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Whose rights do they think they are protecting?

I’ve been puzzling about why so many respectable civil rights organizations have got school reform so wrong.  It’s not the whole story but this piece by Wayne Au is worth reading. 

Just whose rights do these civil rights groups think they are protecting?

By Wayne Au

On May 5, 2015, a group of civil rights organizations released a statement in opposition to the growing movement to opt out of the current wave of high-stakes, standardized testing. This testing lies at the very heart of current education reform efforts because it provides the fuel that the current education reform machine relies upon: data. Without the numerical data produced by the tests, there is no way to make simplistic comparisons, there is no justification for the corporate entry into public schools, there is no way to shape education along the logics of a competitive marketplace.

Because it challenges the validity of the tests and the data, the opt-out movement strikes at the heart of the reform movement. I feel this sharply here in my home city of Seattle as powerful men including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, and Seattle Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland threaten local test resisters with punishments. Opting out scares those in power because it undermines the education policies being done to — not by — our communities, particularly communities of color. Indeed, many of us have taken great pains to highlight the racially disparate impact of corporate education reforms, especially high-stakes standardized testing, specifically on communities of color.

(link to full article)

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5 Responses

  1. I’m just guessing if you follow their funding you’ll find that has to do with the Self-Anointed Divine Right of the Unholy Trinity — Broad, Gates, and Walton — to Play God with the Lives of Others.

  2. Billionaires have channelled large sums of money to civil rights groups for the purpose of enlisting them as high profile supporters of the tests. Some of the groups are best viewed as paid shills for those who have invested in the CCSS + tests while also using poor performance on the tests as a major reason to promote market-based education. The Leadership Council for Civil and Human Rights has over 200 members. The voices of only a few have been enlisted for the recent messaging campaign, and the original number of about 20 has shrunk. The Gates Foundation website lists over 200 grants in support of the common core…and that does not include the anticedent American Diploma Project.

  3. “There are some legitimate concerns about testing in schools that must be addressed…But we cannot fix what we cannot measure.” How can so many “educated” individuals working in this many human rights organizations be so off on this one? I read Au’s full article and I don’t know if I buy the “follow the money” argument — I mean so many ed organizations of all stripes receive Gates $$ these days — and only two of the 12 receive Walton $$, so that alone isn’t so convincing. Deb, you wrote that this is not the whole story…so what else is going on in your opinion??? It’s very upsetting.

  4. I*t is useful to ask why “the money” backs those who believe “we cannot fix what we cannot measure”. Marc Tucker’s 6/10/15 post is part of the same conversation. So I’ll quote a bit of my comment there: … The “accountability” movement was long ago taken over by the most progressive sorters/selecters…. most [“civil rights leaders”] who struggle for a bigger piece of the rotten pie will not get it (i.e., Inequality is increasing.) Some will settle in the uneasy, diminishing middle, and a few will become like those who previously had exploited them.

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