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Sunday, April 2, 2017

540 days without learning for the love of money



Remember a public-school child for people over 50 had only 6 days of testing. The children of the wealthy, the powerful, and the connected don't attend our public schools, so standardized testing never really mattered much to them. For Public school students previous to the 1970’s testing happened 3 times during their K-12 years. Testing happen once in elementary school, once in middle school, once in high schools, and each time for no more than 2 days. We lost 6 days of learning. As NCLB and RTT came into full swing teachers began to inform me that were spending 8-12 weeks of school taking, preparing, and practicing for these test every year. That means Children today spend 540 days not learning. 540 days equals 3 years of learning. Trust me for Black, Brown, Special Education, and Poor children 540 days is a low estimate. Many schools are so obsessed with testing they were reducing and eliminating PE, Art, Music, and history. Schools in our poorest communities began focusing on isolated reading, writing, and math almost exclusively under No Child Left Behind, and under Race To The Top they increased that focus. As a Literacy expert my thinking is this over emphasis on testing, isolated literacy and math skills is actually turning children off reading and writing. This over emphasis on testing demoralizes teachers, and harms our children. It is one of the major reasons for many of our growing behavior problems in our public schools in my professional opinion. I have spoken out at every chance I could find since 2002. I have lobbied policy makers and legislators to end this testing madness that took away 3 years of learning. None of them listened. So I decided to walk from Connecticut to DC to protest high-stakes testing in 2010. Some 40o miles over 40 days. On that walk I met teachers, parents, and students who confirmed, the loss of learning time, and the harm it was doing to children and teachers. In 2015 I walked again to protest ESSA, because it changes nothing, and again teachers and parents reported the problems under ESSA have exacerbated the problem. Three things learned from fighting this insane testing policy: 1. First the only time, policy makers and politicians force draconian school policies on our public schools is when money is pouring into their campaign chests. 2. The reason it continues is not parents, teachers, and students have remained silent and apathetic. 3. None of this is about our children, it is 540 days of not learning for the love of money! Fight the power, Jesse The Walking Man Turner Barry Lane’s We Found Defiance link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRffCk8cRNQ

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