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The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

The Florida Testing Thief

Florida has more testing this year than ever before. Schools are now testing morning and afternoon sessions. There is no chance to teach with chunks of your classes missing throughout the day. This current round will last from March 2 until the end of May. Gyms, libraries and labs have been turned into testing centers. The Florida legislature is addicted to testing. Well, they are addicted to expensive testing that makes some very wealthy. The Florida legislature, Governor and DOE do not want teachers to evaluate their own students. Why? They can’t manipulate that data like they can with standardized tests. The state feels testing is accountability. Religious and independent schools know that teachers – not standardized testing – provide accountability. “Accountability” has become a political term that appeals to the darker angels that motivate many politicians.

The Hidden Costs of New Florida Testing Enterprise 

Florida has increased testing this year. There are more tests and they take more time. Many schools have gone to double testing sessions each day with morning and afternoon  testing groups. Schools are using gyms, libraries and even auditoriums to handle all the testing. Schools had to buy headphones for each student as well as backup batteries for laptops.

Here are some costs for one Florida school…

Headphones $22,000     

Tables to use for testing in gym  $1,000

Extra laptop batteries to handle more testing  $11,000

Did I mention that with testing from now until the end of May- it will be a rare day when many teachers have anything close to full classes?

Sonny and Cher were right. The beat goes on.

Florida- Cradle to Grave Testing

This document shows that Florida is now requiring an assessment system for Pre-K. Get them addicted, hating school and comfortably numb early on, eh?

http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5444/urlt/109433.pdf

The Audacity of Randi Weingarten

AFT leader Randi Weingarten has shown recent concern for various companies building their brands in our schools.
Randi is referring to various items in vending machines, on specialty lunch menus and from direct advertising.
What mock outrage and what irony!
Weingarten has the audacity to prattle on about food and beverage companies while SHE is a leader in building the PEARSON brand in our schools.
Not only does AFT argue for the continuation of massive standardized testing in schools, they have also worked directly with PARCC on test questions.
Few have done more to build the brands of testing companies than AFT.
I’ll have a Big Mac please…

Florida DOE Requires ALL Districts and Schools to STOP Teaching for…

The knaves at the Florida Department of Education are requiring all Florida districts to stop instruction just to see if the massive and over $300 million dollar testing system can withstand the load. These are so much fun. Kids sit and take a fake test and answer with fake responses for over 30 minutes.

Here is the memorable memo from the DOE. Unreal. Who will stop this insanity?

http://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-7253/dps-2015-04.pdf

Florida kicks off the new year with… more testing!

As Florida students and teachers returned to classes this week they were given a dose of reality. Florida schools are about testing and NOT teaching. Here is part of an email sent out to one school…

Good Morning,
Because of ELA Diagnostics for the next 2 1/2 weeks, all labs and laptops will be used for testing.
Thanks and Welcome Back!

I noticed how happy the sender sounds. This is the sad state of affairs in Florida. Talk is cheap. It is time to act to end this.

The Weingarten Miracle

The CEO of AFT – Randi Weingarten – continues to try and delink herself from reality. The next time Randi pretends to rail against “testing,” just remember a few things…
A. Under Weingarten- AFT took money to work with PARCC to develop test questions.
B. The Weingarten cry to “delay the stakes” was a clever ruse. Notice she did not call to stop the tests or stop diverting billions to them.
C. Under Weingarten- AFT has a “get it right” campaign for common core. Sound familiar? AFT had the same campaign for NCLB. How did that turn out?
D. Weingarten refuses to admit that common core was test driven from day one. Each time she shills – someone working for Pearson gets his/her wings.
E. Randi once said that “It is our job to prepare kids for the SAT.”

I could go on but I think it is clear that Weingarten is a great ally for the educational testing complex. At the heart of this complex is the belief that teachers should not evaluate their students. The belief is that we should divert billions to testing companies and computer companies – while schools crumble and kids starve.
Of course standardized test scores are little more than political hammers to push the agendas of politicians. They are of no real value.
NEA is also to blame. They are common core (ergo testing) buskers as well. Weingarten is just more vocal.

Randi Weingarten, J’accuse !

College Board Data Mining Hits More Gold

The College Board has a program called AP Insight. It is for AP Biology. It is a DATA MINING SCAM. Palm Beach County Florida is one of the districts signing up for this. Not only does it involve massive DATA collection, it requires teachers to faithfully implement a scripted curriculum and give required formative assessments- more testing! Now we can test AP kids to death too.

Here are some quotes from the agreement the College Board makes a district sign…

1. “Allow the College Board to survey students.”

2. “Enter teacher DATA and student DATA into the AP Insight Program.”

The agreement requires student DATA such as…

1. DOB

2. ID Number

3. Gender

4. Race

5. Free or reduced lunch eligibility

This is just the TIP of the ICEBERG. Do parents get to agree to this? If they do not, are their kids kicked out of AP?

Phony Research Claims to Sell Computer Programs and Make Billions

The mountebanks at “Scholastic” are at it again with outrageous and unprofessional research claims. The goal is clear- make billions by selling its “Read 180″ Computer program. Here are some of the claims made by Scholastic in a recent press release.

They claim that due to district wide implementation of “Read 180″, (Napa Valley School District) there was a 60% drop in referrals to special education and a 45% drop in expulsions!  They also claim the program caused a 43% drop in suspensions. This is amazing! Does it also cure the common cold and cause the poles to shift? Yes folks, this product works miracles. It is odd that the report did not mention the percent increase in money spent on computers, software and other mind-numbing diversions.

I can tell you that one of the main reasons we see high school kids in reading classes and high school kids who “hate” to read is that they have been trapped on computer programs for 8 years.

Yes. Scholastic really said that “Read 180″ gets credit for a drop in expulsions, suspensions and special education referrals.

Dick Allington is right. Ban all computer programs from reading classrooms.

The Value of Time, Teachers & Florida School Districts

Few, if any, value the time of teachers less than most Florida school districts. On any given day, from grades K-12, you will find kids either taking state mandated tests or trapped on some multi-million dollar computer program as the teacher “supervises.”
As ridiculous as it sounds- due to the state requirement of forcing kids to take an online class- many districts offer economics and government using a canned online program. The teacher is a spectator – unlocking quizzes and fixing computer glitches. There is no real instruction or use of teacher expertise. Computer skill, drill and kill programs are the norm. Someone is making billions. Of course the ringleader behind this charade is the Florida Department of Education(sic). These unaccountable mountebanks continue to push segregation, corporate education and testing madness.
I can’t tell you how many teachers I know – experts – who want to teach, who are forced to watch as kids are zombified on computer programs each day.
If teachers dare speak out, they are slapped down by district or state apparatchiks. They want you to shut up and live in dystopian bliss.
Not one Florida district has the testicular fortitude to tell DOE and the legislature to go to hell. They cry about the law and rules. I assure you that Rosa Parks and the Founding Fathers were not so concerned with “the rules.” Raymond Chandler once wrote that “one cannot be adequately paid for wasting time.” I agree.

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