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

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

NEA and AFT Supporting Opt Out? Don't Hold Your Breath

Valerie Strauss has a headline at her blog that is not supported by the content of her post: "Unions say they will back teachers who refuse to administer mandated standardized tests to students"

Here is part of Valerie's post:
United Opt Out recently posted a call to the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, and the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second largest teachers union, “to begin to organize national, local and state affiliates to support the cohorts of teachers who refuse to administer state mandated tests inclusive of those that are aligned with Common Core State Standards.” The call also says:
UOO is asking that the unions armed with facts and courage stand up and publicly proclaim their support for teachers nationwide as they refuse to administer assessments which harm children, deprive our students of resources, and ultimately are being used to dismantle the public school system.
I asked the AFT and the NEA — whose new president, Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a, said recently that teachers and administrators should ignore bad school reform policy and do “the right thing” for kids  — if they would support teachers who decide to opt out of administering standardized tests that they say believe are harmful to their students. Here are the responses:

From Alice O’Brien, head of the NEA Office of the General Counsel:
 “NEA supports parents who chose to exercise their legal right to opt their children out of standardized tests. When educators determine that a standardized test serves no legitimate educational purpose, and stand in solidarity with their local and state association to call for an end to the administration of that test in their schools, NEA will support those educators just as it did in the case of the teachers who protested the administration of the MAP test at Garfield High School.”
Excuse me! Question here:  So is that "chose" as in the past, or "choose" as ongoing?  What about the opting out in the absence of a statute that makes it "legal" to opt out?  Any support for civil disobedience against a cynical and immoral corporate crusade to take over public education?  And to get this "support" from NEA's gang of self-serving bureaucrats, does it require teachers and parents to "stand in solidarity with their local and state associations?" And they must first "call for an end of the administration of that test in their school?  I thought that Valerie asked if they would support teachers who decided to opt out.  

If teachers are waiting to stand with local and state affiliates of NEA, they will be ice skating in hell first. This won't get done with the support of the corrupt core who head NEA and AFT.  Teachers, parents, and students must do this on their own if it is to done.

And here is Rhonda's reply:
From AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“We supported teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle when they refused to give redundant tests. We supported early childhood teachers in New York when they shined the light on how abusive it is to give bubble tests to 5-year-olds. On the testing madness that’s sapping the joy from our classrooms, teachers are the canaries in the coal mines, and we support their advocacy. Ultimately, though, it’s up to parents to make the decision whether to opt out.”
Wow! So Weingarten supports "their advocacy."  How? What happens when teachers opt out of those high stakes Common Core tests that are not "redundant?" What kind of support?  Some of the hundreds of millions in AFT's bank accounts for legal defense, lawsuits, staging of public protests against high stakes testing?

Teachers are the canaries?  Really?  Where was Weingarten when the genocide began in earnest in in 2001?  What about the millions of children who have been labeled failures, held back, and psychologically crippled because they are poor and can't pass a test?  How about the tens of thousands of community schools that have shuttered and transformed into corporate testing camps?  How about the public education system that was blown apart by NCLB?  Where was Rhonda as the canaries died?

And how about the Rhonda's embrace of test based evaluations for teachers, test based bonus pay, and support for charter chain gangs?  If teachers are the canaries, Rhonda, you are the operator at the top sending them down dark, deadly hole.

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