Did you think that NCLB identifies only “failing schools” as failing schools?
Matt Di Carlo demonstrates that a school can get excellent gains year after year and yet still be a “failing school.”
When will Congress wake up?
They don’t need to as long as Obama and Duncan continue their “finesse”… and they probably don’t WANT to take any action given the threat to their campaign’s revenue stream if they decide to move away from the privatization scheme that appears to be implicit in both NCLB and RTTT. The only way Congress will act is if more and more parents, teachers, and HOPEFULLY States decide to opt out of the testing mandates.
The very phrase “failing school” gives me tics. It’s not like the school itself is sitting down with a No. 2 pencil and filling in the bubbles. When we talk about a “failing school”, what we’re talking about is the proportion of children within that school who are not meeting whatever the established benchmarks are on a standardized test (or series thereof). In order for any discussion of “failing schools” to be the least bit meaningful, you have to look at which kids are not meeting the benchmarks, why, and what happens to those specific kids when they go to other schools. If the rheephormers could show some data that tracks individual students and shows that those specific students improve by being transferred to a non-”failing school”, then maybe I could start to think about buying what they’re selling.
You make so much sense Dienne, but it so much easier on the “reformers” to collect discreet data points, make a few clicks and believe that the health of a school has been capture on a single data chart. The “sound bites” play out better in the media, as well. Really Dienne, they are important people with better things to do than to spend their precious time getting to know the humans behind these numbers, which would require them to go to all the trouble of removing their gold cuff links, rolling up their starched white shirt sleeves and doing the hard work that is needed to actually address the issues of poverty and learning. I mean a “reformer” can only do so much. They have so much “clicking and destroying” to do and so little time. It’s a very full agenda.
I believe Einstein summed it up: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Pseudoscientific accountability (e.g., formulas for calculating “value-added,” “growth targets,” percentages of students/teachers reaching SLOs—“student learning objectives”) is out of hand.
The definition of “failing” is now derived from computer programs that produce judgments about whether students, teachers, and the principal in a school have met the test score expectations (predictions) set by a formula, or failed to meet those expectations, or exceeded them. This three tier evaluation system in my home state of Ohio is rigged to promote judgments of failure, with the paradigm and much of the language drawn from corporate reports (e.g., a growth target for learning is no different from a sales target) and management (e.g., continuous improvement assumes factory-like conditions are great for a school).
Unfortunately, the press, many pundits, and policy makers at the federal and state levels are enamored with these simple-minded judgments propagated as if unimpeachable by our de-facto Secretary of Education, Bill Gates, and the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) among others. Look at the conditions for ESEA approval set by the Chamber at http://www.uschamber.com/issues/education/no-child-left-behind-act
Look at the well-informed critique of the Gates-funded MET study (at http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-MET-final-2013). Unfortunatley the reification of annual results from achievement tests and so-called “growth” scores–as if these are the gold standards for “effective” education–is also fueled by a culture where scoring, league tables, being numero uno, judgments based on competitions of many kinds are prized over more nuanced views of achievement, merit, and excellence.
Now the evaluation process is so rigged to condemn public schools (and enlarge opportunities for market-based education) that nothing short of massive walk-outs, boycotts, and other job-risking maneuvers are likely to get the attention of the Feds…who seem to be committed to keeping kids numb and dumb with more and longer tests, including up 12 hours for the forthcoming online tests of the 3 R’s, also dubbed the Common Core, also replacing the old AYP calculations with reports on the extent to which kids are College and Career Ready… beginning (absurdly) in Kindergarten.
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