Some pretty funny (and not surprising) public education items in the news.
First up in the category of "well, that didn't take long", the Washington Policy Center opines on Senator Ross Hunter's idea that the state should take over failing schools. (This is a similar idea to what happens in many other states - the schools become "turnaround" schools.)
Lawmakers should remove the cap that limits the number of charter
schools that can open to only eight a year, up to a total of 40.
We don't even have ONE charter and they want the limit raised. Unbelievable.
They do use the thought that Charlie had:
Removing the cap would benefit all children, because just the
possibility of a parent takeover would motivate school officials to
improve services for children before that option arises. That, in turn,
would give parents the leverage they need to seek positive change in
Imagine this message from parents, “Give our kids the education you
promised or we’ll look into starting our own school.” Now that’s one way
to concentrate the minds of school district officials.
Leverage is one word for it.
Then we have the brain trust that is the editorial board over at the Times. They are against any talk of a MAP boycott and want the teachers to shush.
Protests in a couple of Seattle schools over a standardized test may be
inspired by legitimate concerns, but the protests are clearly igniting
As I ask them, why is this a bad thing?
Debate over MAP was hashed out three years ago when teachers approved a
labor contract allowing student test results from the MAP to be one of
several measurements used in teacher evaluations.
Actually it wasn't because now MAP is used in ways that it was not meant to and, as well, has not been good and effective testing tool. Hence the teachers unhappiness.
They then extoll the virtues of MAP and Charlie sets them straight (Lynne Varner really needs to learn to do her OWN homework and not just work off whatever she is told is the truth):
"The Times writes: "the MAP, a two- to three-times-a-year assessment meant to gauge the effectiveness of teaching and learning."
This statement is false. The MAP was meant to be a formative
assessment, not a summative assessment. It is not meant to gauge the
effectiveness of teaching or learning. It is meant as a tool to help
teachers individualize instruction.
The Times writes: "MAP, which students take on the computer, is designed to assess students at different levels of achievement "
This is incorrect. The MAP is an adaptive test. When students answer
questions correctly they get harder questions. When they answer
incorrectly they get easier questions. The test is not designed to
assess individual students at different levels of achievement, but to
narrow in on each student's individual level of understanding.
The Times is arguing in a favor of a test and they don't even know what kind of assessment it is or how it works. Classic."
Then we have Danny Westneat at the Times chiming in. Why is MAP a good thing to him? Because it screens kids for Advanced Learning which is a task it isn't designed for AND hasn't brought more diversity to the program anyway.
Because enrollment has skyrocketed, up 47 percent since 2008. The two
programs, called the Accelerated Progress Program (or APP) and
Spectrum, now have 4,200 students between them.
“This is the biggest it has ever been, by far,” says Bob Vaughan, who
runs the programs. “I honestly didn’t think this could happen, this
fast. It is just ... awesome.”
Really? Because we serving those kids so well? Because APP is in limbo because so many locations are overcrowded? Because we are supposed to be overhauling this really weak and unwieldy gifted program and yet the district (and Dr. Vaughan) remain silent on the Advanced Learning Taskforce to the point of not even answering e-mails? Yes, it's "awesome."
Matt Carter, a teacher at Orca K-8 who is boycotting the MAP test,
said the test is “very Eurocentric” in its approach and may be racially
biased. He said that even if the test is useful for finding
high-achieving kids, it isn’t much aid to teachers working with a wide
range of kids.
“Our point is that if we’re going to be doing all this testing, we just need a better test,” he said.