Clueless Kuster is a threat to NH students and teachers

 

by Ann Marie Banfield

 

 

 

mckluster

 

BOTH national teachers unions are fed  with the United States Department of Education!  The LARGEST Teachers Union called for the RESIGNATION of U.S. Secretary of Education: Arne Duncan.  WAKE UP CLUELESS KUSTER.

 

We couldn’t help but notice the recent commercial by Rep. Annie Kuster who is attacking her opponent Marilinda Garcia. Kuster criticizes Garcia for opposing the U.S. Department of Education.

The US DOE has a budget of $69 BILLION dollars. Money that could be spent on teacher salaries and in local classrooms. This is money WASTED as we can clearly see by their Common Core agenda that is being forced upon our local schools.

YES, it’s worth considering abolishing the US DOE. WHY? We have a STATE Dept of Education AND a local School Board. Why do we need ANOTHER layer of bureaucracy that siphons money from our local schools?

If you live in Kuster’s district, let her know that we do NOT appreciate the U.S. Dept. of Education waging war on our children. We do NOT appreciate their direct attack on our local teachers. They have TOO much power and we agree with Garcia, shut them DOWN.

Let’s take OUR hard earned money and stop giving it to a Dept. that uses it to bribe us and attack our teachers.

 

Also posted on Stop Common Core in New Hampshire (Face book).

October 2014

Vol. 5, Issue 10

New NEA leader to nation’s educators: Revolt, ignore ‘stupid’ reforms

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/11/new-nea-l...

 

August 11 2014

 

 


(Correction: Changing word from hire to fire; typo resulted in wrong word used in first version of this post)

To call the woman who is about to take the helm of the National Education Association “outspoken” would be something of an understatement. Lily Eskelsen García, who will take over next month as president of the largest teachers union in the country (and, for that matter, the largest union of any kind in the country), is nauseatingly sick of what she calls “factory school reform” and she doesn’t mind telling everybody about it in clear, challenging words. “Stop doing stupid,” she says.

That’s not all. Acknowledging that sometimes it is hard for her to be diplomatic, García says she wants to shake things up: “The revolution I want is ‘proceed until apprehended.’” Translation: Teachers, administrators and everybody else involved should ignore bad school reform policy and do “the right thing” for kids. “Don’t you dare,” she said, ” let someone tell you not to do that Shakespeare play because it’s not on the achievement tests. Whether they [reformers] have sinister motives or misguided honest motives, we should say, ‘We are not going to listen to you anymore. We are going to do what’s right.’”

The biggest problem in education today, she said, is the obsession many school reformers — including Education Secretary Arne Duncan — have with standardized tests and using student scores to make high-stakes decisions on  whether students move to the next grade or graduate high school, how much teachers get paid and whether they can keep their jobs, and even if schools are reconstituted or closed. “I will go down to my last breath telling people that the most corrupting influence in public influence today is a high-stakes consequence for not hitting the cut score on a standardized test,” she said.

What would she do if she were still teaching and an administrator told her to do something in class to improve student’s standardized test scores so that her test-based evaluation would be better?  “I would totally ignore them,” she said. ” ‘Go stand out in the hall and don’t waste five seconds of my time.’ I would not make that change one thing in my classroom.”

You can read this story by my colleague Lyndsey Layton about García’s rise to the top of the NEA, a journey that started when she worked in a school lunch room, moved through years of teaching (during which she was named Utah’s Teacher of the Year)  and took her to the leadership of her union. And here are some excerpts from the recent interview I just had with García about her views on challenges facing educators today.

 

On Education Secretary Arne Duncan:

Arne Duncan is a very nice man. I actually believe he is a very honest man. And that cannot excuse the fact that he is wrong wrong wrong on just about every thing that he believes is reform. I could just give him hugs when he talks about preschool. I love when he talks about affordable college. Its not that he is in the pocket of the Koch brothers and wants to destroy public schools. But he has drunk the Kool-Aid. He has drunk the factory reform Kool-Aid.  So now it’s you have to hit a number and that number is what we call accountability and we have to blame someone and there has to be a punishment for not hitting that cut score. And I believe will go down to my last breath telling people that the most corrupting influence in public influence today is a high-stakes consequence for not hitting the cut score on a standardized test.”

 

On the Common Core State Standards and aligned testing:

“We have something with incredible promise, like the Common Core. My own friends will go, ‘You know they are just going to mess up the Common Core.’ Yeah, and then we have Texas. Texas isn’t in the Common Core but it’s a mess there. It’s not the standards. It’s what they are doing with these standards, or whatever standards. So you have a New York situation, which is the “I Love Lucy’ thing. ” We have the Common Core and add one more test and judge you and punish you by it and ramp up the factory thing and you have chocolate falling to the fall — and there is no more tragic metaphor to me than chocolate falling on the floor. Educators, my colleagues, are trying to take the high road and explain that … 100 percent of the kids cannot statistically be above average. And you can’t throw these wonderful new problem-solving, critical-thinking skill standards at teachers when we haven’t trained then on it or given them any curriculum and tell them that the tests are being field tested but they are still going to be judged on them, even fired, and third graders can’t go to fourth grade because of test results. Imposing this toxic testing regime makes no sense.

“Stop the stupid. And I’ll try really hard to make that diplomatic.”

On ‘value-added measures’ (VAM is a way of evaluating educators that takes student standardized test scores, plops them into a complicated formula that can supposedly weed out things like how much living in poverty or being sick affects a child’s performance on a test and determining the “value” of an individual teacher.)

Voodoo value-added. It is beyond ridiculous. Have you ever seen the formulas? Here’s what I think. Let’s make it so complicated no one will ask a question for fear of looking stupid. I’m the teacher who told my kids there is no such thing as a stupid question. … I looked the year I had 39 fifth-graders and looked at what is factored into the value-added formula to determine my value. That year I had Brandon and Chris, both of whom had behavior disorders. How is that factored in [to the formula]? You cannot surgically remove every factor that might affect some child’s test score, and then attribute a “value” to a particular teacher. I know that part of what I did was build on what the teacher the year ahead of me was able to accomplish. It is not surgery. And anybody that stands up and sends us the voodoo value-added should be ashamed of themselves.

I’ve always told people — because I am that obnoxious — that  I am the best freaking teacher you have ever seen. You want your child in my class… I am not afraid of an evaluation system. Bring it on. But what I would do with value added? I would totally ignore them. ‘Go stand out in the hall and don’t waste five seconds of my time.’ I would not make that change one thing in my classroom. If a principal said, ‘We can’t do the blood drive because we have to prep for the test,’ I would say, ‘Go away’. That’s where the rebellion would be.

There is no law that says we have to race around and catch that testing tail. We do it to ourselves. The revolution I want is, ‘Proceed until apprehended.’ … Stop listening to the salesmen. Stop listening to phony reformers. And stop listening to those good-hearted and absolutely wrong people and do the right thing with kids. We are the educators, the professionals. We actually know what to do with children.”

 

On No Child Left Behind:

“I am so convinced that No Child Left Behind is really based on the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode in the chocolate factory [when Lucy and Ethel work in a factory to box chocolates that appear on a increasingly fast assembly line]. I really believe that someone spent a little too much time watching ‘Nick at night’ and said, ‘Let’s just speed up the chocolate. We will find a way to wrap it and put it in pretty little boxes. And Lucy and Ethel couldn’t do it of course. We have corporate reform. It doesn’t make any sense.”

 

On corporate school reform and whether Democrats who support it have abandoned teachers union:

“I talk about factory school reform. Its not even like a well-run modern corporation that they are suggesting. It’s a 1920′s factory. And …on both sides of the aisle we get the same misguided list of reforms. Basically its privatized, standardized, deprofessionalized. The exact opposite of what very successful international success stories like Finland or even Singapore do. They personalize. They use data to make good decisions. They have ramped up the professionalism of education. They make it harder to get into your college of education than to get into your law school. They make it a career, not a summer project for someone who just graduated from college. Even KIPP [charter schools] will say one of the secrets of their success is a stable, highly professional faculty. How do you make sense of a churn system of Teach For America where you give two years and go on your way? The corporate factory reformers have this evidence-free zone that surrounds them… We are like waving red flags of evidence in front of them. Stop doing stupid. Can we just do what we can show you makes sense?…

“I would challenge the premise that the Democratic Party is not a friend of organized working men and women. But there are disconnects on more and more issues. And of course we are seeing that disconnect seriously in the education world….

“We just need to say this is no longer partisan. It is just stupid.”

On whether unions have been too slow to respond to criticism or get out a better message:

“We are not marketing specialists. We aren’t in advertising or in business and trying to sell a product. When someone asks us something as basic as, ‘Does class size matter,” or a study comes out that says class size doesn’t matter, which means that the researchers didn’t see any appreciable improvement on a standardized test, we’ll give really sincere, honest, wonderful 14-page answers. ‘Here’s what you need to know about class size.’  I had 39 fifth graders in a room. When someone asks me about class size, I want to say, ‘Don’t stand too close to me when you say class size doesn’t matter. I get a little energized.’ … Of course class size matters. You can’t personalize instruction with large classes.”

 

About new legal efforts to reduce or eliminate teacher tenure and other job protections:

“They have a machine. You could see it with Campbell Brown … They get a front who says, ‘I’m the face of the person that cares because teachers don’t care. I, who have never stepped into a class with 35 kids and never would in my life, listen to me.’ They have no credibility…. But they read a piece about some truly bad thing that happened and they are on a crusade to save the world from bad teachers. That is their narrative. Because if you can talk about something like that you don’t have to talk about why do these kids have an Olympic swimming pool and these kids have a leaky roof.  How come these kids get French classes and AP classes — and they should — and these kids don’t even get recess because they spend it drilling and practicing for the standardized test. Equity costs money, so you want to change the subject as fast as you can. You have all of these false strawmen: ‘Are you telling me there are no bad teachers?’ They will message those things as if they are legitimate arguments….

When you ask people what tenure is, they will say, ‘I heard its that you can’t fire a bad teacher.’ It isn’t. If you say you need a system that will protect good teachers from being fired unfairly — and there are teachers whose jobs are a stake because some parents are mad their kids didn’t make a team or get a good grade on something — people understand. But you don’t want a system that is so impossible to navigate that it does protect a bad teacher. You need to find the balance to protect the good teacher and make it possible to fire a bad, unprepared, unmotivated teacher…  When someone stands up to say, ‘It is impossible to fire a bad teacher,’ I tell them to go to Utah and other states that have reasonable transparent due-process laws and regulations in their districts.”

On whether too few bad teachers are fired:

“I belong to a union. We protect due process rights. We have a legal duty to protect their due process and represent their interests. And a lot of times it is in their interest to take a look at the evidence against them and look at their own colleagues who might be testifying against them and say here are the risks of going through this process and here are your chances. A lot of times those folks look and say, ‘Better for me to resign. Better for me to get a new career.’ People think you can look at those hard numbers and say how many people were removed by the process. You can’t.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

Opting Out of Smarter Balanced Assessments under Federal Law -- "Protection of pupil rights"

Federal law does not explicitly allow parents to opt-out their children from tests or assessments.  However, federal law exempts students from being required to submit to any tests or assessments that reveals certain controversial information about the child or his family.
 

No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—

 (1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
 (2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
 (3) sex behavior or attitudes;
 (4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
 (5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
 (6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
 (7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
 (8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent. 

20 U.S. Code § 1232h - Protection of pupil rights

 
The psychological nature of the Smarter Balanced assessments and corresponding privacy issues are a major concern for every parent with a child enrolled in public school.
 
The authority being usurped by the state and federal education administrators via these Common Core aligned assessments completely unprecedented.
 
What's more, the Smarter Balanced assessments are different for each student using the online testing because it adjusts the difficulty of questions based on the student's responses.

This is not standardized testing.  This is customized or adaptive testing, which does not allow for student-to-student comparison nor even state-to-state comparisons.  Every child is potentially taking a different assessment. 

So what exactly is being measured? 

Is the goal simply to enable data collection of more than 400 data points including health history, family income range, voting status, psychological response during testing, and religious affiliation?

 

 

 

 
 

20 U.S. Code § 1232h - Protection of pupil rights


Current through Pub. L. 113-142, except 128. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

(a) Inspection of instructional materials by parents or guardians

All instructional materials, including teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any applicable program shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children.

(b) Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations

No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—

 (1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
 (2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
 (3) sex behavior or attitudes;
 (4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
 (5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
 (6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
 (7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
 (8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.

(c) Development of local policies concerning student privacy, parental access to information, and administration of certain physical examinations to minors

 (1) Development and adoption of local policies

Except as provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a local educational agency that receives funds under any applicable program shall develop and adopt policies, in consultation with parents, regarding the following:

 (A)

 (i) The right of a parent of a student to inspect, upon the request of the parent, a survey created by a third party before the survey is administered or distributed by a school to a student; and
 (ii) any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to such survey within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.

 (B) Arrangements to protect student privacy that are provided by the agency in the event of the administration or distribution of a survey to a student containing one or more of the following items (including the right of a parent of a student to inspect, upon the request of the parent, any survey containing one or more of such items):

 (i) Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent.
 (ii) Mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family.
 (iii) Sex behavior or attitudes.
 (iv) Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior.
 (v) Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships.
 (vi) Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers.
 (vii) Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent.
 (viii) Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).

 (C)

 (i) The right of a parent of a student to inspect, upon the request of the parent, any instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum for the student; and
 (ii) any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to instructional material within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.
 (D) The administration of physical examinations or screenings that the school or agency may administer to a student.
 (E) The collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the purpose of marketing or for selling that information (or otherwise providing that information to others for that purpose), including arrangements to protect student privacy that are provided by the agency in the event of such collection, disclosure, or use.

 (F)

 (i) The right of a parent of a student to inspect, upon the request of the parent, any instrument used in the collection of personal information under subparagraph (E) before the instrument is administered or distributed to a student; and
 (ii) any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to such instrument within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.

 (2) Parental notification

 (A) Notification of policies

The policies developed by a local educational agency under paragraph (1) shall provide for reasonable notice of the adoption or continued use of such policies directly to the parents of students enrolled in schools served by that agency. At a minimum, the agency shall—
 (i) provide such notice at least annually, at the beginning of the school year, and within a reasonable period of time after any substantive change in such policies; and
 (ii) offer an opportunity for the parent (and for purposes of an activity described in subparagraph (C)(i), in the case of a student of an appropriate age, the student) to opt the student out of participation in an activity described in subparagraph (C).

 (B) Notification of specific events

The local educational agency shall directly notify the parent of a student, at least annually at the beginning of the school year, of the specific or approximate dates during the school year when activities described in subparagraph (C) are scheduled, or expected to be scheduled.

 (C) Activities requiring notification

The following activities require notification under this paragraph:
 (i) Activities involving the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the purpose of marketing or for selling that information (or otherwise providing that information to others for that purpose).
 (ii) The administration of any survey containing one or more items described in clauses (i) through (viii) of paragraph (1)(B).

 (iii) Any nonemergency, invasive physical examination or screening that is—

 (I) required as a condition of attendance;
 (II) administered by the school and scheduled by the school in advance; and
 (III) not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the student, or of other students.

 (3) Existing policies

A local educational agency need not develop and adopt new policies if the State educational agency or local educational agency has in place, on January 8, 2002, policies covering the requirements of paragraph (1). The agency shall provide reasonable notice of such existing policies to parents and guardians of students, in accordance with paragraph (2).

 (4) Exceptions

 (A) Educational products or services

Paragraph (1)(E) does not apply to the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating, or providing educational products or services for, or to, students or educational institutions, such as the following:
 (i) College or other postsecondary education recruitment, or military recruitment.
 (ii) Book clubs, magazines, and programs providing access to low-cost literary products.
 (iii) Curriculum and instructional materials used by elementary schools and secondary schools.
 (iv) Tests and assessments used by elementary schools and secondary schools to provide cognitive, evaluative, diagnostic, clinical, aptitude, or achievement information about students (or to generate other statistically useful data for the purpose of securing such tests and assessments) and the subsequent analysis and public release of the aggregate data from such tests and assessments.
 (v) The sale by students of products or services to raise funds for school-related or education-related activities.
 (vi) Student recognition programs.

 (B) State law exception

The provisions of this subsection—
 (i) shall not be construed to preempt applicable provisions of State law that require parental notification; and
 (ii) do not apply to any physical examination or screening that is permitted or required by an applicable State law, including physical examinations or screenings that are permitted without parental notification.

 (5) General provisions

 (A) Rules of construction

 (i) This section does not supersede section 1232g of this title.
 (ii) Paragraph (1)(D) does not apply to a survey administered to a student in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.).

 (B) Student rights

The rights provided to parents under this section transfer to the student when the student turns 18 years old, or is an emancipated minor (under an applicable State law) at any age.

 (C) Information activities

The Secretary shall annually inform each State educational agency and each local educational agency of the educational agency’s obligations under this section and section 1232g of this title.

 (D) Funding

A State educational agency or local educational agency may use funds provided under part A of title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [20 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.] to enhance parental involvement in areas affecting the in-school privacy of students.

 (6) Definitions

As used in this subsection:

 (A) Instructional material

The term “instructional material” means instructional content that is provided to a student, regardless of its format, including printed or representational materials, audio-visual materials, and materials in electronic or digital formats (such as materials accessible through the Internet). The term does not include academic tests or academic assessments.

 (B) Invasive physical examination

The term “invasive physical examination” means any medical examination that involves the exposure of private body parts, or any act during such examination that includes incision, insertion, or injection into the body, but does not include a hearing, vision, or scoliosis screening.

 (C) Local educational agency

The term “local educational agency” means an elementary school, secondary school, school district, or local board of education that is the recipient of funds under an applicable program, but does not include a postsecondary institution.

 (D) Parent

The term “parent” includes a legal guardian or other person standing in loco parentis (such as a grandparent or stepparent with whom the child lives, or a person who is legally responsible for the welfare of the child).

 (E) Personal information

The term “personal information” means individually identifiable information including—
 (i) a student or parent’s first and last name;
 (ii) a home or other physical address (including street name and the name of the city or town);
 (iii) a telephone number; or
 (iv) a Social Security identification number.

 (F) Student

The term “student” means any elementary school or secondary school student.

 (G) Survey

The term “survey” includes an evaluation.
(d) Notice
Educational agencies and institutions shall give parents and students effective notice of their rights under this section.
 
(e) Enforcement
The Secretary shall take such action as the Secretary determines appropriate to enforce this section, except that action to terminate assistance provided under an applicable program shall be taken only if the Secretary determines that—
 (1) there has been a failure to comply with such section; and
 (2) compliance with such section cannot be secured by voluntary means.
 
(f) Office and review board
The Secretary shall establish or designate an office and review board within the Department of Education to investigate, process, review, and adjudicate violations of the rights established under this section.

 

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