Monday, April 7, 2014

Standardized tests: Opt out or buckle down?

As the testing season nears, the debate over the value of those exams is heating up, locally and across the country.

Bryan
On April 21,  a group of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools parents are holding a forum on  "How did testing get so out of control and what can we do about it?"  Sparked by Selwyn Elementary parents concerned about the testing demands imposed by North Carolina's Read to Achieve program,  the event will be from 7-8:30 p.m. at Alexander Graham Middle School,  1800 Runnymede Lane.  Panelists will be UNC Charlotte literacy professor Bruce Taylor,  state Rep. Rob Bryan and Pamela Grundy of Mecklenburg ACTS.

Grundy's group is taking part in the national  "Testing Resistance and Reform Spring" movement,  which encourages parents to opt their students out of exams.  You may have seen the recent opinion piece by Grundy and her husband,  Peter Wong,  about why their seventh-grade son won't take state exams.

"During nearly a decade of experience with high-stakes testing, we have become increasingly appalled at the damage we have seen it do to schools and children,"  they wrote.  "... Elected officials from both parties have failed us.  It is time for parents  –  who have the biggest stake in high-quality public education  –  to just say no."

Michelle Rhee,  former chancellor of Washington, D.C, schools, recently weighed in on the opposite side in the Washington Post.
Rhee


"Opt out of measuring how well our schools are serving students?"  Rhee writes.  "What’s next: Shut down the county health department because we don’t care whether restaurants are clean? Defund the water-quality office because we don’t want to know if what’s streaming out of our kitchen faucets is safe to drink?"

Read more here: http://obsdailyviews.blogspot.com/2014/04/why-our-son-wont-take-eogs.html?showComment=1396400619199#storylink=cpy

N.C. Deputy Superintendent Rebecca Garland recently sent a memo to superintendents reminding them that the state does not allow opt-outs.  Students who refuse to take state exams will receive failing grades,  the memo says,  and those who stay home on testing day will be given a makeup exam when they return.


114 comments:

Pamela Grundy said...

Folks who prefer our approach to Michelle Rhee's might want to sign the MecklenburgACTS.org petition in support of North Carolina's opt-out families (on our website). As the petition notes, we do not oppose sensible assessment; we oppose the high-stakes mania that has turned so many NC classrooms into test prep factories.

We're also working to convince the NC Department of Public Instruction that it would make more sense to follow the example of other states and mark refused exams as "refused" rather than as "failed" (the failing grades (1s) would also apparently be incorporated into school proficiency and teacher growth scores, which is both inaccurate and unfair). If you sign the petition, we'll pass on info about how you can help with this effort.

For those interested in the testing forum, the sponsors also have a website and petition: rtanc.org.

Wiley Coyote said...

There needs to be testing at some level.

I oppose government testing to determine a techer's livelihood since teachers have no real control over the main ingredient - kids - during the process.

I believe at least two "state tests" per year in the course of the curriculum being taught accomplishes much of what the state is looking for datawise; is the student prgressing in that grade and did the student finish the course with a basic level of knowledge of the curriculum?

These tests would be like other tests the teacher would give during the year with the grade(s) counting just like other tests, pop quizes, homework and projects.

Until government and educrats come to their senses and come up with a better solution, this is what we have.

Opting out is the parent's choice, just as it is for parents not to immunize their child. They will have to live with whatever consequences may arise for those decisions, as will their child.

We should be so lucky to be able to opt out of Obamacare or possibly paying tax dollars to the City of Charlotte for a ridiculous streetcar we do not need.

Shamash said...

The testing has gotten "out of control" simply because the schools have been "out of control" for decades.

Fix THAT and the testing "problem" will go away.

But few want to do that.

So, no one REALLY trusts the schools anymore.

And, how can they?

Grades and scores can be manipulated. Kids who probably should be in prison are sitting next to innocents. Teachers get beat up as gang initiations (if you can believe ONE poster here).

School quality varies by zip code AND changing weather.

Too many decades of lies and deceit have passed for "education" in the US.

The results show in our international test results.

But, those are nasty "tests" again, and the "professional" educators tell us they are worthless as a measure of the "true" talents of our children.

(Which must be simply AMAZING talents if only we knew how to measure them, unlike all that boring reading and math stuff they keep messing up on.)

Can we really trust what the schools and teachers say?

In many cases, I don't.

Maybe in some individual cases, but not enough to say the whole system is dependable or gives parents a fair indication of how well (or not) their child is doing.

And that goes for public, charter, and private schools.

You cannot just sit back and let the schools "do their job" without monitoring the results.

And most parents cannot hang out in school all day just to see what is being done.

And even more just do not care.

This is Detroit-style auto manufacturing in 1972, folks, before anyone took the Japanese and quality control seriously.

Chrome sells.

So, as the saying goes, "trust", but "verify".

(And I'd probably pass on the "trust" part. It's been tried.)

I insist on seeing copies of my kids textbooks so I can verify what (and whether) they've been taught the material they're expected to cover.

And I look forward to those standardized tests so I can see if my kid has really gotten better at anything that's non-subjective as time goes on.

CHART ADMIN said...

Michelle Rhee seems to forget that we have a way to measure how well schools are serving students: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)test that has been used for over 40 years. And guess what - scores have consistently risen on the NAEP for all groups. As for measuring how students are learning, that is why teachers give (non-standardized) tests and other assignments. Our schools are NOT failing - that is a lie promoted by those who profit from privatizing public education.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I agree the hyper-testing movement is out of control and I understand the sentiment behind parents wanting to opt out. In theory, I agree with it. But- once again, teachers will be the ones to suffer. Why? This testing ONLY exists to evaluate teachers on Standard 6 of their teacher evaluation. The parents opting out are the those of the students who actually care and would do well on the tests. So - the teacher will be evaluated on those left...and could possibly lose his/her teaching credential for scores over which they little control because of outside dysfunction. The whole system is in a mess - and it is NOT the fault of the teachers!

Larry said...

I once had a teacher who would start returning papers with the 100's being handed high overhead and then would get to where he would put them on the floor and slide them to the student with his foot.

Guess what happened in that class? No really guess what happened. Oh now this was before you could go home and tell your parents it made you feel bad you did not study and go a bad grade.

Nor the days where the media loved to see offended parents charging the office doors or speaking to the school board.

No these were the days were competition and hard work were taught and encouraged. Not what we have now with so many folks worrying about testing being too much or hard.

The fact is if we get a real effort to do say homework, yes homework, then something might get going in the education arena.

Strange you do not hear folks complaining about too many tests in Charter Schools.

Maybe Ann can do another story on that.

Shamash said...

CHART ADMIN,

NAEP tests are done by sampling, and they do not report on every school, so you cannot tell how any particular school (or individual) is doing.

Around 26000 students take the NAEP tests nationally.

In that respect, they are similar to the TIMSS and PISA international tests.

NAEP usually breaks down the results into states and some larger school districts (such as CMS) are also monitored.

But, they cannot tell you if Ardrey Kell is better than Garinger or whether YOUR little Johnny can read or do math.

NAEP occasionally does special research on private, charter, etc., etc.

Now, as for testing kids to evaluate specific teachers...

That's pure BS and I don't blame people for throwing monkey wrenches into that contraption.

Wiley Coyote said...

Chart,

Schools have failed due to forced integration and busing to achieve it, along with a decades old diversity at all cost mantra.

The US graduation rate was 79% in 1969/70 and hasn't been that since.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Michelle Rhee, I tend to agree with the views of Dr. Dianne Ravitch. In my opinion, Michelle Rhee is merely making a name for herself in the education reform movement. I would not be surprised to learn if Rhee is actually accepting money from the companies that produce standardized tests. FYI, most of those tests costs the school systems around $39 each, per student.

While Rhee did make some improvements on the administrative side during her tenure in DC schools, she also created one of the worst cheating scandals as well, she either paid large bonuses or terminated teachers and principlas based on test results.

Karen said...

Michelle Rhee's analogy is flawed. If you want to equate school testing with water quality testing or restaurant inspections, then who we should be testing for quality are the schools and the teachers. We test the water and inspect the restaurant. We don't stop restaurant patrons as they're walking out of a restaurant and demand blood tests in order to determine the cleanliness of the restaurant. We don't send around surveys inquiring as to who got sick from drinking bad water. We have government
make sure the provider is of good quality, not the customer.

I'm not saying children shouldn't be tested to determine how much they learn, just that her analogy, and thus her argument for high stakes testing,is flawed. Back to her analogy, if people get sick from a restaurant (students aren't learning), we fix the restaurant, we don't necessarily flunk the customers.

Anonymous said...

Why don't private schools use these tests? Shouldn't we want to know how effective their teachers are? Shouldn't we want to know what the private school kid learned in that class? Testing companies are raking in billions. Testing started as a way to measure a few courses that everyone took and could be measured. Courses like math and chemistry. How we get to the point that Peter Gorman (who now rakes in six figures with a testing company) wanted to use multiple choice tests on courses like weightlifting, art, and library assistant? Yes, the zip code of the schools will
tell you much of what you need to know. The rest of the puzzle is filled in by what the parents find out about the school. 'After all the best/worst advertisement for a school is the information the kids bring home. Someone tell me one place that effectively used large scale testing to improve education. The Finnish don't even use multiple choice tests. What are they ranked internationally? One!









Anonymous said...

@Shamash - "School quality varies by zip code AND changing weather."..."The results show in our international test results."

What shows in our international testing is that our middle and upper class kids outscore the world on PISA and TIMSS. So in that respect, you are correct - schools vary by zip code because our middle and upper class kids seem to find themselves in a few schools. UNICEF and OECD report the U.S. as enduring 23%. Finland is at 5%. We have the 2nd highest child poverty rate in the world among comparable, OECD countries (meaning poor kids live in very comparable environments).

Pamela Grundy said...

8:32

The teachers' position is indeed problematic and unfair, although that is the fault of politicians, not of parents. This is why we are working to change the system, by creating a refusal code among other things. We have been opposed to using test scores in teacher evaluations for many years.

I would be cautious about assuming that most of the students who would be opting out/refusing would do well on the test. Many of the parents I have spoken with have children with learning disabilities for whom the ever-multiplying tests are deeply discouraging. It's one thing to know you have a long, hard road ahead to reach "proficiency" but another to be painfully reminded of that over and over and over. That doesn't build determination in any actual human being that I know of.

Unfortunately, the EOG tests have other problematic uses as well, such as for the completely misleading, state-mandated A-F school grading that is supposed to debut this year, and for other forms of school evaluation.

The only thing that is going to change this crazy obsession with a high-stakes testing/evaluation system is concerted public pressure on elected officials. That is building around the country; it would be great to see more here in North Carolina.

Shamash said...

Again, this is so similar to our auto manufacturing in the 1970's that it's hardly funny anymore.

Sure, OUR "quality" is improving.

But so is everyone else's.

The problem is that theirs is already higher and improving at a higher rate.

So we look GREAT when compared to ourselves, but not so great when compared to others and what they have achieved over the last 10 years, much less the last 40.

The world is not standing still while we slowly "improve".

And we aren't the only country capable of putting a "man on the moon" anymore, either.

Go to this site and build your own reports to verify using PISA, TIMSS, or PILS data:

http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/ide/

The problem with "education" today is that you simply cannot trust the internally generated statistics.

You have to step outside each fiefdom to see how things really compare.

According to PISA for 15-year olds, Math scores were

USA 2003 - 483
USA 2006 - 474
USA 2009 - 487
USA 2009 - 481

With 500 being "average" that we are always falling below.

Hardly improving each year.

CAN 2003 - 532
CAN 2006 - 527
CAN 2009 - 527
CAN 2012 - 518

HK 2003 - 550
HK 2006 - 547
HK 2009 - 555
HK 2012 - 561

GER 2003 - 503
GER 2006 - 504
GER 2009 - 513
GER 2012 - 514

So, not quite so good from the outside looking in...

But, yeah, let's just ignore the tests.

Because we're more "creative" and you just can't measure that...

But if you could and we still fell short, we'd find some other excuse.

Anonymous said...

@Shamash - "Chrome sells."

So do lies. The big lie out there right now is our public schools are failures. They are not.

When controlling for poverty, our public schools do very well, and in many cases, they do better.

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.asp

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/are-private-schools-worth-it/280693/

Shamash said...

Anon 9:45

I don't think Finland is ranked #1 anymore.

Not that they care. Or really should care. They are doing well enough.

And we could probably do better by following their example.

Certainly in how the teaching profession is handled. They only take top students as teachers, so they can give them more autonomy.

And "education" degrees are given at a masters level, after another degree, more like the way we do law and medical degrees.

The Asian countries which do well typically have a lot of tests.

A lot more than we do.

Anonymous said...

@Shamash - "And I look forward to those standardized tests so I can see if my kid has really gotten better at anything that's non-subjective as time goes on."

I don't. We are a middle class family. I don't need a standardized test to tell me that - which they all do because of their correlation with family income/wealth.

Moreover, standardized testing is damaging the ability of our teachers to teach with innovation and inspiration - they are forced to teach to the test, prep the kids for the test, etc... Doing this not only damages the ability of teachers to teach, but it completely invalidates the tests themselves. There's this secret among education researchers that they have attempted to shout over and over as loud as they can - but people will not listen. When you teach to the test, the test no longer measures what it is supposed to - how much they know about the subject matter. When teachers teach to the test, the test then measures how well they were prepared for the test, not how much they know about the subject matter.

Your comments and opinions are doing great damage to our schools. Please stop. I want my kids to be as excited to learn when they go to school as the private school kids that take NO tests. I don't want my kids to endure test prep any longer. Please STOP.

Anonymous said...

@Shamash - "But, they cannot tell you if Ardrey Kell is better than Garinger or whether YOUR little Johnny can read or do math."

Why don't we just concentrate on making Audrey Kell and Garringer good schools.

This is not Wal-mart. We don't need competition. They have competition in the Asian countries and look where it gets them - kids jumping off buildings because they cant pass the Gaokoa and kids that cant think their way out of a paper bag.

The U.S. has always had substandard scores internationally, we never implemented any competition in our schools, yet we are the richest most prosperous nation on the earth. We continue to do so - don't believe the lies about our declining system compared to China, India, etc... They get the jobs on visas because they are cheap labor, not because they are more intelligent.

Anonymous said...

Here's what needs to be said in regards to Michelle Rhee's column:

http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2014/04/wapo-wastes-space-on-that-woman.html

Anonymous said...

@Shamash "Certainly in how the teaching profession is handled. They only take top students as teachers, so they can give them more autonomy."

There is no correlation between student outcomes and any intelligence factor of a teacher.

Einstein could walk into West Meck, and he would leave with his face in his hands. Gang bangers don't care about Einstein, I can assure you of that.

Any teacher from Finland would have their back ends handed to them in our heavy Title I schools.

Anonymous said...

"According to PISA for 15-year olds, Math scores were..."

Our middle and upper class kids scored #1 in the world on the last administration of PISA in science and reading. We ranked 5th in math.

The problem will remain - we have much more child poverty here in the U.S.

And don't even bother commenting on Asian countries and international tests...most of them are disqualified for analysis for various reasons.

http://world.time.com/2013/12/04/china-is-cheating-the-world-student-rankings-system/

Shamash said...

Larry,

If you're "unfortunate" enough to go to a typical Asian school, you will know your EXACT class ranking.

Every kid knows whether they are at the top or the bottom.

And so do their parents.

And half the class isn't on the A/B Honor roll, either.

Isn't that just horrible?

As for Rhee vs. Ravitch, you say po-tayt-o, I say po-tot-o.

Both are out for their own "causes" (and pocketbooks) and distort or cherrypick the data.

And I believe they know it.

Ravitch is just better at doing 180's and flip-flops and seems to support teachers no how bad they may be.

Rhee may flip-flop someday when the money is right.

Take them both with multiple grains of salt.





Anonymous said...

So, those that disagree with testing want a 'conscientious objector' status for their kids? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

@Shamash - "If you're "unfortunate" enough to go to a typical Asian school, you will know your EXACT class ranking."

Yes, and you could be unfortunate to jump off a building as a result.

http://shanghaiist.com/2010/06/09/three_gaokao_students_commit_suicid.php

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1229185/two-jiangsu-teens-commit-suicide-over-unfinished-homework

Anonymous said...

@Shamash - "As for Rhee vs. Ravitch, you say po-tayt-o, I say po-tot-o.

Both are out for their own "causes" (and pocketbooks) and distort or cherrypick the data."

Wrong. Ravitch mostly hits the nail on the head. Rhee is a liar.

Our unionized states have the highest NAEP outcomes, alongside other better student outcomes.

Our public schools are NOT failures as evidenced by data, especially when disaggregating based on poverty.

Using standardized testing to measure the effectiveness of teachers is NOT valid or reliable.

We can't fire our way to Finland.

It is wrong to use public funds to support private and charter schools (which are one in the same when in the courtroom - charter operators are more than happy to plead with judges that they are private so they can as they please, but in public they plead their charters are 'public').

This list is by no means exhaustive. Ravitch is right on these issues based on data. Rhee is a liar - period.

Anonymous said...

It's really easy to criticize others without stating specifically what you're in favor of. People who are against testing like to use lots of scary adjectives like "high stakes" "crazy" and "mania" to describe testing procedures.

If you're going to criticize the system, you should at least be able to say what tests you support. If we don't have standardized tests, how can we decide which students, teachers, and schools are performing well and which aren't?

Most would agree that it's possible to over-test. But if you're going to urge a boycott, you should at least say what testing you support, if any.

Shamash said...

Geez, y'all.

"Your comments and opinions are doing great damage to our schools. "

Oh, Lord, I've ruined America with my opinions and comments.

Someone should censor me.

"There is no correlation between student outcomes and any intelligence factor of a teacher."

OK.

So why not just have Microsoft Certified teachers with HS diplomas? Or dropouts teaching our kids?

Finland has it all wrong by insisting that only TOP STUDENTS become teachers.

What ARE they thinking?!?!?


"When controlling for poverty, our public schools do very well, and in many cases, they do better."

Except for Vietnam and Korea because they CANNOT "control for poverty".

They just work harder instead.


"And don't even bother commenting on Asian countries and international tests...most of them are disqualified for analysis for various reasons."


Oh, whoops, they're "ASIAN", so they cheat, aren't "creative" and don't count...

Got anything bad to say about black and Hispanic folks, while you're at it?

THEIR COUNTRIES DON'T EVEN RANK!

"kids jumping off buildings because they cant pass the Gaokoa and kids that cant think their way out of a paper bag."

Oh, yeah, the Gaokao.

My niece did just fine on it.

She got into her first choice university without jumping out any windows.

She's not on crack, meth, pregnant, or doing anything else wrong either (unlike so many kids in the US...)

Oh, wait, OUR KIDS don't have any problems just those overachieving ASIANS...

Geez.

Someone's been drinking too much Ravitchberry Kool-Aid.

It ain't poverty, folks.

Your SES and zip code is NOT your destiny.

There is a little thing called personal effort that makes a big difference.

Pamela Grundy said...

11:23

For a more detailed explanation of why some parents are finally resorting to the difficult decision of refusing the tests, see: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/03/09/3682922/opting-out-of-standardized-testing.html

Anonymous said...

It drives me bonkers that politicians continue to adjust educational standards to their and their lobbyist likings. In the modern day era the world is using "evidence based practice". Everything we do that produces an outcome must use this or the results can be preposterous. From making of textiles, growing of produce, medication that we make etc. This is where the politicians refuse to advance in their thinking; they refuse to believe evidence practices to their political liking and mindset. Why don't they use evidence based practices in education? What are these other countries that have wonderful results doing? Where is the evidence? It is time to start asking if politicians that are making these decisions even know what "evidence based practice" is if they don't it should be illegal for them to make choices as detrimental as these testing choices.

Pamela Grundy said...

12:11

Unfortunately, the constraints of print (and of readers' attention spans) mean that it's challenging to cover all aspects of a complex subject in a single piece. You can find our discussion of alternatives at:

http://www.mecklenburgacts.org/testing/alternatives-to-testing/

Shamash said...

To all the Ravitchberry Kool-Aid drinkers with the same Ravitch arguments...

(Yeah, sure, Rhee "lies" while Ravitch never does, she just "omits"...)

Ask yourselves a few question about all this stuff she's passing out.

I know the "true believers" among you will NEVER question her "authority", however...

Are ALL Asian countries which are performing better than the US cheating?

Even Japan and Korea?

(And what kind of car do YOU drive?)

And what about Estonia and Canada?

Do they cheat, too?

And if "poverty" is the problem, then why is Vietnam doing better than we are?

Don't you realize Diane Ravitch is using RELATIVE poverty when she talks about all the "high" poverty in the US.

Sure, within any particular country, the rich USUALLY do better than the poor due to all kinds of reasons.

By world standards, though, our poor are doing quite well economically, yet they don't perform well academically compared to the "poor" of even "poorer" countries.

Like Vietnam and Korea.

(Where many of our "poor" would probably be close to middle-class,except in ATTITUDE - where it really counts).

It's called "resilience" by those nasty PISA test folks.

And when Ravitch talks about "resilience" she acts like it's something government can "teach" if rich people only cared and threw the poor enough money.

In other countries, FAMILIES TEACH THIS. Even "poor" families.

I've heard the term "grit" thrown education circles around lately.

Probably the same stuff.

(And how about posting some videos American kids killing each other and committing suicide, too, because that's really convincing stuff...)


Shamash said...

Anon 12:20.

"Where is the evidence?"

There are some attempts to evaluate the various studies out there.

Here's one place...

What Works Clearinghouse

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/

Take it for what it is...

But here's a local example of a study in CMS, which would have been relevant to an earlier thread on school "crime":

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/SingleStudyReview.aspx?sid=211

"The study author found that the introduction of school choice resulted in better outcomes related to criminal activity, but not academics, for middle and high school males who were at high risk for committing a future crime."

Anyway, check it out...

Shamash said...

OK, for all the Diane Ravitch "teen suicide" fans:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414751/

In particular...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414751/table/T2/

Asians aren't doing all that bad.

Of course, we ALL know they cheat and lie and hide the bodies...

Anonymous said...

private schools don't have to do anything they don't wish. These tests are very expensive and obviously there is a big debate as to whether or not this is an effective tool.

Also, to Larry'spoint, what makes you think charter school parents aren't complaining?

Anonymous said...

"And what about Estonia and Canada?

Do they cheat, too?"

Canada and Estonia has a significantly lower child poverty rate than the U.S. (13.3, 11.9, 23.1 respectively)


"And if "poverty" is the problem, then why is Vietnam doing better than we are?"

Because you have to be rich to attend school in Vietnam, at least consistently. They are the students who report international results on tests...not the ones who have to go to work so their family can put food on the table. Vietnam is a developing nation and is poor as dirt.

If you could take the average Vietnamese student and compare him/her to the U.S., the U.S. student would run circles around them. They are happy if a majority of their kids can read and write.

And I didn't know Korea was a poor country, at least South Korea. I don't know too much about North Korea (and I'm not sure we could trust any data that comes out of there anyways). South Korea has a lower poverty rate than we do and doesn't trail our GDP per capita by very far given all countries on an aggregate basis.

"I've heard the term "grit" thrown education circles around lately."

Grit comes from class. Our middle and upper class kids ranked #1 in reading IN THE WORLD, #1 in science IN THE WORLD, and #5 in math IN THE WORLD.

And we educate everyone without question, and all our international data is trustworthy (note because they are not high-stakes tests).

"(And how about posting some videos American kids killing each other and committing suicide, too, because that's really convincing stuff...)"

You're a real gem aren't you. We have no control over what kids do to themselves, neither is that what this discussion centers around.

We DO control what happens to kids when they go to school. China has the largest incidence of suicide among young people in the world. Certainly this is an extension of the environment at school.

You really should watch what you say about Ravitch, and her readers, until you can clean yourself up. You have lots of work to do.

Daniel Wydo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Oh, Lord, I've ruined America with my opinions and comments.

Someone should censor me."

Probably. Or they could hire you at the federal Department of Education.

You'd fit in good there.

"So why not just have Microsoft Certified teachers with HS diplomas? Or dropouts teaching our kids?"

You mistake intelligence with education. It doesn't take an Einstein to be a good teacher. There have been plenty of very intelligent people quit teaching in their first week of school. It takes a patient and loving person to be a teacher - one that can put up with people like you.

"My niece did just fine on it.

She got into her first choice university without jumping out any windows.

She's not on crack, meth, pregnant, or doing anything else wrong either "

I don't care for anecdotal evidence. Sorry, try again.

"Oh, wait, OUR KIDS don't have any problems just those overachieving ASIANS..."

They're really not all that overachieving - they have the highest median income in the U.S.

Asians - 68,636

White - 57,009

Black - 33,321

Nothing makes sense in education unless looking through a lens of income, wealth, and poverty.

"It ain't poverty, folks."

You have not done your research.

Start with the SAT, then go the ACT, then NAEP, then PISA, then TIMSS...you'll find a lovely correlation.

You can even look at state mandated tests too...you'll see the same thing, although probably with some exceptions because of teaching to the test, and even cheating in some cases.

"Your SES and zip code is NOT your destiny.

There is a little thing called personal effort that makes a big difference."

You really, really, really need to do some research.

Look into this thing called social mobility (numbers just came out for Charlotte and they were terrible)and this other thing called...being born on third base and believing oneself to have hit a triple.

Daniel Wydo said...

Shamash. Sorry to hear your dislike for Ravitch.

About your input with PISA. You may want to take a look at this.

http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/05/daniel-wydo-disaggregates-pisa-scores-by-income/

Wiley Coyote said...

Poverty is used as an excuse.

Up to $2 BILLION a year projected "plate waste" in the National School Lunch Program.

$1.6 BILLION in overpayments in the NSLP.

60% of CMS students audited failed to qualify for the NSLP in a sample audit based on info given.

Shamash said...

Anon 2:39...

That UNICEF ranking compares "relative" poverty among developed WESTERN nations, and excludes the Asian countries in those poverty numbers Ravitch and others like to toss around.

Check that UNICEF list and you WILL NOT SEE A SINGLE ASIAN COUNTRY.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/04/15/map-how-35-countries-compare-on-child-poverty-the-u-s-is-ranked-34th/

Isn't that odd?

NOW LOOK AT ALL THE GRAY SPOTS ON THAT MAP.

THAT'S ASIA AND AFRICA and the rest of the world, too.

She KNOWS that Korean kids in poverty don't have the same performance issues as our poor, no matter how many there are.

The PISA folks know this, too, because they invented the term "resilient" to describe the effect.

Check and you'll see.

Or I'll just show you...

Here's a FULL comparison of countries taking the PISA with kids in poverty including ASIAN countries:

http://www.ncee.org/2013/12/statistic-of-the-month-resilient-students-in-pisa-2012/

Ravitch is simply lying by omission.

(Much harder to catch, isn't it?)

Ravitch WILL NOT give you this information because it doesn't fit her "poverty" agenda.

The US poverty rate is NOT THE HIGHEST among countries whose kids take PISA (or even CLOSE).

IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN "AVERAGE".

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

As for the suicide stats, that's for the fans of the claim that the Asian kids are killing themselves over tests, such as the Gaokao.

It's BS.

Asian kids in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are less likely to commit suicide than US kids.

About half as likely.

I posted the worldwide suicide stats for teens. Look for yourself.

China isn't the only Asian country and it isn't the only one with "high stakes" tests which also outperform the US in PISA.

China is a red herring in this argument anyway. Because it is not the only country beating us and they are just starting to use PISA in a few places.


Anonymous said...

Shamesh,
I have to respectfully disagree with you regarding Michelle Rhee and Dr. Ravitch. Dr. Ravitch was a huge proponent of "no child left behind" until she realized that she was mistaken, takes a big person to admit that, Rhee is completely full of beans and once more, she knows it. She refuses to have an open debate with Dr. Ravitch or anyone else with an opposing view. The only time these two were on the same stage together, Dr. Ravitch eloquently argued her point while Rhee struggled.
Rhee also refuses to admit that poverty/family circumstances have any impact upon a child's education. I find that view to be either incredibly optimistic or blatantly stupid.

secondly, I take issue with those who would say public education is broken. My daughter has received a first class public education so far adn her rgades nd tests resutls confirm this.Our local school system (KCS) has invested heavily in AIG instruction from 4th grade on up. My daughter has benefitted from some fantastic teachers. It has been nothing short of amazing to watch her journey so far, she will be a fresham in high School this fall and we can't wait to see what the future holds for her there!

Anonymous said...

Poverty is not used as an excuse, it is a reality faced by many children in this country. I find the calousness and lack of compassion displayed by some on this forum to be astounding.

Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

Yes. I looked at that. Thanks.

(Don't get Wiley going on those FRL numbers as a measure of "poverty", though... We all know they aren't)

I've also done my own checking that shows you get similar results when the data is broken down by race (and posted it in this blog before).

Basically, our Asians do about as well as Asians world wide, our whites do about as well as whites, our Hispanics, etc., etc.,

You could probably do your same analysis by race (as you did for SES) and get similar results.

(Actually, they're not QUITE as good, but they perform "respectably", and not as low as the US as a whole.)

This shows up in NAEP scores, too.

Our "mix" of people make the country as a whole look much worse than it really is when broken down in pieces.

On that, we tend to agree.

(I'm not the only one to notice that, either...)

And so I tend to think that it isn't so much the schools and teachers as the students and parents (and perhaps cultures) that make the difference in the US.

But the Ravitches of the world don't want to talk about THAT, just the "poverty" differences.

I'm not arguing that WITHIN COUNTRIES (or cultures) SES doesn't make a difference (though some argue that poor Asian kids may actually do BETTER because they work harder, especially in the Provinces of China, but that is yet to be determined).

What I am saying is that poverty is NOT the biggest problem EVERYWHERE and that it is likely exaggerated in the US due, perhaps, to other factors that happen to accompany our poverty.

(Things such as culture and intact families, and general feelings towards education.)

Things which no amount of money thrown at the "problem" is likely to solve.

Shamash said...

Well, I'm not a big fan of either Rhee or Ravitch since I think they are both hiding something.

I read Ravitch's stuff, too, and agree with some of it, just not all, as some seem to do.

Especially when I see conflicting evidence that she seems to ignore for some odd reason.

I don't think she omits it because she doesn't know about it, just that it doesn't fit her narrative.

Which apparently has a lot to do with the "poverty" angle now.

And, like Rhee (though maybe not in the same way since I don't get paid for my "opinions"), I'm not buying it.

(Maybe Rhee disagrees because she knows how many Asians have reacted to poverty and doesn't see it as a real excuse for not doing well in school.)

And if Ravitch was wrong with NCLB, maybe she's just as wrong now.

Her "problem" may be that of any "true believer".

Personally, I think the "family situation" (and not JUST "poverty") has a lot to do with the problem, so I'm not entirely on either one's "side".

Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

From your article:

"if the argument is to be made that U.S. public schools and teachers are failing, then we have huddled all of our incompetent teachers and principals in our urban and rural schools, "

What if I claimed:

"We have huddled all our incompetent families and students in our urban and rural schools?"

I don't blame the schools or teachers NECESSARILY (at least for the vast majority of kids).

I've seen how the families and students act in both these environments (urban and rural).

And I think there are just too many who refuse to take advantage of what is put right in front of them for free.

That's also why I don't think more "free" stuff will help them much.

There's an attitude problem, too.

(One which I do not typically see among Asians, for example, whether rich or poor.)

Anonymous said...

Shamash - China cannot be ethically included - they educate 30% of their kids.

Someone up top already alluded to Korea - they have a smaller poverty rate than we do.

I think you are committing red herring arguments in my opinion as I read through thee comments. You are also picking and choosing data.

I do agree with you about suicide in Asian countries, but China does have issues here. But, there is nothing to suggest the young kids are committing suicide because of school. I disagree with the writer above that assumes this.

Anonymous said...

Do the people on here who support a multiple choice standard test for every class wish they had had them when they were in school? As I said before it doesn't seem to hurt Providenence Day. Wonder when the feds will force the colleges to institute standard tests.....I taught an exchange student from Finland.......a wonderful student. The kind of student who voluntarily read biographies that I recommended in my US History class. She stated she had never taken a multiple choice test before. In fact, the first day she got up and left the class to use the bathroom without permission. In Finland, they don't need hall
passes. I fear that 40 years from now and billions of dollars spent we will still be debating the testing machine.

Anonymous said...

When EOGs and EOCs are curved excessively and students are promoted or passed despite failing assessments, the point of testing is moot.

Anonymous said...

Grade inflation and the desire for a higher graduation rate will continue to devalue grades and a fair barometer of student performance SHOULD be assessment.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 5:00

My comment(s) regarding "poverty" are not made lightly nor with insensitivity.

There are many people in this country in need and we should help them, but poverty is used as a huge unbrella to avoid real issues especially when used in the discussion of education.

There is so much fraud in government assistance that money being wasted on these programs could be used for real problems in education that we seem to never have enough money for.

From the USDA:

....The top-three USDA agencies with the highest amount of improper payments in 2013 were SNAP ($2.6 billion), the National School Lunch Program ($1.8 billion), School Breakfast Program ($831 million).

It is also estimated that kids on the NSLP generate upwards of $2 billion dollars in "plate "waste" each year. Food not eaten. Just thrown away.

Add to those numbers all of the other funding such as Title I which is predicated on who is in "poverty" and you have maasive amounts of money that could go to help ALL children succeed.

If you want to help those kids in poverty as I do, you first have to identify who they are. Otherwise, the status quo continues as does the "poverty" excuse.

Pamela Grundy said...

Just a public service announcement for those who are new to this blog. There is no point in arguing with Shamash; he is quite fond of his own voice, and especially of the happy moments when he gets to engage in uninterrupted duet with folks of the same mindset. As far as I can tell, from considerable experience, he has no interest in anything that anyone else has to say, except as a sounding board for more of his self-important ideas. It's like the brooms in the Sorcerer's Apprentice: the more you try to address them, the further they multiply, every one the same as the one before. I personally wish that he would find some other outlet for all that verbiage, as it prevents a lot of potentially useful dialogue among people with differing opinions who are actually interested in learning from what other people have to say. But that is my opinion, and we live in a country where opinions are both free and cheap. Thanks for all the thoughtful and interesting comments.

Larry said...

Grundy, I find Shamash quite the spirited person and SHE yes She does not agree with a lot I say.

But. I do not find censorship necessary with what she says. Nor will I spend as much effort to denigrate her as you have.

Like my post that was never posted asking if I marched in the Moral Mondays Protest and carried a doll with a cute slogan, would the observer post my pet projects on the site like they do so many others they embrace over and over again.

Now this post never saw the light of day but your posts show up automatically one would bet. .

So yes I can see your point, only one side seems to be favored on this site and we need to appease Teachers and those folks like your self and former CMS folks who started non profits.

They should be the only voice in education on this site.

Anonymous said...

So, after all of this, are we upset with all the testing because it doesn't properly evaluate the teachers or the students? I'm confused.

Shamash said...

Gee, I guess I've offended the PC crowd again.

What are the odds of that?

Yes, I "never" learn.

And the PC folks never engage in personal attacks when they have no other argument.

But I DO question the prevailing "authority" and back up my views with the evidence I've found.

Isn't that something?

Maybe it's time for the re-indoctrination camps.

As for my "self-importance", uh, I'm not trying to get my name in the papers all the time, am I?

Oh well, the "problem" in the US is STILL NOT POVERTY, no matter how often it's repeated.

Shamash said...

Anon 5:00pm

Yes, poverty is an excuse in the US.

It is the BIG excuse being pushed now by the anti-reformer reformers.

Other countries have as much poverty (and even more), yet manage to do well in school.

Why is that if "poverty" is the problem?

Maybe there is something to learn from those "resilient" countries that we choose to ignore for politically correct and expedient reasons in the US.

Most of those countries are in Asia, though (which the PC crowd likes to ignore, or attribute various bizarre things to).

And yes, I'm a callous, obnoxious twit for pointing all this out.

Shamash said...

Anon 5:36pm.

I know the PC crowd just hates it when I am skeptical of their "facts", but:

"Shamash - China cannot be ethically included - they educate 30% of their kids."

And not to be overly picky, but where did you get that percentage?

All the numbers I've seen are much higher, like around 99%.

Excuse me while I irritatingly post my source:

http://www.chinaeducenter.com/en/cedu.php

"Today the Ministry of Education estimates that 99.7 percent of the population area of the country has achieved universal nine-year basic education".

(But, since they're China, that could be a lie, I guess...)

Do you have a source I don't?

(Anyway, this is exactly how I "learn" things, by asking questions and checking sources, so I do "learn", IF there is ANYTHING to "learn").

And, yes I do question a lot the common wisdom that "everyone knows".

For obvious reasons, I think.

Shamash said...

Anon 5:36pm.

In your defense, I have found a source which may be where you (or someone else) got that 30%...

It is the percentage of MIGRANT CHILDREN in Beijing who are schooled in local public schools vs. special "migrant" public schools (which is where the other 70% of migrant children in Beijing are schooled).

Which is a far cry from only schooling 30% of the children in China.

Basically, it's a matter of sending "undocumented" migrant children to private schools instead of enrolling them in free public schools.

http://iis-db.stanford.edu/docs/274/CFLIU_educating_Beijing_migrants_FF_Apr2010.pdf

So maybe it is "ethically" OK to look at Shanghai's PISA scores now?

Realizing, of course, that they DO NOT represent ALL OF CHINA...




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

Geez Larry,

I am not a "she" and I am not Wiley.

And I am already bespoken.

formerCMSteacher said...

On the practical side of this argument, parents, if you do not want your child to be tested, you must keep them out of school during the entire testing window. If your child is present at school during the 10-15 day testing window (for NCREADY, the most widely-administered test) the test(s) will be administered to them. Whether you agree with the tests or not, if you aren't able to keep them out of school that long it isn't worth it. Unexcused absences for that long of a time period can result in the student failing the course or the parent receiving a letter from the sheriff's department for truancy. This is to prevent schools from encouraging "low" students to stay home and not take the test, thus boosting the school's overall pass rate. You can read about it in the test administrator's manual: http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/accountability/policyoperations/tchandbook1314.pdf

Wiley Coyote said...

..."speak softly and carry a big pencil"....Faber-Castell

Anonymous said...

WHAT TEST

Congress works only 129 days and is paid 4.5x what an average teacher makes. PLUS BENEFITS

WHO NEEDS TESTING

Anonymous said...

"....The top-three USDA agencies with the highest amount of improper payments in 2013 were SNAP ($2.6 billion), the National School Lunch Program ($1.8 billion), School Breakfast Program ($831 million)."

Those numbers are way inflated. "Improper payments" are defined way to strictly - to those parents who do not return required surveys.

In fact, many of the "improper payments" were payments of too little that were included.

Quit cherry picking data.

Anonymous said...

"If you want to help those kids in poverty as I do, you first have to identify who they are. Otherwise, the status quo continues as does the "poverty" excuse."

The status quo in your case is a lack of thinking.

You misrepresented data from the NLSP.

Cut it out with the "status quo" nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"Other countries have as much poverty (and even more), yet manage to do well in school."

You are completely oblivious aren't you?

The U.S. has the 2nd highest amount of child poverty of any OECD country as measured by UNICEF and OECD.

And please, please, please, don't start with your PISA economic index - no researcher in their right mind relies on those numbers.

The PISA index measures such things as technology in the home, of which the Asian countries rank low...questions regarding whether the student owns a dishwasher or not. This is why those countries in that area rank low on the PISA index.

Here's a statement from PISA Volume II that completely devastates your misuse of data and definitions:

"Socio-economic background refers to a combination of characteristics of a student’s family that describes its social, economic and cultural status. Socio-economic background is measured by the PISA index of economic, social and cultural status (ESCS). This index captures a range of aspects of a student’s family and home background that combines information on parents’ education and occupations and home possessions. The index was derived from the following variables: the international socio-economic index of occupational status of the father or mother, whichever is higher; the level of education of the father or mother, whichever is higher, converted into years of schooling; and the index of home possessions, obtained by asking students whether they had a desk at which they studied at home, a room of their own, a quiet place to study, educational software, a link to the Internet, their own calculator, classic literature, books of poetry, works of art (e.g. paintings), books to help them with their school work, a dictionary, a dishwasher, a DVD player or VCR, three other country-specific items and the number of cellular phones, televisions, computers, cars and books at home. The rationale for choosing these variables is that socio-economic background is usually seen as being determined by occupational status, education and wealth. As no direct measure of parental income or wealth was available from PISA (except for those countries that undertook the PISA Parent Questionnaire), access to relevant household items was used as a proxy.

NOTICE THE STATEMENT: "As no direct measure of parental income or wealth was available from PISA (except for those countries that undertook the PISA Parent Questionnaire), access to relevant household items was used as a proxy".

Please stop your LYING and misrepresentation of reality.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe there is something to learn from those "resilient" countries that we choose to ignore for politically correct and expedient reasons in the US.

Most of those countries are in Asia, though (which the PC crowd likes to ignore, or attribute various bizarre things to).

And yes, I'm a callous, obnoxious twit for pointing all this out."

Your worse than "callous" or "obnoxious", you are downright wrong.

Again, the "resilience" term from PISA is regarding their own low regarded index that has NO data about REAL income/wealth of parents.

It is meaningless to researchers.

The acceptable manner of measuring poverty is using relative measures of which are shared closely among OECD countries.

The U.S. is approaching 23% of childhood poverty - close to 30% in NC based on UNICEF numbers.

You are damaging to unknowing lurkers with this mess you are writing.

Stop it before somebody actually believes anything you write, because everything you write is WRONG.

Anonymous said...

"All the numbers I've seen are much higher, like around 99%."

Try high school completion rates.

Also, don't forget talking about China is very different than talking about Shanghai. Shanghai houses the most elite schools in China and are the ones that everyone slobbers over when it comes to PISA. Many researchers ignore Shanghai altogether.

Daniel Wydo said...

Shamash. The U.S. has one of the highest poverty rates among children.

Where are you getting your information from claiming that the U.S. has less poverty?

Pamela Grundy said...

12:29 p.m.

Regarding test refusal, the situation is in flux regarding how districts will deal with students. Part of the question has to do with what "administering" the test means – is it sufficient to obtain a formal refusal or does "administering" the test mean making the student "sit and stare" in the testing room during the test period? Parents in a number of districts are working to promote a sensible approach to this situation.

7:58 p.m. Indeed, the reason that families are making the difficult decision to refuse the tests is that they are a highly limited form of evaluation that has been given such outsize importance in school/teacher/student evaluation that they are in our estimation (and that of many experts) doing significant damage to public schooling as a whole, and thus to our children's education.

Shamash, my problem is less with your opinions than with the space you take up expressing and defending them. I've generally given up attempting to wade through them, but do get tired of the amount of time it takes me to scroll past them to see if anyone has said anything interesting. Less is often more.

Pamela Grundy said...

Shamash,

I will say that it has been interesting thing the way the recent set of posts and comments has illuminated the futility of speaking of "Asian" countries in general because there are many differences among them. Asian parents, of course, also differ in their own perspective on this; my husband has a number of Chinese colleagues who have chosen to have their young children educated in American public schools because they do not agree with the Chinese system's approach. Americans do tend to have lots of stereotypes about "Asians" which it is indeed helpful to challenge.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that throughout the first decade of the 2000s Meck ACT used test score results to "prove" that CMS was not providing an equitable education to poor and minority children. Same for the Equity Committee. Links to Meck ACT's research from that time period no longer seem to be available online.

I agree that testing has gotten way out of whack but I also think that all sides share the blame for this.

Pamela Grundy said...

MecklenburgACTS.org and its members have indeed pointed to test score gaps to underscore gaps in equity. One example on our website can be found at: http://www.mecklenburgacts.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Louise-Woods-11-12-06.pdf

We have never considered test scores useless, and do not consider them so now. They can indeed highlight potential problems and inequalities. For example, they can show when different groups of students are performing at different levels within an individual school, and thus prompt an investigation of why that might be the case.

The problem comes when those tests are loaded with real-world, generally punitive consequences and given major roles in areas where they are far less useful, such as in teacher evaluations or in determining which children will move from third to fourth grade. It is these inappropriately high stakes (and the subsequent expansion of the number of tests and the amount of test prep) that turns tests from being useful sources of information into major problems. MecklenburgACTS.org has never recommended this kind of consequence.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:34

those numbers are from the USDA.

perhaps you should post YOUR real data then?

Also, do some research on the fraud cases across the country.

I'll be waiting on your data.

Wiley Coyote


Shamash said...

Anon 11:42.

Well what better measure of "poverty" is there than the things you can buy with your money?

Especially things which directly relate to a child's education like whether they have a quiet place to study or technology?

Ever hear of Purchase Power Parity?

Besides, you still haven't provided me a source which includes Asian countries in their measure of "poverty" have you?

Look at this list of "economically advanced" countries in the UNICEF study:

https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/30-6

Not a single one is Asian.

Why is that?

BTW, if I'm the one "lying", then why don't you post your sources?

Particularly the "UNICEF" study which shows the US as having the second highest poverty rate?

SHOW US THAT LIST.

(I'll bet it's the same as my list of western countries...)



Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

I posted my sources (as I usually do...).

Unless anyone has a different source, those UNICEF claims (usually 34th of 35) are ONLY among developed WESTERN countries.

Also called the "RICH" countries, to distinguish them from the "POOR" countries.

Having the highest poverty levels among "RICH" countries is NOT the same as having the highest poverty levels for ALL countries.

If you (and others) want to claim that the US has the second highest rate of child poverty in the world, among "developed" countries, or whatever...

Please post the list and the source.

And then look at who PISA tests and how they rank on those lists, (if they actually appear.)

Also keep in mind that these lists are of "relative" poverty, usually measured against the median income of a nation.

Which may or may not mean more ACTUAL material poverty (as in the inability to buy things)



Shamash said...

"Stop it before somebody actually believes anything you write, because everything you write is WRONG."

They can check my sources.

What about yours?

Again, you are talking about relative poverty.

As is UNICEF. And specifically, they are referring to poverty among RICH, DEVELOPED nations.

In absolute terms, poverty in the US is not as bad as it is in most other parts of the world.

Relative poverty in a "rich" country is different from relative poverty in a "poor" country.

And I've been to some of these places (like Nepal, for example), so I've seen it firsthand.

You cannot even compare the two.



Shamash said...

Pamela Grundy,

I also have Chinese friends, and Indian, Thai, Korean, Filipino, etc., etc.

Like you, I am in a "mixed" family.

I have also lived and worked in China.

And in Indonesia.

And I've travelled a bit in the area as well to places like Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, and such.

I've lived places where you could see people living near stone age lifestyles, running around chunking spears at wild boars for dinner.

I find our "poverty" excuses for not getting a good education downright ridiculous in comparison.

Shamash said...

Anon 11:48.

"Try high school completion rates."

How about YOU just telling me what you mean in the first place instead of making me guess?

OK, so now it's "high school completion rates", when before it was only 30% go to school.

And I'm the one lying?

"Also, don't forget talking about China is very different than talking about Shanghai. Shanghai houses the most elite schools in China and are the ones that everyone slobbers over when it comes to PISA. Many researchers ignore Shanghai altogether."

Uh, thanks for pointing out what I've already said. That Shanghai is not Beijing and neither are the entirety of China.

And yes, I know that PISA has just redently started testing in China, and only Shanghai.

Wow.

Boy, you really showed me...

Repeating almost exactly what I already said about China and the PISA tests as if I somehow didn't understand what I wrote...

And who are these "many researchers" you are referring to who IGNORE SHANGHAI?

Are they the ones drinking the Ravitchberry Koolaid?

Shanghai is still a large city with a lot going on in education

The OECD even did a study exclusively on Shanghai, and one comparing them with Hong Kong in education, so they aren't exactly being ignored.





Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

Here's that list of "resilient" countries again:

http://www.ncee.org/2013/12/statistic-of-the-month-resilient-students-in-pisa-2012/

And a more general article on resilience by OECD is entitled:

"How do some students overcome their socio-economic background?"

Along with other stuff which can be Googled under "resilience"...

(Not that we'd actually want to know how ANYONE in the rest of the world does this, since it's all just a bunch of anti-US-Teacher lies from those disreputable folks at OECD and PISA that "no serious researcher" (i.e., Diane Ravitch) would ever believe since it doesn't fit neatly into their narrative...)

Pamela Grundy said...

Yes, Shamash, your varied Asian experiences definitely come through in your comments.

Shamash said...

Pamela Grundy,

I might also add that we are facing the very real possibility of relocating back into Asia (I won't say where exactly..., because I'm "anonymous", hah!), so I try to keep up with what's happening there (several locations).

I also know people who feel the same way about Chinese education as some of your friends.

And I have to admit that it isn't exactly my cup of tea, either, but I don't fear putting our children in those schools.

(I'll just put bars on our windows so they don't jump out!)

But I also know people who love the education they have gotten in places like Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

And I've known Chinese parents who have returned to China out of fear that their children are falling behind (by merely being outstanding students) in the US.

And a few Western parents who were bold enough to put their kids in local (not expat) schools in places like HK say it's the best thing they could have done to teach them discipline and make them realize what an "easy" and "fun" time they have in US schools by comparison.

And those kids usually cruise through US classes when they return.

So, for what that's worth...

Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

I went back and looked at several of the OECD lists of relative child poverty and found ONE Asian country included in some of their charts:

Japan.

It ranks 27th of 35 with a 14.9% below national median income (US is 34th with 23.1%).

That's it. Nothing about ANY of the other Asian countries which are ranked in the international testing.

Not South Korea, Singapore, HK, Vietnam, etc., etc.

Shamash said...

Pamela Grundy,

"Shamash, my problem is less with your opinions than with the space you take up expressing and defending them."

Understandable. Blogger isn't my favorite software for this sort of stuff.

Most Usenet readers of 20 years ago were better.

Maybe Blog software will advance to state of the art Usenet newsreaders (circa 1985) someday.



Wiley Coyote said...

Shamash...

This one is for you.

Report: SC black, Hispanic children not progressing as well as counterparts>

...."The take-home message is that we have a lot of work to do," said Melissa Strompolis, coordinator of impact assessment and evaluation for the South Carolina Children's Trust.

The data, collected between 2007 and 2013, comes from the foundation's new Race for Results report, which analyzes the progress of children who are black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific islander, American Indian and white.

The foundation also releases a Kids Count Data Book each summer, tracking how well children progress in each state.

The report looked at 12 factors ranging from the percent of students between 3 and 5 enrolled in nursery school and the on-time graduation rate, to the percent of children living in low-poverty areas, and created a score to measure overall progress.

South Carolina scored ninth-lowest in the country for black children's progress, while the state scored eleventh-lowest in the country for white children's progress.

Only children who were Asian or Pacific islander scored higher than the national average. Children in South Carolina earned three points higher than the total U.S. score out of 1,000 possible points.

"It's important to point out that all of our children need help," Strompolis said
......

http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/01/3361258/report-sc-black-hispanic-children.html?sp=/99/132/154/123/

Shamash said...

Pamela Grundy,

"Shamash, my problem is less with your opinions than with the space you take up expressing and defending them. I've generally given up attempting to wade through them, but do get tired of the amount of time it takes me to scroll past them to see if anyone has said anything interesting. Less is often more."

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

Have you tried using an RSS News Feeder? Or something else along those lines?

You can use them to organize all the blogs you read and other things as well.

That way you don't have to look at everything.

Some even have filters so you can block out what you do not want to see.



Anonymous said...

Shamash, I am torn on the poverty topic in regards to education. Of course we know that the poorest kids in the USA perform at the lowest level. We also know that things like discipline and teacher quality make it hard to achieve in these schools. However, comparing poverty and education in different nations is very complex. In the US the poorest of the poor can survive as adults on food stamps, public housing, medicaire, and other things. Poorer people in other countries may be supremely motivated because an education is their only chance. Perhaps, in a weird way (like we had in the 1930s) more severe poberty can create a better life later.

Anonymous said...

Mecklenburg acts proposes alternatives to standardized tests, but the problem is that the "alternatives" they propose are in no way standardized. If each school can use human judgement and peer reviewed analysis in deciding on the quality of student work, then there will be no standardization at all. It will be impossible to compare one school against another and one student against another across the state. That seems to be the whole point of this boycott-the-test effort.

I expect the effort to gain zero traction. The cohort of people who want to eliminate standardized testing is very small. Call testing "high stakes" or whatever other pejorative term you want to use, but it's here to stay. The only debate that will occur is the quantity of tests that should be administered.

Anonymous said...

"those numbers are from the USDA. "

Yes, I know, and they are numbers only. You have misrepresented that data.

The stats you provided are accumulated by returned surveys from a randomized sample.

Anyone that received F/R lunch, that didn't return the survey, is deemed to hve received an "improper payment" no matter whether they improperly recieved the benefit or not.

The fraud rate is likely much lower than what is cited, and the USDA knows this, but there is no other way to analyze the system at the present time.

Anonymous said...

"How about YOU just telling me what you mean in the first place instead of making me guess?"

Sorry. My fault. I read in a story that only 30% of Chinese students enter high school in China, but the link was broke. It took me forever to find that particular story and then the link didn't work!

However, I did find this, but it is without citation. The story I read was published in the mid 2000's so maybe entrance rates to high schools in China has improved? The Wikipedia article does in fact state there has been improvement. Here it is:

"In recent years, senior high school education has developed steadily. In 2004 enrollment was 8.215 million, 2.3 times that of 1988. Gross national enrollment in senior high schools has reached 43.8 percent, still lower than that of other developed countries."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

Again, sorry about the run around and confusion I caused.

Initially I meant how many kids go to high school because that is obviously when they take PISA. Interestingly enough, China has a high high-school drop out rate. So they part ways with almost 60% of 14/15 year old students (15 year olds take the PISA), and then they lose around 40% more after that. Sounds disastrous to me.

But what's important is the impact this has on PISA outcomes and such. They are selecting their most elite students by losing their worst - and it only gets more sickening. I would think that many students are lost from the system because they can't perform at high levels on the Zhongkao (high school entrance exam). Notice the following in that same Wikipedia article:

"There are other official rules of admission in certain top high schools. If a prestigious senior high school wants to admit 800 students a year, the admissions office ranks students’ scores from highest to lowest and then selects their first 700 students. The other 100 positions are provided to students who don't meet the requirement standard but still want to study at that school. These prospects need to pay extra school fees. A student can’t perform badly in zhongkao, if their scores are close to the requirement standard, they could still study in that top school if they can afford the expenses. Those who study in that high school must also place maximum 2 points below the standard requirement. Usually, 0.5 points is a standard. For instance, if you are 2 points below the standard requirement, you pay four times as much as the student who gets 0.5 points below the standard requirement. The admissions of the 100 students which are required to pay the school fees usually do not get the same admission letters as normal students receive, but they can still study and live with normal students in the same high school with the same teacher."

So it's even worse than I thought as long as this article is accurate. Not only does China lose almost 60% of high school student candidates at age 14/15 (high school is not compulsory) they do so largely based on ONE TEST. And if students perform badly, they can still attend high school, they just have to pay more.

This is utterly sickening!

Anonymous said...

"In absolute terms, poverty in the US is not as bad as it is in most other parts of the world."

Wrong again. You are on a roll. You are talking in terms of absolute poverty.

A poor kid in Finland is not very different in the U.S.. This is why relative poverty among OECD DEVELOPED nations is so vital. After all, we are taking about OECD countries.

A poor kid in Helsinki (which is where most of their poor kids are located) is going to endure similar conditions to a poor kid in Charlotte NC.

Anonymous said...

"Shanghai is still a large city with a lot going on in education"

Yeah, I'll say - like losing 60% of their students between middle and high school based on ONE test.

The even the ones that perform poorly must pay many times more to attend a good school? On the basis of one test?

Sounds like they have a bunch going on...a bunch of you know what.

Wiley Coyote said...

12:36

You're still doing the typical liberal move by deflecting.

CMS sampled 3% of applicants in a widely publicized audit a few years ago and found those they DID check, 60%, did NOT qualify for the program based on the responses given.

Those stats are repeated constantly across the US each year in many LEAs.

Also, it is a FACT that school districts do everything they can to get kids to sign up, knowing full well only 3% of students can be audited or they forfeit tens of millions in government money if they try to do a full audit.

The more signed up, the more money LEAs get from Title I and other buckets of money.

You can spin it anyway you want, but the fact of the matter is there IS widespread fraud and those committing the fraud should be prosecuted and all applicants vetted for the benefit.

Shamash said...

Anon 1:20-ish am...

I said...

"In absolute terms, poverty in the US is not as bad as it is in most other parts of the world."

You said:

"Wrong again. You are on a roll. You are talking in terms of absolute poverty."

You REALLY have your head up a dark and smelly place, don't you?

Helsinki is NOT "most other parts of the world"

Try reading what I wrote again.

Very carefully. During daylight.

The rest of the world also includes Africa. Surely you know how poor Africa can get.

Think Ethiopia. Flies, extended bellies on small children, etc., etc.



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


I don't think you've ever been outside the US much, so have no idea what you're talking about when comparing "poverty".

Relative "poverty" is defined as 1/2 the median income for a country.

That's a huge difference between a place like Vietnam and the US.

Vietnam has LESS "relative" poverty than the US, but that's because Vietnam as a whole is much poorer than the US.

So, there simply aren't as many people living BELOW their ALREADY LOW MEDIAN INCOME.

It's simple math.

On a more personal level.

Poverty in the US means riding the bus to a properly heated and air-conditioned school and getting a Free or Reduced Lunch for the most part.

Poverty in places like Thailand or Vietnam means attending a school for leper children to learn how to paint village scenes for tourists using a pen attached to your stubby hand with tape because you have no fingers.

Poverty in Ethiopia means much worse.

Of course, Diane Ravitch wants to compare "poverty" in DEVELOPED (and mostly Western) countries because it's really not so bad.

And safely excludes all the Asian countries which do better with much less than we do.

The poor in the vast majority of Asian countries (which do take the PISA) are more "resilient" than in the US.

And even countries with higher relative poverty do better than we do in that regard.

Their "poor" even by their own countries terms do not let "poverty" prevent them from doing better in school.

(I'll post the info on Singapore next...)

Much better than in the US.

So, "relative" poverty aside, our kids just don't cut it.

Shamash said...

Anon 1:29am.

"Yeah, I'll say - like losing 60% of their students between middle and high school based on ONE test."

I see you keep switching your problems (and focus) regarding China.

Again, sources would be nice.

(And a bit less of the ridiculous gratuitous insults which don't substitute for facts.)

Which one test are you talking about?

Is it the Gaokao? If not, then be more specific.

If so, do you know when the kids take the Gaokao?

(Since you seem to have problems keeping track of your links...)

One thing is true, though. China does only claim to educate the majority of their children 9 years, not 12.

However, I'd be willing to bet that a Chinese student in Shanghai with 9 years education learns more than the typical CMS graduate with 12 years.

So, it's not just seat-time that matters.

Though that is likely to get you a HS diploma in CMS and accepted into a local community college, it's not likely to get you into any college in China.

Shamash said...

Anon 1:22am.

Ah, now I see. The zhongkao test.

OK, my bad for not reading this before the other post.

Yep. China only guarantees nine years as I said earlier.

What you posted there makes sense and is a good reason to skewer the Shanghai PISA test results.

But, as you (or someone noted), Shanghai isn't China and it's their first foray into PISA and China is noted for trying to put their best foot forward on such things.

But I'm aware of most of those problems, including the migrant children education (hukou issues), etc., etc., etc.

However, Shanghai is only one example out of the list of 15 places with higher resilience among their poor than the US.

(So exclude Shanghai, even though they are doing some GOOD things regarding their allocation of teachers there.)

The other dozen or more resilient countries not all Asian, either.

Poland is another example where poverty doesn't mean poor performance as much as in the US.

And here's that list again.

http://www.ncee.org/2013/12/statistic-of-the-month-resilient-students-in-pisa-2012/





Shamash said...

Yes, even more information on "poverty"...

Comparing "relative" poverty between countries can result in some very interesting results because of the definition.

For example:

Singapore's relative poverty rate is HIGHER than the US.

http://thehearttruths.com/2013/10/28/poverty-in-singapore-grew-from-16-in-2002-to-28-in-2013/

See Chart 10 showing Singapore with higher "relative" poverty than the US.

But, they're also one of those countries whose students do well.

(And Singapore is not Shanghai or even part of China).


See Chart 9 showing Singapore with higher "relative" poverty than even Vietnam and Indonesia.

H'mm.

LOWER POVERTY IN VIETNAM AND INDONESIA THAN IN SINGAPORE AND THE US?

Yes, in "relative" terms because both Vietnam and Indonesia are much poorer ON AVERAGE and have a lower median income (and less disparity between their "rich" and "poor"...)

Because they're almost ALL mostly poor.

Shamash said...

OECD 'debunks myth' that poor will fail at school

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-26015532

"Mr Schleicher, who runs the tests, says the high results of deprived pupils in some Asian countries shows what poor pupils in the UK could achieve."

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

Actually, I think this would be seen as good news for the "poor".

That zipcode and SES is NOT destiny.

Yet, I seem to get so much resistance from the "poverty excuse" crowd.

And they probably aren't going to fix "poverty" anyway, so why not just fix the schools?

Or the parents and students?

Shamash said...

Anon 8:17pm.

"Of course we know that the poorest kids in the USA perform at the lowest level."

Yep. In the US, that's largely true (there are exceptions among various racial/ethnic groups, but I'll spare everyone THAT for now...)

I largely agree with what you're saying. Maybe you're saying it in a nicer way than I do, though.

Our "relative poverty" is not the same as the "relative poverty" in other countries.

And many countries do not have as serious of a problem with low academic performance from their "poor" (however measured, and whatever percentage of their population).

I think we can and should learn from them.

Rather than just sit back and cry "woe are we" because we have the "highest" child "poverty" rate in the "developed" world.

That's just an excuse for not performing better.

And we don't have to "fix" poverty before kids can learn.

Because that means kids will NEVER learn because we'll NEVER fix "poverty".

So Plan B better be good.


Shamash said...

Anon 1:22am...

"This is utterly sickening!"

It's also Wikipedia and a bit out of date.

BTW I found a claim about only 30 percent of Chinese going to HS from a comment in Diane Ravitch's blog, maybe that's where you saw it.

So, when in doubt, go to the source of the misinformation I always say...

Whatever.

The Chinese claim it's 79.2% for academic and vocational HS with 59% going to academic HS (according to this OECD report):

http://www.oecd.org/countries/hongkongchina/46581016.pdf

"Official statistics (for 2009) show
a net enrolment of 99.4% at the primary school level, the envy of many countries. The gross enrolment ratio for
junior secondary school was 99%.7 In the same year, gross enrolment at senior secondary level, both general and
vocational, was 79.2%. The general (i.e. academic) senior secondary schools enroll 52.5% of students at this level,
putting about half of senior high school students in the academic stream (Figure 3.1)."

The above report is the comparison between HK and Shanghai I mentioned before.

Worth a quick read, I think.

Daniel Wydo said...

Somebody commented that the ECSC is absolutely meaningless.

I disagree, at least to some extent.

In fact, I think that the ECSC within the PISA, contains parallel information about SES as does the other standardized tests mentioned and argued about in this thread (NAEP, TIMSS, PISA, etc...)

http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2543/PISA_2006/29012/8

The outcomes of using the PISA index is very similar to what we see universally on any standardized test.

Another interesting ECSC feature is that you can look at different SES within the same country. You can see me do that in the work I posted on Ravitch's site that I linked to above. In the U.S., based on the PISA ECSC scale, our poor kids performed horribly while our middle and upper class did well.

Some (like Amanda Ripley) argue that our middle class and upper class kids don't do as well in the U.S. compared to other countries based on the ECSC. The problem with this approach is that the U.S. has a very high wage inequality index (Gini coefficient), and other negative economic attributes not shared proportionally (or at all) by other countries), that can make this analysis difficult to accept.

There are some in this thread that are completely excusing the ECSC as a source of trustworthy data compared to UNICEF or other poverty related measurements.

If it's up to me, relative poverty from UNICEF, or otherwise, is probably going to be more trustworthy, BUT that doesn't completely discount PISA ECSC data.

And as far as saying that researchers avoid it like the plague...I find that to not be true in the research I carry out.

Anonymous said...

There's other reasons why Shanghai is disqualified by researchers not mentioned so far here.

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brown-center-chalkboard/posts/2014/01/08-shanghai-pisa-loveless

Shamash said...

Anon 4:22pm.

Well, I did mention the hukou and immigrant issues in Beijing and Shanghai several times to account for the "missing kids" in that erroneous claim of only 30% of Shanghai or Chinese kids going to high school.

Here's more up to date info:

Hacking at the hukou:

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/796880.shtml#.U0cIAM_D-70

I don't really think the Shanghai issue makes a real difference in the point I was trying to make about "resilience"., anyway.

It is only one datapoint.

And there are a dozen or more other examples.

(Including some non-Asian countries like Poland.)

But I think Shanghai is trying to clean up their act and is one place where China is trying to implement a lot of education reform. China tends to try to get things right in one place before spreading to other areas.

Regardless of PISA and what they (or pretty much anyone else) say about China, China is going to do what they think is best anyway.

(Plenty of articles on that, too, that I won't bother to reference.)

One thing I have noticed in my 15 years or so of watching China develop (since my first visit) is that they often do amazing things once they set their minds to it.

Something we could learn from as well.

One thing is for certain, though.

Shanghai will not become another Detroit anytime soon.

And you cannot use data from 2, 5 or 10 years ago (much less 30, as some Ravitch blog readers have done) to analyze Shanghai or China today.


Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

Yeah, the ESCS is just another way of measuring poverty.

There are probably hundreds out there, making the whole "poverty" issue murky as people can pick and choose how they want to present their poverty claims.

The post I put out showing Singapore's high level of "relative" poverty, even higher than the US is an example.

I've been to Singapore, too, and you don't see people starving in the streets or lepers begging because they don't have the kind of "poverty" that even Thailand or Vietnam does.

And, yet, by "relative" poverty measures, Thailand and Vietnam look better than Singapore.

(I know where I'd rather be living as "poor", though, given a choice.)

This is mostly due to income inequality (such as what the gini index measures).

The income inequity issue is a slightly different one from poverty.

People seem to forget we are talking about statistical measures where things like income distribution matter and can skew the impressions.

Put a millionaire in a room full of billionaires and by "relative" poverty measures, he is disadvantaged and considered "poor".

Put someone who makes $1500 a year in a room full of people where the median income is $1000 a year and he's "rich".

Shamash said...

Daniel Wydo,

Have you looked at NAEP scores using both FRL and ethnicity?

I've noticed that the 8th grade math scores do not fit the "poverty" explanation in that even whites who receive FRL score higher than all blacks.

Including those who are too "rich" for FRL.

Have you seen that?

http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/studies/2009455.pdf

See Figure 8., page 11.

It's one of the reasons I say that I doubt that "poverty" is the problem.

At least not as far as the black/ white "performance gap" goes.

Of course, they don't come right out and say this in the paper, but it's rather obvious from the graphs....


Anonymous said...

The problem with multiple-choice tests is that its impossible to accurately measure growth. I teach 3rd grade, and here's an example. Student A took the beginning of grade test and got about 25% correct (chance). Her reading level testing showed she came in around a kindergarten level. She has made OVER TWO YEARS of growth with me this year, and is now reading at an end of 2nd/beginning of 3rd grade level. However, the EOG is still going to be at a level that's too high for her, and while we may see some growth, I don't expect her to do much beyond 25% (chance guessing) again. Her MAP testing shows amazing growth, but I doubt that will be reflected on the EOG because it is nowhere near as sensitive as the MAP. What I love about MAP testing is that if the kids get a question wrong, they get an easier one, and if they get a question right, they get a harder one. Makes so much sense for kids who are starting the year way below (or way above) grade level.

Daniel Wydo said...

Honestly, I barely looked at the document you provided. I have little time. For that I apologize. When I have time I will look at this more. Feel free to friend me on Facebook for better communication - or not - that is your choice.

I will say quickly and superficially that black families have historically had much less wealth/income than white families. This wealth/income discrepancy may/may not explain why white families that qualify for f/r lunch would outscore all black students.

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/07/26/wealth-gaps-rise-to-record-highs-between-whites-blacks-hispanics/

Is it possible that white students, although qualifying for f/r lunch, have more wealth and thereby more resources and wherewithal? I don't know...but just a thought.

I will say this, you may be able to find exceptions to the golden rule in education (I have seen some exceptions at the local level analyzing state tests [in context of school versus school]), but overall it is seemingly ironclad. I call it ironclad regardless of "exceptions" because I wonder if explanations for some of those "exceptions" could explain them away if we had a fuller and more complete picture of all the variables involved.

The bottom line is that in analyzing any standardized testing outcomes, a family's income/wealth is the most important predictor of success/failure. Other factors play a role and show correlation, but none more than income/wealth.

Shamash said...

Anon 4:22pm.

"There's other reasons why Shanghai is disqualified by researchers not mentioned so far here."

Again, I don't see tons of researchers "disqualifying" Shanghai, either.

Now, it is useful to understand the limitations of their data, and use it accordingly.

But it doesn't make sense to "disqualify" all their data simply because you disagree with the public policy (or whatever) of a country.

You WILL NOT find an exact mirror of the US to compare students.

ALL countries can be "disqualified" for comparison due to some reason or the other.

When Finland was at the top, people wanted to "disqualify" THEM because they were mostly white, middle-class, socialist kids who only had six hours of daylight in the winter.

That was ridiculous, too.

What you do is work with and adjust the data you have for your comparisons.

So if you don't like the fact that Shanghai doesn't include their "immigrants", then disaggregate the data to exclude our "immigrants" (or ALL HISPANICS) and measure against our whites, blacks, and Asians.

If you think they exclude the "poor", then exclude OUR "poor".

If you think the country is too small, or cherrypicks its students, then compare it to one of our "best" states such as Massachusetts.

I think the difference between the "true believers" with an agenda and ACTUAL researchers is that the researchers know how to do this.

Whereas "true believers" just want to "discredit" what they do not agree with and learn nothing from it.

So, anyway, have at it.

Anonymous said...

"The Chinese claim it's 79.2% for academic and vocational HS with 59% going to academic HS"

That's not too good.

Enough to surely screw with outcomes on PISA.

And who knows if it is true anyways.

One thing that nobody has talked about on this thread is the approach of the Asian nations...and the Chinese in particular. This is a test prep heavy approach. America has never had such an approach, and we've done just fine without it thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

"Rather than just sit back and cry "woe are we" because we have the "highest" child "poverty" rate in the "developed" world.

That's just an excuse for not performing better.

And we don't have to "fix" poverty before kids can learn.

Because that means kids will NEVER learn because we'll NEVER fix "poverty".

So Plan B better be good."

Sheesh. If poor kids can learn so easily, then we wouldn't be having this argument.

We've waited for two decades now for the internal solution...it isn't there, meanwhile child poverty has skyrocketed (it approached 10% in the 90's). And that's because it is not an internal problem, it is an external problem. It is a problem correlated with every indicator showing our middle class being demolished. Unions busted, jobs sent away with no prerequisite regulations, and service sector jobs prevalent. It is taking two working people at home just to maintain a static REAL median household income regardless of the fact that productivity has more than doubled since the 1970's.

http://stateofworkingamerica.org/charts/productivity-and-real-median-family-income-growth-1947-2009/

And we will continue to have this argument until America commits to taxing the rich (who have more money than ever since the Great Depression) for the benefit of us all...schools, roads, hospitals, etc...

Yours is an excuse to ramrod our schools with a new 'fix' every decade, with nothing really getting fixed and a whole bunch of people profiting other than students. Although the way we are going now, there will be no public education in another decade...it will be owned by the very people we should be taxing the hound out of. They own everything else now, including our government - for their benefit. They own our jails, our 'public' works, our airports, and now they're after our schools.

The billionaires owe America - since the 1980's they have stolen OUR money that should have been spent to educate, heal, and help the less fortunate, and most importantly, create middle class jobs for middle class communities with middle class families that send middle class kids to middle class schools that fare very well on every measure. See the Percentage Distribution of U.S. Aggregate Household Income by Income Tier, 1970 - 2010.

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/08/22/the-lost-decade-of-the-middle-class/

You're one of those education reformers, and you don't speak truth. You are here to convince the public that they are not getting robbed. I am here to make sure they know you are lying.

Anonymous said...

"You're still doing the typical liberal move by deflecting."

I'm not a liberal.

"CMS sampled 3% of applicants in a widely publicized audit a few years ago and found those they DID check, 60%, did NOT qualify for the program based on the responses given."

And just how did they "check"? If they followed the USDA protocol, it is weak. Sending out a survey, and counting those that did not return the survey as being given "improper payments", does not lead to sound conclusions.

"Those stats are repeated constantly across the US each year in many LEAs.

Also, it is a FACT that school districts do everything they can to get kids to sign up, knowing full well only 3% of students can be audited or they forfeit tens of millions in government money if they try to do a full audit.

The more signed up, the more money LEAs get from Title I and other buckets of money.

You can spin it anyway you want, but the fact of the matter is there IS widespread fraud and those committing the fraud should be prosecuted and all applicants vetted for the benefit."

You know in Finland every kid gets a free lunch. But you're probably not interested in what they do. They have about 5% of their children in poverty.

Anonymous said...

"Rather than just sit back and cry "woe are we" because we have the "highest" child "poverty" rate in the "developed" world.

That's just an excuse for not performing better."

No it is reality.

Here is some more stark reality - all school factors account for only about 20% of student outcomes, including 9% for teachers. About 60% of students' outcomes are explained by out-of-school factors (see Goldhaber)

In concur with what was said above - this is an external issue first and foremost. We are spinning our wheels with 'school reform' when we need economic policy reform.

Anonymous said...

Friday was my last day student teaching. I welcome the insanity.

The Courage to Teach.

Alicia

Larry said...

Congratulations, this has been the most discussed article written by Ann.

Thanks to those who want to lower the lake so everyone can swim.

And thanks to those who understand what it takes to compete in the world today.

You both have made great points.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Larry, I think it's because I didn't post anything else all week so the regulars just "hung out" here to continue their discussion. I may have gotten slack the last few days about making sure everything got posted, but glad everyone had so much to talk about.

Anonymous said...

China will collapse under it's own weight.. Remember we were all turning Japanese in the 80's? The Japanese are way more disciplined as the Chinese. If America goes, it will not be from the Chinese. It will be from our slow turn to socialism.

Anonymous said...

Mitchell is a geniuses, she taught for a few years, got both the Bushes and Obama's to support her. She ducked a cheating scandal. Was put in a movie support by bill gates foundation. Was on Oprah and all the talk shows. She left her children's father and married an x basketball star turned politicians. She is now it the great position of critic. Refer to Teddy Roosevelt on critics. She does the talking circuit for 45k a speech. That's more then a 13yr teacher in NC makes... Foe one speech. Say what you want, she works it.