d be fired. It’s INSANE!

Grrrrrrrr.

What eats snakes?

Mongoose devour them.

However, I feel more like this Tasmanian Devil.  Watch 30 second video clip (here).

Tasmanian devils have been known to eat a reptile or two.

Concluding Thoughts

Those of us who desire to go “ninja spider monkey crazy” are people who have done a lot of research. We have charlatan radar and refuse to buy the bottle of snake oil. The definition is as follows:

Snake oil is an expression that originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicine but has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. By extension, a snake oil salesman is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is their self a fraud, quack, charlatan, or the like.

The SBA is one of those PRODUCTS.

It IS questionable and it DOES have an unverifiable quality.

And… of course… NO benefits.

Thus, essentially, the SBA is a $nake being milked and $old just like Snake Oil.

And, then, there’s this…

“Standardized test passing rates are based on arbitrary and political decisions about how many students decision-makers want to fail. SBAC admits it cannot validate whether its tests measure college readiness until it has data on how current test takers do in college. In fact, SBAC declares that the achievement levels “do not equate directly to expectations for `on-grade’ performance” and test scores should only be used with multiple other sources of information about schools and students.” –A System that Labels Children as Failures, by Wendy Lecker (See References)

This is what turns me into the Tasmanian Devil… The SBAC admits it cannot validate whether its tests measure college readiness until it has data on how current test takers do in college???!!!

Huh?

Sheesh!

Um. Clearing the throat.

Snake Oil 2Why, oh why, are those who are supposed to be the leaders in our state, allowing this charade to continue? If the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium itself admits they cannot validate the test as a predictor to success in college, why, then, are the citizens of Washington State receiving robo-calls paid for by ReadyWA.org (funded by Gates Money) or letters from Superintendent Randy Dorn (CCSSO funded by Gates Money)?

Snake Oil Salesman.

Why is the SBA being promoted by Gates funded organizations? Why is the educational leader of our state, Superintendent Dorn promoting the SBA?

$$$$$$$$$$$ssssssssssssssSnake…. Oil….. $$$$$$$$$$$ssssssss

More and more studies are emerging to expose the faultiness of the SBA. There are several links in the reference section exposing the greasy and VERY expensive bottle of lard for what it is.

Don’t buy it.

Opt Out.

Refuse.

My blood is boiling… is yours?

Speak Up. Speak Out.

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

References:

  1. A system that labels children as failures, by Wendy Lecker, was first published in the Stanford Advocate on Friday, December 19, 2014.
  2. Jonathan Pelto posted Lecker’s article on his blog entitled, “Wait What?”
  3. The Smarter Balanced Common Core Mathematics Tests are Fatally Flawed and Should Not Be Used
  4. Full Report: The Smarter Balanced Common Core Mathematics Tests are Fatally Flawed and Should Not Be Used.  (Last Updated 4/29/2015)
  5. Common Core SBAC Test Shows No Validity or Reliability
  6. Common Core Testing Disaster, FLASHREPORT
  7. SBAC Test Shows No Validity or Reliability, Missouri Education Watchdog
  8. The Common Core SBAC: Separating fact from fiction, the top ten FAQ’s and answers about opting out