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New York testing expert Fred Smith wrote this poem about two dueling sleighs that he saw after a few cups of grog:
Twas the night before Christmas by Fred Smith
Fred Smith is a testing expert who used to work for the NYC Board of Ed and now works with the anti-testing group Change the Stakes.
‘Twas the night before Christmas of 2015.
My poor head was spinning from all I had just seen.
ESEA revisions were clouding my brain
And Cuomo’s Task Force sugar plums causing me pain.
In the City the Chancellor held town halls in schools,
“Engaging” parents to tell them testing still rules.
A district supt. warned teachers of testing taboos
And not aiding parents who might want to refuse.
A new exam company was coming to town,
Having just won a $45 million test crown.
Yes, Questar will be here bedecked richly in green,
Bringing a bright shiny gift that was ne’er-before seen.
Soon enough I knew we would find ourselves captive
Of competence-based tests/computer adaptive.
But Pearson was still here to make ‘16’s test toys
To be given again to New York State’s girls and boys.
And ‘ere I descended into more gloom and fog,
An inner voice urged me to chug two mugs of nog.
My mind became fuddled with stark dueling visions
Of sky riders this night on opposite missions.
On the right was a sleigh dark-sided and shady
With curly-haired driver and a pearly white lady,
Whipping a dreary team of worn out work horses,
Having clearly lost sight of where the real Force is;
Still maintaining the will to accomplish their goal
To fill all children’s stockings with Common Core coal.
Though Andrew and Merryl might be losing their grip,
For now, they would go forth in their moonless sky ship.
And there on the left stood a sleigh wreathed in light,
Poised to keep sailing upward in glorious flight.
For on this voyage the crew never slumbers,
And everyone counts in ever growing numbers.
There’s no one commander playing ego trip games,
So before we proceed, here are some worthy names:
Diane Ravitch and Haimson and Scott and Burris,
Analysts, activists and writers who stir us;
Jeanette Deutermann, Lisa Rudley, Buffalo Chris
On Long Island and upstate—throw them a kiss;
Nichols-Stone-Mata-Sopp-Zavala had what it takes
Parents to start City opt out and change the stakes;
Lisa North, Jane Maisel and Rosalie Friend,
True educators from beginning to end—
With Jia-Jeanne-Katie-Nancy-Edith and Ruth
Unafraid to fight Power by speaking the Truth;
And let’s not forget Regents Rosa and Cashin—
Both know the score and bring the stature and passion.
If anyone was left off the list afore-scribed,
Please put the blame on the quaff that I have imbibed.
Back to the sleighs racing to our children this year,
My bet’s on the one with all the wondrous reindeer
And then there’s Mulgrew who must choose who is winning
To claim he was backing them from the beginning.
I’m riding shotgun tonight with the Doboszes
It’ll be 70 degrees; we won’t have red noses.
The reins in strong hands are pulled by Jamaal Bowman
Proven time and again he’s no melting snowman.
But seriously folks, our objectives this year:
To spread the joy of opt-out and lessen the fear;
To every City corner and to be very thorough;
To take back our schools for each child in each borough.
And though we’ve gained ground on the dark sleigh of the night
And while we firmly believe that our causes are right
We all are aware that we’re in a long fight.
But, hey—Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!