Showing posts with label Department of Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Department of Education. Show all posts

Stotsky's Thoughts
on Stotsky's Criteria

Professor Sandra Stotsky loves to play the tune that the Common Core State Standards were not Benchmarked against International Standards.

As shown several times on many posts, this isn't true -- and not even close to being true for that matter, as the Common Core was Benchmarked against International Standards a recorded four separate times by over 100 people, and then the Validation team (29 individuals) benchmarked them again during that process over the period of six months. Since Stotsky really didn't participate in that process I guess she couldn't have known the extent of effort which went into it -- which brings up a few interesting questions:

  • Does Stotsky reference and utilize International Standards when she is evaluating or researching Standards? 
  • Does she even ask for the opinion or advice of others in the field? 
  • Does Stotsky see anyone else's advice or opinion more valuable than her own? 
  • Does Stotsky see anyone else's advice or opinion as equal to her own?
I have discovered a document that I personally feel, will give insight into the answers to these questions. I base this on the expansiveness and wide-range of investigation the project demands. The project is  covering many different beliefs and educational methods.  Being unfamiliar with that system and the method beliefs behind it, simply coming in cold and judging it -- disregarding the methods behind it completely -- would be highly unprofessional. If you were so crass as to do that, you would, of course,  be very careful to cite sources to qualify your disagreement with their methods. So one person tasked with such a project would, without question, start calling people to help out, and begin building a team of experts -- probably with a bit of panic in their voice as well.

Performing a review of the different standards of 50 States would seem to be such a project. Obviously your first task would be to gather a team of collaboration. As a point of reference to give an idea of the kind of task you are looking at here: evaluating the Common Core was assigned to a team of 29 highly skilled people, and took over six months to complete. That is the evaluation of ONE standard. Surely no single person could be such a megalomaniac as to feel that their experience could possibly cover such a wide range of belief systems and educational viewpoints.

Stotsky, Sandra. "The State of State English Standards, 2005." Thomas B Fordham Foundation and Institute (2005).
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED485523.pdf

"In 1996, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation asked me to do a detailed review of the state standards that existed at the time. Developing a review form with 34 criteria organized in five major sections, I reviewed almost all of the available state E/LA/R standards documents. The standards in 21 of the 28 states I reviewed had been tentatively judged by the AFT to be clear and specific enough to meet its “common core” criterion. My own review, however,published by Fordham in 1997, found few of these state standards capable of serving the intended purposes.

"Two years later, the number of states with approved E/LA/R standards had jumped to 49 (including the District of Columbia). At Fordham’s invitation, I under took a second round of reviews in 1999, using the same criteria. Published in January 2000, the completed report highlighted areas of strength and weakness in these 49 sets of standards and compared the changes since 1997 on 11 criteria. To my knowledge, there has been no detailed review of state standards for English language arts and reading since then."
*please to ignore the misspelling of the great and powerful English god - mine you may point out and ridicule at your pleasure, but not to make pointed humor at the Stotsky

This document covering all 50 states is written solely by Sandra Stotsky with no mention of anyone else helping in any fashion at all. There are zero citations. There are zero references. There are no validations of criteria. Her methods are not cited as being based on any other method at all, by anyone else. They are totally original work. It is enough, Stotsky believes, that Stotsky wrote the criteria, and the methods, therefore, are all unquestionably correct.

What she does have are Footnotes... which are publications she refers to in her "asides", little areas she is giving thoughts about. Of these seven Footnotes, (yes, only seven of her aside-commentary refer to other publications) she references herself twice, her company twice and the three that are left do not have anything to do with the development of standards, or the evaluation of standards.

AND -- I would laugh at this point but I'm too shaken up by the pure audacity of what I'm reading, which I would describe as bordering on psychosis except that she laughed and waved as the border flew by --

These footnotes and asides are not, in anyway, part of the massive study - they are part of a section she puts in at the end as sort of a hint that another study should be done on the Criteria for Hiring New Teachers for each State -- which, of course, Only Stotsky is capable or qualified to do. So, not only is she qualified to judge the Methodology and Educational Values of Every state in the Union, she understands the needs of every state so clearly, that she can evaluate their teachers as well.

So, Answer? -- No. (This answer covers all questions proposed) In fact, Stotsky deems no person or institution up to par except herself. The only time she brings up the standards created by others, is to ridicule them and demonstrate how they do not measure up to... Stotsky. Only Stotsky knows how to teach English. Only Stotsky can review with any accuracy at all, the Standards for teaching English.

All Hail Stotsky! 

Stotsky doesn't object to a National Common Core of Education Standards -- What she objects to is the fact that you didn't hire Stotsky to create it -- which she could have done over the weekend, and shown you how far advanced they were on Monday morning that the idea of benchmarking them against international losers was ridiculous.

Common Core Demagoguery Has Breached

I really thought we were done with this. The ones to blame however are not the Republicans or the BATs -- but those who run CCSS, and the Dept of Education for not running an Education and Awareness campaign a year ago, or in October -- to educate the public about Common Core, what it is, what it isn't and remove the opposition's ability to just step back into the misinformation spewing.

What a year though, huh?

Teachers faced scrutiny in 2014 as never before, thanks to a landmark legal case dismantling teacher tenure in California, which sparked copycats lawsuits across the country. If you aren't familiar with this - it was a lawsuit brought against the school teachers/unions dealing with the Tenure of teachers which allowed bad teachers to not be identified and fired. Or at least that was the Press. The students felt that they were not given an education, which should have been expected. Yes, it should have been expected. When you have the high percent of students coming out of High School that we had, who had a diploma, but were not qualified to move on to college, it should be expected that one or nine of them are going to say, "Hey, WTF?"  And they sued for Failure to fulfill the expected obligations of an education system.

They won.  -- that, wasn't, actually expected...

The Case for Annual Testing

By: Grover J. "Russ" WhitehurstMartin R. WestMatthew M. Chingos and Mark Dynarski

The new U.S. Congress is moving post haste to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). With Republicans in the majority in both houses and the relevant committees chaired by individuals with considerable legislative skills (Lamar Alexander in the Senate and John Kline in the House) the smart money is on Obama seeing a bill in this session.
The most recent incarnation of ESEA, signed into law in January of 2002 by President George W. Bush, is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB is the seventh reauthorization of ESEA since 1965, which means that Congress historically reworked this legislation roughly every five years. We’re now 13 years into NCLB, so reauthorization is long overdue. It is not just the long delay that argues for congressional action, but the extent to which the Obama administration has replaced the provisions of the bill with its own set of priorities implemented through Race to the Top and state waivers. Whatever one thinks of the appropriate federal role in education, there are surely strong reasons in our constitutional democracy to prefer that we get to where we are going through law rather than executive edict.

This is really a good article, well researched, thoughtful and I learned quit a bit from it. I've been so busy with awareness that Common Core has no testing requirements, I've been a little derelict with whether standardized testing should be out there. Not sure I'm qualified to press it one way or the other.

Anyway , if it caught your attention at all, it won't waste your time. 

7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free

From the Washington Post this morning --

Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they've done the opposite.

The country's universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last state to scrap the fees. Tuition rates were always low in Germany, but now the German government fully funds the education of its citizens -- and even of foreigners.

Explaining the change, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a senator in the northern city of Hamburg, said tuition fees "discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."
It is no wonder that we are something like 25 on the list of "Educated Countries" These countries take the education of their citizens seriously, almost sacredly. For us it is little more than a political bargaining chip, and a place where slush money can be taken from when needed. 
A 2009 study found that U.S. students ranked 25th among 34 countries in math and science, behind nations like China, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Finland. Figures like these have groups like StudentsFirst, headed by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, concerned and calling for reforms to "our education system [that] can't compete with the rest of the world." 
Just 6 percent of U.S. students performed at the advanced level on an international exam administered in 56 countries in 2006. That proportion is lower than those achieved by students in 30 other countries. American students' low performance and slow progress in math could also threaten the country's economic growth, experts have said. -- Huffington Post

Can ESEA Stop? Will It Stop?

Since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA) in 1965, few Americans likely paid more than scant attention to the federal government's increasing role in education decision making. K–12 education was a longstanding state and local responsibility, with more than 90 percent of the cost of public school funding being provided by the states and districts. The federal government reserved most of its authority to ensuring that its resources helped disadvantaged children and those with special needs. 

Over the years, federal policymakers and presidents increasingly discussed education as a national priority, yet their conversations did not necessarily translate into policies because of the limited federal government funding and role in education decision making.

In 2002, President George W. Bush reauthorized ESEA and renamed it the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Suddenly everyone had an interest in the government's expansive new role in education. NCLB required states to conduct annual testing in reading and math for students in grades 3–8 with the tests requiring alignment with state academic standards. Adequate yearly progress (AYP), the yardstick by which the law requires states to measure how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results of the state's mandated tests, became a household word, and sanctions are imposed each year for those schools unable to demonstrate year-over-year gains in student proficiency. States are now required to furnish annual report cards showing a range of information, including student-achievement data broken down by subgroup and information on the performance of school districts. Districts publish similar information on their schools. In addition, all teachers in core academic subjects working in a public school must be highly qualified in the subject matter they teach.

NCLB was originally touted as a bipartisan success and lauded for highlighting the achievement gap between white and minority and disadvantaged students and the need for high standards and accountability measures. But as increasing numbers of schools were labeled as "failing" despite making gains in achievement, many educators and policymakers, even those who originally supported the law, questioned the feasibility and fairness of its goals and time frames.

"NCLB turned teachers and administrators against the law," said Jack Jennings, president and CEO of the Center on Education Policy, a national, independent advocate for public education and more effective public schools. "So many schools are designated as not meeting AYP and there are not adequate resources. States are cutting back on education funding. Teachers are being laid off. Class sizes are increasing; extra aides are being let go. It's harder to educate kids with less money, larger classes, fewer teachers; yet the demands of NCLB go up every year."

Clarity of Purpose : Common Core

We need to keep sight of something -- which has been muddled and twisted. We need to keep sight of the fact that Common Core was sought out to keep Schools open and Teachers from being Fired by the repercussions of ESEA -- also known as Bush's "No Child Left Behind" Act. 

In Oklahoma the Governor, Mary Fallin, repealed Common Core. She did this to make herself more popular in the polls and to look better on TV. Why she believed that the repercussions of ESEA would wait to come down on necks of the Schools until after the elections I don't know. But she did, apparently, but they didn't. Now she has lost millions for her school kids and teachers in Federal funds. She also has to spend millions to create Oklahoma's own set of educational standards in weeks, and the required ESEA testing. Also, of course ESEA's "Corrections" from their last testing cycle, need to be applied, which means, many teachers are about to be fired because no school passed the AYP last time. The teachers will likely be fired because of a "Failure to Perform" -- so it is likely that they will not gain unemployment. [UPDATE-- Looks like the ED is going to have nearly a year to get their standards created before any repercussions happen, but they did loose all of their waivers and are operating this year under the full stringent ESEA -- basically, it is middle-ages with ESEA all over again.]
Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute asserts that the experiences of Oklahoma and Washington highlight "what a lawless process" the waiver system has become.  "I defy anybody to go through and find any shred of consistency in the decisions that have been made here," he said. 
Hess added, "States were ushered into signing up for the Common Core en masse ... and it’s brought us to this predictable place. They’re now stuck in this place where they’re told if you move off the Common Core, you’re supposed to come up with new assessments and standards in a matter of weeks ... it’s a somewhat unreasonable expectation." 
According to Fordham Institute President Michael Petrilli, the Department of Education's decision is a "terrible" one and Fallin has grounds for a lawsuit. "Nothing in ESEA gives the secretary of education the authority to push states around when it comes to their standards," Petrilli said.

First, to Petrili, who is usually more on top of things, but is probably having a bad day... ESEA is under the Executive Branch for enforcement.. right? Not only can the Executive Branch do what it is doing, it Must do what it is doing. Yes, it was a law created by Bush, and yes it is killing Public Education, but it is still a law and it must be enforced. -- And .. oh.. The Department of Education is in the Executive Branch. Firmly there in fact. Cabinet position and everything. It has been there since October 19, 1979.
A previous Department of Education was created in 1867 but was soon demoted to an Office in 1868. As an agency not represented in the president's cabinet, it quickly became a relatively minor bureau in the Department of the Interior. In 1939, the bureau was transferred to the Federal Security Agency, where it was renamed the Office of Education. In 1953, the Federal Security Agency was upgraded to cabinet-level status as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
So, Petrilli is right, technically. There is nothing in the ESEA which gives the Secretary of Education, the authority to enforce Bush's ESEA Act. -- but Duncan doesn't' require it to have any special instructions of authority described either. He has all the authority he requires. Also, Duncan really has very little choice in How the actions are proscribed, or What they require. Unfortunately the ESEA law is articulate as it is tyrannical.

The fix, was Common Core. A "reorganization" which would take the states out of the line of fire for a few years - hoping Congress would finally get around to fixing the ESEA law. Congress is the only one who can do this. However, since 2008 Congress has ignored more than 40 requests from Obama to make these changes and save our schools.

Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute .. is an idiot. Have you ever read any of his books or web pages? The Koch propaganda dipps off them like crude. Hess is a strong proponent of For-Profit education -- citing that Private Corporations would do a much better job than teachers who work for State Department of Education. The fact that declaring Proprietary Methods would shield these corporation from oversight and inspection is only one of the negative points he fails to recognize. Besides, look at how well Privatizing our Prisons has gone (Over population, near zero supervision, zero reform, zero support, return expectancy near 75%). Exactly the kind of outcome we are looking for in education.

 I've often wanted to tell him that it is not enough to say the positive points of an idea, while only highlighting the negative aspects of the current situation. But if it doesn't fit into a meme Tweet he doesn't pay much attention to it.
"I defy anybody to go through and find any shred of consistency in the decisions that have been made here," he said. 
I believe I already have. The consistency is that this is a police action decreed by a Federal Act that the state of Oklahoma, in purposeful action, has violated. Common Core was not required, and it still isn't. However, following ESEA is required, just as it was before Common Core was shielding her from it.

So kids. What we learned here today is -- if there is a big mean angry dog on the other side of the door... no matter how much you don't like the color of the paint on the door -- don't open it. 



Letter from Parent to Jeffco School Board -- Don't Tread on Me

The following is an Open Letter to the Jeffco School Board in Colorado originally posted on the Support Jeffco Kids web site. Where appropriate and where I knew of places to link information, I've added HyperLinks. In fact, all the hyperlinks are mine so do not blame them on the author of this letter or believe that she agrees with the juxtaposed information or any conclusions the matchup may bring to mind. -- Glenn Hefley



Letter Begins:

What all the media is missing is that these 3 majority board members have continually forced every decision with their majority vote down the throats of this community and continue to ignore us, so we have no reason to trust that they would do the right thing this time.  We all watch their friends at board meetings, organizing themselves into groups, names not matching the sign-up, repeated voices and most of these “friends” that Mr. Witt clearly recognizes and addresses by name don’t even have kids in our schools.  This is evident even on the LiveStream.

TCTA Legal Department -- Blaine Thoughts

Four years ago, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted new standards, known as TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), for social studies textbooks in the state’s schools. The process ignited an international media storm. When it was done, even the explicitly conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave TEKS a D, on the grounds that it amounted to political and cultural indoctrination, a dash of mindless inclusivity, and brute memorization.  

Bill Nye the Science Guy on Common Core

Bill Nye the Science Guy, one of my favorite Teaching Personalities and very popular with kids, looks into Common Core and gives his opinion


If I were king of the forest we would have math in the core curriculum. Science would be in the core curriculum. English in the core curriculum. Elementary science is where you get scientists. Everybody in the space program, everybody who's a doctor got interested in science when he or she was seven or eight years old, before they were ten, not when they were 16 or 18. That's where you spend your money is science education in elementary levels. Now, people are opposed to core curriculum I believe for two reasons. One of them good and the other just not. The first reason, my perception is they are afraid having these core curriculum, these standards, prohibits teachers from having time to do other stuff that they're good at. It takes away from other things that a teacher brings to the party. And by that I mean what is your favorite thing about your favorite teacher? And it's his or her passion. It's his or her like I'm so excited about this I want you to get excited about this when you're a little kid or when you're any student at any level, even if you're a 58-year-old guy going to the Smithsonian to take a course in oceanography for fun. It's the passion of the person presenting it that gets you going. So, by having too many standards that have to be met too rigorously, the concern is, and I understand this, that you'll keep students from having any fun and getting excited about anything.
But the other reason people seem to be, my perception of what people don't like about core curricula is that it forces them to learn standard stuff when they could be teaching their kids things that are inconsistent with what we know about science. I'm talking about people that want to teach creationism instead of biology. And that's just bad. And the excuse or the justification is you don't want the government telling you what to do. We all have to learn the alphabet everybody. I'm sorry, if we're we're going to have a successful society, it's not an arbitrary arrangement of letters, you got to learn it. Sorry. And the same way if you're asking me everybody's got to learn a little bit of physics, chemistry, mathematics and you got to learn some evolution. You got to learn some biology.
I mean the idea is obvious right? You have a certain minimum that everybody's got to meet. What? Everybody's got to learn the alphabet. Everybody's got to learn to read. The U.S. Constitution is written in english so everybody's got to learn to read english. It would be great if you learned some tonal languages, some romance language that would be good, but our laws are written in english. Everybody's got to learn to read english. Everybody's got to learn math. Everybody's got to learn some algebra. Everybody's got to learn some biology including evolution. So what's not to love? But I know there are people opposed to that.
There may be small errors in this transcript.
Perfect, right?
 

Teachers’ Views on the Common Core State Standards One Year Later

  • In 2014, teachers are more likely to report feeling prepared to teach to the Common Core (79% in 2014 vs. 71% in 2013); they are also now more likely to say implementation is going well in their schools (68% in 2014 vs. 62% in 2013).
  • Fifty-three percent (53%) of teachers overall have seen a positive impact on their students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills due to Common Core implementation. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of teachers who report they are in schools where implementation was fully complete in the 2012–13 school year (or earlier) say the same.
  • Eighty-four percent (84%) of teachers who have experienced more than one year of full implementation say they are enthusiastic about the implementation of the new standards.
  • Fewer teachers overall this year than last say that they are enthusiastic about Common Core implementation (68% in 2014 vs. 73% in 2013); teachers are now also more likely to say implementation is challenging (81% in 2014 vs. 73% in 2013).
  • Teachers identify Common Core–aligned instructional materials (86%), quality professional development (84%), additional planning time (78%) and opportunities to collaborate (78%) as critical to ensure successful implementation.

Trevor Packer -- Very Effective, Completely Ignored by Krieger

Tevor Paker VP College Board
The following is a document sent to an official at the Georgia Department of Education forwarded, as written by Trevor Packer, a vice president at College Board. 
Trevor Packer – April 9, 2014
This document is in answer to a piece written by Larry Krieger and Jane Robbins and published on the propaganda machine Heartland.org. New Advanced Placement Framework Distorts America’s History but this document pops up all over the web at different Ultra-Right propaganda/hate-pages across the internet. These websites should not be confused with actual Republican party websites, or even Republican News websites. They are all twisted distant sisters which propagate false controversies and erroneous information. Most of these can be traced in funding to the Koch network.

So.. lets begin the rebuttal from Trevor Packer.


Dance of the Dead, by Goethe

The poem  Dance of the Dead, by Goethe  is a chilling and vivid depiction of a supernatural dance of the dead, an eerie scene where the dead...