The irrelevance and slow death spiral of DFER was seen by all last week when DFER New York director Nicole Brisbane was quoted in the Journal News as saying;
"Schools are one of the biggest differentiators of value in the suburbs. How valuable will a house be in Scarsdale when it isn't clear that Scarsdale schools are doing any better than the rest of Westchester or even the state? Opting out of tests only robs parents of that crucial data,"
It really is quite simple. Look at SAT scores. Number of students going on to 4 year colleges. Number of students going to Ivy League colleges. Visit the school. Ask neighbors. Graduation rates. Teacher turnover. Home values. Really, there are so many reasons. In fact Nicole fails to grasp what did Scarsdale do before there were high stakes exams?
But please, don't listen to Nicole. Nicole claims she was somewhat misquoted and only using Scarsdale as an example, that her real thoughts were in a blog post on DFER that she had written ;
"Part of the draw of the suburbs is the high performance of local schools. How will suburban communities maintain their draw if there isn’t a measure of how the schools are actually doing in comparison to those across the state?"
Nicole, see above. But we here at SBSB suggest to Nicole that if she is really concerned about how others can measure up to one another to take Chevy Chase's advice.
Nicole does decide to deride the parents of not only Scarsdale, but of all affluent communities as well when she says on the DFER blog;
"The same parents are opting-in for other standardized tests like the ACT (not mandatory), the SAT (also not mandatory) and the Specialized High School Admissions Test (also not mandatory but absolutely necessary if you want your kid to go to a “choice” high school in New York City). Affluent parents aren’t opting out of optional tests, so why opt out of the state exams? Maybe it’s because the results aren’t what they wanted to hear."
See Nicole does not understand something here (And of course we can go into the the multitude of flaws with testing but we shan't tonight). These tests are a choice one makes for their child. These tests are not forced upon parents by a bully governor, a clueless chancellor of the Regents, or a faceless bureaucrat. The parents have ownership of their child's education. Such as my son made a choice to continue his Jewish education after his bar mitzvah after telling me and my wife for years he will stop once he became a bar mitzvah. HE HAD OWNERSHIP!
However after the missed opportunity at a testing analogy Nicole decided that it would be best to charm the parents of Scarsdale and all affluent communities by sharing;
"That their kids, or their kid’s teacher or their beloved (Emphasis by The Crack Team) neighborhood school isn’t performing as well as they expected."What Nicole fails to realize, as the Journal News as reported, is that the vast majority of affluent communities (For this post will use Westchester County), Scarsdale, Chappaqua, Irvington, Bronxville, Ardsley, had quite low opt out numbers. WAY TO WIN OVER PARENTS NICOLE! KUDOS!
If you are left wondering who is this expert in education that is gracing the pages of this award winning blog we will share what The Crack Team has learned.
Nicole Brisbane is a former teacher, now a lawyer, and shared with The Crack Team that she was a reading specialist for 5 years at Allapattah Middle School in Miami.
Oddly, according to this link she only taught two years at Allapattah before entering law school. Only two years? Well, if you read the headline of that link she was with Teach for America.
So how can we believe anything she says, even when she told The Crack Team she won Rookie Teacher of the Year at Allapattah and in fact raised the grade level of her students (Who were 4 grades behind at the time of her ascension at Allapattah 2.5 grades in the very short time she was there?
We can't believe her even though we requested several times for some kind of verification or conformation to her outstanding teaching and her award. Is her story truth or fiction?
But according to Nicole, the affluent, or shall we stray into reality, the "regular people", or strating from the test because,
"The people who are opting out of tests are largely those who already feel like their child has access to a high-quality education, and are doing so in a way that directly harms poor and minority students throughout New York. We should be supporting students and teachers throughout New York, whether they are in Scarsdale or the Bronx, and making sure all students have a fair shot at a quality education. Rather than maintain the status quo where wealth determines a quality education, data can and should highlight where the gaps are so we can invest in schools that need it the most. High property values shouldn't determine the quality of education for the neighborhood--and the way we are going to change that is through access to data that will allow us to make investments where they are needed"And she shares some links here, and here. Big deal. Hey Nicole, let's see how the students from Success flame out when they hit college, much the way they flamed out on tests for the NYC specialized high schools.
Nicole this is why the opt out movement is picking up steam. We are fed up. We are fed up with Albany and Washington DC deciding what is best for our children and our school districts. We are fed up with millions going to testing companies like Pearson. We are fed up seeing our babies go through 8 hours of testing when a bar exam is only 3 hours. We are fed up seeing our children stress out. We are fed up with the narrowed curriculum. We are fed up with teaching to the tests. We are fed up with our narrowed curriculum. We are fed up with Common Core. We are fed up with a governor that pockets $4.8 million from DFER and others like it instead of fixing our poverty and having the state pay its fair share to ALL school districts.
Mostly we are fed up with people of your ilk. You and yours are the modern day carpetbaggers, just this time it is education that you and yours needs to control. You truly believe that since you taught for two years this gives you some kind of street cred when it comes to education and the welfare of our children. You feel that you must share "stories" on how you raised students 2.5 grades and were Rookie of the Year. Guess what? Joe Charboneau was AL Rookie of the Year in 1980. What did it mean in the long run? Nothing. At least Charboneau can prove he was ROY.
Put your skills to good use. Sell Amway.