Below is a letter I crafted to send to my local superintendent. Probably to your surprise it is rational and respectful. Please feel free to copy, revise, and send to your school administrators
Dear School Administrator,
Things are changing dramatically. Pennsylvania has joined the ranks of states that no longer requires Superintendents to have state recognized credentials.
People with no real interest in the education of children are salivating at the new education market driven by the reforms of both Bush and Obama.
And the best research available is conclusive that the high stakes standardized tests only measure out of school factors (income, race, homelike, etc) validly and reliably.
In fact, according to Berliner, unless we address these out of school factors (poverty in particular) any use of resources to bring up test scores is a senseless use of resources and time. Although as educators we have an “in school” influence, out of school factors significantly trump the power of educators. Therefore, given the socio-economic status of our students we already can predict (with precision) their test scores even before they take the test.
These and other issues just illustrate the war being waged on public education.
Our test scores will eventually be used to “prove” to our neighbors that our school is failing, our teachers are failing, and our leadership is failing. Why? Because the bar is going to be constantly raised (even if NCLB goes away and the Common Core with new assessments take prominence) and the out of school factors I mentioned above will create a ceiling effect. We will only be able bring scores up so far unless we plan on intervening in out of school factors.
In other words, this system was and is still being designed to create failing schools. Why? To get access to the millions of dollars tied up in our school budget.
This is why I fight against high stakes testing. It has nothing to do with a personal disapproval of testing. In fact if we tested using sampling methodology without high stakes attached I would be supportive 100%. I also support any teacher designed assessments and I even support driver’s tests .
Please take a look at what is going on in Texas and nationally.
I am always available and willing to talk more about ways we can Save Our Schools.
Follow Timothy D. Slekar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/slekar