How Corporate Education Reform is Changing the Structure and Stability of Our Public School System

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June 26, 2016 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church 19020 NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd, Woodinville, WA 98072 The Common Core Charade by Raschelle Holland Understanding High-Stakes Testing, and Why We Should Resist by Wayne Au, Ph.D. Our Presenters: Raschelle … Continue reading

Emails reveal the “Gates Machine” in action after the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision that charter schools are unconstitutional

Here is just a peek at the corrupt influence of the Gates Foundation in the Washington state charter schools scheme. Do take the time to read some of the emails hyperlinked in the article.

“A meeting was held at a Starbucks between the Gates Foundation and Superintendent Jacka [of the Mary Walker School District] where they worked out a financial agreement. As shown in the emails, the Gates Foundation wrote the grant proposal for the Mary Walker School District and after the school district’s review and approval, a check was sent to MWSD in December, for the first of two grants to the MWSD. The first grant was for $250,000 and the second grant totals $2.1M.

That grant money did not include an additional $160,000 paid to MWSD from the Gates Foundation via the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

It would behoove all to read the grant proposal written by the Gates Foundation for the Mary Walker School District. It reflects the fact that there are well-defined strings attached to any money that Gates “donates”. They do want a return on their investment.”

Seattle Education

money_machine 

Is the Gates Foundation an invisible fourth branch of Washington’s state government?

In a previous post titled The charter school shell game in Washington State: Money laundering at its best (or worst?) by way of OSPI, I described how first private and now public money is being laundered through the Mary Walker School District and to charter schools. The first charter school to enjoy this set up is Rainier Prep which is located in the Highline School District

In this post I will provide the specifics of where this scheme originated, how it evolved and the players involved. This is an explicit example of how Bill Gates, through his foundation, is able to manipulate people and policies to fit his agenda, using millions of dollars to grease the wheels. This is also an example of Gates making an end run around the Democratic and legal processes.

Within days…

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Conservatives for Exit Exams: A lesson in high-stakes testing

Why conservatives should celebrate, not bemoan, the passage of California’s SB 172 eliminating exit exams.

Breann Treffry
Opt Out Spokane
Washington State Against Common Core

There seems to be some confusion among conservatives regarding recent developments in education reform. As previously evidenced by Congressional Republicans’ support of the Every Student Succeeds Act (a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and a bill that delivers veto power over state education plans to the U.S. Secretary of Education) and now by what we hope is a misunderstanding over the good news of California’s repeal of exit exams, many trusted conservatives appear to be doing very shallow research and a great disservice to the anti-Common Core and opt out movements.

Tests known as exit exams, while they have been around for over a decade in California, are a relatively new element of the same federal reforms that have brought us the Common Core State Standards, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and a gutting of FERPA laws to allow student data collection and sharing on a phenomenal scale without parental knowledge or consent. All of these reforms are sustained by high-stakes testing. Testing and standards are directly linked, and the data through which policies are influenced and profits are made is gathered directly by the tests. Nevermind that these tests are often invalid, with cut scores being set after results are in, with scorers hired via Craigslist ads, with questions being psychological (not just academic) in nature, and, in the case of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, with the entire test being experimental and unproven. As many parents are becoming more informed about high-stakes testing, the numbers who choose to allow their children to participate are falling. 2015 produced Washington state’s highest opt-out numbers ever.

1554380_351907538283396_1733073351_nIn order to coerce parents and students into taking these tests, governments, districts, and schools will raise the stakes, often at the behest of private interests who profit greatly from the testing industry. The federal government threatens to withhold funding or close schools; states and districts instruct their principals to hold high pressure meetings with each parent who wants to exercise their right to opt their child out of state testing; the Washington state legislature required (thankfully, now amended) that retention be considered for THIRD graders who scored too low on the state test; state colleges are convinced to accept the SBA as an entrance exam; and so on. But by far the highest of the stakes placed on any test is requiring it as an exit exam to receive a diploma. This creates the potentiality that a student who has spent 13 years of his life working hard in school could pass all courses with a 4.0 and be denied a high school diploma because he did not take or pass one particular test. Creating this situation, as has been done in Washington state, is nothing more than a top-down coercion tactic aimed at increasing the number of students testing and, therefore, the amount of data collected and profits made through the test.

California’s SB 172 removes the highest of stakes on testing by eliminating the requirement of an exit exam. This does not mean high school students will not take tests and be required to pass them. In the state of Washington and elsewhere before exit exams and requiring a single test for graduation, performance was demonstrated in part through course finals that helped the teacher determine whether a student had sufficiently mastered a course. It is a system of greater local control and, indeed, students are still required to take and pass their finals.

The idea of local control in education, typically touted by conservatives as a desirable one, includes the notion that determinations affecting a student should be made as close to the student as possible. California’s former exit exam (CAHSEE) was determined at the state level. Washington’s exit exam is moving toward being determined at the national level (transitioning from the HSPE/EOC to the SBA). It seems the best we can hope for is that conservatives expressing support for what is a move away from local control are simply confused and misinformed. As a new legislative session and election season is nearly upon us, we can also hope that they do continue to speak up. Conservatives should be cheering California’s passage of SB 172 and supporting similar legislation in other states.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall… Beware of Apples Dripping with Common Core Poison

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A Spokane teacher artistically demonstrates the incestuous web of Common Core supporters in Washington state.

IGNITE! ... Fire is Catching

Mirror mirror on the wall,

Who is the most deceptive of all?

Snow White

Poison Apple 9

A lovely child I see.

Rags cannot hide her innocent face.

Alas, she is more honest than thee.

Lips red full of questions filled with curiosity.

Hair speckled with creativity.

Skin colored with diversity.

The Evil Queen

Alas!  Who is this evil queen?

Who plots to feed our children apples laced with poison?

Is college and career ready truly the reason?

The Hunter

At first she summoned a kind hearted man,

Who disagreed with the queen’s devious plan.

The hunter loved Snow White, an admiring fan,

He spared her life, cut out a deer’s heart, into the forest she ran.

The Apple

One apple will no longer suffice,

it is masses the Empress must now entice.

Children see shiney and red,

innocently eating the venom they’re fed.

 

One juicy bite lulls parents and educators to sleep…

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Opt out fever catches in eastern Washington!

This has been a big week for the opt out movement in eastern Washington! Both Spokane and the Tri-Cities are experiencing surges in test refusals. Federal law (No Child Left Behind) requires at least 95% participation in state testing (MSP/HSPE, EOCs, and SBAC)  in order for a test sample to be considered valid. In this data-fed system of punishments to schools, teachers, and students, withholding that data by opting out of state testing is the simplest and most effective way to voice your objection and bring that system to a screeching halt.

The Kennewick School District has received 120 documented opt outs, and hundreds more students simply didn’t show up on test day. KSD hopes more students show up to next portion of the exam

Southridge High School in Kennewick is seeing 70% of their students opting out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment! Parents opting students out of state school testing

Opt out fever is catching in Spokane, too, where even teachers are beginning to speak out. Don’t test me

How the state will respond to the opt out movement remains to be seen, but one thing is clear. Parents and teachers want an end to high-stakes testing. Join the movement!

Tri-Cities Wa Citizens Against Common Core on Facebook.

Spokane Wa Against Common Core on Facebook.

Find more information about opting out of state testing here.  You may be asked by your school to turn in a state testing refusal form. Although it’s not required, you can find that form here.

Senate Hearing on Common Core

Washington state Senators Pam Roach (R) and Maralyn Chase (D) are sponsoring a hearing on Common Core THIS THURSDAY, April 2nd at 4:00 p.m. before the senate in Olympia!

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This is not a hearing on a particular bill, but instead is the public conversation that should’ve occurred BEFORE adoption of the Common Core standards and reforms.

Many parents and teachers will be attending and ready to testify. Please sign in to deliver your 2-3 minute personal story of how Common Core and the associated high-stakes testing is affecting your children and family. Student testimonies welcome!

Senate Hearing on Common Core
Thursday, April 2, 2015
4:00-6:00 p.m.
John A. Cherberg Building, Hearing Room 4
Olympia, Washington

Instructions on parking at the state capitol can be found here.

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