"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Another chapter in the online testing boondoggle

The situation described here is not a problem for computer companies. In fact, it is good news. More computer sales! They are not worried how Union Local will find the money: they are sure that the local community, enchanted with technology thanks to massive propaganda in the media, will find a way. A bond issue, a tax increase, benefits, raffles and lotteries, all ways of taking money from the needy and giving it to the greedy.
And those new computers will need to be updated and upgraded regularly, and replaced every few years ….

Note: Windows 95: born 1995- died (no longer supported) 2001

Rural Schools Struggle to Prepare for Common Core’s Online Tests
March 21, 2013
…a new curriculum, called the Common Core, is pushing districts in many states – including Ohio – into the Internet era.
That’s because the new standardized tests that accompany the Common Core will be given online.
In rural Appalachia, inside the Union Local School District, students sit in a dark room – their faces illuminated by the glow of computer screens. Joey Maholovitch, the computer science teacher, is teaching a student how to use PowerPoint – on Microsoft Office 2003.
“And what year is it?” he asks sarcastically.
It’s not just the software that’s outdated. Just down the hall from the computer lab is a middle school classroom with several decade old big box computers.
“They’re not capable of doing much and the Internet’s almost impossible with these machines,” says Jeff Bizzarri, the district’s technology coordinator.
Technologically, the (Union Local School) district is unprepared for the new Common Core tests. Union Local has roughly 100 computers that can handle the new assessments, and 1000 kids they’ll need to test.
“We just don’t have the hardware,” says Kirk Glasgow, the district’s superintendent. “I mean I hate to even admit to this but we have some computers that are still operating on the Windows 95 operating system. That’s terrible. Windows 95 will not operate with these tests.”
The average family income around here is less than $40,000. Glasgow says the district had to cut 17 percent out of its $12 million budget over the last few years. They haven’t passed a levy since the 70’s. They can’t afford to buy new computers all the time.
Most of the computers they do have were donated.
Then there’s the issue of a high-speed connection. The district just got a bandwidth upgrade courtesy of a state program called ConnectOhio. It more than doubled the schools’ Internet speed. but Bizzarri, the tech coordinator, says that’s still not enough.
“We also are concerned about our bandwidth as far as all the internet usage that’s going to be involved with this, and there’s no way of knowing for sure how much bandwidth we’ll need,” he says. “Of course bandwidth means money and we’d like to have an idea how much this is going to cost us.


  1. Soooo? Who is going to pay for all these new computers and constant upgrades? Another unfunded mandate. What about our kids in poverty? This feels so intentional. The plutocrats and oligarchs have engineered these changes to insure their wealth and power. I hope it isn't too late when the late middle class wakes up. Lets not forget those of us who have been selling these changes to the middle class.

  2. Use the money to buy books instead. I handed out some books to my students this year that were 50 years old--and still useful!