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Sunday, April 2, 2017

540 days without learning for the love of money

In the old days
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 happens 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.
These days
As NCLB and RTT came into full swing teachers began to inform me that we're spending 8-12 weeks of school taking, preparing, and practicing for these tests 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.
Love of Money drives this madness

As a Literacy expert, my thinking is this overemphasis on testing, isolated literacy and math will actually turn 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.
We need education leaders walking and talking With children, parents, and teachers about abusive testing

I have spoken out at every chance I could find since 2002. I have lobbied policymakers 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, policymakers 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 too many 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! Rise up parents, Rise up teachers, Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Professor of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Childhood Education Barry Lane’s We Found Defiance link

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