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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

FairTest Fumes and Obfuscates

There was much disgust expressed when Diane Ravitch promoted FairTest's NEA-supported report, Assessment Matters: Constructing Model State Systems to Replace Testing Overkill.  In the report, FairTest managed to do some major league pimping for the New Hampshire competency-based child plug-in learning model and competency-based assessment pilot.  

Here is heart of Monty Neill's response, with my comments interspersed in italics.
First, there is no doubt that corporations backed by some foundations and politicians are promoting a version of schooling that is built around computerized packaged programs that combine curriculum, curricular materials, instruction and testing. The tests are in most cases multiple-choice and short-answer with occasional write-to-a-prompt items, to be machine graded. They seriously narrow and diminish education and should be exposed and stopped.
. . . . not one of the examples in FairTest’s report rely on these kinds of computerized packages. Each one is teacher controlled and very much teacher controlled. We clearly support and praise those that allow significant student voice and control over the learning and assessment processes. New Hampshire fought for a deal that has opened doors that have been nailed shut since the start of NCLB and thus deserve serious credit. As we point out, we can learn from and improve on what they have thus far done, and that ESSA makes it easier for that to happen.. . .

The New Hampshire example that FairTest studies is Rollinsford Grade School, which DOES NOT participate in the frenetic attempts in the other dozen or so NH assessment pilot venues, where Gates Foundation know-nothings are supervising the construction of a Rube Goldberg assessment system that tries to standardize the unique and to quantify the unquantifiable.  Why, pray tell, does Monty not examine a system that is plugged in to the NH pilot project, which is meant to look like this:

Monty Neill continues: "People can choose to believe the fight is over because corporations are trying to seize control of terms such as personalized and competency-based. We believe that is a mistake. It is not over, and one part of the battle is the fight to own the terms. The more important fight is the one to determine the shape of education, whether it is built on human relations among teachers and students, with parents and other community people also engaged; or it is based on computer algorithms and subordinating human relations to the computer packages.
FairTest fights for the former. We think that is clear in what we call for and the programs we highlight. If people have questions about that, they should read what we actually write and then follow it up, looking at the programs themselves."
The resistance to corporate education does not believe the fight is over, despite FairTest's surrender to the ESSA charter and CBE stimulus package passed last year.  If FairTest were fighting, why do we not see any outlined strategy to expose the hazardous and reckless advances of the child plug-in model for poor schools that is being advanced by Gates and Silicon Valley?  

While FairTest promotes its progressive boutique alternatives to the unhealthy and intrusive plug-in competency-based model, neither FairTest nor NEA/AFT has one word of warning or concern for parents, educators, or students who will be the victims of this miseducative money-making scheme if it goes forward.

FairTest is fighting for FairTest and the NEA agenda, which is the corporate agenda and the Clinton agenda and the Wall Street agenda.  Nothing will block their train until the tracks are removed.

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