Opt-Out Movement and Teachers: Opportunity Lost?

When Lily Eskelsen Garcia (NEA) and Randi Weingarten (AFT) both turn their backs on parents who oppose the corporate education scam of mandated high stakes testing, it is time to question why they are doing this.

Randi Weingarte and Lily Eskelsen

The National Opt-Out Movement is the single greatest grassroots opposition to corporate education ever. Hundreds of thousands of parents and their children have refused this attempt at a corporate attempt, in collusion with politicians they own by legally (?) financially supporting them. Many of these parents staunchly support their children’s teachers.

At the 2015 Network for Public Education National Conference both Lily and Randi mentioned the importance of the parental support of teachers. To push away from supporting parents in their efforts to stop and do away with corporate commanded high stakes testing is self destructive for both NEA and AFT as well as all of the teachers they are supposed to represent.

Randi said, “Every parent should have the right to opt out or not to opt out.” Huh?
Lily said, “
The opt out movement will not end toxic testing.” Huh?
Listen and view both of their comments HERE.

A short time later during the same NPE Conference, Karen Lewis, Chicago Teachers Union President, proudly and thankfully told Diane Ravitch how parents with their supportive presence during the Chicago Teachers Union rallies played a vital role.
Listen and view HERE.

Since the vast majority of teachers are parents themselves, and since all teachers realize that all children are their children, this wonderful support should be no surprise.

The superb founders of United Opt Out National are parents and teachers. What this small band of good people began is astonishing. Separate local opt-out and refuse movements have flourished and multiplied.

Why won’t the two leaders of NEA and AFT return the favor?

Lily wants the mandated high stakes tests to continue in lessened numbers at state levels and on grade span testing. She made no mention of what private corporations will get these juicy contracts with money taken from public education tax funds.

Randi also wanted less testing and was even vaguer in her euphemisms.

Carefully listen to their very carefully worded comments.

This is precisely the corporate ploy being used by legislative cronies in state after state. By promising to beat children and teachers less often, somehow or other the beatings become acceptable.

As noted Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes so clearly stated in the early 1900s, “If it’s a bad rule, there is no reason for making a bad exception to it.”

High stakes testing and all of its accompanying abuses must end.

Teachers who legally act in loco parentis (in place of the parent) and parents are partners. Lily Eskelsen Garcia and Randi Weingarten know that. Lily Eskelsen Garcia and Randi Weingarten are in favor of CCSS which is used to fire teachers based on CCSS compliant tests which have no proof of being either valid or reliable. This is unconscionable. (Mercedes Schneider explains this in detail.)

Randi also went to the UK to grovel before Pearson as she recognized their right to power over American children, parents and teachers. OMG! (Mike Klonsky gives details and video footage of this.)

Lily claims that teachers should not ally with parents but must “change the world.” OMG! (Fred Klonsky gives his inquisitive opinion.)

As leaders of their separate teachers unions, there is no valid reason for this.

As individuals with separate power structures that form the basis for their social positions and incomes, there are indeed reasons for their behavior.

The cause of public education is larger than their personal positions. NEA and AFT need leaders, not egos with smiles and carefully selected words that preserve their personal careers.

Support the National Opt-Out Movement. Unite with parents. Serve the needs of all children.

It is not too late. The opportunity need not be lost. The teachers Lily and Randi serve know and want this. Unite with parents and serve the needs of our children.
Karen Lewis did.

Posted in charters - vouchers, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, Network for Public Education - NPE, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

NPE Lessons LIVE and the Raw Truth: What do we need to do?

Viewing the LIVE coverage of the Network for Public Education Conference is an enlightening experience to say the least. The vast differences of experiences from teacher to teacher, age category to age category and location to location exposes an overview of the corporate education reform plan to treat teachers and teaching as mechanisms to be cheaply reproduced.

The end product has nothing to do with helping children to grow and become well educated, fulfilled adults. It’s all about corporate (Foundation) power, control and money.

Coincidentally, one letter from a teacher in Massachusetts in this month’s issue of Harper’s Magazine lays bare a slice of raw truth.


Letter of response to the Esther Kaplan article “The Spy Who Fired Me” [Report, March issue of Harper’s Magazine].




As a teacher in Massachusetts, I have witnessed a trend toward “accountability” prompted by Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, and the Common Core. Like UPS or Starbucks workers, teachers are now being electronically tracked by state education departments. Through PowerSchool, a program used for planning and grading, teachers are required to show that every lesson pertains to the assigned strand of the Common Core. If grades don’t meet expectations, teachers must provide research-based and data-driven strategies for improving them. In programs like TeachPoint, an elaborate, time-consuming self-evaluation, I have to provide evidence for twenty-five standards of instruction.

Teachers meet these new demands by disposing of creativity and flexibility. As a high school student, I wrote stories and plays in English class. Now kids learn to master the art of the state-mandated open-response question.

Charlotte Burns
Palmer, Mass.

Now is the time to learn the lessons presented by the speakers, panelists, and attendees at the NPE Conference.


Posted in charters - vouchers, civic duty, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, government, legislative pillage, Network for Public Education - NPE, privatization, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NPE and the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate

The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate has interfered with my being able to attend the Network for Public Education Conference in Chicago on April 25 & 26.


I paid my fee, had my panel accepted, and then…

“Curse you, Flying Fickle Finger of Fate!” said I. (You may not be terribly upset by this news, but I am mightily miffed.)

If Fate has not kept you away, please walk, run, swim, cycle, drive, scooter, bus, choo-choo, fly or materialize to THE education conference filled with those who know the power and the promise of public education in America. (Details HERE.)

If for whatever reason Fate has denied you the opportunity to attend the conference –

“You can STILL watch the event unfold LIVE online, thanks to Vincent Precht at SchoolhouseLive.org. Just head over to http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org on Saturday morning at 8:30 am Central time and tune in. Almost like being there!”


“Hah! Take THAT, you Flying Fickle Finger of Fate! I will watch the NPE Conference LIVE online, and my mind will soar.”
(Pass the message along to family and friends.)

– **********************************

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Posted in charters - vouchers, civic duty, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, Network for Public Education - NPE, privatization, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

High Stakes Testing? It’s all about the power and the money – again.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature continue to play power games with high stakes testing while pretending to save the children and all of public education from testing harm.

This political posturing is similar to the man who murdered his parents and then claimed that he should not be jailed because he was an orphan.

Rick Scott plays for controlSince present Florida Gov. Rick Scott plans to run for the U.S. Senate, he is posturing as being better than former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush – or tougher, or smarter, or anti-establishment, or whatever his PR department can claim. He is also planning to spend even more education funding to pay a private company to write some kind of review.

Gov. Scott Signs Bill to Limit Standardized Tests: The changes represent a departure for the Republican-controlled Legislature because it a step back from some of the reforms championed by former Gov. Jeb Bush.
The new law caps statewide standardized testing at 45 hours a year. It would let school districts move up the start of the school year to Aug. 10.
The legislation would delay the release of this year’s school grades until an independent review of the new test can be performed. Other sanctions associated with annual testing would also be put on hold while the review is underway.
CBS Miami

Senate passes testing bill: The train wreck that is Florida’s accountability system was lambasted by Republican and Democratic senators, even by those who admitted to having voted for the ‘reforms’ over the years. “This is kind of backwards. What we’re doing is giving kids the test and then deciding afterwards whether or not we’re going validate the test,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, (D-Lake Worth). Sen. Lee called out Bush’s foundation for pushingto maintain the current level of testing for all the wrong reasons…
There are some provisions from the old version of the House bill included in this new improved Senate version and some new language for which we all lobbied. The new version includes: • Reduced impact of test scores on teacher evaluation to 33% (rather than 50%; • More detailed information about student performance on standards; • Validation of tests by an independent entity; • Elimination of the requirement of remedial classes in grades 6 -12; and • Local determination of progress monitoring. HB 7069 is far from perfect and does not do everything that parents and teachers wanted. The biggest problem is state testing requirements have not really changed and the much touted 5 % cap on testing seat time is frankly bogus as none of the state test related school disruption was addressed.
EducationVotesNEA – Florida

Rita Solnet, a major advocate for public education and students, politely states what common sense should have dictated to Scott and the legislature.

Rita Solnet, one of the founders of the group Parents Across America, said Scott should consider signing an executive order holding students harmless during the transition to new standards and exams.
“While we are pleased that the legislature dialed back some unattainable demands and that they engaged in a healthy discussion on how we must restore credibility to Florida’s accountability system, we are disappointed that children are still at risk of harsh penalties during this transitional period,” Solnet said in a statement.
No word yet on if Scott would consider taking that kind of action.”
Tampa Bay Times

Gov, Scott Signs Off on Earlier School Start, Testing Cuts: The law also relieves all students in the future from facing end of course exams in every subject that the state didn’t already have a written exam. The district also wins with this because it was district staff that was going to have to write what amounted to hundreds of such exams – but now won’t have to.
UPDATE: The law would put on hold using student test data for school grades, teacher evaluations – as previously planned. The FSA tests will undergo an evaluation to determine if the test is indeed valid – measuring what they’re supposed to measure. Promotion to fourth grade and graduation remains tied to the tests.
Palm Beach Post

Florida’s High Stakes Testing? It’s all about the power and the money – again.


Posted in betrayal, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, government, legislative pillage, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Please vote for Fred Klonsky as an IEA-Retired Delegate for the NEA Representative Assembly

Current IEA Retired members should be mailing in their their ballots to Springfield for the retired delegate election for the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly which will be held in Orlando this coming July.

Fred Klonsky is number 20 on the ballot. Please vote for him.

Thirty people are on the ballot. Fred needs to be in the top ten vote-getters to be elected, so please don’t fill in ten names and hope for the best. Please don’t waste votes. Any old vaguely familiar names are not good enough to represent our vital interests at the NEA-RA. Vote for one, two, three – whatever number of candidates you know and trust.

Vote Fred Klonsky yesFred Klonsky is not your ordinary IEA-RA candidate. He is no rah-rah cheerleader for any specific IEA officer – past or present. Fred is an activist who advocates openly and supports our union, our pensions and our vital interests. Read his thoughtful and highly praised blog to find out what Fred believes in and acts upon.

To vote you must be a current member of IEA Retired. (If you are not, please email this information and request for a vote to everybody you know.)

It is not enough to be an Illinois retired teacher or a member of another retired teacher organization.

Only current IEA Retired members will receive mailed ballots.

If you are a current member of IEA Retired and have not yet received ballots, contact the Springfield office.

A separate Member-at-Large to the Council of Retirees is mailed to us separately. It comes separately and must be mailed back separately. I recommend S.O.R.E. chapter member Jack Tucker.

The completed ballot must be received in Springfield no later than April 22nd to be counted April 24th.

IEA Retired members will also receive a ballot for

If you are a current member of IEA Retired and you want someone to solidly represent us at the national convention of the NEA, please vote for Fred Klonsky. He would appreciate your vote. And Fred needs the votes of everybody you know.

Vote for Fred Klonsky arrow

I have already mailed my ballots in. We are all in this together.

Please pass this along.


Posted in civic duty, fairness, pensions, public education | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Autism Funding: What happens when people elect a sociopath billionaire as governor?

What happens when people elect a sociopath billionaire as governor based on his expensive TV ad images?

Rauner autism

In Illinois newly elected sociopath billionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) reinstated his defeated opponent’s [Gov. Pat Quinn (D)] defiled program that allowed the nine largest corporations in Illinois to collect state income taxes from their employees and keep it for themselves” – and then he cut funding for the state’s Autism Program. Because Rauner is, by definition, a sociopath, he cut autism funding during National Autism Month and on World Autism Day.

Coincidence? Not for a billionaire sociopath with nine mansions who brags about wearing a cheap watch in his ads.

Illinois has jailed five governors during my lifetime. The sociopath who makes cuts like this needs to be scrutinized daily for his bizarre behavior and financial decisions and then jailed as soon as possible.


Posted in betrayal, civic duty, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment


“We took tests when we were kids, and…”
– commonly said by legislators and people who repeat TV talk show blather

reading test 9 year old



Are you sick and tired of listening to this absurd comparison of tests from the past versus the reality of today’s high stakes tests? People the same age or older than the parents of tested school aged children never took the high stakes tests our children are being subjected to day after day.

Dare them to go to this Common Core SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) Practice Test site and answer the first seven questions of the 4th grade Common Core SBAC English Test. Tell them that they can go on to more questions or tests if they so desire.

TELL THEM: After answering seven questions, whether you are a young professional with advanced degrees or a senior who has earned your education in the school of hard knocks, please consider what you have learned about these lucrative for-profit tests. (You might even choose to answer the very short questionnaire at the bottom of this page.)

Directions: Please sign in and take at least the seven initial questions. This will be an eye opener for most people.

Here are the steps to access the 4th Grade Common Core SBAC English Language Arts Test

  • Go to http://sbac.portal.airast.org/practice-test/

  • Scroll Down and Click on Green Box – Students Interface Practice and Training Tests

  • Click on Sign In

  • Use Pull Down Menu to change to Grade 4, click Yes

  • Go to Right Column, 2nd box down – 4th grade ELA (English Language Arts) – click

  • Scroll Down and click on Select

  • Scroll Down and click on Yes, Start My Test

  • Click on Sound symbol – then Click Yes

  • Scroll Down and Click on Begin Test Now

  • Complete first seven (7) questions

  • You can then stop and assess the test or move on


What do you now realize about this test?

A) I am not a professional, but I know this test is lousy.

B) I am a professional, and I know that there are many, many reasons that this test is lousy.

C) I cannot believe that any child is deemed a failure or success based on this lousy test.

D) I couldn’t even follow the damn required directions to get online to take this lousy test.

Taking the lousy test isn’t enough.
Tell five or six of your family, friends and neighbors to rescue their own school age children by following the directions at United Opt Out National which offers state-by-state sample letters and suggestions. If they feel that their children were under undo pressure or intimidation, have them file a valid Civil Rights Complaint; children are little people with legal rights.
If you are curious about the qualifications of the scorers for the high stakes test, those who read your explanations and graded you, go HERE. If you were angry before, you will be furious after reading who grades these expensive, high stakes test.


Posted in Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, legislative pillage, privatization, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Emanuel Rauner: twins joined at the wallet

Rauner Emanuel

Google Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s (D) plans for Chicago, and then google Gov. Bruce Rauner’s (R) plans for Illinois.

Then look at any photos of the two of them together.

What differences are there?


The Emanuel Rauner Boys.

(They don’t make Democrats and Republicans the way they used to.)

Chuy Garcia is the Democrat opposing Rahm Emanuel in a run-off election in a supposedly Democratic city.

The outcome should be a no-brainer, except Emanuel and Rauner are joined at the wallet.

It’s a Corporate Donor Wallet padded daily by millionaire and billionaire buddies who love (D)(R) Twins and tax incentives for themselves while cutting the middle class down to the lower class and cutting the lower class down to homeless beggars. Children, teachers and other public service employees, the elderly, the mentally ill, the unemployed-underemployed, and the overworked-underpaid are mere auxiliary damage to the Emanuel Rauner Twins.

The hell with the Wallet Boys. Vote Garcia.

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Pearson: Who scores your child’s tests?

Who are the experts that score your child’s state mandated high stakes tests from Pearson?

(Remember that these test scores determine your child’s future, the school’s funding and rating, the surrounding property values, and the firing or retention of your child’s teachers.)

Visit PEARSON’S OWN SITE if you have any college degree earned at any time from any country and are willing to undergo 4 to 5 hours of training and then receive $13 per hour for scoring whatever tests they give you. After you work a day job and wish to work evenings until 10:00 pm, you can make even more money – $14.30 per hour – even though you might be really tired by then.

Pearson Test Grader

A regular commentator on my blog who lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago brought this to my attention from the newspaper ads she has seen. Here is her comment.

Have the Pear$on “Help Wanted” ads come to YOUR city yet? Of course (as usual) they put a quarter-page COLOR ad (someone knowledgeable told me it likely cost them $5K–if they put one in numerous papers in numerous cities, imagine how much education fund $$$ {i.e., taxpayer $$$} was spent on advertising alone!). In the upper left corner, their motto: “ALWAYS LEARNING”
(yes, in CAPS), then, in the right corner, CAPS, as well: PEARSON. Body: “SOAR with us to new heights! PEARSON, the global leader in learning. Uniting talent with Opportunity. (Funny how the word “Opportunity” has a capital O. Such is the thought of Opportuni$t$!) Anyway, much more–if one of Ken’s readers can get hold of the ad (ours was in the Sunday, 3/22 Chicago Sun-Times–1st page of Help Wanted ads {&, of course, weekend advertising is more expen$ive}) & can transfer it to post, it would be great for all of you to see it. (Anyway, they are looking for college grads to be te$t e$$ay $corer$–@ $13/hour, more if you do the evening shift–& isn’t that perfect?–Tired people who worked another job all day, coming in to grade kids’ essays from 6-10 PM for even more $$$.) Anyway for those of you interested (be a mole, donate the money to a school that needs it or a charity, then write an update of Todd Farley’s 2009 test scoring expose!)–there’s a job fair this Sat., 9-Noon, at both the Glenview location–1900 East Lake Ave., Glenview or Naperville–1163 E. Ogden Avenue, Ste. 610. Naperville. Learn more & APPLY (their caps) at PearsonScorers.com/Chicago.


Posted in betrayal, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, greed, privatization, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Isn’t it about time to demand a Congressional investigation of Pearson?

Pearson Education Power and Wealth

Which organizations are willing to call for or demand a Congressional investigation of Pearson?

Let’s give Pearson’s abuse of power the national media attention it deserves. Let U.S. senators and representatives point fingers, sling mud at each other and examine financial links to Pearson’s power and influence as well as its spying activities on our children’s lives.

Pearson. PARCC. CCSS. Enough is enough.

A Congressional investigation may open this can of nasty worms to sunlight and heat – which often kills lots of nasty worms.

Pearson’s reputation was hurt by an ongoing FBI investigation of possible collusion in dealings with the Los Angeles Unified in a contract with Apple and Pearson to supply iPads pre-loaded with Pearson’s Common Core curriculum.” – via Huffington Post. (Even more examples are given.)

State-by-state investigations are happening nationwide. We now need a national Congressional investigation. Why?

Our children and their futures are at stake.

Our education taxes are being drained to profit a few overseas multinational corporate billionaires.

“As if power is so innocent. Poor things, if we tell them the truth they’ll mend their ways? I say talk the truth about power to the (people) who are in the thrall of the power.”

– P. Sainath

How do we start this? Who is willing to go beyond speaking truth to power?

Peggy Richardson talked the truth about power to her school board in Colorado.

“The truth is this. The truth is that our public schools are using high stakes testing to punish students, school communities and now, under SB191, the testing will punish teachers. The testing creates an environment that is fear-based, shaming, and demands teaching to the test.

 I wonder how my students in Aurora will do on PARCC – a test that is two grade levels above the readability for the grade being tested? A test that demands typing skills from children who don’t know how to type. A test that punishes children who don’t have technology in their homes.  I know how my students have done on TCAP in the past.   I know that my school is labeled as a turnaround school.  I know what that label does to children, teachers and school communities. I wonder if Littleton could possible understand what that feels like? What that does to a child’s soul? To a school community? To be told we are failing when indeed we are not.”  

Peggy has spoken up locally and nationally.

Which organizations are willing to call for or demand a Congressional investigation of Pearson?


Posted in charters - vouchers, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, corruption, government, greed, legislative pillage, privatization, public education, testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments