By A.P. Dillon

If it looks like a political stunt and smells like a political stunt, then it stands to reason it is a political stunt.

President Obama’s big shift in rhetoric on testing this past week comes at a politically convenient time.  In a total course reversal, Obama wants a cap that limits the testing on children to 2% or less of their class time. That 2%sounds great, but really it’s not changing anything if one realizes that 2% of a school year’s class time translates to somewhere between 20 to 24 hours worth of testing. Like I said, this is a stunt.

This administration has beaten the drum of ‘test and punish’ for seven years right alongside tying test scores to teacher evaluations — a move that has had teachers unions up in arms nationwide.

What better way to quell the powerful, big donors like teachers unions just prior to a Presidential election year than to offer a ‘testing cap’?

It’s bait in an election cycle where education is taking the main stage with voters.

Likewise, it’s an opportunity for this administration to subtly hit Hillary Clinton over the head again, as she has come out supporting Common Core, which has been anchored to two testing consortia and ‘testing accountability measures’.

This isn’t just about hitting Hillary over the head. It’s also about beating Congress over the head. Again.

Remember, the House pushed forward with the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which strengthens over testing instead of stemming it. The reauthorization also solidified Common Core. It’s a nightmare.

A recent article at Front Page Magazine by Mary Grabar points this out. Here’s an excerpt, but do read the whole thing:

In a smooth move, the Obama administration called on Congress to fix a problem that had been foisted on the people without the consent of Congress—namely the national Common Core standards, even as the widely hated name was scrupulously avoided.  The Obama administration also told teachers to fix tests that they had not devised and were forced to administer.    

In an even smoother move, the New York Times summed up the blame this way:

The administration’s move seemed a reckoning on a two-decade push that began during the Bush administration and intensified under President Obama. Programs with aspirational names — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top — were responding to swelling agreement among Democrats and Republicans that higher expectations and accountability could lift the performance of American students. . . . .”

Alas, the push began “during the Bush administration.”

Shorter: If JEB! needed a final coffin nail, here it comes.

Meanwhile, in Obama’s backyard of  Washington, D.C.,  only 1 in 10 DC students score ‘college ready’ on the new Common Core math tests.  The scores dropped in neighboring Maryland as well.  Let’s not even get into the results for Hispanic students; Obama has that one covered with a forced touchy-feely outreach program.

But for educrats like William Bushaw, who is the director of the agency overseeing the NAEP (Nations Report Card),  the narrative remains the same: Common Core is not to blame.

William Bushaw, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, tried to discourage connecting this year’s test results and Common Core in a telephone call with reporters Tuesday.

NAEP exams, while overlapping with the Common Core standards, are not tied to any specific curriculum or material used in public schools, Bushaw said.

He added that states might not have used Common Core in the same way.

We should not assume the Common Core has been evenly or persistently implemented in the country,” he said.
News and Observer 10/27/15

That’s an AMAZING admission right there, folks.  For the last 5 years, supporters of Common Core have maintained that the standards would be the same — everywhere.

About every five or so years, Educrats and Ed Reformers roll out some shiny new reform. None of these amazing reforms have moved the needle for our kids, nothing has changed for them.  Nothing has changed in the way these reformers window dress the failure of their amazing reform either; perhaps they took deck chair rearranging lessons in a past life.

It was vital kids be able to transfer from state to state and learn the exact same thing, even though the transient student population is less than 2% of the overall student population in the United States.

So not only was Common Core not being implemented the same way, it’s now clear the other major platform of Common Core has crumbled. That platform is consistent comparison of tests from state to state.

But don’t blame Common Core.  It’s the implementation. It’s the tests. It’s anything but the flawed and experimental standards that were rolled out rapid fire in order to yoke states into using them via the Race To The Top grant.

Having said all of that, Obama’s ‘test cap’ is an insulting band-aid on a machete wound that this administration has allowed to fester for the better part of his Presidency.

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Lewis Caroll Through the Looking Glass 1871

The Master:  Oh!  Now I can say I was provoked.

Doctor Who: Utopia 2007

There is nothing in the world more dangerous than an excuse

DaTechGuy

For several years the Atlanta cheating scandal has been percolating first in the local press then in the state press and finally nationally. For those of you who don’t know here is the entire meat and potatoes of it in a nutshell

Thirty-five Atlanta educators, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall, are named in a 65-count indictment that alleges a broad conspiracy involving cheating on standardized tests.

This story broke in 2011 and its worse than it sounds:

Eighty-two of the teachers flat-out confessed. The 800-page report said the cheating has been going on for nearly a decade. It first came to light when the state noticed an alarming number of erasure marks on the answer sheets.

Teachers and principals were erasing the wrong answers and filling in the right ones, the report said. At one school, the faculty even held weekend pizza parties to correct answers before turning them in. Over the course of a single year, scores at the school jumped 45 percent.

“We were told to get these scores by any means necessary,” said Sidnye Fells, a fourth grade teacher. “We were told our jobs were on the line.”

much worse

Moreover, Dr. Beverly L. Hall, a former Atlantic school district superintendent, has been charged with RICO conspiracy — including theft, witness tampering, and making false statements — in the doctoring of student scores on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in order to earn lucrative bonuses for herself and her subordinates.

There were those who resisted, and they paid for it:

Fells told ABC News that teachers who refused to cheat were punished and pushed out. She resigned voluntarily in 2008 partly due to the pressure to cheat.

Today it reached both Morning Joe and Good Morning America.

Did they go on about the greed of the Superintendent trying to get honors & money?

Did they shout about cheating parties and the dishonesty of the teachers involved?

Did they deplore the idea of not even trying to teach these students, mostly of color, who needed to be taught?

Did they lionize the teachers who suffered for refusing to go along with this obscenity?

Of course not! The people involved were democrats, members of the teachers union and people of color. It’s not a narrative that Democrats with bylines the mainstream media can allow. These facts can’t be highlighted by the media any more than the idea that the Catholic Church’s sex scandals were overwhelmingly committed by gay priests.

So what is to blame? Why George Bush!

He pushed the STANDARDIZED tests, the tests caused these poor teachers and administrators to break the rules, they are to blame!

It’s the gun argument all over again, it’s not the fault of the individual it’s the fault of the test that caused the teachers to cheat.

If ONLY we weren’t teaching to standardized tests these teachers and administrators wouldn’t have felt it necessary to bend these rules.

If ONLY we had a holistic approach to education so that actually knowing things wasn’t what being educated was being all about.

If ONLY even more money was being spent on education then all of these things would never happen.

And it’s a great example of the topic I talked about in last week’s subscription commentary. When you abandon the cultural values of Judeo-Christianity that the nation was built on and replace it with utilitarianism OF COURSE the right thing to do is to change the scores because teaching the students isn’t the goal, producing the right numbers to the government to get the financial rewards is.

The mistake of the teachers and administrators however is they approached this entirely the wrong way. They weren’t cheating, they weren’t changing scores, they are simply rejecting “traditional grading” and embracing “esteem grading”

Apparently a large subsection of teachers and administrators for many years have embraced this new definition of “grading” and who are we to force them to confine them to the patriarchal judeo-christian “traditional scoring”?

In fact they should be shouting to the rooftops that they have embraced “esteem grading” as opposed to “traditional grading” and if you don’t join them in that embrace you are just a racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobe gradeophobe who should be shunned by society for your bigotry.

Yeah the current pols show the public are overwhelmingly opposed to “creative grading” but the tide of history is with us.

And do you really want to tell the children of “esteem grading” that their scores aren’t as valid as those who got their scores from “traditional grading”?

Talk about hate speech.

Update:  Due to a type the post said the story broke in 2001 vs 2011 fixed.

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Olimometer 2.52

We come to Tuesday with $60 toward the weekly paycheck and a brand new monthly goal.

That means I only need 12 more people this week to kick in $20 to make our $300 goal.

Now I could of course redefine what my goal is and declare $60 success but unfortunately the holder of my mortgage doesn’t seem to want to go along so some reason.

So instead I’m going to have to start my Tuesday asking you dear reader to consider kicking into DaTipJar so I can still have that $300 paycheck and make a living