As a way of both preparing for my last three weeks of K-12 teaching and reminding myself why it’s my last three weeks of K-12 teaching, I am spending a fine cloudy Fall Sunday morning staring at:
In case you haven’t stared at the above, it’s the “expanded opportunities” made available for states this year when purchasing PARCC testing materials. It’s not visually arresting stuff, nothing like any of the recent horrific videos available on a number of horrific topics, education included. The graphic above will not “go viral” and lead to President Anybody declaring anything. It’s just a boring table with a few bullets, of the non-video violence type, and mentions of “tiers,” “item bank” and other terms sure to put just about anyone to sleep.
All of which is probably the number one reason Hanna Skandera still has her job, if you ask me.
Why do I REALLY want you to ask me that question? Because if you look, really look, at the above as part of a delicious day-before-going-back-to-teaching Sunday breakfast, you might conclude along with me that PARCC isn’t long for this world and Ms. Skandera is gonna be out of at least one of her jobs (Shilling for PARCC; NM Education Secretary) in the not-too-distant future. What you might need is some annotations to weed through the sales verbiage. Here is a humbly submitted partial list of annotations:
- “Expanded Opportunities” really means: “We give up on the whole ‘national test’ idea and won’t you just buy some PARCC-flavored shit, please, won’t ya, pleezeeeee!?!”
- “‘State-customized’ PARCC assessment” means exactly what you think it means. See above bullet.
- “Option to build on core PARCC blueprint” means we bolded this to further emphasize our Wizard of Oz pretending that “core PARCC blueprint” means anything. Also “build” here means “jack all to Hell…we don’t care.“
- “States can make comparability claims on the entire test” means “States can make claims because we say so, despite the fact that it’s delusional to even consider the idea that all these different tests will be at all comparable.”
- “(Note: Tier 1B states must adhere to Tier 1A procedures…)” actually means “We just put this parenthetical in here to give everyone the impression we know what the Hell we’re talking about.”
- “Autonomy to procure vendor” under “Tier 1 ‘Complete Test Form'” means “You can buy any test, anywhere, from anybody (i.e., not Pearson) and call it ‘PARCC,’ just please call it PARCC, please, pretty please!”
- “Ability to purchase questions as coherent sets of test content” means, “again we bolded part of this to add emphasis to something we all know isn’t true, in this case pretending that PARCC has ever been ‘coherent’ and our telling you to make it ‘coherent’ in such a bolded fashion is both fatuous sales talk and a word we can use in bullshitting the press into believing all this has any statistical validity whatsoever.”
- “Ability to make comparison claims” under “Tier 2A” versus “Would not be designed to…” under “Tier 2B” obviously means “if you buy from Pearson you get to make disingenuous claims of comparability, but only if you buy from Pearson.”
Hopefully these humbly submitted annotations add a bit of understanding to the graphic above. But what of that talk above about Hanna Skandera and her jobs? Well, it’s my naive and unprovable position that if the graphic above somehow “went viral” and 100% of New Mexicans read and understood the graphic above, along with a bit of research into all the times Ms. Skandera has been quoted in her role as Chief Salesperson for PARCC/Pearson, that darn close to 100% of New Mexicans would see that: A. PARCC is set to be even more of a sham in 2016 than it was this past school year; B. Hanna Skandera should spend a great deal more time helping her staff do what they’ve been hired to do (e.g., fund Special Education properly, calculate teacher evaluations correctly, set cut scores for EOC tests, etc.) and a great deal less time shilling for PARCC/Pearson.
- The graphic above is a sales pitch purporting to be an educational tool.
- So is Hanna Skandera.
Now we just need some viral video to book-end these two sentences. Maybe we could also add a Grumpy Cat meme with “coherent sets of test content” and other phrases liberally sprinkled. I’ll leave that stuff to our social media director. I gotta go (have the pleasure to) teach class for three more weeks. Wish me luck in “building on the core PARCC blueprint.”