reponse to Deborah/plans for our national effort
- Subject: reponse to Deborah/plans for our national effort
- From: Tom and Lisa Amspaugh <amspaugh@EXCELONLINE.COM>
- Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 10:29:52 -0700
- In-reply-to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
The strategy of a great marketing campaign is always to make people think
they see you or your ads everywhere, when they really don't. The powers that
be are doing that, and we need to start. We don't have the money to match
them, but I don't think we need it. We're barely organized,(no offense
intended), have no real financial support, little political support, no
collective strategy other than to get rid of the high stakes tests, and yet
50% of the people already side with us. Do you realize how amazing that is?
In answer to your question, We, should be all fighting. I'd like to see
discussion of the potential list of 10 most important meetings. I know
nothing about these meetings, so I don't know which might be the best for
our cause, but I think at least some of them require a real show of force.
Look bigger than you are.
We need to develop our own phrases like "raising the bar", "ending social
promotion", "standards and accountability"-phrases we ALL begin to use to
describe this situation. Unfortunately, haven't been able yet to come up
with ones as short as theirs. It's hard to look like we're a cohesive
opposition, and hard for the public to determine if we're strong enough to
be worth fighting with us, if we don't develop the cohesive language the
enemy has and start to really look like one force. I haven't been associated
with you all for very long, but I do have some observations. The discussion
of what's wrong is too deep for the average person to bite into. They don't
believe it, won't take time to try and understand it, don't care enough to
I think what I have to offer the group is that I'm your target market.
Someone who isn't (wasn't) really involved in education and isn't so close
to the forest. The following are my suggestions to better reach people like
To win the war I think we have to stay on the surface in many situations,
reserving the deeper discussion for those interested in the deeper issues,
which the general public is not. The enemy doesn't go around discussing all
the real implications of what is happening, they simply stick with "we're
raising the bar". I think we need what I will refer to as "DAH" phrases for
when we're speaking to groups, where the answers to what we talk about are
sort of smack in the face "DAH". It has been very effective when I use the
dah statements when speaking, but I actually say the "DAH" after I make the
statements or ask the question. For some reason it really drives home how
stupid this idea of high stakes testing really is. WE need basic slogans and
bumper stickers that hit the average american harder than what we've been
using, that we ALL begin to use consistently in our talks, op-ed's etc.
These are still very rough off the top of my head ideas, making me hesitate
to even post them here yet. But I post them to start discussion on the idea,
so we can refine them to something usable. We need to develop a PR strategy,
which some of these phrases and statements would be part of. I'll work on
developing a rough draft. There's a lot we could say, but we need to focus
on the things that will pull the most people in, and we need to keep it
simple. We need to figure out which of these rough ideas (or those submitted
by others) has the strongest pull. I can't help but feel the policians in
education is one of the strongest things we've got going. It's been the
strongest and easiest thing I've used here in GA to get people thinking
deeper. Built in mistrust is an advantage for us. Stupid is an interesting
word, since it plays on what many people think is happening to our children.
Several areas have develped slogans like Stop the Bullies, High stakes are
for tomatoes, etc. These are attempts to devolop phrases that make the
problem even clearer, and hit average Joe even harder.
Name just one system run by the government that really works as it should.
Does it make sense to let politicians take over education? DAH
High Stakes Testing is just Government Controlled Education.
Are you in favor of Government controlled education, or local control?
Which do you think is more accurate and fair- Evaluating a child over the
entire school year looking at many things, or using one single test at the
end of the year? DAH
Politicians really want these tests, which is a
good indication it's a stupid idea. DAH
Don't you think there might be a correlation to the government bureaucracy
now in schools and the decline of education? DAH
If one test determines everything for students, teachers, schools, do you
think there's going to be too much emphasis placed on taking the test and
not enough on real learning? DAH
Do you really think one test can measure all a child knows? DAH
If we create a few million more drop outs by using these ridiculous tests,
what do you think our crime rate will be? DAH
Take back our schools from politicians. End WASL. slogan/bumper sticker
Proficencies are just Government Controlled Education. slogan/bumper
Take back local control. End proficiencies. slogan/bumper sticker
WASL=Slimy Politicians in Charge of Education. (one of my favorites)
Raise standards. Remove politicians from education.
Children can't learn, they're too busy taking tests. (also a favorite)
Take back local control-end high stakes testing.
Kids deserve better evaluation than one test. End WASL.
Kids deserve fair evaluation. End WASL.
Twelve years of schooling and just one test counts-just plain stupid.
One test WASL-just plain stupid. Kids deserve better.
High stakes one test sytems, just plain stupid.
One test to measure total knowledge. Just plain stupid.
High stakes tests=test cramming skills, not real learning.
Test taking skills are not real education.
Current Education Reform=just test taking skills.
Test taking skills. Politicians idea of education reform.
Education is now just test craming. End WASL.
Raise standards. Require more than one test evaluations.
I would appreciate all help and discussion to develop these phrases and
slogans. The media list recently posted was great. We need to develop a
systematic method for submitting articles and op-ed's, making sure we reply
in mass to various articles written. I suggest each of us try and find 10
other concerned people who might commit to these actions. I know I can find
10 here, and I think all of us can. Ending this is like all things. Develop
a plan and work it. The other side has been doing that for a long time, and
I feel certain we can do the same.
Personally, I think we need to spend less time talking about the
problem,implications, fallout, specific situations occuring, and more time
talking about potential actions and strategies for fixing it. The problems
are already clear enough, it's the solutions that need our real attention
From: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List
Behalf Of Deborah Meier
Sent: Wednesday, June 28, 2000 8:29 PM
Subject: Re: Fleeing the stigma
The opposition has a lot of money - and resources . They can be
everywhere. Can we match them? Never. But it would be interesting to
think about where and when--if we had to pick 10 meetings a year max, for
example - we SHOULD MOST be. Should we cover a lot sparsely or a few more
deeply? Who is this "we"--and how might we coordinate our work - make our
"presence" best felt?
>funny how i keep returning to the "systems" idea of r\trying to undersatnd
>union, teacher, admin, test, politician, paretn, student are found at end
>of pointing finger of blame.
>funnty to me how the system and idea of systems analysis keeps cropping
>up. finger pionting does:
>1. redirects blame
>2. allevaites constructive discussion of reform as joy of finger pointing
>3. keeps us from fixing squat didley
>when i say systems, senge comes to mind but i'm thinking community
>actually: politicos, parents, custodians, admin, business, teachers,
>students, cats and dogs, the community...
>serious reform is a funny expression, makes me chuckle. education is a
>business and somehow peadagogues anmd business men have to figure this
>out. big apple is going to be a funny place with levy after chitown and
>folks in power dont see these other places as failure as we may since they
>keep on keepin on.
>so what does this mean has to happen for that amusing ditty: "serious
>reform" to happpen?
>back from NECC where i was surprised not to see anyone form this list as
>it was a place where reform weas discussed from abusiness pointof view and
>things were spoken about in terms of direction by riley and technology,
>roberts and gore.
>that fairtest was missing from the floor stunned me. gerry where were
>alfie who is noticeably absent on this list?
>must say mised opportubnity.
>chicago next year.
>the .coms are seizing the day while this list plods along
>they are organized.
>the products that school districts buys were all there. the opposition
>was absent. too bad. NSCB in denver oct 25-28 is another opportunity to
>make a stand.
>rememebr the commercial of indian with tear in eye as he overlooked
>polluted landscape of a number of years ago? me at necc this year thinking
>about how ARN was absent.
>On Tue, 27 Jun 2000, Deborah Meier wrote:
>> I've long noticed how often "the union" is blamed for whatever is hard to
>> defend. Sometimes folks say "the contract" and it is assumed that if it
>> in the contract it represents the union's position. The contract is a
>> between the two, and half of it represents the management viewpoint--so
>> speak. It's intriguing in this respect to see what happens in states
>> there is no powerful union.. Rarely are matters dealt with in ways that
>> make real reform any easier. I think Deborah Gilman is probably
>> right--it's a smoke screen..
>> Similarly the idea that giving "the principal" more power to hire, fire,
>> assign, etc. is often assumed to be the same as giving school's more
>> autonomy from bureaucratic strangleholds. It often attracts reformers
>> many folks assume it's part of my advocacy of small, more independent
>> public schools of choice. T'aint so.
>> In Boston we are now engaged in a struggle because management has decided
>> that they can reassert their right to more unilateral power--through
>> principals--and call it school reform. It makes the Boston Teacher's
>> look bad. A strike is being threatened. It has become a "reform" battle.
>> The idea that schools--as communities--ought to possess more power is a
>> different question than whether principals should have more unilateral
>> power. And in systems in which Principals in fact have no tenure or
>> independence from downtown management, and in which the demand for giving
>> them greater unilateral power comes in fact in response to the argument
>> that they need greater power since they are being held more accountable
>> city or state authorities, the issue is tricky and dangerous.
>> What we need to rethink is the question of who the principal should be
>> accountable to, and what the role of the staff is in the governance of
>> their schools. At Mission Hill there is a tripartite governing Board (an
>> equal number of parents and teachers plus public members chosen jointly
>> the two parties), with all basic academic, scheduling, pedagogical, etc.
>> issues being in the domain of the faculty. The Board's primary power is
>> in hiring and firing the principal, and in its power to veto the annual
>> budget and organizational and staffing plan. (Of course, ultimately, we
>> operate under the jurisdiction of the Boston Pubic School(BPS) system and
>> its mayor-appointed School Committee.) Under such a system of school
>> governance the idea of giving our school greater autonomy from
>> arrangements is quite a different matter, and one the Boston Teachers
>> has actually approved. All ten Boston pilot schools, initiated by the
>> and the BPS, have such autonomy on matters of staffing, and have separate
>> BTU and BPS-approved separate agreements with their own staffs regarding
>> everything but pay scale--which is BTU-fixed. It's an idea that needs to
>> be explored in other places, and one which TURN (a n AFT-NEA reform
>> network) ought to be--maybe is?--pioneering.
>> Most of the schools I was involved with in NYC had similar, but less
>> official, governing systems. They were truly "staff-governed" with some
>> checks and balanced regarding parents and kids--and ultimately the larger
>> "public" and bureaucracy. It was the BTU that initiated the Boston
>> situation, which made this kind of governance therefore an official
>> reality. It's what attracted me to Boston--the chance to do openly what
>> had been doing covertly in NYC for so many years.
>> Serious reform requires us to turn the BTU's unexpectedly reform-minded
>> idea into a groundswell. Bob Perlman, now in SanFrancisco, was the guy
>> helped get the BTU to come forth with the initiative. If you folks in
>> California can, get him to tell you and us more about the idea.
>> Of course, it's full of difficulties. What should be the role of
>> Chicago's version was another way to approach the issue and while, of
>> course, I was not happy about the absence of an important role in that
>> largely meaningless reform for teachers, it at least began to tackle the
>> question of bringing power closer to the place where it most mattered.
>> This is a long-winded off-the-cuff response to Deborah Gilman's comment,
>> but it's a very important topic. It's not central to testing and
>> accountability--or is it?
>> Deb Meier
>> The policy of the California Teachers Association is:
>> >"Districts shall place newly appointed faculty on step according to
>> >teaching experience and training allowing full credit for all previous
>> >service. This policy shall be applied so that teachers are not penalized
>> >changing assignments from district to district" (1999-2000
>> >My experience confirms what Deborah Gilman wrote--districts have often
>> >preferred to limit the number of years of out-of-district credit granted
>> >newly hired teachers as a way of saving money. This may changed in
>> >California as the shortage of experienced teachers gives a competitive
>> >advantage to those districts able to pay higher salaries to new
>> >At 04:20 PM 6/27/2000 -0500, Deb Gilman wrote:
>> >>Yes, I have heard it is because of the unions... but I think when
>> >>negotiators push to get more salary for the teachers... that this
>> >>cutting off of experience when transferring to another school
>> >>districts is one item that they accept in order to get those
>> >>salaries. I don't believe that this idea necessarily comes from the
>> >>teachers... or their perspective unions.
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>Ted Nellen 8-) email@example.com
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