Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time the citizen of the states united were upset because their children were not learning.   They found out in 1976 that Johnny could not read because he (and she) didn’t know phonics.   Then they found out in 1987 that Johnny still couldn’t read.  Finally a miracle was upon them and a law was passed throughout the land that hence forth, ok by 2014, no child would be left behind.  And every child would be on grade level by 2014.  To make sure that would happen, every child would be tested every year and any state that didn’t make the grade would be called out and not making adequate progress.  This notion would be called the Standards Movement. That would be VERY bad.  Some state leaders thought it might be good to dumb down the tests.  Other state leaders thought they should just take their sweet time ramping up the tests until 2014.  Alas and alack, as 2014 approached all realized the miracle was not to be.

In the meantime the various governors dispatched their education ministers to create a level playing field for all students.  Thus continued the standards movement in education.  Everyone is in favor of high standards in education.  The ministers convened and conferred.  Out of this great melding of the minds came the Common Core curriculum.  This curriculum would be very hard; it would improve standards.  As with all standards it needed to be tested.  So two big consortia were formed to create tests for the new curriculum.  Smarter Balance (no it is not margarine) and the Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) were formed to create the tests.  PARCC had most of the east coast and Smarter Balance the middle ground.  In the beginning there were 26 states in PARCC.   Now there are 11.  Now the office of education of the states united has said the states can each make up its own tests or use the tests from the consortia.  The original purpose of Common Core was to test all of the children on the same level playing field- oophs too bad.

And it also seems that the citizens of the states united and the many teachers are waking up to the idea that schools are for learning and not just testing.  Recent polls show that the majority of citizens think there is too much testing.   And the Maryland State Education Association has just committed $500,000 for a campaign to reduce testing.  Surely we are imagining all this and imagining the millions and millions of dollars spent developing these tests.  Not to worry, this all happened Once Upon a Time.

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