Friday, February 7, 2014

Conscientious Objectors

@AdamMendelson: MSA bill hearing summary: Educators, BOEs, local supes, students, & many legislators want to get this right...but MSDE wants to ignore them.

@heidlovesmath: @AdamMendelson so what can we do next?

@AdamMendelson: @heidlovesmath Call, write, or email your legislators. You can email them here:

@Teachbaltshaw: @AdamMendelson as a collective our voices should be stronger than that of MSDE. We must demand better. #edreform

@AdamMendelson: @Teachbaltshaw Couldn't agree more. Demand better & deserve better.


Adam Mendelson is the communications director for the Maryland State Education Association . I have been following him on Twitter since the evening of the Howard County Board of Education budget meeting. I found his live-tweeting of Wednesday's hearing in Annapolis on the topic of requesting a waiver for this year's MSA testing to be extremely informative.

So, as @heidilovesmath asks, what can we do next? "Call, write, or email your legislators." But, I'm guessing a lot of you have done that already. I have contacted Guy Guzzone, James Robey, and Martin O'Malley. (Big props to Guy Guzzone for responding within hours.)

After you do your best to work within the system, you begin to think outside the box. And so I ask you,

What if they had a test and nobody came?

You can't administer a test if you have no one to give it to. But it isn't as simple as that. I have to be honest and say that those of us who really care about this issue and feel motivated to influence the outcome are only a subset of the entire parent population in the state of Maryland. There is no way we could guarantee one hundred per cent participation, in fact, it's unlikely that more than fifty per cent would enlist in this cause as conscientious objectors.

Where does that leave us? Well, I'm going to take a leap here and suggest that the parents who oppose this year's MSA testing are: intelligent, involved, educated, well-informed. Most likely that means they are also doing pretty well financially, as it is extremely difficult to have the time to be involved and well-informed when you are working multiple jobs or struggling to have enough food to feed your family.

So, let's just pull out the kids of the intelligent, involved, educated, well-informed, financially stable parents. Remove them from the testing equation. How do you think that would affect Maryland scores overall?

Yes, I know I am making some assumptions here. But just think, if the students whose families come from the chunk of our society that is able to make choices were absent from testing, it would have a huge impact on test scores all over the state. It would also leave the drudgery of needless testing to the children of the poor, uneducated, non-English speaking parents. You know, the people who have no choice.

And that is really sickening. It shouldn't happen. But if the MDSE saw the writing on the wall that it could happen, would it make a difference in their decision? Would that kind of a public relations/test scores debacle frighten them enough to change their minds?

Anyone out there want to find out?

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