Friday, December 19, 2008

Secretary of Education nomination

I'd been trying to pull together something to post on President-elect Obama's choice of Arne Duncan as his nominee for Secretary of Education. Better than my telling you, though, why not ask the people of Chicago, whom he has been serving as commissioner of education.

Yesterday, when the temperature in Chicago was 25 degrees Farenheit, a group of parents and students braved the cold to blow bubbles.
Bubbles, you ask?
Yes, bubbles, as bubbles have become the end-all and be-all in Chicago Public Schools (something which may sound familiar to Worcester Public School students and parents):

Today a hardy group of parents and teachers stood out in Chicago's Federal Plaza and proved that you can indeed blow bubbles in 20 degree weather!

We were there to send a strong message to President-elect Obama and Secretary of Education nominee Arne Duncan that overuse and misuse of standardized "bubble" tests is bad for our children, and we want change.

In fact, we want the same thing the Obamas want – a high-quality education for our children that is not focused on standardized "bubble" tests.

Julie Woestehoff of Parents United for Responsible Education shared information about the high-quality educational standards at the schools the Obamas have chosen for their children, University of Chicago Lab School and Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C. These schools avoid the kind of test-prep that is so prevalent in the Chicago Public Schools.

Parents want what the Obamas want for their children, and teachers want to teach that way.

Wade Tillett , a Chicago Public School teacher and parent, is planning to opt his third grade child out of the state tests this spring.

He was supported by Jim and Sue Gill, Oak Park parents who have actually opted their children out of the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests for several years. Sue talked about the struggle
they had with the school district last year over the issue. Ultimately the district changed their policy to accommodate parents who want to opt their children out.

Here's the Oak Park district policy.

CPS teachers representing the Caucus of Rank and File Educators discussed their group's opposition to the misuse and overuse of tests, including their use in closing schools under Renaissance 2010.

This "bubble" group has established a web site,, where you can get more information and join the campaign to stop the misuse of bubble tests.

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