State test scores are released


Four months ago, I wrote about the insanity that was the administration of the standardized tests in Math & ELA. A few weeks ago on August 5th a DOE Memo announced the long awaited public release of the scores-

I would like to analyze the language in this memo:
What ever happened to positive framing? The first sentence of the memo concedes to the scores plunging yet praises that at least they represent a more accurate picture of our students. Oy vey-

“The State Education Department will soon be releasing the 2012-13 state assessment scores in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math for grades 3-8. As you know, those
scores are expected to be significantly lower than the 2011-12 scores. This change in scores — which will effectively create a new baseline measurement of student learning — is
largely the result of the shift to assessments that measure the Common Core Learning Standards, which more accurately reflect students’ progress toward college and career

Then the memo segues into the relationship between students scores, teacher evaluations and hiring practices:

“… these growth scores will result in similar proportions of educators earning each rating category (Highly Effective, Effective, Developing and Ineffective) in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12 on the State subcomponent rating category. In light of the new baseline in student scores set with the 2012-13 state tests, it is even more important for school district officials to consider all aspects of a teacher’s or principal’s evaluation when making employment decisions using the 2012-13 composite evaluations. Education Law §3012-c(1) states that APPRs shall be a significant factor in employment decisions. Employment decisions are made by local school districts, in accordance with law and any applicable locally negotiated procedures.”

The charter center has compiled reports that graphically depict that charters consistently outperform their district counter parts. What are your thoughts on how this data is gathered?             I’ll be looking into other reports and how the data is presented to compare against these results.

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Source: Charter School Center


Success Academy- pressing the eject button too often?

Cherry picking at it’s finest …I don’t support social promotion, where a student is pushed on to the next grade simply because they match that grade level developmentally.  However, most studies indicate retaining students does not benefit the student in any way.

Some agree that DOE school principals under-suspend students,  while charters are incessantly pressing the Eject button on students who are challenging.

Here is Juan Gonzalez’ article :

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College & career ready- so show me the money!

A recent NYT article highlights the pockets of  Common Core opposition while framing the CCLS in a positive light

“The standards, which were written by a panel of experts convened by governors and state superintendents, focus on critical thinking and analysis rather than memorization and formulas.The idea is to help ensure that students generally learn the same things in public schools across the country.”

    In an absolute vacuum of a country where access to healthcare , prenatal care, parenting practices and funding of school districts is equally distributed, yes it would be a positive ideological position to take. But in an increasingly segregated country, pressuring states to hop on the bandwagon leaving them alone to play the  implementation and the resourcing game is another story. Teachers expressed to me in Newark Public Schools that they cannot possibly go through a certain unit in the alloted time when many of their students are 3-4 years below grade level.

It’s like manufacturing a size small t-shirt, branding it as a “one-size fits all” design and expecting all the people in between to fit- join or die?

    Not only does this not set a foundation for a sustainable model its seems like a slippery loopholed slope, afterall the federal government may not regulate curriculum, but influencing states decision through RTTT funds doesn’t violate this law and is perfectly constitutional. The General Education Provisions Act- GEPA” bans federal departments and agencies from directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum, programs of instruction, and instructional materials.1 ” Hopefully, national policy can push back against CCLS, in the Road to a National Curriculum, Engage Volume 13, Eitel & Talbert eloquently profess :

   “Left unchallenged by Congress, these standards and assessments will ultimately direct the course of elementary and secondary study in most states across the nation, running the risk that states will become little more than administrative agents for a nationalized K-12 program of instruction and raising a fundamental question about whether the Department is exceeding its statutory boundaries. This road to a national curriculum has been winding and highly nuanced—and, as we will see below, full of irony.”

Related Links:



Fast times at Pearson High

What do you get when you place a sea of 450 overzealous education administrators in a Gattaca-esque, uber-hotel for 24 hours of instructional time across 4 days ?

PowerSchool University.

PowerSchool University” is a huge event that Pearson hosts 4 times every summer across the country.  Powerschool is a 23 -year old  school database system that is owned by Pearson and used by many school districts across the country for things like students transcripts, attendance and state reporting. The conference was geared towards a user’s technical practice to accommodate the increased amounts of state reporting that districts are accountable for.

I attended this mother of all conferences for 4 days in Atlanta, GA. Upon entering the hotel I felt slight vertigo which I never get. I was encouraged to attend, since I use the system at work. Until now, my view of Pearson was as a monopolistic test-based accountability proponent that partners with cities and states for massive contracts for online learning.  I suppose the thinnest slice of their profit comes Professional Development events like this training. The “tuition” for a few days at Power School University runs $2,200. Some school districts could only afford to send one person. Sure the fee includes 2 daily meals and an i-pad rental – but seriously? I learned that Pearson has strong partnerships with many school districts across the U.S- and Dubai- this overarching grasp will be interesting to follow as schools transition into virtual/online learning models.

A few strange/ interesting things that happened :

– Met a Pearson employee who will lead the implementation of Powerschool in Dubai
– I had my first taste of shrimp grits and fried green tomatoes.
– Touched slimy devil Rays in a petting tank and saw 30 foot long Manta rays in the Georgia Aquarium
– Got yelled at to “Move it”! by a rabid jogger and then almost got pummeled down while taking a stroll on a pedestrian sidewalk.
– Witnessed a Flash Mob of elderly folks to the 90s song “Macarena”
– Swam in a giant indoor/outdoor fish shaped pool.
– Took a class called “Object Report” where it took us 1.5hrs to generate a simple table with a few rows and entries. ( Hello Google/Excel Insert Table function, I have taken you for granted)
– Had a few drinks with a lovely lesbian couple from South Carolina who risk getting fired if their relationship were to be public.

My schedule:

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The Gattica Hotel

The Charitable -Industrial Complex

I really enjoy how candid he is about this “philanthropy effect” – a similar trend is entrenched in the education reform movement, where we have charter school proponents raising the Panacea flag but they are a mere symptom of a greater issue.

Warren Buffet’s son Peter writes:

“All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left. There are plenty of statistics that tell us that inequality is continually rising. At the same time, according to the Urban Institute, the nonprofit sector has been steadily growing. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of nonprofits increased 25 percent. Their growth rate now exceeds that of both the business and government sectors. It’s a massive business, with approximately $316 billion given away in 2012 in the United States alone and more than 9.4 million employed.”