"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, April 27, 2008

An American Hero

Carl Chew has been suspended for two weeks without pay for insubordination. He has refused to give his students the WASL, the standardized test for the state of Washington.

It's too bad that more teachers can't...or won't...stand up to the damage that is being done to our students in the name of "accountability" or "standards."

Most of us can't afford to go two weeks without pay...or risk losing our jobs. On the other hand, when you realize what this is doing to our students - the long term damage to the children who are most vulnerable - we ought to all feel a twinge of guilt for just "closing our classroom doors" and going on as if nothing is wrong.

So...Carl Chew is doing what many of us, for whatever reason, aren't doing. He is putting his money where his mouth is:

• No more giving tests which are used for punishment instead of diagnosis

No more sitting idly by while the Bush administration gives preferential treatment to "educational" materials made by friends and relatives

No more watching students take tests which are inappropriate to their development

No more tacit agreement that high stakes testing is equal to accountability

No more silence against those who would destroy the nation's public school system -

No more punishing children and schools for the failure of the country to reduce poverty

No more going along with state and federal governments which, through ignorance or maliciousness, are killing teaching and learning

First we have an article from Seattlepi.com
Seattle teacher penalized for refusing to give WASL


Second - Carl Chew's statement provided to Seattlepi.com as to why he refused to give the tests
Carl Chew's statement on the WASL

Third...his article, "Before the Big Test"

Finally, here is his intro to "Before the Big Test" in which he tells why he has done what he has done...

I teach 6th grade science at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle. I have let my administration know that I will no longer give the WASL to my students. I have done this because of the personal moral and ethical conviction that the WASL is harmful to students, teachers, schools, and families. I will not delve further into my reasons because so many others have already done that clearly and thoroughly for me. I will keep you posted as to what happens.

(www.ctchew.com)

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Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing


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No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
Dismantle NCLB!
Sign the petition by clicking HERE.
More than 32,000 signatures so far...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

State Testing

State Testing

State testing.
"learning disabled"
Twelve year olds
Drumming fingers,
Panicked eyes searching,
Squinting,
Hoping concentrating on shapes of letters
Will bring eurekas to their confusion.
Squeezing foreheads
As if answers will ooze through their arms
To tools
Of pencils ready and oh so willing to answer
Questions.
Questions which reflect paragraphs
Made of words, mysterious symbols
Created to measure the worth of a twelve year old mind
If only reading were possible.

State testing.
"Learning disabled"
twelve year old terrified to admit
His confusion.
Two hours trying to
Fill in bubbles slowly
As if to make the effort would create success.
Each minute sinking deeper into
The despair of self loathing.
The garble on the pages pointing their
Defiant arrows toward his inward
Feeling of stupidity
If only he could read.

Testing
"learning disabled"
Reading…..
Like everything would come together
If effort prevailed.
Twelve year olds
Teachers
Parents
Even the president says it's possible.
Too bad
That touted belief
Couldn't heal
The helplessness
In a twelve year old's eyes.

— Glenda Puett
a teacher's note
2008-04-15

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Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing


-----
No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
Dismantle NCLB!
Sign the petition by clicking HERE.
More than 32,000 signatures so far...

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Disparity Gap

The Disparity Gap, from the Educator Roundtable:


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Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing
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No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind! Dismantle NCLB! Sign the petition by clicking HERE. More than 32,000 signatures so far...