Friday, I received my first warning of sorts that I, as a faculty member, might be getting too close to the CC high-stakes testing controversy. An anonymous someone put this document from the Ohio Department of Education in my mailbox, as if to say, You’re fighting a losing battle, because there is no law that supports test refusal, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. Well, I sent an all-faculty email, asking for the person to please contact me. You know, because I have information for him/her. Truth is, ODE is having to regroup, which is resulting in scare tactics threatening retention and denial of graduation. The plot is not without precedent: give the people just enough incomplete propaganda, and they’ll acquiesce out of fear. I’ll let your imagination run wild on how many times, and in how many different scenarios, that trick has played out in world history.
Edit: The person contacted me, and all is OK.
ODE is banking on the assumption that parents will not question this edict, and they’ll just “go along to get along.” Whether or not that will happen in my district has yet to be seen, but quiet obedience is not cutting the muster in other areas, and you know, stuff like that tends to develop a life of its own. It wouldn’t be the first time a band of citizens rose up to fight the Billionaire Boys’ Club.
The fact remains that while some tests are validated and distributed for good cause, the endless days of mindless drilling for PARCC and AIR and dozens of other ill-begotten, inappropriate, unnecessary acronym tests are hurting children (especially those in the elementary grades), while blind eye after blind eye turns away. For over a year now, I’ve been borderline silent — at least overtly, publicly — about it. In fact, this is the first time that I’ve really released the Kraken on the subject. So, when I press “Publish” on this post, I guess it’s on. Let ’em come after me, because I won’t back down. Common Core and HST are bad for kids. You may not notice it now, or even a year from now. But let these kindergarteners process through the system, and check on them when they’re juniors. You do it, because I’ll be unable to bring myself to look.
I read an op-ed yesterday that described the inappropriateness of CC as “outrageously wordy micromanagement.” That about says it all for me, and I’m not even a victim of CC — yet. I predict my swan song will be written when I patently refuse to insult and degrade my students and my art in the name of profit any further, and somebody high up decides that choral music is too much of a non-event in the big scheme of getting kids “college and career ready,” and needs to be put in the dustbin with the rest of the creative processes that used to happen at school. Because what can’t be counted doesn’t count. Anyone who supports Common Core/HST and disagrees with that statement is lying, either to you or to himself.
I also predict that many unlovely comments will be made about me — both in secret and to my face — on this issue. It’s all right; I’m ready. Because, to quote Bill Shakespeare, truth will out. I just hope I’m around to see it.
Hopefully, many will join to take up this sword and fight to save our neighborhood schools, because frankly, continued silence only indicates compliance. The fight against CC/HST is not a conspiracy; it’s a national emergency.