ESSA. A pig in a poke.


Even though I am no longer a member of the IEA, NEA or NEA Retired, I still get their mail and email.

That’s okay. The Chicago Tribune still shows up on my porch even though I cancelled my subscription ten years ago.

This weekend I received an email from NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia on the progress of ESSA testing implementation. The NEA sits on the committee.

Rarely have I read something written so long which says so little. It seems the committee agreed on some things and disagreed on other things. Thanks for the update, Lily.

“We have to get this right. We need to work on real education solutions. We have to collaborate with key stakeholders to raise our voice to deliver on the promise of ESSA and to provide opportunity for all students,” say Eskelsen Garcia.

In this case, collaboration means not knowing anything. For NEA and AFT leaders, sitting at the table means they’re at the table. Not we’re at the table. Or at least we’re not at the adult’s table. We’re at the kids table and we get to hear on a need to know basis. We know the adults are whispering about something. We’re pretty sure it has to do with us.

My parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents used to do it in Yiddish.

There was talk of less testing, but it doesn’t seem like it.

There was talk that they would no longer link teacher evaluation to measures of student performance. But in Illinois, the law continues to require it, thanks to statutes actually written with the IEA at the table.

There continues to be a requirement of 95%  state-wide participation in PARCC or PARCC-like assessments.

There is a 1% cap of the number of Special Education students who can be receive testing waivers. Good luck if our state has more than 1%.

More on this last issue in a later post.

The NEA called on its members to write Congress and demand support for ESSA for a year before it was passed. They promised it would be teacher-driven.

Instead it will drive teachers crazy.

Members had no clue what was in it.

The IEA gave Republican Senator Mark Kirk an “A” grade and the only reason they gave was that he voted for ESSA.

It was always a pig in a poke.

That’s what we bought and that’s what we still have.


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