And The Beat Goes On

Testing season is over and teachers and students have returned to the anti-stress classroom environment that they should have enjoyed all year long.

Exploring, asking questions, taking the time to investigate the solutions to a problem instead of finding the answer, this is when the intended purpose of education is realized in many classrooms.

Veteran teachers know that the parent and teacher push back against standardized testing has been going on for years. They know that if they just “ride out the storm” though reformed, things will not have changed, testing will continue and our children will continue to suffer through our current system of education, being classified, terrorized, and dehumanized, made ready for the workforce.

Our federal government will continue to financially intimidate states into following their curriculum.

States will continue to bully their LEA’s into purchasing and administering standardized tests.

Districts will pass along the pressure tactics they must endure to their superintendents who instruct their administrators to intimidate their teachers into adhering to the illegal and unconstitutional education legislation, policy, and procedural demands.

And, teachers will spend the better part of their class time preparing their students for tests that they know are meaningless, except to those who would profit from their use, until testing is over and real learning can begin.

We tell children learning is fun and then remove all of the fun from learning by making them sit still, be quiet, listen carefully, follow directions, and pass the test. For those children who are unable to comply with “normal” behavior we help them by classifying them as “disabled” and, for the rest of their educational career, try to correct their disabilities instead of teaching them to use their gifts and talents, their strengths, to overcome their weaknesses.

When we provide every child in America with a Constitutionally guaranteed, excellent, free and public education, we will be able to assess the success of that system by measuring the growth of the involvement of citizens in their government and the willingness of our children to become life long learners.

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Faith

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer.

For our nation to signify a special day for all Americans to pray is indicative of the current state of our government.

Americans, as well as every other individual who believes that their God is supreme, must pray everyday that we, as humans who have faith, will overcome the tyranny of ignorance and begin to recognize that we are all human, we all matter, we all deserve to live in a world where love is more important than money.

The Constitution of the United States guarantees our right to freedom of religion yet our government has denied that right to every American who enters the current system of education.

As Americans, we should be proud to pledge our allegiance to the flag that is a symbol of our freedom. Yet, children who attend public school are not taught to be proud of their country but to disrespect it and ignore those who have fought and died to protect it.

We have ignored the values that made this country great and have instead become concentrated on the profits of the companies that have reduced America to a market share in the “global economy”.

All of America’s children deserve to grow up in a country that values them and their ingenuity.

All of America’s children deserve an excellent education, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

All of America’s children deserve to know and understand that they are our greatest resource, not to be enslaved but to be free to discover, develop, and direct their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens.

When we Constitutionally guarantee every child in America the right to a free and public, excellent education that is developmentally appropriate, founded in the Arts, experiential, and delivered by knowledgeable, dedicated, educators who understand that everyone is gifted and talented and important to the success of America, in school communities that value every culture in their neighborhood, making the fabric of America strong, we will return to the values that made America great.

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Testing Is Over – Data Collection Is Not

An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B)

Abstract: This submission requests approval of data collection activities that will be used to support An Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior (MTSS-B). The evaluation will estimate the impact on school staff practices, school climate and student outcomes of providing training and support in the MTSS-B framework plus universal (Tier I) positive behavior supports and a targeted (Tier II) intervention.

Type of Review: A new information collection.

Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

Under the guise of student achievement, our government is collecting data on its citizens.

Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; What Works Clearinghouse Formative Feedback

Abstract: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education is proposing data collection activity as part of the What Works Clearinghouse Feedback Task. The task and its associated efforts are being undertaken by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and are being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research. The intended purpose of the Department of Education (ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES) WWC feedback task is to collect feedback from users on the relevance, timeliness, quality, and ease of use of the products associated with the What Works Clearinghouse Web site. The results of the data collection will be used to inform improvements in ED program products and services for its customers.

What is the What Works Clearinghouse and what type of education policy do they promote?

We already know what works in education and we insist on denying children in urban and rural public schools the benefit of the same educational experience that children in private schools receive.

When every child in America is provided with an excellent, child-centered, developmentally appropriate, experiential education that is founded in the Arts and is concentrated on discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens, we will no longer need to collect data on a failing system to determine how to sustain it.

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Professionally Speaking

Though the controversy around testing stems from the teacher evaluation aspect more than the data collection, standardization, and dehumanization of our children the testing causes, everyone agrees that teachers as well as every professional should be evaluated regularly.

Doctors, lawyers, teachers, police, firepersons, these are all stressful professions that should remain under close scrutiny. As all these professions must interact with the public, the measure of their effectiveness should not be determined by test data, but the humanity with which the patrons of these professions were treated.

The Association for Psychological Science states, “New research suggests that overall happiness in life is more related to how much you are respected and admired by those around you, not to the status that comes from how much money you have stashed in your bank account.”

There are aspects of teaching that far outweigh standardized test outcomes.

How does the teacher interact with their students?

How often does (did) the teacher connect interpersonally with the students, parents, families and school personnel within the school community?

What method of instruction is preferred and are the outcomes favorable?

What alternative methods of instruction is offered to those who do not connect with the primary method of instruction?

These any many more questions offer more valuable information as to the proficiency and effectiveness of an educator.

When teachers demand respect for their profession as well as the gifts and talents they bring to the profession it will become evident that the language of education must change to concentrate on the gifts and talents of our children.

Every individual in the school environment deserves to be respected for the gifts and talents they possess.

When every individual is respected people will begin to hold themselves accountable for their own behavior and our police can become peace officers, our doctors, healers, our lawyers, advocates, and our firepersons, along with putting out fires could teach fire prevention and safety.

Changing the language of education can change the attitudes of society towards becoming the country where freedom and justice is for ALL.

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Standards And The Effects Of Poverty

Recently a Baltimore mother was placed on a pedestal by the news and police authorities for disciplining her son for taking part in the Baltimore riots.

Had this mother employed the same measure of discipline while in her son’s school to correct his abhorrent behavior there it is likely she would be arrested and charged with child abuse.

Our current system of education persecutes and prosecutes parents who discipline their children according to their cultural norms and morays and then blames parents for raising undisciplined children.

Once children understand that they cannot be held accountable for their actions and actually have control over the measures of the discipline they will receive they believe they are more powerful than the adults in their environment and therefore can do or say whatever they like.

This standard works well for the children of the wealthy however, for the children of the poor, acting upon this acquired attitude of entitlement, can and does have tragic consequences such as incarceration and/or death.

The children of wealthy parents are no different from the children of the poor. They make the same mistakes. However, the effects of poverty are such that the children of the poor go to jail for their mistakes while the children of the wealthy are allowed the opportunity to recover from their mistakes and are supported in their efforts to overcome the consequences of their mistakes.

Our current system of education continuously removes the responsibility of parenting from parents, in the name of poverty, and then blames parents for not being more responsible for ensuring their children’s education.

Our current system of education blames teachers, students, and parents for the educational failure of our children when in fact it is the system of double standards that is to blame.

When we provide every child in America with an excellent free and public education that discovers, develops, and directs their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens, the double standards that exist to propagate and perpetuate the slavery of the poor will end.

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More Testing – More Data – More Profit

Agency Information Collection Activities: Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2016-2017 Recruitment for Item Validation and Operational Field Tests

Abstract: The Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2016-2017 is the first study sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics , within the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, to follow a nationally-representative sample of students as they enter and move through the middle grades (grades 6-8). The data collected through repeated measures of key constructs will provide a rich descriptive picture of the academic experiences and development of students during these critical years and will allow researchers to examine associations between contextual factors and student outcomes.

The study will focus on student achievement in mathematics and literacy along with measures of student socio-emotional wellbeing and other outcomes. The study will also include a special sample of students with different types of disabilities that will provide descriptive information on their outcomes, educational experiences, and special education services.

Baseline data for the MGLS:2017 will be collected from a nationally-representative sample of 6th grade students in winter of 2017 with annual follow-ups in winter 2018 and winter 2019 when most of the students in the sample will be in grades 7 and 8, respectively.

This request is to contact and recruit public school districts and public and private schools to participate in the winter 2016 concurrent item validation and operational field tests for the MGLS: 2017.

The primary purpose of the Item Validation Field Test is to determine the psychometric properties of items and the predictive potential of assessment and survey items so that valid, reliable, and useful assessment and survey instruments can be composed for the main study.

The primary purposes of the Operational Field Test are to obtain information on recruiting, particularly for the targeted disability groups; on obtaining a tracking sample that can be used to study mobility patterns in subsequent years; and on administrative procedures.

What does any of this have to do with our children’s educational success?

Our federal education dollars must be spent on the excellent education of our children not data collection testing that insures corporate profits.

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Forgotten But Not Gone

While testing for ELA and Math have ended the Federal government is prepared to spend more money on creating assessments that will have no bearing on our children’s academic success or teacher proficiency yet will be used to determine both.

From the Federal Register:

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Enhanced Assessment Instruments Grant program, also called the Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAG) program, is to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems used by States for measuring the academic achievement of elementary and secondary school students.

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds:$8,945,000-$17,870,000.

Estimated Range of Awards:$1,000,000 to $6,000,000.

Estimated Average Size of Awards:$2,500,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 3-6.

Our Federal government has it’s states fighting over tax dollars collected from every citizen in the country.

Only 3-6 states, will be deemed eligible by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, using the priorities of his choosing to include or omit applicants from the process.

The wording of this most recent call for assessment creation uses acceptable language to pacify those who oppose testing and placate those who are undecided.

The fact remains, the Federal government has no legal right to force states to direct curriculum by mandating content.

Our Federal government is spending nearly $18 million dollars to give 3-6 states the opportunity “to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems used by States for measuring the academic achievement of elementary and secondary school students.”

Is this another opportunity for Pearson to recoup the financial loss they experienced from the “Opt-out” movement?

Is this another opportunity for Pearson to profit from the work done by educators to create tests that they will use to standardize and polarize our children?

There are many more effective and efficient ways our Federal government should utilize $18 million educational dollars.

Providing every child in America with an excellent education by changing the language of education to concentrate on discovering, developing, and directing their individual gifts and talents toward becoming knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged citizens of these United States, will end the unnecessary, inconsistent and irrelevant assessment of our children.

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Educating The Heart And Mind – The Solution To The Crisis In Education

Sir Ken Robinson, in advocating for change in education says, “Since I entered education . . at the age of four.”

A poor system of education is responsible for dropout rates, disassociation, suicide rates, unemployment, and incarceration.

“Education is meant to be the process by which we engage people in their fullness to give them a sense of who they are and their capabilities so they can lead a life that means something to them and to the rest of us.”

His talks:
Changing Paradigms
Imagination and Empathy
Educating the Heart and Mind
Passion
How to Change Education
Public “Education” has become indoctrination and distraction
Bring On the Learning Revolution
The Element
How To Escape Education’s Death Valley
Life is your talents discovered
Why I Homeschool

have had thousands of hits on YouTube.

When individuals say that “no one knows how to fix education” they have never viewed any of Sir Robinson’s videos.

“Every school should be different and great. Every classroom should be different and great. It should be built on diversity and not conformity. . . We should be personalizing education not standardizing it. . . We pay a high price for the exile of feeling in education. . . the failure to help people engage with what’s within them. . . What identifies us as human beings, above all, are the powers that flow from our deep resource of imagination. Part of the task of education is to connect ourselves with ourselves. . . the other great task is to connect with each other through the power of empathy, through the power of intuition and mutuality. All those things get lost in an industrialized, homogenized, atomized system of education and the price couldn’t be higher . . . disaffection, disengagement and emotional turmoil.”

Personalizing education, a concentration in the Arts, and practical techniques to get children to focus in on themselves are the solutions to the failure of our current system of education.

People are not mechanisms they are organisms.

When we work together to change the intent of education we will succeed in providing every child in America with an excellent education.

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Mistakes, Dancing And Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson, a children’s advocate for excellent education, spoke to a TED audience saying,

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong you’ll never come up with anything original. By the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They become frightened of being wrong.”

“We are now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. The result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”

“There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches Dance every day to children the way we teach them Mathematics. Why not?”

“There were no public education systems before the 19th Century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism . . . The consequence is many highly talented, brilliant people think they’re not because the thing they were good at in school wasn’t valued or was actually stigmatized.”

“We know three things about intelligence. One, it’s diverse. We think about the world in all the ways we experience it . . . Secondly, intelligence is dynamic . . . The third thing about intelligence is it’s distinct.”

“We have to rethink the fundamental principles upon which we are educating our children . . . Our task is to educate the “whole” being . . .”

When we change the system of education so that it concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children, we will be able to acknowledge and access the diverse, dynamic, and distinct intelligences of our children.

When we provide every child in America with a child-centered, developmentally appropriate, experiential education that is founded in the Arts and delivered by knowledgeable, dedicated adults who recognize and respect the importance of the cultural diversity within the school community our children will know and understand how important they are in making this world a better place in which to live.

When every child in America feels safe and nurtured by everyone in the school community, every child will grow stronger in the knowledge that America is truly the land of the free, home of the brave.

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Now What?

Chalkbeat reports, “U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday that the federal government is obligated to intervene if states fail to address the rising number of students who are boycotting mandated annual exams.”

The article continues, “A federal education department spokeswoman said last week that the agency could withhold funding from states if some of their districts have too few students take the exams, but that it has not yet done so because states have addressed the issue on their own.”

The agency is the United States Federal Government.

The agency is supported by tax dollars collected from United States citizens.

The agency is withholding money from school districts, the agency is withholding tax dollars, collected from American citizens, as a punitive measure against citizens who choose not to subject their children to Common Core testing that has no relevance other than to line the pockets of “hedgehogs”.

Our United States government is publically declaring that they will use tax dollars to coerce States and LEA’s to follow the Common Core program “or else”.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan feels it is his obligation to threaten school districts to force parents to comply with “mandatory” testing procedures.

The groundswell of solidarity against the Common Core is causing the Education Department concern because they can no longer guarantee the “hedgehogs” their profits.

Now we must take advantage of the momentum gained and fight to change the language of the system.

We must take this opportunity to refocus the intent of education so that ALL of America’s children will receive an excellent education.

We must, as a state and then as a nation, rebel against a government that would turn against its citizens, using bullying tactics to force compliance to a system of education whose only objective is to create “workers”.

We must provide every child in America the opportunity to discover, develop, and direct their individual gifts and talents towards becoming a knowledgeable, actively engaged citizen so that we can begin to realize the freedoms for which so many have fought and died.

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