Determination, Education, and Mediocrity - such a title could be for many different posts of mine. So here is version #1.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Determination, Education,Courage, and Mediocrity ( a lengthy rant)
Determination, Education, and Mediocrity - such a title could be for many different posts of mine. So here is version #1.
Friday, October 21, 2011
San Bernardino hired Ochoa as administrative director, curriculum/instruction and accountability and research for secondary education. His salary is $102,453 to $124,392, according to a recruitment announcement.
Spokeswoman Linda Bardere said the district checked Ochoa’s background and received only positive references.
“His strength in curriculum and instruction was emphasized,” she said. “We’re giving this information the level of attention it requires and at this point it is premature to comment any further.”
Ahh. I just love it! A district with many program improvement schools and high drop-out rate hires, for good money, a man convicted to changing grades and stealing money. Then again, what else to expect? He raised grades (illegally) therefore, yeah, he has a great, on paper, track record of student achievement. When everyone appears to have good grades, it appears that academic achievement is improving. Just like the teachers (in gosh, what state? Too many) that have been either placed in rubber rooms, full pay, or had a mild pay dock and remain in the classroom plus now tutor children, this man got a job transfer and a pretty little salary.
Something is wrong with this system.
Update, 9 hours later...got a letter in the mail....now I remember, I applied for that VERY POSITION and am/was FULLY QUALIFIED but NOT even selected for an INTERVIEW. Oh baby, here comes the press.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Education from a Child's Perspective
Friday, October 14, 2011
Just...Ignore it but pretend not to or: I am a highly qualified moron
I was reflecting back to my teaching days and thought hmm...I was a LIFO case, but was there indeed any reason behind my LIFO status- was it pure coincidence, a pull-a-name-out-of-the-hat LIFO case or were there some reasons behind my LIFO status over another "equal" teacher? I will never know because you can be let go without cause, rhyme, or reason as a non-tenured, probationary teacher. No questions asked, no explanations given. Therefore, you only know if you're a LIFO case, a "we don't like you, you suck" case, or a mix of the two. Not very helpful for personal and professional growth.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
the budget crisis, master planned, not my problem
Perhaps the budget cuts in education are on purpose. Yes, many top-notch-education countries spend less for better results, and yet our schools ask for more funding. That is an issue for another post and topic. I am talking instead about the cause of the budget crisis in education.
While reading Terry Moe's book, Special Interest, I had a possible epiphany; a perfect storm that was master planned, has given us this crisis. One may think, isn't that a shooting oneself in the foot kind of situation? Not quite.
Teachers are humans, want to be treated as such, and want- and deserve- benefits like health insurance, livable salary, etc. The average teaching salary has only increased 7 percent from 1980-2007. Education funding has not drastically lessened enough to excuse such a piddly salary rise so what is the issue? Well, teachers want smaller class size and got it- from nearly
With tens of thousands of teachers laid off in recent years, perhaps we're reaching equilibrium and can have a higher salary- at the cost of class size. Perhaps the research claiming class size is no issue is fabricated to support this paradigm shift, albeit manufactured. You can't always get what you want but hey a cola salary up tick may be in your future.
But wait, so we’re laying off teachers; is that to raise class size and salary? Remember it is hard to even
Another reason for budget cuts- and motivation to rid of teachers- is those dreaded retirement benefits. Unions attract members because, wow, as a union teacher you can retire before 65 with a full health package! That sounds great except that insurance costs are skyrocketing. LAUSD estimates that in the nebulous future, 80 percent of their entire yes entire budget will fund just retiree's insurance.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Unions, Tests, Accountabilty, LIFO
Should teachers be held accountable for student achievement? Of all union teachers surveyed, 40% support this notion and 60% oppose it. Of the rare breed of non-union teachers, 52% support this and 48% do not. So I got to thinking, well, what do I think?
I would have to abstain from answering in yes or no format. See, student achievement is part of teacher success, just like patient satisfaction and non-death rates is for doctors, for example. As much as I hate to make a business comparison to schools and children, they are a teacher’s client and product so there should be some accountability.
A similar question on the survey was, “use tests to measure achievement?” with a support/do not support response. Of all union teachers, 19% support it and 81% oppose it, and of non-union teachers, 29% support ad 71% oppose. The author argues that student achievement, especially via test scores, does, and should, matter. Teachers should be held accountable.
I say…kind of. I argue that standardized tests only test a certain amount and kind of knowledge. Tests have some validity, but the current weight given on just one test is ludicrous. I feel that the tests do not assess critical thinking, creativity, innovation… most 21st century skills, and those skills that colleges and employers look for and find lacking in today’s youth. Therefore, a blended model seems ideal, one that includes test scores (because yes, it is important to know if Billy knows how to add, how to spell, and certain common knowledge facts like what are the Bill of Rights, why does the sun rise, etc), and other “assessments”. By that I mean portfolios, projects, essays, presentations- things you would see and use outside of school. Yes, adults take assessments in the workplace but they do more than that. And skills and intellect are more than just a test.
Also, we need to look at skills growth over time. An argument I hear teachers use, which I agree with, is that it is unfair to judge a teacher by his or her students. What I at least mean by this is, let’s say you are Teacher X and PVE, Prison View Elementary. Your children are all on free lunch, half are learning English, and they are on average, 2 grades below grade level. Due to poverty, mobility is high and so you end the school year with only 1/5 of the students you started with. Ok let’s also look at Teacher Y at PME, Prestigious Millionaire Elementary. Your students take IB courses, have private tutors, no one has free lunch, all speak other languages but that is due to private lessons to learn a language aside from English and…you get the point. Testing season comes and goes and X’s students at PVE are skewed so that 85% are basic and below. Y’s students at PME are skewed so that 85% are proficient and above. So with the logic of testing and teacher accountability in place, X is fired and Y gets a bonus. Is that fair?
But on the flip side, can teachers solely blame society’s ails on student performance? I am the first to notice demographics, a culture that does not value education, etc. It is my nature as a sociologist and data person. These are indeed HUGE factors in performance. We do need to work in changing our culture to value education, we need poverty to dwindle, blab la bla. I agree. BUT a teacher should have SOME accountability. First, she/he should be held accountable via test scores (and my blended model of other “assessments”). But it should not be via raw scores or percent proficient, but rather, growth. If Teacher X has 5 students who all scored 25% correct at the end of last year, and then under her guidance and teaching, scores 55% this year, shouldn’t there be some praise? Instead of our current and proposed models, saying “hey, X, those 5 kids are still “basic” and not the NCLB necessary proficient, bad-soundung buzz, fail, you are fired” they should praise growth. And Teacher Y, whose 5 students which scores 59%, basic, last year, and under her guidance scored….hmm… 60%, yay, proficient this year, should not be rewarded for “more proficiency” when the growth was only 1%, statistically invalid.
Culture, life at home, etc is certainly a large factor in educational attainment. A teacher cannot perform miracles on 100% of students. But then I think of Shanti Bhavan in India, which takes the Untouchables- kids way worse off than our worst at risk students, and educates them and guess what? They do great in school and become professors, engineers, doctors. Above all odds. Because of a teacher. But this cannot be quite replicated in America. Why? If our kids fail school, they will just go sell drugs or go on welfare. They will still have a home (perhaps a rented trailer, but it is a home nevertheless), food via EBT (you can get filet mignon and éclairs!), a tv, a cell phone, clothes….so why get an education, work your butt off, to buy the same lifestyle? In India, for these untouchables, without an education they face true dire poverty, starvation, death. So that is a motivator. However, I do argue the case that if Shanti Bhavan can do what they do, we, us American educators, can do something. We need to be held somewhat accountable because hello, we’re educators, educating. If we can’t at least help some kids succeed, why the &&%$ are we in the classroom?
But of course teachers in general will never support accountability based on student performance of any kind. Why? Unions. Unions were initiated to protect against the rare cases of abuse, i.e. 14 hour days without a break, parents suing over use of “emotionally damaging” red correcting pens, etc. Worker’s rights laws now exist, in and out of unions, to protect from this. However, unions today have gone beyond that and into protecting jobs at all costs. A teacher can cheat or even worse, physically harm students and keep a job ,or at least remain either in the classroom, or on paid leave, for years until the union can justify ridding of them. So of course teachers want no accountability because that could be an eventual threat to their job security. But how can they be so selfish? To let job security trump a child’s education?
Also, no one seems to mention the disposables. The teachers that are pre-tenure. They pay union dues but have little to no protection. Due to LIFO, they are the first to be let go in a budget crisis. Maybe their test scores are equal or better compared to the neighboring classroom, but merely because of (lack of) seniority, they’re gone. They don’t have to molest children to be placed on paid administrative leave for two years. No. They don’t have to do anything, they could be a model teacher, and they’re let go without cause. But because they’re new and thus inexperienced, dumb, second class citizens, who cares? They aren’t the great ones, the master, tenured teachers. They haven’t worked their way up, so who cares about them? And if they get laid off, better them than me. A common mentality which I have actually heard teachers discuss is, “no I won’t cut my pay for the probationary staff to keep their jobs. I need my full income, and at least it is not me losing my job. Besides, they’re new teachers, so they’re not as good at teaching as I am. So I deserve to keep my job.”
Cheating is a Crime, You Will Be Punished. Wait, No, Rewarded.
and just had to give my two cents. (The article excerpts are in italics, and violet or whatever color blogger is making THIS, to avoid any confusion.)
Teachers often discuss the evils and ramifications of cheating and/or plagiarizing in the classroom- shame, lowered grades, detention, suspension, removal from the school. However, teachers must be promoting the "do as I say not as I do" addage. Here's why...
Twelve teachers who were involved in a Connecticut test tampering scandal are losing 20 days pay and must serve 25 hours of community service by tutoring students after school, the Republican American reports.
These teachers are "punished" by a loss of pay... but only 20 day's worth. They're still in the classroom. They are also to do a little community service, but not picking up garbage, no, get this, by TUTORING CHILDREN. Let me get this straight. They are found tampering test scores and so they are placed back in the classroom and given additional responsibility, to tutor children? These are probably the same "at risk" children whose tests were altered in the first place. So ok, let's allow these teachers to have additional time in an environment that caused the cheating scandal to begin with. That is like releasing a criminal, who was caught robbing banks, and giving him a job in a bank, and merely trusting him to not do anything bad.
"We welcome the teachers back and we want to encourage them to be the professionals that they are and to assist the youngsters in every way possible to succeed,"
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Eugenics, Racism, and the Progressives
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Big Bro Knows: EVERYTHING (Thank you, schools!)
As a former data coordinator for a small district, I managed all the assessments and a lot of student data. For our assessment and data software, you needed to know 26 things about a student ie phone number, birthday, etc. These got fed into CALPADS which...I don't know much about as that was the attendance clerk's job, but anyways, CALPADS goes into a Longitudinal Data System of some sort that is used for tons of research. I know CALPADS suggests use of this enrollment form; the data all goes into CALPADS. http://www.csis.k12.ca.us/library/calpads/NUSD-Registration-Form-20110111.pdf The good news is, "Consistent with California Education Code Section 49069, parents and legal guardians have the right to access any and all pupil records related to their children that are maintained by school districts, including data in CALPADS. Parents or legal guardians desiring to inspect their child’s CALPADS data should first contact the LEA or independently reporting charter school where the student is enrolled to initiate this procedure, and then the LEA will make the data available to the parent or guardian."
The Education Data Model can be used by educators, vendors, and researchers to understand the information required for teaching, learning, and administrative systems. The Education Data Model answers questions such as:
- What data do schools need to collect and manage in order to meet the educational needs of their students?
- What information is needed to effectively manage education organizations such that teaching and learning is successful? "
|Ability Grouped Status||Absent Attendance Categories||Academic Honors Type|
|Activity Code||Activity Curriculum Type||Activity Involvement Beginning Date|
|Activity Involvement Ending Date||Activity Leadership/Coordinator Participation Level||Activity Level|
|Activity Title||Activity Type||Additional Geographic Designation|
|Additional Post-school Accomplishments||Additional Special Health Needs, Information, orInstructions||Address Type|
|Admission Date||Admission Status||Alias|
|Allergy Alert||American Indian or Alaska native||Amount of Activity Involvement|
|Amount of Non-school Activity Involvement||Apartment/Room/Suite Number||Asian|
|Assignment||Assignment Finish Date||Assignment Number of Attempts|
|Assignment Type||Assignment/Activity Points Possible||At-Risk Indicator|
|Attendance Description||Attendance Status Time||Awaiting Initial Evaluation for Special Education|
|Birthdate||Birthmark||Black or African American|
|Blood Test Type||Blood Type||Boarding Status|
|Born Outside of the U.S.||Building/Site Number||Bus Route ID|
|Bus Stop Arrival Time||Bus Stop Description||Bus Stop Distance|
|Bus Stop from School ID||Bus Stop to School Distance||Bus Stop to School ID|
|Career Objectives||Change in Developmental Status||Citizenship Status|
|City||City of Birth||Class Attendance Status|
|Class Rank||Cohort Year||Community Service Hours|
|Compulsory Attendance Status at Time of DiscontinuingSchool||Condition Onset Date||Corrective Equipment Prescribed|
|Corrective Equipment Purpose||Country Code||Country of Birth Code|
|Country of Citizenship Code||County FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards)Code||County of Birth|
|CTE Concentrator||CTE Participant||Daily Attendance Status|
|Day/Evening Status||Days Truant||Death Cause|
|Death Date||Dental Prosthetics||Developmental Delay|
|Diagnosis of Causative Factor (Condition)||Dialect Name||Diploma/Credential Award Date|
|Diploma/Credential Type||Discontinuing Schooling Reason||Diseases, Illnesses, and Other Health Conditions|
|Displacement Status||Distance From Home to School||Dwelling Arrangement|
|Dwelling Ownership||Early Intervention Evaluation Process Description/Title||Economic Disadvantage Status|
|Education Planned||Electronic Mail Address||Electronic Mail Address Type|
|Emergency Factor||End of Term Status||English Language Proficiency Progress/Attainment|
|English Proficiency||English Proficiency Level||Entry Date|
|Entry Type||Entry/Grade Level||Established IDEA Condition|
|Evaluated for Special Education but Not Receiving Services||Evaluation Date||Evaluation Extension Date|
|Evaluation Location||Evaluation Parental Consent Date||Evaluation Sequence|
|Exit/Withdrawal Date||Exit/Withdrawal Status||Exit/Withdrawal Type|
|Expulsion Cause||Expulsion Return Date||Extension Description|
|Eye Color||Family Income Range||Family Perceptions of the Impact of Early Intervention Services on the C...|
|Family Public Assistance Status||Federal Program Participant Status||Fee Amount|
|Fee Payment Type||Financial Assistance Amount||Financial Assistance Descriptive Title|
|Financial Assistance Qualifier||Financial Assistance Source||Financial Assistance Type|
|First Entry Date into a US School||First Entry Date into State||First Entry Date into the United States|
|First Name||Former Legal Name||Full Academic Year Status|
|Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Status||Full-time/Part-time Status||Future Entry Date|
|Generation Code/Suffix||Gestational Age at Birth||Gingival (Gum) Condition|
|Grade Earned||Graduation Testing Status||Hair Color|
|Head of Household||Health Care History Episode Date||Health Care Plan|
|Health Condition at Birth||Health Condition Progress Report||Height|
|Highest Level of Education Completed||Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity||Homeless Primary Nighttime Residence|
|Homeless Unaccompanied Youth Status||Homelessness Status||Honors Description|
|Hospital Preference||Identification Code||Identification Procedure|
|Identification Results||Identification System||IEP Transition Plan|
|IFSP Goals Met||Illness Type||Immigrant Status|
|Impact of Early Intervention Services on the Family||Individualized Program Date||Individualized Program Date Type|
|Individualized Program Type||Information Source||Initial Language Assessment Status|
|In-school/Post-school Employment Status||International Code Number||IP Address|
|Language Code||Language Type||Languages Other Than English|
|Last/Surname||Last/Surname at Birth||Length of Placement in Neglected or Delinquent Program|
|Length of Time Transported||Life Status||Limitation Beginning Date|
|Limitation Cause||Limitation Description||Limitation Ending Date|
|Limited English Proficiency Status||Marital Status||Marking Period|
|Maternal Last Name||Medical Laboratory Procedure Results||Medical Treatment|
|Medical Waiver||Middle Initial||Middle Name|
|Migrant Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Status||Migrant Classification Subgroup||Migrant Continuation of Services|
|Migrant Last Qualifying Arrival Date (QAD)||Migrant Last Qualifying Move (LQM) Date||Migrant Priority for Services|
|Migrant QAD from City||Migrant QAD from Country||Migrant QAD from State|
|Migrant QAD to City||Migrant QAD to State||Migrant Qualifying Work Type|
|Migrant Residency Date||Migrant Service Type||Migrant Status|
|Migrant to Join Date||Migratory Status||Military Service Experience|
|Minor/Adult Status||Multiple Birth Status||Name of Country|
|Name of Country of Birth||Name of Country of Citizenship||Name of County|
|Name of Institution||Name of Language||Name of State|
|Name of State of Birth||National/Ethnic Origin Subgroup||Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander|
|NCLB Title 1 School Choice Applied||NCLB Title 1 School Choice Eligible||NCLB Title 1 School Choice Offered|
|NCLB Title 1 School Choice Transfer||Neglected or Delinquent Below Grade Level Status||Neglected or Delinquent Pre-test and Post-test Status|
|Neglected or Delinquent Program Placement Duration Status||Neglected or Delinquent Program Type||Neglected or Delinquent Progress Level|
|Neglected or Delinquent Status||Nickname||Non-course Graduation Requirement Date Met|
|Non-course Graduation Requirement Scores/Results||Non-course Graduation Requirement Type||Nonpromotion Reason|
|Non-resident Attendance Rationale||Non-school Activity Beginning Date||Non-school Activity Description|
|Non-school Activity Ending Date||Non-school Activity Sponsor||Non-school Activity Type|
|Notice of Recommended Educational Placement Date||Number of Days Absent||Number of Days in Attendance|
|Number of Days of Membership||Number of Dependents||Number of Hours Worked per Weekend|
|Number of Hours Worked per Work Week||Number of Minutes per Week Included||Number of Minutes per Week Non-Inclusion|
|Number of Tardies||Occlusion Condition||Oral Soft Tissue Condition|
|Orthodontic Appliances||Overall Diagnosis/Interpretation of Hearing||Overall Diagnosis/Interpretation of Speech and Language|
|Overall Diagnosis/Interpretation of Vision||Overall Health Status||Participant Role|
|Participation in School Food Service Programs||Payment Source(s)||Percentage Ranking|
|Personal Information Verification||Personal Title/Prefix||Placement Parental Consent Date|
|Points/Mark Assistance||Points/Mark Value||Points/Mark Value Description|
|Post-school Recognition||Post-school Training or Education Subject Matter||Preparing for Nontraditional Fields Status|
|Present Attendance Categories||Primary Telephone Number||Program Eligibility Date|
|Program Eligibility Expiration Date||Program Eligibility Indicator||Program Exit Reason|
|Program of Study Relevance||Program Participation Reason||Program Placement Date|
|Program Plan Date||Program Plan Effective Date||Progress Toward IFSP Goals and Objectives|
|Promotion Testing Status||Promotion Type||Public School Residence Status|
|Race||Reason for Non-entrance in School||Recognition for Participation or Performance in an Activity|
|Reevaluation Date||Referral Cause||Referral Completion Date|
|Referral Completion Report||Referral Date||Referral Purpose|
|Related Emergency Needs||Released Time||Religious Affiliation|
|Religious Consideration||Residence after Exiting/Withdrawing from School||Residence Block Number|
|Resource Check Out Date||Resource Due Date||Resource Title Checked Out|
|Responsible District||Responsible School||Routine Health Care Procedure Required at School|
|Safety Education Status||School Choice Transfer Status||School District Code of Residence|
|School Food Services Eligibility Status Beginning Date||School Food Services Eligibility Status Determination||School Food Services Eligibility Status Ending Date|
|School Food Services Participation Basis||School Health Emergency Action||School ID from which Transferred|
|Score Interpretation Information||Score Results||Screening Administration Date|
|Screening Instrument Description/Title||Screening Location||Service Alternatives|
|Service Plan Date||Service Plan Meeting Location||Service Plan Meeting Participants|
|Service Plan Signature Date||Service Plan Signatures||Sex|
|Social Security Number (SSN)||Special Accommodation Requirements||Special Diet Considerations|
|State Abbreviation||State FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) Code||State of Birth Abbreviation|
|State Transportation Aid Qualification||State-assigned Code for Institution||State-assigned County Code|
|Street Number/Name||Substance Abuse Description||Technology Literacy Status in 8th Grade|
|Telephone Number||Telephone Number Type||Telephone Status|
|Title I Instructional Services Received||Title I Participation Status||Title I Supplemental Services: Applied|
|Title I Supplemental Services: Eligible||Title I Supplemental Services: Services Received||Title I Support Services: Services Received|
|Title III Immigrant Participant Status||Title III LEP Participation||Total Cost of Education to Student|
|Total Distance Transported||Total Number in Class||Transition Meeting Date|
|Transition Meeting Location||Transition Meeting Participants||Transition Plan Signature|
|Transition Plan Signature Date||Transition Service Description||Transportation at Public Expense Eligibility|
|Transportation Status||Tribal or Clan Name||Tuition Payment Amount|
|Tuition Status||Uniform Resource Identifier||Unsafe School Choice Offered Status|
|Unsafe School Choice Status||User/Screen Name||Voting Status|
|Ward of the State||Weight||Weight at Birth|
|White||Work Experience Paid||Work Experience Required|
|Work Type||Zip Code||Zone Number|