I’m on vacation this week. Most of my comments are short so I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves. I finish my week off with attendance at the 3rd Annual Network for Public Education Conference in Raleigh, NC. See you there.
From Russ Walsh
…The only thing that standardized tests measure with any certainty is the relative income levels of the children who attend that school…
Peter Greene has written an instant classic.
From Peter Greene
“Sure, we could have built a new school and filled it with just the kids who do well on the SCHNARCC. But that would have meant abandoning the rest of them, the ones who showed the most need in those test results. Why start from scratch for just a few students when we can invest in what we already have and serve all students?”
Governor Pat Jones chimed into the conversation. “That was when my office got involved. If the tests are showing pockets of poverty in the state that keep our students stuck behind their wealthier peers, then clearly we need to address the issues of poverty in the state while at the same time addressing the specific resource needs of districts like Upper Baldweasel, as well as long hard conversations about system inequities and, frankly, some of the racist impulses behind those inequities…
Threats to punish students who don’t take the test…
From Student Dontae Chatman quoted in the Chicago Sun Times
My school is threatening to take away our field day to students who refuse PARCC, I think we all should get treated the same way, if we take it or if we don’t take it.
We all know about the wasted time and energy of the standardized tests and all the test-prep that goes along with it. This quote, however, struck me because of the last phrase…”scores on fourth-grade exams are among the factors New York City middle schools consider for admission.”
Kids and parents are expected to apply to middle schools and high schools like students applying for college. What happened to the concept of every neighborhood having an excellent public school? I went to a K-8 elementary school a half mile from my house. My 9-12 high school was a short bus ride away (on the CTA – Bus 96).
From Kelly Wallace of CNN
Those tests are especially on the mind of my fourth-grader. Testing begins on her 10th birthday (poor girl!) plus she knows, even though we’ve never discussed it, that scores on fourth-grade exams are among the factors New York City middle schools consider for admission.
Here is a list of Ohio school districts which have sent a bill to the state for funds diverted from public schools to charters!
From Diane Ravitch
CONGRATULATIONS to Bill Phillis and the 50 public school districts that have adopted resolutions to bill the state for charter school deductions!
Ari Klein is a lifelong community member, math teacher at Cleveland Heights High School, and president of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union. Here he identifies the main problem with the privatization movement…it takes resources away from fully accountable public schools and gives them to private organizations.
from Ari Klein
Somehow, in the twisted thinking of our state legislature, tax money collected for our school district is diverted to several private enterprises over which our district has no control, and financially supports students the district does not serve.
Education “reform” has failed to help students learn. “reform” is simply a way of privatizing the public education system for personal profit. Follow the money.
From Todd Gazda, Superintendent, Ludlow Public Schools (MA)
After 20 years of these standardize accountability driven based policies our nation’s scores on the international PISA test are essentially flat and achievement gaps remain. At what point do we stop blaming teachers and the system rather than focusing the blame squarely where it belongs: on these education “reform” policies that have failed our schools.
What do teachers of the year see happening in their own states? Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, a social studies teacher from Washington, sees a profession in distress.
From Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington
…said he has seen an “exodus” of mid-career teachers who are fed up. “There’s a lot of demoralized educators right now,” he told Morning Education. “A demoralized educator just isn’t as effective. … And I don’t see any efforts to change that coming out of policy.” Teacher pay and working conditions are problems, he said, but a bigger problem is that teachers don’t feel valued or empowered.
On April 1, 2016, the Chicago Teachers Union staged a one-day walkout to highlight the lack of funding and resources for public schools, while charters proliferate, in the city school system. As usual, it’s about more than just money.
by Michelle Gunderson
A teachers’ contract is not just about money. It’s an agreement between government and a community about how children will be treated.
LIBRARIANS ARE IMPORTANT
The public schools I’ve worked in have never had school librarians…[emphasis added]
A school library without a librarian is like a classroom without a teacher. An effective school library program involves more than making books available to students and letting learners borrow those books. An effective school library program supports students’ learning and their exploration of the world. School librarians can:
- match students with appropriate resources,
- co-teach lessons that require research and technology skills, and
- help students develop inquiry and information-literacy skills they will need throughout their lives.
In addition, school librarians provide professional development to other educators in their schools. Certified school librarians make the whole school more effective. They teach students how to learn and help teachers drive student success.