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  #61  
Old 07-19-2011, 02:36 PM
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flacaltenn flacaltenn is offline
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I'm just as appalled as BHunter is that this fuss is over MINIMUM expected standards.. It's NOT anything like what the behavioural shrink in the WPost article equates to measuring an executives' "ROI on advertising". It's more like judging him being capable of CALCULATING the ROI..

The teachers cooking the books are doing so BECAUSE too many of their students can't pass MINIMUM competency tests in Reading, Writing, Math and Social Studies. We're not even CLOSE to AP classes or ANY form of biology, chemistry, physics, or world lit.. More than 30% of our kids are mathematically and fundamentally illiterate in the 8th grade. And that precludes them from even participating in those advanced academic endevours. (Is that gonna be the expectation?) If so -- let's have a beer and call it quits.

Now realizing that I'm NOT convinced that these tests should be the SOLE determinant of funding or an alternate form of teacher evaluation -- They SHOULD be a statistical point in space for the FEDERAL Dept of Ed to determine how to allocate THEIR resources.. Without that kind of metric -- we should just fold up that whole endevour and their $100K+ salaries and block grant the money.. Sell the very building. Because they cannot BLINDLY solve any problems without first measuring the problems.

Quote:
Minimum standards on these sorts of tests (I am speaking from the Maryland HSA perspective); a mile wide, 1/2 inch deep? Rote learning- the lowest/most primitive form of learning? Is that what really ought to be going on? By the time students get to HS, it should be about thinking, problem-solving, and synthesis to prepare for college, trade, and for informed and productive citizenship. C'mon guys...
We're not talking about YOUR physics kids. We're not even talking about High School. At that point, those 30% who have been underserved are already on a path to the massive drop-out rate we also experience. Even if they had a wonderful experience with gradeless, testless, group hug assignment type K-12. And YES, the PUBLIC expectation is that they SHOULD have a minimum competency at the 8th grade or the rest of their public schooling experience is written on the wall (pretty much) BEFORE they get to high school.

You need to look at the actual type of test content that we're discussing here. "wrote knowledge"?? Heck yes.. It's the basis of being able to balance a checkbook, read a contract, or be qualified to participate in a Democracy. These are NOT things that Google when you need them..

Indicting the tests are tantamount to HIDING the problems so that the public won't attempt to draw irrational conclusions about the teaching profession in general or the efficacy of throwing money blindly at the lower 30%. We CAN do better if we honestly appraised the situation.. Not hide it.

I've seen too many slick academic experiments foisted on the K-12 public schools in my lifetime.. From the "whole language -- kill phonics", to "new math" to "group assignments" to gradeless evaluations done en masse with dismal, mostly destructive results. ALL THAT experimentation done on our kids and the teaching leadership of K-12 has the nerve to whine about NAEP testing as being "distracting"????? They tease gullible parents with slick marketing ploys like a 5-6th grade "Journalism Magnet School" that affluent parents stampede to like K-Mart lemmings -- but can't fathom why jonny needs to be able to calculate the area of a rectangle or find a verb in a sentence structure??

You C'mon TyBrad..
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  #62  
Old 07-19-2011, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flacaltenn View Post
I've seen too many slick academic experiments foisted on the K-12 public schools in my lifetime.. From the "whole language -- kill phonics", to "new math" to "group assignments" to gradeless evaluations done en masse with dismal, mostly destructive results. ALL THAT experimentation done on our kids and the teaching leadership of K-12 has the nerve to whine about NAEP testing as being "distracting"????? They tease gullible parents with slick marketing ploys like a 5-6th grade "Journalism Magnet School" that affluent parents stampede to like K-Mart lemmings -- but can't fathom why jonny needs to be able to calculate the area of a rectangle or find a verb in a sentence structure??
Uhhh... don't lay that one on teachers' doorsteps. Those initiatives were from teachers being manhandled by administrators and politicians.

I have already, "for the record", previously stated my stance on something to hold teachers accountable, and have suggested one. What is going on is not it... CLEARLY. No one wants to take a look at the Far East to see how it does work because of our screwed-up social life, and our opinions (and dollars) on what is important to us. And their systems work because teachers are treated with professionalism, hired carefully, placed carefully, have the resources and home backing, and will t-r-a-c-k. Why has vocational training in K-12 situation faded?

Return rolled eyes...

Tyler
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  #63  
Old 07-19-2011, 03:19 PM
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I clipped these out of NAEP results tests circa 2002.. THe percentages are the CORRECT respondents.. We need to look at the specifics.. Not generalizations of this testing issue.. If you're not appalled -- there's no hope.. Eight grade.

15.
Under which of the following circumstances would you be most likely to find snow in
equatorial regions?

A) In areas below sea level
B) In areas at high latitudes
C) In areas at high elevations
D) In winter
(51%)

In the space below, list one product that people in the United States eat, drink, or use every day that typically comes from another country. Then explain why the United States imports the product from another country.
(45%) 22% partial

8.
The major areas of wheat production in the world are the central United States and Canada,Ukraine, south central Australia, and the pampas of Argentina. What is the characteristic shared by these areas that explains their role in wheat production?

A) All have rainy, damp climates.
B) All are near sea coasts.
C) All are plains.
D) All are in highland regions.


15.
The Lend-Lease Act, the Yalta Conference, and the dropping of the atomic bomb on
Hiroshima are all associated with the

A) First World War
B) Second World War
C) Korean War
D) Vietnam War
(41%)


Explain why the framers of the Constitution established a system of checks and balances
among the three branches of government.<br>&nbsp;
(2% appropriate, 22% partial)
.....

Questions 16-17 are about the song below.

O Freedom!

O Freedom!

O Freedom over me!

And before I'd be a slave,

I'd be buried in my grave,

And go home to my Lord and be free!


16. The song was associated with

A) the temperance movement
B) the civil rights movement
C) pioneers on the Oregon Trail
D) farmers in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression


17. The song suggests that in the United States there has been a relationship between

A) slaves and organized labor
B) education and social class
C) reform and religious ideas
D) African Americans and American Indians
(although 80% correctly identified civil rights only 14% could put that into context of reform and religious ideas....)

3. What is the length of this pencil to the nearest quarter inch?
(picture of a pencil superimposed on a ruler.)

A) 3 inches
B) 3 inches
C) 4 inches
D) 4 inches
E) I don't know.
(58%) [[[32% can't use a ruler???? ]]]]]

11.
Kate bought a book for $14.95, a record for $5.85, and a tape for $9.70. If the sales tax on these items is 6 percent and all 3 items are taxable, what is the total amount she must pay for the 3 items, including tax?

A) $32.33
B) $32.06
C) $30.56
D) $30.50
E) $ 1.83
(45%) [[[Guess grocery shopping or clerking is out of the question]]]]

13. Ground beef costs $2.59 per pound. What is the cost of 0.93 pound of ground beef?

A) $3.52
B) $2.78
C) $2.47
D) $2.41
E) $1.66

Did you use the calculator on this question?
(44%)

6. A club held a car wash and washed 21 cars. If the club raised $84, how much did it charge per car?

A) $0.25
B) $4.00
C) $5.00
D) $1,764.00
(92%) [[[kinda looks like a 50/50 chance to me]]]]

You can peruse the results of multi-year testing results at:

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/

In GENERAL -- About 25 to 30% are hopelessly failing.. Only about 30% are proficient or better in any of the basic subjects. THIS -- is a telling result.. It should NOT be hidden.

Plenty of other organized views of the results by race, grade, ect. at:

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/itemmaps/index.asp

If the Dept of Ed SHOULDN'T be doing this (because the states fudged their results before DC stepped in) --- then they little role AT ALL in participating in fixes. And maybe we should just get THEM out of the way...
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  #64  
Old 07-19-2011, 03:32 PM
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flacaltenn flacaltenn is offline
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TyBrad:

You suggested vocational training shouldn't have dissapeared? I want to know where music, art, physical education went as well. As my kids went thru K-12 -- all THAT dissappeared as well OR we were supposed to kick in for it like responsible Public School parents as "privately funded" adjunct.

The vocational training COULD ACTUALLY be part of the answer -- once we've "defined the problem". Problem is -- that training and tracking probably doesn't start until Jr/Sr High because technology is so volatile. And you still have the problem of certifying a level of competence to enter that track. I'd certainly see that as a life-preserver for the lower quintiles.

As for the detrimental experimental record...

Quote:
Uhhh... don't lay that one on teachers' doorsteps. Those initiatives were from teachers being manhandled by administrators and politicians.
OK -- if you say so.. My impression was that these things came from the very highest ivory towers of the educational brain trust.. The very folks certifying new teachers. But hey -- I could be wrong. I dont care much about the history of a virus, just how to avoid it and get rid of it..

Last edited by flacaltenn; 07-19-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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  #65  
Old 07-20-2011, 10:07 AM
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Yes, I am appalled by those stats- are these numbers different than they were in the 70's, or just more examined now? If they are no different, what's the fuss about- the realization and publication that we are a society rife with dummies? We proceeded through three decades since; there are still trailer-types, there are still techies, still professionals, still leaders, still followers, still servers, still fixers. What does it all mean?

But are all curricula in all districts across the country aligned to these standards? Are there teachers strongarmed into teaching out of their content areas? I am still going to maintain that factual recitation is not relevant in a pre- or teen's life if they are not academically slanted. In the end, education is a white man's game as far as many inner city kids are concerned when they are just trying to survive, fend off a family member for one reason or another, or just trying to stay alive. They will not care about the connection between the Yalta Conference and Acts of Congress. They will not care about poetry, and so on. So what do we do? As I mentioned already, non academic offerings, for one. I am just sick and tired of this "everyone can do anything" attitude nowadays and it sets up students to feel more failure if they are not meeting the standard of success that is set upon them. Minimum standards? OK... what will they be? Who will ascribe them? Parental guidance is one thing, parental pressure to have their Level 4 special ed. student in an inclusion class without thinking about all of the peripheral assistance needed is another entirely. This wheel is broken and nobody has a clue as to what to do.

Some of the initiatives that you wrote about do come from teacher training at university but by far the most I've encountered are from the monthly faculty meetings where every other one has a staff development component that introduces or makes data analysis of the latest inane idea in either teaching or data reporting into the server or for public consumption. I'm not opposed to new, reasonable implementation if something else is removed- too much of a pile-on with no more pay or say.

The cynical side of me says that they are ideas and commercial programs sold to the County and pressed upon the on-site administrators as the best tool EVER, and we certainly don't want to be seen as not "modern". I've seen it too many times... the last stupid, redundant, time waster around here was labeled AIM (I don't even remember what the acronym stood for) and was put upon the upper administration in the County and implementation was tried, but failed on teacher rebuff. Funny thing is that it was authored by a current employee in the County. Can you lip-sync and dance to "conflict of interest", "shenanigans", and "inside job"? Smooth and successful education won't work when this sort of horseshit is going on.

Too many adult motivations that do not serve in education for education's sake! But I don't know of any alternatives other than to possibly make retired teachers never left the classroom right up to retirement as the decision makers. I do have some proposals though that won't make a damn bit of difference because as an in-the-trenches educator, I CAN'T know what's best- that is loud and clear. I am puzzled as to why teachers are hired at all if we are not to be trusted, as a group. Isn't AI available yet to do this job?

1. Teacher employment status based on merit, not tenure. In our County, poor teachers can be released from particular schools, but remain in the employ of the County so the problem just gets moved around.

2. Remove tenure- it is needed at research universities where it was instituted, but not in K-12.

3. Make financial incentives for achievement "above and beyond"... whatever that is determined to be.

4. Do away with scheduled observations and move to pop classroom observations- 3 or 4/yr in different class periods to get a sensible cross section of what the instructor is doing, and how effectively and consistently they are doing it. Do it on the classtime merits alone and without preconceived notions on what "should occur"- if I have an observation that does not end with a "proper" summarization, I will hear about it in the post-obs. conference. It is not appropriate for every class context, but admins have their checklists that don't look at the lesson as a unique thing with unique personalities and unique dynamics. Consequently, those scheduled lessons are polished for the sole purpose of getting everything checked-off. I thought planned inspections in corporate and retail were stupid when I was in it, and they are stupid in education as well.

5. Have some sort of auditing system in place that removes personality, evaluator motivations, and is supportive, not retributive. I don't know what else to say here... i am not minded that way.

These are off the top of my head and I am under no illusion that there is an easy fix. Hell, I do not even believe that there will EVER be a fix for it and all of this mucking around just sours everyone inside and outside the institution. There must be more options for students, not fewer, and offload the social stuff for the agencies trained for that sort of thing. NEVER will happen in my lifetime- there are too many tendrils from bureaucrats, commercial interests, lawyers, and Gov't agencies to unravel and remove.

Our discussion here has forced me to sharpen my thinking about some things, and re-evaluate what I thought I knew and I am grateful for that, Flac!

Tyler

Last edited by tybrad; 07-20-2011 at 12:44 PM.
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  #66  
Old 07-20-2011, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tybrad View Post
No one wants to take a look at the Far East to see how it does work because of our screwed-up social life, and our opinions (and dollars) on what is important to us. And their systems work because teachers are treated with professionalism, hired carefully, placed carefully, have the resources and home backing, and will t-r-a-c-k.
Tyler
Something that both my wife and I have noticed. She taught English in Japan for a large corporation. I taught Asian software engineers here in the U.S. Especially the South Koreans, when shaking hands prior to their departure they would reach up with their left hand and touch my elbow. I discovered later that this was a sign of respect.

At one point when she was based in Hong Kong she taught dis-advantaged children in Kowloon. I asked if she ever noticed anyone folllowing her because the Ancient Walled city is not for the faint of heart. I would imagine that one of the Tongs would have secretly guarded her to see she came to no harm.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:17 PM
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Anyone here who wasn't educated, at least through high school, by the public school system?

Just curious.

Dave
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  #68  
Old 07-20-2011, 12:20 PM
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TyBrad:

Not only do I believe in all 5 of your suggestions -- but I'm also empathizing about all the misdirection that you have to grin and bear.. Kinda explains that "a little too happy" avatar of yours....

That leaves the whole lesson of the Atlanta teacher "civil disobedience" and what to do about the "equality" aspect of public education..

Quote:
Yes, I am appalled by those stats- are these numbers different than they were in the 70's, or just more examined now? If the former, what's the fuss about- the realization and publication that we are a society rife with dummies? We proceeded through three decades since; there are still trailer-types, there are still techies, still professionals, still leaders, still followers, still servers, still fixers. What does it all mean?

But are all curricula in all districts across the country aligned to these standards? Are there teachers strongarmed into teaching out of their content areas? I am still going to maintain that factual recitation is not relevant in a pre- or teen's life if they are not academically slanted. In the end, education is a white man's game as far as many inner city kids are concerned when they are just trying to survive, fend off a family member for one reason or another, or just trying to stay alive. They will not care about the connection between the Yalta Conference and Acts of Congress. They will not care about poetry, and so on. So what do we do? As I mentioned already, non academic offerings, for one. I am just sick and tired of this "everyone can do anything" attitude nowadays and it set up students to feel more failure if they are not meeting the standard of success that is set upon them. Parental guidance is one thing, parental pressure to have their Level 4 special ed. student in an inclusion class without thinking about all of the peripheral assistance needed is another entirely.
All those questions are NOT just educational issues. And this is the part that I'm interested in tackling. Realizing that many well-meaning folks like Bill Cosby and now the FaceBook guy have dived head-first into this morass and ended up beaten-up and abused.

Quote:
I am still going to maintain that factual recitation is not relevant in a pre- or teen's life if they are not academically slanted.
It could be MORE important for those who are "not academically slanted". They need a light-weight survival kit for life skills, not a sampler platter of elegant notions. Is it WORSE than it used to be? When is it too late to intervene in the tracking of their academic careers? Those questions are WHY we need to measure students at LEAST up to the 8th grade or so.. Armed with that kind of knowledge, we can start a triage that slices and dices thru the confounding socio-economic issues. There is a HUGE fraction of that constituency that WANTS to succeed. When DC actively pursued their voucher program, there were 10 applicants for every slot. Even lefties like Dianne Feinstein eventually got on board. Private industry kicked into the game to increase the quotas that could be filled. It's criminal to moan about the hopelessness of value decisions like "it's a white man's game" until you remove those who DON'T subscribe to this feeling. You HAVE to let them have an out. I sincerely believe that the payoff would be huge. What DC needs is publically subsidized college prep academies (6thgrade -> 12??) with a number of slots == to the number of VOLUNTARY applicants. (There goes my Libertarian Party membership) .. Not lower expectations.

I guess maybe I'm a true Liberal in my heart. But I am one of those who at least "hopes" that "everybody can do anything". Doesn't mean I want to change the PGA rules to allow carts on the tour courses. Or shine on folks with REAL handicaps about equal performance in all areas.. But as I naively state over and over again. I COULD make chemical engineers out of a busload of burger flippers if I could lock them up and whip them enough.. Nothing too criminal. Just the same level of abuse that the great coaches of the SEC conference apply to their players to get to a championship level..

That and and a menu of "vocational options" or "co-op learning" or apprenticeships for the remaining public school "bottom dwellers" that actually presents opportunities that will reward sitting in the classroom for 12 or 14 years and GETTING a diploma..

I've seen many documentaries about this very problem of public school triage. But I've yet to "Waiting for SuperMan".. Have YOU seen it? I think I'll rent it this weekend..

Last edited by flacaltenn; 07-20-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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  #69  
Old 07-20-2011, 12:29 PM
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Dave:

I'm a product of 100% public schooling. Worked for me I suppose.

But it got strange at times. In Syracuse, because of the all-Catholic neighborhood, the public school kids left on Thurs for Catachism (sp?) class all day. Leaving ME as the ONLY kid in class for 2 or 3 years.. I don't think the uniqueness of that arrangement could exist today..

And I insist on using Public ed for my kids UNTIL they do something to really piss me off. That's a LARGE reason why FlaCal became FlaCalTenn..
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:56 PM
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Public schools all the way, 1-5 in a one room school house then they added a second room so I did 6 to 9 in the new room. Grade 10 was in a two story county schoolhose but in the next county.

Quebec was odd in that Lord Drummond allowed the French their own schools and their own civil law, but the criminal code was British (Thank God). So we had a school system divided on religious grounds, not linguistic and that made things tough for a local Hugenot (protestant) French family.

I bumped into my former home room teacher a year after dropping out, he was disappointed that I had not gone back telling me that I had finished at the head of the class. Well a lot of testing later in life proved that I was not lacking wet stuff between the ears, but I had been bored to tears. Plus attending that school meant commuting by train so that I got into town too early and did not catch a train home until 5:40 at night. I did finish homework in the station but frankly it sucked.

Worked briefly for the Canadian Pacific railway, then Combustion Engineering, then casualty insurance (bleh) then went to Bell Canada and never looked back. Came here for very special personal reasons, worked in consulting, training, and international standards. I guess that work was why IEEE granted me full membership and invited me to apply for Senior membership saying something about my contributions to the discipline. Retired in 2003 at 73 because what had been a fun job became a PITA after the buyout. Never understood why huge companies buy small companies and then set about changing everything that had made them successful. The new owners decided we had to be involved in China, I said big mistake they will reverse engineer our technology and sell below market. It seems that is what is happening today, the hieir apparent to lead the government is turning inward and will make life hard for foreign investors.
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