stephanie jones

Archive for June 19th, 2009|Daily archive page

Social class back in the Times

In American Dream, classism, justice, poverty, professional development resources, social class on June 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a gorgeous piece in the New York Times about “the economy” and its effects on the already-struggling-to-make-ends-meet-in-the-good-times people.

Jane Van Galen has it linked on her blog along with some excellent quotes and pointed commentary. (Thanks to Andrea N. for telling me about it on Jane’s blog!)

Ehrenreich’s piece is the first in a series – so let’s hope the next ones are just as straight forward and educational (at least to those who don’t know it already).

NYT often has great pieces on social class – one series ended up as a great little book I’ve used in courses, Class Matters.


Cheating on State Tests? Are We Surprised?

In anti-bias teaching, high-stakes tests, NCLB, politics, Retention Policies, teacher education resources on June 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

A friend in Dallas sent this article to me today:

All 8th graders in a Dallas school district must retake the state test because of “irregularities.”

And it reminded me of the probe in Atlanta this year as well as across at least four districts across Georgia:

Principal resigns and Assistant Principal is re-assigned during investigation into cheating on the state tests in Atlanta

State of Georgia says students didn’t cheat but were cheated by adults who did change answers in four districts

When any one “test” is valued higher than other measurements, you can guarantee that test will be corrupt and invalid from the beginning. The cheating by adults doing whatever it takes to save their jobs and their schools in this ridiculous historic moment we find ourselves in has been going on since the beginning of the No Child Left Behind Act:

And we thought cheating was bad in 2007?

And with my own daughter telling me that one of the reading passages was “just too long” so “I decided to guess the answers” – we see why teachers and other adults would WANT to cheat. They know what kids can do – they know kids are smart – they know that the stupid test with its insane rigidities, weirdly stated questions, strange reading selections, and “regularities” such as no talking, no vomiting, no looking around, no eye-balling, no gestures, no crying, no walking, no peeing, no eating, no drinking, and you must wait for everyone to finish before you move, create a context where most kids cannot, and do not, perform their best.

Can we just admit that we’ve made a huge mistake by tying these state test scores to federal rewards and punishments – and to children’s promotion or retention fate?

If you don’t know about Fair Test already – check it out. It’s one of dozens and dozens of organizations working against the misuse and abuse of testing instruments and test-takers.

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