I just read the Sun-Times article about my blog on the PARCC. First, I am not in line with being portrayed as an “activist” principal. I am a principal who publicly voices my professional knowledge in regard to education policy that affects our schools. I’m no more an activist principal than the person who wrote the story is an activist reporter.
There were two parts to my blog post. The first was related to my support of the Blaine PTA opt out. It was made up of my letter to parents–clearly stating that this opt out is a parent initiative and that I support it. It also clearly stated that all parent decisions—either way—would be respected.
The second part was about my own professional beliefs in regard to testing. This article took one analogy in my statement, ignored the rest–especially the content of my original letter–and made it look like we are attempting to coerce people into opting out, when our communications with parents–as demonstrated in the letter–clearly indicate the opposite.
The article also said I “ramped up” my “rhetoric” when I reported 55 percent had opted out. This was not ramping up rhetoric. It was a direct answer to a simple question the reporter asked me over the phone. She asked me how many opted out, and I gave her our totals. How that became “ramping up rhetoric” is beyond me.
The article is an inaccurate portrayal of the reality of what’s happening in our school. The omission of anything having to do with the original letter adds to the misrepresentation. I have developed great respect for the work of this particular reporter over the years, and am not certain how she came to understand the story in the manner it was portrayed. I believe it was an honest mistake. However, it was indeed a mistake.
Fortunately, the article contains a link to the original post. I encourage everyone to just read it for themselves.
This small side issue has the potential to take away from the far more important big picture the post attempts to address. In the spirit of remaining focused on that big picture I offer what I believe is one of the most important sections of the post:
Over-testing has also given politicians a way to blame public schools for things that are clearly a result of the actions and inactions of the failed politicians themselves. When students in a low-income neighborhood show up on Day One of kindergarten three years behind their counterparts in a high-income community, that is not the result of the failure of public schools; it is the result of failed public policies; it is a result of a political system that has failed to deliver critical human services to the people who need them most. From Rahm Emanuel to most local alderman, our city’s politicians have failed low-income children from conception to kindergarten, and they use attainment based test scores to chastise public schools for picking up the pieces of their monumental failures.
So no. We do not need to get used to this. We need to stop this.