3rd time is the harm uh, charm
Okay, okay okay, we'll stop with the puns and get down to business.
This year's task force is a lot bigger than previous years. The original 17 member group expanded to 21 last year and has now grown to 30. Several statewide organizations are represented. We noticed that TEA, PET, and SCORE have gone from ex-officio members (that means you can listen but you have no rights to vote or speak) to having a real seat at the table this year. SCORE has been included in the task force since its beginnings three years ago but TEA and PET were added just last year.
Markedly absent are any representatives from a statewide parent group. Even Tennessee PTA was left off the task force while statewide teacher groups, Tennessee Organization for School Superintendents, the Tennessee School Board Association, and of course, SCORE were all included. The only PTA representative on the task force comes from Knox County and we are not even sure of her position on the PTA.
Virginia Babb's tagline says Knox County PTA but when we checked the Knox County Council PTA website, she is not listed as a member of the board. So, we are unsure if she has any current connection to the PTA or any other parent group. But we do know that this is her third year to serve on the testing task force and she is a big time cheerleader for Common Core. We told you all about that in one of our prior blogs. Babb is now showing political aspirations, running for Knox County school board. She posted on Face Book that she is being endorsed by current Knox County school board member, Lynne Fugate.
The other parent on the task force is also from east Tennessee. Jennifer Frazier is a Morristown mom who currently serves on Candice McQueen's Parent Advisory Council. Take a look below about what she said on being selected for the testing task force:
Frazier said she sees her role on the body as being a mediator for Hamblen County and the state. She said she first joined in two years ago on a state advisory council after being encouraged by Chuck Carter, the superintendent of Career & Technical Education and former principal of Union Heights Elementary School.
She said she received a letter from the commissioner asking her to serve last week and was honored.
“I want to be a voice for Hamblen County,” she said.
Uh, what about the rest of the state? Our kids need advocacy too!!!
We want to know why McQueen chose moms who have little to no connection to statewide parent groups?
Oh, we know. McQueen is afraid of parent advocates because they just might speak out against her plans to continue spending MILLIONS on tests with serious problems producing reliable data. So, she just picked a couple of sycophants who seem more focused on their own school districts than the wider issue of testing. Well, Commissioner McQueen, you should know that testing is a BIG issue for ALL parents so we would like to see more parent advocates on this task force from all over the state.
Less Moms Means More Astro Turf Groups
Check out the list below of the their Mosaic Fellows.
See any familiar astro turf groups in the list?
Mendell Grinter, executive director, Campaign for School Equity
Keji Kujjo, teacher, Kate Bond Middle School
Natalie McKinney, executive director, Whole Child Strategies, Inc.
Cardell Orrin, Memphis director, Stand for Children
Marcos Villa, community engagement coordinator, Latino Memphis
Bobby White, founder and CEO, Frayser Community Schools
Diarese George, recruiting director, Nashville Teacher Residency
Martel Graham, school director, Knowledge Academies High School
Alicia Hunker, teacher, Valor Collegiate Academy
Vanessa Lazón, director of community inclusion, Mayor Megan Barry’s office of new Americans
Jon Robertson, founding high school director, STEM Prep High School
Peter Tang, Tennessee educator fellowship coordinator, SCORE
Claudia Caballero, executive director of Centro Hispano de East Tennessee
Cassandra “KC” Curberson-Alvarado, career success coordinator, Hamblen County Schools
Quineka Moten, director of education and youth services, Knoxville Area Urban League
Gladys Pineda-Loher, director of international community outreach, Chattanooga State Community College
The Tennessee Education Equity Coalition was created last year by Conexion Americas. According to this article, these groups and their pet projects receive heavy funding from George Soros and Tennessee's own Gubernatorial candidate, Randy Boyd. And Gini Pupo-Walker seems more entrenched with education deformers than with ELL students. Take a look at her involvement with reform groups such as Bellwether Educational Partners and SCORE.
Joining Pupo-Walker in this year's task force is Lisa Wiltshire, Policy Director for Tennesseans for Quality Early Education. Wiltshire previously served on McQueen's staff at the Tennessee Department of Education as the director of early learning. Oh Dear!!! We hope this isn't a sign that our pre-school babies are now going to be tested. But with the state expansion into pre-schools, we are afraid this could be the case. We're gonna keep an eye on this one.
Rounding out the task force are five teachers, four principals, a mish-mash of school district administrators, representatives from state organizations, the usual politicians: Dolores Gresham, John Forgety, Harry Brooks, and newly appointed, Mark White; and perennial task force member, Executive Director of the appointed State Board of Education, Sara Heyburn Morrison.
But before you get too excited about teachers being on the task force, you should know something. Just like the TNReady Hearings this Fall where most of the teachers testifying before the Tennessee House Education Committees were connected to SCORE, the same has happened with this testing task force. Four out of five teachers have connections to SCORE. Take a look:
Jolinea Pegues, a 2016-2017 SCORE Educator Fellow
Stacey Travis, a 2017-2018 SCORE Educator Fellow
Kim Herring, a 2017-2018 SCORE Educator Fellow
Cicely Woodard, headed up the SCORE Educator Fellowship program in 2014
The original testing task force produced a report in 2015. The next year, the task force revamped to learn of the progress on prior recommendations, address items requiring further analysis from the first task force, review and assess tests implemented in the 2015-16 school year, and provide additional recommendations on testing. And here we are in 2017 with the appointment of yet another task force.
You can see the evolution of the Tennessee Testing Task Force in our spread sheet below and how it has grown from 17 members to 30.
IT'S TIME FOR THIS FARCE TO END. OPT OUT!!!