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Why Our Family Chose to Opt Out / Refuse NYS ELA and Math Testing

A good friend questioned the wisdom of opting kids out of the Common Core exams and explained that her child has benefited greatly from the instruction he has received as a result of Common Core lessons.

This is my extended reply to this reasonable question.

I know Bill McCallum, one of the lead writers of the mathematics Common Core standards. He is a nice guy, very smart, and motivated to do the right things. So I am not against the Common Core Learning Standards.

But I hate the tests, the whole testing system. I hate #peepingpearson. I hate the lies being spread by people who know better to undercut our nation’s public school system.

*****

Until this past Saturday, our family had decided that we would allow our 6th grade son to take Pearson’s New York Common Core exams next month.

Despite the fact that last year, about 70% of NYS students in grades 3-8 failed the tests. By design.

Despite the fact that this year, New York’s governor is electing to use the results of these tests to initiate termination proceedings for teachers whose students demonstrate insufficient growth. To intimidate.

Despite the fact that just a couple of weeks ago, thousands of students from Eva Moskowitz’s charter school chain skipped school to demand more money and space for their schools at the expense of public schools. To profit.

Despite the fact that earlier today, Cuomo appointed an uncertified Teach for America graduate as part of our state’s Department of Education. To bully.

It was when Bob Braun, a 49-year veteran reporter broke this story: http://www.bobbraunsledger.com/breaking-pearson-nj-spying-on-social-media-of-students-taking-parcc-tests/

The thought that our child could be punished as the result of international, corporate spying online, was the final straw.

And this is not hyperbole.

Pearson, a private multinational corporation, was caught directing a US government entity, the New Jersey Department of Education, to punish specific students for complaining about the PARCC exam anonymously.

This is a twisting of power. Private, foreign companies should not be directing US government agencies on how to punish minors who have no legal right or responsibility to make a contract with Pearson.

This has happened without any public accountability or transparency.

It is only because of a leak that we have become aware of this Orwellian situation.

Just like it was only because of a leak that we learned of Pearson’s ridiculous 8th grade ELA pineapple question.

The claim that US schools are failing is also not true.

We rank at the top of the world, even above Hong Kong and Finland, on the PISA after controlling for poverty.

Fix poverty. Fix American education.

So, yeah. Our family is directing our middle schooler to refuse the Common Core tests.

Because Pearson is out of control.

Because politicians are lying about our schools failing, and intelligent adults are believing these lies.

Because 1984 is happening right now.

My family refuses to allow our children to be used as pawns in a global game of power and money and influence.

I’ve got data and links and books and resources and personal research. Message me at andrew.david.mitchell@gmail.com or on Facebook for additional details.

Don’t be a lemming. Educate yourself and make an informed decision!

Categories: Common Core, Opt Out
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