Stiff Necks&Cruel Intentions

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“UPDATE” #2 coming soon!

“UPDATE” #1
4 months ago this was the sequel to my blog post “Wisdom Put On Hold.” We saw the writing on the wall that their were those in certain positions that had a agenda. It was an agenda of their making! No matter the cost (as long as it wasn’t theirs) they would move full speed ahead just like they had for the past several years. Seeing this unfold during this time….Agents of Education across this State decided that the unwise decisions of a few could not and would not continue without the Light of Education being shown on the Stiff Necks and cruel intentions of those in charge. No more passes and no more darkness. The students, teachers, districts and the people of Oklahoma deserve better!
Below is the earlier blog:

In an earlier blog titled “wisdom put on hold” I wrote about a meeting(s) I had with several legislators during a time frame that span 5-7 years about the very thing we are facing now. As a matter of fact their are agents still among us that were part of those
meetings. In many of those meetings we urged the legislators to not reduce taxes and to take a long hard look at the tax incentives. A few of us who had been in the business awhile knew that legislators reliance on oil as the revenue generator was a high risk investment.  That investment is of course our students, roads, prisons and many other State funded entities.  We also knew that it was only a matter of time. We tried to tell them to find other ways to invest in the states economy. But they just wouldn’t listen. When we realized that they weren’t going to budge in their ideaology. One of the last things we said to them was don’t come to us years from now and want to consolidate schools and cut budgets saying the economy left us no choice. The truth is, you did have a choice! Year after year while the oil prices were up you found reasons to not fund pay raises or fund education back anywhere near 2008. No you made excuses! As late as last year,meaning 3 months ago you were urged to put a hold on the tax cut that cost nearly $150M. You see, I believe it was your plan from the start! Starve those schools out! Cut the number of districts while putting money in your friends pockets.  Conspiracy theory….. more like conspiracy fact to me. Add ESA’s to the drainage and you get more devastation.  But wait!  Not all legislators and I will say most dont feel the way a few, do. They just were not given the proper time to review the legislation before voting. That needs to change. When in doubt vote NO! Myself along with other Agents of Education are willing to help where we can. Please except that help. One way or another we are all in this together. Our students deserve the best we can give not the watered down version of education.  Stop the ESA’s. Its a nail in the coffin for many. Forget about consolidation and trust the experts to educate. We want to trust you….. so let us! We are United As ONE! Things can happen when the Agents of Education come calling…

“The Thief of Joy” standardized test!

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Learning From Lyrics
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
By Johnathan Chase
April 16, 2016

“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”

~ John F. Kennedy

Learning is about discovering your purpose and passion in life. Schools should provide diverse pathways and opportunities for students to develop and unleash their special abilities and unique talents…not standardize them.

The school experience should be about ENCOURAGING and SUPPORTING students in their pursuit of  diverse INTERESTS and personal ASPIRATIONS instead of RATING and SORTING students according to how well they master a set of common learning STANDARDS and one size fits all EXPECTATIONS.

Education reformers are more concerned with comparing how students perform on a standardized math and reading test than actually preparing our students for lifelong learning and providing a diversity of  experiences so that every child has the opportunity to achieve their cognitive, creative, kinesthetic, musical, linguistic, intrapersonal, naturalistic, interpersonal, potential.

Testing and training students to meet common standards does not prepare them for the uncommon challenges of living and lifelong learning.

“All students should master a verifiable set of skills, but not necessarily the same skills. High schools fail so many kids partly because educators can’t get free of the notion that all students — regardless of their career aspirations — need the same basic preparation.

As states pile on academic courses, they give less attention to the arts and downplay career and technical education to make way for a double portion of math.Maintaining our one-size-fits-all approach will hurt many of the kids we are trying most to help.

Maybe the approach will just lead to another unmet education goal. But it won’t resolve the already high rate at which students drop out or graduate without the skills and social behaviors required for career success.”

Robert Lerman, “Are College and Career Skills Really the Same?” – The Business Desk / PBS NewsHour

It is well documented that students learn differently and they most certainly test differently. Teachers honor and respect the cognitive, social, and emotional differences in their students by differentiating instruction and that same approach should be applied to testing students.

Considering the diversity of student skills and abilities represented in our classrooms, it is foolish to define and predict student success in life based on a narrow and shallow set of testable math and reading skills.

A standardized test does not measure the diverse skills and cognitive abilities of our students in a reliable or respectful way.

A standardized test does not provide a reliable or comprehensive measure of student learning or the skill level they have attained. A standardized test measures a students ability to apply the testable skills he or she has learned at a particular moment in time and in a standardized way.

The fact that a student does not demonstrate the ability to properly apply a numeracy or literacy skill during the administration of a standardized test is not evidence or proof that the students has not acquired that skill.

A standardized test may reveal how a student performs at a moment in time, but it cannot determine and tell you why this happened or predict how the student will perform in the future.

There are so many factors and variables beyond the classroom that impact student performance on a standardized test that is misleading and false to claim that student scores are a reliable means of predicting “college readiness” or measuring teacher quality.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

~ Peter Drucker

A standardized  test does not provide meaningful information to support and improve student learning because the score only reveals what questions the student answered wrong, but not the reason why.

It would be foolish for a teacher to adjust or modify instructional practices based on a standardized test score when the new group of students they teach the following year have different cognitive abilities and disabilities.

The real time data that is generated by informal and formative classroom assessment ( informal + formative = informative) is the gold standard of effective student-centered classroom instruction, while the data generated by standardized and summative testing is about as useful and valuable as “fool’s gold”.

“Effective” teachers understand that actionable and meaningful feedback is essential to guide and support student learning, and this data should be provided “in the moment” while the student is actively engaged in a learning process.

Teachers should strive to meet the individual needs of their students, not the “needs” of standards or tests. There should be high academic expectations for all students, but to expect everyone, regardless of ability and disability, to meet those standards simultaneously and in the same way, is silly and inherently unfair.

Governments create an intolerable situation when they couple standardized tests with national standards and then impose sanctions or “high stakes” on schools and teachers when their students do not meet these standards on time and in a synchronized way.

Education reform programs, policies, and practices would certainly benefit from a lot more common sense, and a lot less Common Core.

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

~ Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

There appears to have been a data-driven hijacking of the Common Core Standards.

The use of standardized tests to compare student performance devalues and ignores the most vibrant and vigorous components of the standards and abandons the promise of “deeper learning” which often leads to classroom instruction that is primarily test-centered rather than student-centered.

Standardized  tests measure only specialized and discrete skills called for in the Commmon Core but they are not a comprehensive ruler or appropriate metric for measuring student agency and a wide array of essential non-cognitive skills.

The unfortunate decision to use standardized tests to evaluate student mastery AND teacher quality means classroom instruction is focused primarily on rigorous and standardized lessons that prepare students for assessments at a time when many would be better served by vigorous and nonroutine experiences helping them learn how to properly manage their attitutes, behaviors, and emotions.

K-12 education programs should focus much more instructional time on helping students acquire and practice soft skills, if they expect them to master and apply hard skills in appropriate and effective ways.

Preparing our students for the challenges of adulthood and employment is so much more than aligning classroom instruction with Common Core Standards or predicting their readiness for college and careers based on a standandardized test score.

Student engagement is essential for learning to occur in and out of the classroom and students are more likely to be engaged when they participate in nonroutine classroom activities and meaningful learning experiences that stimulate both their hearts and minds.

Common Core emphasis on a narrow and shallow set of measurable and testable hard skills rather than cultivating transferable and work-ready soft skills means our students will be as well prepared for the real “tests” of college and careers as a contractor with a “fully loaded” tool belt who lacks the confidence, courage, ability, or DESIRE to climb a ladder.

Mastery of content may help a person get hired, or accepted to college, but it is content of character that ultimately determines who keeps their job and who will graduate from college.

While it certainly is important that a recently hired worker can read and understand the employee manual and quarterly reports that will be of little consequence if the person doesn’t possess the self-discipline and decision making skills to abide by the company’s email, texting, and computer use policies.

Focusing education programs on a narrow and rigorous set of measurable hard skills at the expense of vigorous social/emotional learning experiences that cultivate essential interpersonal and intrapersonal skills will leave our students ill equipped and unprepared for the real “tests” in life.

“Everyone has a different path, a different pace, and different challenges to face along the way.”

~ Doe Zantamata, “Measuring Up.”

Written by

Johnathan Chase

RELOADED! Wisdom Put on Hold! It Just wasnt OUR fault!

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“UPDATE”
It was in December when I first posted this blog. It was actually December 2015 when I posted any blog. Only 5 months but seems like an eternity! Several changes have taken place during this time……consolidation bills, ESA/I’m a voucher bill and the most painstaking of all “The BUDGET FAILURE, THE BUDGET FAILURE, THE BUDGET FAILURE! Count them one by one and they = 3! Sad really…didn’t have to happen….didn’t have to happen. So we cut, scratch, claw with everything we have to stay on top, to save as many jobs as we can and ultimately….teach the students and not let the life be sucked out of their education.
Agents we have stood strong, we have warded off many of Hydra’s attacks. You have fought and continue the fight as warriors. WE ARE NOT DONE!
Many of our Agents of Education are answering the call by running for office! IT IS TIME! SHOW NO MERCY! Hydra had their chance…..But they PUT WISDOM ON HOLD! We move full speed ahead! Remember we told them this would happen but they didn’t listen!
My original blog is below…….

Seven years ago all the new legislators didn’t want to admit that there were some in their ranks that had a greater goal in mind but we warned them of what was to come. With the onslaught of attacks of public education and the continued talk of consolidation of school districts (almost 30 bills since that time and another one coming) coupled with the continued efforts of one State Rep from the N. side of Okc to lower property taxes (funding source for Public Ed), I could see the writing on the wall.  Along with several of our colleagues &educational organizations across the state we battled diligently to ward of many of the attacks on education.  Unfortunately over time some tax cuts in smaller bites got through.  Triggers were strategically tied to the economy (Oil) so that when a certain rise in revenue was reached BOOM the trigger was pulled. And behold a lower bar of taxes would soon go into place. Why……….because they wanted too.  They ran on the platform to lower taxes no matter what the cost.  The cost…..our Kids! They wouldn’t listen. With ears that refused to hear and a mind focused on selfish desires we now find ourselves in a mess much greater than they even anticipated.  Yes they knew what they wanted to happen but the mess superseded their term limited stay and left them in an uncomfortable position.

I pleaded with both Repubs and Dems do not rely on oil. I have been there and done that. I had been through big booms and little booms and no matter they size they go BUST!  They have too.  It is the normal cycle.  This one just happened to stay longer than most do.  Here it is in a nut shell and this is what I told them. Eventually there will be a situation that occurs that drives the oil prices up.  Jobs will be created and everyone will be happy and there will be money flowing from the heavens.  It can’t stay that way forever, so eventually it starts dropping.  Sometimes this happens quickly with no time to adjust and sometimes it happens slower giving us some time to prepare.  I term it the enema effect.  When oil is high it provides more opportunity for people to start up a business and capitalize on the oil market.  After so long revenues become somewhat less and the market has to rest thereby dropping prices and the smaller business who have put on extra people and equipment must sell off and do other things.  Nothing wrong with the free market that is how it works.  The latter is what happened this time but with solid funding sources such as taxes cut because wanted to it is Not Smart Finance! They wouldn’t listen.

So what now? Now they will try (are) to cover it by saying the oil prices are to blame and those schools are abusing and sucking up all the money. You will hear this as well……We really have no choice. We don’t want to but we must for the sake of the school children.  We are going to do everything we can to fix this…look into the camera and nod as if to say…we have your back kids. Then pat each other on the back as they walk out of camera view but don’t walk to fast.  Make it a slow painstaking walk.  Like the one you take when you are carrying a casket to its final resting place.  Unfortunately the headstone reads…..Here lies public Ed…We tried to save her but we just couldn’t.  The oil boom you see…………….. Rob had a blog on this yesterday (checklist from Schott McLeod) how methodical this game can be. Take a look.  Claudia put together a brilliant piece that goes right along with this time of year. Okeducationtruths, BlueCereal and several other Agents of Ed all have related topics over this very thing. A wealth of knowledge and a courage to make any Agent ready themselves to take the fight  the ones WHO DID NOT LISTEN!image

There is HOPE. You who read this, those who continue the fight, blog, make calls, meet with in person, parents, teachers, EVERYONE, you are a member of the Rebel Alliance and are Agents of Education.  You fight for our schools you fight for our kids.  Assemble and be ready! We have the tools; we have done it before….REMEMBER? United as ONE! The future is in our hands!

End of transmition…..

It was time! They honor their calling!

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Watching the continuous disparity of funding for Public Education, educators across the state of Oklahoma have decided it was time to Suit up! When you are tired of getting walked on, you run…..for office that is! Check out the link below! We Are United As ONE!

Dear Students

By ojayepelley.wordpress.com
Dear Students
POSTED ON MARCH 2, 2016 UPDATED ON MARCH 2, 2016

Dear past, present and future students,

I am writing to all of you. I believe you deserve a leader who fights for your rights, rather than takes them away. I believe you deserve to live in a country where you do not fear the deportation or discrimination of yourself and your family members due to circumstances beyond your control. I believe you should have the opportunity to succeed in whatever venture you choose. I believe you should have the right to live the life you choose because you are an American. I believe you deserve the absolute best education possible. I believe you deserve high-quality, educated and professional teachers who know how to accommodate your specific educational needs.

Dear students I love you all. I not only care deeply about your education, but your lives and believe you deserve the absolute best. You are Americans and are told you are living in the greatest country in the world. But you are living in a country that is consistently failing you. You are living in a country where leaders care more about wall street, big banks and the wealthy than your well-being.

You deserve more than a leader who is a bigot and discriminates against most of you due to factors beyond your control. You deserve to have a leader who will fight for you no matter your race, sex, ability, income or background. You deserve a leader who doesn’t publicly insult more than half of the world. You deserve a leader who demonstrates love, rather than hate.

Please know this election season you are on my mind. I vote for you. I vote for the future you will have. Dear students you matter, you are important and you are the future of this great country.

All my love,

Ms. Pelley

Suited Up! It Was Time!

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Standing in the shadows or watching from a distance is so much easier to do.  Reading blogs from some of our Super Bloggers (you all know who you are), liking tweets and re-tweeting  has been pretty much the bulk of my social media contribution.  I have paid close attention to the past few years how blogs, facebook and twitter have been a much needed tool to get information out that is vital to every student, in every school district, in the State of Oklahoma; information that is, or can be, life transforming for the youngest among us.  Everyone who has taken up their pen, phone, computer, I-pad, tablet, or has worked tirelessly, face to face with those who have a voice in education,  I commend you!  You have done well! Don’t let up! The stakes are too high and they grow higher everyday.  The latest announcements of revenue shortfalls and the possibility of lower mid-year adjustments  should only strengthen our resolve to ensure that the children are taken care of.  This is why “Marvel Agents of Education” has officially stepped into this (blog) arena. There is so much that has already been said many times and in many different ways (and yes, will need to be said many times more) that a majority of my future posts will be from a different angle, but at the same time addressing the same issues.

I think I should start with a little introduction first….. Why not have my name as part of my Twitter account or blog?  I think Rick said it best during okeducationtuths coming out party.  And by the way…that was pretty cool as I watched from the shadows.  If you want to know why…well, you’ll have to go back and revisit the past and read his blog 🙂  Chances are you already have, as well as many of the other bloggers out there and as you know there are many Great Ones! As a matter of fact, that night, with all the fellow supporters of education changing their avatars to superheroes…Marvels Agents of Education was born. As my bio states, “You know who we are, We are You.” You, You created, You are our children’s hope and You are the Agents of Education. It may very well rest with all of us. United as ONE to engage on behalf of those who look up to us! That’s who we are. Between all of us, their is enough passion, knowledge, wisdom and (super) power to encourage, assist, and if needed redirect the future for our students’ education.  We are needed. Now back to that introduction.

First of all, many of you already know me.  You may or may not be followers on Twitter or I may not be a follower of you, but nonetheless many of us are friends in the general sense.  I am in education, which will become obvious from some of the facts and figures and other points that will be made in later posts.  Education has not been my only avenue of providing for my family.  I spent many years in the business world working for two of the largest oil field related companies in their respective field.  I count my time spent with those companies as a blessing and appreciate the wisdom gleaned from that experience. Through contacts made during those times and after I entered the education realm, I was honored and humbled by two separate phone calls from two different sitting Governors’ offices. Both times I was asked if I would sit on a certain committee that met every month at the Capitol to help guide and direct one of the State Intenties. I accepted the second request (Gov. Henry) and was appointed to the committee where I remained for five years.  I left to take my current position.  During the early 2000’s, I was fortunate enough to have written/co-written three books utilized in education that are still being used today and have been translated into other languages to be used in other parts of the world.  I have truly been blessed and humbled by these experiences.  I never take lightly what has been placed in front of me and I realize it’s time to take the wisdom gained from those experiences and the knowledge gained from my current positions and put it to use in this way in an attempt to help stop the madness that is depleating our students funding and eroding away our educational principles.

My blanket statement of many of the issues before us today is this…..(1)ESAs are not good for Public Education Funding.  In no way is it better for any current student sitting in our classrooms, period! Rob has a great piece on this as well.  It will take its toll on many sources of funding (not just the ADM calculation). More on this in a later post. I was told by a Rep at the Capitol that they are not smart enough to see all the potential damage that can be done by a stroke of a pen.  But We can help educate them! (2)Funding for Public Ed must increase. Our students deserve  better and our teachers deserve better pay.  A one cent sales tax for education can be a good start.  It’s not a fix all but it is a step in the right direction. (3) Stop cutting taxes and taking money away from our kids!  You can not keep taking pie filling out of the pie! It simply will not feed as a many people like it once did! Lower taxes will not create more revenue for Education. Oh BlueCereal….I am fixing to go SuperMarvel if I’m not careful so I will stop for now.  I have so MUCH more to say…..and I intend on doing just that!  One more thing……..If you have ever been in a classroom or stood up for your children (our children), You are One of Us! You are an Agent of Education!  United as ONE for those who look up to us! And remember, no matter the need when it comes to our young ones, we have a choice! Set back and let them destroy the education of our students or you can dawn the suit of an Agent and fight! It wont be easy but it is worth it! We have ramped up our efforts to protect our students funding and schools. We callout the unwise and demand they do what is right. We will not stop! Our goal is greater than anyone of us to take on by ourselves. But if asked to go it alone we would. Join us. Put on the suit. Its not just any suit….. its the suit of an Agent of Education. A suit that you can wear with your head held high because YOU stood up for what is right! Our students need you.. End of transmission. ….