Saturday, April 18, 2015

As If DFER Could Not Make Themselves Sound Worse

I was checking in at the DFER website to see if there was any statement walking back the one from the NY state director, bemoaning opt-outs and real estate values and I found none.

But I did find this scathing commentary on opting out and it's from Nicole Brisbane, the director of the NY state DFER.  Apparently she can't help herself.


- they start with their title, by immediately drawing a line in the between them and teachers unions/"affluent parents" - The Opt-Out Movement; whose kids are really at stake?

- What's interesting is they do say several nice things about teachers unions but then:

In this case, they are trying to maintain a status quo that has been inherently unfair to low income and minority students.

Yes, we are still using that tired old line of "status quo."  And again, I don't read/hear from virtually any teachers or parents who don't think some testing is necessary.

-But the reason why this opt-out movement is most offensive is the absolute disregard for the progress our country has made identifying and addressing the achievement gap between low income and affluent students.

Offensive?  Parents expressing their concern over high stakes testing is "offensive?"

 Also, I was unaware that this country didn't realize there was a gap before NCLB.  I would agree that forcing districts to report on every single type of student did reveal how Sped, ELL and other named status of student is doing but I didn't think it was a big mystery to start with.

 - In fact, the call for a set of normed, improved tests came from teachers and unions themselves. Well, here we are with the improved, normed standards and tests in place.

So why can't all you parents just sit down and shut up?

Again, the unions may have been asking for better tests but parents?  I am unaware of any huge movement for that.  As well, "improved" is certainly not provable at this point.

- Here's the real eye-roller:

Affluent parents aren’t opting out of optional tests, so why opt out of the state exams? Maybe it’s because the results aren’t what they wanted to hear. That their kids, or their kid’s teacher or their beloved neighborhood school isn’t performing as well as they expected. Part of the draw of the suburbs is the high performance of local schools. How will suburban communities maintain their draw if there isn’t a measure of how the schools are actually doing in comparison to those across the state?

They go after teachers, they go after neighborhood schools AND - just like yesterday's "how will we know how much our house is worth without standardized testing" - they allude to home prices?

That "beloved neighborhood school" line?  Well, shades of Arne Duncan.

- They claim that the "data" tells us that NCLB has "sparked so many positive changes for low income students."  And yet, since NCLB came into being test scores have only gone up marginally.  Hmm.  (And again, we are talking about 50 different tests in 50 different states so really, who knows?)

- Then again, maybe we're all just hysterical.

After all, information (maybe the word data freaks people out) helps us make smart, better, informed choices. 

Nicole, you might want to stop digging. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I got a warning about a "malicious script" on that page. That could be interpreted two ways, I suppose.

The DFER-DINOs disgust me. Their neoliberal bent has done just as much damage as the Bush GOP rhetoric when it comes to public schools. Ironically, it seems some of the GOP has come to its senses when it comes to public ed. DFER? They just keep trying to dig that knife in a little deeper.