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We asked all of the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) candidates their position on opting out of the SBAC.
Four of the candidates responded to our query and we are publishing their answers today.
LIBERATE LEARNING. It is time for us to opt out of Federally mandated, high stakes testing. The whole state. Right now. It is time to return the management of teaching and assessment to our educators, time to stop wasting a river of money on test vendors who deliver meaningless “data,” time to restore trust in our system of public education. Above all, it is time to let our students love learning, to enjoy school. Our schools should be as free of toxic testing as they are of cigarette smoke.
DECLARE INDEPENDENCE. How to do it? State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn – Chief Schools Officer in Federal-speak – can sign a letter to our schools and send a copy to the Feds. He’s an independently elected state-wide official. If he’d like political cover, a quick series of public hearings around the state would doubtless generate a groundswell of support.
PUSH BACK HARD. We’d need to preempt a Federal response. Acting on Mr. Dorn’s behalf, our Attorney General might lodge two actions in Federal District Court. The first would seek an injunction against Federal retaliation. We’re already familiar with the retaliatory redirection of Title One funds intended to support the education of our low income students – students who are still here and still poor. The second would sue the Feds to do what they promised to do in the new ESSA. With deep thanks to Senator Patty Murray for the miracles she worked to get this far, we challenge the new Federal education law – the Every Student Succeeds act – as internally inconsistent. The new law restores the principle of state and local control of public schools. But ignoring its own precept, the ESSA renews the Federal requirement for pervasive high stakes testing and continues to insist that 95% of all students participate. Our case to the court: the new ESSA is self-contradictory and interferes with the state’s historic right of local control.
FULLY FUND FULLY FUNCTIONAL SCHOOLS. Removing high stakes testing will immediately improve teaching and learning in our schools and save many $millions. It will eliminate one of the several factors that bias our schools against success by low income and minority students. But we’ll still need to fully fund our schools to the “McCleary” standards. Perhaps our Seattle Ed hosts could next ask us SPI candidates how we propose to fully fund McCleary.
CORRECT OSPI’S ROLE AND TONE. One more step: This writing assignment is triggered by an imperious letter from an unelected Ass’t. SPI who reaches inside a local school district to command remedial action at the level of individual schools. Those actions will certainly disrupt already insufficient budgets, damage student learning, and accelerate our teacher crisis. That’s just as wrong as meddling by the Feds. Constitutional Job One of the SPI and their staff must be to support and protect our school districts, our educators and above all, our students. I ask SPI to rescind the letter and to revisit our state’s Constitution and values.
-Larry Seaquist, Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction
*government by the wealthy.
*a country or society governed by the wealthy.
Plural noun: plutocracies
*an elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.
Dollarocracy: How the money and media election complex is destroying America
By John Nichols and Robert McChesney
From the Preface:
Carter declared-as the planet's most famous election observer- that '“We have one of the worst election processes in the world right here in the United States of America, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money."
Click the image to see their interview with Bill Moyers.
More than 1.2 million students are homeless, and nearly 76,000 are living on their own without parents.
Click the image for a link to the article.
"There is something grotesque about the fact that education reform is being led not by educators but by financiers and speculators and billionaires."
This process -- a handful of the wealthiest people in our country controlling the political process -- is called "oligarchy."
The great political struggle we now face is whether the United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans.
"I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture."
ALEC Exposed-The Privatization of Public Schools:
And more about the Koch brothers and their dad: kochexposed.org
Charter School Scandals
Charter School Scams and Scamsters
Class Size Matters:
Common Core Standards:
Democrats for Education Reform
Teach for America:
"Any time hedge fund managers...when they walk into the inner city areas and start talking about poor children's education, it's not because they want kids to read and write, it's because they know that the federal government spends $600B on education and they want it and they're going to get it."
Jesse has collected stories from students, educators and parents around the country and formed a picture of what is happening in public education and why:
More Than A Score edited by Jesse Hagopian
This book is a must read to understand what teachers are going through with the corporate takeover of our public school system:
Confessions of a Bad Teacher by John Owens
Need I say more? It's a book by Chris Hedges:
Death of the Liberal Class: Chris Hedges
Dollarocracy: Robert Waterman McChesney
Ravitch lays it out in this book and its no holds barred:
Reign of Error: Diane Ravitch
Want to know where over 50% of each tax dollar is going? Read this book:
The Operators by Michael Hastings
Why is it is hard to tell the difference between the Dems and Repubs? Read this book and find out:
The Party is Over: Mike Lofgren
This is a must read. Naomi Klein breaks it down in this book about how oligarchs are manipulating us and running our world:
The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein
If you want to know about the financial collapse of 2008, why the rest of us are no better off now and yet the stock market and banks have rebounded, making huge profits and why another collapse is inevitable, check out this book by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics:
Freefall: America, Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy