Tested to Despair

Stop high-stakes testing from destroying public education.

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inBloom: data, data and more data

Linda tells us

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 10.54.46 AMinBloom Inc. is a non-profit corporation funded by $100M from the Gates Foundation to collect and share personally identifiable student data with vendors. The information is being uploaded onto a cloud operated by Amazon.com. In NY State, districts have been told they must sign up for “data dashboards” from three vendors, ConnectEDU, eScholar or NCS Pearson/Schoolnet, populated with student data from inBloom cloud. inBloom plans to commercialize this sensitive data, with state & district consent, and provide it to additional for-profit vendors, to help them develop and market their “learning products.” Wireless Generation/Amplify, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, is building inBloom’s operating system.

inBloom seems designed to nudge schools toward maximal data collection. School administrators can choose to fill in more than 400 data fields. Many are facts that schools already collect and share with various software or service companies: grades, attendance records, academic subjects, course levels, disabilities. Administrators can also upload certain details that students or parents may be comfortable sharing with teachers, but not with unknown technology vendors. InBloom’s data elements, for instance, include family relationships (“foster parent” or “father’s significant other”) and reasons for enrollment changes (“withdrawn due to illness” or “leaving school as a victim of a serious violent incident”). Continue reading

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England being tested

Razya from England reports
shakespeareI live in England and am constantly dismayed by the level to which they have reduced what used to be a pretty decent system of education.
The scourge of standardized testing is taking over this country and I am desperately feeding my addiction of collecting classic literature in the hopes that my children will enjoy and learn from my books what they can no longer expect to learn at school.


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Common Core undermining education

Kathleen from New York writes

stressed-out-kidThoughts about the Common Core Curriculum and how it plays into the New York State school assessment process concern me.

First, the amount of free time in the classroom is dwindling if not already nonexistent, depending upon the district. Teachers have less opportunity to express their unique teaching methods and skills, traits that must be heralded as an educational value.

Second, the amount of nationwide standardized assessment is unacceptable. The current six days of two- to three-hour state testing a year from grade three on can be viewed as excessive. Classroom time is nearly completely spent preparing for these tests with little room for creativity and self-expression. Such analysis can be flawed, inaccurate, exceedingly stress-inducing and quite unnecessary for a student’s successful academic future.

This leads to my third concern of not allowing children Continue reading


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