MEDIA WATCH: Opt Out freak out in New York's corporate media... New York Daily News is the silliest, saying, 'Parents, you've been heard. Now have your kids take the damn tests!'...

It's been 17 years since the editor of Substance was suspended by CPS for publishing for all the world to read the stupid CASE (Chicago Academic Standards Exams) tests produced by Chicago's public schools during the regime of Paul G. Vallas. Since then, Chicago has utilized a half dozen other so-called "standardized" tests for high stakes, each time telling the public that this particular test will really DO THE JOB. And as CPS moved from the ITBS to the IGAP to the ISAT to the PARCC one thing that has always been clear is that corporate media has never demanded to know whether there is any point to these tests -- other than to provide a dishonest way of ranking and sorting children, teachers, principals and schools as if public school children were like Major League baseball teams. And so in 2016, Chicago Public Schools continues to order children to take the PARCC tests, while also forcing high school children to take the ACT tests, even though the ACT is being replaced in Illinois by the equally dubious SAT... Etc.While Chicago teachers and others working for public education in Chicago were busy organizing and executing the coordinated days of action on April 1, 2016, some (including the children of this reporter) were also doing their annual Opt Out. But Opt Out in Chicago has been a successful but relatively quiet affair in 2016, despite some nastiness from a few principals. That has not been the case in New York City, where the city's corporate media has been in the midst of what we can only characterize as an OPT OUT FREAK OUT the past weeks. From the supposedly stolid NEW YORK TIMES to the screaming tabloid NEW YORK POST the owners and leaders of New York's newspapers agree on one thing about public education: Opt Out is BADDDDD!

Here are comments from Diane Ravitch and our colleague Norm Scott:

ON APRIL 4, 2016 RAVITCH REPORTED: Norm Scott, a retired New York City teacher, blogs at EdNotes Online. He posted today the onslaught against opt out in the mainstream media in New York City. Norm taught in low-income schools for many years. He was also the producer of one of the first anti-reform films: "The Inconvenient Truth About 'Waiting for Superman.'"

I seriously doubt that any of the people who wrote these articles understand that the tests provide no useful information to teachers or parents. I wonder if any of them have school-age children. Teachers are not allowed to see the answers or to learn what their students got wrong. Parents get nothing more than a number (1, 2, 3, 4) and a percentile ranking. Do we really need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to rank students yet learn nothing about their instructional needs? Do they know that the tests were designed to fail the majority of students? Can they explain why?

Norm Scott writes:

Every single link in today's Rise and Shine is an assault on Opt-out.

Eva Moskowitz: Opt-out movement will leave students unprepared...

“I really believe in the tests – I seem to be the only one left standing,” the Success Academy CEO said Friday afternoon, against the backdrop of thousands of children singing to pop songs whose lyrics were changed to extoll the virtues of learning and test preparation. Read more.

And follow up with these:

With state tests set to begin Tuesday, some are predicting that the opt-out movement will continue to grow, even though the consequences of those tests have diminished. Wall Street Journal

Plenty of New York City principals and parents still see the tests as a normal, and even helpful, part of a child's school experience. New York Times

Some teachers have gone further in encouraging students to opt out by sending anti-testing information home to parents. New York Post

The nonprofit High Achievement New York has launched a counter-campaign, with the tagline “Say Yes to the Test." New York Daily News

Al Sharpton says he opposes the opt-out movement because the test results help shine a light on educational inequality. New York Post, Politico New York

Upper West Side parents are still worried that opting out will hurt their children's chances of admission to a selective middle school. DNAinfo

Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz said Friday that she seems "to be the only one left standing” supporting state tests, just after thousands of her students gathered for a “slam the exam” pep rally. Chalkbeat

Three Success Academy charter schools didn't have copies of the tests last week, worrying school officials. New York Daily News

Editorial: Parents, you've been heard. Now have your kids take the damn tests. New York Daily News

Editorial: It's "pathetic" to see education leaders across the city and state pander to the opt-outers. New York Post


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