By Anthony Cody.

Will mainstream reporters take note of the following story? The testing giants behind the PARCC test are doing their best to squash any discussion of the content or quality of their all-powerful instruments. They have added an eleventh commandment to the tablets Moses brought down the mountain, “Thou shall not question the almighty tests.”

Teacher educator (and citizen blogger) Celia Oyler started the chain of events by publishing a teacher’s critique of the 4th grade PARCC test. This post did not include any test questions, but did describe several questions in order to point out how inappropriate they were. Lawyers from PARCC immediately contacted Oyler, and demanded she take this material down, claiming it infringed on their copyright. They demanded the name of the teacher who had written the post — which Oyler refuses to reveal. They even threatened that she could be forced to pay for the creation of new test questions to replace those she had supposedly compromised. Oyler has since posted an edited version, with some portions deleted.  Diane Ravitch shared Oyler’s post, and also received a letter from Laura Stover at PARCC demanding she take it down.

Leonie Haimson tweeted a link to Oyler’s post, and her tweet was deleted after PARCC complained. Haimson subsequently has reposted Oyler’s original post, and asked fellow bloggers to follow suit. Haimson writes:

As an act of collective disobedience to the reigning testocracy, I urge all other fellow bloggers to paste the below critique and copy it into their blogs as well. 

As the teacher points out below, “we can use these three PARCC prompts to glimpse how the high stakes accountability system has deformed teaching and warped learning in many public schools across the United States.”

No high-stakes test that is used to judge students, teachers and schools should be allowed to be kept secret to escape accountability for the test-makers — especially ones as flawed as these!

If you do repost this, please let me know by emailing me at thanks!

Haimson helped blow the lid off an earlier test question fiasco — the infamous Pearson Pineapple back in 2012.

Jonathan Pelto, leader of the Education Bloggers Network, has called on the more than 200 members of his network to spread the word about this:

Fellow Bloggers

They will not silence us….
No Matter What!
As word spreads about the unbelievable attack by PARRC, Diane, Leonie, Peter and numerous members of the Education Bloggers Network area speaking out and pushing back on the corporate education reform industry’s unprecedented attack on the fundamental concept of Freedom of the Press and Freedom of the Speech.
Thanks to the swift action of many bloggers, eyes are turning to PARCC and their betrayal of our Nation’s values, principles and the inalienable rights of our citizens to know the truth.
Please take a moment to read Diane’s latest post which can then use to trace back to the original blog article that sparked this wildfire.
And then do what you can to spread the word.
We are the front line in the battle to save our public schools and, quite frankly, our country and its future.

Peter Greene wrote about this as well here, and provided links to another site also discussing test items.

In 2012, the patent absurdity of Pearson’s talking pineapple made that story irresistible to mainstream media, and Haimson’s report made its way into the New York Daily News and other major newspapers. Pearson initially defended the pineapple question, However the pressure became too great, and New York removed the question from the test. The underlying issues this time are similar. Fourth grade students are being given questions that cannot be justified educationally. The test cannot be seen as a legitimate means of measuring their learning. Just as we needed to read the question about the talking pineapple to understand how lousy it was, we must be able to discuss and criticize the content of the PARCC test. These are not sacred texts. They ARE, however, being used to make Godlike judgments about children and teachers, with potentially life-altering or career-ending consequences.

Will mainstream education reporters take note of these efforts to silence teachers and education bloggers?


Anthony Cody
Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody worked in the high poverty schools of Oakland, California, for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school science teacher. He was one of the organizers of the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC in 2011 and he is a founding member of The Network for Public Education. A graduate of UC Berkeley and San Jose State University, he now lives in Mendocino County, California.


  1. jeanhaverhill    

    when the product is fraudulent (no predictive validity that they are selling to parents when they claim they can predict achievement in college) then it is similar to the FRAUD of tobacco products. When there is fraud, the company cannot intimidate teachers into shutting up ; I know they have expensive lawyers… but when you get emails written by lawyers and demands then you have to ask “WHOSE lawyers” the lawyers representing fraudulent products? This held for tobacco … it should be the stand for any product that is hyper marketed that harms our students.

  2. Daphne Winders    

    According to the test regulations we must sign off on, we, as teachers cannot even read the test! We have no idea what’s on it, unless we break the law!

  3. crunchydeb    

    So as our Tweets continue to be taken down, is there a concerted response to the DMCA notice?

  4. bobby444    

    You are amazing!!! You are doing some of the most important work in the world. Parents truly appreciate that you are looking out for our children. Thank You!

Leave a Reply