July  13, 2011

Rally to support kids and SOS March in CO:
When: Saturday, July 23, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM — 3:00 PM
Where: The Gazebo at Lincoln Park,
Downtown Greeley

See attached flyer

Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action!

July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, D.C. and around the country

We’re putting the Public back in public schools!


Important articles:
How important is class size after all? by Marion Brady. Featured In the Answer Sheet by Valerie Strauss


“There are hundreds of ways to mix and vary class size, learning environments, staffing, schedules, curricula, and other factors affecting the quality of education, but forget all those potential options. Only if parents, grandparents, and caring citizens revolt will the mayors, CEOs, lawyers, venture capitalists, rich philanthropists, and politicians now pulling the education “deform” strings and levers let go of the “just work harder” mantra.
Questions: What best explains the last quarter century of attacks on public schooling — the convening of education reform conferences with no educators invited, the constant denigrating of teachers, the destruction of due process protections, the rejection of poverty as a major factor in school performance? What best explains the refusal to respect research, legislation cleverly designed to hang the “Failing” label on more schools every year, orchestrated campaigns pushing vouchers, tuition tax credits, alternative licensing for teachers, counterproductive merit pay schemes, and weakened local control?
These aren’t efforts to improve public schools; they’re sneaky approaches to privatizing them. But so artful has been the campaign, millions of people opposed to privatization have acted, and continue to act, in ways that promote it.”
Stephen Krashen: Race to the Top for Tots: Don’t Measure the Temperature of the Fire – Put it Out! Posted by Anthony Cody


We don’t need more precise data. The US Department of Education’s plans for extreme and detailed testing make no sense: The house is on fire. Fire departments do not spend time determining the exact temperature in each room. Instead, they rush to put out the fire as soon as possible.
Instead of spending money to deal with the problems of poverty, we are giving it to testing companies who are eager to spend billions of our tax dollars creating expensive new tests and measures that will only tell us what we already know.
Sirota: The Finland Phenomenon by David Sirota, The Denver Post
“When I heard the news last week that the Department of Education is aiming to subject 4-year-olds to high-stakes testing, all I could do is shake my head in disbelief and despondently mutter a slightly altered riff off “The Big Lebowski ‘s” Walter Sobchak: Four-year-olds, dude.”


The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx, by Johnathon Mahler, The New York Times


Featured Education Leader: Nina Bishop. This Colorado Springs mother declares her independence in this e-mail response to the Colorado Department of Education. Her children were denied enrollment to a charter school for not participating in CSAP. We must champion those few among us who have the courage to stand against the herd and challenge the injustices. Bravo to you, Nina and thank you for balancing the rage with a bit of humor!

Dear Jhon,
Blah, blah, blah…
1.    Crap.

2.    Crap.

3.    I don’t give a CRAP about your state law that costs taxpayers millions of dollars with zero returns for kids. Did the CDE hire you based on your CSAP score? What is your CSAP score, Jhon? I’d like to know that you’re at least experienced in the stuff you’re shoveling. As a parent, I will decide what’s best for my own kids. You didn’t push something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a grapefruit; I did! They’re my kids! The US Constitution; 14th Amendment, and the Supreme Court support me and my decisions to protect the interests of my children. There are schools all over the world that don’t test their students to death and are promoting educated critical thinkers; not bubble colorers who need remediation before entering college. CSAP is a failure, has always been a failure, and it will continue to be a failure, only under a different name, “TCAP”. Renaming it won’t improve it but it least you’re getting closer at identifying it correctly, “TCRAP.” The CDE should be investigated for misuse of education funding and for failing Colorado’s children – now that would be accountability! I don’t give a rat’s ass about school scores or that THE SCHOOL meets their academic goals. Education is supposed to be about meeting children’s goals. The day that you quit making it about you, your departments, and your neat little score cards, we may actually be able to improve schools. I want my children to enjoy their education and expand their thinking including creativity, inquiry, and the courage to challenge the things that aren’t right in the world.

4.    When the CDE is not passing off its leadership responsibilities, you’re acting as terrorists holding our schools, our teachers and our kids’ hostage. My next call is to Homeland Security since education policy and your assault on justice and free-thinking has become the new act of terrorism against democracy.

5.    Patronizing Crap.

Put this in your CSAP longitudinal growth model and analyze it!
Enraged and engaged parent
Nina Bishop
Colorado Springs, Colorado


Subject: TCAP CSAP what’s the difference!

Dear Nina Bishop:

Thank you for contacting the Colorado Department of Education.  In response to your communication, we trust you will find the following information helpful:
1.       CSAP tests are the primary form of academic accountability in Colorado to measure student performance.
2.       Schools and districts are held accountable for student performance so each test is very valuable along with the results illustrated.
3.       As a parent, you should know that state law requires all students be tested.  However, if for some reason a child misses taking the CSAP test, those tests are deemed no-scores and those impact the school because its accountability for student performance is not waived.  This, in turn, will not help the school meet its academic goals.
4.       You mention schools t
hat you appear to have serious concerns about in serving the needs of your child(ren).  These types of issues are handled at the school and district level.  We are sending the communication to your district to alert them to the issues you have raised.  We encourage you to call and set an appointment with the school principal to resolve your issues.  If that is not satisfactory, please call your superintendent and get your issues resolved at that level.  However, if all of these avenues are non-responsive, please contact your locally elected board of education so you can bring your issue to that group for final resolution.
5.       We appreciate your care and concern for the well-being of your children and your willingness to be actively involved in their learning.
We wish you the best in working with you local school officials to gain mutually satisfactory resolution.

Jhon Penn
Director, Performance Support, Colorado Department of Education