Frankenstein Fears His Monster: The Gates Foundation Wants You To Boycott High-Stakes Tests

…the Gates Foundation agrees with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years, during this transition.”

  — Vicki Phillips, director of the U.S. education program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 

How do you know the United States is currently experiencing the largest revolt against high-stakes standardized testing in history?

Because even the alchemists responsible for concocting the horrific education policies designed to turn teaching and learning into a test score have been shaken hard enough to awaken from the nightmare scenario of fast-tracking high-stakes Common Core testing across the nation. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a stunning announcement on Tuesday, saying that it supports a two-year moratorium on attaching high-stakes to teacher evaluations or student promotion on tests associated with the new Common Core State Standards.

Labor journalist Lee Sustar put it perfectly when he said of the Gates Foundation’s statement, “Dr. Frankenstein thought things got out of hand, too.”

The mad-pseudoscientists at the Gates Foundation have been the primary perpetrators of bizarre high-stakes test experiments in teacher evaluations, even as a growing body of research—including a report from the American Statistical Association—has debunked the validity of “value added method” testing models. The Gates Foundation has used its immense wealth to circumvent the democratic process to create the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with very little input from educators. As Rethinking Schools editor Stan Karp wrote of the Common Core development process,

Because federal law prohibits the federal government from creating national standards and tests, the Common Core project was ostensibly designed as a state effort led by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, a private consulting firm. The Gates Foundation provided more than $160 million in funding, without which Common Core would not exist… According to teacher educator Nancy Carlsson-Paige: “In all, there were 135 people on the review panels for the Common Core. Not a single one of them was a K–3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.” Parents were entirely missing. K–12 educators were mostly brought in after the fact to tweak and endorse the standards—and lend legitimacy to the results.

And thus the Gates Foundation’s unnatural methods brought to life the Common Core State Standards. As parents, students, and teachers around the nation have grown tired of being the targets of hazardous corporate experimentation and excluded from major policy decisions about education, they have built the largest revolt against the use of high-stakes standardized testing in our nations’ history. Teachers at my own Garfield High School in Seattle refused to administer the district mandated MAP test last year. This year, teachers at Saucedo Elementary were threatened with the revoking of their teaching certificates for refusing to administer a state exam, but have continued in their civil disobedience. Some 33,000 parents in New York State alone have opted their children out of tests in the current school year. Students from Portland to Rhode Island have led rallies and walkouts against the tests.

The Providence Student Union recently gathered at the Rhode Island Statehouse, dressed as rodents, to protest a state-wide standardized test recently incorporated into high school graduation requirements. Jose Serrano, a sophomore at The Met School, addressed the crowd saying, “The reason we are dressed like guinea pigs and lab rats is simple — that is how we are being treated. (The Rhode Island Department of Education) had a hypothesis — that high-stakes testing alone, without the extra resources our schools need, would solve our educational problems and radically improve our proficiency. But this was nothing more than an experiment.”

So when the Gates Foundation writes that they, “agree with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years,” I take that to mean they have sided with our movement and activists like Jia Lee of the Earth School who is refusing to administer a CCSS test. I can only assume the Gates Foundation is getting ready to sign the petition and cut a check to support the group, “Teachers of Conscience,” responsible organizing this Common Core testing boycott.

The Gates Foundation may be attempting to corral a runaway anti-high-stakes testing movement by appearing to listen to the overwhelming numbers of people who are demanding an end to the use of test and punish mysticism in education. But in calling for a two-year dousing of cold water on the high-stakes attached to CCSS tests, the Gates foundation has only poured gasoline on a fire threatening to consume the multi-billion dollar Pearson corporation’s testing products around the nation. Imagine the confidence of the next group of teachers who refuse to administer high-stakes Common Core tests when they justifiably claim the creator of the Common Core doesn’t want them to administer it.

This latest backtrack by the Gates Foundation shows they are vulnerable to pressure. But the question remains, will the Gates Foundation pursue its call for constraining the testing creature it created with the same zeal as it showed in creating the Common Core? Will the Foundation use its undue influence and wealth to pressure states to drop the use of high stakes testing attached to Common Core tests?  On June 26th, public education advocates from around the country will arrive in Seattle to protest at the global headquarters of the Gates Foundation. You should join them and find out if the Gates Foundation is brave enough to answer these questions.

While the Gates Foundation may be bending to the will of a popular revolt, it will take nothing short of mass civil rights movement to defeat its grotesque monster of high-stakes testing that is menacing our schools.

15 responses

  1. Valerie Trueblood | Reply

    THREE CHEERS, Jesse! Valerie Trueblood

  2. Great article !! The corporate education deformers CAN be knocked back!—-but the leopard hasn’t changed its spots. It is biding its time and planning its next move.

  3. Mary Porter (chemtchr) | Reply

    Jesse, we need a place to discuss taking the lead in this. Randi and Dennis now share Gates position, while unions are making concessions, pushing legislation agreeing in advance to CCSS and VAM imposition in “exchange” for the 2 year delay.

    I know it’s Friday, and I’m on my way to work because of all the snow days. Are there other comments? moderate them, if you can.

  4. […] public schools into test score sweat shops, but as Jesse Hagopian reported yesterday on his blog, I Am An Educator, the Gates Foundation is behaving like the Dr. Frankenstein that is coming to fear it’s own […]

  5. […] Frankenstein Fears His Monster: The Gates Foundation Wants You To Boycott High-Stakes Tests […]

  6. […] Hagopian, a teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, here describes the decision by the Gates Foundation to delay the high-stakes consequences of the tests promoted by—-the […]

  7. […] Hagopian, a teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, here describes the decision by the Gates Foundation to delay the high-stakes consequences of the tests promoted by—-the Gates […]

  8. Thank you, Jesse!
    I find it painfully interesting that the Gates announcement uses the same words and time-frame as Randi Weingarten’s and the AFT’s calling for a two-year moratorium on “evaluating” teachers using the results of the CCSS testing — and, therefore, full implementation — of a program that just should not be. Period. So who’s the tail and who’s the dog here . . .

  9. […] anti-Semitic ministers in the birthplace of democracy (related posts here, here, here, and here) Frankenstein Fears His Monster: The Gates Foundation Wants You To Boycott High-Stakes Tests Directory of Anti-Teacher Trolls Military Effectiveness: ISIS, Taliban, […]

  10. They have the Big Money behind them. The spirit is with us!
    Common Core is the education Edsel.
    The Common Core is Washington madness in our schools.
    Get the Washington fools out of our schools!
    Common Core is tests that fail the test.
    Our children are allergic to the Common Core.

    Over 300 million Americans still do not know what the Common Core is. Let’s use these succinct sayings to introduce them to Common Core reality.
    You will find dozens more Common Core and Race to the Top sayings at my Website: http://www.mountainmaninsights.org They are free and have no strings attached. Please use them to help get the word out about the devastation being created by the Common Core!
    Honest Henry I say it like I see it!

  11. […] Moreover, in the past month, a new set of questions is brewing in Michigan: What test will those students be taking next year? The public pressure is mounting. Business leaders and education groups support it, but there is a lot of apprehension over the online nature of the test. (And Bill Gates suddenly isn’t a huge fan of high-stakes testing anyway.) […]

  12. This content is very interesting but it took me a long time to find
    it in google. I found it on 12 spot, you should focus on quality
    backlinks building, it will help you to increase traffic. And i know how to help you, just search in google – k2 seo tips

  13. I read a lot of interesting articles here. Probably you spend
    a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool that creates
    readable, SEO friendly articles in seconds, just search in google
    - laranitas free content source

  14. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend
    your website, how can i subscribe for a blog
    site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit
    acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,193 other followers

%d bloggers like this: