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Monday, December 16, 2013

Fight the power Opt Out people & CT BAT "Love-in" Valentine's campaign

First the big lie
No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top advocates have pushed our nation into a unprecedented high-stakes testing frenzy. They have spent over a trillion dollars on education reforms rooted in testing and standards since 2002. Their mantra is higher standards and more rigorous standards will improve our schools. Fact number 1, we have seen this argument used in some form for over a hundred years, and it has failed every time. If it had worked we wouldn't be having this discussion.
I compare it to those claims of outlandish cancer cure all clinics that pop up continuously on the Internet. In the end, they leave families more devastated by false hopes, not cured, and broke. We should asked: If someone had the cure for cancer would they really be hard to find?
The world  of high-stakes testing"fixes it all" is not much different than those cancer cure all scams. When we follow these claims the only thing rising is the cost not the cures.
Getting back to our current love affair with high-stakes testing. Something policy makers don't want you to know, or conveniently neglect to mention when discussing high-stakes testing. In the field of psychometrics, for nearly 40 years now the study of standardized testing leads to this one warning: Campbell’s Law.
Campbell's Law says: "The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it was intended to monitor." (1976) You cannot study assessment without learning about Campbell's law, and the negative effects of using quantitative measures for decision making. However in my humble opinion, it appears you can be the United States Secretary of Education, and miss it altogether. Our current Secretary Arne Duncan, and his two predecessors Secretary Spellings, and Page have ignoring it while spending over a trillion dollars on it since 2002 without ever once thinking about Campbell's law. It their policies had worked we wouldn't be talking about new testing and new standards again via the common Core.

Parents are not helpless
What can parents do when the politically connected and the powerful create education policy that ignores Campbell's law? My advice parents is to fight the power, and Opt Out. Second tell the powers that be why you have decided to opt out your child publicly. Only a massive resistance by parents will end this current nightmare, before we spend another trillion dollars on the same old, same old "testing fixes it all" part 2. For more information on opting out:

Not ready to Opt Out.
Well here is something else parents might consider doing. Please consider joining our little Valentines Day Love-in protest.  I am inviting all parents, teachers, and students to join in a Connecticut BATs Valentines Day resistance protest against these policy makers who continue to reduce our children to test scores. It does not matter in what state you live in really. I am inviting parents every where to join our Valentines Love-In. The Valentine's message is I love learning, but hate your test. 
How can parents get involved? 
It's simple, it can be done at one family at a time, or in small community gatherings.
Required supplies
1. Valentines Day card, commercial, or better yet home made cards,
2. One envelope addressed to President Obama (1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500)
3. Another address to the governor of your state, (a simple google search will help you locate it.
4. Another for your school principal, (deliver this one to his/her mailbox at school yourself)
5. Crayons and papers,
6. Two stamps,
7. Selfie picture of you and your child addressing your cards. (if you are on Facebook consider sharing your selfie in your status.
8. Send the selfie to your principal with his/her card,
9. Talk to your child about the fact that 30 years from now no one will remember their test scores,
10. End with a conversation about how no one has ever come up with a standardized test to measure love. Share the love people, share the love, it's the only thing that really matters.  

This blog name indicates it all " Children Are More Than Test Scores.
Still walking,
Still speaking up,
Still advocating for children,
Still agitating for change,
Still walking,
Still advocating for a more humane public schools,
Fight the power,
Jesse The Walking Turner

If you are wondering what I am listening to on my walk today in the snow, it's Barry Lane's "More Than A Number"
If you want to know what I read to inspire today's blog It's Alfie Kohn's Education Week article.


  1. Walking Man would you mind if we added Chicago's Mayor Rahm to the mailing list?

    1. Dear Anoymous, please do. My thinking is we should add mayors every where in the nation. surely they should know how children feel about learning and these tests.
      Love, love, love,