Tuesday Open Thread

A couple of good articles about how we think about our lives (and possibly public education). 

One is from the NY Times and it's about nostalgia science.  I bring this one up because I notice that at comment sections from other media that there is this "when I went to school..." talk as if education in the 50s-60s-70s used to be better.  Do you think you had a better K-12 public education than your children? 

The other article sparked a disagreement between my young adult son and me.  It's from the Wall Street Journal and it asks the question - was life simpler way back when (or, at least, when you were growing up)? 

He says no and I say yes.  In one way, we are both right.  My generation faced a cold war and the start of AIDS and any number of big issues.  But my point was more about the complications for children and young people today.  I think it's more of a dizzying world for them with masses of content coming at them every day.  What's a kid to think?

At the same time, relationships seem to be less evolved as technology becomes the new "friend" messenger rather than face time.  We had to work to see our friends and make friends.  We had fewer technological ways to entertain ourselves (my son's favorite line - "I don't get it.  What did you do all summer?"). 

So ask your middle or teen child if they think life is more complicated for them (this is, of course, if you have discussed your childhood with your child).  Might make for a good road trip discussion.

What's on your mind?


Christina said…
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Anonymous said…
Common Core’s Cloudy Vision of College Readiness in Math
(by Sandra Stotsky)

Common Core’s egalitarian tentacles are now slithering towards high school diploma requirements. In states that respond to a current prod to “align” their high school graduation requirements in mathematics with the academic level reflected in Common Core’s college-readiness mathematics standards, the mathematics coursework taken by our low-achieving high school students may indeed become stronger. But if such an alignment is not strategically altered, states may be unwittingly reducing other students’ participation in more demanding mathematics curricula and their academic eligibility for undergraduate STEM majors and internationally competitive jobs in mathematics-dependent areas.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
(continued from S. Stotsky)

Common Core has carefully disguised its road to equally low outcomes for all demographic groups, and many state boards of education may quickly follow up their unexamined adoption of Common Core’s K-12 standards (as well as of Achieve’s science standards) by lowering their high school graduation requirements in the name of alignment, thinking that, once again, they have strengthened their public schools. (I’m willing to credit state board members with good intentions. Not so, Common Core’s and Achieve’s standards writers, who chose not to align their college-readiness or high school standards with international benchmarks.)

In WA State we now see the eventual discarding of End of Course Math tests for Algebra I and Geometry and a proposed Algebra II test. These were aligned with actual course content using the WA State math standards. Under expensive CCSS testing these tests will be replaced with likely a "Math" test similar to the much maligned WASL.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…


mirmac1 said…
An article that demonstrates the sorry state of awareness surrounding autism ("disease" or condition of neurodiversity calling for understanding and inclusion?) Would I want my child's beloved personality wiped out? He** no! Am I glad she got the services she needed to be able to cope and function in our (deficient) society, yes. I want that for every child in our district who is innocent of everything, but being born.

HAutism ads raise ire, pulled off buses
Charlie Mas said…
I went to the Growth Boundaries "Let's Talk" technical talk today. It was totally worthwhile.

Let me begin by saying that the Enrollment Planning folks are doing good work and so are the new facilities people with regard to projecting enrollment and measuring capacity. They are also doing a good job of planning how to use that capacity. They are thinking right and doing right.

That doesn't necessarily mean that things will work out right. There are a lot of uncertainties, a lot of unpredictable factors, and unprecedented things happen every day. It's impossible to know what is a blip and what is the start of a trend.

From my perspective, they are doing good work.

That said...
Charlie Mas said…
Enrollment planning will not set-aside seats for Spectrum students at elementary Spectrum sites when right-sizing the attendance area boundaries for those schools.

Take, for example, Lafayette. Let's say that Lafayette has two kindergarten classes and three classes in grades 1-5. Given the capacity formula for elementary schools, the planning capacity for Lafayette would be about 431. So the District will draw the attendance area for Lafayette so that it captures that many students.

But Lafayette is a Spectrum site - the only Spectrum site in the Madison Service Area. About 125 of the seats at Lafayette are in Spectrum classes. But if the District fills the school with 431 attendance area students, there won't be any room for any Spectrum students from anywhere else in the Madison Service Area.

The District employs a sort of circular logic to defend this practice. They say that nearly all of the Lafayette Spectrum students are from the Lafayette attendance area, so it's okay.

Of course most of the Spectrum students are from the Lafayette attendance area - students from outside the attendance area can't gain access.

Dr. Libros tried to explain to me how it isn't really like that, but I couldn't understand her explanation. I don't see how it can be any other way.

There are a finite number of seats in the school. The District fills those seats with attendance area students. There is no room in the school for out-of-area students.

Could someone else who was there explain it to me again?

I think it boiled down to this: there are only a few out-of-area Spectrum students at any Spectrum site, so the District finds a seat for them. They aren't guaranteed the seat, but the District can usually manage it because there are so few of them.

I don't find confidence in this system. There are only a few students on the Spectrum waitlists at each grade at each school, but it is all at the mercy of the goodness and indulgence of the District and the school principal. That doesn't strike me as reliable.
dan dempsey said…
Check out the latest test scores from International Testing for grade 4 reading.... then consider the possibility that the need for Common Core State Standards is a manufactured crisis.

#1 About CCSS
Common Core State Standards: A lesson in shrewd marketing

Common Core State Standards are a manufactured solution to a manufactured crisis.

#2 The 2011 reading results just released recently (.pdf) http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/pirls2011/downloads/P11_IR_Chapter2.pdf

Percentage of grade 4 students at Advanced Reading level=>

24 (1.6) 62 (1.8) 87 (1.1) 97 (0.4)
Russian Federation
19 (1.2) 63 (1.7) 92 (1.1) 99 (0.2)

Northern Ireland
19 (1.2) 58 (1.4) 87 (0.9) 97 (0.6)
18 (0.9) 63 (1.3) 92 (0.7) 99 (0.2)

18 (1.1) 54 (1.3) 83 (1.1) 95 (0.5)

Hong Kong SAR
18 (1.2) 67 (1.5) 93 (0.8) 99 (0.2)

United States
17 (0.7) 56 (0.8) 86 (0.6) 98 (0.3)
16 (0.9) 53 (1.4) 85 (0.8) 97 (0.5)

15 (0.9) 49 (1.3) 80 (1.3) 93 (0.8)
New Zealand
14 (0.7) 45 (1.1) 75 (0.9) 92 (0.5)

13 (0.7) 51 (1.1) 86 (0.6) 98 (0.2)
Chinese Taipei
13 (0.9) 55 (1.3) 87 (0.7) 98 (0.3)

12 (0.8) 55 (1.2) 88 (0.8) 99 (0.2)
12 (0.9) 48 (1.5) 81 (1.2) 95 (0.7)
11 (0.8) 45 (2.0) 77 (1.9) 93 (1.0)

11 (0.7) 54 (1.3) 90 (0.7) 99 (0.2)
10 (0.7) 42 (1.1) 76 (1.0) 93 (0.7)
10 (0.7) 46 (1.4) 85 (1.1) 98 (0.4)
10 (0.8) 46 (1.4) 85 (1.0) 98 (0.3)
9 (1.1) 47 (1.8) 84 (1.2) 98 (0.5)
9 (0.8) 47 (1.6) 85 (1.0) 98 (0.3)
Czech Republic
8 (0.9) 50 (1.4) 87 (0.9) 98 (0.5)
Slovak Republic
8 (0.6) 44 (1.5) 82 (1.3) 96 (0.8)
8 (0.7) 42 (1.2) 79 (0.9) 95 (0.6)
7 (0.6) 39 (1.2) 77 (0.9) 95 (0.5)
7 (0.7) 32 (1.6) 65 (2.1) 86 (1.5)

7 (0.5) 48 (1.5) 90 (0.8) 100 (0.2)

followed by 18 more countries scoring below 7% advanced.

Interesting that the state of Florida posted a score that was 22% advanced.... That would have been #2 if Florida was a nation. Following Florida's plan to improve reading would have been an excellent idea.... but instead the CCSS is being pushed with little evidence to believe CCSS will produce anything other than a lot of confusion as a result.

So why are the Common Core State Standards being pushed as a USA national solution? .... Just follow the money for the answer.
Anonymous said…
Charlie, when they were talking about the attendance area, did they mention anything about an expected percentage of area students that would go elsewhere? Just because you might select an attendance area of 431 students doesn't guarantee that they will all want to go to that school. Maybe they're counting on those students who go elsewhere to create open seats at the school? Since we have open enrollment, they should have information on averages of students that choose to apply to non-attendance area schools.

Just a thought
Charlie Mas said…
Just a thought.

Actually they did consider what share of the neighborhood students would choose either an option school or APP instead of the neighborhood school. Those are the only two adjustments they make.

They don't make adjustments for ELL, SpEd, Spectrum or Montessori, saying that the counts on these are too small. Also, they reserve teaching stations in school buildings for SpEd and ELL if those schools offer these services.
mirmac1 said…
No where have I seen what SPS will get from the RTTT Road Map.

I see reference to one, yes, one "STEM mentor". There are many more pages of text to review but it is very sketchy.

This requires some explanation to families - who are giving up ten years of their students' (formerly) private information - in exchange for WHAT?! Does the Board even know? I doubt it. I want specifics: how much PD, how many mentors, how many "digitally-assisted tools", who gets them, etc etc.
Po3 said…
Debell sings his praises:


Boy, that article makes DeBell sound like a superhero. He certainly did go through a lot in his 8 years and tried to make a difference but some of what is being claimed is just not true.

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