Corporate role in common core standards ought to be exposed. Who appointed Bill Gates Emperor of Education?

Cindy Lutenbacher is a teacher and DeKalb public school parent who sent me a note about her objections to the new common core standards. She was very thorough in her comments so I asked her to write a piece, which she did and which I ran on the Monday education page.

Enjoy. (To get another perspective, I am also posting another piece I ran on the education page in support of the common core standards by state Board of Education chair Wanda Barrs. That will post shortly.)

By Cindy Lutenbacher

Amid great fanfare in our state earlier this month, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced the release of the “Common Core Standards.”

So, I have a few questions for those who back the standards — including our own governor, Sonny Perdue, who co-chaired the Governors Association effort. In the general celebration over the release of these new standards, it seems very few people are asking what Common  Core Standards will actually mean for our children. And that is a mistake because the Common Core Standards are simply the forerunner to even more (and likely worse) standardized testing.

Why are so few investigating the origin of Common Core, which is largely a creation of Achieve Inc., an outfit that is driven by a dozen or so governors and CEOs of major U.S. corporations?

What do these people know about educating our children? Why would we trust them? Why do we simply accept the claims of “research- and evidence-based” support for the creation of Common Core Standards? Why are we not doing as we were admonished to do during Watergate … that is, to follow the money? Where is this independent research, unattached to corporate monies?

In creating these standards, Achieve, the governors and the school officials ignored the vast body of truly independent research that shows such “standards” and their inextricably linked standardized testing are worse than folly and are sending our children in the exact opposite direction of what they need.

This group of very rich people ignored this body of research that shows that the single most powerful factor in education gaps is poverty and not standardized testing.

Did they forget that the United States has the second highest rate of children in poverty of any industrialized country in the world? In fact, these purveyors of Common Core disregarded everything that at least every great teacher I have ever known believes, says and lives in his/her classroom. What we should be doing in Georgia and the rest of the country is focusing on filling our classrooms with great teachers, rather than with thousands of new standards.

We should be supporting our great teachers, rather than driving them from our schools, as will certainly be the outcome of an even greater emphasis on testing. Why does anyone cite the “A Nation at Risk” report in pushing for national standards even though it’s been so thoroughly discredited? Where is the hue and cry over the million dollars that the Gates Foundation gave to the National PTA in order to promote Common Core?

Who appointed Bill Gates Emperor of Education?

Is money being spent, to borrow a Bushism, to “catapult the propaganda”? Or is that last question simply rhetorical?

The architects of these Common Core Standards did not seem to consider all the research that amply demonstrates that having access to a variety of reading materials and having the time and safe space with which to read are the factors that help children become readers.

Instead, the standards rely on the absurd drilling tactics advocated by the politicians and corporations happily taking our tax dollars for their testing and related materials.

Who is really getting the money from turning our schools into Common Core drill-and-kill testing factories? Will Perdue be willing to read the list of literary texts listed in the 183-page Appendix for English Language Arts and allow me to test him on them? Will Perdue even take the 12th-grade exit exams and allow his scores to be made public? Can Perdue explain to me how “Tartuffe,” Euclid’s “Elements,” Paine’s concept of “ground-rent,” and a bivariate polynomial have helped him in governing our state?

And in related news, we learn that Perdue has vetoed the excellent bill that would have saved millions of dollars for our state and, more importantly, released our first- and second-graders from the hideous spectacle of useless standardized testing. Will he be willing to sit in a desk with 30 other governors, who, like hapless 6-year-olds, will be forbidden to speak to one another and must suffer silently as they are endlessly drilled in preparation for the CRCT?

Furthermore, when will Georgia get a state schools superintendent who actually understands children and how they learn, rather than, for example, one who understands politicians and chambers of commerce?

Will the new superintendent be willing to sit obediently through first-grade test prep for Common Core Standards? Is there anyone, anyone, who actually believes that Common Core Standards and its murderous standardized testing will not lead to even more fanatical requirements that cause teachers to have to teach to the test? There’s no evidence that these “standards” will help my children be lifelong learners.

When will we as a state and we as a nation wake up to the destruction of our children that is being carried out under the sanctimonious and specious names of accountability and reform?

And most important of all, for the sake of our kids, when will we revolt?

56 comments Add your comment

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Just a teacher

June 26th, 2010
4:19 am

It is a shame. The emphasis on testing is taking the joy out of learning for our youngest little ones. By the time these kids get to 4th grade, school is a bore. Only if they have someone who is going out of their way to expose them to other things will they care about learning. What looks good on paper is not always possible in the real world. Let children learn to love learning in Pre-K through 2nd grade at least, then ease them into testing. 5th, 8th and 11th or 12th is enough. The turn over in teaching will be rampant in years to come because of the decision to make students and teachers robots. Teach to the test, learn to the test, teach to the test, learn to the test…and don’t worry about their real world, just make sure you do whatever it takes to get those test scores high. Eventually there will be no older teachers to blame and Teach for America will have resposibility for all kids from all walks of life. That will be something to see.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 26th, 2010
7:11 am

“The architects of these Common Core Standards did not seem to consider all the research that amply demonstrates that having access to a variety of reading materials and having the time and safe space with which to read are the factors that help children become readers.”

Wow- that is the first explanation of how to teach reading that mirrors mine and my siblings experience. We grew up in a chaotic household, eventually on welfare. But, we always had access to a daily newspaper, National Geographic, and were made to get and use library cards. Out of 6 kids, 4 have degrees, including two engineers. We all knew we could find some ‘personal space’ with our books and reading (and still do), but it also helped us all be articulate, curious, and confident with subjects.
You won me over with the above, but with kids in elementary and middle school (both charters), you don’t have to tell me what testing has done. In my kids’ and their schools’ case, they have made the best of it: the schools try to teach what is necessary for the test while also challenging the kids learning skills, while the kids are not intimidated by tests or exams- but they do not like the week-long endeavors for obvious reasons (obvious to a kid, should be damn obvious to adults).
Gates makes tons of money with a mediocre set of products- he’s not evil, but he doesn’t recognize he’s more lucky than good (his timing was absolutely impeccable). He dropped out of Harvard, and made one of the world’s great fortunes: why wouldn’t he see education as a limited need?

Freedom Education

June 26th, 2010
7:32 am

This is about progressivism (progressing toward socialism) that politicians (both parties) and elites (Bill Gates, George Soros) have forced upon the people. The leading group in this ideology is The Center for American Progress http://www.americanprogress.org/aboutus The CAP has designed Merit Pay, national and international standards. Their goal is obedient workers not independent thinkers.

schooled

June 26th, 2010
7:42 am

Gates has put his $$$ into several failed educational fads. Gates just like many other Americans made his money the good ole fashion way. He had an idea and worked hard to make it a reality. As the above blogger posted, he was also very lucky on timing. All of this from a college drop out. Mr. Gates and his foundation mean well. His idea to have our students compete in the global marketplace for jobs is very desirable. Instead of focusing on common core standards why not invest in updating and creating high tech vocational programs so our kids leave high school with skills desired by the marketplace. Realize students understand math and language concepts best if they are taught in real world settings. Let’s encourage and promote entrepreneurship and inventing in our schools. Mr. Gates might also consider investing his money in programs for our gifted children as they are so often “left behind” in this era of No Child Left Behind.

Dragonlady

June 26th, 2010
8:30 am

Wonderful article, Ms. Lutenbacher. As a long time English teacher, I concur heartily.

I, too, read the common core standards with a sinking heart.

Ferdek

June 26th, 2010
8:49 am

Jobs, Jobs, and more Jobs! that’s all these corporate sponsors talk about. Global competition! The reality is much different. The jobs will and do go to the lowest cost country where labor laws are weak or non-existent, where environmental regulations are virtually unenforced, where workers have virtually no power and where retirement funds usually are minimal. What good is all this talk about education and jobs when Globalization is about maximizing profits at all costs. The learning gaps and the performance gaps can usually be traced to: failed families, teenage mothers, failed communities and crime-violence-incarceration. No amount of testing will overcome the destructive forces of poverty/racism/prison-industrial complex. Good jobs, strong families and supporting communities are at the core of a successful society. Spending billions on testing is just madness. Why worry about your future when you are likely to be killed in the streets, become a drug addict, be abused by negligent parents and then offered a gun to kill “terrorists” in Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iraq. As long as we are controlled by the military-industrial-financial complex and wage imperialistic wars our Core Values will be compromised. The education slogans are so transparently trite that any educated person can recognize their profit driven motivation. Protect our children fight imperialism/racism/corporatism.

BobK

June 26th, 2010
8:50 am

The Emperor of Education, Bill Gates, selected KING ROY BARNES to co-chair the No Child Left Behind Commission of the Aspen Institute (a Bill Gates organization). An Emperor and a King decreed what is best for the education of our children. Makes perfect sense….NOT! King Roy wants his throne back. Will we re-elect him Governor again? If folks don’t vote in the Democratic Primary on July 20th, King Roy could be back.

Please

June 26th, 2010
9:24 am

“Where is the hue and cry over the million dollars that the Gates Foundation gave to the National PTA in order to promote Common Core?”

The problem is, you can’t decry unethical behavior on a national level with any credibility if you are willing to obfuscate unethical behavior in your own backyard, which the AJC has a regular habit of.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
9:25 am

Everyone remember when Kathy Cox was trying to boost Ga’ s GPS by falsely comparing it to Massachusetts?

Here’s a letter from the woman who was in fact behind all the changes Mass made at the state level to turn itself around. She’s explaining why she could not support the Common Standards despite being on the Validation Committee.

http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?doctype_code=Article&doc_id=1388

It’s short and quite insightful from a nationally recognized expert.

Cindy-

I know Dekalb uses Americas Choice. How do you think their being the developer of the high school assessments for Common Core will impact the actual implementation?

It’s hard for me to see their involvement as anything other than a push for academic mediocrity but maybe everything I’ve read about their curriculum is wrong..

Just Teaching

June 26th, 2010
9:43 am

The comments here hit home.
I have seen too many students who cannot read at the high school level. I have watched what my relatives are going through trying to kindle interest in their elementary school age kids. One case really got to me.
My sister noticed a changed in her daughter’s grades in 4th grade. A gifted child who usually brought home straight A’s was now getting F’s. She talked with her daughter and found out that the teacher was timing their reading of passages each day and their completion of reading problems similar to what you receive on the CRCT. The child did not know what to do because she couldn’t seem to read as fast as the teacher wanted so she just circled answers. And to worsen things, she stopped reading at home on her own. My sister and her husband of course went to the school and verified what was going on. They informed the teacher that their daughter would no longer read anything because of what was happening in class. The principal was called in to the meeting. After that day, the practice was halted. The teacher was so fearful of getting low CRCT scores that she had just started drilling with very little explanation or preparation.
My sister has had to spend thousands of dollars on private tutoring and other programs to help her daughter recover from the ordeal. Now, she is reading again and she is not enrolled in public schools anymore. Her parents along with several of my other relatives opted to send their children to private schools where high stakes testing is not central to the curriculum. They don’t go to Disney World or other places but they feel that their sacrifce was worth it. There is music, art, drama, field trips and the students are still doing extremely well.
We did not take my granddaughter out of public schools. But, she is surrounded by teachers. We all took responsibility for supplementing her learning. She travels, does gymnastics, she is in the summer reading club, she plays violin, has just completed an audition in her ballet class, and knows what theaters and museums are all about. She went through the drill, drill, drill for the CRCT routine every year in public school once we changed her from private school and like my niece at some point she stopped loving to read (2nd grade). I made it my priority to reverse that trend. It was difficult. The students around her did not read, very unlike the private school. Gifted education helped some. She got to be around students with similar backgrounds and talents.
My message to parents. Become active in your child’s life. Don’t leave everything up to public schools. Kids can and will fall through the cracks without your intervention. If this could happen to us who are extremely active with our children, what do you think can happen to those children whose parents don’t care and/or don’t know what to do.
Teachers are under so much pressure to produce passing test scores that they are going to go by the script which does not produce a well rounded student. The script produces a good test taker who gets to high school and cannot read. Their frustration is acted out in increased pregnancy, school violence and a general dislike of school. They join gangs and run the streets smashing and grabbing. We really need to rethink this emphasis on testing. Our children are not robots, they are human beings. Parents, it is up to you to demand better for our children.
Thank you for that excellent article. Hopefully parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and cousins will begin to take a stand and tell the Billion dollar testing industry that enough is enough. They have gone too far. We need to put a human face back on education and not one driven by the desire to make money from testing and software sales.

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
9:44 am

Follow the money? So simplistic…this is America. We practice capitalism. EVERYthing requires you to follow the money.

To me, these standards will raise the bar for Georgia’s students, so I’ll take it, we need to get more serious about competing nationally. There will never be consensus, especially among teachers, about what the standards should be. But all in all, they’re an improvement.

And I think it borders on paranoia to assume that with new standards will come more testing. As a Gwinnett employee, I doubt that is even possible, muc less likely. Plus, all signs point to the removal of the punitive part of NCLB when they get around to renewing it.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
9:53 am

DA-

I’m confused. Why would you think there will not be more testing when there is a $350 million component of RTT to develop new assessments as part of Common Core?

I do not quite know what your definition of capitalism is but none I’ve ever seen fits the scenario of the federal government paying state governments to adopt certain policies.

That’s just good, old fashioned manipulation.

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
10:07 am

AP – Probably to replace the wildly inffective CRCT (and other state tests that vary immensely in rigor)?

And let’s not act like the federal gov’t is just giving a big cash bonus. They pay the costs to implement the program, which is totally different. We can bring the argument back to the merits of the program, but let’s keep it there, where it belongs please.

RedRider

June 26th, 2010
10:31 am

Read the education plan of gubernatorial candidate David Poythress here:
http://www.poythressforgovernor.com/issues/education

Part of the Poythress plan reads:
“Work to end the tyranny of “AYP” and high-stakes testing and scrap “No Child Left Behind.” As the son of a Georgia public school teacher, I recognize that teachers are the solution to our education challenges.”

Why it doesn't matter

June 26th, 2010
10:43 am

Raise the bar? I guess that’s the new catchphrase for rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Why it doesn't matter

June 26th, 2010
10:45 am

“We can bring the argument back to the merits of the program, but let’s keep it there, where it belongs please.”

Please, no discussion of icebergs. We need to keep focused on how we are going to raise the bar and lead the nation in using researched based best practices to have the best arranged chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

Lee

June 26th, 2010
11:26 am

“Did they forget that the United States has the second highest rate of children in poverty of any industrialized country in the world?”

Then why do we allow tens of millions of third world people to illegally invade our country and overwhelm our infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, and generally lower the standard of living for everyone?

“Why do we simply accept the claims of “research- and evidence-based” support for the creation of Common Core Standards?”

Then you turn right around and say:

“This group of very rich people ignored this body of research that shows that the single most powerful factor in education gaps is poverty and not standardized testing.”

So, they accepted the research that you do not agree with and rejected the research that you do agree with.

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Debbie Novac

June 26th, 2010
11:27 am

Thank you for voicing common sense, something that continually gets ignored.. As a 30 yr veteran teacher, both in special ed and general ed., I’ve seen one reform after another and even some repeat themselves and it’s all about the money. What happened to the developmental process of learning? What happened to Piaget’s Theory of child development? What happened to common sense in schools? Somebody is lining their pockets well and it sure isn’t the teachers, children, or their parents.

deblegs

June 26th, 2010
11:57 am

Debbie we agree at so many levels, some people might think I wrote your comment. Thanks for putting a bow on the discussion. Debra

HStchr

June 26th, 2010
12:44 pm

It is reasonable to think that national standards would be a positive step. Oddly enough, if you look at standards across the country, they are often very similar. The differences exist in local districts and schools dealing with higher poverty or non-English speaking populations, where basic skills must be taught longer. What worries me about these standards is that they are generated by largely corporate and political groups who are much too removed from communities and classrooms. They don’t understand that college-ready standards are meaningless to kids who come from extreme poverty who start school without basic letter/sound knowledge or kids from non-English speaking homes who are working to grasp basic conversational English. I agree with the notion that these standards are ultimately going to lead to more standardized testing, which researchers have argued for years isn’t valid, reliable, or an accurate assessment of learning.

What so many politicians and corporate whizkids can’t accept is that top-down reforms never fully work. What will work is empowering schools and teachers to assess kids’ skills and teach to their needs. We’ve always had a good idea of what kids need to know to succeed in the world, but until we allow and encourage schools and communities to work together to create schools that meet the specific needs of the communities they serve, we’ll never see the results nationwide that so many think we can get with the latest corporate fad.

come on now

June 26th, 2010
1:00 pm

Let’s face the truth, we have proven that we are not capable of getting out of this mess on our own. We need to steal feverishly from a school system that has proven results(as do many states). Why not have a goal for all states to have the same vision for success.

I have no doubts that Bill Gates intentions are honorable. We spend way to much time and money putting a new coat of paint on the old Studebaker. We need to invest in a new set of practical wheels.

Pay the price to get the “right” people the time and money to get it done.

catlady

June 26th, 2010
1:13 pm

Here is my experience with “research-based” programs: Our system joined up with Reading First. This resulted in us getting whole boatload of money to buy stuff, train teachers (ad nausem), support reading coaches, and support central office staff to “oversee” the program, mostly by traveling around to “conferences.” Since it purported to be “research-based,” I asked to see the research that specifically addressed teaching reading to a certain “type” of student-ELLs. What I was being required to do was counter to anything anyone who has learned to speak/read another language would tell you works. When I (a PhD in an educational research area) asked to review the research RF was basing its efforts on, as it relates to ELLs, I was told that there WAS no research specifically focusing on that subgroup!

So I just don’t want to hear those words “it’s research -based” again. Joe Blow can do any kind of halfa**ed “research” and we can base a program on that, but it DOESN’T MAKE IT VALID!

In all, I concur with what Cindy wrote (just wish she had written paragraphs longer than one sentence each!)

Dewey

June 26th, 2010
1:16 pm

I hope the core standards includes speaking and writing in Chinese. It will be an essential skill to know the language of our owners/bosses of the future. The American public education system is doing so many things wrong. I do not see anything changing for the better.

Dewey

June 26th, 2010
1:23 pm

Oh wait, I forgot the Chinese government is already starting these programs for us in our public schools out west, free of charge. In cash strapped schools in Cali. they’re begging for the program. I’m glad the Chinese government is thinking of us and has our best interest at heart. ha, ha, or should I say 滑稽

Maureen Downey

June 26th, 2010
1:34 pm

@catlady. CIndy is not the source of the single paragraphs; when I moved her piece from the application that puts it in the paper to the one that puts it in the blog, it created al those paragraphs. Will fix.
Maureen

Ferdek

June 26th, 2010
1:37 pm

Are there really tons of problems in the wealthy, upper middle class, and middle class school districts that can’t be solved by local educators and parents? Probably not. Money and social stability go a long way to assure performance. In the lower class and poverty class no amount of “reform” can make for better students. Society has a choice: create good jobs and stable families and stable communities and the educational problems will disappear over time. The problem is not testing the problem is dysfunctional families/communities mostly minorties but with a good % of lowest class rural families. The USA may not be formally a caste society but it is very close. The rich are getting much richer and the poor are growing in number at an alarming rate. Until we have real opportunities for upward mobility in the US we are doomed to class warfare. Education Reform is not a substitute for economic and social stability. Just look at the prison population in the US and try to deny that the US is in CRISIS!

Cobb Special Ed teacher

June 26th, 2010
1:37 pm

When all sectors of society quit condoning out of wedlock childbirth (more than half of all minority children in the US are born out of wedlock), and emphasis is placed on being parents rather than seeing how many baby mommas or baby daddys one individual can aquire there may be an overall change. The people our students admire aren’t the President, astronauts, or police officers, they are the professional athletes who are shown outside strip clubs and make the news for violent assaults, they are the singers and actors with children all over the world who make the news for not paying child support and the latest paternity test.

All of my students this past year had two parents in the home, only one child didn’t pass the CRCT, a 96% passing rate. In previous years I’ve had students with DFACS involvement, broken homes, or only one parent because they didn’t know who was their daddy. Their passing rate was below 40%. Same teacher, same standards vastly different results based on home environment.

During teacher meetings, lunch discussions, etc. an informal poll was taken at my school. We discovered that 90% of the students with behavior issues, who were behind in class, and didn’t turn in homework, came from the same two neighborhoods and rode the same two buses. No matter what the teacher did during school hours, the students were going home to an environment where education wasn’t a priority for anyone. They had no support outside of school, no parental support, no relatives, not even a neighbor cared. It didn’t matter if they were black, white, Hispanic, Asian, if they lived on one of these bus routes they had difficulty in school.

catlady

June 26th, 2010
1:41 pm

Thank you for the mea culpa. I made the same comment on the other thread, as well. It sounded even more totally bulleted, which is very hard to read.

catlady

June 26th, 2010
1:45 pm

Cobb Sp Ed Tchr: It must be the bus drivers’ faults! Maybe they should be fired and get some new ones so the scores will go up! LOL

catlady is wrong

June 26th, 2010
1:46 pm

catlady you are just flat out wrong about researched based best practices. They’ve been proven to work in Atlanta Public Schools where Dr. Hall’s implementation of them allowed APS to finish in the top 169 of all the school systems in the state on the CRCT.

169 out of 180 is quite an accomplishment for APS and Dr. Hall and people should be honoring this very real accomplishment, and not dwelling on the negative

Devil's Advocate

June 26th, 2010
3:35 pm

Indeed, the biggest problem in our schools is poverty, and the troubled family situations that stem from it.

The only thing that can even hope to stem this tide is improving the level of education that we provide to all students.

Yet, teachers and others on this blog continually want to put the cart before the horse. No wonder we are in such a sad state.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

Catlady-

The new terms are “best practices” or “evidence based” to get away from peer reviewed, citeable studies studies. I think that’s a real loss as it is too low a standard. Some things have been showed to work or not and why is then easy to extrapolate.

I hear your concerns with Reading First but have you read any of the Stanovich’s work?

I think you would enjoy it. I believe I have some research on ELL but am away from home. Will try to post if I can remember the cites if you’d like.

bootney farnsworth

June 26th, 2010
5:25 pm

what does Gates know about education?

enough to know the morons we grind out are often unable to compete in
and contribute to workplace.

bootney farnsworth

June 26th, 2010
5:30 pm

the problems we face are pretty simple, and poverty has next to nothing to do with them.

1) we don’t value education.
2) we see educators as day care, and treat them accordingly
3) profoundly disrespectful, unruly, uninterested students
4) parents who enable 2 & 3.

poverty, like race, like gender, has nothing at all to do with the ability
to educate.

catlady

June 26th, 2010
5:36 pm

AP: Yes, please.

The federal government, in its analysis of RF results, found that: first graders in RF schools tended to know more phonics than non-RF schools, RF schools spent more time in strictly reading activities (as to be expected, since it was REQUIRED to get the money, and teachers in RF schools had more inservice hours in reading than non-RF teachers (naturally, as it was REQUIRED in order to get the money.

Did it find that these kids, the beneficiaries of YEARS of “research-based” instruction with “research-based” materials, actually READ better? A resounding NO. After BILLIONS of dollars, much of it flowing to certain publishing companies, RF did NOT show significant gains for its “victims.” All in the name of “research based.”

We could “prove” that serving drinks on an airliner “causes” air turbulence! But does it? We could probably show a correlation between car tag numbers and SES of the owners. But would it mean anything? I have personally watched too much “research” be set up to validate the preconceptions of those sponsoring the research.

bootney farnsworth

June 26th, 2010
5:40 pm

perhaps Cindy might wish to reread Tartuffe again.

catlady

June 26th, 2010
5:40 pm

AP: what is “best practice” for students in AECC (Affluent East Cobb County) might not be the best for those in SW Dekalb, or up in the mountains, or down in the piney woods of south Georgia. Not to mention in New York City or the Castro area of San Francisco.

I find all the terms pretty obfusticatory. (is that a word?) “Evidence”, like research, can be cooked.

bootney is wrong too

June 26th, 2010
6:04 pm

The problem is bootney, that educators won’t embrace researched based best practices. APS did and you see the results. Sure you can talk about the cheating last year, but that pretty much was taken care of this year.

And once the cheating wasn’t an issue APS fully validated their research based best practices, finishing an exceptional 169th out of 181 school systems on the CRCT.

But people don’t want to talk about the accomplishment of finishing as one of the top 169 school systems in the entire state, because they’d rather engage in negative talk about APS.

Now that APS has proven that even under strict testing conditions they are still one of the top 169 school systems in the state, everybody owes APS an apology.

HStchr

June 26th, 2010
6:19 pm

bootney is wrong: What works for one system isn’t always what’s best for all. Research samples schools/groups supposedly from across the spectrum, but that isn’t always true. Reading First worked very well in some places, but not in all. Reform, for it to be successful, needs to come from the bottom up, based on assessed needs within a school. The top down method, even if based on as reliable a research base as possible, will never be 100% effective. If you disaggregate the data in APS, you’ll see that Reading First worked wonders in some schools and only showed marginal changes in some. Overall district results don’t tell the whole story. There are lots of great educational programs out there that work well for some schools. Each school, and indeed each teacher, needs to be able to base choices in program on individual school/classroom needs, not on what has the most money coming with it- which is what usually motivates districts, especially in this economy.

Not to pick a sore spot, but considering lower CRCT this year and how many people will ultimately be implicated in cheating investigations from last year, I’d say trusting scores in APS isn’t such a good idea.

HStchr is also wrong

June 26th, 2010
6:28 pm

“Not to pick a sore spot, but considering lower CRCT this year and how many people will ultimately be implicated in cheating investigations from last year, I’d say trusting scores in APS isn’t such a good idea.”

Do the math HStchr, you’re supposed to be good at it. Sure there were a few alleged problems last year, but not this year. And the results show that APS has completely validated their researched based best practices, finishing in the top 169 school systems in the state.

All these people who want to disparage APS and Beverly Hall got nothing to say now, because APS, with its top 169 finish just shut their mouths.

HStchr

June 26th, 2010
7:09 pm

Whatever- it still doesn’t prove that EVERY school in APS had glowing scores from Reading First. I’m not denying the value of the program, but nationally results were not as promising, thus funding was cut. That’s the problem- if it works for APS, that’s great. But look at the data school by school to find out if it worked for ALL the schools. It should be continued in schools that saw results, and changed in ones it didn’t. BTW- I’m not a math teacher. I have a master’s and am state certified in Reading, PK-12. I’ve seen Reading First work very well in some schools, but clearly it isn’t something an entire system, state, or nation should base its reading program on. Noone is disparaging APS in general. Beverly Hall I’m not too fond of, but that’s just my opinion. I’m still waiting to see the final outcome of the cheating investigation.

catlady

June 26th, 2010
7:30 pm

Apparently DEEPLY submerged in the filter about 5:30.

bootney farnsworth

June 26th, 2010
9:28 pm

@ HStchr

now, exactly what am I wrong about?

that Georgia is at the bottom of the educational foodchain is
indisputable. I work at a local college and see what the system
sends us.

kids with Hope Scholarships who are almost illiterate, pitiful math
and language skills, and more interested in their tats than the
classroom.

and poverty has less than zip to do with anything. its all about the
drive in the kid. the other side of the kids mentioned above is many of them work their butts off to get a degree. and our student body
isn’t known for the size of their wallets.

so again, what am I wrong about?

bootney farnsworth

June 26th, 2010
9:29 pm

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
9:34 pm

I’ve cited it before but when APS approves a charter elem school they mandated that the school must use the Constructivist approach which they define in an attachment.

The school must use Investigations math and teach reading using Fountas & Pinnell’s Guided Reading approach (current name for whole language principles). Yes they list these names as well as must use Lucy Calkins to teach writing.

Science must be taught using informal, hands on activities. It’s not about what works with their typical student.

It seems to ignore all the research on what works so that preferred vendors will get those education dollars.

Those APS students are merely funding conduits and a reason to jet off to the next national conference, especially if the Gates Foundation is sponsoring.

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
9:35 pm

me three.

Has been hours on the above thread as well.

Maureen needs that IPhone.

HStchr

June 26th, 2010
9:41 pm

Bootney is wrong, and other names used: Here’s the point about trusting scores from a June 10 AJC article. http://www.ajc.com/news/crct-failures-rise-at-545786.html

“For some schools, the year-to-year change was dramatic.

At Gideons Elementary, for instance, 92 percent of fifth-graders passed math in 2009. This year, just 39 percent did.

And at Dunbar Elementary, about 87 percent of fourth-graders passed math last year. But, this year, that number was 49 percent”

That’s why I’m not sure I trust test scores, EVER as an indication of how a school, or system, is doing. There are way too many variables to control beyond just changing answers, but that has apparently been an issue in APS.

Maureen Downey

June 26th, 2010
10:16 pm

Attentive parent, Sorry, I was away from the computer for a long stretch today. You are free.
Maureen

Attentive Parent

June 26th, 2010
10:32 pm

Thanks Maureen.

Trying to advocate for that IPhone.

Catlady- Not disagreeing with what you are saying. Zig Engelmann describes part of this in terms of the ability of different kids to bridge the inferential gaps. Some kids will only learn if everything is explicit. Others have a huge spoken vocabulary from home and explaining that sounds are represented by letters and what the likely symbols are is all they need to run.

You would love Stanovich’s studies because he explains the why. Fascinating and well supported.

I also think Dan Willingham’s work that teaching content is teaching reading comprehension is very pertinent to what you are saying.

If you’ve traveled and talk history and politics at the dinner table, so much of the reading you encounter will have an existing scaffolding of knowledge.

He has a 10 minute youtube that lays this out well you would enjoy.

Will try to locate the ELL info.