6 out of 643

I had thought that my Treehorn article called ‘It’s NAPLAN time. Bring out the law book’ and a couple of quickies since, would be my swansong.  I am flattered, of course, that Professor Diane Ravitch of the University of New York [home-town of our founder Joel Klein] repeated my article in her blog which has an extensive distribution in the USA.  Professor Ravitch is the former Deputy Director of Education for the USA. She’s an icon.

https://dianeravitch.net/2017/05/08/naplan-and-the-ruination-of-education-in-australia/
https://dianeravitch.net/2017/05/08/australia-a-brief-history-of-how-americas-bad-ideas-undermined-education-down-under/
But then, 9 May was the first day of NAPLAN testing and  the Kimberley College episode hit the fan.

What happened yesterday, the first day of NAPLAN 2017, at Kimberley College?

6

Only SIX out of 343

sat the NAPLAN test.

That means that the parents of six pupils at Kimberley College have been misguided by the ramblings of testucators who reside beyond the school gate. Shame.

Kimberley College  [https://www.kimberleycollege.org/] is a private school established by a group of parents just to the south of Brisbane  in 2000.  Back then, they wanted to have their children move into secondary schooling with the enthusiasm for learning and for achievement that they had developed at Kimberley Park State Primary School.  Principal Paul Thomson was using the regular curriculum to establish THINKING as the most useful educational outcome, using multi-aged settings through to Year 10 to maximise the learning effort.  It’s a place where deep thought is given by parents to the learning habits of their children, to the richness of their happily stimulated minds and what the future holds for them. De Bono’s spirit is in the air. Creative, conceptual thinking pervades the curriculum.

There is really no place in a serious, fair-dinkum learning institution like Kimberley College for killer tests like NAPLAN.   Standardised blanket testing of the NAPLAN kind, products of testucators’ compulsive adoration of data, are anathema to the parents of this school. They want their children to learn and to achieve at higher than normal levels.  NAPLAN’s focus on mediocrity doesn’t suit them, and NAPLAN’s DNA contains that measurement virus that disposes children to hate Maths, Science, Reading Literature.  The testing regime is clearly based on fear and anxiousness. It is a repressive, stress ridden threat to each child’s mental health. It has run-on effects. It has no place on school premises.

Kimberley College would be popular at this time with Treasurer Scott Morrison.  NAPLAN itself is a really ‘bad debt’, costing Australia billions each year to administer; and it ensures the loss of an industrial and intellectual future.  Inestimable. The parents at Kimberley College have just contributed a few thousand dollars to the national welfare. I figure that $5000 is a reasonable estimate for over 300 papers, supervision, delivery,  measurement of desks from each other by visiting officials….and the million other nuisances that schools musty tolerate because of NAPLAN.

It’s such a pity that our testucators do not know what happens in schools and in classrooms, minute by minute, day by day….the things that seriously detract from the learning enterprise.  It’s a pity that they are so inexperienced at what really happens in the classroom.

NAPLAN is surely the biggest threat to learning that this country has even seen.

Sincerely. May God bless the parents of Kimberley College for showing us the way.  The rest of Australia just might learn something.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen  http:primaryschooling.net    http://treehornexress.wordpress.com

NO PLAN

PLEASE SHARE WITH PARENTS

A TIMELY MESSAGE FROM TREEHORN & RAY ARMSTRONG, former proud NSW primary school principal.

Parents, Your Kids Don’t Have To Do NAPLAN If They Don’t Want To

With May just around the corner, so too is NAPLAN, The National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy. Australia wide, students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be assessed over the course of three days to determine if their reading, writing and numeracy skills are up to scratch.

If your own child is in one of these year levels, you may be feeling curious as to how they will measure up or consumed with nerves about whether their test-taking anxiety will raise its ugly head. Like me, maybe you’re still hung up on the relevance of NAPLAN and why it exists in the first place.

We’re told that NAPLAN produces valuable data, essential for initiating improvements in student learning. However the statistics provided are somewhat limited in use, partly due to their four month turnaround. More significantly, the data compiled can’t compete with the rich observations made by an experienced teacher, which evolves over time and in different contexts.

We’re told that NAPLAN is just a little test, a part of life that children need to adapt to. Education critic Alfie Kohn refers to this mindset as the ‘Better Get Used To It’ principle. Sure, the experts in child development may be recommending against young children’s participation in standardised testing but with it lingering in their future, we prioritise getting them ready nonetheless, with little concern for the damage.

Eight-year-old Keli, first-time NAPLAN participant, said: “The teacher told us that we need to practice getting it all done otherwise we won’t be able to in the real test. I sat there and cried and thought about how hard tests are going to be in high school.”

We’re told that NAPLAN doesn’t dominate classroom learning. However, as you read this, classrooms across the country are knee deep in NAPLAN preparation. They may be revising content or they may be taking mock tests. The sad truth is that there’s too much riding on the results not to.

Accountability is a huge driver behind NAPLAN. The data is used to give schools and teachers a gold star or a giant red cross. But it ignores the obvious truth that we can’t make children learn if they’re not ready. Nor should we only value the style of teaching and learning that can be assessed in a written test.

Stephanie, an educator, said: “I don’t know a teacher that doesn’t give the students some practice of this test taking. We should be teaching concepts that make a difference, are relevant and motivate students for lifelong learning.”

Anthony, an ex teacher, adds: “Kids get less of an education because so much time is spent teaching to the test.”

Schools want your child to participate. The government wants your child to participate. But do you? And, even more importantly, does your child?

Here’s where things get interesting. Did you know NAPLAN isn’t compulsory?

Schools want your child to participate. The government wants your child to participate. But do you? And, even more importantly, does your child?

It’s time to make a decision. To support NAPLAN this year or to avoid it? My advice is simple. Ask your child: “Do you want to participate in NAPLAN this year?”

If he or she says “yes”, let them. Reduce the pressure surrounding the results and allow them to experience the process. If she or he says “no”, support them. Ask for a withdrawal form at your school’s front office. This one-page document simply requires you to write your child’s name, school and year level, tick a box for which parts of NAPLAN are being sat out (all) and sign it.

Repeat this conversation each year that NAPLAN rolls around. Your child’s answer may be the same or it may change. With their feelings valued and their decision empowered, the big hairy monster that is NAPLAN need no longer be a thing of nightmares.

Parents – Do It Now!

Parents – Do it NOW

Carrie Starbuck, Managing Director of ‘Learning Performance’ says : ” Pupils frequently display signs of stress, despite often not realising this is what they’re suffering from. 

Aside from a whole host of emotions that young people would rather not be experiencing, stress and anxiety have a significant impact on the brain’s ability to process, learn and retain information. Stressed students don’t make the most effective learners and this creates a negative cycle that we must work to prevent” 

How to help
        students cope with stress

“During childhood and adolescence, the brain goes through lots of change because it is highly malleable. Adolescence is triggered by the release of the protein kisspeptin into the brain. This affects the amygdala, which is the control centre for our emotions, making feelings more intense. This is why there is an increase in impulsive, emotional and emotive reactions during the teenage years”

Yes. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Stress is not good for you….and the NAPLAN kind can damage kids for life….without your realising it.

NAPLAN was founded on the belief that the creation of stress and anxiety in school children would force them to try harder in their tests. NAPLAN preparaton and operation is a very real form of child abuse.

We should not be treating our children this way.

Parents should think very, very carefully about the timing of their child’s withdrawal from participation.

It is strongly recommended that they drop a note to their teacher NOW, withdrawing their child from any further NAPLAN activity.

__________________________________________________________________________

Phil Cullen 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486  07 5524 6443  0407865999  cphilcullen@bigpond.com.au  Refer: Who’s Who in Australia

THE SOONER THE BETTER FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL HEALTH.

A Toad called ‘Naplan’

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR LOCAL CANDIDATES
“Indifferent to opinions of real experts in Australia, or USA or the UK or Finland or anywhere in the world, our power-drunk  
education know-it-all 
then had to use underhand ‘client-capture’ techniques to have her way and to cover-up a monstrous brain-fart.”
Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
encouraging adults to think sensitively, to care for kids, to make wise choices….with their hearts in gear, their pens active and their votes available.
A Toad Called NAPLAN
If ever you see a large, ugly cane toad in your garden, call him “Naplan”.  He’s a darling of all the political  hoi-poloi and educratic know-it-alls.  Both the toad and his namesake share a similar history. They were both mistakenly introduced to do a special job. Those who brought them both to Australia thought that they knew better than anybody else. Big mistake. A political decision to introduce both kinds of vermin was too hurried; immediate; on sight; no questions asked.  They were desperate. They thought that they were on a winner because some smart-alecs in Hawaii and New York told them so. No checking of consequences.
Indifferent to opinions of real experts in Australia or USA or the UK or Finland or anywhere in the world,  our power-drunk education know-it-all then had to use underhand ‘client capture’ techniques to have her way and to cover-up a monstrous brain-fart. No research. No checking how things are going or  likely to go. No public talk. No need. A dramatic blunder of gargantuan proportions!  The school testing debacle continues….but it can be stopped. Parents just have to say ‘NO!’  High stakes testing wasn’t even needed in the first place. Her bowel movements must have been irregular at the cocktail party where her decision to introduce kleinism to Australia was made; on the spot, before Rupert and Joel even said ‘Goodnight’. A dry martini did it.
Australia was committed to a Klein version of schooling.
Millions of dollars later and ever-lasting  gross destruction of our intellectual landscape by NAPLAN testing and our  physical landscape by almost-as-ugly toads, the waste continues.
[The cane toads introduced to the cane fields of Gordonvale, North Queensland, gobbled up tonnes of cane beetles that flew close to the ground. Nobody had bothered to check to see how high toads could leap nor how high beetles could fly!!. A total waste. No prior thought. The voracious hungry ones migrated from NQ to see what they could eat around the eastern part of Australia and the Northern Territory.]
There’s a lesson to be learned, by our brown-nosed educrats and our indifferent political candidates, from our now millions-strong army of cane toads, each called ‘Naplan’,  don’t you think? We must OPT OUT and ….
That’ll be new for our politico-educrats, won’t it?  BUT….

Australia’s order of business for educational improvement needs to be…..

1. OPT OUT OF TESTING.
                                                                                                                                   2. RETURN TEACHING TO TEACHERS.
                                                                                                                                   3. THINK
                                                                                                                                   4. TALK
                                                                                                                                   5. REINVENT A SYSTEM OF SCHOOL LEARNING.
optoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptoutoptout
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  07 5524 6443   cphilcullen@bigpond.com         
    http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
STILL LOOKING FOR A PARTY TO VOTE FOR, AS ARE THOUSANDS OF PARENTS;
ONE THAT CARES ABOUT KIDS AND WHAT NAPLAN DOES TO THEM AND TO OUR COUNTRY.
PARENTS.   FOLLOW THE SUN.  VISIT BRISBANE  OR GOLD COAST [Train direct to Southbank] JUNE 1
PARENTS’ DAY

Educational Malpractice.

Aussie Friends of Treehorn
protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
WHY MAKE CHILDREN CRY ?
That’s what Standardised Blanket Testing does – whether it be NCLB [USA], Standards Testing [NZ] or NAPLAN [Australia].  It’s an essential part of its modus operandi.  It is wrecking so many little lives.  
It’s malpractice!
Just substitute ‘Australian’ for ‘American’
Brave teachers who will stick-up for kids are needed more than ever in our history.
Never before have children been so systematically abused and tormented.
Teachers and parents need to form a coalition of determined anti-naplaners.
Even though it may be too late to dump NAPLAN testing in Australia  this year, let’s opt out of the tests on May 10,11,12; and talk about schooling on June 1 at Southbank, Brisbane.
Is Kleinism [aka ‘Fear Driven Schooling] the kind of system that Australia needs? It isn’t working very well.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  0   cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999
 
proud to be sticking-up for kids
looking for a decent political party to vote for….one that thinks 
 Let’s think 
What do you think ?  Finland wants to abandon the teaching of subjects!

http://qz.com/367487/goodbye-math-and-history-finland-wants-to-abandon-teaching-subjects-at-school/

Test Prep

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided
It’s Test Prep Time
Aussie kids should be sweating it out now.
OPT OUT NOW
“Test Prep is about studying the arcane way that the tests structure the questions….far from straight forward….deliberately tricky…don’t teach anything – useless…..handling the computer component….
makes a lot of money for Test Prep companies …”
For “Common Core”, read “NAPLAN”
PARENTS’  RALLY –  Southbank, BRISBANE –  1 JUNE – 11.30 a.m.
Show ‘THEM’ that you are serious about your child’s schooling.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  0   cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999
proud to be sticking-up for kids
looking for a decent, democratic party to vote for
hoping that Australian schools will concentrate on mass devotion to a love for  learning soon.

Opting Out? ACARA details

Aussie Friends of Treehorn

protecting school children from nasty excesses of the greedy and misguided

NAPLAN DIRECTIONS

They need our serious consideration

What are trying to do to our kids?

Can I withdraw my child from the tests? I have a ‘philosophical objection’ (See “Withdrawals” below]. Yes. Indeed.  I hate the rotten things; Amen.

Below is an extract from ACARA’s attack on parental rights…..the sort of rules that Gradgrind would insist upon….trying to remove as many parental  rights as possible.  They are removed without remorse or feeling or compassion for child welfare.  We need to consider what these testucratic bullies are doing to us and our children. NAPLAN represents political bullying of the worst totalitarian kind.

No recognition of parents’ rights. Parents not even asked if they approve of high stakes testing for their children.

The ‘bull’ is highlighted in red in the ACARA documentation below. Please pause and think when you come to something in red.

Parents can and should ignore any references to testucating expectations and the demand that a formal application must be received in time (Para 1). That is absolute rubbish.  Australia is a democracy and such demands [reminiscent of totalitarian states] are out of place. The Rule of Law applies to school children even though they are at school. ACARA is ordering children to submit to the torture of fear and emotional upset caused by standardised blanket testing. We all know that such intrusions into the curriculum cause gross emotional upset and a dislike for certain subjects [e.g. Maths & Science] and a general dislike for schooling itself.

 

You will note that ACARA  says that NAPLAN tests are “a part of school routine”.   RUBBISH.    SHEER UNADULTERATED RUBBISH.  Until NAPLAN took over the curriculum and school time tables, all schools had their own forms of Learning, Evaluation and Reporting programs. NAPLAN is an insulting one-off intrusive attack on all respectable, professional, home-grown school evaluation programs. It just took over.  In 2008, it instituted a monstrous disruption to teaching and learning by political fiat, that is now seriously affecting school operations and our children’s educational welfare….and the country’s future.

 

All in all, the amount of valuable learning time that is consumed by NAPLAN nonsense for months each year is frightening. It’s far too much….

and there have been no positive results……on the contrary……only diminishing test scores and a battered curriculum.

ACARA DIRECTIONS FOR PARENTS

“While participation by all students is expected, students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer. This is a matter for consideration by individual parents/carers. Withdrawals are intended to address issues such as religious beliefs and philosophical objections to testing. A formal application in the manner specified for each state or territory must be received by the principal prior to the testing. Your principal can provide further information about the withdrawal process. For more information, see Student participation.

And..

 

Exemptions

Exemptions may be granted for students with a language background other than English or for students with a disability. In both cases, schools need to discuss the proposed exemption with the student’s parent/carer and gain their permission prior to the testing period.

English language proficiency: Students with a language background other than English who arrived from overseas and have been attending school for less than a year before the test may be exempted. However, these students are not automatically exempt and should be given the opportunity to participate in testing. Principals can expect information from test administration authorities on the preferred method for collecting and recording this information. Students may be exempt from one test (e.g. reading) but still be able to participate in another test (e.g. numeracy).

Students with disability: Adjustments are provided to students with disability to support access to the tests and encourage maximum participation.  Students with significant intellectual disability and/or those with significant co-existing conditions which severely limit their capacity to participate in the tests may be exempted from sitting the national tests. This is determined after consultation has occurred between the principal and the relevant parent/carer, and if it is decided the student is not able to access the tests with adjustments. For more information on the types of adjustments available, see the section on Adjustments for students with disability.

Withdrawals

NAPLAN tests are a routine part of the school calendar. However students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer if there are religious beliefs or philosophical objections to testing. This is a matter for consideration by individual parents/carers in consultation with their child’s school. A formal application in the manner specified by the relevant test administration authority (TAA) must be received by the principal prior to the testing.

Absences

Students are considered absent for test purposes in the following instances:

  • They did not sit the tests because they were not present at school when the test was administered.
  • They were unable to sit the test as a result of an accident or mishap.
  • They were at school but were too ill to partic

 

Principals are encouraged to enable the participation of students who were absent on the day of the test but who return to school within the week scheduled for NAPLAN testing.”

________________________________________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen  41 Cominan Avenue  Banora Point  Australia 2486  
 cphilcullen@bigpond.com             http://primaryschooling.net/                     http://qldprimaryprincipals.wordpress.com/
07 5524 6443          0407865999 
proud to be sticking-up for kids
looking for a decent political party to vote for….one that thinks 
 Let’s think 
Have a peep at the attachment from John Oliver.

 

Why do we tolerate it?

How Radical Must We Be?

Please pass this on to political candidates and fellow teachers.

Treehorn joins the author to ask……

 

 How Radical Must We Be To Get the Schools Our Children Deserve?

United Opt Out Musings

by Steven Singer, Member of the BAT Leadership Team

originally published on his blog:  https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/how-radical-must-we-be-to-get-the-schools-our-children-deserve-united-opt-out-musings/

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There was a point during Chris Hedges keynote address today when I could barely catch my breath.

My chest was heaving, tears were leaking from my eyes and I wasn’t sure I would be able to stop.

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist had his audience enraptured at the United Opt Out Conference in Philadelphia Saturday morning.

I’ve read Chris before. We’ve all read Chris before. But I had never seen or heard him speak.

It was kind of like hearing a good sermon by a pastor who felt every word he said. And that really was it – Chris FELT every word.

When I’ve read Hedges’ articles on Truthdig, I’ve found myself getting angry. He stirs me up. He disturbs me, makes me feel uncomfortable. And when I heard him speak today I was surprised that he seemed to be reacting the same way to his own words.

When he talked about teaching teenage prisoners, he was emotionally invested in the story he was telling. When he criticized American neoliberal policies, he was just as angry as his audience.

The only difference was that his sorrow and rage somehow became transformed in his throat into something akin to poetry.

He turned the struggle of the oppressed into something beautiful. He transformed the hurt in my chest into something profound. He mutated my disturbance into a sense of actions-to-be.

I won’t repeat the words he said. I’d never be able to reproduce them with anything resembling his eloquence. But I will remark on one of his closing remarks because it hit me like a splash of cold water.

Rebellion, he said, is not about changing the world. It’s about changing yourself.

When you stand up for what is right, you become a better person – whether you achieve your goal or not. In a sense, it doesn’t matter if we destroy the testocracy. But in trying, we transmute ourselves into something better.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I’d like to think so.

I don’t know if we will ever destroy the system of Test and Punish, but I know I can try. I know I can put myself on the line and damn the consequences.

All weekend at the United Opt Out Conference we’ve been talking about rebellion and revolution. There’s no weak tea here in the City of Brotherly Love. No half measures. We’ve been discussing tearing the system down piece-by-piece.

A timid voice speaks up in the back of mind, “Do we really need to do all that? Do we really need revolution just to keep our public schools and make them into something worthy of our children?”

I think I’ve been trying to answer that question for a while now. Maybe a lot of us have.

In a rational country, our demands wouldn’t be so radical.

We want public schools centered on the good of all, not the profit of some. We want educationally valid curricula for our children. We want some control over the school system – both as parents and teachers.

Is that so much to ask? Is that such a lunatic request?

And as I listened to Hedges and Dr. Antonia Darder, Dave Green, Jonathan Pelto, Dr. Denisha Jones, Ceresta Smith, Yohuru Williams, Aixa Rodriguez and many, many others, I heard another timid voice begin to answer the first.

“Yes.”

The system of standardization and privatization of public education confronts students of color and impoverished students head on. They are in the front lines. Yet few people outside of activists seem willing to admit it.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this conference has been its ability to put issues of human rights at the center of the argument. That’s the essential concept. We’re not just talking about bad education policies. We’re not just talking about schemes for billionaires to make more money. We’re talking about the systematic oppression of a group of people and the widespread complacency and complicity of the majority of the populace.

How do you combat such a monster without being revolutionary? How do you fight for your child without being a rebel?

More has happened at this conference than I can adequately put into words. I’ve met so many incredible people. Some of them I knew, some I had met before, some had only been names I had seen on my computer screen.

I will leave here Sunday feeling refreshed and energized, ready for the battles ahead.

Am I a radical?

Am I becoming a better person?

I don’t know.

But I will keep fighting.

Because I love my daughter, I love my students and I love all children everywhere.

T-Shirts for Sale.

The Treehorn Express

……for kids

{Sincere thanks to Mary E Mackay, American teacher located in Amsterdam, for supplying this material}

 

WANTED

There must be a firm somewhere in Australia who likes children enough to reproduce these sort of t-shirts with its logo on it; and prepared to spread them as far as possible….so that the general public will start to wonder what is really going on in our schools? Most adults don’t really know and school authorities prefer to keep them in the mushroom dark. How about we send this email to as many as possible in the hope that some firm will take the initiative. It might not be possible to produce them before NAPLAN time : May 13,14,15 in Australia; but they will, eventually,encourage the general public to take a keener interest into what is happening in our schools.
3%20different%20t-shirts.[1]

and

opt out
These shirts were a product of the OPT Out Oklahoma organisation. I imagine that a serious minded Australian firm, either involved in the education business or interested in helping school children would willingly produce similar t-shirts without breeching copy-right standards or piracy rules.

Maybe schools can make their own. Why not? They’d be popular at the annual fete or sporting event.

Please spread the idea. The public must learn more…somehow. We have to talk OUT LOUD.
Check:

A.    Do you believe that children are being treated with sincere humanity or just being used to gather scores? What’s your credo?
B.    Do you trust your child’s teacher to help him or her to learn without threats? Our public school teachers are truly outstanding. The world prefers them in their schools.
C.    We tend to follow the old British Grammar School traditions for our schooling. We don’t need to. It just happened; and public neighbourhood schooling has superior advantages.
D.    May the crutches of those who now use our school children for financial gain, become infested with the lice of a thousand camels and may their arms be too short to scratch.

May all the above be attended-to as soon as possible.

ooo000ooo

Don’t forget to do something.
________________________________________________________
Phil Cullen [….for kids’ sake] 41 Cominan Avenue Banora Point Australia 2486 07 5524 6443 cphilcullen@bigpond.com

The Greatest Fight of Our Lives

by Peggy Robertson

Reposted from Peg with Pen

Read about the struggle against GERM in the USA. Their battle is very intense and very important to Australia and New Zealand. What happens in USA finds its way down under. International collegiality in the anti-GERM campaign is vital.

“Be wide awake. And be prepared for the greatest fight of our lives.”

Allan

——-

The Greatest Fight of Our Lives

The admissions of error, the requests for moratoriums, the recognition that perhaps testing has gone too far, are running like wildfire in the last few weeks.

 We have Randi calling for a moratorium.

Bill Gates admitting that maybe testing tied to teacher evaluation is out of control.

Arne wants us to recognize testing mistakes as learning opportunities. 

And they attempt to appease the public by finding testing companies who can do it better.

They continue to push messages that keep the public from remembering that teachers know how to assess – teachers assessing is NOT an option in this brave new world.  Our knowledge must become obsolete in order to profit off of public education. Our knowledge of teaching and learning – our knowledge of how to support learners in becoming more than a test score – must be erased – they do not want students who are more than a test score – this defeats their goal in the global economy where we will serve them.

We need to be clear that any concessions, any admissions of error, any offer to give us time away from those horrid high stakes tests at this moment are simply a ploy to encourage us to sleep away the next few months while they prepare to launch the PARCC and SBAC for our children and anchor the common core into the heart of public education, there by destroying it, along with our teaching profession, our children’s privacy and our democracy. Be very awake.

It is May 2013. PARCC and SBAC testing will be rolled out in the upcoming school year, 2013-2014. Our window of opportunity to stop this train from starting is short and must be aggressive and fearless.

The goal right now is to appease us so that we believe we are making headway and believe that they hear our voices and care.  They do not care.

What is most frightening at this very critical time is the mass of educators who have been swayed to believe they do care. They have been swayed to believe that the intentions with common core are well meaning. I believe we have made some headway in educating the public about the harms of high stakes testing, but we have not made it clear that the common corestandards, curriculum and assessments that come with them will destroy our public school system, our profession, our children’s future and our democracy.

Those of us who work in public schools today find ourselves in  a dark cave – NCLB has stripped away all windows, all light, all sparks that ignite the fire in a child’s soul.  RTTT has come forward to take what is left – the shell of learning and teaching – and recreate it into a form or being that I do not recognize as human or alive – it is death. What we have been left with in the public schools has no heart beat, no warmth, no breath of life.

Those of us who are in the public schools and know what they are trying to force upon us are desperately blowing on the spark, rubbing together the sticks, and attempting to keep learning alive. Because there are many of us in our schools doing this, we are momentarily able to survive and protect the children as best we can under these harsh conditions.

But not for long.

The PARCC and SBAC come next fall. I am frightened for the children – the onslaught of common core lock step scripted curriculum will step forward to embrace the PARCC and SBAC; the slow death of public education will speed forward quickly. The attempt to silence teachers next year will be greater, more intimidating and more punishing than we have ever seen.

The attempt to force us to accept our fate under the guidance of the common core, the mission of the World Bank, the billionaire boys’ club, and RTTT policies will be rolled out in various ways.  They will stifle us with mandates, but then will allow us up for air as they admit mistakes on this exciting journey of learning where we find our way – together. They will send us babbling into arguments about the pros and cons of poorly written test questions, better tests, refined tests, creative online tests, better common core curriculum created by teachers and better technology for testing. They will engage us in discussions as they admit their “bumps” along the way on our new found path; they will try to take our hand and walk with us ascollaborators. They will grant us the grace and time to become more as we embrace the common core standards – during which, we will be contending with teacher evaluation, new legislation and new tasks surrounding creation of common core curriculum in our individual districts. They will keep all of us very busy putting out fires.

There will be more petitions, moratoriums, proclamations, opportunities to offer feedback – and it will all be pointless. Do not engage in this. We must each look at our individual source of energy and use it wisely and in a manner that creates action to dismantle their system.

While all of this is going on, our children will be sitting in classrooms unaware that they are being treated as lab rats. They will look at their teachers with trust in their eyes. The teachers who understand what is happening – who know common core has not been field tested, is developmentally inappropriate and is the cash cow to seal the deal on the privatization of public schools and destruction of the teaching profession –  will do all that they can to treat their students in this experiment with compassion and kindness, attempting to keep them from harm; however, it will not be enough. The teachers who know not what they do, will subject children to great harm, as is already occurring.

The time is now to prepare. As those of us teaching finish up the year, please know that this summer requires serious planning. Parents please know that educating our communities must be the absolute focus of our work this summer. We must launch the 2013-2014 school year with plans to educate, act, and halt the harm done to our children – and we must focus our work with intent – do not be swayed by any form of action that does not end in concrete results that you can see – these results must disrupt or halt their work. They will attempt to exhaust us by creating false opportunities to act – do not engage in any of these – I cannot stress this enough – we have already wasted precious time doing this.

United Opt Out National is in the process of creating an opt out guide tailored to the specific needs of each state, as well as a guide for early childhood education, and special/exceptional education. However, a guide is worthless unless it is acted upon – we must act. Refusing what they offer us is the quickest way to halt their progress.  

We must refuse the assessments and the common core in all shapes and forms.

Parents – you are essential in this fight. Teachers will refuse as best they can, but the parents can lead the way.

They know we are making progress and they are planning strategies to halt our progress now. They will cash in on public education at all costs –  including our children – they do not care about our children. Their children are fine, and they (corp.ed.reformers) have no ability to see, hear or feel what we know – they are not in our schools, and quite honestly, if they do come to our schools, they will not be able to see what we see – they view the world using a business model.  Our work as educators involves heart. It involves soul. We help shape the lives of children, today and tomorrow. It is messy, it is unpredictable and it is impossible to place in a standardized box.

They protect each other and their world. Their heart is simply incapable of understanding our heart. Call it evil. Call it fact. Call it ignorance. Make sense of it however you must, but know that attempting to get those who profit off this madness to understand is futile during these urgent times. Do not waste your time. Look to those who do understand and act. There is very little time left. There is no time to hope for a change of heart.

Their goal is to educate our children so that they are ready for their low level entry jobs – they will save the higher positions for their children. They plan to privatize public education so that what is left is the basics (simply read, write, regurgitate their information), with public tax dollars funneled to profit them while making the public believe that “innovation” is occurring via online learning and assessments that claim to assess higher level thinking.

Those of us who know what is going on will find more constraints placed on us wherever we turn. They will attempt to accuse us of wrong-doings (specifically teachers involved in activism), humiliate us and force us into submission. They will try to make us go away. Be prepared to discover that there are some whom you may have trusted, who will begin to walk a careful line between their world and our world, or simply turn their backs on us.

Be wide awake. And be prepared for the greatest fight of our lives.