Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Still no Louisiana Test Data

I attended the first meeting of the Louisiana Curriculum Standards Review Committee today. Dr. Regina Sanford from St. Tammany is chair of the oversight committee. She demonstrated a refreshing attitude of openness to all participants and to members of the public who showed up to make suggestions to the committee. This to me was a big improvement compared to previous education committee chairs who seemed only interested in implementing John White's vision of test/blame/punish and ultimate privatization of public education.

Dr Sanford also made a firm commitment to seek PARCC test results for the committee to utilize as part of their standards review process. I had pointed out in my public statement to the committee that reviewing the curriculum standards without the benefit of the half million test results from the Spring 2015 testing was like asking a mechanic to fine tune a complex engine without access to the computer diagnostics for that engine.

On the negative side, there are major problems with the conduct of the standards rewrite.

  • The time available for the committees to work on the standards is extremely limited because of the pressure to implement in time to allow Spring 2016 testing. In my opinion there is no way that significant changes can be made no matter how dedicated the reviewers may be. As discussed in my previous post, the insane testing mandate is the tail wagging the dog.
  • The public input portal for the submission of suggestions to the committee do not allow much flexibility for parents and teachers to introduce innovative ideas that conflict significantly with the present Common Core standards. Most responses indicated that most of the standards should remain as they are.
  • The basic concepts guiding the Common Core are automatically being used as a starting point to produce the new standards. This process is not conducive to change.
  • As of now, the committee has no data on the effectiveness of the present standards because the results of the 2015 testing have not yet been released by the LDOE.
I intend to continue monitoring the review process and report on the progress of the committee.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

John Oliver Describes the Standardized Testing Mania

Confused about the value of all the standardized testing being required of our Louisiana students? Just watch this brilliant video of John Oliver describing how the testing industry has taken over control of our schools.

Oliver skewers the Bush administration, then the O'bama administration, and then Pearson and all the testing companies that are making a killing while children suffer and teachers are blamed.

New York state had 20% of parents opting their children out of the annual tests this year and expect many more next year. This is apparently the best way to put a stop to this insanity.

Do you know what else is insane? Louisiana has a group of educators and parents now working on revision of the curriculum standards that are tested by these tests, yet they are not allowed to see the actual test questions that will test each of the standards they are expected to approve. See the post below to get some suggestions about how to improve the standards review process.

Note: The first meeting of the Curriculum Standards Review Committee is scheduled for Wed. Aug. 19 in Baton Rouge.