Tag Archives: AngelaPont

NH Parents Say NO To Psychological Profiling Their Children In School

Since this is all part of the Common Core reform agenda, it’s important that parents speak up. This is an informed parent in Portsmouth who has taken the time to educate herself and let other parents know what is going on in their public schools.

Posted May. 16, 2016 at 2:01 AM (Seacoastonline.com)

May 13 — To the Editor:

SETRA is a proposed reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act, which set up government agencies and funding to conduct education research. If SETRA passes, as written, it will allow the federal government to expand psychological profiling of our children. Section 132 of SETRA expands authorized research to include “research on social and emotional learning (SEL).” SEL is defined as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.” All of this is proposed under the guise of improving educational outcomes.

How can one objectively measure and report on social and emotional skills? How is this data extracted, who gets to see the results and how is it used? How can such data be protected? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has been weakened to allow third-party vendors to access private information from schools without parental consent, so it is no longer a safeguard. Will parents be able to opt their children out of these psychological studies? More importantly, who decides what the necessary skills and attitudes are to manage emotions? Who sets the parameters for what a positive relationship looks like? Our schools are not qualified or licensed to conduct psychological studies on our children nor do they operate under the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.”

Sadly, New Hampshire is already attempting to measure SEL through what is referred to as Work Study Practices (WSP). On the N.H. education website WSP is defined as “behavioral qualities or habits of mind that students need to be successful in college, career, and life.” Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) is a new assessment mechanism that is being piloted in various school districts around New Hampshire. PACE will measure Work Study Practices or Social Emotional Learning through what is called “Performance Tasks.”

How will our children be “graded” on social and emotional skills? Will our children be held back if they do not display the federal/state “standards” of social and emotional behaviors or the “government approved” attitudes? It is important for parents to ask to see the actual tests such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment, PACE, or The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) so they can see the types of questions being asked and how their children have responded. These tests are supposed to be academic achievement tests yet psychological questions are embedded in these assessments to measure SEL. In the New York Times article below it states that the NAEP will start testing for SEL next year.

We can all agree that it is important for students to respect each other and for teachers to give encouragement where needed to help our children achieve their goals. Social and Emotional Learning delves into areas of a child’s development that should be the responsibility of parents and families. Our children are not guinea pigs and the public schools should not be used as psychological laboratories providing data for government and corporate interests.

For more information on SETRA and SEL see the links below. Ask your congressional representatives more about SETRA and, if you are so inclined, urge them to protect our children and vote No.

https://americanprinciplesproject.org/education/mcgroarty-and-robbins-why-does-your-congressman-want-to-psychologically-profile-your-children/

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/us/testing-for-joy-and-grit-schools-nationwide-push-to-measure-students-emotional-skills.html?r=0

Angela Pont
Portsmouth

More Teaching, Less Testing Please!

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: MORE TEACHING, LESS TESTING PLEASE!

It astonishes me how much standardized testing our children are being subjected to in schools today. We have the NECAPS, NWEA, NAEP, ACT, ACT ASPIRE, and now the Smarter Balanced Assessment Tests (SBAT). Do these tests accurately measure our children’s academic knowledge and help to improve education or are they mostly used for accountability for Federal and State funding, teacher evaluation and data mining?

Even before the first SBAT has been administered in NH, the State Dept. of Ed (DOE) is working on yet another assessment mechanism called PACE (Performance Assessment of Competency Education). The details about this program can be found on the Ed NH.Gov website. These tests are supposed to be locally created but if you read closely, they are linked to the achievement level descriptors of the SBAT and need State DOE validation. If PACE is locally controlled, why does it need to be included in NH’s No Child Left Behind waiver application that is to be submitted to the Federal Government by March 31st 2015 and why hasn’t the public had a chance to weigh in? Why are the tests given by our teachers throughout the year based on their lesson plans not enough to evaluate our children’s success?

Maggie Hassan issued a press release dated March 5, 2015 regarding the “Federal Approval of NH’s pilot of PACE. In it, Scott Marion, Director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments and Rye School Board member, who has been working on PACE with the NH DOE, said “the PACE competency-based education system provides closer monitoring of each individual student than standardized-tests do and provides the results quickly enough to actually help to improve teaching”. This would seem to mean that the Smarter Balanced tests, on which we have spent millions of tax dollars along with countless classroom prep hours, do not improve education!

PACE also attempts to measure student’s attitudes, behaviors, and dispositions through what the State calls “Work Study Practices” using “performance tasks”. The NH DOE also promised to test for dispositions in the renewal of the Federal No Child Left Behind Waiver. By NH State law, statewide assessments are supposed to measure academic knowledge not a child’s psychological makeup.

Parents around the state and country are opting out of SBAT, and that is a problem for the Educational Industrial Complex. Is the NH DOE now creating a high-stakes system for children? If parents find the assessments inappropriate or the material included objectionable, will they find it difficult to refuse PACE because student’s grades and promotions are now tied to these Common Core aligned assessments? Parents have the Constitutional right to direct the education of their children.

Ask the NH DOE about PACE. Find out what promises they are are making to the Federal Government in the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Waiver and how it will affect NH students and teachers. We must insist that parents and citizens be informed and included in the conversation before these initiatives are adopted!
Shouldn’t we be investing more of our time and tax dollars on teaching and less on testing?

Angela Pont
Portsmouth, NH

Don’t label those who oppose Common Core

Scott Marion makes his living off of the over testing of our children in public schools.  His recent letter endorsing Gov. Hassan should come as no surprise since under her tenure, schools are becoming even more damaged by the over-testing with flawed assessments.  Below is a reply to Marion’s letter

With permission to post from the author………….

Don’t label those who oppose Common Core 

October 29, 2014 – 2:01 AM

 

Oct. 24 — To the Editor:

Scott Marion’s recent condescending letter to the editor chastising the Herald reporter about her article on the Common Core event in Maine is not surprising. He wrote another letter in which he praises Maggie Hassan for supporting the new “rigorous” standards and attacks Walt Havenstein and his “tea party supporters” as being opposed to high standards.

Mr. Marion should stop trying to label those who oppose Common Core. There are concerned citizens from across the political spectrum who oppose these arguably unproven standards and the excessive high-stakes testing that is associated with them. Perhaps people are concerned about these standards because of faults in the standards themselves and the fact that they are, in many respects, developmentally inappropriate. Can Mr. Marion provide any evidence that these standards will do what they propose or is this just another experiment on our children?

The opposition consists mostly of parents, teachers and teachers unions who are concerned about what is best for their kids. Parents were not informed of or included in the process to adopt Common Core. Teachers are being unfairly evaluated with these inappropriate and invalid assessments and are spending so much of their classroom time and resources preparing children for tests rather than teaching.

The big proponents of Common Core are the Federal Department of Education; Bill Gates and the organizations that received money from him to support it; Pearson, a multi billion dollar global testing and textbook company, that received the $1billion dollar contract for the PARCC assessment; and other corporations who want a piece of the public education pie.

So it is not surprising that Scott Marion would defend Common Core and these high-stakes tests since he works for the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc. which “works with states and other educational agencies to design and implement effective assessment and accountability policies and programs”.

Angela Pont

Portsmouth