Thursday, October 29, 2015

Saving Students From A Shattered System: Debates and the standardized test.

Saving Students From A Shattered System: Debates and the standardized test.:

Debates and the standardized test.





On and on ad nauseam candidates are spewing out their one liners trying to get the most points on the debates. Like standardized tests, they are a national disgrace.  They depend on simple answers to complex questions forcing the simple minded in the viewing audience to cheer or boo over utter nonsense.

Why is this the case?  Allow me to quote George Carlin: " They don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking.  That's against their interest.  They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork and just dumb enough to passively accept it."  They want the Stepford families that believe that complex problems are simple if only they are elected.

However, I don't put the whole blame on the politicians.  They present what we the people and the tabloid media expect of them.  I do not agree, as was stated in the last GOP debate, that the liberal press is biased.  Judging by how they bashed Secretary Clinton and President Obama, they are equal opportunity bashers.  The media is owned by corporations that must have advertisers paying them big money or they fail.  In order to get sufficient ads, they must have viewers.  In order to get viewers they depend on simplistic gotcha news.  And it works. 

Look at Fox "news".  They aren't even tabloid, they are straight out Russian style propaganda. Remember the Ukraine situation where Russians said Ukraine supporters were aiming at Putin's plane and hit the passenger jet that was brought down killing many? Conspiracy theories are Saving Students From A Shattered System: Debates and the standardized test.:

Federal monitor finds phony records used to lie about special ed progress in Newark | Bob Braun's Ledger

Federal monitor finds phony records used to lie about special ed progress in Newark | Bob Braun's Ledger:

Federal monitor finds phony records used to lie about special ed progress in Newark

There are no words…




Employees of the state-run administration of the Newark schools may have tampered with documents essential for determining whether the state-operated district is complying with a federal court decision designed to ensure the city’s special education children are receiving services required by law.  Priscilla Petrosky, a court-appointed monitor reported that some obviously phony records  “compromised” the validity of assurances given to the court that the district was trying to comply with its order.
Petrosky also said the obvious manipulation of special education files raised issues about the “credibility” and “legitimacy” of documents the district’s state-appointed employees produced to prove it was complying with the court order.
The Education Law Center, which brought the underlying federal case on behalf of the city’s special education children, issued a statement indicating it had asked the state Attorney General  to “investigate whether anyone in NPS may have engaged in improper employment conduct or violated any laws. ”
Priscilla Petrosky
Priscilla Petrosky
Petrosky found undated letters–all uniformly worded– in student files that contradicted other information in those files, leading her to believe they did not accurately reflect how well the district was complying with the federal court order handed down in 2012. The order imposed strict deadlines on the district Federal monitor finds phony records used to lie about special ed progress in Newark | Bob Braun's Ledger:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T | The Crunk Feminist Collective

R-E-S-P-E-C-T | The Crunk Feminist Collective:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T






“What do you think I want, respect or compliance?”
This was the question I posed my class this week, after I asked them to define the terms. For compliance they yelled out things like “following orders” and “obedience.” They defined “respect” as “valuing the thoughts of others” “being loyal,” and so on.
I asked them to define respect versus compliance for a few reasons. Last Friday, my class of mostly white college sophomores, juniors, and seniors was feeling particularly antsy. For many, my 11 o’clock class is their last one before their weekend begins and by the time I see them they are “ret to go.” But Last Friday took the cake. There were so many cellphones, so much scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Here I am trying to engage them in a conversation about Toni Morrison and they are liking pictures and commenting on posts. This was very frustrating.
My general policy is to note who is using social media and file it away for future reference. This will simply affect their participation grade and I keep it pushing. If they are persistent, I pull them aside and ask what’s up. Ultimately, my students are grown and make choices. My pedagogical style does not emphasize shaming or policing.
But Friday felt different. I felt different. The magnitude of the disrespect welled up within me. When they started shuffling their books and bags at 11:45—5 minutes before class ends—I was too through.
“Class is not over until 11:50! Please stop putting your stuff away.”
Most of them stopped shuffling, but many just sat there looking at me blankly or sullenly for 5 minutes while I wrapped up a meager discussion with a handful of engaged students.
So, I had already planned to talk to my students when I returned to class the next week. This is a classroom community and we need to respect one another. They need to respect me. They need to respect themselves. We’ve R-E-S-P-E-C-T | The Crunk Feminist Collective:

Thinking about Darrell Steinberg and Angelique Ashby in a post-K.J. Sacramento

Sacramento News & Review - Thinking about Darrell Steinberg and Angelique Ashby in a post-K.J. Sacramento - Essay - Opinions - October 29, 2015:

Thinking about Darrell Steinberg and Angelique Ashby in a post-K.J. Sacramento

Cosmo Garvin pushes aside the Steinberg buzz to ask some real questions about the candidate






Really? It was the video that did it for you? The transcripts, that whole, “Again, I didn't recall us being one hundred percent naked” conversation—that was OK? But post the actual video of 17-year-old Mandi Koba telling her story to the police and suddenly it's, “Ugh, Kevin Johnson is a creep!”
All right, whatever.
In any case, there was really no point in Johnson running for mayor again. It wasn’t going to get any better for him, or his big-money backers, than “saving the Kings.”
And K.J.’s assorted mini-scandals and ethical lapses were starting to stick. Or at least they were getting the attention of reporters at national outlets, who were writing stories with a pronounced what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-Sacramento angle.
So, time for a new mayor.
If you’re looking for a less-handsy version of the Johnson administration, then Councilwoman Angelique Ashby may be a good bet. She’s spent the last five years as a loyal member of Team K.J., then launched her own campaign for mayor more or less simultaneously with Johnson’s announcement that he wouldn’t run again.
But it’s former state senator and political fixture Darrell Steinberg who is generating the excitement. A not-exactly-grassroots social-media campaign to “convince” Steinberg to run—comprised largely of Democratic politicians, party activists and fundraisers—materialized immediately after K.J.’s announcement.
Steinberg has broad appeal. In fact, lots of people who hate Johnson’s guts want Steinberg for mayor. In their eyes, Steinberg is a policy heavyweight where K.J. is all about branding and government-by-press-release. They see Steinberg as a man of integrity where Johnson is, well, not.
But is the culture of low-grade corruption and self-dealing that thrived under Johnson really going to improve in a Mayor Steinberg administration? I’m not so sure.
Believe me, I understand as well as most the differences between Johnson and Steinberg.Steinberg in many ways turned me on to public policy and public affairs. Anyone remember Steinberg’s Assembly Bill 680, to distribute sales taxes more equitably among local governments? No? I do. It was goddamn Sacramento News & Review - Thinking about Darrell Steinberg and Angelique Ashby in a post-K.J. Sacramento - Essay - Opinions - October 29, 2015:

2016-20: The Waltons Set Out to Promote “Choice Ecosystems” | deutsch29

2016-20: The Waltons Set Out to Promote “Choice Ecosystems” | deutsch29:

2016-20: The Waltons Set Out to Promote “Choice Ecosystems”






In September 2015, Jim and Alice Walton contributed a combined $400,000 to a Louisiana PAC in order to influence the October 2015 Louisiana state board of education election.
The Waltons have an eye on Louisiana, and it has to do with school choice in New Orleans. As of 2014, almost all public schools in New Orleans are charter schools, with 100 percent of the state-run Recovery School District (RSD) operating charter schools. (RSD currently has 63 schools.)
It seems that from 2016 to 2020, the Waltons plan to particularly expand their presence in New Orleans (and DC and Denver). They have a new plan for school choice, as noted in this October 2015 Grantmakers for Education report.
Here are excerpts from the Walton report, including what they supposedly learned on their way to buying what they want.
Of the $373 million the Walton Family Foundation contributed across its three focus areas in 2014, more than half, 54%, went to education. In 2014, funds were disbursed over four education categories: shaping public policy ($80.1 million); creating quality schools ($75.7 million); improving existing schools ($22.6 million); and research and evaluation ($2.5 million). Other education-related grants totaled an additional $21.6 million. …
The Foundation seeks to attract and develop talent to staff teaching, school 
2016-20: The Waltons Set Out to Promote “Choice Ecosystems” | deutsch29:

CURMUDGUCATION: The Only Good Standardized Test

CURMUDGUCATION: The Only Good Standardized Test:

The Only Good Standardized Test




As testing has risen once again to the surface of the ed policy soup,  I have found myself in versions of the same conversation, because people who like the idea of standardized testing really like the idea of standardized testing, and because I said the number of necessary standardized rests is zero.

data from tests are the life blood of education and he took exception with my exception. Someone in the comments called me a "union shill." And a reporter asked me what the alternative to standardized testing would be. 

It's a fair question. Is there such a thing as a useful standardized test?

But First a Few Words about Opposition 

To have this conversation, we have to get one thing out of the way first. If you believe (and I think some reformsters sincerely believe it) that the only reason that teachers oppose the current high stakes test-and-punish status quo is because their self-serving union tells them to, you are blinding yourself to some real issues. First, there is a real gulf between national union leadership and rank and file teachers precisely because union opposition to reformster policies has been tepid at best. For the most part, NEA and AFT leadership is not whipping up opposition to ed reform policies-- they are trying to tamp it down.

The teacher opposition to testing comes first and foremost from teachers who are watching testing 
CURMUDGUCATION: The Only Good Standardized Test:


New Testing Makes No Sense - The Crucial VoiceThe Crucial Voice

New Testing Makes No Sense - The Crucial VoiceThe Crucial Voice:

New Testing Makes No Sense






Two “Super Supers” came to Idaho to bring us their wisdom. It is always good to listen to the voices of experience; it helps clarify things. It certainly threw light on some issues for me.
Dr. David P. Driscoll (MA) and Dr. Eric Smith (FL) were brought to Idaho by the Albertson Foundation, which has been financially supporting standards development in Idaho since 1997.
In describing their visit here, the Supers indicated that they were given some of our state data to review. It showed a couple of things that many across the country have knownfor years; we have a lack of consistency in the quality of our schools and those schools that show up on the bottom of the performance pile tend to do so repeatedly. This we have known.
These experts came to their conclusions by reviewing the data they were given; some of us have lived the reality, shouted it from the rooftops, and been brushed aside — because our observations were anecdotal, we can’t do our own research, attempt todraw logical conclusions from data, or we didn’t graduate from the right colleges? (I have New Testing Makes No Sense - The Crucial VoiceThe Crucial Voice:

David P. Driscoll

He has been a member of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) since 2003. For the past two years, Dr. Driscoll has been appointed chair of NAGB by Secretary Arne Duncan. Dr. Driscoll serves on a number of national boards, including the Fordham Institute, Alliance for Excellent Education, U.S. Education Delivery Institute, and Teach Plus.
 Dr. Eric Smith
Smith previously served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The College Board, and was a member on the Board of Directors for the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. He has served as Chair of the National Assessment of Title 1 Independent Review Panel since 2003 and was named Florida's Commissioner of Education in 2007.[citation needed]
Smith has used his educational skill recently in Chile, while teaching the Chilean Army in the use and employment of Field Artillery.
Dr. Smith also served as Senior Vice President for College Readiness at the College Board and is a member emeritus of Chiefs for Change.

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Follow-Ups and Did You Know?

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Follow-Ups and Did You Know?:

Follow-Ups and Did You Know?



Did you know that the district has rank ordered programs/support activities in district buildings?  The reasoning is two-fold - for enactment of 1351 for smaller class sizes in K-3 and the growth in Seattle Schools.  Here's the list from a letter that Flip Herndon sent on Oct. 13, 2015 to "Seattle Public School Partners:"

1.       K-12 Instruction
2.       Preschool (because it requires dedicated space and licensing)
3.       Before and After Care (because it is more flexible in utilizing multi-use space)
4.       Other Youth Activities
5.       All other Activities

Currently, it looks like most of the impact will happen at the elementary level of buildings, but this space prioritization is applicable to all buildings. Additionally, an evaluation of space needs will happen on an annual basis and any impact to an organization or partner would be communicated as soon as possible to allow time transition. Just because you are receiving this letter, does not mean that you are losing space that is currently being used. This is a general notification. In the event that the space currently being used by your organization needs to be prioritized for K-12 instruction, a specific letter referring to the applicable lease would be sent with a timeline attached. 

You see that? Pre-K BEFORE other before/after school care.  

Budget Items from the Work Session:

Budget presentation (scroll down in document to see it).   Really interesting page 6 which is the Current Year Enrollment by Grade Band (prior three years plus a 10 year previous).  The growth has been largely in  grades 1-5 and high school enrollment has decreased since 2006.


Upside: potential prior year carryover support, teacher reassignments for adjusted enrollment and possible decrease in transportation expenditures.

Downside: acutal enrollment budget variance ($4.3M) and SEA labor contract above anticipated budget ($3.5M)

So the staffing adjustments are both a good and bad thing for the district's budget.  Interesting.

As well they are still waiting for find out about the OSPI/DoE SPED funding holdback of $3M.  The other unresolved issue is "unfunded needs" at $71M.  They identify these as:


  • add 5 minutes to lunch/recess
  • bell time shift
  • African-American Initiative (which I believe only applies to boys)
  • Close Opportunity GAP (sic)
  • Sped/ELL program expansion
  • start of school process improvements
  • IB funding
  • School funding model enhancements
  • Restoration of pre-recession central operations support
I do not know what the second to last item means and I can't believe they want Seattle Schools Community Forum: Follow-Ups and Did You Know?:


Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 10/29/15



CORPORATE ED REFORM





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