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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ravitch Surrenders to Another Generation of High Stakes Tests

I posted yesterday on the head-spinning news that has placed the majority of one-time ostensible opponents of high stakes testing on the side of corporate education reformists who, of course, support another generation of the same racist and classist tests that have been used to divide and colonize public schools for the poor, and to impose another generation of "broken windows" schooling.

What has sent AFT, NEA, and NPE scurrying into the tent of Arne Duncan and Lamar Alexander was an offer an keep high stakes testing, once in 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  This morning Ravitch posted her official letter of surrender to Lamar Alexander, reminding him of what a small "d" democratic saint he really is and letting him know that she supports Option 1 of NCLB 2.0.  

Besides preserving high stakes testing at the federal level, Option 1 also encourages states to continue annual state testing for school closure and charter expansion purposes.  

In fact, Option 1 consecrates states' rights to test those poor and Negro children who can't afford private school as much as they see fit, without any federal intervention possible.  Option 1, in fact, will increase testing for most states.

In finally, finally making her allegiances clear, Ravitch will no doubt lead enough liberals into Alexander's arms to make his high stakes testing plan the one with the best chance to prevail.  

What is most interesting, though totally expected, is the obfuscation that Ravitch creates in her letter about the role of NAEP.  In one paragraph, Ravitch says that NAEP provides all the federal testing we need, and in another, she clearly endorses Option 1, which will keep Common Core testing at three different times between grades 3 and 12.  

Those who don't read the letter closely might believe that Ravitch is only supporting NAEP testing.  That is not the case.  She has decided to pile in with Randi, Lily, Monty, and the rest of the appeasement crowd and to drive this clown car right over the cliff.  

Why was surrender the first option when the embattled corporate enemy wanted to negotiate?  You will have to ask those who chose to give up the fight just when we were starting to win.  

At least now we know who we can count on to conserve the status quo.  In the words of Diane Ravitch this morning,
Conservatives are not fire-breathing radicals who seek to destroy community and tradition. Conservatives conserve, conservatives believe in incremental change, not in upheaval and disruption.
Who would dare expect the end of high stakes testing?  Some radical, I suppose.

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