Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NEA - Educators: students need opportunity, not just tests

NEA - Educators: students need opportunity, not just tests:



Educators: students need opportunity, not just tests

Proposal would reduce federally mandated tests to ensure greater educational opportunity for all students



WASHINGTON - April 21, 2015 -



U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today introduced a bill to bring much-needed reform and relief to students from the federally mandated testing required by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act would reduce the amount of federally required high stakes, standardized tests by more than fifty percent, and, instead, restore “grade-span testing.” This would occur both in English and Math—once in elementary school, once in middle school and once in high school. This past week, the Senate began in earnest the process to reauthorize the federal law with unanimous passage of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 out of its Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
NCLB more than doubled the number of high-stakes tests in reading and math. In these subjects alone, K-12 students now take 14 federally mandated tests, compared to six before enactment of the law. In some cases, more than a month of instructional time is lost to test preparation and administration in a single school year.
The following statement can be attributed to Lily Eskelsen García, a sixth grade teacher who was named the 1989 Utah Teacher of the Year and elected president of the 3 million-member National Education Association:
“What is clear after years of too much testing is that the status quo isn’t working for students, especially those in high-poverty areas. We must reduce the emphasis on standardized tests that have corrupted the quality of the education received by children. Parents and educators know that the one-size-fits-all annual federal testing structure has not worked and has not sufficiently exposed the reasons for opportunity gaps where they exist. The needs of students will be best served when states and districts are allowed to put into place different kinds of assessments that provide valuable information for students, parents and educators to help find solutions.
“Last week we saw progress with the Senate markup of the NCLB reauthorization. This legislation by Sen. Tester keeps us going in the right direction by reducing the emphasis on standardized, one-size-fits-all tests, which have not worked to sufficiently exposed opportunity gaps where they exist. By allowing states and districts to return their focus to providing students with access to a rich variety of courses that encourage creativity and problem solving, we help students reach their full potential.
“We have to level the playing field and close the opportunity gaps that persist in our public schools, just as the original law intended. We have to move the needle forward for our most vulnerable students.
“We commend Sen. Tester for stepping up and speaking out for kids with the introduction of this very important legislation. The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act recognizes the growing problem with too much testing and proactively putting forward a commonsense proposal that would again allow educators to inspire students and their natural curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn.”
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The National Education Association (www.nea.org) is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.
CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications  202-270-5333 cell,smaiers@nea.org  NEA - Educators: students need opportunity, not just tests:

CPS: Corrupt Public Servants (Part 1: SUPES and Byrd-Bennett) | Troy LaRaviere‘s blog

CPS: Corrupt Public Servants (Part 1: SUPES and Byrd-Bennett) | Troy LaRaviere‘s blog:

CPS: Corrupt Public Servants (Part 1: SUPES and Byrd-Bennett)

Barbara Byrd BennettScreenshot 2015-04-20 15.58.01
An Invitation
In July of 2013–along with hundreds of principals across Chicago–I received an email with the subject, “Leadership Launch with Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett.”  The email implored principals to join Byrd-Bennett “for the comprehensive launch of the Chicago Executive Leadership Academy (CELA).” CELA was the title given to the series of professional development workshops organized by SUPES Academy under their $20+ million no-bid contract with Chicago Public Schools (CPS); a contract that is now under federal investigation. The launch was a huge event, staged at the UIC Forum.  It was advertised as an “invite only” affair for which we had to reserve a ticketed seat (see mine above).
The Boiling Point
As expected, the event did not open up with any discussion of the SUPES training. Instead we got what we had come to expect at the start of every principals meeting: talk of an impending budget apocalypse that can only be solved by CPS defaulting on its obligation to provide a secure retirement for its teachers.
The meeting opened up with CPS board member and former school principal, Dr. Mahalia Hines.  I’d heard her twice before; her primary function seems to be to tell stories that convince her listeners that Rahm Emanuel actually cares about south and west side children from low-income households.  However, during the CELA launch, her comments were aimed at preparing principals for budget austerity.  During her talk, she mentioned a couple principals who had written grants and gotten external funding.  She praised these principals efforts because, in her words, “You can’t rely on the board to get funding for your schools.”  Yes. She actually said those exact words. Having succeeded in convincing many of the best principals in the room to consider looking for more secure employment in the suburbs, she then introduced Barbara Byrd-Bennett who continued the austerity theme with empty corporate speak about principals “leveraging partnerships” to get free or low-cost services for our students.
“Did she really just say that?” I thought.
Did she just tell us that we need to make up for lost funding by “leveraging partnerships?” I imagined Ms. Byrd-Bennett could have used her relationship or leverage with SUPES to get free or low-cost services for CPS, but she did not.  In fact, she used 20 million tax-payer dollars taken directly from school budgets to pay SUPES significantly more than their training was worth.
I could not endure the insulting lies and misinformation any longer without responding. It was blatant in-your-face hypocrisy such as this–and its disregard for our children’s learning–that moved me to publicly criticize CPS’s misinformation during a speech at City Hall 10 days after Byrd-Bennett’s performance at the UIC Forum.
My Time in SUPES “Training”
When I arrived at my first training session, I picked up the SUPES materials and sat next to a principal who had participated in previous SUPES workshops.  I asked her what she thought of it.  “A waste of time” was her answer.  I would soon find out why. The workshop was a continuation of CPS’s  “Do more with less” theme.  The session was filled with CPS talking points about its new “Student Based Budgeting” (SBB) scheme; talking points we’d already heard in a dozen previous meetings.  Principals’ chief complaints about the new system was that it slashed their budgets, forced them to increase class size to save money, and pushed them to hire cheaper inexperienced teachers.  It was as if our work for children was being deliberately undermined.  In fact SBB would be better described as Sabotage Based Budgeting.
Yet there we were once again being insulted by SUPES “master teachers” with CPS budget spin regarding the additional “autonomy” and “freedom” the new system would give us.  Later that afternoon we all had to tell our “leadership story.”  When each of us was done, every person in the room had to say something complimentary about each story they heard.  This was the principal “training” for which Rahm Emanuel’s appointed board of education and CEO spent twenty million taxpayer dollars.
A month later I attended my second SUPES course.  It actually went well.  I had great conversations with fellow principals and learned a lot from them.  Then, at the end of the session, the facilitator announced, “I know I went off script and just let you guys talk, but I felt that was what you needed today.”  My disgust returned as I realized the reason the session went so well was because the facilitator ditched the SUPES curriculum and just let principals talk and learn from one another.  Did CPS have to pay SUPES $20 million to put principals in a room and let us talk to each other?
The next week Barbara Byrd-Bennett got wind of the fact that principals were getting vocal CPS: Corrupt Public Servants (Part 1: SUPES and Byrd-Bennett) | Troy LaRaviere‘s blog:

Senate ESEA Draft: Review of Approved Amendments, Part II | deutsch29

Senate ESEA Draft: Review of Approved Amendments, Part II | deutsch29:

Senate ESEA Draft: Review of Approved Amendments, Part II








On April 16, 2015, the Senate education committee approved the Alexander-Murray draft of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), a 601-page document entitled, The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.
The draft approval was accompanied by 29 amendments, which can be found on this Senate ed page.
I reviewed the entire original 601-page Alexander-Murray draft in a series of six posts that can be accessed here.
I have already reviewed 10 of the 29 amendments. My review of those first 10 can be accessed here.
In this post, I continue my review of the 29 amendments with the next 10. (I will review the remainder in yet another post.)
I am reviewing the amendments mostly in alphabetical order by file name. Below each file link is my review for that particular amendment.
Let’s begin:
This single-page amendment allots a greater proportion of Title II state funding for “the improvement of teaching and learning” grants based upon “the number of individuals age 5 through 17 from families with incomes below the poverty line in the State.”  The original proportion was 65 percent; the amendment raised the proportion to 80 percent.
This three-page amendment to Title II (“High-quality Teachers, Principals, and Other School Leaders”) has to do with a “hold harmless” provision noting that no given funding amount is guaranteed for Title II, Part A “Fund for the Improvement of Teaching and learning”).  Among the “hold harmless” stipulations are that states will not being awarded less in 2016 than 14.29 percent of the amount the state was awarded in 2001 (at the inception of No Child Left Behind). The “not less than 14.29 percent” reduction can be doubled in 2017, and tripled in 2018, and so forth– unless there is less money– in which case the secretary will adjust accordingly.
If there is more money than expected, the secretary will once again adjust accordingly.
This “hold harmless” amendment was approved, as was another “hold harmless” amendment for the very same section, but with slightly different details: Casey_TitleII_Amendment#4 Modified – Signed. The Casey amendment uses simpler formulas for funding decisions than does the Burr amendment (the one explained above). I do not know which one was finally approved.
This eight-page amendment adds to Title II grants for developing “ready to learn” television programs “for preschool and elementary school children and their parents in order to facilitate student academic achievement” and “to develop and disseminate education and training materials, including interactive programs and programs adaptable to distance learning technologies, that are designed to promote school readiness….”
Entities receiving such grants will be required to submit an annual report to the Senate ESEA Draft: Review of Approved Amendments, Part II | deutsch29:

Big Education Ape: Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 4/21/15

Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 4/21/15


Special Nite Cap 

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2015 National Conference – Chicago

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