Disqus

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Open Thread

There was a bit of discussion on this morning's KUOW Weekday news roundup of RTTT. Lynne Varner from the Times was on the panel and said she did not believe that not having charters hurt WA State's application. She said she thought it was probably because it was half-baked and got the union to sign on late. I did call in and say that (1) I agree the lack of charters was not the issue (2) corrected something she said which was that charters are governed by school boards (some may be but it depends on the state's charter legislation and (3) that Arne Duncan said that innovation counts as much as charters which is disingenuous because he knows states get dunned the 40 points for charters no matter how much innovation they have.

What's on your mind?

49 comments:

ParentofThree said...

I am wondering about the teachers contract. I can't imagine they would sign anything that holds them the MAPS and MSP results, especially since the standards may be changing, again.

Does a teachers strike seem like a reality this fall?

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's an interesting question. I asked someone in the know and they said the less said publicly, the better. So hearing nothing would mean it was going well? Maybe.

I don't know but I don't think anyone wants a strike. That said, when you threaten seniority AND add evaluations, I think it is very worrisome to teachers.

dan dempsey said...

Given the similarity of MGJ walking everything down the WA DC Michelle Rhee path .... if the sleepy members of the SEA fail to awaken = NO STRIKE.

Any hint of awareness in the members will likely produce a STRIKE.

HERE is how competent Ms. Rhee was last week.

If any of this had anything to do with actually producing better classroom environments I would applaud. Silence so far.

Eric M said...

Reaction was EXTREMELY negative to a proposal to evaluate teachers partially by MAP test scores. The proposal was much more nuanced and detailed than that, but reaction was very negative to those nuances and details.

Plus the plan was not completely formed and it seemed like they kind of made it up at the table. Hardly reassuring.

Indeed, we teachers have already had enough. Expect a strike. Not over money. Over leadership, ultimately.

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

I'm OK with the MAP test, but would prefer that it be used for information purposes only, with no high stakes or strings attached. But if this district chooses to make it a high stakes test for kids (and they have) then why shouldn't it also be high stakes for teachers? For principals? For the Super? Shouldn't accountability go all the way up the ladder?

Eric M said...

The more you know about the MAP test, the less you'll find to like.

It doesn't match our classes & our curriculum & our state standards.

Many questions aren't age appropriate.

Kids who took it 3 times this year across the district saw their scores go down, because, well, you can't ask kids to do the same task over and over again without them getting bored.

It's extremely reductive: is this really ALL we expect our kids to be learning in school: how to take this test ?

It tests only a few subjects and therefore devalues others (why should we fund art classes or music classes if our kids are not tested on those things?)

It remains a test in search of an audience. Teachers are pushed to use the results, but we already have more information than we can deal with. We need time, not crappy test results. We had a presentation last year, I kid you not, on how you could use the MAP test to identify the lowest performing kids in your class, and then have them all sit at one table to you could work with them. If you don't see what's wrong with that, well, geez louise, you're not thinking very hard.

And, the one that really gets me: Our Superintendent sits on the very very profitable NWEA company that sells the MAP test to our school district.
This is a tremendous conflict of interest. She only revealed it to her employers, our fabulous School Board, after the contract was signed.

The MAP test is corruption at its finest. To the extent its use is extended to evaluate teachers (a use never even hinted at on the NWEA website, by the way), the corruption spreads.

Every MAP test placed in front of a student, that's money standing up and walking right out of this community and ending up at NWEA headquarters.

Barf. I can't even believe we got to this place.

Charlie Mas said...

Last year the negotiations were in EXACTLY the same place. The District wanted different evaluations that included measures of student progress, the District wanted to use the evaluations instead of seniority for determining lay-off order, and the District wanted to introduce performance measurement consequences for teachers and schools.

The negotiations were tough. Then, as the deadline neared, the superintendent looked deep into her soul... and punted. The District and the SEA signed what was essentially a place-keeping contract that maintained the status quo for one more year.

They have had an entire year to negotiate this contract but they aren't making any progress at all. The District isn't in a position to ask for anything because they aren't in a position to offer anything. They can't offer cash compensation, they can't offer more planning or collaboration time, they can't offer smaller class sizes. All of those things cost money and they don't have any.

The teachers union have no reason to make any concessions without compensation, and there is no compensation coming.

Too bad. The District has a Rolls Royce shopping list and a Vespa budget.

G said...

My ninth grade daughter took the MAP test three times this year. Her scores went up in the winter and down in the spring. Did she lose ground over the course of the year? No. She had a good year, great grades, hard work and all honors classes and working above grade level in math. Her grades and portfolio of her year's work provided proof of teacher effectiveness. As a parent of a good, motivated student, the MAP scores provided us with absolutely no valuable information about our child or her teachers. Talking with friends, the variability in the MAP scores was wild, up and down, down and down, and though I haven't heard this from anyone, I'm sure some were up and up. All good students given the same instruction at the same school. How is a teacher supposed to be evaluated using a test that does not provide any kind of consistent or meaningful results? Without a basis in what is actually happening in the classroom? It does not seem to be a measure of anything except a corporation's expertise at selling a product that, in one size fits all, will performance manage teachers into the best educators, social workers, substitute parents and corrections officer they can possibly be, or not. Everyone knows who the teachers are that need to be performance managed out of teaching, and it is a tiny percentage of teachers in SPS. Is this MAP expense necessary? Is putting every teacher under a microscope necessary? No. But someone is making a lot of money selling the product. And I might wager that removing poorly performing teachers because of poor MAP results will be just as difficult as it is now.

dan dempsey said...

On to the Common Core Standards ... because this pile of Nonsense may be next.

Note:
The highly esteemed Professor Sandra Stotsky was not reappointed to the Mass. SBE by Governor Deval Patrick.

Here is a look at the kind of thinking coming out of Stotsky.
Her recent Guest Blog for Jay P. Greene.

All of the current change masquerading as "Reform" looks to be devoid of true plans to improve things for teachers or students. Only those interested in Magic Bullet shopping need apply.

(1) Content remains miles from what the Core Knowledge movement sees as an improvement. Voluntary State Standards ...hummm What a concept .. WA spent $1.6 million on Math Standards and voluntarily are chucking them in the RttT extortionist Money Grab.

(2) Look at Cleveland HS's $800,000 give away to NTN for an example of the "BOLD" change envisioned by RttT lovers as great. Cleveland, West Seattle Elementary, and Hawthorne Elementary brought the SPS $2.1 million in i3 grant funding from the FEDs channeled through OSPI. Requirement "BOLD" change and more likely political clout at OSPI.

The sane piece in all this came from SPS Gates Data Fellow Eric M. Anderson. Note his "Effective Schools" thoughts run contrary to most SPS thinking about Math and other stuff as well. Say Huh??

(3) Thus far we see our supposed Education leaders are chiefly interested in figuring out how to bag FED Dollars and hardly giving a rip about sound classroom practice. Note support of SB 6696 from nearly the entire political class including WEA leadership and the House & Senate & OSPI. All hail the wisdom of Olympia (Barf).

(4) Our political Charlatan Class pronounce on Education issues having no idea how to:
A.. Find Educationally sound research
B.. Apply Educationally sound research
C.. Enhance classrooms through the funding of efficient, effective, proven practices and instructional materials.

..... Good luck SEA members it appears you are trapped in a situation surrounded by morons on most every side.

====================
Note: Performance Management is a great idea. The actual proposed practice is complete total nonsense. Performance Management has traction because Principal's and other supervisors are incompetent or not willing to supervise.

So now it is proposed that a poorly devised crappy plan be used by the either "incompetent" or "unwilling to be informed" administration to improve the school system.

Please get back to me on how that works out if its ever initiated.

Seattle will likely make WA DC administration that can't tell the difference between 241 and 76 look like geniuses.

As ERIC M said:
"Indeed, we teachers have already had enough. Expect a strike. Not over money. Over leadership, ultimately".

"Over leadership, ultimately"
GOT THAT RIGHT.

dan dempsey said...

Does anyone ever tire of their children being the subject of "experimentation"?

.... Usually unmonitored experiments that their parents are completely uninformed about.

Everyday Math is certainly one of those.

I am uncertain if "Writer's Workshop" and "Reader's Workshop" fit the description of experiments.

Given the largely worthless Education Research produced (over 90% fits this category) it takes a great deal of effort to separate the excessive baloney from the minimal amount of steak.

dan dempsey said...

Small Recall SNAFU ....

Joan Sias and Marissa Essad as well as the 5 Directors received letters informing them that Ms. Sias and Ms. Essad had failed to submit an Oath. They did have their filing notarized but the oath was missing.

The King County Prosecutors office does the sufficiency checking. The elections office did not inform the two filers that this oath was needed. The burden does fall on the filers not the elections office ....

so ....

Things will get rolling again likely on Tuesday when the filers submit the required oath.

dan dempsey said...

... apparently .. The District is now deciding to Experiment on Teachers also...

Enough of this nonsense.

Principals need to do their jobs.

Where are the sanctions and the interventions ? .... just too much effort for most I guess.

Maureen said...

EricM said We had a presentation last year, ... on how you could use the MAP test to identify the lowest performing kids in your class, .... geez louise

Eric, was the presentation given by District staff or NWEA staff or someone else?

kprugman said...

The most amazing part about all this mumbo jumbo is that you really don't need to test all the students to identify the lowest performing students. The second absurdity is that the cleverest principals will drop those students from the hs roll books, raise their AYP, and then spend the extra money they received on innane projects.

Eric M said...

The MAP presentation on how to get all your lowest performing kids together at one table was shoved at assistant principals, and they had to present it at staff meetings. At least, I think so, 'cuz the essentially same presentation was given at Ballard and Ingraham (where the staff got into a heated argument over this.) If I had to guess, the presentation looked like it was cooked up by NWEA/Broad/Goodloe-Johnson staff ( I get confused by exactly who's writing the paychecks down at the "John" anymore, don't you ?), and handed to APs.

Ballard staff responded with yawns. It was at the end of an entire Friday's worth of professional development, and nobody wanted to delay the gavel.

Interestingly, one small aspect of the half-baked SERVE plan (legitimizing the MAP test as a vehicle for teacher evaluations) being insisted on by the District bargaining team involves, lengthening every school day by 12 minutes, so that more professional development can take place.....on Friday afternoons! Who in their right mind holds any important meeting on Friday afternoon?

The Supe knows this - she always sends out her bad news emails on Friday afternoons.

Of course, that extra work time for teachers (drum roll, please) is to be served without compensation.

Very few teachers are in it for the money, and most of us put in hundreds of hours beyond our contract time. Our time, our choice, our projects.

But seriously, you can't just tell us to work longer without pay.

At least, you can't, if you're a corrupt, unaccountable, teacher-blaming Superintendent who nobody except some rich kids like.

Anonymous said...

Eric M - you said it - they need to back off and leave us to do the work - we know what it is, and they . . . well, they are simply clueless hacks with advanced degrees - "Our time, our choice, our projects." - I decide! - just pay me for my 8 hours and shut up.

kprugman said...

Adopt Singapore's textbook standards and then try to make public education accountable. Every textbook should have their own standard - why are we wasting time, aligning instruction with standards and trying to make teachers accountable, when its the textbooks that are sub-standard. The real panacea is making all teachers accountable, because in the entire universe of teaching there will always be some teachers that are great and some that are not so great and it doesn't matter whether you shop for them in Singapore or the US.

Anonymous said...

The MAPs tests have some okay points, however students I had that scored "really high" in the Fall and Winter went down in the Spring in Math because the concepts taught in our Math curriculum do not match those tested in MAPs. During the Math assessment the tests goes through Calculus and if a student guesses the right answer, the questions get harder. If they're a lucky guesser, it can appear that they know what they're doing. Then when tested again if they weren't a lucky guesser it can appear that they are doing worse! To attach teachers' evaluations to such a test would be a travesty. Especially when as I mentioned above the curriculum doesn't match the assessment. Also, if a student scores a few grades below their grade (math) level in the fall, even if they make gains throughout the year, it may still show that they're not at grade (math) level...making a teacher look bad, though the students were lower in the first place! Also, outside of Math, Reading, LA, & Science, how will tests be applied to teachers that teach other subjects or whom are specialists (e.g. ELL, Sp. Ed., Foreign Language, Art)? And yes, principals should have their evaluations tied also, especially since many don't spend building budgets to support students' academic achievement!

Anonymous said...

"And yes, principals should have their evaluations tied also, especially since many don't spend building budgets to support students' academic achievement!"

And you know what they are spending it on? That's right, it costs $54 a head.

Principals actually are a huge part of problem - many care little or nothing for real instruction, just playin' by the district book. Recall some of them, Dan!

kprugman said...

anon - is correct, the tests are only evaluating what students have been taught not what they learned. A student with a low reading score who couldn't understand what they were reading will probably score below 25% - the probablility of randomly choosing the right answer. The distribution of test scores is bimodal and teachers are analyzing aggregate scores. A correct analysis would entail disaggregating the students into more than one group. The real culprit of education reform is poor analysis, but my claim is that it was an intentional deception and it's roots date back to the early 50's.

Josh Hayes said...

I can't argue with your analysis, kprugman. In education policy, there seems to be a reverence for Numbers that borders on religious.

Numbers, they cry, we need numbers! Data!

And let me tell you, after nigh on 25 years as a consulting statistician, that there's nobody more dangerous than a fool with a bunch of numbers. We all know that the reality of student achievement is impossibly complicated, varies not just year by year, but month by month, even day by day, and of course, subject by subject. No standardized testing regime can have any hope of capturing that reality.

But no policy maker wants to accept that, either. The beauty of big stacks of numbers is that they give the illusion of meaning, the illusion of pattern, the mirage that policy effects change (and yes, I DO mean "effect"), and that that change is measurable in those Numbers.

It's certainly an attractive idea. I understand the desire to reduce education policy to analyzable numbers. I understand that administrators don't want to face the reality that those numbers are nearly meaningless. But how do we convince them of that, especially when the superintendent has a vested interest in discouraging reality-based education policy?

Charlie Mas said...

Let's accept what we know to be true. Academic progress cannot be assessed with meaningful precision - at least not without an overwhelming tidal wave of numbers and an obstructive number of assessments to provide them. So, does that doom education managers to meaninglessness?

It's tempting to say it does, but it actually means something else.

It means that they cannot manage by the numbers - the way lazy and ineffective managers can in other industries. As Josh Hayes wrote, the idea that policy at the top influences student learning is delusional. So what can academic managers do that would be meaningful?

What makes a difference for students in the classroom? I would say - and I have long said - getting the lesson they need. Students should be taught at the frontier of their knowledge and skills - be that at, below, or beyond grade level.

So effective academic management would be those actions that facilitate differentiation, flexible grouping by skill level, acceleration and support for students who are behind, challenge for students who are ahead, maintaining a culture of achievement, a spirit of motivation, and standards of conduct. Here's the thing about that. It is all very personal and individualized. It only makes sense when you are close enough to the students to discuss them by name. So there isn't much benefit to students once the academic manager's office isn't at the school.

So the principal's job is to facilitate and support the teachers' ability to do their jobs. There also has to be some supervision there. The guidelines by which the principal evaluates the teachers has to be along the lines of: Did you teach the baseline content? Did you teach it effectively? What else did you teach? What did you do to accelerate learning for the students who working below grade level? What did you do to challenge the students working beyond grade level? What did you do to motivate and engage all students? How did you manage student conduct? And - how can I help you focus on these things and do them better?

The instructional leader should confirm the teachers' assertions through direct observation.

(continued...)

Charlie Mas said...

(...continued)
It would be helpful for the instructional leader to have some meaningful student achievement data to support (or question) the veracity of the teachers' reports on student progress. But it would be necessary to keep things in perspective. The data is only indicative, it is not definitive. It can provide questions, not answers.

With this sort of deep, meaningful management, how many direct reports could an instructional leader have? Twenty? Thirty? Surely no more than that. Larger schools will certainly need more than one instructional leader - whatever they are called.

I would really like to see the role of instructional leader separated from the role of building manager. These are two incompatible roles that principals are asked to fulfill. I have to believe that any manager worth their salt would have seen that and separated the roles long ago.

And what could be the role for managers in the strata above the principals? To supervise the principals of course. This person isn't able to know the students by name, but should have data that allows them to say "It appears that your school has 12 fourth graders who are working below grade level. What is being done for them?" And similar questions - scaled up versions of the ones that principal had for the teachers. The manager should have some means of independently confirming the principals' assertions. Direct observation isn't possible, so it may require confirmation from teachers and a review of contemporaneous notes.

In any case, the education directors' focus should still be on the same things as the principals' and the same thing as the teachers': Did the students get the lessons and support they needed? And was the proper culture maintained?

This is work that cannot be managed by the numbers or to the numbers, but if it is managed well, the numbers will be there.

Am I making any sense at all or does this reflect a naivety that goes beyond ordinary stupid?

Let me be clear about something. Just because these reviews of the teachers' work isn't focused on numbers, that doesn't mean that it can't be tough. It should be a demanding and rigorous standard that the instructional leader sets, maintains, and supports teachers to reach. In a community of creative professionals, high standards can be set and maintained without a lot of numbers.

Sahila said...

I really like what you wrote, Charlie... and I tend to believe that in a true community that honours the creativity, dedication and professionalism of teachers (without coercive competition and unrealistic responsibility for factors they cannot influence or control), we would see this exciting, interested, creative, rigourous teaching and learning happening....

Jet City mom said...

Do staffers of the John Stanford bldg punch a time clock?
I had a records request and hadn't been able to get anyone on the phone, so Friday I got off work early and went down there about three.

I had to wait quite a while to find someone who staffed the front desk, who looked up another phone # for me, but then he disappeared unfortunately, as I could not understand the dept email on the message- I waited for quite a while hoping I could find out more info- while replaying the message trying to decipher it- but finally headed back to my car disappointed until a swarm of people going the other way rushed the doors.

Couldn't figure out why they were in such a hurry to get back at 4:30, unless they had to punch a clock or something.

Michael said...

@emeraldkity: "Do staffers of the John Stanford bldg punch a time clock?"

Most do not. There may be shop people that do, but most people there do not.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Emeraldkity, you stumbled on a quiet secret at JSH. Just as schools shut down and teachers go off, the district headquarters becomes a quiet place (just add tumbleweeds in the parking lot). I have never really gotten a real answer but after many years, I realize they operate at half-speed.

I called Facilities one day last week and didn't even get a voice mail pickup. It rang 15 times before I gave up.

I get that if schools are closed then teachers aren't working but the headquarters isn't and yet it powers down as if it were a school.

Anna said...

Most local school districts (Tacoma, Highline) close the headquarters on Fridays during the summer to save money. SPS tried to do the same at the JSCEE for July, but a couple of departments (legal, Sp Ed) have people working on Fridays, so they can't close the building outright.

Anonymous said...

I heard that they had some sort of water main break and had to clear the building for awhile one day last week, so that may have been the rush of people you saw.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, so if the district is running at half-speed in the summer, can they tell us where the money goes from those savings? I wouldn't have a problem except they don't acknowledge this fact.

Johnny Calcagno said...

Charlie Mas at 10:01 and 10:02 -

You have completed nailed the model that SHOULD be in place. Who could possibly disagree, and better yet, why would they?

Shannon said...

I get that teachers don't want their performance tied to a new test, any test. I totally agree that students results are due to many other factors and tests are immune from numerous sources of influence and bias (boredom, homelife, ambiguity, being out of synch with curriculum etc etc) and that it isn't a fair process..

BUT

As a parent, I have liked the MAP test results and information much more than any other test my kid has done (not many). His results were tied closely to what we knew he learned and increased as predicted. He liked the test. It gave us information about what he could be learning next (NOT what the grade level curriculum would offer next).

I know that there are parents who worry about the test and have anecdotes about testing debacles but many of those I have spoken to like it too. I don't think we are getting the whole picture if we just hear from educators who dislike the test and are (justifiably) cynical about the interests behind it.

Maureen said...

I would like to hear some competent principals' response to what Charlie has written here. Is there anything there they would object to? Personally, I think it makes perfect sense.

Sahila said...

George Carlin's views on the American education system

Caution - extremely coarse language...
http://sahilachangebringer.blogspot.com/2010/08/george-carlin-bitter-old-cynic-or.html

StepJ said...

As a novice parent to the system -- involved with the District for two years - with kids in school for only one year...

I genuinely hope that teachers will oppose the MAP as the primary method for evaluating their expertise.

The only value I see for the MAP would be for the scenario quoted from MGJ - class size doesn't matter.

If a teacher has enormous classes and does not know their students individually then perhaps the MAP is useful.

Personal experience is that the MAP does not reveal the true expertise of a student only their particular mental or physical health on one select day. If they are not feeling well, or for any other reason are in a distracted mode for the particular day of the test the results are not close to accurate.

And for younger students who have not learned problem solving methods when the test poses a problem that they have not experienced in the classroom -- for example K students asked to identify the author and publisher of a book -- unless they have been taught specifically how this information appears in a book with zero knowledge that it might appear without the word 'author' or 'publisher' -- how are they to know?

With our personal experience our excellent teacher recognized the results were not accurate for one of our children. With a retest (when she was not a day away from a 103 degree temp.) she scored an amazing 30 point difference in her test.

For the record a four point difference from start of year to end of year is considered average.

As it exists the MAP is only of value if the eventual intent is to not have a teacher - but an automated version of - that has no personal knowledge of a student.

The TV screen in the corner of the class to dispense the standardized instruction plans with no personal intuition or expertise involved.

Personal experience is class size does matter.

Personal experience is that a devoted and caring teacher makes a tremendous difference for the success of a student that the MAP does not measure.

If the MAP was being deployed as an aid to a teacher I would be in favor.

Instead the MAP is being deployed as one artificial replacement for a teacher. This is not in the best interest of any of my unique kids in their learning style. This method of measurement is not accurate as to the expertise of a teacher.

Boo - hiss - and jettison -- to the current intent of the MAP

Josh Hayes said...

Thank you, Charlie, for taking the time to elucidate a thorough approach.

I have an old friend from high school (I graduated HS in 1977, so I REALLY MEAN "old" :-)) who's now deployed in Afghanistan, and he confirms my thesis, to wit: success is not a question of policy handed down from above, but rather, a question of relationships with individuals. He's developed trusting relationships with hundreds of Afghans, and that does more than a zillion white papers could ever do.

The same thing is true in the classroom - because, after all, that's where education happens. It is the relationship a teacher is permitted to have with his/her students, and supported in having, that is the primary determinant of success a school can provide.

Of course there are lots of factors outside the school, as well, but Red-Queen-style shouting from above is worse than useless.

The recent, or not so recent, howl for "assessments" as the sine qua non of education flies in the face of reality. I'm an evolutionary ecologist (and thus, statistician) by training, so I'm used to people spreading their metaphorical wings to fly in the face of reality, but it never fails to sadden me nonetheless.

WV: Maybe I should cheer myself up by going for a bunweve.

dan dempsey said...

"What makes a difference for students in the classroom? I would say - and I have long said - getting the lesson they need. Students should be taught at the frontier of their knowledge and skills - be that at, below, or beyond grade level."

The District has no plan to do this .... instead they look for the next magic bullet .. "Performance Management" ... so they plan to hold teachers accountable for not being able to make ... pathetic plans from central administration work.

LOOKING FOR A BIG STRIKE if that District line does not change.

beansa said...

Hey, have you all seen this Facebook group - TiNT - Testing is Not Teaching. They are in Palm Beach County Fl. They have 11,000 + members - what a great organizing tool.

beansa said...

Oh, yeah, here's the link. Duh.

TiNT - Testing is Not Teaching on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/testingisnotteaching

Bird said...

Charlie,

How would your proposal differ from the current arrangement of having a principal and "coach" in each building? Isn't the coach meant to be that instructional leader you are looking for?

Charlie Mas said...

Bird, I think the "coach" could be that instructional leader, but then the coach should be a member of the School team (not the central office). The coach's authority and responsibility should be clear and aligned with the other members of the school team. Right now, coaches are not supervisors and do not participate in teacher evaluations. Does the presence of the coach at the school usurp the principal's role as instructional leader? Is the principal released from academic responsibilities to address building management duties exclusively?

The coach could become the instructional leader, but right now the situation is too ambiguous, too overlapped, and too indirect.

I'm open to it, but it needs to made clear.

gavroche said...

Shannon said...

I know that there are parents who worry about the test and have anecdotes about testing debacles but many of those I have spoken to like it too. I don't think we are getting the whole picture if we just hear from educators who dislike the test and are (justifiably) cynical about the interests behind it.


Count me among the parents who strongly oppose the MAP tests. I believe they take up precious resources (time, money, instructional energy) with dubious results.

The School District is paying $4.3 million for a subscription to a test (MAP) at a time of alleged fiscal crisis?!

$4.3 million when the District claims it doesn't have enough money for counselors or teachers?

$4.3 million to the vendor of a product (NWEA) on whose board our Superintendent (Goodloe-Johnson) sits?!

(How do you spell "conflict of interest" -- "M-G-J-&-N-W-E-A")

Think of all the other more meaningful uses our kids' schools could have for that $4.3 million.

What's more, the MAP does not align to what our kids are being taught in class or to state standards, so what good is it?

When you add MAP 3 times/year to the yearly schedule which already consists of MSP (replacement for the WASL), kids in 4th grade on up are taking computerized tests FOUR TIMES a year.

Even though test results trended down across the District in the Winter, making the results invalid and non-usable, I've been told that our kids will still be forced to take the test three times a year because the company that makes it --
Northwest Evaluation Association -- wants the data for its own product research. In other words, our kids are free Beta-testers and data fodder for a private testing company.

Who among us signed our kids up for that?

I would rather my kid be in class learning, than taking all these damn tests that interrupt daily classroom instruction.

And it absolutely should not be used to measure teachers for all the reasons stated in this thread. I say this as a parent, not a teacher.

We should boycott the MAP.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gavroche, I don't think the district can force any student to take the MAP. How you opt out is a good question but like the WASL, it's probably doable.

Jan said...

I like the idea of a boycott -- but IF the district is successful in tying teacher retention to MAP results, and lots of good students opt out -- what happens? Does that teacher just get fired? (THAT will play well in the classroom, in terms of student/teacher relationships!)

Megan Mc said...

I think you can just send a letter to your teacher and principal informing them that your child will not be participating in MAP testing and ask that they provide an alternative activity for your child. I know. The district pressured AS#1 to achieve 90% participation in MAP testing so there is evidennnce that they are worried about kids not participatiing.

Megan Mc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dj said...

Maureen, I am a parent who also is skeptical of the MAP test. My daughter's score dropped from fall to winter and then rose sharply in the spring. I somehow doubt my daughter lost ground in the fall but then started learning in the spring, so it was not a helpful measure for her or for us. Anecdotally, the parents I have talked to have found the test not so useful. I don't think it is accurate at this point to conceptualize MAP as a "parents like it, teachers oppose it" test.

Maureen said...

dj, I think you are responding to Shannon. :)