Posts Tagged ‘value added’

WSJ Op Ed Headline Underscores THAT Newspaper’s Narrative and the Narrative of All Right-Leaning: A Bogus Binary Choice Between “Students and Unions”

December 23, 2020 1 comment

The Wall Street Journal has a paywall, but on some occasions I can work around the paywall and get to an article with a compelling title and opening sentence and on other occasions the article is available through a third party source a day or so later. But when I read the title of one of their latest op ed articles I decided I didn’t need to read anything else. The title?

“Will Biden’s Education Nominee Stand for Students or for Unions?”

My gut level reaction was to pose a question of my own?

“Will the conservative leaning media outlets ever abandon their narrative that unions are ONLY interested in the well-being of their membership and, therefore, working against the students they serve?”

If the unions are balking at opening schools because of safety concerns, how is that NOT a concern parents also share? If the unions seek clean and orderly workplace, how is that NOT a concern parents also share? If teachers are seeking fully functional technology equipped with up-to-date operating systems and software, how is that NOT a concern parents also share?

And here’s a point the Wall Street Journal is overlooking in its false binary choice: when was the last time a Secretary of Education stood for unions in any way shape or form? Did Arne Duncan “stand for unions?”  John King? Margaret Spellings? Betsy DeVos? And did any of these Secretaries of Education “stand for students?” For at least two decades we’ve seen Secretaries of Education who put “accountability” and preparedness for work at the forefront. Did students benefit from this? Given that  the “performance” of students raised in poverty stagnated, NAEP scores (a presumed impartial metric of “performance”) plateaued, and student debt soared, it is hard to see how the policies of former Secretaries “benefited students”. But they each clearly diminished the stature of the teaching profession whether the teachers were in a union or not.

And here’s something for the Wall Street Journal and other conservative leaning media to consider: maybe if a “union first” Secretary of Education was put in place the safety of schools would improve, the orderliness and cleanliness of schools would improve, and schools, parents, and students would have access to the technology tools they need to succeed by any metric. Stop blaming the unions for the conditions created by the economic divide and systemic racism that persists and work with the Secretary of Education and— more importantly— your State Government and local school board to ensure that all students have an equitable learning opportunity.

Peter Greene on Why Bill Gates is a Very Bad Choice to Help NYS Schools

May 9, 2020 Comments off

Education writer and public school teacher Peter Greene offers a clear eyed and objective analysis of Bill Gates’ failures as a school reformer. He cites several major flops, all of which have been detailed in this blog over the years: the small schools initiative: a VAM initiative in FL; several tech-based initiatives; and the Common Core. But Mr. Greene rightfully identifies Bill Gates’ biggest failure in this single sentence near the end of the article:

It’s not quite correct to say that Gates has always failed in his educational projects; he has managed to infect much of the education establishment with his belief in a narrow definition of success and a thirst for “data.”

Bill Gates’ Foundation has done good work on many fronts, particularly in the field of international public health. But after reading Peter Greene’s analysis one wonders why Governor Cuomo is making him the face of his Redesign Team… that is unless the team intends to use some form of standardized testing to determine the success of students on a structured curriculum that avoids the inclusion of any content that cannot readily yield data.

No Surprise: Chicago Teachers “Game” NWEA Accountability Test

February 25, 2020 Comments off

The Chicago Tribune article above describes several instances where teachers “gamed” the NWEA tests. The NWEA tests, originally designed as formative assessments to measure individual student growth, were used for different purposes in Chicago:

Students who took more than six hours on the test — which measures growth and in CPS can also factor into high school admissions, school ratings and teacher performance reviews — were nearly seven times as likely as the average student in CPS to show “unusually large gains,” according to Inspector General Nicholas Schuler’s report.

It should come as no surprise that the teachers would intervene when a misused test is the basis for their continued employment AND their students’ future. But the tests are cheap, fast and easy!