In reply to New Hampshire Board of Education Chair, Thomas Raffio, “Bills pose a threat to public education” he once again misses what’s truly harming public education in New Hampshire and across the country.
Chairman Raffio has actively served on the Board of Education for several years and it’s important to note that what he’s supported in the past is not working.
For instance, New Hampshire schools were required to use state-level academic standards as a requirement of No Child Left Behind. These state-level standards were criticized by the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education, Virginia Barry at a public meeting in Bedford several months ago. Those academic standards were developed under former Governor John Lynch and used during the tenure of Chairman Raffio and Commissioner Barry. According to Commissioner Barry’s statement, this was a failure but its’ important to note that this failure happened under their watch.
Now Commissioner Barry and Chairman Raffio want to justify adopting Common Core Standards that have content experts pointing to their flaws and that they are not internationally benchmarked to the highest performing countries in the world. The Common Core Math standards do not even prepare students for STEM programs in colleges and universities.
Parents, teachers and school board members across New Hampshire have been speaking publicly about the harmful impact these “reforms” are having on public education. Instead of admitting that these harmful practices have been happening under Chairman Raffio’s tenure, he’s going to ignore that fact and point to more fads he’s mandating on the public schools.
Competency Based Education in NH schools is a rehashed fad called Outcome Based Education (OBE). OBE is dumbed down workforce development being pushed by the U.S. Department of Education. The Government now treats students as “human capital” for the workforce instead of children to educate. The focus in public education shifts from literacy through liberal arts to dumbed down workforce training. Marc Tucker laid out this plan in his letter to Hillary Clinton which can be accessed through the Internet.
The new assessments children will be taking have little to do with academics and a lot to do with assessing where a child fits into the workforce. These assessments are used for gathering data and personal information on children and their families, and they are not achievement tests.
Achievement tests measure academic knowledge that are objectively scored and offer parents a clear picture on where their children are in comparison to other students in their age group. That’s not what the State of New Hampshire will be using to test students.
Instead they will be using the Smarter Balanced “Assessment.” Assessments are different and are designed to measure changes in attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors. Scoring assessments can be costly because they are subjectively scored by those working in the testing industry. This has become such a big problem that there are former employees who’ve written about the mass corruption that has taken place.
This is why many parents are refusing to let their children take the standardized assessments. Parents do not want their personal information funneled to the Federal Government and they don’t want their children to be psycho-analyzed at the same time.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a psychometric assessment used to track and analyze a child’s abilities, attitudes, personality traits, among other things.
We now have an education system that funnels information on our children and families to determine where our kids fit into the workforce. This is another reason elite private schools stay away from these reforms. Their parents will not tolerate lowering the quality of the academics for their children.
When the National Chamber of Commerce or the Business Industry Association (BIA) in New Hampshire praises this reform effort, it’s important to understand who they are serving. They are not serving parents or children but the business community. They have also received large donations from the Gates Foundation which is the primary funder and business organization pushing for all of these reforms across the United States.
The constant assessing of children in our public schools has become such a problem that teachers and child psychologists from across the country are calling this cognitive child abuse. If this is child abuse, should the same people who brought this to New Hampshire continue to mandate reforms and rules our public schools? Or should they show real leadership and put a halt to these harmful practices?
Chairman Raffio continues to make excuses for some of the failures we see in public education during his tenure and deflect attention to more faddish reforms he’s facilitating as Board Chair.
Is this the best we can hope for under Governor Hassan’s leadership? Adopting academic standards that are flawed and mediocre at best? Mandating an assessment scheme that tracks and gathers information on children so the State can treat them like they are worker bees to be “trained”?
Why not expect a Board Chair, a Commissioner of Education and a Governor who prioritizes; literacy, academic excellence, self-discipline, empowering teachers, and who show leadership? Wouldn’t that help public education but also allow for students to thrive to become the best that they can be?
What we have now is a Department of Education and Board of Education continuing to follow an agenda put forth by the Federal Government. The same body of government that brought us the failed No Child Left Behind Law.
At what point will our State officials acknowledge the problems and failures under their tenure and start leading public schools to focus on literacy and academic excellence? That’s one way of supporting public education in this state but we are not seeing this as a priority from Governor Hassan’s administration or her bureaucrats.