“I must do right by the children… I refuse to administer the PARCC.”

“I must do right by the children…”

Do we realize that saving our children requires that we ALL “must do right by the children”?

I know Peggy Robertson, a mom and a Colorado teacher who helped found United Opt Out.

I have more respect for her as a human being and as a teacher than I have for any of the bought-and-paid-for politicians who shill for the profit making CCSS (Yes, it is private. Yes, it was created to make profits.) and all of the profit making multinational fund managers and “philanthropic” foundation investors who are part of the coup against sane levels of valid testing.

Bill Gates once famously and publicly stated that it would take another ten years to see if the present “experiment” will work. Since his own children are not being experimented on, he avoids mentioning the direct and indirect profit taking he makes via his “philanthropic” and tax free foundation. Other billionaires are also profit taking in the guise of improving education via rigor and expensive testing. Next year, as reported in The Nation, predictions of $780 billion in market value is placed on K-12 education.

Our children are being experimented on – for profit.

There is one way to stop this mass form of child abuse – refuse, opt-out.

Say, “NO MORE.” Refuse to continue the cycle

Peggy Robertson in her blog Peg with Pen:
“I take objection to the fact that our children are being used as guinea pigs in an experiment to implement standards which were never field tested, are copyrighted,  were not created using a democratic process, and were not created with the input of classroom teachers. Furthermore, the Common Core standards have placed unrealistic expectations on our youngest learners, many who now view themselves as failures, because they are unable to meet the developmentally inappropriate expectations set by the Common Core standards.
I must do right by the children of Colorado and the teachers of Colorado, therefore, I refuse to administer the PARCC.”

Peggy Robertson - I refuse

As reported by Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post:
“Robertson explains why she has decided to refuse to administer what is known as the PARCC test, a Common Core-aligned test being designed by one of two multi-state consortia that are working with $360 million in federal funds to create new standardized exams. PARCC refers to the official name of the consortium, which is the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.”

Since No Child Left Behind began in 2001 and Race to the Top added a $4.3 billion federal “reward” to compliant states and their compliant politicians, the results for our children have been abysmal. The 9 year old in 2001 is 22 years old today and probably underemployed and underpaid. Today’s 9 year old will be 19 years old before Gates and other investors will examine how successful this “experiment” has been for children. Since he and other billionaires will have received unimaginable levels of profit from this “private-public partnership” via CCSS aligned high stakes testing, Gates and the others might simply want to drain even more from what was once the promise of America – the futures of our children.

There is a point where capitalism and profits overreach sanity and become child abuse. We have reached that point.We must end CCSS aligned testing.

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Thank you, Peggy, for your decisive action.

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Testing Boycott Success: CCSS aligned Measure of English Language Arts Performance Assessment ELIMINATED in NYC

Opt Out News: The International High School of Prospect Heights in Brooklyn testing boycott led the City of New York to drop the mandated tests for the entire city school system. The Measure of English Language Arts Performance Assessment aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is ended.

Official statement: “For 2014-2015 we have eliminated this mandate.”

international hs prospect heights NY

For more specifics, read HERE from Fred Klonsky’s blog.

Jessica Klonsky, a teacher at the school, posted:
You know that test the teachers at my school refused to give last year? The city isn’t going to make any students take it this year. Coincidence? I think not.”

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Celebrate. Organize. Refuse the tests. Opt out. Boycott. Stay determined and strong.

It worked in the largest city in the United States. You can make it work in YOUR school district.

The United Opt Out site has sample letters and information for parents and others in each state.

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Even PBS has reached the “enough is enough” point – “The Roosevelts”

Even PBS which relies on corporate sponsorship and the whims of politicians for its daily existence has reached the “enough is enough” point.

In Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts” the reality of what Democrats and Republicans are versus what they were screams for our attention.

“Over the past thirty years, Presidents and Congresses have become so subservient to corporations and Wall Street that the two major political parties are all but indistinguishable.
One of the reasons why our politics have become so volatile and opinion polls show over and over again that our people have nothing but contempt for the whole political class in Washington is the widespread recognition that the plutocrats, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers have effectively seized our governing institutions.”
- Joseph A. Palermo in the Huffington Post.

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By the way, PBS and the large networks, such as ABC, present education news “thanks to the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” The foundation’s own experts are called upon to show “both sides” of the issue the foundation itself framed.

This is the tax-free foundation that invests its funds in corporate education reform, CCSS, high stakes testing, online programming, computerized everything, paper and online textbooks, privatized charters paid for with public education taxes to profit private multinational investors and its own private foundation… “Public Private Partnerships.” The abuse goes on and on with the Walton Family, Eli Broad, Bloomberg, Koch Industries, and other plutocrats with tax free foundations that give away millions for philanthropy while making billions in tax free foundations under their own control.

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Even the PBS of 2014 knows when enough is enough. We are in danger of being America in name only. America ®

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Patrick Walsh reviews “A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education” by Mercedes K. Schneider

When the superb news source, truthdig.com, posts a superb review by a superb reviewer of a superb book by a superb author, the sharing of all becomes important to us all.

Patrick Walsh reviews “A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Education.”

“Mercedes K. Schneider sets out to answer those questions. She does so with fierce intelligence, wit, an ocean of unearthed facts, and a vengeance. Schneider, who in very short order has established herself as one of the nation’s most profound and prolific education bloggers, has taught for 19 years in many grades in four states and is currently teaching high school English in St. Tammany Parish, La.

You can sense her pride in her profession in every word she writes, as well as her righteous rage toward those who would defile it. Schneider is also a Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods, which, for people who like to bury information and obscure reality with numbers, makes her a force to be reckoned with.”

Today’s corporate education reform is not about education reform or testing. It’s all about the money.

This book needs to be read and to be shared – one shattering chapter at a time – with everyone who wonders what the hell this greed grab is doing to our children and the future of our society. High stakes testing? CCSS? Opt-Out? Teaching as a profession? The educational and emotional abuse of our children? The apathy of doing nothing as media propaganda intentionally confuses people about actual education issues by framing the arguments with confusing distractors? Schneider’s book addresses these and other questions as it exposes the billionaires, hedge funds, villainthropic foundations profiting by these tax-free investments, and the toadies in out legislatures that feed these abusive aims with tax dollars and mandates for our children.

Read my own initial May 9, 2014 review HERE. Read all the reviews on Amazon HERE.

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Diane Ravitch in Harper’s Magazine

Diane Ravitch expresses more in two sentences than most people can state in two chapters.

Harper's - Diane Ravitch

In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine a cover story, “PBS Self-Destructs: and what it means to viewers like you” by Eugenia Williamson, describes the full history of the takeover of Public Broadcasting by the Koch Brothers, Bloomberg, the Gates Foundation and other billionaire owned and controlled corporations and their tax-free foundations.

Diane Ravitch was asked about the lack of even-handed news coverage regarding the so-called education reform movement, in particular PBS coverage of charter schools which are invested in by these same billionaires and their tax-free foundations. (Yes, these tax-free foundations all have hedge funds and investments that make enormous profits that stay within the foundations. The appointed or board elected officers and trustees are paid enormous amounts of money and other compensation.)

“‘We’ve had public schools since the 1820’s,’ Ravitch added, ‘and we’ve never had a moment in history where the U.S. Department of Education and the big philanthropists together wanted to replace our public education system with privately managed schools. It’s a whole new thing! And PBS doesn’t seem interested.'”

The article is an eye-opening historical overview and a brilliant presentation of the corporatization of America, especially its public news and information media, by a handful of billionaires.

Also, Diane Ravitch’s latest book, Reign of Error: the hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools, explains even more in well researched detail.

reign of error

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U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky: Proof that legislators exist who serve the needs of people (pro-education, pro-teacher, pro-senior issues, etc.)

During this period of shock and awe attacks by legislators who serve the interests of corporations and don’t give a damn about the needs of the people they were elected to serve, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is actually doing things to support education, teachers, seniors, public health safety and more. We need to elect more legislators like Jan.

What has she done for us lately?

Jan continues to meet with the Skokie Organization of Retired Teachers (S.O.R.E.) and others who realize that members live on the income of their earned compensation, pensions. She has openly stated that cuts are unfair, unnecessary and are not the cause of the state’s or the nation’s financial problems.

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S.O.R.E. President Fred Klonsky, Rep. Schakowsky and Harriet Sheeley speak freely about the harsh realities of attacks on active and retired teachers, most of whom are women.

The fall issue of Ms. Magazine has an eye-opening article, Skin Deep: when personal-care products aren’t regulated, women’s health is put at risk by Heather White. (Pretty Poison: The UGLY side of personal-care products.) Since women’s health issues are also issues for their children, our entire society shares these same health risks. Triclosan, bisphenol A (BPA), mercury, and a whole list of carcinogens and hormone disruptors are yet to be effectively regulated in spite of being banned and/or highly restricted in other countries.

As the article points out: “Rep. Schakowsky introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 (H.R. 1385), which would require full disclosure of ingredients used in cosmetics and pre-marketing safety assessment for cosmetic products.”

In this political climate where corporate toadies are often disguised as public servants, we need to find and support those people who run for office in order to serve the needs of us all. Jan Schakowsky is one of them – one of us.

Ms Magazine fall 14

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What do we do to our superb retired teachers? Lies, insults and slow starvation seem politically popular today.

As we mature, we realize how many people helped us and influenced our lives – people we often took for granted. Teachers are among them. How often have we asked ourselves, “I wonder whatever happened to Mrs. ——?”

Well, she knew she would never grow wealthy by teaching us, but she paid for her pension with every paycheck and followed all the demands required for her earned compensation. Deferred compensation guaranteed by the government itself.

She should be fine by now during her golden years. Or…

Unless some billionaire multinational investors in sleazy hedge funds pay some politicians to plunder the pensions while claiming to save teacher pension funds and the state from doom. Doom, death and destruction – unless we sacrifice the elderly who served us well.

Read Fred Klonsky HERE about: And with our public employee pensions and Social Security under attack across the country, including here in Illinois, there will be less older foodies and more older-foodless.”

But what if we prove that the horrendous cuts are not necessary and the “balanced books” are just as pack of lies?

Read the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability facts via Glen Brown HERE about one billionaire gubernatorial candidate named Bruce Rauner whose “Bring Back Blueprint: Jobs and Growth Agenda” is a pack of lies for anyone to see or analyze.

The Blueprint presents no data, plan, or policy proposal as to how to balance the budget.”

But, what would the state legislators say when presented with this reality?

They will say whatever the wealthy string-pullers put in their mouths.

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What can we do to stop the horrendous mistreatment and abuses inflicted upon those wonderful people who helped and influenced us as children? Cut their puppet strings. Throw the bums out. They are thieves and liars and deserve to be thrown out of office.

Refuse to victimize retired teachers. This is no way to treat those who served as the finest of public servants, our old teachers. Vote against those who add to the growing vilification and slow starvation of our retired teachers. They worked and paid for their earned compensation. Multinational investors and hedge fund managers must not be allowed to steal from and starve our aging and elderly teachers.

Vote the puppets out in every state.
(And organize today for next year’s elections.)

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Politics, Cancer, CCSS, Teachers, Children and Voting

The extremism masked as governmental reform is nearly beyond the realm of sanity. The simple propaganda of repeating something over and over again in TV ads to the voting public is overwhelming logic and sanity.

The governor’s race in Illinois is a perfect example of what is happening across America in every level of elective office and political campaign. Billionaire sociopath and gubernatorial candidate Bruce’s Rauner has his present wife, Diana, recite the usual anti-big-government blather followed by, “Bruce has no social agenda.”

(Yes, “has his wife recite” is the correct term. Neither believes in equal rights for women.)

What does Bruce Rauner promise to do? Close public schools, fire teachers, mandate expensive high stakes testing, deny earned compensation (pensions), reduce the minimum wage, shut down government and force a re-do of contracts, refuse equal rights for women, give taxpayer taxes as incentives even to corporations that pay no taxes… The list goes on.

No social agenda? NO social agenda???

The best lie is always based on truth. Illinois government desperately needs reform, and that is the truth.

Gates and Camel cigarettes

The rest is a series of beautifully, photographed and produced propaganda pieces paid for by billionaire boys’ club money. It is exactly what TV ads used to do for cigarette companies when they stated that doctors recommend such-and-such a brand of cigarettes. And just as destructive.

Who should you vote for when there is no viable and humane candidate to vote for? The lesser-of-two-evils? Even though the other candidate, Pat Quinn, has been doing very much the same thing while making his running mate, Paul Vallas, the one person in America who had done more harm to teachers, schools, children and the economies of several states than any other human being? Who should you choose?

Who is the lesser-of-two-evils when the only two sides on the ballot are taking money to follow the agenda of multinational corporate investors who don’t give a damn about you, our children, or our future as a leading, major country?

Which brand of cigarettes will you choose?

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Please give up smoking in the future and find those who promise clean air and anti-pollution laws. (Yes, this is a metaphor.)

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When (A)=(B), neither is the lesser of two evils.

When (A)=(B), neither is the lesser of two evils.

When (D)=(R), neither can claim to be a Democrat or a Republican.

(Who ever said you would never find a use for algebra?)

Quinn Rauner

When one has damaged public education, ignored the state Constitution, or broken contracts while the other promises to damage public education, ignore the state Constitution, and break contracts… Well, how does a voter choose between the lesser of two evils?

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is the (D), and billionaire Bruce Rauner is the (R).

Both are lining up money and political support by demonizing the other. FEAR. BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID. – of the other guy.

Why be so afraid? Rauner says Quinn did all of those things as he himself promises prosperity and the strength to make tough choices.

Why be so afraid? Quinn says Rauner will do all of those things as he himself promises prosperity and the strength to make tough choices.

If, there is any doubt about how much harm either can cause, look at their choices for running mates. As Lieutenant Governor, a mere heartbeat or a federal jail cell away from taking over as governor, who was chosen?

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Paul Vallas (D), who has damaged or destroyed more schools, school systems, teacher pension systems, and the economies of more cities, counties, states and countries than any living candidate for any office, is Quinn’s choice. Read Schooling in the Ownership Society for details.

Evelyn Sanguinetti, the latest Sara Palin version of loyalty to cutting everything for the good of giving lots of tax money to billionaires,is Rauner’s choice. Sanguinetti

(Apologies to Sara Palin who had more experience in government than Sanguinetti. At least Palin didn’t slip on the ice and sue the City of Wasilla for not removing more snow and ice and then becoming a council member who cut city budgets for clearing snow and ice.) Read the Chicago Tribune article that explains at length Sanguinetti’s ice capades in Wheaton, IL and her short credentials.

What else do we all need to know about the fear mongering, the absence of truth and the lack of integrity of (D) and (R), the gubernatorial candidates in Illinois?

John Dillon gives many more details.

Glen Brown gives even more details.

Fred Klonsky gives his own unique perspective with a few summarized details.

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How can you vote for the lesser of two evils when they are both evil but no lesser?

*While voting for all of the other candidates and issues on the November ballot, who should I choose for Governor of Illinois?

a) Quinn

b) Rauner

c) Both a and b

d) Whichever one conveys more fear and loathing about the other

e) Spend time, organized energy and money on producing a better choice of candidate for the next election.

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Active and retired teachers, parents of students, all who use public services, and those who believe in the democratic process of elections need to organize as soon as possible to have viable candidates who work for the good of all. We used to call this public service, and it can be done again.

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Who will care for the public education of our children?

When immense wealth finances political parties, elections become a mockery, a mere puppet show, of the democratic process. When the voting process allows two, and only two, sides which are both financed by immense wealth, the game is merely that – a game.

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Illinois has two teams of servants who serve the demands of the super-wealthy members of The Billionaire Boys Club whose legal name is the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

Propaganda

Billionaire extremist Bruce Rauner (R) and his Sanguinetti version of Sara Palin promise to destroy public services, especially everything and everyone connected to public education. Present Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who has already cut many public services including education, chose Paul Vallas as his running mate. Vallas has actually spent his adult lifetime destroying public services, especially everything and everyone connected to public education.

In Florida present Gov. Rick Scott (R) cut education funding. His opponent, ex-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist (D) cut education funding when he was in office. Both claim to support public education funding.

Viable third party candidates were crippled or destroyed before and during the primaries by rules and regulations specifically designed to eliminate them. Many candidates were hamstrung by breaking the rules and regulations in blatant violation of laws and decency. Corporate stooges are well funded and unhampered by rules and regulations.

Therefore, in many specific elections, there is merely the illusion of choice.

In Connecticut the well qualified and capable third party candidate, Jonathan Pelto, and his running mate, Ebony Murphy, are in the process of being blocked by the same in-your-face political machine disruption of the fair election process.
(Jonathan Pelto just released this statement.
“The petitioning process was an eye opening one.  While requiring candidates to collect 7,500 signatures to qualify for a position on the gubernatorial ballot continues to seem like a reasonable number, the primitive and burdensome laws and archaic system clearly serves as an unfair barrier to those who believe our democratic system would be better served if voters had more choices when they go to vote.)

The rigged two-team game will have a winner, even if only 8% of people go to the voting booths. The winner can then have the false air of legitimacy in office.

Rather than go on and on with this list, what has and is happening in your state, county and city that mirrors this corruption-as-government process? Which specific elections near you are merely the illusion of choice?

There is one tried and true way to solve this problem. Today, start contacting friends and groups you know and trust. Organize and become active. Find or create a candidate for the next elections of whatever you feel is a worthwhile elected position to begin a turnaround process.

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By the way, there are not two sides to every argument. The news should not present both sides of an issue. That is not fair or balanced. Reality: “There are at least two side to every issue.” (Ask anyone who has more than two children standing next to a broken lamp.)

Redefining news and fair elections is propaganda. The propagandist and ideologue Ayn Rand redefined sides to an issue. “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.” She distorted Aesop’s original statement, “Every truth has two sides,” which is a truly deep philosophical thought.

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