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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

5 responses to “Providence Student Union says the state is using kids as lab rats for testing policy”

  1. leftyrite

    The PSU has been fully established as a leading voice in the educational debate for quite some time now. Certainly time enough for Raimondo and Taveras to acknowledge the PSU presence and respond to it.

    Clay Pell is new to the race for governor and has yet to be fully vetted by the people on the ground. 

    I look forward to contacts between the PSU and Clay Pell and await reading the results of such contacts in these pages.

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  2. Johnnie

    Madeleine Albright, when asked on 60 Minutes if the death of a half-million children was worth it, she replied affirmatively.
    When Saddam was not overthrown by a coup during the punishing sanctions, the US invaded and destroyed a civilization – its social fabric, museums, infrastructure  and patrimony. This was done to a people who had done nothing to us.
    To assume that people in positions of power are just like we are, and simply misguided in their policy decisions is to assume incorrectly. Gist and those around her do not respond to logic, morality or sound arguments.
    “Education” has always been about coercion, indoctrination and social control. And the dominant ideas in any society and throughout its schools always reflect those of the dominant class – whether it is theocratic Iran or the imperialist US.
    If we want a more child-centered, caring and egalitarian system of education, we have to fight them for it.
    The young people at the PSU, so full of hope, enthusiasm and promise, need to find ways to broaden the struggle to encompass more schools and students. I know it is difficult because students have been “schooled” in passivity, and taught and tested to follow the instructions of those who know best.
    Nevertheless, if we are to win this needs to be taken up statewide – which is starting to happen.

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  3. amsoconcerned

    As we’ve come to expect from them, this action by the PSU was a brilliant combination of ingenuity, competence, and courage in the face of unprecedented and misguided attempts by RIDE to stress students to a false success. There should be a pause in every school in RI for a frank discussion of what the PSU has done at the State House, and how this is a demonstration of democracy at its best.

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  4. leftyrite

    One additional thought:

    The PSU is getting creative and showing good humor in its storytelling, a good recipe for the long haul.

    Our society hasn’t learned much in the last five years, and it’s more than likely that huge, stressful challenges loom ahead on many fronts.

    But there’s no law against using one’s wit and creativity in the meantime.

    Maybe Eli Broad will purchase one of your costumes!

    Message heard loud and clear, Lab Rats. 

    And you didn’t need to hit anyone over the head with it, nor bubble it in.

    Somewhere, Pete is smiling.    


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  5. Ericka

    These kids are great. They are right, the legislators have to put a stop to this madness. The kids are no longer learning, they are regurgitating the information the are given for the test, then promptly forgetting it. School has become all about the test. Instead of being taught how to think critically. How to find information they can use. How to create. About nature and art and biology…, they are learning how to take a test.
    Now RIDE wants seniors to pass these tests, meant to assess general progress school-wide, to graduate high school. But apparently they did not think it through. Exemptions and waivers are needed. But, only for certain things like college admittance. But not CCRI, that’s apparently not a college. So, What’s next?  If you can pat your head, rub your stomach, recite the alphabet, and chew gum at the same time, we will give you a diploma. Maybe?
    Okay, that was silly, but I am afraid for our education system. My son aces these things, he’s a junior in high school and I have no worries about him. My daughter, she runs hot and cold. One year she’ll ace them, the next, not so much.
    I know a lot of kids test poorly all of the time, yet are brilliant. Our schools are being ruined by these tests. Well, maybe not the tests, but what the tests are being used for. Our children are not one size fits all. The test is. One would hope that RIDE would stop this. The legislators can stop RIDE if they don’t.
    By the way, great job kids. Keep it up!!!!

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