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School boards are fighting back against high stakes testing

 
 
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 03:54 pm
And nutty Florida is leading the pack:

Quote:
Broward County school leaders are speaking out against what they see as a nasty four-letter word: FCAT.

The School Board unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday opposing standardized testing as the primary means for evaluating schools, students and teachers. They say there is so much focus on students doing well on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test that it's thwarting teacher creativity and hindering students' ability to learn.

They say many students are being poorly educated on subjects not directly tested on the FCAT, including history, art and music. At the same time, the tests have become so stressful that kids are staying home sick, skipping school and dropping out, they said.

"This is destroying public education, destroying the teaching profession and destroying children," School Board member Robin Bartleman said. "The classroom should be fun. Kids should be excited about learning and not be afraid they're going to be punished for one test."

.......

The effort is part of a national movement, where parent groups and school boards are signing petitions and resolutions opposing high stakes testing. The Palm Beach County School District passed a similar resolution in April, and Martin and St. Lucie counties have also joined the fight.


http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-05-30/news/fl-broward-fcat-resolution-20120530_1_anti-fcat-third-grade-reading-and-math-school-board

Well played, Florida school board!
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 7,260 • Replies: 83

 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 04:31 pm
@boomerang,
Well, good for Florida!

I agree with the Florida School Board. These standardized tests are one of the worst things to come out of that whole debacle of an education inititive driven by George W.Bush's totally silly "no child left behind" effort. They are a detriment to a good education for most of the kids who get put into position where there's no time for studying or researching anything that won't be on the test. Teachers find themselves abandoning time-tested lesson plans in order to "teach to the test." If enough of their charges do poorly on the test, it reflects poorly on the teacher; so the teacher no longer teaches what she/he deems important but only what they know will be on the test.

In most states this standardized mandate has raised nothing but havoc. I'm glad to see that at least one state is taking the initiative to protest against it.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 06:14 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
You're preaching to the choir, brother!

We've opted Mo out of those tests for the last couple of years but unfortunately he has to sit through the mind numbing test prep for month after month.

I'm proud of Florida for making a vocal stand against them. Honestly, I would have expected such a revolution to start elsewhere. I hope it continues to spread and I hope it becomes a major issue in the upcoming election because both candidates are awful on education.
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 06:17 pm
@boomerang,
Let's hope it's just the first ripple of a tidal wave. Other states might take a hint from Florida. Well, we can hope, anyway.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 06:50 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
I preach the gospel of Diane Ravitch to anyone I can get to listen. I point out the ties the testing has to Pearson Learning and it's ties to ALEC to anyone who will spare a moment.

I know there are others that are better at it than I am.

"Hope" and "Change" was once a campaign slogan, but only a slogan. Maybe now we can really hope for change.
realjohnboy
 
  3  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 08:01 pm
@boomerang,
I am way out of my element here, but bear with me for this...
R.I.P. SUMMER JOBS
A kid came into my shop the other day and asked for a summer job. An employee said we had none. The lad left.
It was probably the first time in 4 or 5 years anyone had asked.
There was a time, I guess, when children went to school for only 9 months a year because they were needed on the farm. Or maybe, here in the south, the schools were too hot to learn in in the summer. The older kids could find jobs and the younger ones would find some kind of unstructured play.
Times changed, but we are still wedded to the nine month school-year.
Kids with means have summer camps to attend - catering to physical and artistic interests - while those without means sit idly on the sidewalks.
And then they all come back for 9 months of cramming for the SOL's.


boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 08:41 pm
@realjohnboy,
I think you're right. I think school should go year round with small breaks mixed into the year. Kids need down time but 3 months in a row is a bit much.

Teachers might disagree as I know many of them have summer jobs (and year round second jobs) that they rely on to keep the bills paid.

It is too bad about summer jobs. There really aren't any, anymore. They were really a great learning experience and often an incentive to stay in school and go to college. Here in Oregon many adults speak wistfully about summer jobs picking berries but they're all glad they went on to be engineers and attorneys and doctors and such.

Now it's illegal to hire kids to do anything so many of them spend the summer rotting.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 May, 2012 11:04 pm
@boomerang,
And the Greeks are fighting back against austerity measures.

Or educational system is, by any measure, in ruins and yet there remains a quite large group that prefers the status quo before reform.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 07:58 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
We've been living under these reforms for more than 10 years. The first class to graduate since the reforms should be next year's class.

Do you think they're smarter than the class that graduated in 2000?

I agree that our schools are in ruins.
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 08:01 am
But . . . but . . . leave no child behind ! ! !
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 10:08 am
@Setanta,
I know!

Think of the (profit we could make off) the children!
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 10:25 am
Speaking of profits....

Quote:
Knudsen, paid $150,000 to hold the newly created post of Chief Recovery Officer through June....

In short, it was a plan to shutter 40 schools next year, and an additional six every year thereafter until 2017. The remaining schools would be herded into "achievement networks" of 20 to 30 schools; public and private groups would compete to manage the networks. And the central office would be reduced to a skeleton crew of about 200. (About 1,000-plus positions existed in 2010, and district HQ has already eliminated more than a third of those.) Charter schools, the plan projects, would teach an estimated 40 percent of students by 2017.

......

What's even more startling than the drastic overhaul proposal is who engineered it. The plan was prepared with the assistance of Boston Consulting Group, a major global-business consultancy and school "right-sizing" mastermind.

......

Another goal of Boston could be enriching its allies, or scoring them political victories. Former Boston executives and consultants now hold senior posts at charter-school networks like KIPP — which could well apply to manage a Philly achievement network — and Broad Center, an urban schools executive recruiter and trainer and a leading proponent of corporate-inspired reform.


http://www.citypaper.net/news/2012-05-03-whos-killing-philly-public-schools.html?viewAll=y
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 10:30 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Our schools are not in ruins. Far from it.

I remember people running around like fools screaming about how bad the schools are since before the 1980s, yet those of us who are products of these "failing" schools built the internet, sent robot to mars and continued American technical dominance.

This is a cliche that everyone loves to say, but it isn't backed by any real fact.

There is a problem with the growing difference of wealthy and poor in the US, and education for the poor is a big part of this. But this is part of the class problem we have in the US.

By any important measure our schools are doing just fine when it comes to producing the workers we need for a productive growing and innovative economy and providing a decent education for the upper and middles classes.


Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 10:31 am
@boomerang,
Thanks for that, boomer. I think we have a tendency to forget or to overlook the role that the profit motive plays in everything to do with public education. I mean, it's highly-paid "experts" who devise these tests and either adminiter them or teach the run-of-the-mill teacher how to administer them. There's money to be made in just about everything that has anything to do with teaching our kids.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 10:51 am
@maxdancona,
The 1980s brought us "A Nation At Risk" which started us down this path to privitization.

We've yet to graduate a class that were educated under NCLB reforms so I think it's too early to predict what might come from all of this.

I might agree that we're producing the workers we need -- semi-skilled cogs that won't question authority -- but I'm going to have to think on that.

I don't blame the teachers, I think teachers are great. I blame politicians.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 11:40 am
@boomerang,
I am a product of public schools in the 1980's.

I have a skilled position and have no trouble questioning authority. My peers and I have been quite effective at not only keeping a productive economy going, but in making new technologies. We continue to be the most productive workers in the world. We also lead the world in innovation.

I don't want to be in the position of praising politicians, but the US education system is far from ruin.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 11:41 am
@maxdancona,
But you did not attend school under NCLB.

I agree that people who went to school before it became so narrowly focused have done well. I'm worried about the current crop of kids.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 12:58 pm
@boomerang,
I never vote on posts, but i voted that one up . . .
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 01:32 pm
@boomerang,
Do you have any reasoning behind your worry? My kids are getting a very good education in public school. They have good teachers and the opportunity pursue things that interest them. My kids are certainly being taught critical thinking skills and are challenged to think for themselves.

We are a upper middle class family in a district with involved parents and good funding. Kids in this demographic group generally have quite a good experience with public education.

There is a class problem in the US. Kids from poor families have trouble getting access to good education. But this is a different problem.


Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Jun, 2012 01:36 pm
@maxdancona,
Poor children don't have the access to educational opportunities at home to compare with those available to more affluent children. So, for example, i learned quite early on to write "an upper middle class"--and i was not raised in an upper middle class family. It helps to hit "preview" and read your own post before you submit it.
0 Replies
 
 

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