Sunday, April 26, 2015

More PARCC drivel from the NJ Star Ledger

Oh my! The NJ DOE shill Star Ledger editorial board is at it again. Today's propaganda piece is about Education Commissioner Hespe's proposed punishments for school districts that don't hit the 95% participation rate on PARCC, the magical test that can determine if your third grader will get into the college of their choice (it just won't help you pay for it). 
The exam is like an MRI for education. It can tell us where kids are failing and help diagnose the problem, even when it's hidden in an otherwise well-performing district. But because parents in more affluent communities have become increasingly suspicious of the state test itself — not unlike the overwrought side-eye given to childhood vaccines — what's now at risk is funding for kids who are most vulnerable.
WHAT?! "An MRI for education"? Vaccine refusers? Government more concerned about students not taking a deeply flawed and harmful test than they are about children not getting life-saving vaccinations? Did somebody put Crazy in the water?! I'm sorry, please excuse me while I clean up the coffee I just spit out, and adjust the antenna on the tin foil hat Tom Moran accuses me of wearing. I've simply got to find the comedy channel source of his claim. 




And we're back.

Yea, I couldn't find any legitimate, researched and vetted sources to back up his claim. But there's plenty out there from organizations who are profiting from this CCRAP.

According to Hespe, a school that fails to hit the 95% cut off could be put on a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that would include holding parent PARCC information meetings and face-to-face meetings with refusing parents. Like that's going to change things. Schools hold informational meetings all the time and some parents don't show up. Schools hold face-to-face meetings with parents all the time (they're called parent-teacher conferences) and some parents don't show up. What are they going to do? Send armed guards to drag the parents out? Subpoena them? You laugh, but in this altered reality of education 'reform', I wouldn't rule it out.

But, if any of those parents do show up at these meetings, I hope they will print out a copy of this list of must-ask questions and demand answers, and remind school officials of what NJ State BOE President, Mark Biedron, said at the January meeting:

"We know we can't force any kid to put their hands on a keyboard." 

Moran continues...
Hespe says he is "not going to default to a 'you didn't do it, you lose money'" attitude, because it rarely helps kids in the end. He's right. Let's hope he follows through on that pledge. We shouldn't punish the neediest kids for the misguided actions of parents who feel they have nothing to lose.
But it's perfectly okay "to punish the neediest kids for the misguided actions of" adults who want to starve their schools of resources so they can 'fail' and be flipped to charters. If Moran is so concerned about "funding for kids who are most vulnerable", why isn't he shouting from the rooftops about the $6 billion in education funding cuts under the Christie administration? (For more on the egregious cuts to NJ school funding, go to Jersey Jazzman or Dr. Bruce Baker's blogs.) 

More from Jersey Jazzman
Unless and until these fine, reformy folk are willing to stand up and demand that schools serving poor children get the funds they need, I don't want to hear any more of their tut-tutting at middle-class white people for opting their children out of standardized testing. 
And their mouthpieces in the press and the bloggosphere and the think tanks — those who consistently ignore the problem of inadequate and unfair school funding — don't even deserve acknowledgment. Their indifference to the plight of impoverished children in underfunded schools, all while looking down their noses at those who opt their children out, speaks volumes. (emphasis mine)
And no SL education op-ed would be complete without attacking and blaming teachers: 
The teachers' union that has been whipping up hysteria about this test is now accusing the state of "threats and intimidation." 
Well, Tom, what else would you call a policy that threatens and intimidates schools, educators and students? Oh right: "an MRI for education".

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
It doesn't matter that the test is flawed. It doesn't matter that the test is developmentally inappropriate, especially for special needs students. It doesn't matter that the test is not diagnostic. It doesn't matter that teachers, parents and students won't be able to see the answers. It doesn't matter that the prep and administration of this test has taken countless instructional hours out of the school day. It doesn't matter that school districts are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on tech upgrades for this unfunded mandate. It doesn't matter that many students have purposely thrown their test answers because they know it doesn't count for them this year. It doesn't matter that many teachers' jobs will be on the line because of those thrown tests. It doesn't matter that this test was never properly vetted nor piloted... None of that matters because according to Moran, this test is the 'Great White Hope', that will finally defeat poverty in our mostly minority, urban areas. (Adding: while lining the pockets of the edupreneurs)

And as long as Tom Moran and the Star Ledger editorial board keep writing this CCRAP, I will keep saying it. As the parent-led opt-out movement grows, more and more parents are realizing just how much mainstream media is responsible for propagating this drivel.  

ADDING: It seems Jersey Jazzman and I were on the same tin foil channel today. At the same time I posted this, he posted this.