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Timothy D. Slekar
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Entries by Timothy D. Slekar

Opt Out Chronicles: Anti-Testing Nut

(1) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 4:15 PM

Last March I went to my local school board to voice my concerns about the announcement that my home state of Pennsylvania planned on using student test score data in future teacher evaluations. I spoke about the problems using Value Added Measures and then asked what our...

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No Vote for You, Mr. President

(11) Comments | Posted August 1, 2012 | 2:19 PM

"Talk me off my ledge because right now, I cannot in good conscience, support him." Facebook Friend

The above quote was made by a Facebook friend concerning Barack Obama and his bid for a second term in the White House. This person is a registered Democrat and a progressive educator....

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Advice for Teachers' Unions

(99) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 10:54 AM

In Shaun Johnson's latest blog he wanders into the minefield surrounding teachers' unions. Like Shaun, I support the idea of unions. However, at this point in time I think we need to openly criticize the unions for their inability to counter the "adults first" narrative and how --...

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Opt Out Chronicles: School Boards Opting Out?

(2) Comments | Posted March 17, 2012 | 6:47 PM

What does it mean to opt out? The simple answer, in the context of the public school reform movement, is when a parent pulls their child from state mandated high-stakes testing. However, opting out is not limited to this action only. At United Opt Out we talk about...

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VAMs: Building a New Social Order

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 2:52 PM

Value Added Models (VAMs) are highly unreliable. There is nothing new to learn about these models. Look here, here, here, here. VAMs are not ready to use as an evaluative component in looking at teacher quality issues. Also, "Pressure to teach to...

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Opt Out Chronicles: Why and How

(3) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 11:04 AM

Let's see. Since November we (Michelle and I) naively approached our school district and offered our services to help the schools deal with the kids that opt out of PSSAs (NCLB) this coming March. We were smacked down and told that we were premature to assume more children would opt...

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Opt Out Chronicles: Fighting Sabotage

(5) Comments | Posted January 31, 2012 | 8:51 PM

Quick Reality Check! What will happen to all public schools in 2014 under the current NCLB regulations (100% proficiency in math and reading)? Answer: They will be declared failing and will be taken over by the state and sold to educational management organizations (EMOs). The staff and faculty will be...

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Dear Ed Schultz

(6) Comments | Posted January 19, 2012 | 9:57 AM

Dear Ed,

Thanks for exposing the problems being confronted by the Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania. As you have pointed out, this is really an issue that goes much deeper than a school in financial trouble. This is a school that serves the "least among us." The...

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Opt Out Chronicles: Politicians Are Not the Answer

(48) Comments | Posted December 29, 2011 | 8:52 AM

"If you oppose state testing, please contact your Senator and Representative... they can change, what we cannot." Superintendent.

Since our district's superintendent has decided to actively fight the opt-out movement I have tried to engage him by sending him articles that document the folly of high stakes testing and writing...

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Opt Out Chronicles: Losing My Religion

(10) Comments | Posted December 15, 2011 | 4:58 PM

In case you've forgotten, I have been waiting patiently for the superintendent of schools in my district to respond to my email explaining the parent rationale for opting out of PSSA testing. Late last week I got tipped off that our superintendent planned on "educating parents" at the...

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Opt Out Chronicles: Organizing and Bullying

(8) Comments | Posted November 28, 2011 | 11:02 AM

In case you have forgotten, last year my wife (Michelle) and I decided to use Pennsylvania's opt out law to pull our son from the PSSAs (NCLB testing). It started with a very contemplative blog concerning the real possibilities of opting my son out of testing...

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(4) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 10:01 AM

There is certainly value in assessing the quality of learning and teaching, but that doesn't mean it's always necessary, or even possible, to measure those things -- that is, to turn them into numbers. Alfie Kohn
As I cited in my last blog,
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Pennsylvania and Vouchers: What the Supporters are Really Saying.

(5) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 12:22 PM

"How can vouchers improve public schools if the people mobilizing the movement intend to eradicate public education?" Rachel Tabachnick
On October 26, 2011, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 1 (A school voucher bill). Hey, everybody else is doing it and we don't want to be seen...
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Dear Teacher Education Colleagues

(12) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 5:18 PM

Reports the Website "Schools Matter":

In recalibrating what information the Feds will require of ed schools, a graying and sallow Arne announced that his Gates and Broad handlers have come up with a scheme to reward and punish teacher preparation programs based on the scores from tests taken...

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The Shortest, Most Important Education Blog Ever

(5) Comments | Posted October 3, 2011 | 5:16 PM

NBC's Education Nation was and is an absolute disgrace. However, it was a brilliant piece of marketing propaganda. Corporate sponsors and a media blitzkrieg sold the "failing public schools" narrative for an entire week. And what solutions were put forward for the "failed" American public school system? Anything that the...

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Can Teachers Opt Out?

(4) Comments | Posted September 24, 2011 | 3:00 PM

But if we don't all opt out, then teachers become complicit in their own demise and that of their students and communities-don't think for a moment that if you as a teacher or school "play by their rules" you will be rewarded -- the reformers goal is to sell you...
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Public Schools Are Not Negotiable

(9) Comments | Posted September 1, 2011 | 11:35 AM

"I'm not opting my kids out of testing again this year to bring focus to the tests. I'm doing it to take away the data from the advocates of choice and privatization. I'm saying NO! You will not use my kids in your attack on public schools. You will not...

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Scapegoating Schools of Education

(24) Comments | Posted August 16, 2011 | 10:50 AM

  1. When did George Washington cross the Delaware?
  2. Why did George Washington cross the Delaware?

Can you guess which of these questions my teacher education students know the answer to? Come on and try it. Give up? Most of them don't know the answer to either of these questions. Why, you...

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I Am More Than a Test Score

(1) Comments | Posted August 8, 2011 | 4:51 PM

Dear Mom and Dad,

It's almost back to school time. I've been thinking about the coming year. I know I'm not an expert, but after seven years of going to school, something seems wrong. Don't misunderstand me. I love seeing my friends and I can't wait for football season, but...

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It's Not Cheating. It's Sabotage.

(12) Comments | Posted July 17, 2011 | 5:44 PM

Our backs are now against the wall. Listen all y'all, it's a sabotage. -Beastie Boys

After thinking about my last post where I imagined educators consciously "cheating" on state tests as a form of protest, I now believe that teachers and administrators must actively engage in a form...

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