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OP-ED | An Open Letter to Connecticut Students

Susan Notes:

This is the kind of research we need--tracking the history behind corporate-politicos' words--and exposing them for what they really are.

Isn't it great the Duncan told students, "You have to demand that things changed?" If the Democrats weren't so petrified of criticizing Obama, maybe they'd demand some changes, starting with an education policy much worse than that of George Bush.
,br> Take a look at the Common Core alignment field test, produced by Measurement Incorporated Secure Testing (MIST.) Take a look at my examination of some test items.

Reader Comment:
Maybe everyone can come to their senses now and finally realize this is a massive shell game with a revolving door of edupreneurs and politicians masquerading as "reformers" reforming each others' reforms while robbing the taxpayers. They lie when they spew: it's all for the children and it's the civil right$ I$$ue of our time.

I thought Vallas reformed Chicago and then Arne reformed Chicago and now Rahm is reforming Chicago closing three schools Arne opened. Why didn't Arne's reforms work? Why did Vallas's reforms work?

Who bears the brunt of their experiments and gets shuffled around, uprooted, discarded, and moved around like chess pieces. Other people's children, that's who--not their children. They attend elite private schools or upper middle class public schools where testing is not the holy grail of measurement, where they have: stability, libraries, the arts, science labs, counselors, field trips, small class sizes, tutors, etc.

Interesting how none of the self proclaimed saviors (Kopp, Gates, Emanuel, Obama, Rhee, Bloomberg, Tisch, etc) send their kids to charter chains: KIPP, Achievement First. Their children and grandchildren will not be forced fed the corporate core national standards, the smarter balanced bubble testing, or the high stakes evaluation systems used to close schools.

This isn't about children, teaching, learning and improving our schools.

This is about politicians and eduvultures making a name for themselves. It is a ruse and the kids they profess to care about are nothing more than pawns and dollar signs. Race to the top is a stimulus plan whose purpose is to destroy the public schools in our neediest, poorest communities.

Chicago has been closing schools, or abandoning schools, and calling it reform for twenty years. Duncan is the privatizer in chief and his orders come from Gates and Broad.

Reader Comment: I believe that the age old axiom applies here. "Follow the money." Specifically the paychecks of the players named here.

Their first concern appears to be create a legacy, of course it's driven by cash.

Maybe some of the 50% savings in time realized by increasing the testing time by 225 minutes can be re-directed toward reducing gang, drug and firearm violence in Chicago. (Eight shot in one day, reported on 5/31/13). Chicago should be the LAST city to hold up as a shining example of anything!

by Sarah Darer Littma

Dear Connecticut students,

Last Friday, during a town hall meeting at the Classical Magnet School in Hartford with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and assorted other luminaries of the Connecticut political firmament, one of you -- Justin Vega -- raised a great point with Secretary Duncan.

According to a CT Mirror report, Vega told Duncan that he felt "as if all the time and money spent on standardized testing has compromised the quality of his education."

The responses given by both Governor Malloy and Secretary Duncan provided us all with a teachable moment in politics, critical thinking, research, statistics, and media literacy.

Malloy warned Vega that Hartford schools could potentially have a 40 percent dropout rate and said: "We have to do everything in our power to make sure that doesn't happen. We need a multifaceted approach which doesn't overemphasize [testing]," the CT Mirror reported.

Perhaps the most important lesson I've learned from parenting my own kids is that they learn as much from what I do as from what I say. They don't hesitate to point out when there is a discrepancy between my words and my actions. I ask them to do it politely. It's important they respect my authority, but in order to maintain a healthy relationship, it's equally as important that they question it, particularly if my words and actions don't ring true. The same is true of democracy.

So ask yourselves . . . For the rest of this fine piece (which includes a good history of Arne Duncan's performance in Chicago, go here.

Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.

— Sarah Darer Littman
CT News Junkie


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