My Christmas Anti-Wish List
This is the time of year when we write to you with our gift desires. What we want you to bring us. What we want to find under the tree, wrapped in bright paper, dressed in bold ribbon, and beautifully-crafted gift tags so everyone knows this package … is … for … ME.
I have no wish list for you. No demands for gifts that magically show up between the hour I go to bed Christmas Eve and the morning hour in which I wake up.
My list is for the things I want you to take away:
1. Invalid, unreliable standardized testing that tortures children with the hours they must spend on a computer taking an assessment that makes no sense to them. They have learned, but the test is just too damn confusing.
2. Collapsed curriculums because superintendents, under-superintendents, district staff, administrators and teachers have given up. “Give me the script and I’ll read the script.” Take the scripts away, Santa. Surely you have room on the sleigh after you have emptied your bag of gifts.
3. High expectations. OMG, no one has suffered from high expectations like you, Santa. Yet you deliver the right gift to the right person. Can’t we trust teachers to do the right thing by their students without the bludgeoning of ridiculous buzzwords and catch phrases?
4. Test prep masquerading as lessons. Achieve 3000 anyone? iReady? Or my favorite, please Santa, take away all the #Pearsoncrappyproducts.
5. PARCC. SBAC. And all the derivatives that are nothing more than the Emperor dressed up in new clothes, especially you, SAGE test rented by Florida.
6. Charter school rules that tilt the playing field until we, public school employees and children alike, slide into the sewer.
7. Naked greed, as in Manny Diaz’s bill to strip school boards of any authority over charters in their district. But Manny is connected to a charter chain. Isn’t he reacting to Palm Beach County’s challenge to charter schools in the courts? Oh, Santa, maybe you could take Manny back to the North Pole and isolate him in one of your workshops. Ten years of making Legos sets might fix his lack of ethics. Or maybe not. I’d hate to see a new line of Legos Charter Schools. All you need is the plastic bricks and you too can rip off taxpayer dollars.
8. VAM measures for teacher evaluations, which everyone, including expert statisticians and research foundations, agree do not capture any significant metric for teacher performance.
9. School grading formulas. Stupid idea, really, when you think about it. Best practices and research say to have multiple measures, but then the JEB Bush ‘this-is-my-mark-in-history’ moment says one narrow test, flawed and badly constructed, tells all. Take it away, Santa.
10. Common Core. How did we let the worms that eat the apple construct the apple and convince us it was good to eat? This monstrosity makes Eve in the Garden look good in comparison.
11. At least Eve was deceived. Adam knew better and sinned anyway. Santa, could you take away the Gates Foundation? The Walton Foundation? The Koch Brothers? And just for kicks, Eva Moscowitz, too.
12. Finally, Santa, as in the 12 Days of Christmas, it is my twelfth wish and I am allowed no more. Can you take away the real cause of educational failure? Poverty, violence, and the mess our children must live in. Take away their trauma.
Please, Santa. Is it too much to ask for?