Sunday, October 19, 2014

Seattle Times Wants Rule Breakers Punished

In an editorial published on Friday, "Starting with Beacon Hill, school officials must stop cheating before it spreads", the Seattle Times editorial board demands that district officials aggressively investigate and crack down hard on whoever altered test booklets at Beacon Hill International Elementary School.

Funny how the Seattle Times wants district officials to come down hard on anyone found to have cheated on the MSP but they aren't concerned about all of the other rule-breaking in Seattle Public Schools.

They aren't concerned about violations of IDEA. They aren't concerned about how the District can't comply with the federal laws regarding Native American education. They aren't concerned about violations of the chaperone rules. They aren't concerned about violations of the field trip rules. They aren't concerned about violations of Title IX. They aren't concerned about violations of the sexual harassment policy or procedures. They aren't concerned when district officials break their promises to students and communities. They aren't concerned about the routine violation of district procedures, board policies, state regulations, or federal laws that happen every day throughout Seattle Public Schools - violations that cause real harm to students - but they care so deeply about someone messing with a few standardized tests. This act, they believe, requires an immediate and severe response. They want whoever did this found and they want an example made of them.

That's why no one takes the Seattle Times editorial board seriously in education issues. They're just too intellectually dishonest and their focus in on numbers instead of kids.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nor are they concerned about this whole NCLB high-stakes test-and-punish culture that created this situation to begin with. They approve of it, in fact.

CT

Anonymous said...

The adults decided to cheat in order to look better than the other schools.

The high stakes testing culture is horrible, but adults who cheat in the midst of it are weak and/or unethical.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

CT, you're right and I pointed this out in the comments at the Times.

They are the ones who want teachers to get bonus pay (like principals).

They are the ones who railed against the Legislature for not tying teachers scores to teacher evaluations (and therefore losing the NCLB waiver).

And Charlie's right? Why do they only show concern for this one episode? Because the district doesn't have a pattern of this (although the Times does point out that the internal auditor did point out that the district needed to have better oversight of test booklets). But those booklets are going away now with on-line assessments.

No, it's just one more brick in the wall that - from within and without - is being built to have mayoral takeover of SPS.

I even heard that some cynical legislators are going to try to tie McCleary enactment to passing legislation that would allow such a takeover.

It has been disheartening to see the labored efforts of the Republicans who want(ed) to undermine President Obama at every turn. The backlog of appointments - even for Surgeon General as we struggle with the Ebola situation - shows that.

Undermine our country for political ends.

Undermine our district for..something. But there are people out there working on this right now.

Carol Simmons said...

It is a domino effect. If you don't have high test scores in your schools, the school gets punished. If you don't have high test scores in your class, the teacher get punished. If you don't have high test scores in your home, you get punished by not being admitted to Universities. What are we actually testing anyway? The curriculum is still not culturally representative. Grades are subjective. Students are denied participation in extra curricular activities based on subjective, discriminatory standards. Some teachers are terrified of not doing "direct instruction" and some Principals are terrified of not providing adequate time for assemblies, lunch or recess. This NCLB high-stakes test and punish culture has created cheating. A sorry state.

Watching said...

Meanwhile, Colorado school board voted to opt-out of federal and state standardized tests. Why hasn't the Seattle Times covered this story?

Anonymous said...

I would go further and say that all of the Seattle Times' education reporting should not be taken seriously (not just the editorial board), because the Times is funded by Gates Foundation for its education reporting, to the tune of $426,000 over 18 months.

Education Lab Q&A

Gary

Greeny said...

I'd throw the vaccination rules & lack of policy enforcement into the pot, too. Startlingly high out-of-compliance numbers....

Patrick said...

Enough already posted: The adults decided to cheat in order to look better than the other schools.

I don't see any reason to believe that. Whoever changed the test answers changed them all to perfect. He/she/they must have known that would be completely suspicious and get the test results thrown out, which is what happened.

I think it's more likely that whoever it was just wanted to make the testing culture look foolish and get possibly low test scores thrown out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the theory that whoever did it did it as a protest. Why else would so many get changed to right?
NEmom

Charlie Mas said...

It is a longstanding policy of mine not to attribute to evil what can be explained by incompetence.

Analogous to that, I don't think we can presume that the cheater was trying to get the test scores thrown out as obviously altered when it is more likely that the cheater is just a very bad liar.

A good liar - an experienced liar - puts forward a plausible story. A bad liar puts forward a fantastic one. These test scores were a fantastic lie and therefore most likely the work of an inexperienced liar.

A more thoughtful protest against the test, designed to get the scores thrown out, would be to change all of the answers to wrong answers. Then there would be no confusion about the purpose of the act.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree with Charlie.

This was not a protest.

I think either someone wanted to hurt someone (the principal was the target?) or yes, someone is just not that bright.

mosfet said...

Why would the Seattle Times mostly avoid covering the NatureBridge/Garfield case but eagerly cover Beacon Hill? Why cover Beacon Hill but not other recent scandals in SPS? If they're trying to build support for a mayoral takeover of schools, why cover one instance of SPS messing up but not the others?

I'm divided on whether this was a protest or an actual attempt at cheating. Was this the first time that this specific test was given to students? I have difficulty believing that someone at the school, likely a teacher, wouldn't know what typical scores for students would be.

On one hand, if the person were trying to actually cheat, s/he was unbelievably stupid. On the other hand, if this was a protest, the person did a bit of a sloppy job on it. If it were a protest, I think that someone would have made it clear that it was a protest.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mosfet--reporting on the NatureBridge/Garfield tragedy by the Times was pathetic--not even a report of the opening of the federal investigation.

So far consequences for adults who break the rules appears to be nil.

Ben