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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Here Are All the Links on ESSA Series: Ask Your Own Questions

Good reference for what the changes may mean to education. So much still depends on how the the states move forward, but it seems to me that the states have fewer restrictions in general and fewer monetary incentives to pursue excessive high stakes testing.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The series about the new Every Student Succeeds Act is concluded. I want to thank Senator Lamar Alexander and his staff, especially David P. Cleary, chief of staff, for responding to my questions. I know that readers have additional questions or want clarifications of some of the statements. The new law is the result of negotiations between the two parties. Questions will inevitably arise as the new law is implemented. Meanwhile, feel free to submit your questions and you can be sure that Senator Alexander’s staff will answer them as best they can. Let me add that there are things in this law I like, and things I don’t like. I will spell those out in a separate post.

Here are the links to each of the posts written by Senator Lamar Alexander’s staff.

1. ESSA and Testing

2. ESSA and Teacher Evaluation

3. ESSA and the Bottom 5% of…

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Great Model for Opting Out


TN State Representative Mike Stuart and his wife Ruth opt their own children out of testing.  It will be interesting to see what the response of his school district is. The letter is very respectfully written with options for what their children might do during the testing time and the parents’ willingness to participate in preparing materials for those days. As Mr. Stuart is a lawyer, it also addresses the legal aspects of opting out.  This great letter could be a model for parents everywhere and can be found on the blog Momma Bears which addresses overtesting in Tennessee: Stuarts’ Letter on Momma Bears.

Is It Bullying? – A Visual Guide

Great resource as a way to think about bullying.

Kindness Blog

Wikipedia describes Bullying as;

“the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.”

If your child (or yourself) are unsure of how best to categorize any difficult interactions you are having with others, the simple guide below, that was found posted to a fence, will be of help.

Is It Bullying? - A Quick Guide

Please sharethis with your friends and family. Let’s do everything WE can to…

bullying wallpaper

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Emily Talmadge Warns that Gates is Infiltrating Opt Out

Gates is joining hands with the Opt-Out movement with the goal of replacing standardized testing dollars with ongoing, daily online assessment dollars? Sounds like science fiction, but…

Diane Ravitch's blog

Emily Talmadge, teacher-blogger in Maine, warns that the long tentacles of Bill Gates are infiltrating the Opt Out movement.

Why would America’s leading test autocrat join arms with test opponents? Well, it turns out that Gates and his buddies see the end game for the Big Standardized Test. What they are now planning is embedded assessment, where students work online and the instruction and assessments are intertwined and embedded. Testing is no longer a single event but a daily, continuous process.

So it makes sense for the technocrats to bury the stand-alone test and usher in the insidious embedded assessment. All-time, nonstop testing, adjusted to every student. Personalized, standardized, individualized, customized, mechanized.

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EXCLUSIVE: Senator Alexander’s Staff: ESSA and Teacher Evaluation, Part 2

Teacher evaluations are no longer required to be associated with test scores. Now the question is “What will Skandara’s response be?”

Diane Ravitch's blog

David P. Cleary, chief of staff to Senator Lamar Alexander, responded to my questions about the Every Student Succeeds Act.

This is part 2:

The stakes attached to testing: will teachers be evaluated by test scores, as Duncan demanded and as the American Statistical Association rejected? Will teachers be fired because of ratings based on test scores?

Short Answer:

The federal mandate on teacher evaluation linked to test scores, as created in the waivers, is eliminated in ESSA.

States are allowed to use federal funds to continue these programs, if they choose, or completely change their strategy, but they will no longer be required to include these policies as a condition of receiving federal funds. In fact, the Secretary is explicitly prohibited from mandating any aspect of a teacher evaluation system, or mandating a state conduct the evaluation altogether, in section 1111(e)(1)(B)(iii)(IX) and (X), section 2101(e), and section 8401(d)(3) of…

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