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Thursday, August 8, 2013

NYC Educator on the Total Failure of Bloomberg's Public School "Reform"

Here in Bizarro World Massive Failure Is Good News





I just read at Diane Ravitch's blog that Mayor Bloomberg has joined fellow know-nothings Joel Klein and Arne Duncan in hailing the massive failure on Common Core exams as a good sign. I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I don't know precisely what to say to this.

How on earth is a two-thirds failure rate anything to boast about? This is the same guy who, after defying the twice-voiced electoral will of the people, bought himself a third term. Am I the only one who remembers the surreptitiously Gates-funded motto, "Keep It Going, New York?" Actually, what Bloomberg and Geoffrey Canada, who was running the campaign, wanted to keep going was a test score rise based entirely on the tests having been dumbed-down. And then when the gains were made moot, which Ravitch had predicted years earlier, Bloomberg and Klein said that was a victory too.

So here's the message from Michael Bloomberg. If test scores go up, it's a great success. If they stay the same, it is also a great success. And if they plummet, that is also a great victory. I keep saying, "Being reformy means never having to say you're sorry," but intending it as ironic. Apparently, it's the unvarnished truth.

It turns out that when you revolve your philosophy around things like junk science evaluation and standards that have been established to be effective absolutely nowhere, you can just say any damn thing you feel like. When circumstances change, you can continue to say any damn thing without concern that you're contradicting yourself. It doesn't matter if your past statements are recorded all over the mainstream media and can be checked with a one-minute Google search.

Anyone who thinks it's OK to subject hundreds of thousands of children to failure, based on nothing, is simply unfit to care for them. And anyone who boasts of massive failure while demanding teachers be fired for the same is a massive, deluded hypocrite. I don't want to mention any names, like Mike Bloomberg, Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, because I wouldn't wish to embarrass anyone. I'm a sensitive guy.

Finally, I'm pleased to tell you that while today's Daily News posts yet another E4E column on Common Core, it also features commentary from Diane Ravitch, Zakiyah Ansari, and yours truly.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Common Core--Being Reformy Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

The new Common Core test scores are about to come out, and are anticipated to be a disaster. This, naturally, will give further credence to the corporate-created myth that our schools are in crisis and need to be "reformed," despite the fact that CC itself is quite reformy. The fact that no one actually knew what would be on the tests is of no importance, nor is the fact that this system has never been proven, let alone tested, anywhere.

The papers will write editorials about "failing" schools, and will revel in this as proof that unionized teachers are goofing off when they should be teaching. Of course, since no one knew what would be on the tests, no one could prepare students for the tests. And, of course, we don't really know what passing or failing these tests establishes.

In fact, even today, elementary and middle schools haven't got a curriculum for this all-important program. The thing about reformy programs is they are absolutely urgent. That's why we can't wait to find out whether or not they work. In fact, in the case of things like VAM and merit pay, the fact that they have failed everywhere they've been tried is no reason to stop using them. In times of crisis, we must do whatever Bill Gates says we must do, no matter how counter-productive or idiotic it is.

So despite the fact that these tests have not been established to determine anything whatsoever, they will be used to place teachers on a fast track to unemployment, one of the long-cherished goals of reformy people everywhere. So what if we vilify a few more city teachers for no reason whatsoever?  As long as we can fire them, we're making progress.

Now I don't know whether or not these tests will establish anything. But when the scores are as abysmal as projected, they'll be used as a battering ram to trash working teachers. Why on earth didn't teachers prepare kids for the tests they had never seen? Why didn't they spend a little time going over the material that didn't exist?

And, of course, in schools with high numbers of learning disabled and ESL students, the scores will be lower, and reformy Arne Duncan will press for their closure. Never mind that every school targeted for closure has had high numbers of such students. That's just a coincidence. It must be the fault of the unionized teachers.

It can have nothing to do with the lack of planning and preparation. We are simply to assume that Common Core is wonderful, despite the fact there is no evidence whatsoever.

Because reformy Arne Duncan says so, and that ought to be enough for anyone.