Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SOS March in D.C.: Supported nationally by parents, community members, and taxpayers

I found the handful of posts on the SOS March on Washington found in Alexander Russo's blog interesting. Is it possible that journalists are completely misinformed about the reactions in communities across the nation to federal education reform initiatives? Or are these views part of a continuing pattern in the narrative by education reform advocates to trivialize and diminish the extent of public concerns over federal education reform initiatives. Instead of fact-based analysis, one journalist follows the "getting personal" track, commenting on Diane Ravitch and Whitney Tilson, two individuals I had never heard of until recently; whatever their "disagreement," it has no relevance to an examination of current reform initiatives. A few of the journalists/bloggers suggest the SOS March is a teacher event, and ignore the thousands of parents and community members who support it. Then, other commenters are clearly misinformed when they write that those who attend the event should have some solutions to offer. Solutions have been offered, supported by research and evidence and ignored.

Since there are many layers to the federal education reform initiatives, Grumpy Educators has focused on the following:

1) Increased federally imposed standardized testing is unnecessary. There are sufficient assessments in place to provide data on student achievement. The so-called formative assessment is a wasteful effort. Now there is an initiative to have standardized data for preschoolers. Schools are already centers for test preparation and test-centric instruction. Simply stated, testing should not be increased and testing should not be the purpose of the classroom.
2) Accountability matters, but it must be reasonable and rely on the plentiful research and evidence that exists. The last decade of high stakes assessment did not yield the promised results. What benefit is there to continue this mandate that has a track record of negative results?
3) The use of student data to build a national longitudinal database on students from preschool through college is another expensive initiative with insufficient rationale. FERPA was enacted by the U.S. Congress to protect student information. A recent regulatory proposal by the U.S. DOE removes parental consent from the sharing of with some agencies. Is it reasonable for the public to voice concerns over privacy, security, and potential use of data on the nation's children?

Tweet, fax, or call your federal legislator today and tell them these policies do not advance an educated population.

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