Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crawling the Web March 25th

Real reform in this area would involve creating small enough classes that allow teachers to forge relationships with their students’ families and share actual examples of student work, and giving families the time and tools they need to actually make sense of their individual student’s strengths and needs– rather than faulty graphs and percentages that mislead (or even intimidate) credulous parents into a certain course of action (or, more likely, inaction).
"An 18 year-old special needs child (but someone who still apparently had to pass one of the January tests) just kept looking at the test and putting his head on the desk. (My husband was a proctor in the room.) The student asked his teacher (a new teacher of 2 years), "Miss XXXXX - am I stupid?"" 

This Atlanta newspaper article explores high stakes testing that by design is unfair.  This leads schools to try to cheat to improve their scores.  Again, this article contends that if a school improves they get flagged for cheating.  The test is designed for schools to fail.

'A Test You Need to Fail': A Teacher's Open Letter to Her 8th Grade Students  Over at Failing Schools, we’ve spent a lot of time unpacking overused, mis-used and deceptively-used terms that tend to pollute discussions of education policy rather than improving them.
Instead of making the discussion easier to understand and participate in, these terms are intentionally used by certain speakers as a way of disarming listeners, either by pushing them to implicitly agree with the speaker, or to lead a listener to assume they know more than they really do about a given issue (thereby stopping them from seeking new information that could disrupt that assumption, and/or leading them to take action based on faulty information).
See the list at the website listed above.
Tell me how you can examine my skills and talents and attribute worth to them without knowing me, my class, or my curriculum requirements.
Tell me how and I will tell you:
How the year for which you have data was the year that two of my students were so wracked by fear of deportation, depression and sleep deprivation from nightmares, that they could barely sit still and often fought with other students. How they became best of friends by year end. How one of them still visits me every September.
How that year most of my students worked harder than ever, (despite often being referred to as “the low class” or “lower level” within earshot of them), 
How that year many of my students vaulted from a first to third and fourth grade reading levels but still only received a meaningless “1” on their report cards because such growth is not valued by our current grading system.
"...charter chains would prefer national standards... This would allow them to use prepackaged curricula across their charter outlets no matter the location...for dummied down standardized curriculum keeps costs down and the dispensation is formulaic and repetitive. This is the Walmart model of education." 

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