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We Americans are so eager to find singular causes and singular scapegoats we can’t imagine that there are other reasons besides teachers that schools either succeed or fail.

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Yet Another Testing Fail

Anyone who has ever worked for any of the Pearson education enterprises (and, I have) knows that the labyrinth of departments and sub-groups is only rivaled by the Federal bureaucracy.  Because of that, decisions that are made often don’t make sense and are astounding when then do.

That’s why the situation with the non-sensical reading comprehension test question on yet another state exam, this time in New York, didn’t surprise me at all.  It is the classic testing fail:  A stupid item doesn’t get challenged in one state, so the Pearson bureaucrats pass it along to another, until it finally creates a spectacular PR explosion.  Then, Pearson spokespersons try to act like it’s a first-time problem, you know, one that “slipped in”.  ”Won’t happen again.” 

As we would say in Oklahoma, boshat.

In yesterday’s post on her Washington Post blog, The Answer Sheet, Valerie Straus nails perfectly what the bigger problem is:

The problem, of course, isn’t one test question that people think was badly drawn, or the strong likelihood that other questions on these exams make little sense or actually assess only a small band-width of skills, concepts and knowledge that we want students to know.

The problem is that the results of standardized tests are being used in New York and other states to assess not only students but teachers, principals and schools through complicated formulas that purport to show how much “value” a teacher adds to a student’s achievement. Researchers say that “value-added” assessment models can’t do what supporters say they do and are unreliable accountability.

Teachers in public schools or even private schools have no more desire to be evaluated by private bureaucrats than they do public agency bureaucrats, especially when the line is increasingly more blurred.  There is no rational justification for this.  The people who see a teacher work every day are the only ones who can evaluate a teacher.

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This story is not going away because it was a little girl who was handcuffed this time.  Boys this age have been getting this treatment for some years now.  Elementary school discipline programs are full of boys, and little concern has been voiced.  But now…a girl….well!

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This is one of the best expressions of the despair that public school teachers are experiencing not just in the Atlanta area; but, nation-wide.

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Some very interesting direct research has been done for this article.

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Education Rally Draws Large, Enthusiastic, Angry Crowd to Oklahoma Capitol

Education Rally Draws Large, Enthusiastic, Angry Crowd at Oklahoma State Capitol Today more teachers, support staff, parents, and administrators turned out for the Education Rally at the Oklahoma State Capital than expected. Afterward, a majority of them patiently waited in line to go through security checkpoints and talk to legislators about Oklahoma’s being at the top of the list for education cuts.

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Barresi’s Attacks Show Teachers What We Need to Do Next

Yesterday’s showdown in the State House of Representatives over HB2625 and the widely circulated negative response from State Superintendent of Schools Janet Barresi said much about where her loyalties lie, where the attacks originate, and what should be done next by teachers who teach, know, and love their students.

House Bill 2625 Passes

The current law gives extraordinary weight to a test…

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Why Writing Test Results for Oklahoma Kids Must be Questioned

New Blog Post: Why Writing Test Results for Oklahoma Kids Must be Questioned

In spite of assurances, the testing company hired for testing Oklahoma elementary students is using highly suspect methods.

Currently, writing tests still must be hand graded by real people sitting in a room somewhere. There is little known about who they are and how well they have been trained, especially since book companies have jumped into the testing business only in the past several years.

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5 Reasons Why Education Can Never be a “Business”

The current dysfunction with so many charter schools and testing efforts is that investors are trying to make education into a profitable business venture.

In a very well documented story published just a few weeks ago in the Huffington Post, “Why Hedge Funds Love Charter Schools”, Hofstra University professor Alan Singer shows the many benefits that are lining up for investors in companies that…

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We Repealed the Common Core - Problem Solved?

The first time that I ever met Gov. Mary Fallin was one 90+ degree day in 1989. She knocked on my door, great big pregnant, red-faced, sweating, and asked for my vote to be my representative in the Oklahoma House. She was tenacious then. She still is.

Over her career I have had deep doubts about her political views. But from that hot summer day forward,  I have never doubted her skill and desire…

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