Sections:

Article

CORPORATE OPT OUT FREAK OUTS go national?... United Opt Out website hacked -- and destroyed -- as conference helps add to plans for massive nationwide opt out for this Spring

Although the Opt Out movement and the Resistance to high-stakes testing has been around fro nearly 20 years, the explosion of Opt Out during the 2013 - 2014 school year obviously has some very powerful forces in a panic -- or as one Chicago parent has written in an OPT OUT FREAK OUT. And little wonder. It's as if after hundreds of books and articles and years and years of small acts of resistance (one of which got this reporter fired and blacklisted after a three-decades career in public school teaching), suddenly, thanks in part of leadership in various parts of the country (including Chicago, where parents and the Chicago Teachers Union regularly link up and New York, where Class Size Matters, Diane Ravitch, and others continue hammering away) the "Opt Out Spring" has arrived. And with the scheduling of the NWEA MAP tests as high-stakes in Chicago for the first time beginning April 28 2014, it couldn't come a week too soon.

By early 2014, it was clear that the OPT OUT FREAK OUT was rumbling from Coast to Coast. First, the chief of New York State's schools had a hissy fit and refused, for a time, to meet with parents (after scheduling meetings to explain what he calls "The Truth") while a growing number of New Yorkers -- including principals and teachers -- said the tests and the corporate version of education reform behind them were bullshit. In Chicago, the boycott of the ISAT (Illinois State Achievement Tests) by teachers linked with parents across the city who opted their children out of the defunct tests. In Colorado, when a parent said the tests were abusing his child, state testing officials sent the police -- to investigate the parent. (This by the way is also nothing new, as author and Substance contributor Susan Ohanian can attest from years ago, when the State of Georgia went after her for writing critically of that year's Georgia tests).

And so it goes.

But little did anyone suspect that over the weekend of the national Opt Out conference in Denver that someone would destroy the Website of one of the leading groups in the Opt Out movement - - United Opt Out.

The materials below, by Ken Prevati and others, explain where things are as of April 3 and 4, 2014. Readers need to remember, however, that news and information about Opt Out is widely available at many levels, and so as United Opt Out rebuilds its state-by-state information (and we all should be trying to identify the attackers), communications can continue.

Just one thing needs to be remembered, whether people are resisting high-stakes corporate testing or all of the injustices currently in place by the corporate dictatorship that runs the USA. United Opt Out was trying to inform parents, teacher and students about what was "legal" in all 50 states. But just as U.S. history constantly reminds us (and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington reminded us last summer), what it "legal" is not always just, and what may be necessary might be "illegal" until unjust and absurd laws are changed to bring back -- or institute -- justice. And so, as Opt Outs work to establish legality for parents and children and teachers across the USA, American need to remember that many of the most important movements for justice in the history of the USA had to move from "illegal" to legal through massive civil disobedience and much more.

Including a Civil War...

United Opt Out National: Rebuilding Site. Posted on April 4, 2014. by Ken Previti

The United Opt Out National site has been hacked and destroyed. Why?

It is the seminal site for information about how parents can legally refuse/opt-out of the high pressure, high stakes testing that serves no purpose except the corporate profiteering of billionaire investors with tax free foundations and the hedge fund managers who feed them.

Read a full account by educationalchemy HERE.

United Opt Out is the Movement to end Corporate Education Reform.

Our site has been maliciously hacked and destroyed in an act of political sabotage.?Please be patient while we rebuild the site, and get our Opt-Out resources back on line.

Further information, and some of the missing guides?can be found via FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/unitedoptout/?If you have information about the hacking attack on United Opt Out, please leave a tip at Contact Us at the North Denver News.

United Opt Out is a truly grassroots organization. UOO has become the single largest site with organizational information that has spurred state, county and local groups to form and fight the Education Industrial Complex that is using our children as guinea pigs.

No children in any country at any time have ever been subjected to the insane levels of testing pressures that are being inflicted today to financially profit the multinational investor class.

Get the information you need on Facebook until the site is rebuilt. Go to your local opt-out/refusal groups on FB or online for help to save your own child from being just another guinea pig. Google them all, and watch for the newly rebuilt main site as soon as these parents can do it.

FROM EDUCATION ALCHEMY BELOW HERE:

Education Hackers: Theyre Heeere

Posted: April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized Heres the basic rule of practice for reformers. When the truth is no longer is their favor, they resort to silencing and fear tactics to win their battle. After all, if you knew the truth, you might do something about it. Case in point: sometime over the weekend of March 29th-31st, during our Denver event, our United Opt Out website was hacked in such a wholesale fashion that every part of the website database was trashed,. Given that I need my nine year old to help me with my iPhone 6 you can imagine how much I understand about the world of hacking, but our tech savvy friends working on the problem have concluded that given the size and scope of the hacking job that it is purely malicious The hacker crippled every single SQL table and left them unrepairable. The site is frozen more or less and inaccessible to administrate.

In spite of the headache this gives to us as the site administrators it does not deter us from our goals to take education back from the grips of federal and corporate interests, and to build a democratically-led effort for public education founded on human and civil rights for all children. When we started as a group three years ago, we had a simple goal in mind: Help parents opt their children out of high stakes standardized testing. As the political and educational landscapes became more rabid with harmful policies, bullying practices, and oppressive billionaire interests calling the shots, our movement has grown. We defined ourselves simply as six pissed off radical educators with fifty dollars between us. What we lacked in financial sponsorship, or political savvy, we made up for in knowledge and a passion for meaningful and sustainable education for all children. We still have little more than fifty dollars between us, but we are wiser and more pissed off than ever. Whoever hacked into our site is a fool if they think this little stunt deters us in any way. We eat adversity for lunch. (we have no money or time for real food anyway). In fact, all headaches aside we find it par for the course. After all, we are fighting against education hackers every day.

This type of tactic seems only fitting for any person, organization or corporation involved with predatory-style education reform given that their entire approach to privatizing public education (which appears to be the end goal looking at the way the puzzle pieces fit together) is to HACK THEIR WAY into public education. Hacking into someones database, computer or website is done invisibly. And with self-serving ill intent. The goal is not to be known, but to achieve certain ends which include gathering private information and/or dismantling the distribution of information from that source. Predatory reformers seem to be pulling from this playbook. Like a hacker, they snuck their way into public schools seemingly innocuous or completely unseen. Their strategies are intimdation, deception, and silencing dissent.

Take for example model legislation crafted by ALEC last fall called the Student Achievement Backpack Act, and Course Choice Act which discreetly and somewhere in the fine print inserts the language that:

No later than {insert date}, an authorized LEA user shall be able to access student data in a Student Achievement Backpack, which shall include the data listed in Section 7 (A) (1) through (4) and the following data, or request the data be transferred from one LEA to another: (1) section attendance; (2) the name of a students teacher for classes or courses the student takes; (3) teacher qualifications for a students teacher, including years of experience, degree, license, and endorsement; (4) results of formative, interim, and summative computer adaptive assessments administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; (5) detailed data demonstrating a students mastery of core standards and objectives as measured by computer adaptive assessments administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; (6) a students writing sample written for an online writing assessment administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; (7) student growth scores for {insert state} performance assessment; (8) a schools grade assigned pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; (9) results of benchmark assessments of reading administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; and (10) a students reading level at the end of grade 3.

The new authorized LEAs include third party private companies who will be contracted to provide education delivery systems in public school classrooms in lieu of face to face learning with an actual teacher. Like the real hacking job to our website, the knowledge created and emanating from real places or moments of learning will be frozen or locked out.

The Course Choice Program created by this Act would allow students in public schools and public charter schools to enroll in online, blended, and face-to-face courses not offered by the students school, and would allow a portion of that students funding to flow to the course provider. This Act creates an authorization process for providers and identifies provider and course eligibility criteria. Lets not forget how corporate interests and hedge fund companies have worm-holed their way in via new testing mandates, as well as the profit driven motives of organizations using Common Core as their point of entry. They are non profts sprung up to help schools manage new Common Core materials and processes. Sometimes their entry seems benign, like the new person you add to a member list, or the small mindless click to download something onto your computer-it seemed like such a nice download, or personand theyve been pre- approved by what we once thought of as trusted and credible sources like so-called research or education-based entities. For example, The Wall Street Journal reported a story about edu-tech companies involvement in school-based data collection, but it wasnt as much reporting as it was free advertising for New Classrooms Innovation Partners trying to assuage the fears of communities that their involvement in data collection was safelike a trusted link on your computer. The report FAILS to mention that this company is funded by a host of ALEC-affiliated corporations with links to the creation of new testing mandates and Common Core, including Gates, Bezos, Carnegie, New Schools Venture, and Broad Foundation. They sneak in the front end and profit out the back end. Take a moment and read the bios of their board of directors while youre at it.

Even the title of the WSJ article: Big Data Enters the Classroom, has hacker written all over it in my opinion. The report states, The amount of data collected is expected to swell as more schools use apps and tablets that can collect information down to individual keystrokes, or even how long a student holds a mouse pointer above a certain answer.

One reason that education hackers are as successful as they have been thus far (beside the billions of dollars being pushed via Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Walton and others) is because the average teacher or parent doesnt even know theyre there. In the endless hours of Common Core training, how many teachers are made aware of the corporate interests that created Common Core, or the lobbying efforts of Pearson for new testing legislation?

At how many back-to-school nights are parents informed of who really wrote the new Common Core standards, or how much of their childrens private data will actually be collected and stored by companies such as inBloom? And if those parents and teachers knew they were there, theyd promptly want them out. Except that once theyve gotten in its hard to track them and remove them. Theyve all snuck in like hackers, and once inside the metaphorical walls of public schools and every classroom in America, they will have behind the scenes control to redirect the system as they see fit. And the average teacher, parent, student and community member will cease to have any control.

They are in fact a virus.



Comments:

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at substancenews.net. We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 1 =