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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finally some leadership from the Duval County School Board.

I have to say this is twice in a week that Becki Couch has impressed me. Maybe it's the freedom of not having to run for reelection.

When talking about school grades based on the new Common Core tests she said in the Times Union:
“This is a train wreck, There needs to be time to get baseline data. Otherwise it’s an unfair evaluation.”
Baseline data, she said, would be the first scores on the first year’s tests.
She's absolutely right and because of it Duval’s School Board will vote next month on a resolution objecting to Florida’s plans to issue grades using new state exams.
If it approves the measure, Duval could become the first district in Florida to formally question the legitimacy of Florida’s grading system under the new tests, which the state is paying $220 million to develop.
It is past time the board pushed back against the misuse of testing but better late than never.
Okay with that out of the way I am going to play a little devil's advocate here. This past year the district's grades plummeted and even though I don't think much of the states grading system, they are bound to plummet again with this years testing and I don't think the administration could survive a second disastrous year in a row. I believe the board and super are being genuine with their concerns but I also think a whiff of self preservation may be involved in their long overdue decision to push back against testing and the states grading system.

To read more, click the link:


  1. What stands out to me most is $220, 000, 000; to whose pockets? And,
    Common Core is horrible news for School Board Members and for the Superintendent. Certainly, with all their previous mediocre policies they now have to adopt a stratagem of Self Preservation. Unruly, and undisciplined students will never rise to such lofty standards. the only antidote!!!

  2. I was really happy to read that article in the T-U! You're probably right on both issues (freedom from re-election worries + potential 2nd year of low scores) but it's still refreshing to see someone here speak out at last. Train wreck indeed!!!

  3. There is no reasonable logic behind using a MULTIPLE GUESS baseline math test for evaluating a student or teacher, anyway. I have had some, what you might call, ineducable students who passed their Algebra 2 End Of Course (EOC) Exam with a C grade, even though whenever I called upon them to answer kindergarten questions, such as;"What is the sum of 2 + 3?", they would stare at me with a blank expression on their faces. What was their magic? They waited until the last five to ten minutes of the exam and then bubbled in patterns on their multiple guess answer sheets. This they called 'Christmas Treeing'. Incidentally, several students who actually attempted solving the problems before making answer choices ended up with a D. I am certain that most of the latter students would have earned at least a C grade if they were given their well deserved partial credits. So, who gets hired for the job, the student with some math problem-solving skills or the one who knows how to design Christmas Trees on a multiple guess answer sheet? Unless, the fast food companies disregard DCPS Diplomas and give a math test of their own.