Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Opt Out Revolution: The Next Wave

I keep getting texts, phone messages and emails telling me how happy folks are that Obama is now listening to us - and that Opt Out has been heard. This is heartbreaking for me - because this tells me that mainstream media has done a stellar job of co-opting Opt Out. We saw it happening. We warned that it was happening - and it indeed did.

Now, the country embraces Opt Out and folks are listening to Obama's words and thinking that we have a clear victory here. We do not. We are on a very slippery slope - one in which Opt Out can continue to drain them of their precious data but also one in which Opt Out must be ready for the next wave of this revolution. It will be a hard fought win - and it will require stamina like never before.

The next wave involves the U.S. Dept. of Ed's recommendations for testing reduction which also comes with funds to support states in getting there. And the scariest part is this - the GROUNDWORK IS COMPLETE. The feds/corporations did exactly what they came to do - they dangled carrots. They got high stakes testing systems in place with longitudinal data bases to carry the seamless productivity of the data. They loosened privacy regulations.  They got common standards out there which are essential for easy data tagging. They pushed and pushed and pushed to support charters and alternative teacher certification. They set the groundwork for the STATES to now lead the way - and they (feds/corporations) have their people in place on school boards, schools of education, depts. of ed., district admin., local gov't., "foundations", unions, and more.

And now, they simply have commiserated with the masses and said we need to reduce testing and make sure the testing that occurs is meaningful and does not take away from classroom instruction. This is accomplished so easily. It's called online daily computer based testing. Followed by online daily computer based instruction. Call it mastery testing. Competency based testing. Proficiency testing. Whatever you like. It will begin to fall in place very quickly as states move away from the hated interim testing and massive amounts of end of year testing. There will be less need for these large tests with quick, tidy, END OF DAY testing TIED TO STUDENT GRADES and STUDENT PROMOTION to the next grade/digital badge - whatever it may be - and of course testing which tells the teacher what the next day's online instruction must be. It's already happening. And now the federal gov't. is simply nudging it into the states' hands with a resounding message of support, an apology for overstepping their boundaries and a few bucks along the way to make it happen.

Opt Out was heard. Loud and clear. We are powerful. And so they have strategically planned their next step by co-opting/embracing Opt Out to get there. They've upped the ante. We knew they would. And I doubt I will see this revolution won during my teaching career - but I sure as hell won't let them trample me or our children now.

We have the power to take down this next wave as well - we, the people. There is a reason that UOO has always played hardball with absolutely no negotiations and with absolute understanding that this revolution requires tearing down the entire test/punish system - no matter what it morphs into - we do this because it is the ONLY WAY to be certain that children and public school communities receive everything they deserve - and let me tell you right now - it's the only damn way to win. 

The question is - are we ready? #optout #uoo16philly


  1. No compromises, no complacency. We are ready to stand strong against the next wave.

  2. I agree Common Core is invalid and unreliable; but there is a contradiction in your motto: opting out and resisting market-based reforms. Everything your against is government sponsored, testing, common core, high and mighty bureaucracies. Same with comment above, "ready to stand strong" is a market, individual and local ideal...that's what the market is about. Voluntary choices.