You began speaking out about the need for greater test security almost two years ago. In recent months we have seen two very different scenarios play out. In Atlanta, dozens are behind bars for conspiracy to cheat. In Washington, DC, there is ample evidence of wrongdoing, but no thorough investigation has been done. Why has your office not demanded a real investigation? Has Michelle Rhee also received special consideration as a result of her political connections?
Recently in Duncan Category
April 29, 2013
April 26, 2013
When it comes to education, however, Obama asserts a policy that has nothing to do with progressive ideas about education. While progressive ideas of education emphasize children as individuals who must be given opportunities to stretch their innate capacities within an organic context for learning, the President and Mr. Duncan have embraced the data-driven high-stakes-testing-model retooled from President Bush's No Child left behind days.
April 19, 2013
Teacher unions have not been the dynamic organizations they could or should have been. But to make them responsible for the reactionary tidal wave of phony reform upon which Michelle Rhee has surfed like one of the Beach Boys is absurd. It is like blaming climate scientists for the backlash against global warming. There are significant motivations powering corporate education reform, and its sponsors have poured billions into their project. They own this, and they own Michelle Rhee. They bought her, and now Merrow has helped to break her. Rhee and her billionaire sponsors, and the media who promoted her, they are the ones responsible for her rise to power way beyond that which she could have achieved without such support.
April 17, 2013
The Democratic Party has an internal battle ahead that goes to the very core of its spirit. Educators remain a core constituency, and public education reflects absolute core values. But the resolution by the California party convention is a signal that the road may no longer be smooth for leaders who embrace privatization and school closures. And the new focus by the GOP on an ever-less popular Common Core puts some Democrats in a spot where they do not have much wiggle room.
April 16, 2013
Rhee has not been alone, however, in foisting high-stakes testing on the entire nation. She has done so with the financing of billionaires and Duncan's D.O.Ed. So all three groups of accountability hawks should be held accountable. Rhee and her team in D.C. should all be subpoenaed. Corporate funders should demand an accounting of Rhee's StudentsFirst. Above all, they should reveal the what factual basis, if any, the organization has for its teacher-bashing soundbites.
April 03, 2013
It is significant also that this analysis comes from the conservative/Libertarian source, the Cato Institute. As I have noted, opposition to the Common Core is rising in conservative circles, where people have historically been against Federal involvement in schools. The debacle of No Child Left Behind left educators weary, and as Common Core has been promoted as an improvement, many have embraced the shift. I have been, because I believe that the primary goal of the new standards is the creation of uniform high stakes assessments. Thus this will create MORE pressure to teach to the tests, rather than less.
February 21, 2013
The Metlife Survey of the American Teacher is out, and it shows that more than half of all teachers feel under great stress. This relates closely to the number of teachers who describe themselves as "very satisfied," which has fallen to an all-time low, at 39%.
February 05, 2013
We are approaching a real crossroads. Educators, parents and students have come to loath NCLB and the tests that have become ever more intrusive in our schools. Secretary Duncan and well-paid functionaries from all sides have promised that the "next generation" of assessments will be so superior that we will no longer object to high stakes being attached to them. Unlike any large scale standardized tests ever devised before, they will measure and promote critical thinking. But we n longer need to suspend our judgment. Teachers in Seattle have seen the future. Their verdict is clear. The emperor has no clothes.
December 18, 2012
Our two major unions are one of the best vehicles teachers have for communicating with the public. Teachers have gotten on board with efforts to raise standards in the past, but we have to have our eyes wide open this time. There is going to be a major publicity campaign associated with the results we will get from the Common Core assessments. This will be yet another iteration of the wails we heard with the release of the Nation at Risk report in 1983. We have got to be prepared to mount a robust defense of the very institution of public education. Tests associated with the Common Core are going to be used to discredit our schools. We must be ready to respond.
October 30, 2012
A remarkable coalition of individuals and organizations, many of them with deep roots in the African American and Latino communities, is calling upon the Department of Education to abandon plans to implement new policies associated with NCLB waivers in the state of New Jersey. In the past, some le...