As the Opt Out Movement has grown, an organization known as FairTest has stepped in to offer information about the goings-on of the opt out world – including how to opt out and what the consequences may or may not be depending on where you live.

Keep in mind that the Education Commission of the States also provided information on Opt Out  – and that this was not an accident.

Today, FairTest has shown its true colors, and who its allies actually are.

By  informing its readers  that  “the pending Congressional overhaul of ‘No Child Left Behind’ will not in any way undermine the national, grassroots high-stakes testing resistance,” and that “it provides additional incentives for parents, students, teachers, administrators and community leaders leaders to press for even more meaningful assessment reforms at the national, state and local levels,” FairTest has revealed that it is either clueless (which I highly doubt) or has an alternate and well-hidden agenda.

Read this interview with Monty Neil, founder of FairTest, on the National Institute for Student-Centered Instruction, and now read here to find out what “student-centered” actually means.  Hint: it’s not what you think.

Please be aware that investors have been waiting patiently for the shift from the “big end of the year test” to the embedded, competency-based testing that White House advocated for in its recent Testing Action Plan.

No, it is not a coincidence that McGraw-Hill sold its summative testing branch to focus on the growing formative assessment market.

It is also not a coincidence that the very same companies that worked behind the scenes with PARCC and SBAC are now stepping in to take over your state assessment system.

If the new ESEA passes, the testing industry wins.

Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and call your legislators to tell them to vote no on ESEA.   Yes, we need change….




Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.


  1. I guess this is the killer bit from the Monty Neil interview:
    “There are established, valid, reliable ways to document student learning in such schools for purposes of public reporting. There are also excellent forms of assessment that benefit students and provide meaningful information about their progress.”
    For whose consumption ????


  2. Follow the money friends, follow the money.

    These crooks would sell their mother or their wives if they could turn a buck. Yes, they’d sell our our children. Trust them not.


  3. It’s another example of an educational idea with potential merit getting co-opted by corporate interests, similar to charters, accountability, standards, and the whole idea of civil rights. A version of CBE has been endorsed by such progressive luminaries as Sir Ken Robinson (without the corporate takeover). CBE is like differentiated instruction in a can, sans teachers. I find it ghastly for most students for many reasons. The co-option of rhetoric creates a lot of ambiguity, division and tangled cross-motives, as with the fairtest example. My first impulse is to check their website to see who funds, and it is not the usual suspects. I think the wariness is justified, thank you, but for me, the jury is still out. By the way, I’m a Bates grad with a soft spot in my heart for Lewiston (though I haven’t been back since graduation in ’83).


  4. The problem is that none of these terms has any formal definition. This is partly because reform has ripped any sort of academic foundation out from under educational philosophy or theory. Terms like “competency-based education” are essentially undefined, as are “standards,” “curriculum,” “personalization,” etc. Yes, I look for buzzwords that raise red flags as well, but you have to back up your buzzword alert with a lot more research.


    1. I have lots … LOTS more research … Just wanted to make something short and accessible for readers. What questions do you have that I might address with more research/information? I am happy to elaborate.


      1. I would need more research to show that FairTest is (now) yet another corporate astro-turf zombie organization, which is how I read this post.


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