Let me start off by saying I will NEVER waste my time at another KEA event. This was an assembly to promote an agenda, NOT to try and help solve important education issues. The assembly ran from Wednesday evening to Friday afternoon. Each day had a keynote speaker. ALL speakers (except for Holliday, and I’ll get to that in a minute) were democrat politicians who were “pro-education”. So all the other republican candidates are anti-education?! Yes, I understand most republicans are for right to work and aren’t necessarily union friendly, but does that have anything to do with education?
The speakers were Jack Conway, Allison Lundergan Grimes, and Adam Edelen. I and another delegate stopped Edelen after his speech and also asked him if during his JCPS audit he paid attention to the massive amounts of money being spent on assessment? Did he know that teachers are tied to teaching KCAS standards on a tight teaching/testing schedule? He said that he understood and would be looking into it. Edelen was obviously in a rush and didn’t have time to chat so I think we should think about a follow up with him. Conway was asked by the other delegate and asked about his position on CCSS and he said “I want kids to be college and career ready.” Ha! So that means he’s for it and we need to continue to make sure he DOES NOT get elected.
Now on to Holliday. I had a clear mission at this conference and that was to corner Holliday. Luckily I got to do this. For about 15 minutes I spewed my contempt for the current testing system and the effects on teaching and children. Holliday stayed steadfast in his support for KCAS. We told him how inappropriate they were especially for K-3 and he said “have you gone online and given us your feedback?” He also stayed committed to the fact that parents should not be allowed to opt their kids out of testing. His defense? That if parents could opt of testing then they could opt out of anything in education…then we’d have some time of anarchy…his example? “Parents could then opt out of physical education.” I went on to tell him how these test scores label, stigmatize and rank schools and the ones with high poverty get the short end of the stick. He agreed with me. He also agreed that language learners needed more time in the US before having to take state assessments. He said 2 years…I said that there’s no research to back that up, it should be at least 5! He also agreed KPREP results take too long to get back to schools. I said the test was invalid but he wouldn’t go that far. All in all Holliday was quite docile. He ended our conversation saying “I agree with 90% of what you’re saying.” Hmmm, ok, Terry. When he spoke on the podium, he brought up CIITS and the hell it was putting teachers through. That statement was received with a standing ovation from me. But Pearson runs CIITS and everything else in KDE so I was shocked he made the statement…pandering to the crowd maybe? He concluded his speech with discussing why educators had lost the respect of the public. I can answer that…PEOPLE LIKE YOU HOLLIDAY. YOU put fear in the public’s mind. YOU convince them public schools are failing because of your invalid KPREP assessment. YOU are to blame Holliday! YOU said JCPS was committing “educational genocide”! Our kids are impoverished! Our kids are immigrants! What have YOU ever done to help this?! At the end of his speech KEA president Winkler handed Holliday a retirement give…how sweet *eye roll* *sigh*
Enough of Holliday…now on to my last complaint, the new business items. How this works…delegates introduce new business items to be voted on by the assembly. If they are passed then KEA will take them up over the year. NBI #10 was mine. Basically asking KEA to help introduce/lobby for legislation for parents to be able to opt their kids out of KY state standardized testing for any reason. This obviously caused some questions. However debate was shut down on the floor after only 2 objections were heard. There were still several people standing at the mics waiting to speak. I was not able to rebut their objections and neither was anyone else. A lady from KEA stood up at the front of the room and said that schools would lose funding if kids were allowed to opt out of testing. What a lie, what a joke. Again, KEA has an agenda. It’s pro-anything Holliday. Even though NEA fully and completely supports opt outs KEA won’t. Why? That’s the question to ask right?
So I did…on twitter. And wait for it…this will make you laugh! Whoever runs the KEA twitter account told on me to JCTA president, Brent McKim. He basically asked me to stop questioning them on Twitter. That we didn’t want to offend them and then they’d never support legislation. LOL! Censorship much?! What a joke. And those tweets are still available on my feed if you want to take a look. Last but not least NBI #11 was brought to the floor by another JCTA member and myself. Asking for support of KCAS repeal legislation. Ha! That got nowhere. Teachers stood up and claimed “it puts children across the state on a level playing field,” and “it was state led!” I wonder who put those ideas in their heads…thanks KEA. You’re the king of misinformation apparently.
All in all, this was the biggest joke ever. If you weren’t there to voice support for KEA’s candidates and KEA’s agenda then you weren’t welcome. KEA’s conference showcased why people have distrust in unions. This was purely a political play and it certainly WAS NOT about kids. Sad.