Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gearing Up for Another Year of Opting Out

Arne Duncan rails against the opt-out movement, but it seems like all efforts to sap it only further strengthen it.  Opt-out numbers have grown by leaps and bounds.  Numbers, doubtless, will continue to grow until politicians wake up to reality.

Secretary Duncan initially blamed "white suburban moms," with over-coddled kids, for the backlash against the Core.  Since these moms don't opt out their children via private academies like our U.S. President, their kids need to learn that they aren't as "brilliant as they thought they were."

Of course, today, Duncan opts his own kids out via the Chicago Laboratory Schools where, coincidentally, his wife works--and will probably never receive a VAM score.  The Chicago Lab fails to "follow key school reform policies that his Education Department has set for public schools."  So, if Chicago Lab kids aren't "as brilliant as they thought they were," they may never know!  If Duncan's plans weren't as "brilliant" as he "thought they were," do you think he would ever know?

Over-coddled or not?

Still, some dutiful local districts (under federal pressure) prop up the tests that are not good enough for Duncan's own progeny.  Some local districts send out long and confusing letters to those who would opt out, packed full of Common-Core aligned mumbo jumbo and veiled threats.   Districts must deliver over the data.
Would such a letter dissuade you or would it find its way into your garbage can? 

Some schools take it a step further.  They enforce a Sit and Stare policy.  But for children who would rather not "Talk to the Pineapple" or put their "Big Foot in the mouth," sitting and staring in space is preferable to sitting and staring at a test paper.  Instead of dissuading the opt-out movement, actions like these just might make it more militant.

Cyber terrorism has been used against the opt-out movement.  In 2014, unitedoptout.com had its website hacked on the eve of growing test resistance.  Although the identity of the perpetrators is unknown, it's pretty clear that temporary setbacks work to propel a movement forward.

Propaganda paints mandatory testing as a civil right.  Forget that all this testing and the ed. "reform"  movement, itself, are destroying the ambitions of minorities, civil-rights groups are supposed to see tests as the keys to equality.  Yet, with every passing year and every failure of reform, far fewer civil-rights activists favor high-stakes standardized testing.

If parents continue to opt out, schools might be threatened with the loss of much needed fundingif not this year, perhaps the next. The power of the purse can be powerful, indeed; states were pretty much bribed by federal grants to accept the Core.  If the federal government withdraws funding, Title I schools seemed lined up to suffer the worst.

But how many lies and threats will it take before ed. "reformers" admit that their ideas have helped few and hurt far many more?  How much larger does the opt-out movement need to grow before ed. "reformers" realize that what won't work for their own children will definitely not work for ours?  Expect another year of massive opt-outs!  Duncan doesn't seem to be learning from his mistakes!
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