Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dear Randi: About That ESEA Petition--

You've been kind enough to drop me an email about your position on testing in the might-be-new ESEA, so I wanted to share my reaction with you.

What the hell are you thinking?

You've enumerated four actions you would like Congress to take with the could-be-revamped ESEA (in partnership with CAP which already blew my mind just a little). While they are clearer than the joint-CAP statement, they don't make me feel any better.

End the use of annual tests for high-stakes consequences. Let’s instead use annual assessments to give parents and teachers the information they need to help students grow.

Oh, hell. While we're at it, let's use annual assessments to make pigs fly out of our butts, because that's just about as likely as the test being a useful source of information that I need to help my students grow. Exactly how would this work. Exactly what would I learn from a standardized test given late in the year, results to be released over the summer, that would help me grow those students?

Use the data we collect to provide the federal government with information to direct resources to the schools and districts that need extra support. 

Yes, because that has worked so well so far. The federal government is great about allocating resources on the local level without lots of red tape and strings attached. 

You know what would work better? Actual local control. Actual democracy on the local level. Actual empowerment of the people who have the largest stake in the community's schools. 

Ensure a robust accountability system that judges schools looking at multiple measures—including allowing real evidence of student learning. 

Do you remember when you were on twitter, pushing "VAM is a sham" as a pithy slogan? What the heck happened? How can the head of a national teachers' union take any approach about the widely discredited and debunked test-based evaluation of students other than, "Hell no!" 

And finally, the federal government should not be the human resources department for local schools, and should not be in the business of regulating teacher evaluation from Washington D.C. Teacher evaluation is the district’s job.

Oh, come on. In what universe does the federal government give local school districts resources, oversee their accountability system, but still leave them free to do the job. Answer: they don't. This is local control just like adoption of Common Core was freely adopted by states. This is the feds saying, "You can paint your school any color you want, and we'll buy the paint, just as long as you meet the federal standards that say all schools must be black. But otherwise you're totally freely under local control."

Randi, I have been a fan in the past, but I find this policy package an absolute headscratcher, and no matter how I squint, I cannot see the interests of public education (or the teachers who work there) reflected anywhere in the shiny surface of this highly polished turd. 

So, no. I'm not going to sign your petition, and I'd encourage others to refrain as well. This is just wrong. Wrong and discouraging and a little anger-inducing, and I'm not going to the dark side with you, not even if they have great cookies.


Peter Greene


  1. I just replied to her email to me about this. Then I went back and sent her a link to you. Very glad I am not a member of AFT, although if I were, I could work to get her out of office.

    1. Impossible. Weingarten has the AFT set up so that the only votes that count are cast by those within the unity that have given their oath of loyalty to her and her alone. The AFT/UFT is controlled by a dictatorship which speaks only on behalf of neoliberal policy.

  2. The only laugh I've had all freaking day. Between a stupid principal, an asinine governor (Snyder) and Dandy Randi--I needed to laugh out loud! Thx

  3. Why is that obvious mole, who is not a teacher, still heading AFT?

  4. Haha! "not going to the dark side", "even if they have great cookies"! Hilarious.