Thursday, May 8, 2014

This is not a test...

A SMALLTALK SALUTE goes out to teacher/author/activist Jose Vilson, whose book, This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, was released yesterday. A definite must-read for educators in need of a little inspiration in these difficult times, Jose's memoir traces his experiences growing up in New York City, his education in the city (and later, in New York State – at Syracuse University), and his return to the classroom as a NYC math teacher. It also stands as a powerful critique of Common Core testing madness.

You can also keep up with Jose's JLV Blog here which includes his take on the recent N.Y. contract agreement.

OBAMA'S TEST PREP MESSAGE is mixed, writes Ross Brenneman in Edweek Teacher. Every once in a while the President will take a poke at teachers who teach to the test.
But while the president may have a view of teaching that involves more than test results, his administration's policies have arguably failed to focus attention beyond that aspect.
Case in point, the punishing of Washington State, where the role of standardized testing in teacher evaluation has been de-emphasized. Arne Duncan reacted last month by revoking the state's NCLB waiver which leaves it schools open to the DOE's failed system of test-based rewards and punishments.

Isn't it time for Duncan's departure?

CHICAGO TEACHERS SAY NO TO COMMON CORE... There's no mixed messages coming from the CTU when it comes to CCSS and the profiteering and testing madness that comes with it. Yesterday, the union's  House of Delegates unanimously passed a resolution that unites the city’s teachers with growing national opposition to the Common Core State Standards, saying the assessments disrupt student learning and consume tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration.
“I agree with educators and parents from across the country, the Common Core mandate represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, a nationally board certified teacher. “Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom and impedes collaboration. We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.” --CTUnet
Now that the resolution has passed, the CTU will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core for teaching and assessment. You can read the entire resolution here. It's worth reprinting and circulating. Hopefully many more locals will follow suit.

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