This past Wednesday evening, as several Everett parents were preparing for our annual International Night community event, a Walton funded organization called “Innovate Public Schools” had their own plans. They had organized a meeting with Interim Associate Superintendent Tony Payne at Everett Middle School. Unknown to the administration and staff at Everett Middle School or to Tony Payne himself, the meeting was widely published on social media outlets. “Innovate Public Schools” has a corporate privatizing agenda to diminish resources for local public schools and open charter schools.
I am a public school teacher in California and I am opting my 5th grader out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Tests this year.
Here is a link to the Opt Out form for San Francisco Unified.
Here is why:
The tests will not help my child’s teacher know my child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Test scores will not be out until the summer. My child’s current teacher will not be able to use the information to improve instruction in any way for my child this year.
My child will lose many hours of instruction in order to prepare for and take the SBAC tests. This time could be used for more meaningful instruction, such as doing an interesting reading project, a social studies, math, art, music or science research project or doing an end of the school year play.
Okay, a “misunderstood teacher” story, and then a great article in defense of the Common Core in California, and why our state is implementing it better than New York and other states have (and are).
Today, my fabulous student teacher and I (and yes, she must be called fabulous), wore our pjs on top of our clothes, brought in toothbrushes, shampoo, mirrors, hair dryers, towels, pantuflas (slippers), bathrobes, soap, nail polish, brushes, combs, an alarm clock, and other accoutrement to act out the morning routine (with reflexive verbs) for our 2nd year Spanish students. And, yes, yours truly brought a blow up mattress with blanket and pillows and pretended to be sleeping as the sleepy high school children entered the classroom when her rude alarm clock awoke her to 2014 – a totally perfect set-up for the kids’ first day back from winter break.
My fabulous student teacher performed it (and got videotaped) at 9:00 am; and I performed it again later in the afternoon.
Cut to an email received at 5:30 pm sent by the principal, after I walked to my car after my 11 hour day of teaching and an after school district curriculum meeting: “It was brought to my attention that you brought in a queen sized inflatable mattress and have set it up in the front of your classroom. What educational purpose does it serve?”
Happy New Year to all –
I am finally over this wretched cold, and sort of ready to go back to work tomorrow.
I had a brilliant time over the past few days grading final essays written by my advanced Spanish students, and, as usual, I have been dismayed by the incredible academic gaps that exist between students. Students with educated parents can write a cohesive and logical argument; students without such parents usually produce confusing and disorganized sentences that spin around disconnected ideas.
It took me years to learn how to write; and I am still trying.
Even with tons of my own work to prepare my students for such a writing assignment, the results show clearly the haves and have-nots.
“Those that make test scores and grades the heart of education hit their targets while entirely missing the point.” – Joe Bower
More on the Common Core!
This last week the California legislature voted to suspend standardized testing for all public school students for the 2013-14 year. (Here’s who voted for and against). This was based on the idea that we are transitioning from the California state standards to the Common Core standards. In this transitional year, many districts are spending their money on updating their technology, professional development and practice tests for the Common Core. Teachers, administrators and districts do not want to test students on the old standards while they are preparing students using the new standards. Testing kids on both would be a monumental task, stress students, teachers and schools, pull everyone in two directions at once, and stretch districts’ resources – all the while taking time away from actual teaching and learning.