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Showing posts with label Teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teachers. Show all posts

Education is a Beast
Failed, Whipped and Brutalized

Do  you know the average education level of the teachers in your district? Any idea what the qualifications are for being on the your local district school board? These are two facts you should know, because they will undoubtedly alter your perspective instantly.

My first real look at the animal known as Local Education was Colorado in Sept of last year. The StandUp Kids. I was hunting Larry Krieger --

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. 

Teachers Are Disengaged from their Employment

This could be the answer to a question I've been trying to solve most of the day. According to a Gaulp Poll, Teachers are not engaged in their work, and even more, some are Actively disengaged.

  • Just 30% of U.S. teachers are engaged in their work
  • Actively disengaged teachers average twice as many absences
This article is the first in a series exploring employee engagement among U.S. teachers as measured by Gallup Daily tracking.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the U.S., K-12 schoolteachers who are "not engaged" or are "actively disengaged" at work miss an estimated 2.3 million more workdays than teachers who are "engaged" in their jobs.

Oklahoma Mad as Hell :
Give Common Core Back!



That's right. MORE Federal Involvement not less. 

Oklahoma State Board of Education and thousands of parents and students want Common Core back in their schools. In fact, they are keeping Common Core until after the lawsuit they have filed against the state government. After seeing what happened to Nebraska, who could blame them? But the real reason is because Common Core Works!

No more lies and fake weeping mothers. No more false Experts found in an alley some place by the Tea Party. Common Core Works! Don't let them take it from your kid.

Restore Oklahoma Public Education (R.O.P.E.) is committed to educating tax-paying citizens and parent stakeholders on the ways in which the methods and philosophies used in public education today affect them. From budgetary allotments to curricula, ROPE attempts to make Oklahomans aware of how every dollar spent and every idea taught can actively influence the future voters enrolled in Oklahoma Public Education today.

SAT Scores Up - For Some, WAY Up

The College Board released the annual test results of its three programs—AP, SAT, and PSAT/NMSQT -- all in one report this year. Stacking them together gave interesting comparisons, but the news is fantastic.

An unprecedented number of students, including a large increase in minority and low-income students, participated and succeeded. Of the 1.67 million students who took the SAT, nearly half were minorities and nearly a fourth were low-income students. And the number of high school students who succeeded on at least one AP exam (earning at least a 3 out of 5) doubled in the past year.

The report did reveal a few areas that need attention very soon. First, too many students are missing out on opportunities. Thirty-nine percent of the 684,577 students who showed AP potential (indicated by high PSAT/NMSQT scores) didn’t enroll for a single AP class. Likewise, for SAT takers, 9 percent were close to achieving the college and career readiness benchmark and might have succeeded with less than a year of additional instruction.

I'll take those kind of problems every year, thank you very much. With the reports of the last twelve years, I'm very sure that no one was expecting to see the report show 39% of qualifying students, for one reason or another, didn't take advantage  of the AP courses. There are other College Readiness courses however. AP doesn't have a monopoly by any means (Despite what you may have heard from various groups like the Tea Party). So it would be interesting to see how many of those students made it into other programs.

For twelve years, nothing exciting has come from these reports. Comparatively, it is like these kids were being educated in another country. Since Common Core State Standards were implemented this last year (and for some the year before as well), I don't think it is much of a reach to suggest CCSS had something to do with this drastic change. And let’s note that this testing class is the first to have experienced the full run of No Child Left Behind, since kindergarten, which was supposed to have engineered gains in college readiness. Not so much. But let's do a little digging, just to see if this theory has any merit at all.

First we'll look at the states that didn't go to the Common Core State Standards. That would be (for last year) Texas, Wyoming and Virginia.

Overall, nationwide, 42.6% of SAT takers in the class of 2014 met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. This number has remained virtually unchanged over time. Among all U.S. public school test-takers, 39.1% met the benchmark. Some SAT takers are not in public schools, but in other programs.

Texas

In Texas, 33.9% of test-takers (60,732 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 31.9% met the benchmark (52,313 students).

The exam, showed that the average score on the math section of the SAT dropped four points from last year to 495. That was the lowest figure since 1992, when Texas students recorded an average score of 493. A perfect score is 800.
In reading, the Class of 2014 in Texas scored an average 476. That was down slightly from last year but still two points better than their worst showing in the past two decades. That occurred in 2012.

In writing, Texas students registered an average 461 for the third year in a row.

State education officials have attributed the declining SAT scores in Texas to an increase in the number of minority students taking the exam. Minorities generally perform worse than white students on standardized achievement tests like the SAT and ACT, the nation’s two leading college entrance exams.

However, California students outperformed Texans by big margins this year — 15 points in math and 22 points in reading. Demographics of the student populations in the two states are similar: California is 52.7 percent Hispanic and 25.5 percent white, while Texas is 51.3 percent Hispanic and 30 percent white.

Wyoming 

In Wyoming, 81.4% of test-takers (140 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 85.4% met the benchmark (111 students). Only 3.3% of the students took the test.

I'm not sure that Wyoming helps us with our theory. While 81.4% is amazing, it also opens up a number of question, like, what happen to all of the other students?

Virginia

In Virginia, 46.6% of test-takers (27,893 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 44.9% met the benchmark (23,603 students).

In 2012, which was a record year for Virginia, 43% made the benchmark.

Thus, Virginia continues to rise -- and with this continued show of growth, I understand why they would be hesitant to take on an "untested in the real world" change like CCSS.

Now let's look at California, Arizona and Washington state.

California

In California, 42.3% of test-takers (100,231 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 40.0% met the benchmark (82,004 students).

41.9% in the class of 2013. We talked a bit about California's success and challenges above so let's move on to Arizona

Arizona

In Arizona, 48.5% of test-takers (10,973 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 47.2% met the benchmark (9,309 students).

2013 results show 37.1%. Note that they were very worried about changing over to CCSS would affect this year's results -- in a negative way. This is an amazing jump.

Washington

In Washington, 46.2% of test-takers (19,060 students) met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark. Among public school students, 44.4% met the benchmark (16,148 students).

2013 shows only 39% made it.


NOTE in the report: However, about one in four Washington students in the SAT class of 2014 did not take a core curriculum. The same is true of test-takers overall.

We are missing a great deal. The scores I'm using are as general as you can get. The jumps from last year are affected by many variables, one of which is that the year before for many states was in the record low area, and teachers went to work with greater effort. Parent participation, funding, more parents home from war -- all of these things affect a child, and affect test scores.

No matter what the reasons however, last year, the kids did it right. Hoping for a good year for 2015.


Project Based Learning

Like flipping the classroom, education technology, videoconferencing and building personal learning networks via Twitter, project-based learning has become a popular topic.
"Standards tell what students should know and be able to do, but do they tell how to use this power, change the world and make a difference?"
In an ideal world, we'd all love our students to ace quizzes and tests, get their homework in on time, and generally demonstrate good student skills. Every year I have wave after wave of students that are so keen on that coveted A+ but they don't really ask themselves what they'll do with this knowledge and skill set that they have learned. I like to think that learning should have applications and I'm not denouncing the need for good assessment habits, but if they're learning merely to pass a test, how can they enjoy a love of learning after they leave that educational system? How can we develop curiosity?

The emphasis on standardized testing as the bottom line in education is proving this point. Although these are good indicators of student learning, they omit the applications of this learning and don't allow students to show why they are learning it in this first place. This is the allure of having "projects" but these are often "add ons" rather than an authentic learning experience.

The Difference between Projects and Project Based Learning

Click to see full size


Resources to Facilitate Project-Based Learning in your Classroom

The Effect of Student Engagement

“Imagine a 20 minute lecture where all your students back channel about what you're saying. Outside guests or experts are invited in. Someone acts as a "rudder" to keep the conversation on track. The discussion is displayed on a SMARTboard or with a projector. The chatcast is immediately dumped into a wiki. The rest of the class is devoted to reorganizing the wiki clarifying what was said, answering questions (student to student as well as teacher to student; and don't forget the people, students, teachers, mentors or parents beyond the glass walls of the room) summarizing the big ideas, reframing the discussion in terms of what needs to be explained again and where we're going next. Imagine the possibilities …” -- Terry Friedman, 2008 Talking about bringing Twitter into the classroom. 

In “Pleased to Tweet You,” middle school teacher Kate Messner used a TweetChat with an author and publisher to go along with a book her students had been reading in class. Her students happily chimed in with questions, answered on the screen before their eyes as the teacher tweeted them at the author. The English language teacher followed the children’s favorite authors and students tweeted questions such as “What are your favorite strategies for developing characters’ personalities?” which garnered responses from several published authors.

Twitter has also been used by some teachers to encourage collaboration across countries. For example, one American class had a conversation on Twitter with a Japanese class while they were studying Japanese world history. Many teachers have also used Twitter to talk to fellow teachers and improve their craft, organizing conversations by subject level such as #musedchat for music teachers and #langchat for foreign language teachers.

Sources and additional resources:
What do you think? Does Twitter have a place in the classroom? How about other new media technology?

mostly by Lindsey Cook

Lindsey Rogers Cook

Senior journalism and computer science student at The University of Georgia Honors Program.

lindzcook@gmail.com; 678-464-7351; @lindzcookwww.digitize-me-captain.com 

Teachers and Parents need to Stop listening to Secondary Sources

Remember in school, when we learned the difference between Primary sources of information and Secondary sources of information -- and why the two are not the same? 
  1. primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:
  2. Primary vs Secondary Sources

    www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html
    Princeton University
A parent just asked me if I had answers for the problems with Common Core. Apparently the teachers in her district are looking for ways out of using CCSS. The problem is, the answers are in the Core. 

See, as soon as they succeed in removing CCSS from their school system, then life becomes seriously difficult, because as soon as Common Core is gone, then they are back to 10 years ago under ESEA and the No Child Left Behind hell of 2002. Since every school failed that impossible thing, and the 12 years are up, this means that the schools will be closed, until a new plan can be presented to the Dept of ED, and approved. Most of the teachers will be fired and likely the principal as well. Probably what will happen is the school will be sold to a charter corporation and then re-opned. ESEA and NCLB are laws, not suggestions. Moving into the Race to the TOP program using as a standard CCSS, allowed Obama to give your school an out, and get you from under that mess of a law, since Congress won't fix it.

Obama came up with the "patch" solution of Race to the Top, but to satisfy the requirements of ESEA and NCLB each state is required to have in place a set of standards which demonstrate an ability to "ready students for College ..."  The Gov.'s of each state, seeing that ESEA was going to cut their throats (the changes made by NCLB are simply impossible to achieve. They sounded good when they were adopted, even reasonable, but they didn't take into account the many realities of  education. Too many realities were ignored. In fact, so many that I do not believe a single public school district made the minimum goal once in the 12 year period given to them.) The Gov's came up with CCSS back in 2007, starting development in 2008. At 2010 they had it ready when Obama came up with his waivers and Race to the Top.

It is important to remember here that ESEA and NCLB are not policies or suggestions, they are laws. It falls to the Executive branch to enforce those two laws. Obama has no choice in this. But he also understood that it was impossible to achieve the dictates. 

NCLB -- since the schools were all at "Failure" for more than four years -- dictates that 1) all the teachers, plus the principal should now be fired and replaced with teachers capable of making the goals. (which is impossible for two reasons, 1) all of the teachers are fired, there are not enough to hire available and 2) all the goals are impossible to meet no matter who is teaching the kids) Next the State should take over the school directly OR the school should be sold to a private corporation -- wish I was making this up, but you can verify this here on my blog where I pulled out these amazingly daft dictates.

You'll notice this part --   Institute and fully implement a new curriculum, including providing appropriate professional development for all relevant staff, that is based on scientifically based research and offers substantial promise of improving educational achievement for low-achieving students and enabling the school to make adequate yearly progress.

That there is where Race to the Top comes in, and the need for a fully developed, heavily researched set of standards is needed to satisfy the law. The states had this, developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) The Dept of Education read over the CCSS, and gave their nod to Obama as being acceptable. 

That is and was Obama's only interaction with CCSS -- Simply to accept the DOE's assessment. I'll point out here too that it is against federal law for any Federal Office, including Obama as President, to involve itself with the schools directly at the local level... which is why he could not develop CCSS himself or have it created or suggest that it be created or anything else. The states had to do this themselves. 

So much for Federal plans of Indoctrination. All of this stuff about CCSS is BS. It is a very simple, unoffending, non-dictating set of standards. 


Places for Teacher Learning : Common Core

Groups and Organizations
These links will take you to essential reading materials from the institutions and organizations behind Common Core.
  1. Common Core State Standards Initiative:This is the official site for the CCSSI, featuring information about the standards, news, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.
  2. National Governors AssociationThe NGA played a major role in the development of Common Core, so their website is a great place to look for answers about the standards.
  3. Council of Chief State School OfficersThe other major group behind Common Core is the CCSSO, an organization you can learn more about by visiting their site.
Useful Resources
Read up on Common Core, find out more about what it will mean for your classes, and get some help from educational providers and groups by following these links.
  1. CCSSI Wiki:One simple way to learn more about the CCSSI is to visit the program’s Wikipedia page, which is packed with useful information on the subject.
  2. Common Core 360Common Core 360 is an educational network that offers webinars, training tools, news, and more to help teachers adapt to the new Common Core standards.
  3. MasteryConnectUse the MasteryConnect site to track your students’ progress under the new Common Core system.
  4. Pearson Education Common Core State StandardsPearson, a major educational publisher, offers access to numerous resources on Common Core. Visitors to the site will find everything from basic explanations to informative webinars.
  5. McGraw Hill Common Core SolutionsEducational publisher McGraw Hill is also reaching out to teachers when it comes to Common Core, loading up their website with tools for professional and curriculum development.
  6. Common Core Adoptions by StateThe ASCD website offers up information on which states are adopting Common Core, along with links to each Common Core state website.
  7. The Common Core InstituteTeachers who are unsure about their expertise on Common Core should give the Common Core Institute a try. The organization offers Black Belt certification on Common Core, as well as a wealth of other conferences and professional development opportunities for teachers.
  8. Common Core Standards AppThis iPhone application (it is also available for Android) lets teachers keep essential information about Common Core at their fingertips.
  9. ASCD Common Core WebinarsASCD is working on new webinars on Common Core for this fall, but educators can take a look at their archived resources from earlier this year in the meantime.
  10. Common Core WorkbookUse this workbook from Achieve and the U.S. Education Delivery Institute to help guide the Common Core implementation process at your school.
  11. CommonCore.org:Here you’ll find an organization dedicated to ensuring that the Common Core is about more than just reading and math, instead promoting a well-rounded education that includes reading literature, studying culture, and engaging with the arts.

Jeffco Students, Teachers and Parents Demand Resignation of School Board

Due to the Jeffco District School Board's complete lack of regard for the legal obligations and policies -- or even acknowledgement that there were laws they were obligated to regard, the community of Jeffco Colorado has started a public petition in order to begin the Re-Call process of three board members. The members in question are Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams.

Julie Williams is of course the member who after talking with like minded Education Board Members in Texas, began steps here to change or remove the AP US History program in Jeffco with apparent plans for further alterations to the schools of Jeffco County. Since she was unable to recall a single passage from the AP US History material which demonstrated a need for a committee evaluation, or such radical changes , Williams admitted that: “I’m not familiar enough with everything that is in AP history to make that judgment.” When asked about the kids and the protesting however, Williams said with strong confidence, the students were “uninformed pawns” of the teachers’ union. 

It’s not surprising she could be so definite on the one and so ignorant of the other, because Williams is one of the Jeffco 3, often referred to as the WNW of the School Board -- the recently elected, Koch-brothers-praised, ultra-conservative school board majority that has gone to war with Jeffco schools as we once knew them. This board of thee frequently disregard policy and practice -- often demonstrating that they aren't even aware of policies or best practices. The Sunshine laws of transparency are openly disregarded -- many times they boldly tell the public that a matter will be discussed and decided on in a "closed meeting" later. 

After blatantly ignoring the community's strong concerns (demonstrated by student walk-outs, teacher and parent support and a petition of 40k+ names)regarding the school boards intent for the AP US History program, and then their asinine declaration that this disregard was a "compromise" -- apparently on the grounds that ordering a firing squad for the malcontents wasn't available to them at the moment -- the community started a petition for RECALL
We demand Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams RESIGN from the Jefferson County Public School Board of Education immediately.

PETITION BACKGROUND

Witt, Newkirk, and Williams have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, harassed and insulted teachers, driven away experienced and effective senior staff, impugned students, ignored concerns of parents, broken Sunshine laws meant to ensure transparency and accountability, violated school board bylaws, betrayed the trust of citizens who voted for mill and bond in 2012, and publicly embarrassed our school district and its students by claiming our district is failing in written editorials, on television and on radio. We demand that all three of you resign before you do more damage to our community. We stand united in our support of teachers and students and the excellent quality of public education in Jefferson County.

Supreme Court's latest McCleary Order

State is Largest Source of Funds

Educators, the people who work directly with our students, know firsthand that the need to fully fund K-12 public schools is urgent and immediate. We can't afford to let the Legislature shortchange another generation of Washington students.

Instead of making more excuses and risking contempt of court charges, legislators should follow the Court's directive and fully fund Washington's K-12 public schools. Our students deserve nothing less.
-- WEA President Kim Mead

Other Points and Views

Common Core Targeted -- Propaganda From Badass Teachers

Led by the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, the initiative to create national benchmarks in reading and math emerged from the “standards and accountability” movement of the 1990s. 
But since they were released in 2010, Common Core has faced mounting opposition — and it’s coming from the left as well as the right. -- Salon Web Source

I use to hate Bill Gates. Nothing personal really, as I didn't know him personally -- it was just on general principle.  I was a programmer, a systems administrator and I loved Linux. So, I hated MicroSoft and by association, Bill Gates.

I've changed my mind.

Bill and and his wife donated $50 million to the efforts against Ebola yesterday. Yes, I realize that amount isn't that much to him, but it might be enough for the research we need done.

GOP has been calling for action from the President, while continuing to do everything they can to obstruct him. Even in the face of a flesh eating plague they continue with their culture of obstruction -- they need to be fired. All of them. Democrat and Republican alike. So we can expect no funds, no help an dno resources to fight this plague from GOP Congress, and in fact, despite the fact that our Military men are now at risk, they will do all they can to hinder operations.

Bill Gates walks in and like a parent snatching the ear lobes of whining children, clears a path toward meaningful action.

Bill Gates and his wife have also donated (est)$200+ million to the development and installment of Common Core. Don't get this twisted. I can't find anything that says he owns any part of Common Core. Despite what I read in News-like editorials across the web.
Bill Gates was de facto organizer, providing the money and structure for states to work together on common standards in a way that avoided the usual collision between states’ rights and national interests that had undercut every previous effort, dating from the Eisenhower administration. -- Washington Post 
Let's clear up this once and for all. Alright? Bill Gates and his wife have chosen education to be one of their projects. They have been all over the world helping bring education to areas, cites and countries. They are into several areas, like water for example, which is not much of  a problem here, but tends to be a problem in  Nairobi, Kenya. They don't own any part of Nairobi either. But they did work their personal asses off and there is now a better water system there, with hope for a future where water won't be a daily issue.

Bill Gates and His wife do not own any part of Common Core, nor do they have any rights, claim in the standards or interest in Common Core other than to see it up and working for the children of our nation. Their amazing effort cleared the way for this to happen like no other government body could have accomplished. -- and I write that as a grassroots Linux lover .

GTP and ME and Chess

You: Give me an annotation of the following game, noting and highlighting tactics, positioning, shifts in momentum and their causes, as we...