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Saturday, September 27, 2014

These are frightening times for Duval's young readers.

If the district can't get buy in from our teachers, how successful can we be?

From a reader:

I guess that part of their solution to this quagmire was to drop SRA from the curriculum. They are still going full-steam ahead with novel study despite the lack of books for our oversized classes. (26 rather than 22) Not to mention, apparently downtown doesn't click the links to the email Vitti sends. If they did, they would have discovered that the writing test requires the ability to read, analyze, and compose a multi paragraph response, using text support from all of the excerpts presented, which were ALL nonfiction.  The reading test link- also nonfiction. 

Whomever developed the curriculum for ELA/Reading didn't do their homework and presume our students already know how to formulate text based responses. If they had any real knowledge, we would have an entirely different focus. The newly purchased computer based programs clearly were intended to be substitute for teaching nonfiction analysis and writing. They don't cut it. Write to Learn uses the old five paragraph prompt response. Its other alternative is to have students write a summary to one text on its program. It must have been purchased without first checking out the writing testing format. 

Achieve 3000, as we are required to use it, is useless because it assumes it will be accompanied by teacher instruction and followup. Yet, we are going to be blamed when our kids crash and burn on these tests. I can hear it now: The teachers didn't teach the curriculum properly, the school-based admin. didn't push those teachers hard enough, and we have them every tool and resource to do well. Where is the School Board? Are they just Vitti's echo chamber? Or is this an effort to push us out? We will obtain other jobs, but our kids will lose a year of essential instruction. What does it say about our leaders when their egos and agendas take precedence over our students? 

Frightening times.


  1. Can someone explain what SRA is? Thanks

  2. Lucky reader that they have enough technology to do Write to Learn. At my school, we're still waiting for the two extra laptop carts the District promised over the summer. I took classes to the lab to do another program and watched the painful efforts of kids to find the letters on the keyboard. We are screwed.

  3. Not enough technology Gregory. We have to rotate the kids through whatever computers our admin can cull together for our ELA classrooms. Six computers would be the maximum, depriving the other core classes of even one computer. At most, a student can have access once a month for less than an hour. Any media carts are in use due to perpetual testing. Write to Learn hasn't been implemented yet, although we have had to waste precious planning time training. Thanks for mentioning the complete lack of keyboard skills. It's like watching Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Indeed, we are screwed.

  4. Yup. Vitti keeps "investing" in all of this technology and online curriculum, because he and his cronies don't see the value of teachers as the force behind learning. Just put the kids in front of a screen, and they will "achieve." Okay then, provide the screen. Oh wait, we don't have the screens. Really, where is all of the money going????

  5. Yes they may as well just tell them to stay home in front of a screen. It's cheaper than buildings using electricity and water, books, furniture, busses, food and payroll. We are dying a slow death. DCPS no longer has an attendance policy. High school students now must take at least one virtual course, a toe in the water. Teachers are burdened with an impossible number of students and a lack of supplies. Like a lot of industries, we are going to become obsolete due to technology. And parents are control freaks who don't want their kids to hear diverse points of view. With virtual, they can know everything their kids are being taught, and choose a different curriculum if they want. They can keep them home and hover all they want. It's over, folks. Vitti's job is to put the final nail in the coffin.

  6. I went from four desktop computers to only two desktop computers when our school was "upgraded." I have 20 kindergarteners instead of 18. 14 of those 20 are boys. Vitti never bothered to send out an email to us when the state shut down FAIR testing. I found out when I saw the letter from Alachua County Superintendent was posted on Facebook. A friend in another county was notified the day a day before we were. I knew about it before our VP had even been notified by downtown. She inquired about it and then she got an answer. Alas, I had already wasted 15-16 hours of instructional time testing my entire class and NEVER saw any data.