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WARNING - Parents of High School Students - Especially Juniors - Beware!

by: ctblogger

Thu Oct 01, 2015 at 12:53:52 PM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Starting in March 2016, students taking the SAT College Admission Exam will be given the NEW Common Core aligned SAT test rather than the version that students have been taking over the years.

David Coleman, who was the primary "author" of the Common Core, is now the President of the College Board, the organization that develops and overseas the SAT.  Last Spring, Coleman announced that a new SAT would be introduced in 2016.  According to Coleman and the College Board,

"The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that's fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century."

In other words, according to this gigantic standardized testing company that collects hundreds of millions of dollars a year from students, parents, schools, school districts and state and local governments, getting a high score on the SAT is the key to getting into and paying for college.

What Coleman and the Education Reform Industry is not telling parents is that the NEW Common Core aligned SAT, like the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium SBAC test and other Common Core Testing schemes will include content that most students have not been taught.

The truth is that many students who take the NEW SAT may be stunned when they receive SAT scores that are far lower than they would have otherwise expected.

The impact could be will be especially significant and unfair for this year's high school juniors who are taking the SAT's this spring as part of their college application process.


Hopefully parents of this year's high school juniors have already heard the news from their high school's guidance department, but according to the guidance counselors at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Connecticut;

"Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT."

While the existing SAT has more than its share of problems, experts are reporting that by aligning the NEW SAT to the so-called Common Core standards, students will need to have successfully completed Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, as well as Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry or Probability and Statistics in order to get a co-called "college ready" score on the math portion of the new SAT standardized test.

However, as noted, many, if not most, high school juniors will not have taken the "advanced courses" that are needed in order to get a higher school on the NEW SAT.

While some high students are provided the opportunity to take advanced math course, the State of Connecticut requirement that students even have four years of math doesn't take effect until the graduating class of 2018, ensuring that many students who graduate in 2016 and 2017 don't have the necessary background to "succeed" on the NEW SAT and those graduating in 2018 and beyond may have four years of math, but may not have been taught the concepts needed to successfully take the NEW SAT.

The rush to a Test and Punish system of public education is putting today's students at risk and policymakers in Connecticut and across the country are making things far worse, not better, as the Corporate Education Reform Industry laughs all the way to the bank.

In states like Florida and Texas, once proponents of the Common Core, governors and legislatures are actually moving in exactly the opposite direction by eliminating the requirement that students even have to take Algebra 2, let alone study more advanced math courses, in order meet graduate requirements.

While Connecticut is moving toward the requirement that students take four years of math, Governor Dannel Malloy's uncompromising support for the Common Core and Common Core Testing scheme is actually undermining public schools students who are caught during the "transition" to the higher standards.

Just yesterday Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education and a handful of key legislators held a press conference at a West Hartford High School to congratulate themselves on promoting a testing system that will actually hurt many Connecticut students.

Governor Malloy's press release read;

"Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined State Department of Education (SDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell, State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), and State Representative Andy Fleischmann (D-West Hartford) at Conard High School in West Hartford, where they highlighted the state's plan to replace the 11th Grade Smarter Balance Assessment - or SBAC exam - with the SAT later this school year.  This plan represents an important milestone in Governor Malloy's commitment to reduce the amount of standardized testing for public high school students and ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers."

The notion that Dannel Malloy, a champion of the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme is committed to reducing the amount of standardized testing for public school students is utterly absurd.

But equally distressing is the fact Malloy and his State Department of Education, along with the help of the Connecticut General Assembly are seeking to force all Connecticut 11th graders to take the NEW, untested and unproven SAT that, like the SBAC Test, is designed to fail huge numbers of Connecticut students.

What isn't clear is whether their headlong rush to mandate the use of the NEW SAT is due to their ignorance, their desire to divert scarce public funds to massive education testing and corporate education reform companies or their complete unwillingness to understand how to help, not hurt, Connecticut's students and parents.

While the NEW SAT will make its appearance in all of Connecticut's high schools in March, the truly unsettling reality is that the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Governor Malloy signed into law a requirement that every high school junior take the NEW SAT next spring and that those students be judged by a test that is being redesigned and aligned to the Common Core, that no one has seen and that will almost certainly test students on content that they haven't even learned.

Furthermore, as result of Governor Malloy's "education reform" initiative, high school teachers in Connecticut will then be "evaluated" on how well their students do on this NEW Common Core aligned SAT.

Early this year, the Atlantic Monthly Magazine highlighted some of the problems with the "NEW" SAT in an article entitled New SAT, New Problems.  The piece focused on the fact that the "NEW" SAT's math section would likely put many students at a significant disadvantage when it comes to getting into college.

Why?  Because, as the magazine reported, the NEW SAT will include a significant amount of content that many students have not learned.

As the Atlantic Monthly reported,

"[I]t's the revision of the math section that could have particularly egregious consequences

The new SAT will focus on fewer types of math than the current version does, sacrificing breadth for depth and testing students on the material the College Board believes to be most essential to "college and career success." That might sound like good idea. But with this change in focus comes a change in question style. And that's problematic.

The new version includes fewer questions that deal simply with 'figures and equations' and far more with topics that many, even most, students have not been properly prepared for."

But despite the very real and extremely serious issues with the NEW SAT, Governor Malloy and his allies celebrated Connecticut's decision to mandate that every student take the NEW SAT and that students and teacher be judged by the results of that test.

Malloy press release yesterday added,

"All children deserve a chance to pursue their dreams, go to college, and compete for the best jobs in a global economy. We are no doubt raising a new bar - graduation rates are at record highs while we're preparing children for the future like never before," Governor Malloy said.  "But we also believe in testing smartly, and mitigating stress among students and parents. That's why we've taken this step, and I would like to thank Senator Bye, Representative Fleischmann, and all those who worked in the House and Senate on this issue.

Beyond the benefits of reducing duplicative testing, the move has an added benefit of leveling the playing field by ensuring those who otherwise might not be able to afford the SAT - the costs for which typically run more than $50 - will not be precluded from taking the exam, which is often requisite for admission to higher education institutions.

"Our job is to make sure all of our students in Connecticut have access to a top-quality education that prepares them for success in college and career.  Tests are an important tool for gauging where we are as a state and where students need additional help to succeed," Commissioner Wentzell said.

"Replacing the Smarter Balanced assessment with the SAT for 11th graders cuts down on the amount of time students spend taking exams and allows high schools to focus on delivering rigorous academic instruction and preparing young people for college.  We thank Governor Malloy, our legislators and educational partners for their leadership and support on this important issue."

"I've heard complaints from many parents and students over the past few years about lost learning time and the impact of too much student testing, especially for 11th-graders, who have some of the heaviest testing burdens with the SBAC, SAT and Advanced Placement exams," Senator Bye said.  "I believe the changes we have instituted will reduce student stress while still providing them with a proven and valuable college-preparation tool."

"Federal requirements created a bottleneck of testing for high school juniors that we are now fixing," State Representative Fleischmann, House co-chair of the Education Committee, said.  "By replacing the 11th Grade SBAC with the new SAT, we not only get rid of a test many students weren't taking seriously - we also make a college entrance exam free for all families.  Students who might not have considered college before will start to do so - while their parents get a break on ever-rising test fees."

As the saying goes, with "friends" like these, Connecticut's public schools students, parents and teachers certainly don't need enemies .... They already have them and they are running Connecticut's State Government.

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Look Out Parents - Malloy's State Dept. of Education is ramping up Pro-Common Core Testing Campaign

by: ctblogger

Wed Sep 30, 2015 at 12:13:29 PM EDT

If you weren't at the "Special" Sherman Board of Education meeting last Thursday you missed the "show."

Big Brother is Watching and Big Brother is not Happy!

As Connecticut is swamped by yet another state budget crisis and Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy unilaterally makes deep cuts to some of State Government's most vital services, the Governor's Education Commissioner is finding the resources to engage in a campaign to persuade parents that the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC testing scheme is good and they should not be opting their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory tests.

Last week began with the Connecticut State Department of Education's Deputy Commissioner, Ellen Cohn, telling school superintendents that "correction action plans" will be implemented in towns where too many parents opted their children out the tests and that the Malloy administration would be mobilizing to "help educate" parents and communities where parents had stood up against the SBAC testing program.

Later in the week, Malloy's Commissioner of Education, Diane Wentzell, focused the state's bullseye on the small town of Sherman, Connecticut with its 380 or so elementary school students.

Although Malloy and the Department of Education spent nearly two years lying and misleading Connecticut parents about their fundamental right to opt their children out of the Common Core SBAC testing madness, nearly half of the students in Sherman's school were opted out of the SBAC testing last spring, making it the elementary school with the highest opt out rates in the state and among Connecticut's 25 top schools when it came to the percent of students being opted out.

The notion that parents understand that Common Core SBAC testing is undermining public education was just too much for the State to handle and last Thursday, after communications that the State Department of Education has yet to release a response to a Freedom of Information request, the Sherman Board of Education held a "special meeting" to "focus solely on a presentation to the Board of Education by our superintendent, Don Fiftal, and a panel of educational experts to provide direct and up-to-date information about the Connecticut Common Core Standards and the SBAC Assessments."

Headlining the panel was Commissioner Dianna Wentzell and the Chief Counsel for the Connecticut Boards of Education and former State Board of Education member, Patrice McCarthy, as well as others.  Wentzell and McCarthy are among the state's strongest proponents of the Common Core, Common Core testing and Governor Malloy's other "education reforms."

The "panel" to "educate" Sherman about the Common Core tests did not include an opponent of the testing mandate and parents and public education advocates from out-of-town were instructed that they were not allowed to speak or ask questions at the "special meeting."

With no mass media coverage of the event in Sherman, Connecticut parents might never have even known about the Malloy's administration growing PR campaign in favor of the SBAC tests, but thankfully a number of public education advocates attended the meeting and in a piece entitled, "A Different Perspective on the 9/24/15 Sherman "Special" BOE Meeting," Jack Bestor, a recently retired and award winning school psychologist who worked for 41 years with students, parents, and teachers in the Westport Public Schools has provided us with a summary of what the authorities said in Sherman last week.

In addition to receiving the CT Association of School Psychologists Life-Time Achievement Award, Jack Bestor has written numerous commentary pieces about the dangers associated with corporate education reform for the CT Mirror, CT Newsjunkie and Wait, What?  Bestor also wrote an opinion piece in the March/April 2014 NASP Communique (the newspaper of the National Association of School Psychologists) entitled: "Common Core Standards Do Not Serve the Educational Needs of Children."

A Different Perspective on the 9/24/15 Sherman "Special" BOE Meeting.  By Jack Bestor

The Sherman BOE did itself and the citizens of Sherman a huge disservice at its "special meeting" on September 24, 2015, to discuss the recent SBAC test results.  In the bucolic atmosphere of this beautiful country town on the western edge of the State, all the Governor's horses and all the Governor's men (and women) assembled to present a one-sided view on the many attributes of the Common Core and the improved new-generation, computer-adaptive SBAC test.  Or, so their propaganda would suggest.

In a highly controlled informational meeting, it was made clear from the beginning that only Sherman residents would be allowed to speak.  As a result, the BOE and public in attendance were presented with lengthy series of misleading statements that were marked by their omissions, partial truths that were delivered with a smile and disarming reassurance.  The State Education Commissioner (Dr. Dianna Wentzell), RÈSC (Regional Educational Service Center) administrator, and an attorney from CABE (CT Association of Boards of Education) - all steadfast promoters of the education reform agenda in CT - were joined on a panel by two district administrators and a classroom teacher, moderated by the district school Superintendent.  Since a large percentage (48% overall, 57% of middle school group, the largest percentage in the State) of Sherman students across this small district refused to take last Spring's SBAC test, it was incumbent on the State Department of Education to convince the parents of these students and the older students themselves that they should comply with federal test accountability requirements.  Their presentation was startlingly disingenuous: never referencing the nationwide controversy associated with this testing, misleading those listening as to transparency of privacy policies, and implying that there could be serious financial consequences for future test refusals.

There's more below the fold...
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1352 words in story)

BREAKING: Finch to endorse Foster today at 3:30

by: ctblogger

Tue Sep 29, 2015 at 13:44:40 PM EDT

UPDATE: Only in Bridgeport has more...

Rather than sitting out the election, the mayor has been calling supporters to express his support for Foster over Democratic nominee Ganim who has been reaching out to Finch political backers as well. An endorsement from the mayor provides fundraising opportunities for Foster against Ganim who should be well financed for November. It could also land Foster boots on the ground in her underdog effort against Ganim.

Good to see that Finch is doing the right thing...for the sake of Bridgeport!
Putting aside their mutual animosity, allies-turned-rivals Mayor Bill Finch and Mary-Jane Foster will unite today in an effort to block disgraced ex-Mayor Joseph Ganim's return to City Hall.

Finch, sources have said, will drop his embattled bid for a third-term and endorse Foster's independent run for his job.
The Finch campaign has scheduled "a major campaign announcement" at 3:30 p.m. at McLevy Green.

"It's my sense enough smart people decided this was the right move for a whole host of reasons," said one Democratic operative who wished to remain anonymous. "There are enough people concerned about the message it would send to have a convicted felon in that office."

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Tuesday roundup

by: ctblogger

Tue Sep 29, 2015 at 10:01:47 AM EDT

The latest.

  • Time for Bill lFinch to stop licking his wounds and get behind Mary-Jane Foster's campaign for mayor of Bridgeport.
    "Mary-Jane's their only hope," said state Rep. Jack Hennessey, D-Bridgeport, a Foster supporter, explaining why the Finch forces would put aside several years of animosity to back her candidacy.

    "I'm thinking like 'Star Wars' - 'Please help us, Obi Wan. You're our only hope,' " Hennessey said. "It's at that level."
    Hennessy, state Sen. Ed Gomes, D-Bridgeport, good-government activist Tom Swan, a veteran of local and statewide campaigns, and other members of Foster's inner circle could be seen huddling with the candidate at her headquarters Monday night.

    On the sidewalk outside, Richard Donaldson, a Foster campaign volunteer, argued that Finch could help his legacy by backing his opponent for the sake of Bridgeport.

    "He can still serve the city by letting them know he cares enough to support Mary-Jane," Donaldson said. "People might have a different view of him - going out, he wasn't crashing in disgrace."

  • Honestly...who cares?
    CNBC host and conservative commentator Larry Kudlow denied on Monday that he has decided to run against Sen. Richard Blumenthal, saying he is still mulling over whether he will challenge the popular Connecticut Democrat.

    In a tweet, Kudlow said a story in the New York Post  that said he had made up his mind was "not accurate."

    "I have not made any final decision," Kudlow said.

  • House Speaker Sharkey say "no" to special session.
    House Speaker Brendan Sharkey on Monday formally rejected a call by Republican lawmakers for a special legislative session to rescind Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's emergency budget reductions.

    Sharkey, a Democrat from Hamden, said a special session would be "not responsible."

    GOP lawmakers, led by Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano of North Haven, called for a special session to allow lawmakers to scale back Malloy's controversial cuts, including eliminating $63.4 million in Medicaid payments to the state's hospitals.

    "While I appreciate the fact that we seem to be in agreement in our opposition to the governor's rescissions that include cuts to Connecticut's hospitals, your proposed solution to that problem--a special session--is not responsible,'' Sharkey said in a letter to Fasano.

  • Kevin Rennie provides a glimpse into of the effectiveness of Gov. Malloy's bully tactics.
    Governor Dannel P. Malloy's baffling Medicaid cuts are causing revelations, confusion, and strife throughout the state's far-flung and complex healthcare system. ECHN head Peter Karl asked his friends last week at AFT (which represents some of the state's unionized nurses) to condemn the cuts and their impact on Manchester Memorial Hospital and Rockville Hospital. An internal debate ensued.

    Here's the internal analysis provided by influential union lobbyist Jennifer Berigan  to AFT colleagues in a September 22nd email:

    If we take a stand against these cuts for ECHN, that would directly contradict the position we took last nighr on these cuts for Windham.

    We should also consider that publicly opposing the cuts could cause problems with our relationship with the Governor.  He hates Peter Karl and if we side with Karl on this issue, we could create a lot more drama for ourselves and our members on just about anything, not just hospital funding. He is very thin skinned and he holds grudges. It's that simple.

    We have also been railing against hospital CEO compensation.  Opposing cuts may also contradict that position.  I understand that Karl is on the lower end of that compensation scale, but we have to be consistent across the state.

    If a public statement is preferred I would suggest that it be very broad and mild - we are concerned about how these cuts may impact patient care and those who provide it.

    Jennifer Berigan, AFT Connecticut

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4

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Is it safe to say that Foster is back in the race?

by: ctblogger

Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 14:04:35 PM EDT

Any questions regarding whether or not Mary-Jane Foster would get back into the race for Mayor in Bridgeport was answered over the last couple of days.

First was Foster's post on Friday to her supporters on Facebook...

Dear Friends,

Many thanks for your calls, texts and emails! The very positive response to continuing my run for mayor has been overwhelming. I am working at assembling all the resources I will need to guide me on a path to victory in November.

Please stay tuned as I move forward toward a Bridgeport we can all be proud of. Thank you so much for your continued support and consideration.

Have a great weekend,


...and yesterday, Foster's campaign announced that a rally to be held on Wednesday evening.
Folks, please join us at our rally this coming Wednesday, September 30th! You can find us at 300 Fairfield Avenue, festivities will begin around 6PM. Contact my Campaign Coordinator, Gage Frank at (203) 522-7077 if you have any questions! #FosterForBridgeport

I think it's safe to say that Foster is back in the race...we'll know for sure on Wednesday.
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What part of NO does Bill Finch not understand?

by: ctblogger

Fri Sep 25, 2015 at 16:50:57 PM EDT

Earth to Bill Finch: Listen cloesly.


"I strongly support minor party access to the ballot and new participation in the electoral process.  However, our election laws exist to ensure a fair and level playing field for all parties and candidates.  The Job Creation party designation committee filed papers to run a petitioning candidate for Mayor of Bridgeport, but they never submitted any document endorsing a candidate for that office.  State election law clearly states that in order to get a candidate on the ballot, a petitioning minor party must submit a letter of endorsement by the statutorily mandated deadline.  In 2015, the minor party endorsement deadline was Tuesday September 2nd at 4:00 p.m.  No statement of endorsement was submitted to our office by the Job Creation party designation committee by that deadline.  Because of this, state law forbids my office from approving any petitioning candidate from that group.  None of the ensuing circumstances that have taken place since that deadline passed have changed that determination made by my office.  Ultimately, the Secretary of the State's office is bound to follow the law as written and unfortunately we have no legal authority to grant any exceptions."

Hopefully Finch will see the wrting on the wall, show some class, walk away gracefully, and endorse Mary-Jane Foster for Mayor.
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