Thursday, February 12, 2015

Punitive Education Reforms Collapsing

Fourteen Louisiana School Districts so far are asking BESE for a waiver of the BESE policy that punishes schools and districts for students whose parents choose to opt them out of taking the PARCC test this spring!

The house of cards that is the Bill Gates Common Core along with punitive education reform is beginning to fall apart.

In fact the entire tapestry of the Blame and Shame education reform movement that attempts to punish educators for problems over which they have no control is beginning to unravel.

The debate that occurred this week in the Act 240 subcommittee which is charged with making improvements to the teacher evaluation system made clear that you can't really use VAM based on PARCC to evaluate teachers if you have students opting out and getting a zero on the test.

See John St Julien's opinion piece below for why VAM will never work.

Why are so much of the Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, David Coleman, John White plans for dramatic reform of education falling apart? Here are just a few of the reasons:
  • These people are not real educators and they don't have a clue about what really works.
  • The Common Core Standards were developed by a bunch of academic elites who had never set foot in a real K-12 classroom, so how could they possibly know what would work?
  • The CCSS were never field tested so no one knew just how really bad they were until they were rammed into thousands of classrooms in the country.
  • Some of the language of the CCSS looks good on paper, but early childhood experts, highly qualified math teachers and parents can tell you that they are not practical and should never have been mandated for all students.
  • The PARCC test is a joke. The wording of questions is so confusing, the math test depends too much on sophisticated reading comprehension, it does not work at all for special education, etc. etc. These tests are just flat invalid!
On top of all the problems with CCSS, PARCC and VAM, ASCD, the most highly respected professional organization of supervision and curriculum development in this country has just released a report calling for a two year moratorium on high stakes testing.

The letter grading system for rating schools in under attack. The National Education Policy Center is recommending against the A-F school grading system pushed by presidential candidate Jeb Bush and adopted here in Louisiana. Noel Hammatt, former president of the Louisiana School Board's Association has pointed out that the letter grading system for schools in Louisiana simply measures the poverty level of each school. It tells us almost nothing about the actual expertise, dedication and hard work of the educators in a school. The letter grading system discourages top educators from making the commitment to work with the most at-risk students in our society----- just the opposite of what should be happening.

About the spring PARCC test ----- it's time to opt out!


Anonymous said...

Fourteen parishes! Caddo has asked twice for a moratorium and once to get rid of the zero. All of BESE needs to listen.

Bridget said...

For an excellent examination of the PARCC practice test I would recommend reading the posts by Russ Walsh on his Russ on Reading blog. He has three separate critiques that focus on readability at different grade levels of the PARCC sample test items. The problem with parents making a choice whether to opt out or not, is that most parents may not have enough information to make an informed choice. BESE and JW must be willing to have a truthful discussion and allow for at least two transitional years without penalty to schools, because no one really knows what the consequences for both students and schools will be.
It has been my experience that standardized tests are extremely culturally biased. They are written by people who do not know our children. They reflect student background knowledge and level of vocabulary, not comprehension. They definitely do not reflect what students know and can do, especially for our high poverty, special education, and culturally diverse students.
As parents and educators we must stand united to end this misguided over reliance on state standardized testing that is destroying public education. Our students are so much more than a test score. Our teachers and schools are so much more than a single test score on a single test.

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