Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, wrote this piece in anticipation of this week’s visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The SACS accreditation team has been in Clayton since Monday.

By Pam Adamson

Clayton County Schools has had a tumultuous history with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its parent organization, AdvancED, for many years starting in the early 2000s. After years of warnings and failed opportunities to comply with its standards, SACS withdrew accreditation from Clayton County schools in August of 2008.

The district had become a swinging door of instability with regular staff turnover, including leadership at the highest levels. The Board of Education was in a state of turmoil at that time, with some board members having resigned, some …

Continue reading Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better »

Florida teachers file lawsuit today to stop evaluations that rely on test scores

charterartThe controversy over basing teacher evaluations on student performance now moves to a courtroom in Florida after teachers there filed suit today contending the review process violates their rights.

Filed in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District, the lawsuit targets a new evaluation system that tries to measure how much value a teacher has added to a student’s learning — even when there are no direct test scores to weigh.

(Seventy percent of teachers in Georgia teach in non-tested areas; the state intends to use a portfolio model, which will look at student demonstrated proficiency in such areas as music, foreign languages and art.)

The lawsuit maintains that evaluating teachers on the test scores of students they don’t teach or from subjects they don’t teach violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The lawsuit summary states:

The majority of teachers in Florida are being evaluated in the same arbitrary …

Continue reading Florida teachers file lawsuit today to stop evaluations that rely on test scores »

A teacher explains: Why I won’t resign. A letter of resolution.

downeyart0401I have shared some very passionate teacher resignation letters on the blog, including an incredible one from former local teacher Jordan Kohanim. (If you missed her piece, read it here.)

But here is a letter from a teacher explaining why she is not resigning. New York teacher Christine McCartney published this letter on her  “An Educator’s Re-education” blog.

McCartney has been at the University of Tampere in Finland through a Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching.  She writes that she is “studying how Finnish teachers utilize ongoing, formative assessments to inform their practice.”

In her intro to her letter, McCartney explains, “After having spent the past month in Finland, however, gaining new insights from the Finnish education system and having the freedom of time to reflect on my own experiences as a teacher in New York, I have a different kind of letter. Call it my Letter of Resolution. I wrote it because I have had enough. I can’t handle any more …

Continue reading A teacher explains: Why I won’t resign. A letter of resolution. »

New calls to probe cheating allegations in Washington under Rhee

PBS’s John Merrow recently revealed a 2009 confidential memo pointing out troubling test answer erasures in Washington, D.C., schools, which were led at the time by Michelle Rhee, now the head of  the national advocacy group StudentsFirst.

Merrow reported that the erasure concerns raised in the memo by an outside data consultant failed to prompt any investigation by top officials in the district.

The Washington Post is reporting that a probe is unlikely at this point, either. (A 2007 law placed Washington’s public schools under mayoral control. Under the D.C. model, the city council appoints some of the school board members.)

The Post reports:

The chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee said Sunday that he has no plans to launch a full-scale investigation into allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests in 2008, during the tenure of former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Council member David Catania (I-At Large) said that he intends to find out why …

Continue reading New calls to probe cheating allegations in Washington under Rhee »

Atlanta’s grades on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ at odds with CRCT cheating scandal

Marshall S. Smith is a former under-secretary in the U. S. Department of Education. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, he served from 1993 to 2000.

Prior to his appointment as Under Secretary, Smith was a professor of education and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Previously, he was an associate professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he also served as the Director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Smith earned both a master’s (1963) and a doctoral (1970) degree in measurement and statistics from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

In this guest column, he discusses an oddity of the APS cheating scandal: The system was showing notable progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is known as the Nation’s Report Card. It wasn’t that Atlanta was leading the nation, but its progress was significant.

When we have discussed this in the …

Continue reading Atlanta’s grades on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ at odds with CRCT cheating scandal »

Mark Elgart: Accreditation means a quality, standardized education

Dr. Mark Elgart is the founding president and CEO of AdvancED, the parent organization for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement  as well as the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Northwest Accreditation Commission, headquartered in Alpharetta.

By Mark Elgart

School accreditation is an honor, a mark of distinction as well as an acknowledgement that the education offerings of a school, school system, college or university meet standards, benchmarks and performance criteria in the advancement of student achievement. In the United States, for K-12 schools, accreditation is also completely voluntary, and all accrediting agencies are selected and invited to review and accredit by the school or school system seeking or maintaining that accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was founded in 1895 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. SACS …

Continue reading Mark Elgart: Accreditation means a quality, standardized education »

Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted.

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

PBS education reporter John Merrow writes about the erasure analyses, clear evidence of cheating and concealment of that evidence.

No, he is not writing about Atlanta Public Schools and former Superintendent Beverly Hall. He is writing about Washington, D.C., and former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Merrow questions why the strong evidence of cheating in the District of Columbia Public Schools — revealed now in a confidential memo — was not followed up as it was in Atlanta, and puts the blame on Rhee.

He says an inexperienced and ambitious Rhee arrived in Washington and imposed a  “Produce or Else” reform model. He notes that Rhee met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a signed guarantee of exactly how many points their test scores would increase.

Rhee has become a national leader in education and holds great sway with state Legislatures, including here in Georgia. She is winning converts to the …

Continue reading Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted. »

Do weaker math students end up with weaker teachers?

math (Medium)We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing the under performance of Georgia students in math.

We’ve debated the controversial and now abandoned math reforms introduced by former state school chief Kathy Cox, which stumbled in part because teachers were not adequately trained. We’ve talked about whether the problem owes to what’s being taught or who’s teaching it

Here’s some fodder to further our debate. Education Week has an interesting piece on new research on math instruction and teacher assignments. Please read the full piece in Ed Week before commenting.

An excerpt:

In many schools in the United States, students struggling the most in mathematics at the start of high school have the worst odds of getting a qualified teacher in the subject, new research finds. Succeeding in freshman-level mathematics is critical for students to stay on track to high school graduation, with students who make poor grades in math in 8th and 9th grades more likely to leave school …

Continue reading Do weaker math students end up with weaker teachers? »

How two South Georgia districts ended segregated proms: Lessons from Turner and Montgomery counties

Update Friday: Better Georgia, a self-described progressive advocacy group, asked Gov. Nathan Deal to take a public stand supporting the efforts of four Wilcox County High School seniors to hold an integrated prom in a community where segregated private proms have been the tradition.

The group was disappointed with his response to its request, which addressed who was asking — Better Georgia — rather than the issue of the prom itself.

It sent out this statement today:

According to a report from Macon’s largest television station, 13 WMAZ, the governor’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, said Deal “won’t take sides” because “this is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.”

Better Georgia is an independent, non-partisan organization and is not affiliated with any political party. The progressive advocacy group has challenged all Georgia elected officials to publicly support the students of …

Continue reading How two South Georgia districts ended segregated proms: Lessons from Turner and Montgomery counties »

State moves away from using test scores to assess schools but moves closer to using them for teachers

crcted.0920 (Medium)Since we are talking about standardized testing related to the teacher letter in an earlier blog today, I want to share a good AJC piece by my colleague Nancy Badertscher.

I recommended some experts for the story and am glad to see two of them in the piece.

My only caveat to the views expressed by State School Superintendent John Barge about an over reliance on testing: While Georgia may be de-emphasizing test scores in its assessments of schools, it is about to start emphasizing those same scores in its assessment of teachers.

So, I am not sure we have changed the game plan in any meaningful way.

Here is an excerpt: (Please note that this story is part of the AJC’s new premium site, MyAJC.com, which is free through mid May. Take a look at the full story and the nifty new site.)

John Barge was working in Bartow County Schools when a high school student had a panic attack trying to pass the graduation test and a fourth-grader became so stressed taking the CRCT he drew blood …

Continue reading State moves away from using test scores to assess schools but moves closer to using them for teachers »