WANTED: Progressive Candidate With the Guts to Stand Up For Public Education

Wish you were here….




Progressive presidential candidate.


No. Not just the words. Not as a soundbite. Must actually support policies that help public schools – not tear them apart and sell them away piece-by-piece while you smile and brag about how much you support education.

This means you must:

1) Repudiate and Vow to Repeal Common Core State Standards

-Must know how they were created by unqualified partisans with little input from real educators.

-Cash strapped states were coerced into accepting them – in many cases even before they were done being written – as a condition for increased funding.

-They have never been proven to help kids learn and are in fact a massive social experiment at taxpayers’ expense and students’ peril.

-They are a huge payday for the testing and test prep industry who provide the new standardized assessments and new textbooks necessary for their implementation.


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DIBELS Raises Common Core Cut Scores to Show More Students Below Grade Level

Anyone else thinking that this is really getting out of hand? Key quote here, “There is no money to be made in labeling children as successful…”


Yesterday, I wrote a piece on Fountas and Pinnell. It was clear that the newly identified below grade level readers were not a result of a sudden reading crisis, but a shifting of F & P cut scores.

Rupert Murdoch (who once claimed ed was a $500 billion industry) and happens to own DIBELS, also decided to raise the bar for children. Under the guise of Common Core, the cut scores for DIBELS have been changed. For instance, pre Common Core a 1st grader was expected to read 40-64 words per minute. Under the Common Core, they are now expected to read 69+ words per minute.

There is no money to be made in labeling children as successful, but labeling them failures has continued to fuel the perceived crisis in education and increases profits.

I was in finance before I became a teacher. If someone tried to push this…

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Help Fund Anti-PARCC Billboards in New Jersey

Great to see Diane Ravitch helping out! Every dollar counts!

Diane Ravitch's blog

A reader posted this link to a billboard fund in New Jersey. Help get the word out to New Jersey parents. Send a gift of any size to help.

Funny, I was thinking about the millions that the rightwing “Center for Union Facts” has available to buy huge billboards in Times Square and full-page ads in the New York Times to attack unions and teachers. And here is a campaign to raise $8,000 and change. If everyone who reads this blog sends in $10, the organizers of the campaign will meet their goal.

Meanwhile, if you want to get involved, think of direct action, people power, demonstrations and sit-ins that cost nothing but show the strength of our numbers and the power of our ideas.

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Dear PARCC, Can We Talk?


This is the first in what I hope will be a series of regular contributions by guest bloggers on this site. This was written by Justin Escher Alpert, an attorney from Livingston, New Jersey. I’ve met Justin briefly a couple of times now, and I came across this piece in a Facebook group. I am sharing it here with his permission.

Dear Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC):

The reason that you failed… the reason that parents across the country are rising up and organizing against your standardized test… it is not a matter of a bad roll-out… it is not a matter of bad PR. The reason that you failed is philosophical… Your standards did not account for real-world innovation.

Let’s together take a look at an actual PARCC Sample Question from the Grade Three Mathematics Practice Test:

“A library has 126 books about trees.

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Songer: Is PARCC Developmentally Inappropriate for High School Students?

Very interesting lexile comparisons here.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Gerri K. Songer of the Illinois Township High School, District 214, conducted a Lexile analysis of the PARCC assessment and what she found was very alarming. The reading levels embedded in the assessment are absurdly high. Many young people will fail the PARCC test because it is developmentally inappropriate for high school students.

What exactly is the point of writing a test at a level that large numbers of students are guaranteed to fail? What will be the consequences for their teachers, who will be rated ineffective based on a test that is not written for high school students? As Songer writes: “Efforts can be made by educators to raise the level of reading comprehension, yet there is not much teachers can do to change the natural development of the human brain.” If she is right in her analysis, then PARCC is not only developmentally inappropriate but is designed…

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Secrets of Test Success at Success Academy

I think the phrase that practically jumped off the page was, “…at the expense of actual learning.”  How are we allowing this to go on in our educational system in America? After reading Diane’s blog, I feel this is all the more reason for parents to encourage their children to “opt out” from standardized testing.  If we can stop the incessant testing, many of the problems we face in education today will be diminished greatly.  “Success Charters” will have to resort to actual teaching, teachers will be able to utilize what they KNOW to be best practices in teaching and learning, students will actually return to liking school and perhaps we will still have a chance to produce well rounded, well educated, productive members of society with the ability to think critically and independently. What a novel idea.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Eva Moskowitz, an attorney who served on the New York City Council and was chair of the education committee, opened her own chain of charter schools in Harlem in 2006. Moskowitz is an interesting, brilliant woman with a Ph.D. in history. Her chain initially was called Harlem Success Academy, but has since been renamed Success Academy, presumably because it is now moving into other neighborhoods. Her schools regularly win editorial plaudits from the city’s tabloids for their high scores. In this article in The New Yorker, it appears that she has the “secret sauce” to overcome poverty and send the poorest kids to college. According to the New Yorker article, her chain spends over $1 million a year on marketing–such as direct mail, ads on buses and bus stop shelters, flyers, etc.– which pumps up the number of applicants for the schools and helps to build the chain’s reputation…

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