OK, I’m lying. Made you look? A bit of yellow journalism perhaps? Who am I kidding? This is a blog. I make no pretenses of having any journalistic integrity. But this headline might not be too far off from the real one considering the cyber-attack excuse Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart made when the FSA writing test failed in March. http://www.fldoe.org/newsroom/latest-news/2010319-fdle-investigating-cyber-attacks-against-fsa-testing-system-.stml
Below is an imaginary conversation between two Russian hackers plotting to take down the computer based Florida Standards Assessment designed by AIR.
Russian hacker #1: The United States colluded with Saudi Arabia to drive down the price of oil and destroy the Russian economy in order to sabotage Putin and our expanding global power. We must get revenge!
Russian hacker #2: Let’s strike them at their greatest weakness, the U.S. educational system. The world knows about the faltering U.S. education system because President Obama and Prince Jeb Bush keep giving speeches about the failure of U.S. public schools. Even former Secretary of Defense Condaleeza Rice has called the American public education system a threat to national security. Have you ever heard the renowned education expert and media darling Michelle Rhee speak on their cable news networks? According to her, the American teachers are all lazy and terrible because they have tenure. They get a job for life! Reminds me of communism. Only by applying market based incentives to public school teachers can the American achievement gap be erased. Their education Tsar, Arne Duncan, forced states in the last economic downturn to pay teachers based on student growth measures and removed all job security for teachers. This will surely cause American student scores to soar to the top of the International PISA test rankings. We must stop them! If American schools win, Russia loses.
Russian hacker #1: Where should we strike first? Which state will be the most important in the upcoming presidential elections?
Russian hacker #2: You need to stop playing so many video games. Any idiot knows that it is the alligator invested swamp state of Florida that decides U.S. elections. This election it will be even more important because candidate King Bush the III was Governor of Florida and began his test based accountabililty reforms in that state.
Russian hacker #1: But how can we stop them and make sure no American student will ever be college and career ready?
Russian hacker #2: This is where we come in. The new Common Core aligned assessments must be administered on computers. They are smarter and more interactive tests. Not just bubble tests.
Russian hacker #1: America is so rich they have enough computers in every school so that all children can be tested on computers at the same time?
Russian hacker #2: No. Stop watching so many stupid American reality TV shows on Bravo. Those aren’t real Housewives. Not every American woman spends all day lingerie shopping, eating at fancy restaurants, and getting plastic surgery. Only in LA and Miami. The American government is very rich and they could actually afford to give every student a computer but they prefer to spend most of their funds on military contractors that charge $100 for a roll of toilet paper. The Emperor of the World Bill Gates could use his wealth and power to donate devices to school districts instead of further enriching himself by forcing them to buy his crap software but he prefers to bribe teachers’ unions and school districts with his millions in order to implement his crazy education experiments instead. Sometimes I think Karl Marx had a point. By taking down the new Common Core aligned assessments, we will not only take down the greatest Superpower in the history of the world but we can also take down Bill Gates! I hate PCs and MS office.
Russian hacker #1: This sounds like a brilliant plan. What do we have to do?
Russian hacker #2: Stupid and corrupt Florida gave the American Institutes of Research ( a D.C. “nonprofit” with no experience in designing standardized tests), a contract for the new Common Core aligned “Florida Standards Assessment.” This is the same nonprofit that received millions to create an algorithm known as VAM to predict student test scores and then rank teachers based on actual student performance.
Russian hacker #1: An algorithm that ranks teachers based on predicted test scores? How could the tax-payers allow them to waste so much money on such a stupid and invalid idea? They could have just bought a bunch of fortune cookies and given them out to teachers with inserted slips of paper that read “ineffective”, “effective” or “highly effective.”
Russian hacker #2: Florida is just like Moscow, except much hotter and with nicer beaches. It’s filled with corrupt businessmen buying politicians to pass bills that will reward them in return with rich government contracts. Look at the state’s charter industry. There is no evidence to suggest that charters perform any better than traditional public schools. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. But they are about to pass a bill that will give even more tax-payer money for charter schools to build new schools that are not even owned by the public. The bill was sponsored by a politician who used to run charter schools and whose brother in-law owns one of the country’s largest charter chains. http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/florida-house-approves-construction-money-for-charter-schools/2223111 The same company is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for potential conflict of interests. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article1963142.html
Russian hacker #1: Wow, even Putin would be impressed! America is turning into an oligarchy. This all sounds like corporate welfare.
Russian hacker #2: It is corporate welfare but the people are too stupid and too lazy to care. Their media is controlled. Instead of brainwashing them with propaganda, they distract them into thinking Kim Kardashian’s behind is more important than local, state, or federal politics.
Russian hacker #1: The media is very smart. Kim Kardashian’s behind is very distracting.
Russian hacker #2: We will sabotage their standardized testing this spring. AIR has no idea what they are doing. They haven’t even considered the possibility of cyber-attacks. By interrupting state testing they will have to invalidate the test scores and the entire accountability system will self-destruct. No Florida school, teacher, or student will be punished based on bad test scores. Without standardized testing there can be no accountability. The American economy will be doomed and ISIS members will be crossing the Mexican border in droves. We will be the heroes of Mother Russia!