Going Well

All still seems to be going well. On Wednesday, I just went in late and read, like before. On Thursday, however, it was the Science MSL, and I decided to test it — so, I went in on time, and just sat down with everyone else, but didn’t touch the testing materials and pulled out a book instead. Eventually, the proctor came over and basically just said that she had to take my test papers if I was going to read. Friday, I just went in late again.

As far as I know, there aren’t any repercussions this year, grades or otherwise, and the next makeups are Monday and Tuesday (according to my guidance counselor). So, coming in late every testing day appears to be a (so far) foolproof way of getting out of testing if you don’t want to have pressure and refuse it. I will say, though, if you’re going to do this, it’s a really good idea to bring either a long book, or a couple extras. Because if you finish your book before testing is over, you’re probably not going to have much to do.

Yesterday Again

Well, the same thing happened today as did yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ve heard that the Math makeups are at the same time, and so I’m just ding the same thing then. I also heard that the other EOG makeups are next Tuesday, so that’s another late day…the question is, are they going to try anything on Thursday, or any day after? I still have mixed answers on whether or not they actually will try to test me on a non-testing and non-makeup day, or even if they can.

I’ve also talked with some people and, apparently, the MSLs do not, in fact, count for a grade…if I hear anything that seems more decisive between now and Thursday, I might consider them, but it looks like no repercussions whatsoever.

Without a Hitch

So, today I walked into school at about 9:45. They notified me that I was late and that I couldn’t take the test with everyone else because of it, and then just said to head on down to the library. That’s all that happened-either there was a lesson learned from the huge fuss last year, being late is just a risk-free way to get out of them, or there is secret plan here I don’t know about.

Tomorrow, I have a dentist appointment in the morning, so I don’t even have to try to be late; on Wednesday, though, I don’t know what time the make-ups are, so I’ll just do the same thing but prepare to refuse the test in case I don’t miss them.

Well, things are going well, though I will admit that I prefer refusal; being late is getting out of them, but refusing to take them shows that I have reason.

Testing Comes Back Around

So…no news on the lunch petition. If something happens, I will let you know. But for now…end of year testing has come back. The big differences: 1. We’ve done this before now, and we have more research at our backs. And 2. MSLs are now being called ‘Final Exams’. It looks like they’re not part of your grade, but I can’t be certain; I’ve definitely heard it both ways. A lot. And as for the EOGs, they’re EOGs, but for seventh to eighth grade, my math EOG scores (opt-out-ers at my school have really low ‘1’s, if you would recall my school’s wonderful policy) will also dictate which math class you are in the next year.

I’ve heard that if you miss some of the testing days, including the make-up EOG day, then they can’t test you after that. And if they can in fact, then I’ll fall back on refusal to test (like last year). Can’t be sure how it’ll go, but it should be easier than last year.

Oh, and here’s the testing schedule for next week (at least, for my grade in my school): Monday-Math EOG. Tuesday-Language Arts EOG. Wednesday-EOG makeups. Thursday-Science Final Exam. And Friday-Social Studies Final Exam. Yeah, that’s right, testing all week.

Alright then…unless something happens between then and now, the earliest I’ll be able to write about how it went down is after school on Monday.

Everything according to plan, write to you then! Have a wonderful (and hopefully not stressful) weekend.

Videos From L.A.

Here are two videos from L.A.

My favorite part of the fists one is the end of number 45, at about 7:30:00.

06-18-13RegularBd – Jun 18th, 2013.

Favorite part of this next one: about 5:34:20, Steven Zimmer talks passionately about class sizes and such.

http://lausd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=58

However, those are only very small parts of both videos; all of both are still absolutely worth watching!

Video: Parent Trigger Explained

Bah…it’s late and I am sleepy.  Zoe, Quinn and I worked hard on this video outlining what our sense of things is after researching the Parent Trigger as applied in the state of CA.  We read through reams of online pages.  And honestly, there are many sides to this issue…ahem…to this “law”.  It can be applied in ways that make sense.  But what the heck are corporations doing enacting laws regarding education.  If there isn’t a profit to be gleaned, by the very definition of Return On Investment (ROI), no corporation is going to support this kind of law without an expected return.  The ROI here is to turn your children, my children, our children into one of these:

$$$$$$

Children who legally must attend school are not a revenue stream for a public school.  The money that goes with each child to their school in the form of taxes barely covers costs because of what politician’s and elected officials do with it.  But for a corporation, for a corporate charter school system…children become a source of revenue.  A guaranteed source of revenue for 12 years per child.  Corporate America, it isn’t just for selling stuff anymore…now education is business.  How do you encourage parents to ‘see the light’ and put their children into a charter school run by a corporation?  One way is to put corporate money into a front that appears to be all about parental rights, while all along you are just getting them to help your company open up the schoolhouse doors for guaranteed revenue.  When we looked at the website for Parent Revolution and Parent Trigger we were all scratching our heads.  We were sitting there reading it and just flabbergasted.  It is so transparent that it makes no sense that anyone would believe it, let alone be duped into actually trusting it.  It’s a crazy world out there folks.

More Problems With Opting Out in NC

Around 2 days ago, we learned of another case of exactly what had happened to me (Zoe) when I tried to opt out, also in North Carolina. The girl in question was taken out of school because her principal told her that as long as she was in school, they had to test her; same story. About a minute or two ago, I sent an email to this girl’s mother about what I did and how to get out of it relatively cleanly. Below is the email, of course with the names taken out.

Also, and this is Zoe here, it doesn’t matter what the principal says. My principal also said that she would be required to test me. You know what I didn’t do? Care. What the school actually is required to do is give your daughter the test. ********, however, is not required to take it.
The thing is, ******** has to be strong enough in her beliefs about not taking the test so that when she is given the test, because she will be given the test, she can just sit there and not touch it. That is what I did. I was given the test, all right. There is no way that I know of to get out of that one. However, I wouldn’t touch it. I just sat there and wouldn’t even lift my pencil.
It doesn’t matter what the principal says she’ll do. ******** just has to be certain about what she’ll do when given that  test.

Thanks and good luck,
Zoe

It’s true. It doesn’t matter what the principal says they’ll do. It just matters that you know what you’ll do when given that test.

A Booklet, Protests, Gandhi, MLK and Education in the USA.

Plainly and simply I just want to encourage people to read this…

Booklet for Legislators

It is from Utah.  Put together by these FOLKS.  Why read it if you are not from Utah?  It is chock full of incredible information about what is happening with the Common Core…how it originated.  All of the answers to many of your questions can be found here.  It is Utah specific in some spots.  But really the overall agenda is a national one and it is made clear in this pamphlet written for Utah legislators.

Our Blue Hats are off to these men and women who are working so diligently.  They are super organized!

There is one thing I want to point out though.  It is a problem I have with many anti-common core movements.  It is here, in this quote from the booklet…

“Representing thousands of Utahans, we implore you as legislators to try
freedom. Release school districts from education mandates and let them adopt
whatever high standards they want to set for the children in their care. It’s not
too late to protect Utah and preserve local control of education.”

The problem that I have?  Too many movements are still asking for freedom instead of just reclaiming it.  I hate to sound like an agitator.  But when someone seeks to remove your freedom without asking you…they aren’t likely to ever give it back because you asked nicely.  I asked my local school to let my daughter opt out of standardized testing that was Common Core aligned and they said we were breaking the law.  I  asked nicely more than once…they said no.  Finally…we just behaved within our freedoms, our moral freedoms, and they had to concede.  Gandhi didn’t ask for Britain to leave India alone.  Martin Luther King Jr, didn’t say “please”.  These men led people towards retaking their rightful freedoms and without untold numbers of people being willing to stand up for what was right and not what was “legal”….nothing would have ever changed.  We have a moral imperative to behave in a way that is ethical, peaceful…and that protects the education of our children.  Asking permission to do so, asking for legislators to look out for us AFTER they have sold us down the river, isn’t likely to work.  Parents and teachers and schools must have a coordinated, peaceful, respectful but firm complete shunning of what is NOT working and damn the protests and lamentations of those passing down CCSI on our schools.

Taking back our schools isn’t defiant of us.  It is just returning things to how they were before they began trying to control everything.  What we need, is a new way to stage protests and actions where teachers will not lose their jobs for teaching in ways that are appropriate, creative, and educationally rich.  To be clear, I do find merit in asking and going through appropriate channels.  But at this late stage in the game, a whole new field is required before all is lost.  That is my ten cents worth this evening…

(please forgive any typos…tis late and I am weary!)

-Charlie

A Note From Tami Pyfer

Recently, we received this comment from Tami Pyfer on our blog:

“This video was eye-opening – most states have mechanisms for alternative testing for students with disabilities and I’m wondering why NC does not.

I’m confused about how/why you are connecting assessment issues, like the one in this video, to the Common Core Standards. Standards do not equal assessments. Standards do not equal curriculum. Standards are simply minimum expectations for what a student will learn at each grade level. Some students may achieve more, and some students – especially those with disabilities – may learn less. Effective educational programs will accommodate for both ends of the spectrum. A state may have one adopted set of standards/expectations for all of the schools in the state, but in many (most?) states, the curriculum is left up to the individual schools. In our state, we’ve had minimum standards for decades. Setting the standards and developing the state assessments are the responsibility of the State Board of Education, while the curriculum is developed/designed/adopted by local school districts and charter schools. We also have a completely separate assessment system for students with disabilities like the child in this video.

Lumping the Common Core State Standards in with the inappropriate assessment practices tied with No Child Left Behind and highlighted in this video, doesn’t make sense, although it’s a common tactic being used by people who don’t understand how different states are/are not implementing the Common Core standards. Unfortunately, waiving the anti-Common Core flag is simply a distraction to the (worthy) battle you are waging for the appropriate use, and not misuse of assessment in our schools.”

We did not approve the comment on the blog, and the next day, we received an email from her asking why the comment was not showing up.  I did not approve her message to appear on our blog because something felt funny to me.

When Tami wrote to us again, Zoe and I did a bit of research on Tami Pyfer, and we found a BLOG with an email correspondence between her and someone concerned about the Common Core being applied in the state of Utah.  Here is the link where you can read more about Tami.

Below is the email correspondence, with Tami’s writing in bold italics and Anissa’s just in italics:

Dear Governor & Board,

It is my understanding that there is a way for Utah to get out of Common Core  so that we are free of any strings attached. The ESEA flexibility request window shuts down Sept. 6, 2012.  Does this mean we have to resubmit our waiver request before then, or lose the option of doing loophole option 2 forever?

Is the Board considering this? Now would be the time to decide. Please discuss this at this Friday’s meeting. Please respond to me with more information.

Thanks!

Anissa Wardell

——————————————————————————————————-

Personally, I have no intention of unadopting the new math and ELA common core standards. We are already “string free” and it’s unfortunate that some groups feel otherwise.

Tami Pyfer

——————————————————————————————————-

Tami,

If we really are string free, would you kindly show proof of that? I have done a great deal of research on my own, outside of those you refer to and from what I can see, we are not string free. The math standards are horrible! I am going to have to pay hundreds of dollars this year alone for my 6th grader so that she will be ready for Algebra. Utah’s math standards were already better and were more understandable than what we have just adopted.

While I have this audience, I also want the Board (and everyone else on the list) to know that as a parent I want cursive writing to stay in our state curriculum.

Please provide all of us evidence to back up your understanding.

Thank you,

Anissa

———————————————————————————————————

I appreciate your passion, but the “evidence” has been presented in a variety of public forums numerous times. Your disagreement with the facts does not change them. I will continue to respond to my constituents who are truly looking for answers to their questions regarding our core standards.

Tami Pyfer

——————————————————————————————————–

Tami,

Well thank you Tami. You have not answered my question, and if there is proof I honestly would like to see it. You incorrectly assume that I do not want true answers. If there is this information and it has been provided many times, please tell me where I can find it.

It is answers like yours that are frustrating for constituents. I will continue to ask for answers. I never said we have to agree, I am searching for answers and because you are a board member and you have been entrusted with the mantle to ensure high quality curriculum standards and instruction, and because you are supposed to represent your constituents, I expect you to live up to that.

Anissa

 

———————————————————————————

So, reader, there are many things we could say.  The main and only thing we want to say is that when Tami first wrote to us she did not say who she actually was, and we had a feeling that the comment’s author was someone involved with enforcing Common Core.  Her omission of this fact is why we did not want to approve her comment.  But with the proper context for her comment now clear, we are fine sharing it here.  Zoe and I debated a lot about how to present this or if we should at all.  This is the result.  Definitely food for thought…

Update and Video: NC Mother of Autistic Child Fights EOG’s

It’s late.  About 2 AM now.  The email from Michelle I did not see until after my kids were asleep.  My kids are night owls.  They may make great grades in school, but you would never know it from the late hours they keep.  So at about 12:30 when the house was finally quiet I was checking email before turning in and there was one from Michelle.  We have been in touch before, via phone.  She was seeking support to get the word out about her situation.  Her situation was something I wrote about previously HERE.  I shook the trees and was really sure that she would be “allowed” to Opt Out, after all, she is only about 10 miles away…surely the school system could not be that different over there.  My reasoning was that since Zoe and I called the state’s bluff here in Orange County, that once Michelle told the school she was not having her son tested that the same thing would happen..they would back down.

What is particularly onerous about her situation is that the school, School Board and Superintendent are going so far out of their way to force her Autistic son to take this test.  No offense meant, but Michelle has guaranteed me that her son cannot pass any version of a state EOG.  They are essentially forcing her son to take a test that he will fail.  This is in light of the fact that his school year has been filled with success.  Michelle went to some lengths to describe to me how many victories there have been for her son this year.  She describes many of them in the video.  I am sharing this video for two reasons.  Michelle personally asked me to do what I could to expose what is happening.  Secondly, this situation truly calls into the light and exaggerates just how misguided testing has become under NCLB and CCS.  Standardized Testing hurts teachers. It reduces the hard work and efforts of your child’s teacher into an assessment designed by people who will NEVER meet either your child or their teacher.  All the amazing things that happened in that classroom…like they have for Michelle’s son, deserve credit.  But with a standardized test, there is none.  The way the Common Core is set up, all that good stuff gets thrown under the school bus.  Testing is all that seems to count.  This is a slap in the face of how hard teachers work.

In fact, under CCS, standardized tests that are scored low, actually count against teachers.  Under Standard 6, teachers are being tested and given a grade based upon how their student’s performed.  Hasn’t this gone far enough already folks?  When you have a school Superintendent arguing with a parent that their autistic child is federally required to take a test that is going to make the teacher look bad and will make the student look like a failure…this is not educational.  All that anyone learns by being silent on this issue is how easily we tend to just go on with our lives, without saying a word about things that we know are not right.  Now is a great time to do something different.  It doesn’t matter what state you live in.  Watch the video.  Do something.  If you really want to support public education and the profession of teaching, overturn federally mandated testing and encourage the end of the Common Core Standards.