My Statement In Support of NH HB-101, Prohibiting the state from forcing school districts to implement Common Core State Standards

I have been a teacher for well over a decade and this spring, I will turn in my resignation because of Common Core and its associated data collection through SBAC and other means.

Common Core is substandard and the required data collection highly UNETHICAL. It is causing stress amongst students, teachers, and parents alike and has taken much joy out of teaching and learning.

I have witnessed extreme anxiety and tears from both teachers and students because of the pressure, confusion and uncertainty surrounding Common Core and SBAC Testing.

When I taught in the Soviet Union as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1999-2001, I was told by our federal government to help teachers design lessons that included opportunities for creativity and innovation as this was not done under Soviet Rule. Under Soviet Rule testing was everything and you were labeled. Labels work for bottles of poison,  BUT NOT FOR CHILDREN OR DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES. Our ability to nurture individual dreams and  encourage innovation is one of the things that makes the United States BETTER than socialized countries in many ways.

The Common Core is not what it was sold as.

It encourages uniformity through one-size-fits-all standards at the cost of individuality, individual thinking and individual differences.

The Derryfield School has referred to it as INFERIOR.

It is not used at Thomas Hassan’s school, Philips Exeter.

The way this is going, public school children will be trained as workers while those who can afford it will get a true education.

New Hampshire children, families and teachers deserve better than Common Core.

Common Core & SBAC Related Links

A Sampling of Common Core Articles, Government Testimony, Policy Drafts, Opinion Pieces and More: 

Recent Concerns From a Medical Doctor

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/03/school_testing_frenzy_highligh.html#comments

http://progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2015/03/12/mollison-elementary-parents-sound-parcc-test-demand-school
Special Education Issues and Concerns

http://teachersletterstobillgates.com/2013/06/16/who-thought-of-forcing-children-on-ieps-to-take-grade-level-high-stakes-standardized-tests-anyway/

Instruction Under Common Core

http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20130724/OPINION/307240349
http://www.statejournal.com/story/26393059/sandra-stotsky-common-core-gets-things-backward

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-reading-brain-in-the-digital-age-why-paper-still-beats-screens/
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/challenging-the-cold-war-pedagogy-of-common-core/
http://www.girardatlarge.com/2015/02/inside-education-common-core-reading-corrupts-the-nature-of-the-reading-act/
The Dead Poets’ Society and The Trojan Horse
https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/flaws-at-the-heart-of-current-education-reforms/

http://nebula.wsimg.com/668fae47cb825570d16cfee3977d5426?AccessKeyId=6DF040291534E810B48B&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20130926/OPINION/309260374/0/SEARCH

A Burgeoning Market

http://www.aaup.org/article/when-billionaires-become-educational-experts#.VQcm54fFuT9

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/education-uprising/the-myth-behind-public-school-failure

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/sic-em-saturday-do-you-know-nasbe/

http://www.livingindialogue.com/corporate-reformers-want-talk-testing/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/pearson-education-can-run_b_6327566.html

http://www.girardatlarge.com/2015/01/inside-education-battle-corporate-testing/
DATA Collection

http://www.bobbraunsledger.com/the-brave-new-world-of-testing-expands/
http://idahoansforlocaleducation.com/2014/03/sbac-psychometric-testing/
Promoting Grit and Tenacity

http://pgbovine.net/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf

https://ceds.ed.gov/CEDSDownloads.aspx?v=4

Big Brother

http://www.bobbraunsledger.com/breaking-pearson-nj-spying-on-social-media-of-students-taking-parcc-tests/

Where Does the Information Go?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/03/13/lawsuit-charges-ed-department-with-violating-student-privacy-rights/

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2013/02/stopping-ma-dese-from-turning-over.html?m=1

http://www.hslda.org/commoncore/topic10.aspx

http://www.lohud.com/article/20140125/NEWS02/301250047?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/files/NEDM_State_Core_021710.pdf

https://employment.measuredprogress.org/careers/careers.aspx?adata=EIVL5wxeYJIRyeEWe6SbSkxbtt9SsealbmsM21%2bkcy%2be6dOeV4JeSxl%2b0J4wghf4T4OlqoHguT3%2ffspoXMJYhvcd5yHjRCL4ieOE1%2f48AIN3wBjgj57F2x%2fY0Sz4S117NOpwNNTOjT04BE599tJA2nVeJiz097nXhrbJY555XN2tnbLD0kk6OeEzyB%2fY815H6ZjSRsobPq%2b8qoOu4ZwXQPg%3d&rf=INDEED

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/14/pearson-monitoring-social-media-for-security-breaches-during-parcc-testing/

http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/03/15/big-brother-the-smarter-balanced-assessment-consortium-sbac-is-spying-on-our-children/

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/03/15/frank-breslin-police-states-spy-on-children/

Who Will Teach Your Children?

http://www.dailygood.org/story/901/why-fostering-a-culture-of-companionate-love-in-the-workplace-matters-knowledge-wharton/

http://neatoday.org/2014/11/02/nea-survey-nearly-half-of-teachers-consider-leaving-profession-due-to-standardized-testing-2/

A Multicultural Perspective

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/myth-chinese-super-schools/

https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/the-view-from-japan-common-core-is-a-disaster-in-the-making/

An Important Common Core/SBAC Ruling

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/26/judge-rules-missouris-membership-in-common-core-testing-group-is-illegal/

The Schools That Won’t Use Common Core

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/05/22/watch-teacher-says-he-helped-write-common-core-end-white-privilege

http://www.concordmonitor.com/opinion/11080496-95/letter-remove-the-shackles-of-common-core

https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/standardizing-education-common-cores-hidden-agenda/

Congressional Record from 1998
“International Implications Of School-ToWork Programs”
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-1998-06-26/pdf/CREC-1998-06-26-pt1-PgE1274-2.pdf#page=1

The Growing Movement To Refuse and Opt Out
http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/03/04/malloys-education-commissioner-seeks-to-stamp-out-parental-rights-on-common-core-sbac-testing-opt-out/
A Sampling of Opt Out and Related Groups

Stop Common Core New Hampshire
Opt Out of State Standardized Tests, New Hampshire
BATS
Opt Out of the State Test, The National Movement (aprox. 17,00 members)

Hello world!

Teaching is hard. Teaching under current conditions is next to impossible. I started this blog as a way of sharing information and to help me process through what has happened to our public schools; our children, our country.

After teaching for two years in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, I came back to America, eyes wide open; grateful for my experiences and even more grateful for the opportunities provided to me as an American. Presented with a scholarship and the opportunity to further my education as a teacher, I jumped at my first teaching job in the city of Randolph, Massachusetts. For most teachers, their first year is their most difficult. For me, that first year was, by far, one of the best. It was a great environment for a young teacher, the support provided to through my mentors, both formal and informal was far better than what more recent new teachers can imagine; teachers with that kind of know how are a dying breed. The little tricks of the trade they taught me were invaluable, but what really blew me away was their wit and sense of humor. I wanted to be like them, at the end of my career, teaching with energy and rolling my eyes with a smile on my face. Sadly, I don’t think that that will be me.

After taking some time off to be with my newborn, I eventually found myself teaching in my husband’s hometown of San Antonio, TX. That was a learning experience for me. Lacking southern charm and unfamiliar with the school culture, I fell into a state of shock. It was all about the test. Teachers were told that they’d lose their teaching license for failing to comply with test security measures and were offered rewards for high test scores. There was a lot of pressure and teaching wasn’t a whole lot of fun. Failing in more ways than one to acclimate to the culture, I returned to New England.

I landed a teaching job in a small town just outside of Manchester, New Hampshire. Some of my coworkers were a bit prickly in the beginning, but I acclimated and things were mostly fine for a while. But, as things go for teachers nowadays, things slowly changed. It was if a vice was tightening around me. There was more testing, more looking at scores, more pressure. Teaching wasn’t as fun anymore. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was very uneasy about the way things were going.

One blustery day, finding a rare moment to myself, I decided to swing by the mall. Not being a big shopper, but having a weakness for sweaters, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try the store that I had earlier decided I was too old for. That seemingly simple decision was a game changer.

Focusing on a rack of sardine-packed sweaters, I was a bit startled to hear my name. “Mrs. Sekula!”, called a former student of mine. Sometimes they drive me nuts, but at the end of the day, I loved teaching and loved my students; especially ones like this. Not only was she a very intelligent young girl, but she was respectful, hardworking and helpful; the type of kid you just knew would do well.

Now a high school student, she went on to tell me that she wanted to go to college to be a teacher. I was thrilled! Who better could you get? She would be a great teacher.

My honeymoon teacher moment lasted all of about fifteen minutes. Thoughts racing in my mind, I got back to my car, turned it on, and that’s when reality hit me. I did not want my student going into teaching the way things were. She’s too smart to be teaching to a test. She’s so much more than that as a teacher. That’s when I started searching for answers. Why was it that there was ever increasing pressure to teach to a test? To label students? To hook them up to computers? To label schools and teachers as failures?

Unable to sleep that night, I started writing. As a way of venting, I wrote something satirical about the notion of, “test and punish”. I felt better, but my questions were still unanswered. That’s when I started joining online education groups and sending questions to think tanks.

This blog contains some of my own writing, but also a lot of information that I’ve found or have been given by other very dedicated teachers, parents and researchers. Strength in numbers; if you have anything that you would like to contribute, by all means please send it to me.