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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The hubris of the state board of education

I was able to listen to part of the board’s meeting today and I have to tell you it left a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because the board is populated by ideologues that have a tenuous relationship to education at best and in every instance they sided with businesses over parents’ teachers and students.

They ignored the head of the parent teacher association who represents 300,000 parents and teachers and voted to precede full speed ahead with common core which will take millions and millions out of our classrooms and they ignored district after district that voted against charter school applications and rubber stamped every single one of them. So much for local control right.

The grocer, citrus grower, TFA hobbyist and the rest of the gang are really wrecking our state.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris,

    Have you read the new proposal from Pam Stewart?

    Stewart calls the 2014-2015 new assessments and grading scale "a school's starting point" that will encourage "truth in advertising." This is utterly ridiculous. Florida has created no tests, let alone assessed the validity/reliability of the "tests." This is absolutely crazy. How can you say these are valid tests and not set an actual goal? Is 70%, 65%, 85%, etc., passing? It is completely arbitrary. The document sets forth that the 2015 exams will be a "baseline performance...upon which schools must build." What the heck does this mean? This situation is akin to saying that we don't know where to set the goal, so poof, there "it" is, and schools must become better. Where is "it?" At least the ACT and SAT tell you that they normalize the test and make comparisons between students. Essentially, the FLDOE is saying that students will take a test, score X points (whatever X represents), and must improve. Improve to what? Oh wait; it doesn't say, because no one knows.

    Then, on top of that, Stewart wants "truth in advertising." This merely means that the high performing schools with highest achievement levels will reflect the highest grades. Okay, but what about the fact that schools have feeder neighborhoods that struggle with literacy? You cannot make up for 5 years of struggling literacy before kindergarten just in school. Every student can learn, but the pace will be slower for some kids because they are already behind. While they are struggling, you have the students who come on or above level who are growing exponentially. Some schools have a leg up automatically and unfairly because most of their students already come in on or above level in math or reading. Why is that? Many of the parents are involved to the point that they teach or reinforce what the preschool is teaching before the kid even arrives in kindergarten. Those parents probably also have high literacy rates, and through daily conversation, these skills are transferred to their kid. "The 30 Million Word Gap" beautifully outlines this idea, and it makes so much sense. The catch up game is so unfair to teachers and students, and assigning school grades exacerbates the situation by creating schools that cater to the educated and wealthy who know to put their kids into those schools, thereby leaving the most struggling of our students in one big, chaotic pot. As a teacher, I have had the most success with groups of mixed-ability students. Putting all struggling readers together in 1 class is the worst thing you can do, and that is what Stewart is reinforcing through the continuation of the school grading and Common Core testing movement.