Saturday, August 30, 2014

Common Core: Much More of a Disaster Than We Thought!

This is a must-see video for all Louisiana educators and for all parents wanting to know more about how Common Core is working in actual practice. I had heard the term “building the plane in flight” from great educators like Dr Lottie Beebe and Scott Richard, but I had no idea that some of the promoters of CCSS were actually proud of using such an analogy for education reform! This is unbelievable! Please watch this short video.

Breaking News: On Thursday, August 28, Judge Bob Downing of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge ordered State Superintendent John White and the LDOE to produce detailed information about the setting of cut scores for the Mastery level student ratings for the 2014 Spring LEAP test that was designed to be more aligned with the Common Core standards. The LDOE had already released the minimum percentages of correct answers used for the setting of Basic level ratings just before the lawsuit demanding this information was filed. John White was found to be in violation of the public records law for refusing to release the score setting percentages on the 2014 LEAP test and for failing to produce the written communications with the testing company relating to the setting of cut scores. The LDOE was also required to pay all court costs and attorney's fees necessary to the prosecution of my public records lawsuit filed to extract this vital information from White, the LDOE, and the testing company. This post on The Louisiana Educator Blog had already analyzed the drastic lowering of the minimum percentage of correct answers on some areas of LEAP apparently designed to imply that Louisiana students were doing just fine on the new CCSS aligned tests. Apparently manipulation of test scores to produce predetermined results has now become standard operating procedure in the implementation of Common Core. The video referred to above shows how scores were set in New York to create the perception of failure of the entire New York state system.

But the best part of the video is the carefully reasoned assessment by a top notch principal explaining how the CCSS and the testing for CCSS is being misused in New York. The incredible damage to education and the alienation of parents as a result of using an untested theoretical system is something we in Louisiana must seriously consider before we get any further into the quagmire that is called Common Core.

Carol Burris, the principal in New York who explains the pitfalls of CCSS and its testing, is not some nutty naysayer who is just interested in preserving the status quo at all costs. No, she is a highly acclaimed leader in New York education who has real credentials and who has won real honors as an education leader. Her criticism of CCSS and the mandatory testing that goes along with it is the most credible and most alarming indictment of these standards I have ever seen. We in Louisiana had better pay attention if we are to avoid enormous potential damage to our public education system.

If you think CCSS is a disaster for New York state, wait until you see what it will do to Louisiana Education. John White has repeatedly told our local superintendents that he will personally shield our Louisiana students and teachers from unfair criticism resulting from the implementation of CCSS. Specifically he has stated that he will not allow any denigration of our teachers and students. White is constantly repeating that he knows that our students are just as smart as students in other states and that they will benefit and do much better because of the higher expectations of CCSS. But it turns out that Louisiana has a 36%  higher proportion of at-risk students as New York state. The Common Core testing was an absolute disaster for the high poverty, at-risk students in New York. Why would White think the results would be any different in Louisiana?

One of the “tricks” White intends to use to make the bitter pill of PARCC testing easier to swallow in Louisiana, is that he plans to use a level of 3 on the five point testing scale as proficient. New York used a level of 4 as proficient, which explains why less than one third of the students in New York were rated proficient in the first year of CCSS testing. This year's New York testing was barely any better even though the test scores were “adjusted” to help more kids to pass. Does anyone really believe that the news media will be fooled by Louisiana using an easier grading scale? No, at some point someone will get a hold of the actual percentage of correct answers (just as I did with my lawsuit) compared to other states and Louisiana education will be dragged down in the eyes of the public because of our high number of at risk students. Not because of anything else. Not because our teachers are any less prepared, or hard working or dedicated as other states. Just demographics. Our teachers will definitely be portrayed as failures and as incompetent and uncaring compared to other states that have better student demographics. This is the hoax being perpetrated on Louisiana by John White.

I must repeat a few facts one more time for my readers. 1. The CCSS were not developed in consultation with classroom teachers. 2. They were not field tested. 3. The goals stated in the promotion of CCSS fall into the category of wishful thinking instead of in the category of sound educational practice. 4. The CCSS are not age appropriate for most students. 5. They will not help close the achievement gap between rich and poor or help minority students. 6. They will not get more of our students prepared for college and 7. They are not appropriate standards for the great majority of students who will not attend 4 year colleges. These are the conclusions being arrived at on CCSS by more and more professionals in the field.

What can you do if you are a concerned parent or a concerned teacher or principal? Start talking to your legislators now! Too many teachers and parents have falsely concluded that it won't do any good to talk to their legislators. There was a big impact made on the legislature this last session even though only a small fraction of teachers spoke up. You are being told by White that you should really look forward to the wonderful promise of common core and that anyone who opposes the CCSS higher standards is only defending the status quo. That's a trap. Tell your legislators that CCSS and PARCC are not higher standards. They are bad standards. They are elitist one-size-fits-all and will do much more harm than good in Louisiana.

If you want to fight this monster in an organized way, the least you should do is sign up for my Defenders of Public Education email list if you had not already done so. Just send me an email at louisianaeducator@gmail with your zip code or city of residence so that I can place you in the proper legislative districts. Don't let other people who are amateurs at education determine your fate and the fate of public education in Louisiana.

6 comments:

PE Moore said...

I am trying to email you at louisianaeducator@gmail
but it is saying the email is not a recognized email. Also the "email" link under your profile is defective. Have you shut it down or has it been disabled?
Paige Moore
pemoore123@gmail.com
Paige Moore

PE Moore said...

I am trying to email you at louisianaeducator@gmail
but it is saying the email is not a recognized email. Also the "email" link under your profile is defective. Have you shut it down or has it been disabled?
Paige Moore
pemoore123@gmail.com
Paige Moore

Michael Deshotels said...

Sorry about the email problem. I am trying to fix it.

Michael Deshotels said...

Please try the email again at louisianaeducator@gmail.com. I made some adjustments and tested it. It worked for me.

Anonymous said...

Along with this do you know why teachers are being asked to write classroom management plans them cover EVERY SINGLE POLICY AND PROCEDURE we have in our rooms?????? From procedures for Sharping a pencil to getting make up work to passing back papers!! Supposed to be so the principal can look up our way of responding to anything and everything in our classroom. Two of our teachers sent theirs in for a review by our principalm one had 11 pages of stuff and the other had 12. Both teachers were told their plans did not include EVERYTHING and they were told to "think of everything you do or say or expect your students to do all day and write down your policy for that".
Where is this coming from???? We can't possibly cover every single thing. Mine is 22 pages long and I am afraid if I miss something I'll get in trouble. Have you heard anyone else talking about having to do this?

Michael Deshotels said...

To Anonymous: That is a very strange and seemingly excessive directive. The problem is that I do not know the context and what may have caused this reaction in your school or school system. I have not heard of this being done state-wide. Please feel free to send me a personal email at mikedeshot@aol.com and I will be happy to look into this for you. This communication would be confidential.