Georg Lind is an educational researcher and professor of psychology in a German university who has studied the moral implications of standardized testing. His bio is at the end of this post. He sent me the following short essay on the negative consequences of standardized testing:

Leviathan: The Anti-Democratic Effect of High-Stakes Tests.

We ought to think about high stakes tests in wider contexts than we usually do, namely in the context of human functioning and in the context of human rights and democracy:

(a) All tests which are based on classical test theory (CTT) and its off-springs (e.g., item-response-theory, Rasch-scaling) are essentially statistical artifacts. Their hidden psychology is at odds with our knowledge of psychological processes underlying human behavior. These tests are built on a false postulate which says: each and every human response to a test is determined only by one disposition, namely the competence or personality under consideration, except for some degree of random measurement error which can be easily minimized by repeating measurements.

This core postulate is totally wrong: A single response is usually determined but by several dispositions at the same time, not just by one. Hence a single response is ambiguous and does not allow to make any inference on a particular disposition. If data falsify this believe they are misclassified as “unreliability.” Besides, repeated measurement is virtually not possible with human subjects. Repeated questions have to be varied, and the more varied tasks are used to reduce “unreliability,” the less valid a test becomes.

Better methodologies exist, especially for the measurement and improvement of curricula and teaching methods (see my reading suggestion below). We can single out the disposition(s) determining a person’s responses only with experimentally designed tests that let us observe pattern of responses to carefully arranged pattern of tasks. Of course, such tests require much expertise and money, probably more than the private test industry is able to provide.

(b) High-stakes testing violates human rights and undermines democracy. The frequent evaluation – year by year, month by month, day by day, and sometimes even hour by hour – of students violates their basic rights and, indirectly, also of the rights of their teachers and parents. This inhumane practice has nothing to do with well reasoned and well designed assessments required before taking over a responsible position in our society. There should be more such assessments. Why don’t we examine future parents whether they are prepared well enough to raise children? This would spare us a lot of juvenile delinquency and broken up families. Or assess future politicians’ ability to run a town, a state, or a country? You can imagine what this would spare us.

Frequent high-stakes testing is also a threat to democracy. It restricts students’ thinking and reflection. It leaves too little opportunity for the development of moral competence. It produces “subjects” not citizens of a democracy. As many decades of research into the development of moral competence shows, simply through the extreme proportion of time absorbed by the preparation for evaluations and other activities required by authorities, students are prevented from developing the ability to solve problems and conflicts through thinking and discussion instead of through violence, deceit and power. They will later, as adults, depend, as Thomas Hobbes has pointed out, on a “strong state” and on dictators to keep violence, deception and power within bounds. Morally competent citizens don’t need a “Leviathan.”

Reading suggestion: “How to Teach Morality. Promoting Deliberation and Discussion. Reducing Violence and Deceit” by Georg Lind (Logos publisher, Berlin, 2016)

—————

Contact:
Dr. Georg Lind
Schottenstr. 65
78462 Konstanz, Germany
Georg.Lind@uni-konstanz.de
http://www.uni-konstanz.de/ag-moral/

Vita:
Prof. emeritus of the University of Konstanz, Department of Psychology
Doctorates in social sciences and in philosophy; master degree in psychology.
Long-time educational researcher and test developer.
Main area of research and teaching: Moral-democratic competence development and education.
Visiting professor at the University of Illinois/Chicago, Monterrey/Mexico, and Berlin/Germany.
Guest lectures and workshop-seminars in several countries, e.g., Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland.
Married and three children (two adopted in Chicago)
Born in 1947.

Jonathan Pelto writes that Rhode Island may impose the SAT as a high school exit examination, despite the fact that the SAT was not designed for this purpose. One of the most basic rules of the testing industry is that tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were designed. The SAT was not designed to be a high school exit exam. The SAT, like all standardized tests, is tightly correlated with family income. Studies continue to show that grade-point-average is a better predictor of college academic performance than the SAT. Back in the old days, before standardized testing became a major industry, the test developers would warn districts and states not to misuse the tests.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of colleges and universities no longer require that applicants for admission submit standardized test scores, neither the SAT nor the ACT.

FairTest reports:

HALF OF “TOP 100” LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES DO NOT REQUIRE ACT/SAT
SCORES FROM ALL OR MANY APPLICANTS;

MORE THAN 240 “TOP TIER” SCHOOLS IN 2017 U.S. NEWS GUIDE
NOW HAVE TEST-OPTIONAL OR TEST-FLEXIBLE ADMISSIONS POLICIES

A record number of colleges and universities now have test-optional admissions policies. Half of the national liberal arts schools ranked in the “Top 100” by the recently published U.S. News “Best Colleges” guide do not require all or many applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) released the new tally.

“Top 100” liberal arts colleges with test-optional policies include Bowdoin, Smith, Wesleyan, Bates, Bryn Mawr, Holy Cross and Pitzer. Test-flexible policies, which allow applicants to submit scores from exams other than the ACT or SAT, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate results, are in place at Middlebury, Colby, Hamilton and Colorado College.

U.S. News ranks more than 240 test-optional and test-flexible colleges and universities in the top tiers of their respective categories, according to FairTest. For example, the top three regional universities in the north, Providence College, Fairfield University, and Loyola University, are test-optional. So is the number two university in the south, Rollins, the third ranked school in the Midwest, Drake, and Mills College, fifth ranked among western regional universities.

Bob Schaeffer, FairTest Public Education Director, explained the new tally. “Admissions offices increasingly recognize that they do not need ACT or SAT scores to make good decisions. That’s why more than 70 schools have adopted test-optional policies in the past three years. We are particularly pleased by the sharp growth at both selective liberal arts colleges and access-oriented institutions.”

Schaeffer continued, “The test-optional surge gives applicants more control in the admissions process. Teenagers regularly tell us that they are attracted to schools where they will be treated as ‘more than a score.’”

Overall, more than 870 colleges and universities are test-optional for all or many applicants (http://fairtest.org/university/optional). The test-optional pace accelerated after the “redesigned” SAT was unveiled (http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Growth-Chronology.pdf).

– FairTest’s new list of top-tier colleges and universities that de-emphasize the ACT and SAT:

http://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Schools-in-U.S.News-Top-Tiers.pdf

Poor Detroit has been a petri dish for every reformer idea. None of them has worked.

As Peter Greene puts it:

Michigan has run the entire table of reformster ideas– takeover of the district, creation of an achievement district, and charter operators brought in to replace the publics. Detroit is now a reformy buffet. Moreover, Detroit should be a beautiful display of how well the various reformster policies work. Except that it isn’t, because they don’t.

Detroit is a case study in state authorities looking at a system in crisis and saying, “Let’s try anything, as long as it doesn’t involve actually investing money and resources in the children of Those People.” Detroit has been a city in crisis for a while now, and that has allowed leaders to say, “We have a chance to fix education in this city and let some people make good money doing it. And if we can only get one of those things done, well, let’s go with the money-making one.”

When a crisis happens– a hurricane hits, the bottom is ripped out of a local economic driver– that opens up a gaping area of need in a state, officials can respond one of two ways. They can call on people of the state to rally, to provide aid and assistance to the affected communities. Or, they can try to build some sort of firewall between the affected communities and everyone else, try to insure that everyone else is protected from any effects, any cost created by the affected communities. The citizens of a state are like mountain climbers roped together and hanging onto the side of a precipice. When one loses his grip (either because of accident, weather conditions, or because he was pushed), the others can either try to haul him back up, risking trouble themselves, or they can cut the dangler loose. If they’re extra cynical, they can sell the dangler an umbrella “to break his fall,” and congratulate themselves on having saved him before they cut him loose.

Michigan’s leaders have treated the tragedy and decline of Detroit as an opportunity to sell umbrellas. They have stripped poor non-white citizens of democratic processes, of their very voices, while stripping critical systems like education and water for parts. The ship has been sinking and Michigan’s leaders have decided to fill the lifeboats with bundles of cash rather than human beings.

Reformers are willing to try anything, except spending more money to repair this woeful district. In Detroit, children of the state of Michigan have been used as guinea pigs for every faddish idea.

Have you ever wondered who is mining your data?

This post aggregates the biggest data mining corporations.

Try this:

http://www.londonworldwide.com/how-your-enemies-can-have-you-attacked-on-data-mining-services-every-time-you-touch-a-keyboard-you-hand-your-opposition-the-tools-of-your-own-destruction-2/

You will note that only one of them is defunct, dead, gone: inBloom, killed by parent activists Leonie Haimson of New York and Rachel Stickland of Colorado and others who banded together to kick inBloom out of their schools.

Meanwhile, look at the many corporations that are monitoring everything you do online, every purchase, every comment.

Compared to Donald Trump, Mike Pence seems like a stable, moderate guy. He will be the steadying hand who keeps Trump from going off the tracks and doing crazy things. But you need to know more about Mike Pence, as seen by a constituent, Sheila Kennedy.

RFRA, Pence and Holcomb

“What has been interesting about having Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence on the national ticket has been the research on Indiana’s Governor being done by national media outlets.

“Here in Hoosierland, we know Pence as an avid culture warrior uninterested in the day-to-day administration of state agencies. We know him as an opponent of Planned Parenthood whose disinclination to authorize needle exchanges led to an HIV crisis in southern Indiana, as an adversary of public education responsible for diverting millions of dollars from the state’s public schools in order to provide vouchers for religious schools, and of course as the anti-gay warrior who cost the state economy millions of dollars by championing and signing RFRA.

“The national press has investigated Pence’s previous activities, both in Congress and as editor of the Indiana Policy Review, a (very) conservative publication. What they’ve found won’t surprise anyone who has followed Pence, but the research has confirmed that the Governor has certainly been consistent….

“For example–and despite his disclaimers of discrimination to George Stephanopolous and others–Out Magazine unearthed an earlier article advising employers not to hire LGBTQ folks, and describing homosexuality as a “pathological” condition:

““Homosexuals are not as a group able-bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”

“Another article, from December of 1993, was entitled “The Pink Newsroom” and argued that LGBTQ folks shouldn’t be allowed to work as journalists without being forced to identify themselves as gay publicly, since their LGBTQ status would surely create a conflict of interest when writing about politics.

“Other outlets have reported his efforts while in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, his speeches warning against the use of condoms, his insistence that climate change is a “hoax,” and his longstanding support of creationism and denial of evolution.

“It’s highly likely that the Trump-Pence ticket will lose nationally in November, relieving Indiana voters of the task of defeating Pence at the polls. In his place, the GOP is running Eric Holcomb for Governor. Holcomb, it turns out, is pretty much a Pence clone. (The link has video from his meeting with the editorial board of the Indianapolis Star.)

“Eric Holcomb had his chance to distance himself from the economic disaster of Mike Pence’s RFRA legacy in Indiana.

“Instead, in a painful 4 minute answer to the Indianapolis Star editorial board, Holcomb doubled down on the same discrimination law that risked $250 million for state’s economy, and threw his weight behind Pence’s failed agenda.

“Holcomb has previously embraced all of Pence’s agenda.

“In November, we’ll see whether Hoosier voters have had enough of incompetence and theocracy, or whether we will vote to endure more of the same.

“This is a very strange political year.”

Garrison Keillor just concluded an in-depth investigation, which revealed that Donald Trump was not born in America. It is behind a paywall nut if you google, you can get it.

He writes:


I know, it seems outrageous, But it’s getting a lot of attention on some very respectable Web pages – which mainstream media won’t mention:

Donald Trump was not born in Queens,

He was born in the Philippines,

In a hotel in downtown Manila.

Where his hair turned bright vanilla

Due to vitamin deficiencies.

His mom and dad were Celanese

And left him with Franciscan nuns

At the age of fourteen months.

Adopted on the 3rd of June

By a real estate tycoon

Who took the little boy away

To a mansion in the U.S.A.

Bestowing on him great largesse

And naturalized him more or less.

The record of his nativity

Is kept under lock and key

With his tax returns, the MRIs

Showing what’s behind his eyes

Including, according to rumor,

A diverticulated tumor.

I hope it isn’t true, although

It comes from folks who ought to

know.

A week ago, a panhandler in Times Square sat holding a sign, “Give me a dollar or I’ll vote for Trump,” and people laughed and reached into their pockets. His bucket overflowed. He stuffed the bills into his jacket and other panhandlers looked at him with admiration. The man could’ve sold franchises and retired to Palm Beach.

The panhandler knows what every New Yorker knows, which is that the biggest con job since the Trojan horse is taking place in our midst. Millions of Americans are planning to cast their votes for a man who has lived his life contrary to all of their most cherished values. They are respectful, honest, generous, loyal, modest, church-going people with no Mafia connections and good credit records who try not to spout off about things they know nothing about.

Kevin Ohlandt, a parent blogger in Delaware, says that Bill Gates no longer even pretends to hide his ultimate goal: to digitize education and put all children online.

He writes:

Bill Gates wants a Federal Student Data Tracking System. That’s right. He also wants competency-based education, more career pathways programs, and personalized learning to take over public education. This is the same guy who funded Common Core. Remember that when you read the document released by the Gates Foundation today. If I had to guess, now that many education bloggers have exposed all the agendas which will lead to the Bit-Coin inspired Blockchain Initiative, the corporate education reformers (clearly led by Bill Gates) have nothing to lose by getting it all out there now. Now I know why U.S. Senator Chris Coons (Delaware) is chomping at the bit for his post-secondary legislation to get passed by Congress.

Read this. Every single word. Read between the lines. This is the endgame they have been pushing for, the complete and utter destruction of public education in anticipation of online education for all. Where you will be tracked from cradle to grave, with data allowed to be looked at through a federal database, which will track everything about you. The sad part is they play to civil rights groups by assuring more success for minorities. They screw over students with disabilities every chance they get. But their manipulation of under-served communities is at an all-time high in this document. Words like “outcome-based funding” scare the crap out of me, and it should for every single American. Look at all the footnotes in the below document. Look at the companies and think-tanks that are reaping immense profits for every bogus report they come out with. Look how embedded this already is in every single state and our national government.

This is all about the workforce of tomorrow. It has nothing to do with education, or liberal education, or liberating education.

Peter Greene delves into 16 policy ideas for education, proffered by Bellwether Education Partners, a consulting group populated by and for reformers.

You will not be surprised that at the top of the list is school choice. Despite any evidence that charter schools are intrinsically superior to public schools, they are the solution put forward, as well as increasing the federal tax breaks to incentivize more investments in charters.

Peter reviews the 16 policies and finds not much new.

He concludes:

Some points worth thinking about, and a whole lot of swift repackagings of the same old reformster profiteering sales pitches. As I said at the top– Clinton already knows all of this and all Trump really wants is a tub of gasoline and a blowtorch, so I’m not sure to whom this pitch is aimed. But it’s on the reformster radar, so it should be on our as well.

This just in:  

 

NEWS RELEASE

IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin

September 26, 2016 312-329-6250

 

 

Teachers vote 95 percent to authorize strike to resolve contract dispute

CTU House of Delegates to meet Wednesday to discuss possible strike date

 

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today released totals of its recent strike authorization vote. Now, its governing body will meet in a special session on Wednesday, Sept. 28 to determine the next steps, including whether to issue a 10-day strike notice to the Chicago Board of Education. If that happens, the first possible date for a teachers’ strike would be Oct. 11. This would be the third work stoppage by the city’s public school educators since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011.

 

The Union’s Rules & Election Committee reported that on a 90.6 percent turnout, 95.6 percent of votes cast voted in favor to strike. This should come as no surprise to the Board, the mayor or parents because educators have been angry about the school-based cuts that have hurt special education students, reduced librarians, counselors, social workers and teachers’ aides, and eliminated thousands of teaching positions.

 

The CTU House of Delegates will meet this week to discuss the next steps in the contract fight. CTU officers and rank-and-file members will conduct a press conference at the conclusion of that session to share the results of those deliberations.

 

 

###
The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at http://www.ctunet.com.

 

Julie Woestehoff is interim director of Parents Across America. For many years, she ran a parent group in Chicago called Parents United for Responsible Education.

In PAA’s newsletter, she recalls how parents warned Chicago Superintendent Arne Duncan that his public school-closing/charter-opening program called Renaissance 2010 would likely lead to violence. Do you remember Renaissance 2010? Arne Duncan said that Chicago schools would enjoy a dramatic renaissance by the year 2010. Julie sent me her newsletter after reading a similar post that I had written about the possible connection between school closings, neighborhood destabilization, and increased violence. Arne Duncan learned nothing from the failure of Renaissance 2010; he brought the same policies to Washington and embedded them in Race to the Top.

She writes:


It has been more than 10 years since I and many of my former colleagues began warning Chicago that massive school closings would not improve education and would most likely lead to increased violence. It gives me no pleasure to see that this prediction has come true, and to such a tragic extent.

We began to sound the alarm about school closures in 2004, as Mayor Daley and Arne Duncan touted their Renaissance 2010 program, an attempt to satisfy the business community’s call to create 100 charter schools. Some of us slept on the sidewalk outside of the Board of Education headquarters the night before the August 2004 board meeting so that we could present a steady stream of testimony the next morning against the plan’s proposed 60 closures.

While Arne Duncan dismissed parent and community concerns, affected schools and neighborhoods became increasingly dangerous. In 2006, the media reported that violence had soared at five of the nine high schools that accepted most of the students transferred out of the high schools closed under Renaissance 2010. West side activists rose in anger in 2007 when 27 children were killed within a few months of the closure of the only open enrollment high school in Austin, the city’s largest neighborhood, forcing their children to travel across several gang lines to get to school. The nation was gripped by the horrific 2009 recorded murder of Fenger High School honor student Derrion Albert by a few youth from a faction of students transferred to Fenger after their neighborhood high school was closed.

In 2012, I wrote an article for Huffington Post, “Are Charter Schools the Answer to — or One Reason for – Chicago’s Violence?” The number of shootings and homicides had taken another alarming leap, and a charter school official suggested that the solution was opening more charter schools. The studies and reports I cited made it clear that this idea was exactly the wrong approach.

Along with the warnings and protests, advocates also tirelessly developed school improvement proposals in collaboration with recognized education experts, parents, teachers, students, and neighbors. All of these community-generated proposals were dismissed and disrespected by district officials.