Sunday, April 19, 2015

Feels like a Revolution

       Today we are going to talk about the revolt in New York.  It was not mentioned on TV or radio.  At this point though we know the internet is our best resource for news.

       Parents have become frustrated over the tests, practice tests, and test driven curriculum.  We have managed it at home by supplementing the learning with trips, extra curricular curricula, and encouraging our kids to do their best in school.  The reality hit home for us when after yet another round of practice testing my child came home and told me how much he hated school.

       My son tests well and quickly.  I have taught him to treat the tests as a game.  This mindset helps him do his best without being stressed out.  He finishes quickly and goes over his answers a second time.  When he has finished his testing process he usually has time to read a chapter or two in a sci-fi or fantasy book but not this year.

       This year my son was forced to sit and stare at the wall when his practice tests were completed.  It was painful for him and caused him to hate school and testing.  While googling for solutions we learned about the national opt out movement.  Parents are opting their children out of annual tests even in places where they are being told they cannot because these parents have rediscovered another foundational piece of a free society.  Free people have a choice.  You don't have to do the most expedient thing. Often there are many paths to choose from if you take a minute to consider.

       Parents and teachers discussed the issues on line about the powerful forces which are trying to dismantle our public schools.  Public education is a bedrock of our free society but profits are on the line.  Rupert Murdock said there is $300 billion dollars in the public schools in America and Wall Street continues to have meetings about privatizing public schools.  These discussions are always about money and not about pedagogy.

       We recognize the politicians can have trouble saying no when big money makes a request because big money gives big campaign donations.  The destruction of our schools seemed unstoppable until someone noticed that it was data driven.  We can stop this nightmare by depriving them of data.

     Last week the State of New York gave the annual test.  This test is not considered valid unless 95% of the students take it.  Over 100,000 parents opted out,  invalidating their tests.  We are waiting to hear about the test in Ohio which also had a large number opt out.

       There is a parent revolt under-way.  You can follow it on Opt Out of the State test on Facebook. Opt Out is a Public Group. We were able to get the administration in our school to agree to stop forcing our son to sit and stare.  We evoked the Tennessee State law which went into effect this summer. You can read the law here:  In order to get traction father had to CC the 8 sponsors of the bill in the Senate.  If the school holds to it's agreement our son will test this year.

       Every family has to make a decision about what is best for their child, family, and community.  Whatever decision you make we at TeachersAndCompany support you and wish you the very best.

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