A Heartless Congressional Blunder!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Teacher’s Per­spec­tive on the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015”

by Dawn Hoagland, gut­sy pub­lic school teacher and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to ABCSOFDUMBDOWN.BLOGSPOT.COM
The “Every Child Achieves Act” has passed unan­i­mous­ly out of the Health, Edu­ca­tion, Labor, and Pen­sion Com­mit­tee in the Sen­ate. The usu­al sus­pects are singing its prais­es while the peo­ple who actu­al­ly read all 601 pages of the bill are dread­ing its implementation.

This bill is an affront to every­one who loves chil­dren. The teach­ing pro­fes­sion requires love and patience and cre­ativ­i­ty. Real teach­ing to inspire real learn­ing requires these traits. Con­tin­u­ous com­put­er test­ing for com­pli­ance to a pre­scribed out­come does not. In fact, love and cre­ativ­i­ty will get in the way of imple­ment­ing this one-size-fits-all exper­i­men­tal disaster.

Any­one who loves chil­dren would not want to sub­ject chil­dren to this cre­ativ­i­ty crush­ing soul suck­ing sys­tem. This bill funds lots of test­ing and lots of inter­ven­tions for “at risk” stu­dents, which appar­ent­ly includes every­one who doesn’t ace the Com­mon Core assess­ments– in oth­er words, everyone.

Any­one who thinks this is a good idea that will lead to improved learn­ing for stu­dents clear­ly knows noth­ing about human nature or any of the proven analy­sis of W.E. Dem­ing. Top down qual­i­ty con­trol mea­sures that rely on a sys­tem of pun­ish­ments and rewards plac­ing every­one in a com­pet­i­tive atmos­phere do not even work in the busi­ness world for which they were designed.

This type of a sys­tem is com­plete­ly inap­pro­pri­ate for schools that con­tain small chil­dren who are try­ing to become well-devel­oped human beings. Test-dri­ven reform cou­pled with pun­ish­ments caus­es schools and teach­ers to spend too much time on test-prep, to nar­row the cur­ricu­lum to what is test­ed at the expense of deep­er learn­ing, to game the sys­tem, and even to cheat (for exam­ple, the recent con­vic­tions of Atlanta teach­ers and administrators).

Deliv­erol­o­gy,” as invent­ed by Sir Michael Bar­ber, who is now the head of Pear­son Inter­na­tion­al, is a com­mand and con­trol method of man­age­ment designed to improve what­ev­er it is applied to. Bar­ber worked as an advis­er to Tony Blair for four years apply­ing his awful ideas to Health and Edu­ca­tion in Eng­land before com­ing here. Eng­land is still suf­fer­ing from his “reforms.”

Inter­est­ing­ly, David Cole­man, the sup­posed archi­tect of the Com­mon Core worked along­side Sir Michael Bar­ber at Mck­in­sey and Com­pa­ny. The Com­mon Core with its relent­less test­ing sched­ule and data col­lec­tion result­ing in the rank­ing and sort­ing of chil­dren and teach­ers is an exam­ple of “Deliv­erol­o­gy.”

So appar­ent­ly no one on the Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee is famil­iar with Dem­ing or the Deliv­erol­o­gy dis­as­ters unfold­ing in Eng­land because if they were, sure­ly they would have stopped this dopey bill. The bill cod­i­fies the data col­lec­tion and funds annu­al test­ing with hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to be giv­en away to Pear­son each year until 2021.

New York State received $19,670,975 in fed­er­al grant mon­ey (our tax dol­lars) in 2010 to cre­ate a P20 Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Data Sys­tem. Expect­ed major out­comes are:

  • Extend SLDS (Statewide Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Data Sys­tems) to include stu­dent-teacher match­ing and the expan­sion of the data base to include new data elements
  • Estab­lish foun­da­tion for a P20 Sys­tem, includ­ing cre­ation of a post­sec­ondary lon­gi­tu­di­nal data sys­tem, and an out­reach to state agen­cies hous­ing, work­force, health, and social ser­vice data
  • Cre­ate an Instruc­tion­al Sup­port sys­tem pro­vid­ing teach­ers and oth­er edu­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als with infor­ma­tion to sup­port con­tin­u­ous improvement
  • Cre­ate a data base to sup­port research and pol­i­cy analysis
  • Cre­ate a sys­tem for track­ing stu­dent progress and out­comes over time, includ­ing stu­dents’ prepa­ra­tion to meet the demands of post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, the 21st cen­tu­ry work­force and the Armed Forces
  • Cre­ate process­es to ensure qual­i­ty and integri­ty of data across all sys­tems*

Heart­warm­ing, isn’t it? Data is the new cur­ren­cy and it is being sold or giv­en away for free to key play­ers. This bill con­tin­ues and expands the types of data being collected.

tudents are going to be test­ed in the social and emo­tion­al domain since it has been deter­mined that per­haps atti­tudes and dis­po­si­tions are even more impor­tant than hard skills when it comes to being a suc­cess­ful worker.

When they start men­tal health screen­ing, the “health reports” which should be pro­tect­ed with HIPPA con­fi­den­tial­i­ty laws will not be. This infor­ma­tion will sim­ply be includ­ed in every child’s “edu­ca­tion­al record,” now acces­si­ble to third par­ty ven­dors. If Sen­a­tor Bob Casey, Jr. gets his amend­ment adopt­ed, the bill will be expand­ed to include infants as well as K‑12 students.

Edu­ca­tion­al records have been pro­tect­ed since 1974 under the Fam­i­ly Edu­ca­tion­al Rights and Pri­va­cy Act (FERPA) until they were changed in 2011 by an Oba­ma Exec­u­tive Order. Arne Dun­can lob­bied Oba­ma to change FERPA in order to make the data col­lec­tion plan acces­si­ble to var­i­ous state agen­cies and pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions such as Pearson.

This bill funds con­tin­u­ous test­ing and con­tin­u­ous data col­lec­tion of all kinds of inva­sive infor­ma­tion. It man­dates con­tin­u­ous rank­ing, sort­ing, and track­ing of our chil­dren and teach­ers. It man­dates con­tin­u­ous inter­ven­tions to manip­u­late the behav­ior and per­son­al­i­ties of our chil­dren through oper­ant con­di­tion­ing to con­form to some col­lec­tivist dream of uni­form obe­di­ent work­er drones. Who wants this? Not par­ents and not children.

One rea­son the reform­ers are so inter­est­ed in data is to sub­stan­ti­ate their claims that there are many “bad” teach­ers in the class­room. They want to be able to point to fail­ing stu­dent scores on these cocka­mamie tests in order to jus­ti­fy or man­date the fir­ing of many teach­ers. When this hap­pens, neigh­bor­hood pub­lic schools will close and new char­ters will open everywhere.

The Every Child Achieves Act funds huge give­aways to char­ter school investors in the form of grants and tax cred­its. This bill will encour­age an enor­mous increase in the num­ber of char­ter schools in our coun­try. It could prove to be the death knell for our neigh­bor­hood pub­lic schools.

All of these char­ter schools will be fund­ed with our tax dol­lars but will not be sub­ject­ed to reg­u­lar audit­ing or oth­er man­dates, such as hir­ing cer­ti­fied teach­ers, required of neigh­bor­hood pub­lic schools.

Char­ters will not be over­seen by elect­ed school boards respon­si­ble to the par­ents and the tax­pay­ers. This will mean that the U.S. gov­ern­ment and the states will be foist­ing a sys­tem of tax­a­tion with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the peo­ple of this great repub­lic. Will we stand for this in 2015?

Wake up! Call con­gress and demand an edu­ca­tion bill designed for human beings made in the image of God. We can­not allow this Brave New World bill to get signed into law. We will be very sor­ry if we do.