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The Democrats May Have Just Aligned Themselves With Test and Punish – We Are Doomed


The Democrats May Have Just Aligned Themselves With Test and Punish – We Are Doomed

Steven Singer

Almost every Democrat in the US Senate just voted to keep Test and Punish.

But Republicans defeated them.

I know. I feel like I just entered a parallel universe, too. But that’s what happened.

Some facts:

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a disaster.


The Nation Magazine has documented that the testing craze began with the long time friendship of Bush and McGraw of McGraw-Hill who own Princeton Testing Service. They are next door neighbors in Kennebunkport. The testing craze is an excellent was to get public money into private hands. Some states used to create their own achievement tests that were valid but today that is all done by private companies. The testing also does a nice bit of social engineering, creating fear in teachers and students, so that they learn their place in society. Will they measure up? It also distorts curriculum that might be empowering, heaven forbid! Bush started it and Obama continued it. Where are Bernie and Hillary on this?


I feel like I’m living in a parallel universe, too… I’m a PCO in the Democratic Party and attend meetings. Thankfully, Washington state voted to oppose common core and its tests and that is part of our state platform. The only state Dem party to oppose it nationwide.
If school funding is going to be aligned with test scores we have data that shows the number of kids who can pass these tests. And indeed, as Mr. Singer wrote, it’s the low income kids who are affected and hurt. http://weaponsofmassdeception.org/1-drill-and-kill-fake-tests/1-3-how-high-stakes-tests-were-designed-to-fail

It always is the poor. The elitism and arrogance in this nation is beyond the pale. At some point the poor will rise up when they have nothing left to lose.


The urge to have tests is the bureaucratic mind in action. No one wants to rely on a human judgement call to determine whether a teacher is doing a good job. To them there have to be numbers to base assessments on or those with bureaucratic minds might have their assessments questioned, might have to go out on a limb and say “that person is a really good teacher, really engages the students.” With tests that produce numbers so there is “data” use to grade teachers by.


Goddess I hope you’re right – and I will be right there with them cheering them on and [wo]manning the guillotine!


It appears the ‘Murphy Amendment’ has far too many similarities with ‘Murphy’s Law’; to wit: those who voted for this POS have been elected to their level of incompetence!


Dems are aligned with Arne Duncan (Sec of Ed in this Dem administration) whose federal education policies are horrendous - promotion of charter schools and the like. Duncan of course is a product of the Chicago School Admin that along with Rahm Emanuel have done such a great job with Chicago public schools.

Then we have Randi Weingarten, president of NFT, endorsing Hillary Clinton (supposedly on behalf of the union), when many of the rank-and-file teachers are saying “hell no” to that and no asked them. So, disappointing the Warren and Sanders follow the standard Dem line on education, but don’t expect anything different from Clinton (or in reality any of the repubs for that matter).


That includes so-called far left Dems like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren!

Glad that the author included the disclaimer “so-called”.

Warren is indistinguishable from a moderate Republican of the 70s or 80s… and indeed was a moderate Republican back then. Sanders is a phony, pure and simple, who talks the Domestic* liberal talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

*On foreign policy, Sanders is a right-winger, supporting Presidential Kill Lists, drone murder, regime-change, and the F-35 boondoggle.


You are 98% wrong on Sanders if you actually check his actions. He ‘is’ the most progressive, long term politician that has remained for 35 years. His support for the F-35 was perhaps wrong, it was done to keep jobs and keep an industry from moving out of his state. No one is perfect. Name one other person in Congress that has defended and started more programs for the people, just one…Folks like you seem to want perfect, it doesn’t exist.


I am comparing Warren and Sanders to actual liberals, from back when some members of Congress were The Real Thing. Sanders’ ongoing support of the F-35 is not “perhaps wrong”; it is a travesty. His vote in favor of the Neocons’ insane and dangerous Ukraine Freedom Support Act was another.

His vote last year to cut food stamps was the final straw, for actual liberals. Intolerable, impossible that any so-called socialist would vote to take food from the mouths of hungry kids, instead of standing foursquare against it.

So, you tout Sanders’ “actions”. I just gave three examples of his actual, rightist politics. Let’s have a roster of all his liberal accomplishments over those 35 years. What has he actual done, to advance a liberal agenda? Besides talk, I mean.


Keep the faith. One of the most important tasks for us in the coming year is to educate the public. That is what we do, teach–only we have to be more creative–and focused like political acupuncturists. This plays to our strength and we have several excellent cards remaining up our collective sleeve. I just hope the ed. resistance leadership holds together and figures out how to play them. Being discarded by the Democrats will force us to think out of the box and sharpen our edge, which may be exactly what is needed.


i’d mention that the lesser evil is still evil, but that generally doesn’t play well around here.

so suck it up and vote as your told and stop questioning your masters in the D party.


This just emphasizes the social and cultural constructions of education in America, and the emphasis on standardization based on the idea that we are educating our children so they can get good jobs. That has been such an insidiously persuasive concept in the US that people don’t even question it anymore, no matter what party they belong to. And–legislators generally are completely clueless about what education is all about–most are lawyers or businessmen and women. I know, Warren was an economics prof, but that doesn’t mean diddly when you are talking developing intelligent education legislation for the children of the US.


“This is baloney! Test scores show parental income, not academic achievement. Virtually every school with low test scores serves a majority of poor children. Virtually every school with high test scores serves rich kids.”

I hated school tests like most people, but to be fair, how do you know what academic achievement for each child is without testing for it?

And if parental income determines test scores, what better way to raise test scores than to raise parental income, like Warren and Sanders want to do?


They can’t pay me enough to go on conservative sites and ridicule their candidates. That’s simply because I can’t stand going to their sites. It gives me nausea. Everybody knows conservative\ candidates are evil clowns, so they’re (you’re) not clown-funny anymore. Just pathetic, sick, disgusting assholes bought and paid for by the mothers of all assholes, the Kochs, Adelsons, etc.

You must feel the same way about having to go to liberal sites to demonize their candidates, unless you get paid a lot for that. I wouldn’t do it even though ridiculing your candidates is so very easy. The funny thing is,many of the oligarchy’s poor and middle class conservative troops will demonize liberals for free. Hick psychology is to elevate these conservative fascists out of the hell they’ve dug for themselves by getting down on liberals, even when oligarchs have their boot on your neck too,

You must think its like the man who stands on the streetcorner day after day, asking every passing girl if she will go to bed with him. Maybe some liberal will fall for your crap and vote Republican, third party, or not vote and let in the clowns. What the hell, oligarchs have endless bribe money so they’re in no danger of going broke paying shills to post crap on liberal sites.


Too much of a blinkered, binary tribalist to even imagine a single thought beyond The Two Teams, I see.


It depends on what “academic achievement” is meant to mean. Every psychologist who’s studied the macro side of cognition (what it means to know, learn, and think) will tell you that it is simply not possible to do any high-quality testing using paper and pencil. Most good, experienced teachers have a better idea of the state of their class’s learning just by daily observation than any standardised paper-and-pencil test can yield.

Rote learning (cut-and-dried facts and rules, the least-important kind of learning in Bloom’s and Scrivens’s taxonomies) can be tested with paper and pencil. Higher-order learning? Hard to do it the lower levels, and impossible at the top.

Everyone learns at different rates and in different ways. Standardised tests can’t accommodate those differences, whereas teachers can because they’re not trying to generate fine-grain data.

The smarter someone is, the more ambiguity they find in most standard tests because the test writers simply can’t deal with such individuals. They (try to) use phrasing that MOST test-takers will read a certain way. But this derails people who aren’t under that center hump in the curve.

That’s why our Methodology profs told us that creating tests and surveys is the most difficult possible kind of work, and that almost everyone produces own-goal items, sometimes quite often. Even the people who create the NORC surveys, the world’s gold standard, write at least one or two, if not a dozen, bad questions every time. And they routinely draw on all the academic expertise in the US and Canada!

The best testing is a series of subject-matter interviews by people who are subject-matter experts who are good at interviewing. They can get at high-order learning. But machine-scored paper-and-pencil tests? Not worth the effort except perhaps for admission to university, and even there the more exclusive schools rely on the interview.


Since the last Messiah did not deliver and was a fake we need a new Messiah.


The catchwords “left” and “right” no longer have the same reality as they did in the French assembly when advocates of the republic and of monarchy grouped themselves on separate sides of the hall. I guess that shouldn’t come as any surprise. Even the tried-and-true label “socialist” has not had much meaning ever since the German and French socialist parties lined up behind their own warmongers in 1914. Jean Jaures, the socialist leader who opposed war, was conveniently assassinated as his colleagues set to work selling out the workers. Francois Hollande is only following in their sell-out tradition by backing US imperial ventures to the hilt.

The so-called “right” in the. U.S. is as apt to advocate policies that might benefit workers, as the “left,” but only by accident. (Most confederate flag-wavers oppose federal eduction policies of all kinds, from integration to testing)

This is not to say that a new form of worker-based politics cannot emerge, but only outside of the existing political parties, all of whom are beholden to big money. The Greens offer a framework for such organization, and the tiny IWW has done some heroic organizing among retail and fast food workers. But let’s stop being surprised when Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden et al turn out to be fakes.


You already used the “blinkered, binary tribalist” line to impress people with your intellectual prowess. Time to consult your psyops manual again.