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Opting Out

What to make of recent events in Colorado, where thousands of high school seniors refused to take a state-mandated standardized test? Is this a harbinger of things to come, an American version of “Arab Spring,” or was it an isolated incident with slight significance beyond the Rocky Mountain State?

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How Much Do We Test?

The results of our survey are beginning to come in. In hopes of encouraging more superintendents and school boards to provide data, I offer this early report, with the caveat that it is based on information from a handful of the nation’s 14,000 school districts.

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Angry About Drag Racing, Town Bans Jaywalking

Bizarro, Nevada, October 1–In a powerful response to hordes of young adults using Main Street for drag races “day and night,” an angry City Council voted to impose $250 fines and 30-day jail terms for jaywalking. “These damn hot rodders are endangering our citizens, and the only way to stop them is to keep our citizens out of the streets.”

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A Teacher Speaks Out

How do classroom teachers feel about standardized, machine-scored testing? Below is a letter from a young classroom teacher.

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Mistreating Teachers and Students in the Name of Higher Test Scores

A few days ago I received a letter from an experienced teacher in an eastern state that recalled Yogi Berra’s observation, “Deja vu all over again.” Her story brought to mind the treatment that caused my older daughter, a talented teacher, to leave the profession, and it makes me grieve for students, teachers and the institution of public education.

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The Missing Memo

What follows is the story of a missing memo, numerous attempts to unearth it using the Freedom of Information Act, confidential sources, apparently lost email, and new questions about Michelle Rhee’s decision not to investigate widespread erasures on an important standardized test during her first year in Washington, DC.

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Meet Adell Cothorne

Adell Cothorne, the former DC principal who appears in our Frontline film, “The Education of Michelle Rhee,” was one of the few educators willing to speak on the record about the widespread erasures during Michelle Rhee’s tenure – and what she has to say is important.

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