Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Peter Greene: Without Tenure....

Civilians need to understand-- the biggest problem with the destruction of tenure is not that a handful of teachers will lose their jobs, but that entire buildings full of teachers will lose the freedom to do their jobs well.
Peter Greene
August 5, 2014

Yesterday, twitter blew up with responses to Whoopi Goldberg and the View having one more uninformed discussion of tenure (and, really, we need to talk about why education discussions keep being driven by the work of comedians).
"#Without Tenure I can be fired for...." was the tweet template of the day, and even though I rode that bus for a bit, it occurs to me this morning that it misses the point.
It's true that in the absence of tenure, teachers can (and are) fired for all manner of ridiculous things. That's unjust and unfair. As some folks never tire of pointing out, that kind of injustice is endemic in many jobs (Why people would think that the response to injustice is to demand more injustice for more people is a whole conversation of its own). That doesn't change a thing. Firing a teacher for standing up for a student or attending the wrong church or being too far up the pay scale-- those would all be injustices. But as bad as that would be, it's not the feature of a tenureless world that would most damage education.
It's not the firing. It's the threat of firing.
Firing ends a teacher's career. The threat of firing allows other people to control every day of that teacher's career.
The threat of firing is the great "Do this or else..." It takes all the powerful people a teacher must deal with and arms each one with a nuclear device.
Give my child the lead in the school play, or else. Stop assigning homework to those kids, or else. Implement these bad practices, or else. Keep quiet about how we are going to spend the taxpayers' money, or else. Forget about the bullying you saw, or else. Don't speak up about administration conduct, or else. Teach these materials even though you know they're wrong, or else. Stop advocating for your students, or else. 
Firing simply stops a teacher from doing her job.
The threat of firing coerces her into doing the job poorly.
The lack of tenure, of due process, of any requirement that a school district only fire teachers for some actual legitimate reason-- it interferes with teachers' ability to do the job they were hired to do.  It forces teachers to work under a chilling cloud where their best professional judgment, their desire to advocate for and help students, their ability to speak out and stand up are all smothered by people with the power to say, "Do as I tell you, or else."
Civilians need to understand-- the biggest problem with the destruction of tenure is not that a handful of teachers will lose their jobs, but that entire buildings full of teachers will lose the freedom to do their jobs well.
We spent a lot of time in this country straightening out malpractice law issues, because we recognized that a doctor can't do his job well if his one concern is not getting sued into oblivion for a mistake. We created Good Samaritan laws because we don't want someone who could help in an emergency stand back and let The Worst happen because he doesn't want to get in trouble. 
As a country, we understand that certain kinds of jobs can't be done well unless we give the people who do those jobs the protections they need in order to do their jobs without fear of being ruined for using their best professional judgment. Not all jobs have those protections, because not all workers face those issues.
Teachers, who answer to a hundred different bosses, need their own special set of protections. Not to help them keep the job, but to help them do it. The public needs the assurance that teachers will not be protected from the consequences of incompetence (and administrators really need to step up-- behind every teacher who shouldn't have a job are administrators who aren't doing theirs). But the public also needs the assurance that some administrator or school board member or powerful citizen will not interfere with the work the public hired the teacher to do.
Tenure is that assurance. Without tenure, every teacher is the pawn and puppet of whoever happens to be the most powerful person in the building today. Without tenure, anybody can shoulder his way into the classroom and declare, "You're going to do things my way, or else."
Tenure is not a crown and scepter for every teacher, to make them powerful and untouchable. Tenure is a bodyguard who stands at the classroom door and says, "You go ahead and teach, buddy. I'll make sure nobody interrupts just to mess with you." Taxpayers are paying us for our best professional judgment; the least they deserve is a system that allows us to give them what they're paying us for.
Posted by Portside on August 10, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Valerie Strauss: A Strange Definition of a ‘Bad’ Teacher

Valerie Strauss

Keoni Wright is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit organized by Campbell Brown’s education advocacy group that is seeking to overturn New York laws that provide tenure and other job protections to K-12 teachers. Brown has appeared on a number of television shows explaining her new endeavor, which will involve filing lawsuits in other states, as well, in an attempt to have national impact on tenure laws. (Here’s a write-up about her appearance on “The Colbert Report,” and here’s a fact-check of what she said on the show).

The Wright vs. New York lawsuit, which has seven parents as plaintiffs, was filed a month after a Los Angeles judge struck down teacher tenure and other related California laws that offer job security to educators (though the judge stayed the decision until an appeal can be heard). Brown has said repeatedly that she is leading this effort because she believes it is too hard for school systems to get rid of “bad” teachers and that it is union-negotiated teacher job protections that lead to poor quality education for many underprivileged students. Critics say this is nonsense and that giving teachers due process when they are accused of wrongdoing protects against patronage and other forms of administrative whim. They also note that many students get inadequate educations in non-union states where teachers have no job protections and that tenured teachers can be and are fired, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.

Whatever you think of job protections for teachers, Wright inadvertently raised a separate issue during an interview he did with Campbell on NY1′s “Inside City Hall with Errol Louis”: What exactly is a “bad” teacher? Some answers are obvious, others less so.

During the interview with Louis, Wright discussed the education his young twin daughters are receiving at a New York public school, saying that one of them had a really good teacher and the other wasn’t so lucky. How did the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit explain this dichotomy? vWell, it turns out, he said, that one daughter received homework packets from her teacher while the other daughter didn’t. Why? After talking to the offending teacher, he said he discovered the following:

She didn’t have the supply, you know they were waiting for stuff to come. Meanwhile this other teacher was using her own money to buy these books to have supplies for her regular kids and an extra set for me.

Translation: The good teacher was spending her own money to buy supplies the school system should have provided to teachers in a timely fashion. The bad teacher didn’t.

Translation: The good teacher was giving homework to young kids. The bad teacher wasn’t.

Wright has said that he began to notice the homework discrepancy as soon as his daughters entered kindergarten a few years ago. One daughter had homework and the other didn’t. The one with homework was doing better academically than the one who wasn’t, he said, the suggestion being that a teacher who assigns kindergartners homework routinely is better than one who doesn’t.

It may well be that the teacher of one of his twins was superior to the teacher of his other twin. Yes, some teachers are better than others (as in any other profession), and, yes, some working teachers should be removed from the classroom because they are inadequate, and yes, teacher education should be continually improved to elevate the quality of America’s teaching force. I don’t know a teacher who doesn’t agree.

But in this interview Wright rested his claims about the value of his children’s teachers on the fact that one was spending personal money for supplies and that the same teacher assigned homework routinely. That’s hardly what you would call dispositive. It doesn’t even make sense.

Teachers shouldn’t have to spend their own money to buy supplies. Schools should have supplies ready for teachers at all times. Inadequate supplies is just one of the reasons that teachers in many schools have a hard time doing their jobs, which isn’t something that gets factored into many blame-the-teacher arguments. Teachers who care so much about their students that they buy student supplies with their own money are certainly dedicated, but no more so than those teachers who care greatly about their students but don’t spend their own money to buy what a school system should be providing.

As for homework in kindergarten, the research isn’t there to show that it helps academically. In fact, most of the research on homework in elementary school suggests that less is more and that reading is the best kind. Kids derive no real benefit from doing homework in kindergarten or, for that matter, up until fourth grade, some homework researchers say, while others go further and say there is no benefit to homework in elementary school at all.
Wright sounds like a dedicated, concerned father who wants the best for his children and who wants to help other young people who don’t have two parents who can be advocates and help them with their schoolwork. That’s to be commended.

But it is troubling when the lead plaintiff in an important lawsuit describes a “good” teacher as one who spends personal money to buy school supplies for kids and who gives young kids homework. In this definitional exercise, that means a”bad” teacher is someone who doesn’t do either thing. That’s beyond wrong. It’s scary.

Keoni Wright, plaintiff in Campbell Brown's lawsuit, is a member of Michelle Rhee's Students First.

Also Campbell's hubby, Dan Senor, is on the board of Rhee's NY Students First. I guess Michelle Rhee is wearing another big smile right about now. 

Seems her Students First is playing some big roles in attacking teachers' right to due process before being fired. 

I did not realize Keoni Wright, who is suing on behalf of his twin daughters, was a member of that group also. 

Campbell Brown

Teachers Too Hard to Fire, Lawsuit

Kaylah and Kyler Wright are New Yorkers, first-graders, and twins. But while Kaylah excelled in reading last year, Kyler lagged behind. Their father, John Keoni Wright, blames Kyler’s teacher and he’s suing, but not the teacher—the state of New York. The lawsuit alleges the state’s teacher job protection laws shield incompetence.

Wright is a member of the StudentFirstNY, a non-profit supporting charter schoolsand opposing teacher tenure. He was joined Monday by six more parents filing a lawsuit spearheaded by a former TV personality Campbell Brown and her new organization Partnership for Educational Justice.

....The lawsuit cites a 2009 survey saying almost half of the state’s school districts, excluding New York City, wanted to launch a disciplinary action against a teacher, but didn’t.

Yet it fails to mention that the majority of such districts refrained from taking disciplinary action because the teacher in question resigned or retired.
 One in three reported the process was too expensive or cumbersome.

In the past two years over 800 city teachers faced disciplinary action—about 500 were solved with the rest still pending. Only 40 teachers were terminated, but about half of the 500 resolved cases were settled, often with the teacher leaving or retiring, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Keoni Wright is the plaintiff speaking in this video

He seems to equate giving homework and providing textbooks out of the teacher's own pocket as being an effective teachers. There is so much more to it than that. 

This WP column seemed to have the same understanding of the video as I did. 

A strange definition of a ‘bad’ teacher 

During the interview with Louis, Wright discussed the education his young twin daughters are receiving at a New York public school, saying that one of them had a really good teacher and the other wasn’t so lucky. How did the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit explain this dichotomy? vWell, it turns out, he said, that one daughter received homework packets from her teacher while the other daughter didn’t. Why? After talking to the offending teacher, he said he discovered the following:

She didn’t have the supply, you know they were waiting for stuff to come. Meanwhile this other teacher was using her own money to buy these books to have supplies for her regular kids and an extra set for me.

Translation: The good teacher was spending her own money to buy supplies the school system should have provided to teachers in a timely fashion. The bad teacher didn’t.

Translation: The good teacher was giving homework to young kids. The bad teacher wasn’t.


Carlo DiNota on Whole Language (1999)

Whole Language: Down for the Count? No Way!
Whether we're talking about teachers' colleges per se or an education department at a university, teacher training programs are of the same cloth. Let's not mince words. They're bastions of touchy- feely, amateur psychiatry. Examine any education textbook which is required reading for aspiring teachers, and you'll find a recurring thread: competition among children is bad, strong discipline is oppressive, teacher-centered classrooms are a no-no, and testing is an inaccurate and intimidating means of assessing students. 

These ideological taboos have helped to define what has become known as the progressive approach to education. No surprise that behaviorists like Carl Rogers and Benjamin Bloom are held in such high regard in any education theory class.
No surprise also that education professors unanimously disapprove of intensive, systematic phonics - too rigid, uncreative, and passé. In my year and a half of taking education courses in order to be certified by New York State to teach English, I never met one prospective reading instructor who could adequately explain what phonics is, nor did I ever meet a professor who could either. Yet I received the same response every time I inquired about phonics: "There's more than one way to teach reading."

While linguists worldwide argue that an alphabetic system like English must be taught phonetically, America's educracy remains enthralled by the anti-intellectual mumbo-jumbo of Whole Language, which maintains that children learn to read by reading and through osmosis they eventually pick up the association of letters and sounds.

News flash: 44% of U.S. elementary and high school students read below basic level and nearly half of American adults have trouble reading newspapers. And what has been the predominant form of reading instruction in U.S. public schools over the last fifty years? Whole Language and its equally idiotic forefather, look-say (AKA Dick and Jane).

But let's remember that schools of education (from whence the Mickey-Mouse pedagogy arises) are hardly bastions of sound intellectual scholarship, and thus we should not be shocked that the proper way to teach reading - via phonics - is not emphasized in our nation's teachers colleges. James Koerner summed it up poignantly in his 1963 book The Miseducation of American Teachers, indicting the education major as "one of the intellectually weakest, most nebulous, and generally unsatisfactory fields in higher education, although it is the biggest." Oh, and in case you've been away, standards in teacher-training courses have not improved in the 1990s. In April 1998, 60% of candidates seeking Massachusetts teaching certification failed a basic literacy test, with the Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education, John Silber, maintaining that a bright high schooler could have easily passed the exam.

The Phonics Movement  
The phonics movement has gained momentum in the last few years, with California's Board of Education announcing its abandonment of whole language. The board's executive director has rightfully referred to whole language as a "heinous experiment." The much anticipated 1998 report by the National Research Council, commissioned by the U. S. Department of Education and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, concludes that early elementary reading instruction must include phonics.

Public Education and Whole Language  
Yet, expending tireless energy trying to incorporate intensive, systematic phonics into all our government schools is ultimately a useless endeavor. Phonics in every classroom would require the support of every teachers college in America, which have heretofore abandoned phonics for the latter half of the century. It would mean that teachers colleges would have to promote a structured, traditional curriculum, when it is rare to find any textbook used at these institutions that promotes "the old way."

It would mean drastically reforming the National Education Association's caustic opposition to phonics and disbanding their hundreds of surrogate literacy councils that promote Whole Language. One look at the brazenly leftist resolutions passed at an annual NEA convention would reinforce anyone's pessimism that the teachers union would support phonics, which for so many years has been a major issue with conservative education activists. As The Wall Street Journal noted, when the National Research Council's study was released in March of 1998, the NEA was promoting Whole Language that very month at a "Read Across America" day.

It would mean forcing publishing houses, which have made millions due to the voluminous nature of Whole-Language reading curricula, to trim down their books for the intrinsically lean and mean phonics primers. A real phonics curriculum, such as the McGuffey Readers of the 19th century, would take but a fraction of the shelf space that present Whole-Language materials occupy in a typical classroom. Whole Language means big bucks for the publishing houses, while genuine phonics does not. Never underestimate the influence of a publishing company on a school board, for they wine and dine big-city board members in order to lull them into signing a lucrative and sometimes exclusive contract promoting Whole-Language reading materials. Of course, it is possible that the publishers would create primers that claim to be phonics-based, when in fact they are filled with the gibberish of the sight/whole-word method. Phony phonics curriculums are, in fact, running rampant today.

Most importantly, introducing intensive, systematic phonics into every classroom would mean that the educracy would have to temper its impassioned allegiance to the likes of John Dewey, Edmund Burke Huey, G. Stanley Hall, Arthur I. Gates, William S. Gray, et al. Having taken education courses not too long ago, I do not see this happening. Education Theory 101 textbooks view these disciples of progressive education and non-phonics alternatives to reading instruction as the bedrock from which all significant pedagogical theory stems. It would be the equivalent of telling communists to forget Karl Marx.

I am often asked why the education establishment continues to embrace Whole Language when there is ample evidence that this system fails millions of children each year and has contributed to the epidemic known as functional illiteracy. In a word, entrenchment. Progressive education theory is deeply entrenched in our government schools, and has been for most of the past century. With teachers colleges, teachers unions, education publishers, educrats, and influential "experts" univocally joined in an almost Masonic-like brotherhood - embracing the gospel according to Dewey - one should not be so naive as to expect an "anti-progressive" method such as intensive, systematic phonics to ever assimilate into their value system.

Phonics did not sweep into government schools upon the publishing of Rudolf Flesch's best-seller Why Johnny Can't Read in 1955, and it won't make serious inroads today with the NRC report or pro-phonics editorials from the New York Times. The noble edict from California's Board of Education, which calls for the abandonment of Whole Language, will inevitably be sabotaged by the teachers colleges, teachers unions, and other like-minded and influential brethren. Lest we forget, the Dewey cabal that created our nation's schools of education did so in part to establish homogeneous progressive thinking among all public school teachers. Today's educational professors who shape the impressionable minds of prospective elementary school instructors are simply incapable of turning on the disciples of look-say/Whole Language, if not philosophically unwilling to do so. In general, they haven't expunged dopey pedagogical theories such as guided fantasy, role playing, sensitivity training, encounter groups, and values clarification, and history shows us that they won't expunge Whole Language either.

As Thomas Sowell brilliantly argues in his book Inside American Education, university education professors suffer from an inferiority complex. Their scholarship is hardly taken seriously by professors in other fields of study largely due to its touchy-feely value system that borders on dopiness. I would add, education Ph.D.s fill their textbooks with high-falutin, pseudo-scientific language in order to hide the innate absurdity of their pedagogy. Hence we have the reading issue. Prior to the advent of public schools, parents taught their children to read with relative ease using phonics. The teaching of reading, which is such an important part of the learning process, is hardly a mystery, as homeschooling parents today demonstrate. You don't have to be an "expert" to teach a child to read so long as you stick to the time-tested phonetic way of teaching an alphabetic language system.

Yet today's education experts need to justify their existence and save face in the academic world, so they hyper-obfuscate the reading process via Whole Language and drown their propaganda with such bombast so to give the impression that only the holier-than-thou "professionally-trained" instructor could teach Johnny to read. Kenneth Goodman, reigning guru of modern Whole Language, reinforces this elite status with seemingly every written word. "Reading is a psycholinguistic guessing game," he writes. Heavy stuff. Serious scholarship, he would like us to believe. Yet wrong-headed through and through. I marvel at the lengths education experts will go to complicate such a simple issue as reading.

Absurd non-scholarship is a powerful influence on American education today, yet illogical pedagogy translates into danger for our children who bear the damaging consequences of, for example, Goodman's silly approach to reading. And when such revered early pioneers of modern education theory as G. Stanley Hall actually extol the virtues of illiteracy— stating that illiterates "are probably more active and less sedentary," "escape certain temptations, such as vacuous and vicious reading," and that maybe "we are prone to put too high a value both upon the ability required to attain this art" of literacy "and the discipline involved in doing so" — it is clear that today's pedagogical theory is rich in loony tradition.
Government schools will never liberate themselves from the enthrallment of John Dewey and company. Therefore, enter at your own risk.

Carlo DiNota teaches English at a private high school in Brookline Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor of English at Bay State College in Boston. He can be reached at This article originally appeared in the Chalcedon Report, April 1999. Edited slightly for space.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Randy L. Hoover, PHD: The PARCC & Common Core Business

PARCC & Common Core1
Randy L. Hoover, PhD
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) the are two sides of the same coin. The coin is the nationalization of academic standards. CCSS is the academic content, and PARRC is the vast standardized testing regimen that goes with it. Someone asked on the FAQ page if PARCC and CCSS would be like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on steroids. It's a pretty good question, and the answer is pretty much a "yes," but the reason for the answer is a little more complicated because of the nature of PARCC and CCSS.
The Common Core has been the subject of contentious debate across a variety of interests. In order to cut through the tsunami of claims and counter claims in order to better understand the ramifications for teacher advocacy, we need to understand that there are two primary areas of focus in the debate. One is a focus on the standards themselves, and the other is on the ramifications beyond the standards.
From the point of view of teacher advocacy and the Common Core standards, the virtual absence of classroom teacher participation in the group developing the standards or in the group providing feedback on the standards speaks volumes about how teachers have been completely marginalized in the Common Core process. While it is good to have psychometricians, college professors, and others of professions related to schooling helping to develop standards, experienced classroom teachers know best what learners can do and learn. Yet the vast majority of the CCSS developers and reviewers were from the testing industry and special-interest groups. I could not find one classroom teacher in the approximately 30 members listed in the Common Core development group and could find only 1 classroom teacher listed in the feedback group. This Common Core reality is patently contrary to the principles of teacher advocacy. This absence of experienced classroom practitioners greatly diminishes the credibility of the final product.
It is impossible to imagine this kind of (non) representation occurring in other professions such as law, engineering, or medicine. The marginalization begs the question of why NEA and AFT did not appear to make loud and public complaint about this absurd situation. Unfortunately for teacher advocacy, NEA had again sided with the test-driven reform interests that dominated the development of CCSS. A quick visit to the NEA website reveals the union has been a strong and consistent supporter of the Common Core since its conception. The only negative aspect of NEA's rhetoric was NEA President Van Roekel's speech in February 2014 arguing that the problem with CCSS is that the implementation has been botched.
Another aspect of the Common Core standards themselves concerns the appropriateness of the standards in terms of their expectations for the students and the level of difficulty expected from PARCC. It is critical for teacher advocates to realize that "high expectations" has been a slogan of reformists since before NCLB. High expectations are not necessarily the same as reasonable expectations. The pedagogical issue seemingly excluded from CCSS is whether the standards are developmentally appropriate for the children at each grade level and subject area, not to mention children with special needs. Ironically, "high expectations" was the slogan companion to NCLB's 100 percent proficiency by 2013.
There are two primary motives behind the "high expectations" slogan. One is the set up that if higher expectations are not realized on the standardized test results, then it is the fault of inferior teachers. The other comes from the reality that the more students who fail, the greater the size the pool of cheap labor is available for corporate profits. Together, PARCC and CCSS are likely the highest pinnacle of sorting students for labor needs yet seen in America. The seeming paradox of wanting graduates who can fill the high-paying technical job needs of business and industry on one hand and wanting a cheap labor source for the lesser jobs on the other is very real. The PARCC-CCSS combination will most likely produce exactly those results, thus producing exactly what corporate America desires. Because PARCC will be no different from any other achievement test in terms of its actually measuring the socio-economic lived experience of those taking the test, the results are as predictable as they are inevitable. Tests like PARCC simply do not assess academic achievement, and therefore fail the psychometric conditions for test validity. (See paper onResearch Insights about the Validity of Standardized Tests in Ohio.)
This kind of public school exploitation is clearly at odds with the ideals of democratic public schooling just as it is at odds with ideals of teacher advocacy. The prime directive of teachers is always to do right by their students, empowering them to make their own choices in lifestyle and occupation. The corporate mentality that the purpose of public schools and their educators is to produce employees for the benefit of business profit has replaced the once-fundamental idea that schooling is to serve the students above all else. Instead of reaffirming the centrality of public schools in serving our democracy through enlightened and empowered citizens, the Common Core and all that comes with it reduce our children to mere chattel for servicing the economic desires of corporate America. In doing so, it also reduces the once-noble role of the teacher to that of deskilled labor creating the chattel corporate America wants so desperately.
From the teacher advocate point of view, both sides of the PARCC-CCSS coin are offensive for a number of reasons having nothing to do with being opposed to having academic standards. First, CCSS has a not-so-hidden agenda of nationalizing academic standards. The responsibility for public schools in America is historically and constitutionally the responsibility of each state, not the federal government. The reality of there being 50 separate sets of school laws and academic standards bothers the school reformists tremendously because it makes comparing test scores among the states much more difficult for them. It thwarts their desire for publicly rating, ranking, and grading school performance in order to keep the public on board for continuing divert billions of taxpayer monies into their own coffers.
Knowing how preoccupied the reformists are with test scores means they are resolute in getting everyone to take the same test so they can continue strengthening the yoke of pseudo accountability draped on American public schools and their educators. Given the significant anti-teacher results of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top(RttT), one can only imagine the effects of nationalizing standards in terms of how teachers and public schools will be treated with PARCC scores as their performance outcome measure.
All of this is not an argument against the importance of having academic standards. It is an argument against the Common Core and its companion assessment. Thoughtfully and appropriately developed content standards are vital for teaching effectively and for use in authentic teacher evaluation because they form reasoned goals for the outcomes of curriculum and instruction. That being said, the agenda of CCSS has nothing to do with good teaching or authentic teacher evaluation. CCSS and its companion PARCC are about a variety of special-interest goals that represent huge profits for corporations such as Pearson and the allied test-prep and curriculum-materials corporations, more fodder for anti-public school/anti-teacher groups, and more phony data for corporate charter school initiatives. The PARCC-CCSS coin is extremely valuable in terms of profits; Pearson alone is expected to make more than a billion dollars over the next eight years if enough states sign on.
Nationalizing content standards greatly enhances the power of the reformists to control the public debate and discussion of accountability in order to perpetuate the same fictional claims that NCLB and state compliance legislation brought us. Similarly, nationalizing standards enhances the power of the federal government to regulate federal funding for schools based on school compliance and subsequent performance of state and local school systems. In this sense it will be like a mandatory Race to the Top with the pseudo accountability of value-added metrics being a central result of nationalization.
It is also inevitable and certainly intentional that PARCC scores will be the ultimate false proxy for school reform—ramping up the current NCLB and state false proxies that fictionalize public school performance across the 50 states. The public will again be sold the grand lie that test scores represent the condition of public education. They do not. Indeed, the single most powerful anti-teacher, anti-public school aspect of the school reformists is the false proxy. (See paper on the Metrics Machine & the False Proxy2.)
Together, PARCC and CCSS represent new levels of punishment for students and teachers alike. The testing regimen is extreme in both the amount of time required for testing and the level of difficulty of the PARCC test items. The exams will take eight hours for an average third-grader and just short of 10 hours for high school students. There will also be optional midyear tests to track if students and their teachers are on track. Also, there are plans to create tests for kindergarten,1st and 2nd graders, and 9th, 10th and 11th graders as well.
I would be remiss to not at least briefly mention the role of Bill Gates and his zealous, though mindless funding of the advancement of the CCSS-PARCC nationalization of standards. Gates may be a billionaire, but he is clueless when it comes to understanding education. Ever the buffoon when inside the education arena, he is an archetype of the corporate mentality that dominates the reform movement. Perhaps we need a national standard that teaches our children that money is not a proxy for one's personal intelligence. I would much sooner trust the professional judgment of those who have been working in schools and classrooms. To quote Ravitch,
Common Core testing will turn out to be the money pit that consumed American education. The sooner it dies, the sooner schools and teachers will be freed of the Giant Federal Accountability Plan hatched in secret and foisted upon our nation's schools. And when it does die, teachers will have more time to do their job and to use their professional judgment to do what is best for each student. (Diane Ravitch, 7/3/2014)

1 The primary reference for much of this paper comes from Diane Ravitch. I strongly recommend reading her blog of 7/3/2014, "Good Riddance to the Common Core Tests."
2 Also see Godin, S. (2012). Seth’s Blog. Retrieved from
and Regunberg, A. (2012). Education’s false proxy trap. Retrieved from