Children paying the ultimate sacrifice, thanks in part to devotion to rigor and grit. 

The emotionally needy child is being shafted by this embrace of rigor and grit … and this unhealthy devotion to testing-mania. And now, it seems, some are paying the ultimate sacrifice. 
Here is yet another case of in-school bullying culminating in a child’s suicide. Is there not a war on bullying? Or have schools more important issues to service? Children are taking their own lives. What ever could be more important than that?

http://www.wvva.com/story/33075605/2016/9/12/family-claims-9-year-old-boy-bullied-to-death?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_WVVA_News

If schools can be held answerable for student test-performances, surely they can be held accountable for their efforts to protect the lives of our most vulnerable children. And don’t dare talk of priorities. THIS is the ultimate priority.

Every school child is the responsibility of EVERY school staff adult. From the principal right through the custodial staff. Everyone has a job with an asterisk … and that asterisk is a child. Doesn’t matter if they’re the principal or the custodian … KIDS FIRST …. always.

Everyone has been wrongly distrated by this sick homage to this dreadful reform … even parents who are overwhelmed. 
No one wants to talk about this. 

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/09/02/478835539/6-myths-about-suicide-that-every-educator-and-parent-should-know. 
Please examine the following. Even elementary Guidance counselors who normally would be devoted to counseling and guiding the students, have written in anonymously saying that their career has now become about testing and college and career readiness.  


http://www.counseling.org/docs/resources—school-counselors/common-core-state-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2 

And this;

http://www.learningfirst.org/school-counselors-and-common-core-conversation-ascas-eric-spark

https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/advocacy/nosca/11b-4383_ES_Counselor_Guide_WEB_120213.pdf
From the piece below, the goal for guidance counseling under common core-

“1.Revise the job descriptions for school counselors so they focus on equitable education and on preparing all students for college and career.

2.Shift university training programs so they center on the school counselor’s role in educational equity and college and career readiness.

3.Align and tighten state credential requirements so that all school counselors get adequate school-speci c training, including college- and career-ready counseling, and practice using data to spur change.
4.Support working school counselors and principals through strong, embedded professional development to help develop effective college- and career- readiness programs.

5.Align school counselor evaluations to academic outcomes, including appropriate measures of college and career readiness.” 

http://edtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Poised_To_Lead_0.pdf. 

Tomorrow is too late … safety-protocols must be established at once. 
Schools must make attentive counseling and nimble peer-intervention immediate goals. Guidance counselors have been dangerously distracted by this focus on college and career readiness … even in the youngest grades. Like their classroom colleagues, they, too, must pay queer homage to dangerous Common Core ideals few seem willing to acknowledge.
Anonymous elementary guidance counselors have declared that their careers have now become consumed with testing and student data. Tracking students has replaced meaningful student-assistance with real life issues and much needed social navigation. They want nothing more than to listen to children. They regret having signed on to a reform that is now bordering on madness. They miss talking to the children, providing council. That is what they went to school for. Now, they track and enforce grit. 

 
As one veteran observed …
“Is this how children should ever be treated? Are there not school campaigns to disarm bullies … and to champion kindness? … I sense adult ugliness seeping through a holy firewall that protects children. It seems too many are now comfortable ignorers … even when some ugly reality is staring them in the eye … A school has no place or space for anyone unable to plug into their memory bank for recollections of their own childhood. If one cannot stay linked with the memories of their own past, perhaps they shouldn’t be in the memory-making business at all.”

We have lost our balance … and now we are losing our children. 

Our guidance counselors are needed to protect the children. College and career can wait. 
It is not just the counselors whose focus has been wrongly stolen. Classroom teachers … absorbed in reform antics and their own job security … seem preoccupied with endless demands. They cannot be everywhere at every moment. But that does not absolve schools from being distracted from the real-world concerns of student bullying. And in some extra-alarming instances, school leaders themselves have set poor and disturbing examples by mistreating children whose parents resist reform intrusions.

This is not an indictment of hard-working school personnel. It is a plea to refocus the efforts of every building professional. Every child is more important than a test score or a percentile or any ranking. We must get back to basics.  Let’s practice what we preach. 

No life is worth losing. 

Even once is too often. 

http://m.nydailynews.com/news/national/suicide-12-year-old-boy-bullying-article-1.2588304 

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/08/14/bullied-13-year-old-left-heartbreaking-letter-before-killing-himself.html

This reform madness has now morphed into something beyond for educational practices. It is now in very dark territory.

Contributions from New York educator, Denis Ian.  

SUPERintendents leading the charge of change away from rigor.  

 Dr Hynes sent the following letter to ALL NYS superintendents to ask them to follow in his lead. The responses he got you could just about count on one hand.

 

This is the work of a top superintendent in our state. He knows the child centered view is what is right in his district and does not buy into what education has morphed into. Thank you Dr Michael Hynes. You are a true role model for the other superintendents in this country. If we could get the others to follow your lead, the tides would change with blinding speed from fed led ed and rigor and grit, to healthy, age appropriate, child centered learning. What children need. Not big money focused, but simply Child Centered. 

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/education/patchogue-medford-elementary-students-get-double-recess-time-1.12301728.  

It seems there are very few individuals that are willing to risk their job for these children, except a select, brave and noble few. Those children whom live in his district are truly blessed. Dr Joe Rella and Dr Michael Hynes, thank you for keeping the children first and foremost, always. You are shining examples of who an educator and a leader should be. 

https://m.facebook.com/notes/patchogue-medford-school-district/serve-all-students-resolution/1577693965872464/.
  

Are we losing the fight against common core? 

Are we losing or winning? Michael Bohr, The Contemporary Insurgent, shares his thoughts. 

“Why are we losing the fight against the Common Core?
By Michael Bohr, Contemporary Insurgent

——————————–
We are not outnumbered. 
-Testing refusals are increasing exponentially every year, in every state. 
-polling data now shows an inversion of the percentages of parent’s and teacher’s opinions that show a majority are now against the CCSS as a whole.
-no Pro-CC candidate in the GOP Presidential Nominee field ever rose above 10-15% and if they did, they didn’t stay there long. In fact, short of John Kasich’s spoiler-candidacy, every one of them dropped out within 6 months or less despite available campaign funds on hand. (In contrast, the DNC only allowed proCC candidates (or in the case of Sanders, an obfuscatory candidate with an open mind) to even enter the field, and in the case of Sanders, cheated him out of the nomination.
-scores upon scores of video documentation of parents protesting Board of Ed meetings (in many cases being arrested for speaking out when the boards could not silence them through procedural acrobatics and intimidations)
-politicians en mass are either dodging the issue of CC, speaking in false platitudes and “solidarity” with concerned parents and educators… Though, in the case of the Democratic Party, advising party members to avoid the “3rd rail” of Common Core in their campaigns via internal emails and meetings. (A sure sign that they are indeed outnumbered and scared)
We are gaining ground in the press, state legislatures and courts:
-legislation to stop CC, as well as the testing and data collection components of the reforms, has been introduced in a super majority of state legislature across the nation, but with only modest recognition in DC
-a lower court in Missouri ruling that the PARCC/SBAC testing Consortiums are an unconstitutional violation of the Compact Clause
-Parents in NY State even succeeded in gaining ballot access (Stop Common Core) during the last gubernatorial election cycle, but were betrayed by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who, along with GOP operatives, summarily changed the “party” name to “The Reform Party” behind the backs of, and against the wishes of, the tens of thousands of Parents and Educators who gathered petition signatures and then voted successfully for its place on the ballot box.(Astorini supported George Pataki and then Jeb Bush during the GOP primaries, both proCC candidates who failed and withdrew)
-have sponsored (and in some cases successfully) parent and teacher candidates for BOE positions, down ticket primary challenges and 3rd party candidates.
-have received increasingly supportive news coverage it Common Core opposition from many, if not a majority, of all mainstream news organization.
So why is it that the Common Core Agenda appears to be steam rolling over our children and ourselves despite these successes and advances?
Why is it that, despite all this, parents are increasingly withdrawing children from Public Schools, in favor or charter, private and home schooling?
Simply put:
1)Big Politics

2)Big Money

3)Big Labor
Big Politics

———–
We are getting our asses handed to us here! The GOP and DNC Leadership’s are in lock-step cahoots with each other. From the highest offices in DC and the States, right on down to the lowest Offices of local BOE’s, they are unified. as is evidenced by the passage of the ESSA and lack of congressional oversight of the US Dept of Ed to the increased weighting of tests on teacher evaluations to parents being arrested at local board meetings.
We, one the other hand, are mostly divided along political party (even between factions within a single party) and parent/teacher lines. This due to a combination of Big Politics playing us like a harp and….
Big Labor:

——————
The collusion between Big Politics and Big Labor has essentially silenced teachers via “gag” orders and laws from the unions and state/district school administrations. This, of course, is in addition to the political oppression of politically non leftwing teacher union members as well. 
The Common Core system and its assault on tenure through the VAM component of the testing and evaluations, along with a highly intrusive data collection system for teachers (as well as students) constantly track and monitor anything a teacher may say or due to alert parents to the inadequacies and abuse of students by the system.
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of all of this is the complicity of the Teacher Unions and their leadership in signing on to, and propagandizing, the entire Common Core Agenda. 
Tens of millions of dollars from Big Money (corporations and foundations) and Big Politics (govt grants) have been given to the NEA and AFT, the nation’s two largest teacher unions, for “Professional Development” programs such as NEA’s TURN and use to indoctrinate teachers into supporting the CCSS, as well as being employed as huge slush funds for political and union cronyism.
Big Politics within the unions themselves have further damaged our fight as the Union Leadership has infiltrated many of the once “grassroots” organizations set up to fight the Common Core Agenda by supplying grants to, and approving “caucuses” for these organizations that have effectively divided teachers and teachers from parents. This, along with leadership coups in the once grassroots groups, have shifted the focus from fighting Common Core to gaining a seat at the table and only (half heartedly) fighting against test evaluation components and an illusory defense of tenure. Their missions now appear only to be to fight vouchers and charters and maintain the very hegemony over education by the government, specifically the increasing power to the Federal Government via the US Dept of Education, that has enabled, financed, regulated, legislated and directly led to the Common Core takeover of our schools. This, of course, leads us to the third leg of this Triumvirate of Educational Terrorism…
Big Money:
Fro the moment President Jimmy Carter established the US Dept of Ed, through the collusion of Sen Lamar Alexander with Sec. Of Ed Bill Bennet to prevent Ronald Reagan from dismantling the USDoEd, Presidents GHW Bush’s expansion, President Clinton’s “Goals 2000” and Mark Tucker and the “Dear Hillary Letter” (which was the structural blue print for CC), followed by Pres. GW Bush’s NCLB and Pres. Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, Big Money corporations and foundations have been at work behind the scenes to help get around Constitutional, law and regulatory restrictions. 
It must also be noted that the United Nations, through its UNESCO organization, has been a major player throughout all of this.

(The words “common core” first appeared in print in a 1984 UNESCO document, inspired by the UN’s Dr Robert Muller’s “World Core Curriculum”)
From the UN, corporations, foundations and trade organizations (including politicians from almost every administration and Party, along with unions like NEA, Aft and SEIU) have spent large sums of cash and political capital to force what is now the Common Core Agenda upon us.
The Gates Foundation, ALEC, Soros’ Open Society, Exxon, GE, Rupert Murdoch, the Walton Foundation (Walmart), the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Microsoft, Pearson Publishing, Scholastic, Eli Broad, Apple and an endless list of others, have all colluded to finance the Common Core Agenda through the takeover of Teacher Colleges, teacher replacements (Teach for America), Broad Academy principal and superintendent training; through Union run teacher “professional development” programs, legislation at the state and federal levels… All

With the singleminded goals of raiding the public treasury and creating docile and compliant workers for BOTH Corporate and Union interests that are politically mindless automatons for the ruling class of political elitists Dynasties.
All of these people and their corporations, foundations, trade organizations and stolen government institutions have conspired on a global scale to create a system for the production of Human Capital, to be exploited, handpicked and, when either no longer useful or initially useless, summarily disposed of through a variety of means. Such means include imposed poverty via manipulated markets and central banking systems, laws and regulations designed to limit individual freedoms and property rights, government and private prisons to be supplied with free-labor inmates from the aforementioned laws and regulations and an institutional “school-to-prison pipeline”, all

Of which is fed data from the Common Core’s SLDS (States Longitudinal Data System), which is designed to monitor every child (aka human capital) throughout their lives and determine their fate.
Big Money sees all of this as an investment that will pay them extreme dividends for generations to come. Spending a few billion dollars is nothing compared to the TRILLIONS of dollars and the inestimable political power that it will bring them.
And then there’s us.
Moms and dads, parents and teachers trying desperately to conduct a campaign of protest, while trying to see through the political fog, feed, cloth and shelter ourselves and our children and maybe enjoy a small slice of life if we can afford it.
We are a ragtag bunch of disorganized, ordinary people, of limited means, being assaulted from without and betrayed from within, who are up against the largest group of criminals in history!
And we scare the shit out of them!
Despite all they have going for them, and all that we have going against us… They are more afraid of us than we are of them.
Why?
Because we DO outnumber them and at some point, if we cannot find a political and legal solution (such as jailing them all for antitrust, RICO violations and crimes against humanity), we will rise up in revolution and insurgency, and seek their heads for pikes. This is

Not a threat, nor is it a call for

Violence… Rather, it is a recollection of historical precedent that has followed every manifestation of tyranny throughout human existence.
It is the inevitable consequence of the failures of all society’s governmental protections to function properly and justly.
Eventually, the people who have entrusted leaders with enforcing just law, take law back into their own hands.
Woe unto them who force our hand to full scale rebellion… And they know it.
We may not have won yet, but we have not lost either. 
For now, we are peaceful, if not

Civil anymore, and we should endeavor to remain peaceful… Until we no longer can.
Empires always fall, but The People always remain.
13 Colonies defeated the British Empire, Egypt and Rome fell to slaves and David slew Goliath… And so, we too shall prevail, despite the Leviathan before us and the Judas’ behind us.
Why?
They fight for greed and dominance, out of their hatred for our peasant ways…
We fight for our children and ourselves with a yearning for freedom and out of love for life.
We hold the advantage.
The High Ground is ours.
We are not losing!
-Michel Bohr, CI”
Find THE CONTEMPORARY INSURGENT on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/TheContemporaryInsurgent/posts/1263810293642708.  

Vermont Says NO to John King!

THIS. JUST SAY NO!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Vermont is the smartest state in the nation. Not because of test scores, but because the officials in charge of education actually care about children and about education. When they look at the state’s children, they see children with names and faces, not just data. When they think about their schools, they see them as places where children should experience the excitement and joy of learning.

Vermont did not apply for a Race to the Top grant, meaning that it never was compelled to adopt Arne Duncan’s ideas about how to reform schools (which he failed to do when he was superintendent in Chicago).

Vermont never enacted charter school legislation. Vermont has its own kind of school choice program. If a district or town does not offer a public elementary or high school, students may receive a voucher to attend a private (non-religious) school. Such vouchers (called “town tuitioning”) are…

View original post 385 more words

Weren’t the NYS Regents supposed to protect the children? 

Words from a parent and her special needs student, to the Regents. 
“My letter…….. 

I’m WAY WAY DONE. 
Dear Commissioner Elia, Chancellor Rosa, and NYS Board of Regents members,

I attended the meeting on Monday. You may remember me; I wore a T-shirt with my daughter’s picture that said “A Flawed test should not negate the rest! I earned a NYS Diploma”. I spoke to several of you during the course of the day.
I followed the meeting closely in the afternoon as you discussed the CDOS, at length, which I personally considered to be a waste of time, because even though it now can stand in for a regents exam it is still a great deal of extra work and NO DIPLOMA. Students who already work harder to compensate for learning differences, being punished some more. You can paint it as pretty as you like and it is still valueless. But I admit to being heartened by the subsequent conversation about diploma options for students with disabilities. It wasn’t what I know our students need but I saw it as a door opening a crack and thought ok, they are talking about additional work on the pathways, I can get behind that. I felt ok. 
Until today. Today schools all over NYS administered the NYS common core aligned ELA regents and the Global History. By all accounts they are horrendously bad tests. Teachers are saying they were terrible. Children that got extra time sat in some cases for 6 hours for ONE test and did NOT finish! Are these tests in tenacity? In persistence? In resilience? Do our children get extra points for sticking it out without having nervous breakdowns? My daughter (whose own letter is below mine) reported that her classmate sat next to her and cried silently throughout the ELA test. She reports to feeling like crying but she is made of tougher stuff than that. She has been in public schools for 12 years with a learning disability. She has learned well, not to cry. 
This is high school, not a doctorate program or a military test of a person’s nerves to see if they can withstand torture. I am sickened by what happened in our schools today. Disgusted and horrified. I cannot even articulate how anxious I am for our children. This is HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!! Have you all lost sight of that?
 I have alarmingly been told by several regents that they have NOT even seen this test that they voted is OK to be the deciding factor for a high school diploma. Here is link so you can have the pleasure, perhaps it will make you as nauseous as the hundreds of children that took it today. http://nysedregents.org/hsela/
And for your additional reading pleasure the global history and geography, which is such a bad test that it is being revised. Why hasn’t it been discontinued pending that revision? Is NYSED in the business of educating children or abusing them? http://www.nysedregents.org/GlobalHistoryGeography/ 
I am advising you that Caroline Buckley will be REFUSING all future Regents exams. I charge the education department responsible for the education of millions of children to develop a pathway APPROPRIATE for her “amazing” capabilities. I demand that as she is a student with an IEP she is entitled to an IGP, individual graduation plan. You have left us no options. I will not allow you to PUNISH her any further for being differently abled. And as she so succinctly points out in her letter below. I hope you’re proud of yourselves. I’m beyond disgusted.
Bonnie Buckley
Dear Board of Regents,                                                                                                                       

 

   I took the ELA Regents today; it was really hard. There were words that I didn’t understand or even know. This test was so unfair to kids with learning disabilities. Some kids wanted to cry, some kids did cry, some kids wanted to tear the test up. You want kids to have futures and be able to do things they want to do, but they can’t, even if they wanted to because of this stupid test standing in their way. Kids with learning disabilities can do things that many people can’t do. They have minds filled with amazing things, they’re creative in many, many ways. They want to be things they dream of but it may not happen because they have to take a test that is really hard. Also a lot of the kids think they’re so stupid because of one test that’s in their way. Because of one test they are unable to be things that are amazing to them but not to you. I hope you’re proud of yourselves. ” 

 

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                       Sincerely,

                                                                                                                    Caroline Buckley

Susan Ochshorn: Please, Mr. Gates, Help the Children!

Not bloody likely. Too many $ in the eye$ of our kid$.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Reactions to the mea culpa of Sue Desmond-Hellman, the CEO of the Gates Foundation, continue to roll in. Sue D-H admitted that “mistakes had been made” in the education arena and promised to listen to teachers. Many who have read the memo think that the foundation still doesn’t understand why its promotion of test-based teacher evaluation is failing or why the Common Core is meeting so much resistance.

Susan Ochshorn hopes that the Gates Foundation will listen to early childhood education professionals.

At the bottom of the totem pole of influence are early childhood teachers. None of these stewards of America’s human capital weighed in on the design of the Common Core standards. They were back-mapped, reaching new heights of absurdity, including history, economic concepts, and civics and government as foundations for two-year-olds’ emergent knowledge.

Most importantly, the standards make a mockery of early childhood’s robust evidence base. Young children…

View original post 336 more words

Children as a commodity. 

New York Educator Denis Ian shares his take on how our children have become a commodity. 

“Going once … Going twice … Gone!… to the highest bidder!
Fess up! Who’s really surprised that schools are the next gold-mine for drooling hedge-funders and tech magnates? Big Banks, Big Pharma, and Big Oil … move on over. It’s Big Education’s turn. 
The lure of charter schools … with the ever-repeating money stream via taxes … was just too, too lucrative to ignore. And now the sharks are just fattening their odds and slimming their risks by ruining the long-standing public school system.
These charters are ostensible saviors of the last resort for children stuck in failing, inner-city educational mills. But the inner cities are the starting blocks. They see education in an entirely new structure and with an outcome never before considered … profit. 
To cull some schools from the system … a few at a time for now … sets the pattern. Profiteers hard-sell the “success” story and entice others to sign on … and the money siphoned from public schools further cripples already crippled schools. It’s a classic business “build and destroy” mission. 
Combined screecher resources and skewered assessment results … think Common Core! … and more and more schools become ripe for take-over. Charter operators bully their way into new situations … which, in turn, allow others to come forward to reap profits from arming these new schools swimming in redirected taxpayer monies. Everyone is in on the action. … from software providers to textbook pushers. Even the tutoring industry gets a booster shot.
So the spigots are open and the tax monies now drain into the pockets of entrepreneurs who are more about flash than about substance. Classroom performance is now superseded by the bottom line.
Charter schools will come to dominate the scene. And in true entrepreneurial form, schools will become more and more like race cars … covered with product logos and insignias of all sorts.
Expect sport scoreboards with product info flashing all game long. Campuses will be decorated by signage that speaks to the generosity of business X and Y. We might not get a Whopper High School, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get something called the MicroSoft Magnet School for Technology. You know … something extra sexy that would awe the ordinary taxpayer into a state of silly gratefulness.
Sports’ uniforms will look like those patchy outfits race car drivers wear … with logos all over the place. Cafeteria foods will be franchised out … even transportation will be “Uberized” in some fashion because … well … if there’s money to be made, they’ll make it. 
Teachers will be properly orientated company men and women … and students will be the product. The goal is to spit and polish the product just well enough to get by quality control and then … then it’s off to the bank.
Older teachers will run to retirement hills, and those too young to retire will simply quit because they will not have the intestines for what is unfolding.
So, there you have it. Schools will have new ownership, but the same funding … your tax dollars. The faculties will have been rinsed free of old blood and new, conforming teacher-bots will read from the curriculum scripts exactly as they are written … and nod their heads like bobblehead dolls.
Phony civic-minded entities that wish to maximize their exposure in order to maximize their advertising clout will pay for the privilege to be associated with the scam-school. And politicians will share in the looting of the public schools by getting loot from the looters. I’m sure you can follow that. 
Taxpaying parents will have zero control over their tax dollars, and their children will be short-changed not for a few years … but for as long as they might live. 
That’s the future. More and more control by fewer and fewer powerful people who control powerful mechanisms to become more powerful every day. Sounds like a tongue-twister, but it ain’t. It’s real. Real real.”
Going … Going …
Denis Ian

Charter Schools 25 Years Later—and What to Expect in the Future