Hard to access unless you’re an employee.
Includes: REACh performance tasks, NWEA, TRC+, dibels, mClass, Math, IDEL, ACCESS, PARCC, Explore, Plan, ACT (EPAs), ACCESS, NEAP, DLM + STAR, COMPASS, IB, & AP exams.
Hard to access unless you’re an employee.
Includes: REACh performance tasks, NWEA, TRC+, dibels, mClass, Math, IDEL, ACCESS, PARCC, Explore, Plan, ACT (EPAs), ACCESS, NEAP, DLM + STAR, COMPASS, IB, & AP exams.
…and all the testing that comes with it.
Below is the Press release from the Chicago Teachers Union. Proud of all the hard work we put into this over the past couple of years. Especially the work done by @msgunderson, @PhillipCantor @XianB8 @AnthonyCody. @Sarah4Justice (Chambers).
See y’all at AFT in July. Anyone want to hit up NEA in Denver on the way out?
BY CTU COMMUNICATIONS | 05/07/2014
CHICAGO – Today, members of the House of Delegates (HOD) of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) passed the following resolution that enjoins the city’s educators to growing national opposition to the Common Core State Standards, saying the assessments disrupt student learning and consume tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration.
Now that the resolution has passed, the CTU will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core for teaching and assessment; and be it further and will work to organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the law that increases the expansion of nationwide controls over educational issues.
Common Core’s origins can be traced to the 2009 Stimulus Bill which gave $4.35 billion to the federal Department of Education which created the “Race to the Top” competition between states. In order to qualify for funding, the states needed to adopt Common Core with the added incentive that participating states would be exempted from many of the more onerous provisions of George Bush’s “No child left behind” program.
“I agree with educators and parents from across the country, the Common Core mandate represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, a nationally board certified teacher. “Common Core eliminates creativity in the classroom and impedes collaboration. We also know that high-stakes standardized testing is designed to rank and sort our children and it contributes significantly to racial discrimination and the achievement gap among students in America’s schools.”
The official text of the resolution follows:
Resolution to Oppose the Common Core State Standards
WHEREAS, the purpose of education is to educate a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives, not solely preparation for college and career; and
WHEREAS, instructional and curricular decisions should be in the hands of classroom professionals who understand the context and interests of their students; and
WHEREAS, the education of children should be grounded in developmentally appropriate practice; and
WHEREAS, high quality education requires adequate resources to provide a rich and varied course of instruction, individual and small group attention, and wrap-around services for students; and
WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards were developed by non-practitioners, such as test and curriculum publishers, as well as education reform foundations, such as the Gates and Broad Foundations, and as a result the CCSS better reflect the interests and priorities of corporate education reformers than the best interests and priorities of teachers and students; and
WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards were piloted incorrectly, have been implemented too quickly, and as a result have produced numerous developmentally inappropriate expectations that do not reflect the learning needs of many students; and
WHEREAS, imposition of the Common Core State Standards adversely impacts students of highest need, including students of color, impoverished students, English language learners, and students with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards emphasize pedagogical techniques, such as close reading, out of proportion to the actual value of these methods – and as a result distort instruction and remove instructional materials from their social context; and
WHEREAS, despite the efforts of our union to provide support to teachers, the significant time, effort, and expense associated with modifying curricula to the Common Core State Standards interferes and takes resources away from work developing appropriate and engaging courses of study; and
WHEREAS, the assessments that accompany the Common Core State Standards (PARCC and Smarter Balance) are not transparent in that –teachers and parents are not allowed to view the tests and item analysis will likely not be made available given the nature of computer adaptive tests; and
WHEREAS, Common Core assessments disrupt student learning, consuming tremendous amounts of time and resources for test preparation and administration; and
WHEREAS, the assessment practices that accompany Common Core State Standards – including the political manipulation of test scores – are used as justification to label and close schools, fail students, and evaluate educators; therefore be it
RESOLVED that the Chicago Teachers Union opposes the Common Core State Standards (and the aligned tests) as a framework for teaching and learning; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union advocates for an engaged and socially relevant curriculum that is student-based and supported by research, as well as for supports such as those described in the Chicago Teachers Union report, The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union will embark on internal discussions to educate and seek feedback from members regarding the Common Core and its impact on our students; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union will lobby the Illinois Board of Education to eliminate the use of the Common Core State Standards for teaching and assessment; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Chicago Teachers Union will organize other members and affiliates to increase opposition to the Common Core State Standards; and be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Illinois State Board of Education, the Chicago Board of Education, the Governor of Illinois, and all members of the Illinois legislative branch; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that should this resolution be passed by the CTU House of Delegates, an appropriate version will be submitted to the American Federation of Teachers for consideration at the 2014 Convention.
According to the Early and Often study prepared by the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Chicago Democracy Week was a big success in getting young people excited about the March 18th Primary in a relatively boring election cycle for IL. One of the major highlights is that 17 & 18 yr old registrants had voted at a higher rate than registrants 19-45 yrs of age. Schools with integrated civic education programs for students were also more likely to vote than their counterparts.
As a Chicago HS civics teacher, I agree that Democracy Week was a success, and have included some pictures from some of the work my students did to entice their class- and school-mates to register, get excited about the IL Gubernatorial Primary during Democracy Week, and Get Out the Vote leading up to March 18th.
Curie students did a number of activities surrounding the elections including determining their own current political identities, critiqing GOP Gubernatorial candidates via the WTTW Youth Forum (debate), organizing a Voter Registration party attended by 50+ students, analyzing the civil rights impact of various Suffrage movements throughout US history, and culminating with an early-voting field trip to the library down the street. We did lots!
Big thanks to Jon Schmidt (fmrly Chicago Public Schools Service Learning, now at Center for Experiential Learning), Jim Allen at the Chicago Board of Elections, Meghan Goldenstein at Mikva Challenge; Carolyn Mehta and Antonio Bacon at Chicago Votes, and Ruth Greenwood at Chicago Lawyers Council for Civil Rights for all the direct-to-classroom support. This is how organizations and educators can model working together with youth to support civic engagement in a meaningful way.
When I first started teaching it was in a charter school, and I quickly learned what Right to Work meant, when I attempted to stand up for my students against oppressive Zero Tolerance policies and was summarily relieved of my teaching position. Fired. For standing up for students.
I applaud the members of the American Federation of Teachers Alliance for Charter Teachers and Staff (AFT-ACTS), and their newest members in Chicago both of UNO Charter Schools and Chicago Quest.
Below is a letter form the teachers of Quest, and I do hope you will take the time to support their cause.
Better teacher conditions are better learning conditions, and we are all Chicago teachers.
“Teachers on a Mission for Change”
“There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.—Indira Gandhi
“32 of the 33 educators at CICS ChicagoQuest declared that they are organizing a union at their school to strengthen the relationships between the school, teachers, school management, and other stakeholders to ensure student-centered policies” (ACTS story). For over three months, Civitas Education Partners has failed to recognize the union that our teachers and staff have formed.
On December 18th, in a powerful demonstration of unity and commitment, our staff stood together at a staff meeting, reading one line of our mission statement at a time to our administration. We wore union buttons and revealed our “beautiful people flyer,” with each union member’s picture and quote explaining why we want to unionize. We announced three demands:
1. that ChicagoQuest, Civitas and CICS recognize our union.
2. that ChicagoQuest, Civitas, and CICS bargain with us under the terms of the existing Civitas union contract, with Quest-specific addenda.
3. that CICS agree to terms for future organizing and bargaining at other CICS schools.
CICS and Civitas have disregarded all three demands. Representatives from our union, Chicago ACTS, and Stacy Beardsley (CEO of Civitas) have had three meetings to negotiate recognition and terms for bargaining. Instead of respecting our unified voice, Civitas has stalled on making forward progress.
Ms. Beardsley’s response is unreasonable, illogical, and disparaging. She says our game-like, 21st century-learning school is too unique to operate under the existing Civitas contract. Yet our sister school Quest2Learn, in New York City, is operating successfully under the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) in NYSUT (New York State United Teachers). The only concrete reason she has given that CQ can’t be in the Civitas union is a “financial” or “monetary” one (meaning she wants to continue having pay freezes instead of offering fair pay).
Chicago International Charter Schools has also disregarded our demands. On February 18th, three parents and twenty-six ChicagoQuest staff members showed unity at the CICS Board of Directors meeting and spoke to the board. The board claims they cannot respond to our demands because they are not the direct employer of CICS ChicagoQuest (deflecting the issue back to Civitas).
While Civitas has been stalling, the ChicagoQuest staff is already focused on union actions to improve school conditions for staff and students. In January we signed a petition demanding that the school create an Emergency Response Plan (since, over 6 months into the school year, our school had no instructions or drills for fires, tornados, lock-downs, etc.). The school responded in one week, supplied all classrooms with laminated plans, and we have recently held safety drills. We are emboldened by the fact that our union is already making important improvements for our students!
We are calling on all allies of our union to support us and help put pressure on Civitas and CICS to recognize our union. We requested that CICS change the date, time, and location of the April board meeting so that more stakeholders can attend (as it is difficult for parents to attend a meeting during work hours, at 4pm, and it is also during the CICS spring break, so many staff members will be out of town). They said NO to our request.
How Can I Support the CICS ChicagoQuest Union?
1. Write a public letter to CICS & Civitas demanding that they recognize our union and change the April Board Meeting for ALL CICS teachers, staff and parents (write to or call them privately, and publicize your request in any media to which you have access)
Aubrey Monks (School Director) email@example.com
Stacy Beardsley (CEO of Civitas Schools) firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Purvis (CEO of CICS) email@example.com
2. Attend an alternative board meeting we are proposing to CICS on April 24th, 6pm, since CICS refused to move the April Board Meeting to a reasonable time and date. Location TBD (check our facebook page for updates). Encourage any colleagues to attend as well.
3. Attend the April Board Meeting even though CICS would not change the date and time.
The members of the CQ Union
On March 13th, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers published sample PARCC tests, and so I decided to make an *honest* attempt at it tonight. But I also took notes along the way in case you’re interested. Most might not make sense…until you take it yourself (which I am hoping you do, so we an rant about it over beers next week!)
SPOILER ALERT: Whatever I did or didn’t do (sign in so the NSA can track me, perhaps?), I don’t actually know my results. I don’t know why. At this point, I really don’t care. I am pretty sure I blew it though. Yeaaap, so. Now it’s time to cry myself to sleep.
Notes as I take the ELA Practice PARCC for 11th graders.
3/25/2014 ; Start: 6:10pm
23 two-part questions.
Why does this start out with a question about DNA and enzymes. We won’t study this in social studies class. Like ever.
Questions are way too complex, response options don’t make sense.
Took me four times to drag and drop supporting evidence. Said “not all supporting details would be used,” but all of them were.
“Add enzymes” vs add enzymes to a sample being studied” (but this was a summarized option), very confusing.
Question asks for “steps required in DNA ident…” but how did this turn into, “why it’s possible,” and “how easy it’ll be.” for Part B?
Daedalus & Icarus….Only cause I already know the story does this make ANY sense.
Instructions: “Today you will read two poems about Greek Mythology” but the second is actually an Anne Sexton poem.
Central idea: Only bc I know the context of what Icarus’ story has inspired. Incredibly complex! I feel like I’m flying into the sun right now.
13 questions in…I’m pretty tired. Stamina low…now, TWO essays. Holy crap.
Abigail Addams “stood up for those who lacked power like slaves, women, and the colonies.” Um, OK, so now the test is making sweeping judgments about complex systems of race, sex, and diverse communities, & who has power within them?!
Frankly I am disappointed in the historical reading. This is low-grade textbook stuff, rife with assumptions about the Addams’ and early American society that the reader is to take as truth, without citations. No document based analysis.
I skimmed this piece…getting exhausted. Don’t care about how well I do, just going to guess (6:48p, question 15).
I just realized (Question 18) that I am supposed to be reading a new document- a letter from Abigail Addams (primary source), but I had no idea. Looks the same from the instructions.
Question 19…just guessed. Test fatigue set in.
Question 20, I think these are all different letters from Abigail. This is boring as shit, and I always love teaching about the Addams’ !
Question 22, I used the “Evidence” to justify the claim, even though it said to to do the opposite…we’ll see if that little bit of test-trickery pays dividends!
And then I was instructed to write 3 essays to which I simply wrote, “I hate you PARCC, I hate you Common Core, I hate you TestNav.”
I ended the test at 6:59pm. (49 min.)
Tried looking for an answer key and I couldn’t find one.
Well, I am NOT feeling confident about this.
There are definite issues with content and context. No text is without context, because if we want readers to engage with or appreciate any text they need to know what motivated the author to put quill to paper in the first place. These readings are just as bad as any other standardized test. Only MUCH longer. The complexity of the texts and the questions are not age or grade appropriate.
The instructions are confusing. The language in the social science text is bigoted. The TestNav platform is awkward and not intuitive. Details like the background colors; text font don’t allow for me to recognize transitions to new material (e.g. Addam’s letter, scroll bar) compared to if this were a paper and pen test the new material would have the visual-tactile cue of page-turning.
So what do we do with a series of bad tests? I applaud Indiana for backing out of Common Core– even though I don’t approve of the conservative reasons behind it. We all need to do the same, and institute portfolio assessments and locally-designed curriculum moving forward.
I am very disappointed in the recent Editorial from the Kankakee Daily Journal writers who have completely misrepresented the facts about the Chicago Teachers Union’s support of the parent’s testing boycott. How far has journalistic research fallen?
Born and raised in Kankakee, I now teach social studies in a large Chicago Public School on the southwest side. I am also an elected and active delegate to the Chicago Teachers Union. I am directly involved in the testing Opt-Out boycott, which to clarify on behalf of the Journal, does not state that parents should “keep their children home” as the Journal claimed, but rather, send their children to school on ISAT Testing Day with an Opt-Out letter and books to read silently while testing are administered.
Last year, a few of my students opted-out of the second day of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (called Work-Keys) and you know what happened? Nothing. The Work-Keys test only gauges certain non-academic work-place tasks, like reading a manual and following a set of instructions (like, to build a “thing” the student won’t actually get to build in real life because they’re just taking a test). Neither CPS, the state of Illinois, nor potential colleges are holding anything against those students, in fact I know of at least one of them who wrote about his experience opting-out as “civic engagement” for a college entrance essay.
There is very little that standardized testing can tell us in the way that it is being used today. I draw a very clear distinction from the kind of standardized testing that I was doing in high school, little more than a decade ago. The newest assessments do not reflect content being taught, and are not created, or scored by actual educators.
In nice round numbers, I am mandated by CPS administration to dedicate more than one month of my students’ classroom time to testing and test prep, of which, only three hours of that is mandated for graduation in the Illinois. But that’s for only my class; my students have seven others they visit each day. As multiple news local outlets have reported, even kindergarteners in CPS elementary schools are spending a third of their year -60 days- on testing. Yes, Kindergarten.
In the Civil Rights era standardized tests were created to assure equitable distribution of resources in schools, but that doesn’t account for the upsurge in testing today. What is different now is the that we have two-fisted “carrot-or-stick” legislation in the No Child Left Behind Act – which labels schools who don’t make the grade “failing”, and the follow-up piece Race to the Top which “leases” those public schools -and all our tax dollars that go with it- to the highest bidder, namely charter school operators who are not beholden to public school funding transparency laws. With those groups, we never know how much of our money they are spending on classrooms or slick advertising, nor why they keep kicking out students with special needs because they claim those public school laws do not apply to them. However we do know that charter operators suspend students at higher rates right before times of standardized testing, which has the effect of increasing their average test scores, making the charter schools look much better on paper than their public school counterparts. I should know, I taught at a charter school.
We know that as a whole, standardized testing does not show us what students know, but rather is a closer predictor for what zip-code they live in, and at best they can tell us how well any given student may do in only their first year of college. The newest brand of tests coming to Illinois next year, the Common Core-aligned MAP and PARCC -the whole reason we’re phasing out ISAT anyway, do not test content, only math and reading skills, and only on a computer screen. So much for Columbus, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Michelangelo, Daily Journal Editors.
We also know that with the high-stakes attached to the tests, principals are increasingly under pressure, and even willing to cut programming especially in the arts, vocational technology, and electives such as my American Law class (one of the more popular courses we used to offer) to make room for a test-prep courses. Perhaps if Kankakee teachers -I used to be one of them, too- aren’t sending Students of the Month for “top-speller” it’s because Spelling-Bees have been all but eliminated with everything else we used to love about school.
The bright note in all of this is that there are only three tests that are mandated by state law to graduate in IL: the first day of the PSAE, a beginning-of-the-year (BOY) exam, and an end-of-the-year (EOY) exam. Everything else is added on by local districts and can be opted-out of, if parents so choose. We need parents across IL to choose to opt their children out of irrelevant, valueless, and ultimately harmful tests.
We know that what happens in IL, happens first in Chicago. So while the Daily Journal reporting on a Chicago issue could have shown tremendous foresight for what’s coming to all our schools across IL, I do hope in the future they get their opinions from actual people who live it everyday.
I am teaching logic and argumentation in civics this week, and one of my favorite #edjustice advocates, Katie Hogan has submitted a response to Noble St. CEO Mike Milkie’s OpEd regarding expulsion rates at his charter network. We’ll see if the news outlet publishes, but I couldn’t resist.
In response to “Expulsion heartbreaking but necessary,” by Michael Milkie February 21, 2014
As a teacher for fourteen years in CPS neighborhood schools I can empathize with the pathos in Mr. Milkie’s arguments in the February 21st, 2014 editorial. Mr. Milkie argues that although it is “heartbreaking” to have to expel so many students, he has to make the tough choices for “high expectations and personal accountability.” After all, I myself, have had those days where the one or two most disruptive and combative students were absent. I’ve imagined what it would be like teach everyday with the absence of their complex, and often excruciatingly frustrating presence. Where I could just “teach,” and not metaphorically duck and head roll the verbal and emotional outburst of my most troubled young people. Yet, Mr. Milkie offers us a red herring argument about Noble Street’s darker, more disturbing contribution to our city’s educational disparity – Mr. Milkie’s good intentions and polished verbiage trick us to look at the Noble expelled as sacrificial lambs abandoned to the wolves – or neighborhood schools – for the good of the pack; in fact, we are looking at the wrong end of the spectrum. Noble’s true tragedy is what they take from the proverbial top, not what they kick out from the bottom.
Although it is true that Noble Street schools maintain a lottery of applicants – it is a skimmed lottery. The skimming occurs in the way in which parents get an application to enter the lottery. This application occurs only after the parent, or guardians, have attended a multiple hour – sometimes over three hours – meeting about the culture of Noble Street. I actually take no issue for the philosophical intentions of Noble Street to hold these meetings, but what the practical implications of skimming from these meetings does to the academic diversity in the rest of the city. There are few stronger statistical correlations between parental involvement and student success in school. Beyond common sense, study after study, has shown that parental involvement trumps just about any other statistical factor – with the exception of family income – that an educational researcher can find. These students even have a name in educational research “academically oriented” students. Academically oriented students outpace even their higher testing peers when it comes to g.p.a. school retention, and college persistence. Parental involvement –especially in communities in poverty- is the surest bet for a young person to achieve success by every measure of our society. These are the young people that Noble receives and educate. They are also the young people that are disappearing from our public, neighborhood schools. More importantly, these are the parents moving in mass toward each other from public schools into this charter chain.
As a parent myself I can also empathize with each one of the desperate and often C.P.S. scarred adults who strongly defend and protect this intimate and personal decision. I know I want the best for my own daughter, how can I fault any other parent? I don’t. Parents are used and mistreated by C.P.S. on a daily basis. My argument is not even with Mr. Milkie himself who I believe in his heart really does want what is best for kids.
My argument is with leaders of this school system who are charged with educating all children, not just those from academically oriented homes, and turn a blind eye to the growing three tiered system of selective enrollment, charter, and public schools that continues to decide the winners and losers not based on what is best for the community, or city; but what is best for the next election, real estate development, or church group he or she belongs to.
Mr. Milkie begins his article with an impressive statistic of projected college success with the qualifier: “if history repeats itself.” Yet, he does not need that qualifier. History will repeat itself at Noble. The schools that are run this way are perhaps the least risky bet in this entire district. His students will succeed. His ACT numbers will continue to rise. He will be given more schools to run. But Mr. Milkie and those who support charter school expansion have made a Faustian bet that they cannot ever take back. There is a price for their continued success. The price is that just like taking a troubled young person out of a classroom for a day improves the quality of an education; taking out an academically oriented child and his or her parents also decreases the quality of the schools of origin. Just as I teach better when the trouble maker is out of the room; my lessons and parental relationships suffer when these students join others like them at these educational havens for active and engaged parents.
As a city we do far greater harm to all of our children by continuing policies that only benefit a few. I remember when I was growing up and joined the local park district softball league they had tryouts before setting the teams. After the tryouts I found out that all my friends – all the best players – were split up onto different teams. Upset I asked my dad why they did that, after all, it made it seem like we were being punished for being good players and good friends. He smiled and told me that not only would I be a better player because the teams would be even, but that everyone would end the season better than when we started. And you know what, he was right. I will spend the rest of my professional life defending the “we,” over the “me.” It’s a hard argument, but it’s the right one: the noble one.
Share widely, and please let me know what resonates with viewers in the comments below. Thx!
Special thanks to many, many groups and individuals who helped both -knowingly and not- in the production of this film including:
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Mikva Challenge & Center for Action Civics, Meira Levinson & Facing History
The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE)
Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce
Save Ethnic Studies of Arizona
More specifically, and in no particular order: Steve Zemelman, Mark Larson, Jill Bass, Anton Miglietta, Xian Barrett, Shanti Elliot, Liz Brown, A.C. Knapik, Hannah Willage, Pam Konkol, Sarah Slavin, Sabrina Stevens, Jose Luis Vilson, Meira Levinson, Elizabeth Robbins, Bill Keundig, and Amber Smock…for so much I have learned from you all.