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“Our classes aren’t divided equally. If you want us to have merit pay, you’ve got to base all our classrooms equally and give all teachers a chance to achieve those standards but it’s not set up that way. It never has been. “

“I’ve been teaching for nineteen years and I’ve had more evaluations this year than I had my first year of teaching. You are welcome in our classroom anytime. I want to be accountable. I am accountable,… but do it fairly,”

We’ve just watched the Olympics… What if any skier could start where they wanted to on the slope. As long as they had the shortest time, they won gold. What if a speed skater could skate as many times around the oval as he desired, and yet the shortest total time won?

Who would watch? No one. Because it is not fair… Obviously if you are going to give merit pay to teachers, you have to have equal arrangements…  An equal start where you begin. An equal finish where you end.  You can’t give one person all good students, and another all bad students, and golf-clap and pay the lucky one more? Perhaps lucky as she was, when it comes to teacher qualities, she isn’t the best one?

But how do you know? You certainly can’t tell from the test scores… because like a fake Olympics, you neglected to designate a starting line…

One seriously has to wonder if anyone thought merit pay through… Seriously! Did anyone really sit down for a day, play devils advocate, and think merit pay through?

Or did we base our whole system” on something that somebody said, because they though they fit together walking…. “, that is merit pay and teaching?

Do all teachers start with the same number of students in classes? Do all teachers start with the same spread of IQ’s across all their students? Do all teachers start with exactly the same low income mix in every classroom? Do all teachers start with exactly the same mix of non English students? Do all teachers start with the same number of Hispanics? Afro-Americans? American Indians? Asians? Caucasians?

What no? Then like the Olympics above, how can you say, whoopee, you win the gold?

Merit Pay will be the death of real education….

The Lie That Our Schools Are Failing

 

Graphic courtesy of Yes Magazine

With scores going up in every category, how do they contort that into saying education is failing? It’s not…

Here is how it is done. This same trick was tried last year by Harvard, Mark Murphy and Jack Markell and is used every time they say Delaware’s SAT’s are below national average..

Duh, we test every student. Very few other states do…..

So we are hurting our children by making Draconian reforms that were never needed in the first place… If a foreign government was hurting our children as is Common Core, we’d be at war now.

If Passing This Meant You Could Graduate, Would You Graduate?

This was lifted from the Smart Balance test given in the eleventh grade. An example of why scores will be low. Please tell me what occupation this problem would be involved within? Please tell me what college remedial math class would ever have to cover this topic?

Common Core and the higher standards are nothing but irresponsible intellectual buffoonery. This is nothing but a dork playing around and saying, … how difficult can i make a question so everybody fails?

And if everyone fails something no body ever needs, are we hurt by it? Yes, if you are the teacher….

Common Core is an embarrassment to human creativity and intellect. Opt out now, even if it “supposedly” impossible to do… Get sick that week and get doctor’s orders requiring your child to recuperate only in Jamaica. And don’t forget to bring back duty free rum….

At least someone gets something good out of Common Core.

ITTS —  It’s The Test, Stupid!

Results in on New Hampshire’s Smart Balanced Assessment which without tweaks will be hitting our students in less than 3 month! The Smart Balanced Assessments is one of the Common Core Assessment  consortiums. The other is PARCC.  We have been tearing apart the PARCC test for almost 9 months when issues with it became apparent in New York.  Until now, we do not have data on the taking of the Smart Balanced one. As with primaries, New Hampshire decided to go first….

Here is what the post-test taking debriefing group came up with.

*I feel sad for the students who have to take this test — not many will be successful

*Much is said about “depersonalizing” information as part of a learning strategy. This is not how students learn.

*There is too much “stuff” going on the screen at once. It is difficult to move the icons where you want them. Students don’t know how to use the “mouse” everything for them is “tough screen”.
 If you leave the screen for a short period of time the information on the screen will be gone when you return. “I tried the grade six-grade math—it was humbling. It was scary….

*I had technology problems. If kids have these problems they’ll just quit.

*Double-wide monitors would help. I am a huge fan of concept maps but notepad does not let you do that on Smarter Balance. You can’t even copand paste from the notepad into the test… ( Good point; I had that issue too when I took it)

*This was more of a test on the computer skills than on the math concepts. If I was a student I would just pickout an answer and move on.

*Too tedious—kids will get sick of it and just guess to move on. Kids won’t even get past the computer directions.

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These are just a sample of the concerns that were raised at this meeting. We did shift to “what do we have to do from now until the spring of 2015 to prepare students. Sample answers include:

*Pay attention to the directions. Provide students with many opportunities to read directions for their assignments.

*You can’t just read this test and then respond. Students need to highlight and take notes—especially during the audio questions.

*Students need to learn to “read the question first”.

*Students need to be able to go back into the text passages to pull out data that will support their answers.

*Students need to read through the questions and all possible answers. Sometimes questions give the answers to other questions in the test.

*Kids need to know how to do “note taking”.

*We need to teach students “how to draw an inference”.

*Students need to learn how to write a transition sentence between two paragraphs.
*Students need to learn how to write using “the speakers” voice.
*Students need to memorize formulas in this test.
*Students will have difficulty writing in the boxes that expand because of the technology of the way the box expands.
*Students will have trouble reading and understanding the directions and what is being asked by the question. Is this test closely aligned to the “common core?” It is important that teachers know what the test will be assessing.

*I am concerned that the math test is not necessarily testing students’ math abilities since there is so much reading. This test seems to assess how well the students read the math questions more than their math skills. Thus, because of the amount of reading, I question the validity of our receiving a math ability score.

*When Measured Progress developed the NECAP there was a committee on bias to check for testing bias. Does Smarter Balance do the same? Also, math teachers were asked to evaluate the questions to eliminate unnecessary verbiage so that the Math was being tested.

*The opening pages of directions and computer information was ridiculous. I didn’t read it—I’m sure my students won’t. Suggestions: We should have posters made of the most important and often used keys to post in each math classroom. Students need to practice making equations in Word, including the fractions symbol. We need to teach students to distinguish between on correct answer and many correct answers. There are questions that tell the students to choose the correct answers.

*The test is difficult to navigate with so many keystrokes to juggle.
*The page layout makes it eye weary even though you can expand the screen and zoom in and out.
*The passages are lengthy and time consuming and made me consider just choosing “B” so I could move on. Some terms in the reading seemed out-dated—“Plumb crazy and millwright” for example.
I had to use multiple skills and at the same time multitask—id—the audio portions require me to listen and at the same time read possible answers while constructing a well written paragraph in my head.

*The test assumes the students are skilled in such areas as pre-reading and questions and if they are not, it assumes they will learn while taking the test to read the questions in advance of the reading.

*There wasn’t a flow or cadence to the questions. The type or style of questions changed from one to the next. The answers were not straight forward—for example on the math test they did not want the answer to the equation, they wanted to know if the answer was 2/3rd greater than what you started with. I understand this is import ant but this test will be exhausting for the kids.

*The idea of the best answer and then there being 2 or more good and appropriate answers. It felt like a trick. We’re going to look bad for a few years.

*I did 30 questions in an hour and then had to take a break. My eyes hurt and my shoulders felt strained. When I returned 5 minutes later the work was gone.

*Each question is totally different than the one before it creating confusion which creates more confusion for the test takers.

*Frustration level builds as your take the test creating mental despair—students will shut down.
Many of the math questions seemed to have no basis in the real world and skills that will never be used in life. Students will need to be taught the technology skills for the test.—scrolling through screens, highlighting, scanning the questions, touch typing, and more.

*The test does not encourage students to use writing webs, brain maps, organizers to assist with writing. Summary: In my opinion, this test is a sad indictment of how disconnected the people who design the test are from the typical students in the classroom. Assessment is necessary but it should be designed to be developmentally appropriate for the students being tested. Assessment should also all for different methods to demonstrate competency rather than one computer model. This test is designed for one type of student—the verbal learner with exceptional executive functioning skills.

*I took the Grade 7 Language Arts test which I believe is developmentally designed for adults, not seventh grade students. The questions were tedious and punitive. I’m not sure that any seventh grader in the State would be able to score well on this test. The worst part of this test was the directions. They were numerous and multifaceted. After observing middle school students take tests for over a decade, it is my firm belief that most kids will stop reading the directions because there are too many and they are far too complex. Students will fail this test and the test will destroy their confidence which is an important stage of their development. Future careers will be destroyed by this test.  In addition, the results of this test will become a public relations night mare for the school and the school districts as children will fail in large numbers.

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As you can see from a round table of adults taking these tests, there is considerable problem with Smart Balanced Assessments.  Forget the standards. They are a distraction ITTS — It’s The Test, Stupid!  The scores will be low, because the test forces students to become disengaged.  The ridiculousness of the Math problems which also came up when we published the questions, is not in their math skills, but how they asked the question… These tests don’t test math. They test how well one can decipher the confused mind of the test maker…

This is a preview of what will come… And we paid over $8 million dollars for this debacle……

Yes strikes are illegal.  And contracts are signed.  But there are almost 9,000 Delawarean teachers.  At legal fees reaching skyward of $100,000 per teacher, it would cost the state $900,000,000  or $900 million.  1/3rd of our yearly State Budget.  I doubt that they would take contractual legal action against all, and if not all, then most likely… against none.

What would happen to Common Core?  RTTT?  Our state test scores would tube.  Parents would be outraged that our Secretary of DOE let things get out of hand, so every teacher just threw up her hand and said… “I’m done.  I’m doing something else.  I can’t take this anymore!”

What would  then happen if all the administrators quit the same time?  No administrators. No teachers. No transportation supervisors?

I know the smart school districts would announce schools were closed until further notice. The dumb school districts would try to make an appearance to show they had things under control and set up a giant babysitting organization perhaps using work-release prisoners to keep classrooms under control.

The National Guard would have to be deployed to schools.  How much would that cost?   And what would those kids learn? Would their education go forward? Stay the same, or go backwards?

Just imagine every family forced to suddenly change their schedules?  Maybe in two member families, people pull back from their jobs.  Leaves of absences.  Simply quitting on short notice?  Got to do what you got to do.

Imagine being in Jack’s seat if it happened?

First he’d try to break the strike.  Intimidate teachers.  Maybe put Fredericka Jenner in a dunk tank, and threaten to throw the first ball if teachers and administrators don’t return to work?  No. That wouldn’t work.

Second, he needs to figure out how to break the strike.  The national guard would be the obvious first course. They can’t say no.  That could keep children in their seats. Then a national call for Teach For America, SCABS or college students, to “Please Come To Delaware, For The School Year…..  Everyone quit and we got lots of room.  .. You can earn $100 a day  by coming off the sidewalk….”

Whereas the Pullman strikes and miners strikes got violent over use of SCAB labor…. it would be best if teachers left them alone, not even picket…  Sure, go ahead.. Put those non-professionals in.  Let them teach.  Teaching is easy, everyone says.  Anyone can do it.  You don’t need a degree, or a masters.  You just tell children to do their work and twiddle your thumbs…  Oh. Let’s see those assessment test scores?  You gonna’ fire the temps if THEIR scores are low?  What?  No?

The Education Governor, huh?

Unlike a skilled laborer, unlike a skilled coal miner, a skilled teacher cannot be replaced with someone who doesn’t know how to teach… Just look at the abysmal failure of Charter schools compared to Public schools, if you want to see evidence of what happens when you replace teachers with regular joes who just want a job….

In fact, sometimes as any Mom will tell you… if you feel undervalued and unappreciated, just stop.  Do nothing and drive home the point of everything you do that gets taken for granted…

As for jobs.  Other states would love to have skilled teachers moving in.  Or creating your own private school in your own home, could be an awesome option that many parents would jump at, considering the collapse of the complete infrastructure of the County…

Can you imagine?  Wilmington, both business and government would be completely  and devastatingly short staffed and disrupted, Dover would be completely at a standstill.  Probably nothing could grind Delaware to a halt as it would, if every teacher quit.  Every administrator too…..

There is only one option for the man in the Governor’s chair…..  (and it might take a while for him to realize it too…..)

“What would it take for all of you to come back….”

Now.  As parents of school children, we are finally getting somewhere…. my guess, their answer would be…..” Just let us teach…. “

This Monday, the News Journal is featuring an op-ed piece by Margaret Spellings.  

For the educational reformers to find anyone still naive about the manipulations of test scores, they had to go back to the Secretary of Education in 2005, and coax her to write.  Back then George Bush was beginning his second term. We were all naive back then.

Her  claim is that accountability is what creates good test scores, is off mark…  Furthermore her claim that we need even more accountability, shows that her sensory feelers are not properly working.

First here is what we do know about PISA.  There is no consistency between nations tested.  How do you equivalently compare the reading of  Chinese characters to the reading in the Finnish alphabet, or the Bulgarian Cyrillic style, or  to a popular font in English?  Of these four, who is the better reader when the structure of those languages are all drastically different?  Furthermore China has been exposed as only allowing testing in its best schools.  Yet, Massachusetts would be the top educational system in the world, if the US was allowed to cherry pick.  Bottom line is that we don’t know how well other nations were represented.  All affluent?  That would impact test scores if so.   All should know that in the creation of these test scores, entire nations are not tested,  just a handful of student’s results from each country are how the comparisons are made.

The NAEP is a better comparison.  It has more depth. Yet still it has the same faults as the PISA, in that it cherry picks who gets to take it.  Want to create an educational crises?  Throw more low income students into the mix.

Secondly, it sounds like Margaret Spellings is not active or currently up to date on educational issues.  Accountability IS being performed, drastically so, and is aggressively performed erroneously.  The fact that she appears to be unaware of the accountable flops causing the DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee’s school closings, makes the rest of her statements hard to take with any credibility.

She cites the standards of NCLB being waived as the culprit for these low scores, but she does not account for the fact that accountability is still going forth despite these waivers being offered.  Accountability was nowhere near as aggressive during the time she mentions, from 2000 to 2009 when scores actually rose.  But accountability has becomes excessive from 2010 through 2013…. far stricter than at anytime during the Bush years she worked.

It boggles the mind, how she can even make this claim: that because we are waivering states out of NCLB, our PISA  and NAEP scores are flat…

In case any reader of this is not already familiar as to why this is preposterous, I should clarify that currently most research is pointing to the opposite direction:  our scores flattened out because we stopped teaching interesting material to inquisitive minds and focused on hammering over and over the teaching  of a test, a very horrible bad test.

Education is being dumbed down by this implementation of Common Core according to almost every expert, which actually includes public statements being made by those in the very act of creating Common Core’s standards.

The sole purpose of Common Core is to lower standards to a lower level where everyone can pass them….  Then our politicians can say look:  we are graduating more career and college ready students, but which is actually only occurring because we lowered the standards so more would pass….

The statements made by Margaret Spellings are on par with ridicule as those believing that not only is Global Warming a hoax, but that it is a Socialist Hoax, or that not only is Evolution a false science, but that it is a false science being proposed by Witches trained under Snape at Hogwartz.  There are so many errors.  Her premise is wrong, Her axiom is wrong, Her facts are wrong. Her conclusions derived from all three of these, are also wrong.

Time forbids me to answer each of her statements with a retort.  By now, you the reader should already be well versed and not need any assistance to dissect her argument and put in in the rubbish bin where it properly belongs….

But this opinion (to give it some redeeming value) is a very bad piece of journalism and should be used in journalism schools across this nation, as an example of how not to write…..

The revolt against Common Core standards is in full effect outside of Delaware.  22 of the 45 states that signed on, are now in the process of delaying or trying to remove themselves from Common Core.

If one counts the 5 that never signed on, (Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia)  that is over a majority of states, 27,  who do not want Common Core damaging their children’s brains…

It would be wise to remember that Common Core was never rolled out, debated, or discussed.  State educational organizations were first committed by their governors, then told “Oh, by the way, we are doing this Common Core thing, Change now.”.   It may have been ok if it had worked; but actual results now show  the entire program is so full of holes that every child going through the Common Core program, even if a genius going in, is a failure coming out…..

Parents are upset….

That means there are 23 states including Delaware which are still in… They would include some of these, whose chiefs are the chiefs for change…

However even three of these states, who have their chiefs in the Chiefs For Change,  Louisiana, New Jersey, and  Oklahoma, all have serious doubts over Common Core being expressed by their state legislatures, and are part of the 22 who have bills against Common Core pending in their legislatures….

The other states not opting out, all tend to be states behind on their implementation.  They don’t yet know what the effects will be. which puts Delaware and Tennessee as two states in the dubious position of fully knowing the damage Common Core will do to their children, and going forward with it anyways… Here are those few states still considered… “in” on Common Core.

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware (chiefs for change)

Hawaii

Idaho (chief for change)

Illinois

Michigan

Missouri

Montana

Nevada

New Mexico (chiefs for change)

North Dakota

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island (chiefs for change)

South Dakota

Tennessee (chiefs for change)

Utah

Vermont

Washington

Wyoming

Everywhere across America, parents are up in arms against Common Core.  Expect more states to fall out this legislative session beginning in January.

Just remember whenever you see anything put in the News Journal by this administration or one of their toadies (Hefferman, Sokola, Short),  that if what they were proposing was truly so good,…. why then are the majority of states opting out of it?

Something is rotten,  somewhere.

From the blog of the Roosevelt Institute.

“Common Core is just one of several examples of corporate influence in education. The foundations and consortiums behind these policies, like the Gates Foundation, Pearson, and others, all stand to profit from adoption of their methods, resources, and technology. What is truly surprising has been the full-fledged support of high-stakes testing by the US Department of Education (DoE) under a Democratic president and in a state supported by a Democratic Governor, continuing the infamous legacy of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The mission of the DoE has been to fire “bad” teachers, as determined by their students’ test scores, and close schools which don’t meet these arbitrary and subjective goals.”

“This is the crux of the issue. It really is all about money. Merit pay, standardization, union-busting, school closures, austerity budgets, unregulated charters, all coupled with persuasive messaging and the endorsement of both major political parties means corporate reform will make a few people very rich at the expense of equity and inclusiveness. Education is just another avenue where the profit motive has been pecking away at the remains of public institutions ….”

“It seems like grassroots uproar is finally coming to a head. The start of National Education Week this year saw anti-Common Core protests in New York, South Carolina, Maryland, and several other states. Much like the solidarity seen in recent fast food employee strikes and Black Friday protests from workers demanding fair wages and labor practices, teachers, parents, administrators, and legislators from all political stripes are uniting in opposition to unproven policies and their slapdash implementation across the country. Parents and educators should not be pitted against one another but realize their interests are very much aligned.”

Valid point. How can anyone seriously take one’s viewpoint of educational standards, when they think this is funny? (Time stamp 0.11)

Of course, some people “out there” did think “What Does The Fox Say” was funny. But none of us would seriously want THEM in charge of grading our educational policy?

That, most agree, would sort of take someone with some smarts or two.

If one pages down several stories below one sees a video of an angry mom giving here two cents worth of Common Core…. She gives out a question to the local board to whom she is making her statement…

If a (school) class counts by 5’s, and ends on the number 90… how many children in class?

Repeat:

If a (school) class counts by 5’s, and ends on the number 90… how many children in class?

Someone on the board… answers… 18!….

“Right” says the mom…  “How did you come up with that answer?”

The person on the board says:   “divided 90 by 5….”

“Right” says the mom.  “Because that answer makes sense… That is the way we were taught…”

“But according to Common Core, if you put that down as why, your child would be wrong…”  On the rubric to score this one it says “no points if child puts down answer, or divides 5 into 90….    Instead, the child is to draw five marks for each student, and at every five put a circle around those five and do that eighteen times until they reach 90…..  All in all,  complete 108 separate steps…”

Common Core states it is against learning multiplication tables.  That is “rote learning” it says.  … So later, when it comes time to divide, do algebra, our kids are left to drawing circles, the only tool which they’ve been given, because they never learned the shortcut of memorizing a multiplication table…

Common Core is supposed to teach how math works… Forget that no one can do it, but sort of like knowing how an airplane flies, as long as they know they can leave it to someone else to take care of… since it is beyond their capacity to draw all the circles of 246 divided by 7…..

Just for a moment, imagine if we taught real world concepts the Common Core Way? ”

Suzie, don’t go near the edge of the cliff, you’ll fall over!”

Now the Common Core Way?  Suzie…  see the sun?  It holds the earth by gravity.  Gravity is the attraction between two objects.  The sun and earth are trying to get together and the earth keeps falling into the sun, but because it is going so fast forward it misses its mark, so that it tries to fall again the next second,, but again it went too fast and so it tries to fall in the second after both of those, but again each time it goes forward, and that is why it goes in a circle around the sun… It is attracted and is always trying to fall into the sun but it also escapes and that is why it never gets burned… It is always falling, falling,  Now every object is attracted to another object the same way the earth and sun are… The earth is so big it’s center is always trying to pull us in… If we weren’t on the solid ground, we’d fall in.  When you let go of a ball or something the earth tries to pull it in, and that is why the ball or whatever you let go, heads straight for the center of the earth… So everything that does not have something under it, goes down… Which is why when you walk on the ground, and come upon the edge of a cliff and keep walking beyond it, when the ground falls away and you step out into the air, the ground is no longer stopping you from going to the center of the earth anymore and you get pulled down towards the center through the air… When something stops you from going further, you stop… and then that new surface becomes just like the ground you were on before.  However, when you fall, you fall faster and faster the further you go.  Since there is a lot of space between the top of the cliff and the bottom of the cliff you will be going very fast when the ground stops you from going to the center of the earth.  You will be going so fast that probably when you hit, it will break you apart… The same way an egg breaks apart because when it falls and hits something hard, that force is stronger than the force holding the egg together, so since when you hit, the force of your hitting the ground at the bottom of the cliff will be stronger than the force that holds you together, so your insides will be torn apart from the ground trying to stop you from going to the center of the earth…. And when you insides get torn apart it hurts really bad… That is why Mommy doesn’t want you to play on the edge of the cliff, Now do you understand?

Susie says “yes” to make her mom shut up, but having no idea of what she was talking about, Susie went over the side of the cliff to find our for herself…..

This is the “philosophy of Common Core” to the tee……  Sometimes you just have to tell kids how things are without reasons behind them.  They are kids.

Too much unnecessary information, and not enough necessary information….

Common Core has, is, and will be dumbing down America … And you thought Amreica’s education couldn’t get worse?