Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Student's view: Don't grade me on teacher tests

Leave it to a teenager to put a fresh spin on a topic.  At a school board meeting earlier this month Celia Collias, a junior at Myers Park High,  joined a group urging Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to resist adding more state exams that are being created to rate teachers.

Her argument:  It's not fair to count those exams toward student grades.  After all,  if they really measure teacher effectiveness,  a low score just means we had a bad teacher,  right?

She's far from the first person to question the tests,  known as Measures of Student Learning. Local parents,  teachers and advocates have aired doubts about the value of the exams and the time they take away from other classroom work.  So have board members and Superintendent Heath Morrison.  State and federal education officials are still mulling whether to delay the plan to add more MSLs this year.

Still,  Celia's analysis made me smile.  She highlighted a kind of Catch 22:  The tests are supposed to measure teacher effectiveness.  But of course student effort  (not to mention intelligence,  preparation and mood that day)  shapes the scores.  Officials say the exams should count toward final grades to motivate students to give it their best shot.  So if students try hard and still get a lousy score their grade drops,  even if it's the teacher's fault.

The folks who support value-added ratings for teachers  --  and there are many who do, all across the country  --  would say that's oversimplified.  They say they can create formulas that tease out the teacher's contribution to student success or failure.  But it's not clear whether regular people  --  not to mention teachers whose careers are at stake  --  believe them.

Two years ago,  CMS officials made a valiant effort to create a value-added formula and explain it to employees and the public.  I think it's fair to say they failed.  Backlash was strong,  including parents threatening to keep their kids home on testing days.  Key players,  including Superintendent Peter Gorman and performance pay director Andy Baxter,  left CMS and the new crew quickly dropped the effort.

Dr. William Sanders and the Cary-based SAS Institute say they have a formula that works.  It's well regarded in national education circles,  and N.C. education officials have hired them to crunch state test scores for teacher evaluations.  But the rest of us can't examine that formula because it's how SAS earns its income.  Morrison has raised doubts about pinning his teachers'  evaluations to a formula that can't be fact-checked.

So stay tuned.  The quest to create better teacher evaluations is an important one.  We'll be hearing plenty more about this.  And Celia and her classmates will be waiting to learn whether new state exams will shape their grades this year.

65 comments:

BolynMcClung said...

HERE IS THE SECRET VALUE ADDED FORMULA

http://cmsdollars.com/pay%20for%20performance%20rating.jpg

I published it several years ago as part of my CMSDOLLARS website.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Pamela Grundy said...

A great example of the mess that high-stakes testing has become. The federal government (with the support of many state legislators) requires that teachers be evaluated in part by test scores. Test-makers and creators of "value-added" formulas make huge amounts of money by claiming they can take student test scores and determine how much of the student's performance (or lack thereof) can be attributed to the teacher. Students and teachers are forced to waste large amounts of time and energy that could be put to more productive uses. There are much better ways to evaluate both students and teachers, such as the work done in New York's Performance Standards Consortium. That's the direction we should be moving.

Pamela Grundy said...

I should add that students and teachers are also the ones who suffer the consequences when these tests don't perform as advertised -- and there's plenty of evidence to show that they don't.

Shamash X said...

The solution to this "high stakes testing" problem is simply to produce and hire better teachers.

Of course, that will take a major overhaul to the way we view education in this country.

Until we take academics as seriously as we take football, we will continue to sink in the world rankings.

Our whole problem is that we allow too many mediocre students to become teachers.

And that doesn't work too well.

It's a lot like the "quality control" problem in manufacturing.

Do it right from the beginning and you don't need all the "tests" to identify the rejects.

Teachers should come from the top 20% of college graduates.

At the least...

Pamela Grundy said...

The solution to the high-stakes testing problem is to get rid of the problematic tests. It's going to be hard to get top students interested in a profession with such a problematic evaluation system.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21583609-only-few-countries-are-teaching-children-how-think-best-and-brightest

BAMA Companies has been making pies and biscuits in Oklahoma since the 1920s. But the company is struggling to find Okies with the skills to fill even its most basic factory jobs.

Such posts require workers to think critically, yet graduates of local schools are often unable to read or do simple maths. This is why the company recently decided to open a new factory in Poland—its first in Europe. “We hear that educated people are plentiful,” explains Paula Marshall, Bama’s boss.

Anonymous said...

You dont have a lobbyist at the state level to fight this so you have no say little man. You can blow the smoke all you want , but with no input you do what the state says and like it. Its a state mandated measure by a Raleigh firm so they need the income. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

A society of low expectations gets exactly what it asks of its teachers and children.

Anonymous said...

Testing students for teacher performance is a joke.

My son tests well above his grade level in most subjects.

His teachers have nothing to do with that.

Especially math, because they aren't even teaching at grade level, but are still "reviewing" last year...

While my son is testing 2 to 3 years ahead of them.

Of course, they won't let him go to a higher grade level class, either, so he's just bored in class.

Anonymous said...

It is insane to use state mandated tests to evaluate teachers. Teachers cannot control many of the factors that go into that test score. Stop the teacher punishment. Teachers are trained to assess. If they don't do it well, fire them. But don't create chaos and foolishness because of a few bad teachers. DPI and the legislature are out of control. I marvel there are still any good teachers left in classrooms with what is being done to them.

For what it is worth said...

In my 25 yars in CMS schools, I have generally found that if students are complaining about teachers being tough, then you have a good teacher.

If you have students complaining about being bored, then you have a student that has been promoted too far above their grade.

I do agree with Shamash X that teachers are not always from the top 20% of college graduates. Part of that is because of more opportunities women have in the professional workforce today than they have had in generations past. While that is definitely a good thing, that is also the price we pay as a society. You can not have it both ways.

Meanwhile while the Gates and Broads and those types have the politicians and educrats falling all over each other for the publicity and back slapping and you have the urban race profiteers pulling Heath's strings, we can not expect much overall improvement in CMS schools.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, most of us are cheering for the NC Legislators to get public education back into the hands of the parents and teachers. The sooner we can get Washington out of government education, the better we will be. What the NC Legislature is doing to schools and teachers is not much different than in many parts of the country. They are to be applauded too for directing money to be spent on CTE despite the whining and all by Heath and his minions.

And Bolyn, quit campaigning on this comment board.

Pamela Grundy said...

I would not be too optimistic about the NC legislature returning control of the schools to teachers and students. Their "Excellence in Public Schools Act," based on an ALEC model, gives a central role to high-stakes testing. Legislator's interest in shifting teacher pay scales to a "merit-based" system will also require expansions in testing. In Florida, which many NC legislators cite as an educational model, testing is an even bigger nightmare than it is here.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:52am.

Well, MY son is getting BORED in math class because he is STILL being asked (as part of a third grade class) what is the digit in the "hundreds" place in the number 2500...

When that was covered ad nauseam in the second grade.

I don't think he has been promoted beyond his capabilities.

Because according to their standardized "tests", that would be the sixth grade.

Class is simply being dumbed-down to distraction.

Anonymous said...

Celia's analysis is an oversimplification of the issue and she does this from the student point of view...and what student wants to take tests? How many of use want to take tests? Yet...in life and our jobs, etc. we are tested daily in a variety of forms. Even if the MSLs are removed, there will still be a final exam worth 25% of the overall grade...just as it is for the courses that currently don't have MSLs and like it has always been for every high school course. Did the MSLs suck in construction? Yes. There were laughable...and the errors, etc...ugh...which you can see online now on the NCDPI website since the State has released the test copies. While I don't think any bubble test can truly measure student learning, I also don't think they measure teacher quality either. Celia proved that point. She is smart enough to know that if she wanted to mess up a teacher's evaluation/career...she just has to do crappily on the test. This is probably one of the motivators for making it "count"...LAST YEAR...students took 2 FINALS...the MSL and the 25% Final Exam that the teachers made. So, the State has decided that instead of double testing, the MSL will take the place of a teacher made exam... Which, for me...my exam would probably be tougher. But again...what are those things actually measuring? Who is making them? How are they qualified to do so? Etc. A friend of mine who teaches at Myers Park said there is a teacher there that is going to be Skyping with monks in Thailand with his IB Philosophy students. I can't imagine that sort of experience and knowledge gained could ever be measured with a Scantron. And if you tried...sadly, it might not look so great for the teacher because there are just some subjects and knowledge bases that don't fit into neat little A,B,C,D answer choices and when these test creators try to make them fit...it's a disaster for both students and teachers, but in this ever corporate driven model of education where companies like Pearson are making bank on the backs of the students and teachers of our state and others...I don't see changes coming with so many large Ed-Corps with their hooks in our legislature and in Fed Gov Ed. Good Luck, Celia...good luck, everyone!

Pamela Grundy said...

11:20: As you note, there is a significant difference between a teacher-created final exam and a state-created one. I currently have a son in middle school, and I do not want a large chunk of his high school grades to depend on standardized state exams that are by nature limited in scope and where scores are likely to be negotiated and manipulated at the state level, as has been well-documented across the country. High school grades have real consequences for students and should not be part of this kind of experimentation.

Pamela Grundy said...

I should note that this problem with high school grades is simply one more example of the damage these tests are doing to American education.

Wiley Coyote said...

Standardized testing is being used by politicians and educrats to deflect their failure to improve the outcome of the public education system they have destroyed over the past 40 years.

Admin/educrats/politicians are facilitators. Teachers are implementors, implementing the same failed policies they had no hand in creating...

Shamash X said...

WWFD?

What Would Finland Do?

We only need ONE school district in the country with the guts to try.

Proof of concept.

Then either adopt it (if successful, of course) or continue down our regular path to failure.

Anonymous said...

If you pay teacher minimum wage to babysit dont expect them to teach outside a guideline. Which is what they do today teach to the test. You over crowded the class room, reduced assistants and created a terrible employment atmosphere. What did you expect? The phrase you get what you pay for is in play folks. Frankly I am shocked that some of the great teachers have stayed and from talking too them if they were not so close to retirement they would leave. I tink as those folks "age out" CMS is going to be in for a RUDE awakening. The quality of teacher 25 years old coming out of college is not available. And if they are the last place they are looking to work is CMS.

Anonymous said...

"After all, if they really measure teacher effectiveness, a low score just means we had a bad teacher, right?"

No, that's not what it means. I'd think a student bright enough to want to address testing overload would be smart enough to avoid a facetious argument. A low test score may be the result of MANY things: student apathy, not eating breakfast that morning, worrying about the electricity at home being shut off, or not studying for a test, just to name a few. To say, "I did poorly on the test; therefore, I must have a bad teacher" is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

@11:05-same thing in 4th grade with the place value. Makes no sense to me.
My son should be getting pulled out for TD-but that NEVER happens. Time to start stalking the TD teachers so I can be that crazy parent.

Pamela Grundy said...


fa·ce·tious

1.not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark.

Celia was indeed being facetious. Sadly, the philosophy behind the tests does equate low growth with bad teaching, albeit through a complicated and secret set of statistical manipulations. If this is the case, why should students be "punished" for low scores?

Anonymous said...

Pay attention folks--current state of education is the result of way too much federal government interference. Much of what the state legislatures here and elsewhere are doing is in response to federal mandates of all sorts. Be careful who and what you vote for at all levels! Also, it is laughable that some who are squawking the loudest about federal mandated testing are the same folks who fought (and sometimes are still fighting) desperately to have CMS remain under federal control for assignment. And a lot of the current testing is a response to advocacy groups' use of data (i.e. test scores) to "prove" how inequitable our school system was.

Ken Gjertsen said...

What a mess. Five years ago, the testing / assessment process was meant to help students, by helping teachers focus in on where the students were in their education and what the students needed to learn that day. It is sad that these were co-opted by pay for performance, and the primary goal got lost. Data driven education works, but when student-testing becomes teacher-testing, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:24.

Oh goody, another year of "repeat" stupidity in math to look forward to in the fourth grade.

We can hardly wait.

The schools and teachers are apparently stupid.

Or maybe it's the "other" kids who just don't get it and need all that boring repetition.

My son's math classwork today had a 10x10 grid of "One's Place Digit" and "Ten's Place" in which he has written all the numbers from 0 to 99.

How absolutely, stupendously pathetic.

My son could count to 100 when he was four years old.

He's eight now, nearly nine.

And tests at a 5th grade level in math.

Wow, what a stimulating day he must have had in math class.



Wiley Coyote said...

Ken Gjertsen said: "what a mess"..

Ahhh...the good ol' days.. Ken Gjertsen, Kaye McGarry and Larry Gauvreau...

October, 2008:

The Board voted 3-6 and the motion failed. Ms. McGarry, Mr. Gauvreau, and Mr. Gjertsen voted in support of the motion. Chairperson White, Ms. Griffin, Mr. Merchant, Ms. Leake, Mr. Dunlap, and Mr. Tate voted against the motion.


That was the result of trying to get accurate data for all things driven by Free & Reduced Lunches.

Putting faith in "accurate data driven testing" is just dumb.

Anonymous said...

@2:29-its just not math. In 4th grade that are getting 10-15 vocabulary word. Great-but they have 2 weeks to work on them before they are tested on them. No spelling of them either. No spelling at all so far. I've been super disappointed as to the progress of this school year. Anyone else feel that way?

Shamash X said...

Anon 2:46.

The dumbing down of public education in the US is a conspiracy for sure.

So we can't do math or spell...

Who cares anymore? We're No. 1.

In something, I guess.

I'm not sure who is supposedly benefiting from this except the rest of the world...

And maybe private schools.

--------------

Ken,

All that "other" testing done in the past, was primarily done to measure performance "gaps" between ethnic groups.

It was never about identifying and correcting an individuals learning gaps.

At best, the tests were used to move "resources" from students who were doing well to students who weren't doing well.

(Which we all know is a great recipe for success...)

These NEW tests were specifically designed to tease out teacher contributions to student learning.

With the help of sophisticated, proprietary statistical analysis by SAS Institute, of course...

Because, no one can think of a better way to tell if a teacher is any good or not.

But we KNOW we can't trust our schools to produce decent teachers.

Because we all KNOW how low that bar has been set.

But, still we seem to think it's more important to hire teachers who "look like" their students than the smartest teachers we can possibly coax into our schools (using things like decent pay and treating them like professionals).

Assuming, of course, that they are "professional" quality, which is the whole problem in a nutshell...

Anonymous said...

Wow--things have indeed changed a lot in the past 20 years! When our son was in 4th grade in 1994, our first year here, his teacher insisted that the class have spelling lessons (and old fashioned spelling lessons at that) although I don't think that was a requirement. When he hit fifth grade his teacher requested that he attend 6th grade math classes (his school was grades 4-6). The 6th grade math teacher put him in a small pre-algebra class she was teaching to a few 6th graders. When he hit 6th grade that same math teacher asked us if she could teach him algebra (she was certified to do so). He passed the EOC algebra test with flying colors and in 7th grade went on to Geometry. In 8th he did Algebra II online from Stanford with the school's acquiescence. He completed Calculus III his junior year, but then hit a roadblock. His high school wanted him to attend UNCC for a college level math course his senior year but needed permission from central office (not sure why). When I called central office to get that permission the woman I spoke with balked, saying there must be a math class somewhere in CMS he could take. She then told me she was tired of suburban parents thinking their kids were so smart. Finally got it worked out but how ironic that principals and teachers worked with us all the way through (and were the ones who took the initiative) to provide the most appropriate education for our son but Central Office personnel apparently found hard working advanced kids to be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:29

The "Central Office" finally won...

And it's not just CMS.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 2:29

Calling teachers "stupid" and going on about how ultra-intelligent your son is just sounds childish. And it's not the way to go about seeing that he gets the mental stimulation of which he deserves.

Anonymous said...

Pamela, right now, our legislators have their hands tied with what they can do with public education because of past govenor's and state board's actions.

Get the feds out of education. Haven't we learned yet most everything they have touched,, has turned to crap.

Medical costs started accelerating when Medicare first came. Housing prices accelerated as they tried to manipulate the mortgage market. College costs accelerated as they tried to "buy" college diplomas for everyone. Now healthcare insurance costs are skyrocketing. Many are losing their insurance.

Nicole Jenkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole Jenkins said...

Of note: SAS founded Cary Academy in Cary, NC.
They don't give standardized tests.
Hmmmmmmm.... Testing is what everyone but their own kids need? Hmmmmmmmmm

Pamela Grundy said...

6:20

Try as I may, I can't point to a single education-related action our current state legislators have taken that remedies any of the problems caused by federal education policy. Mainly I see them extending problematic federal priorities by pushing ahead on test-based performance pay (a big federal priority), grading schools based on test scores, basing individual student promotion on test scores and in addition raising class size and cutting school-based personnel. Sadly, these problematic policies are one of only a few points of bipartisan agreement across the country. I'd be interested to see if you can point to any actual positive action (as opposed to rhetoric) that the current legislature has taken in terms of public education.

Anonymous said...

8:52 good stuff. The reason we are not educated and skilled anymore in the US is that our students/young folks are no longer motivated and do not have to learn to think anymore. They are lazy because they have devices that can think for them, or fill their time up with useless games and time killers. There is no need to learn, they are content. This phenomenon has not happened in other countries (yet).

Phil said...

Wanna raise high school test scores, decrease tardy rates and attendance issues and have happier, healthier teenagers? Change the high school start time.

Anonymous said...

Ok, we get it. You want different start times.
A truism is later start times would help as much as "free" (lol) breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Pamela,

I think the answer is to grade the students on ANOTHER set of super-secret statistical manipulations of the test results.

That would only seem fair.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:45.

What's "childish" is that my son is PROVEN to be intelligent through the very standardized tests the educrats worship.

Yet, the bureaucrats still refuse to teach to his level.

And, yes, we've tried to reason with them as "adults" before to no avail.

It's the same as the "Central Office" syndrome someone else mentioned.

At one time, though, the teachers apparently worked around the "Central Office" problem.

Now they're just stupid all over.

And, yes, stupid is the right word.

Because that's the ultimate result of the systematic dumbing-down of the curriculum.



Shamash said...

Anon 8:52

It's not that the time-wasters haven't appeared in other cultures (Chinese kids LOVE video games, too, and Angry Birds was INVENTED in Finland by Rovio), but they have parents and teachers who see to it that the kids study.

Finland is somewhat notorious for NOT having a lot of technology in the classroom, either.

While Asians just push their kids a lot harder. Maybe to excess.

I still think Finland is on to something more "palatable" to Western habits (less school time, less testing, but smarter teachers and a more focused school day).

The technology in our classrooms is mostly a crutch. And the days of being considered a "whiz kid" just because you know how to use a computer are pretty much behind us.

Now, it's what you can do with all the information at your disposal that really counts.

And, unfortunately for us, that requires good old-fashioned thinking skills.

Something our machines can't quite do for us.

Pamela Grundy said...

7:00 a.m.

What a great idea! I'm sure the right (albeit expensive) formula could tease out exactly the amount that a student's individual effort contributed to a test score, allowing schools to grade students solely according to their own effort. Why should students be rewarded, gradewise, for having a good teacher? Sounds like a wise investment to me :).

Anonymous said...

Pamela,

Yes.

It only seems reasonable that if you can determine the teacher's contribution, there MUST be a secret sauce for sorting out the other sources contributing to the final grade.

I think SAS Institute was just holding out until they saw the need.

And now they have it.

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us...

Anonymous said...

9:10 A truism is that there are more medical studies than one can cite that state the benefits of later high school start times. CMS is behind (and wrong) on this issue.

Barb S. said...

The common factors of our educational woes in the US are lack of parental involvement and parental supervision.

Anonymous said...

I think we have more than one set of woes.

There's the woes of the bottom performers (which you have identified).

And the woes of the top performers (which so few seem to care about).

As for "parental involvement"...

See what "Central Office" has to say about that (according to at least one commenter).

Just don't let on that your kid might be "smarter" than anyone else.

Especially if you live in suburbia.

Because they apparently can't handle that and are getting tired of hearing about it.

Or maybe they've quietly solved THAT problem.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is denying that there are kids who are well above the curve. But berating already-overworked teachers for being too "stupid" to buck the system and make special accommodations for such students is counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

I'm conflicted. I don't to blame the teachers as they've been handed a raw deal. But I just get the impression they don't care anymore. When you class is upwards of 30 kids-what can you do?
My child has been telling me constantly he is bored and he is suppose to be in the (non-existent) TD program.

Anonymous said...

Counterproductive?

Ah, yes.

When confronted with a brainless bureaucracy there are just a multitude of ways we can be branded "counterproductive".

Like we HAVEN"T considered the normal "productive", play by the rules route...

Would you prefer the term apathetic, unconcerned, gutless, cowardly, or something else rather than stupid?

Maybe you can tell us the "productive" route to take.

Like how to persuade without using the obvious facts right in front of their slack-jawed faces?

We've already spoken with the teacher and principal and gotten little more than blank stares and statements that the higher classes would be too "difficult" for our high-scoring son.

Maybe you know a secret to getting through their thick skulls we don't.

Even though THEIR TESTS say otherwise and they admit that our son scored higher than ANY fourth graders on the same test (he's in third grade), they won't budge an inch.

Even on just letting him join the fourth graders WHO ARE PROVEN TO KNOW LESS THAN HE DOES.

Ah, yes.

STUPID pretty much hits the nail on the head for this one.

Shamash said...

They need to keep the smart kids behind so their teachers look good on the standardized tests.

Everything is working according to plan...

Anonymous said...

Then clearly the solution, 12:10, is to call a moratorium on reproduction until there is some way to guarantee that all kids are as smart as yours is and then there wouldn't be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, because "smart" kids are such a problem for the system.

A kid who was two years behind, though, would have all sorts of options.

Anonymous said...

To Anon Smart kid, there are several great private schools in the area. You should check them out if you're not getting the service you need or want.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a teacher, may I recommend that you voice your concerns not just to your son's teacher and principal, but also to the legislature in Raleigh? With constant budget cuts, frozen pay scales and endless numbers of administrative duties thrust upon them, it can be difficult for teachers to even keep their heads above water, never mind find the time to plan engaging, thoughtful lessons to differentiate for above-average students. Perhaps this teacher has been told what she HAS to do - teach to the middle, usually - and has neither the time nor the resources to do more than that. I wish more parents would stand up and make their voices heard on behalf of how teachers have been vilified in North Carolina. Only then will things begin to change, for students and for teachers.

Anonymous said...

Let's go for the moratorium on reproduction.

It's more likely to happen.

Anonymous said...

It's a pretty sad commentary when "go to Raleigh" is the solution to getting my son more appropriate math assignments in his local school.

Well, I can see why so many do go to private schools, but is that really the answer?

I know parents who have gone that route, but encounter similar lockstep processes.

He's already in a "gifted and talented" program (which is mostly fluff, but probably fun), so that doesn't seem to matter much, either.

I guess we'll just back off on the "home schooling" until he falls in line with the school's expectations for someone in his grade.

Just let him ignore math for two or three years and he'll fit into the program just fine.

It seems that we are only "making trouble" by insisting on a higher standard.

(Like hell.....)

But, hey, it's all good. Maybe he'll get an iPad in school so he can play games to pass the time during math classes.



Anonymous said...

To anon 12:24, there's always CPCC for your 3rd grade son.

Anonymous said...

As a Middle School teacher, I take great offense to the poster above who uses the word "stupid" so candidly to describe teachers.

As someone has said before, there are zip ties around the hands of what some teachers can do. When classes are filled with 30+ students of (widely) varying ability levels, it becomes difficult to differentiate for all students.

Also, have you checked out the Common Core standards for Grade 3 Math? Place Value is in there and sadly, some (probably many) were left behind in 2nd Grade because of the amount that there is to cover before the MiSsiLe Tests. However, they are supposed to move BEYOND just the basic premise of place value into rounding, adding, and subtracting.

I'm sure your son's teacher is not standing by with drool dripping out of their agape jaw while the class runs amuck. (Most) Teachers are working their tails off to ensure that your child has the basic tools needed to survive in this world. I WISH we had more parent oversight like you seem to be doing. However, remember, that many teachers are tied with what THEY are allowed to do. We're not stupid, we're just limited on what we are allowed to do.

Heaven forbid we teach a kid or two to think critically anymore...Google already does that for us...

Anonymous said...

I too am a teacher and was surprised by the "stupid" comment. I will choose to believe it was used out of frustration and I will leave my comment at that.

As far as some of the comments regarding technology, I agree that most of what is done at the elementary level, as far as with the actual use of the technology device, is not progressive in nature so it is not critical that a 2nd grader uses an Ipad. It is a tool to help with repetitive skills, such as multiplication, but not essential.

Anonymous said...

"It's a pretty sad commentary when "go to Raleigh" is the solution to getting my son more appropriate math assignments in his local school."

And why would you NOT go higher and higher, if necessary, to get to the root of the problem? That's what would be done in any corporate structure. In this case, part of the problem IS what's being done (or not done) in Raleigh. Let them know you're upset and why. If they don't hear from angry parents, they're going to keep assuming that what they're doing is fine, and they'll keep doing. Teachers are already being unfairly dragged through the mud. Please don't add to it.

Anonymous said...

To the poster of the "stupid teacher" comment - Most teachers I know differentiate the instruction to the needs of their students. I know this has been at a bare minimum in my 3rd grade classroom this year as I have had to take hours of time giving the kids busy work so I can assess them each individually to get their reading level. In addition, we had to give the pre-EOG (1 whole morning) and give yet another test in reading (MAPS) and my class will take a math MAPS test next week. I have no ocntrol over this. The sad thing is that I have barely had enough time to teach over the last 3 weeks which in your opinion is probably for the best because the hours of time I spend planning engaging lessons with materials bought out of my pocket probably aren't that good anyway. Wait . . .stupid . .. maybe you have a point.

Anonymous said...

Why would I not go higher?

One reason is that I don't see any sign that folks are any smarter the higher you go up the food chain in the educational bureaucracy.

And I don't think this is exactly Brown v. Board of Educational material, so the Supreme Court is out of the question.

But, I suspect we'll find a way to move on.

Perhaps literally.

We know some folks who are extremely happy with the education their kids are getting in Singapore.

It's a big world, so there's still some hope.

Sometimes changing "the system" isn't really the answer.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:35.

Ah, the MAP test.

That's the one my son scored a 220 on in math for the second grade.

Maybe you can tell me whether someone who is at that level needs to sit through two more years of tens place vs. ones place.

But, nevermind, I already know the official answer.

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:35.

Perhaps you understand why I am not interested in continuing to beat my head against the wall over this as well.

But it is annoying to find that they do all that testing but won't use the results as evidence that they might need to change what they're teaching.

Sure, it's great to continue teaching the slow kids until they reach "proficiency".

But what about the kids who reached "proficiency" two years earlier?

Just keep them hanging around to raise the averages?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:13.

Ok, so I'm being candid.

Maybe the teachers aren't so much "stupid" as just following "stupid" orders or a "stupid" curriculum.

From my perspective, the result is the same, though.