Standardized Tests Are Not Objective Measures of Anything


If you teach a kid, birthed a kid, are a kid, used to be a kid, or are planning to rely on today’s kids to whip this planet and its inhabitants back into shape, please read every word of this. And then tell everyone you know to read every word of this. Thank you, Steven Singer.

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When it comes to standardized tests, most people are blinded by science.

Or at least the appearance of science.

Because there is little about these assessments that is scientific, factual or unbiased.

And that has real world implications when it comes to education policy.

First of all, the federal government requires that all public school children take these assessments in 3-8th grade and once in high school. Second, many states require teachers be evaluated by their students’ test scores.

Why?

It seems to come down to three main reasons:

1) Comparability
2) Accountability
3) Objectivity

COMPARABILITY

First, there is a strong desire to compare students and student groups, one with the other.

We look at learning like athletics. Who has shown the most success, and thereby is better than everyone else?

This is true for students in a single class, students in a single grade, an…

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Want to Change the World?


With your help, ALL kids can believe they can!

I do.

More than anything.

I want to help erase Inequality, Inequity, Racism, and Biases of all kinds from the face of this Earth.

I’m just a teeny drop in the bucket, but if you’re so inclined, you can add a drop to the bucket by supporting a GoFundMe campaign that aims to fill the buckets of some kids at my new school. I will add more to this post later; in the meantime, I invite you to check out my campaign below:

https://www.gofundme.com/WantToChangeTheWorld 

Peace and Equity, Friends.

 

The Children are Listening. Still.


untitled-image-26The children WERE listening. Heard by me during school bus duty yesterday: (from a fourth grader) “He hates Black people, we’re all gonna die.” (from a 2nd grader in place of the usual good morning greeting) “Ms. Frisella, we’re doomed!” (from another 2nd grader) “He hates Black people and women.” (from the daughter of upstanding citizens, Haitian immigrants) “My brother says they’re gonna come to the door and take my parents back to Haiti.”

All of the above: beautiful, frightened, Black children.
Teachers, parents, everyone???
We’ve got a lot of work to do. Our kids are scared.
Get it together and start talking nice.

Give our kids ways to talk about the election in ways that make them feel safe and heard. Allay the fears-maybe by asking them things like, “So, moving forward, what are things we can do to make your life (this community, this country, the world) a better, more peaceful place? What actions can we take together that will make you feel safe?” Take away the helpless feeling of fear and replace it with positive action.

There is NO excuse for the United States to have had children living in fear yesterday because of the Presidential election results. The grownups did this (no finger-pointing; people in all parties are guilty of the animosity, of crafting fear-inciting ads, of sharing mean-spirited posts and un-fact-based “facts”,  of re-posting great uncle Frank’s “share if you agree!” memes, and of the unkind kitchen table talk- and remember I teach elementary school and “S/he did it FIRST!” bounces right off teachers), and shame on us.

United States, people. Yep, for more than half of us, our candidate didn’t win. We have to move forward and do our best to make the best of an unwanted situation. That’s harder to do for little hearts and minds.

United States. How about we let our kids be kids? How about we stop scaring them? There’s something more important than anybody’s need to post or say something inflammatory.

What, you ask? What’s bigger than my need to make a point on Facebook and burn that old high school classmate who disagrees with me so I can give myself a little false validation? What’s more precious than me using my frantic little typing fingers to put someone down so I can feel superior for just one second?

Children.
They are listening. They have been all along, and they’ve been hearing some pretty scary stuff from us-from those of us whose sacred duty is to look out for them. Teachers, parents, grandparents, mentors and elected officials.

They’re afraid, and for many of them, rightfully so. What are we going to do to make them feel safe and heard?

What are YOU going to do to make them safe?

Peace, friends. untitled-image

 

“Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School


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Let them play.

Every so often I come across a post whose truth needs to be read by as many people as possible. I’m posting this here, I’m tweeting it, and I’m posting to my Facebook page, and I encourage you to link to the story as well. Click the link below for the full post, and thank you Brett Gustafson for sharing this!

by Brett Gustafson As a principal for the last 13 years, I have come to the realization that the biggest threat to the emotional and academic well-being of our children is me – maybe not me persona…

Click for full piece:

“Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School

This is me, 2016.


                                 peace cat.jpg

I am planning to post on a regular basis this year (though I’ve been posting pretty regularly every 4-6 months; let me amend this to: I plan to post on a regular, more frequent basis this year). While there still may be a lack of rhyme/reason to post themes, there will be several areas about which I’ll want to write, get your opinions, or ask for your advice:

  • Education. The political side, or the classroom side. I teach Elementary age children of poverty, and have for my entire 32-year career. I am currently serving as the Music Teacher and Gifted Ed teacher at my school.
  • Philosophy/Politics. I am a left-leaning, born-too-late-to-be-a-real-hippie liberal, so my posts will reflect that.
  • I’m going to share more about some chronic health issues that have hit me like a sledgehammer over the last few years-Diabetes (the newest) and Asthma being the two that have hit me hardest. I will share how I’m dealing, and probably ask for a lot of advice (with the DISCLAIMER! I am not a doctor, and I know that you are not, so anything we share with each other will NOT be construed for, or be intended to replace, advice from actual medical professionals). Neither one of this conditions is actually under control, so you may hear a tinge of frustration as I write about them.
  • Cats. Of course.

And my kid. Of course.

So the 2016 Journey begins. Hope you’ll hang with me and maybe we’ll have some great discussions and learn some good stuff on the way.

Peace, friends, and Happy New Year!

Teach students to care about others instead of measuring how they compare to each other


Heartfelt post about the Test Mess

This post.  Not my work, but it’s what I would have said, though maybe not as eloquently. Read and share if you would-if you know/are a teacher, parent, or student, you know how vital it is to return to the REAL priorities in education…and in life.

 

Bubble, Schmubble


This letter, from my friend and colleague Jenny, should be read by teachers and parents alike. After you read it, share it with a teacher, an administrator, your local School Board, and your legislators. These heartfelt words can help keep the tide turning away from profiteering and back toward what’s best for children.

Stop, Take a breath. Read this.
Stop, Take a breath. Read this.

Dear Teachers,

As I walk the halls and parking lots of our schools I hear your cautious voices, your pleas to make sense of political madness, and your cries to create an educational system that makes sense again. I can see your tired eyes and your worry lines. I know that you are balancing the needs of my children, the demands of rigor, and the pressures of high stakes testing and accountability. I know you feel like you cannot do everything. I know that too often you feel you are failing someone – and most days, you are sad to admit, that it is children whom you fail the most. I see and hear your daily struggles between what is right for children and what is asked of you. And so I am writing to tell each of you to stop. Stop playing a game you will never win and start standing up for children.

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