Friday, March 13, 2015

My children are not for your profit.

I am refusing the test. "Opting-Out" if you will, of the state mandated Georgia Milestones Assessment for my kids.  In Georgia, the law only mandates that the students be offered the opportunity to test, and my students will be exercising their rights of refusal.

Yes, the test is stressful for kids and teachers. Yes, all children will be subjected to this test, even those with IEPs and 504s. Yes, the testing material is developmentally inappropriate. Yes, forcing children to take tests, to write passages, and write mathematical explanations on a computer is unreasonable for 8 year olds.  

Yes, the language arts curriculum is training our kids not to connect seemingly unrelated pieces of information to find innovation and/or truth by returning them into copy editors. (One topic sentence, three supporting facts, from THIS TEXT ONLY). Yes, this is making children reluctant to read, as all they know of reading is "informational" texts. (Remember monthly book reports? They don't exist anymore)

Yes, in the coming years up to 50% of  teachers' salaries will be tied to the results of these tests, effectively forcing the teachers to teach to the test to preserve their careers and livelihoods.  Yes, even this year, a year inwhich the   scores "don't count", if you will, teachers and students are losing weeks of instruction time to test prep. But this is not why I am refusing.

I am refusing the test because my children aren't for profit. These tests are projected to have up to a 70% failure rate. MY kids will (probably) do well on them (maybe), but if they are in the 30% that pass, it means nothing if the rest of the school is deemed to be failing.  

Now, I don't care if my kids are at a "failing" school, as long as I feel the school is doing well for them, but recently the Governor decided that he will have the State take control over the 100 worst schools in the state. Technically, he said those schools will have the "opportunity" to have the State take control of them, and the state will follow the lead of the Louisiana RSD.

In Louisiana, these schools were turned into charter schools, whose operations were then farmed out to private charter school companies to run.  So, effectively, these private companies are making huge profits these children's' "public" education.

Sure, it might not be "my" school this year, but one day, it will be.  That is how the plans are lining up. The writing is on the wall, and parents are too busy wanting their kids to succeed on THIS test to see the big picture of what that really means.  They are using our children to make billions in profit for private companies, i.e. the test writers, the book publishers, the test prep market, the software companies and eventually the private charter school companies.  

Speaking of software, guess whose foundation provided millions in funding for the push to transition to the Common Core Standards? The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. New testing software, anyone?

My children aren't for sale. Are yours?