Here’s a report from inside the LAPUSD (Los Angeles public schools), concerning the realities of math instruction there. And by extension, to other parts to the country, which as we know tests poorly for math skills, especially relative to other countries.
This isn’t news per se, as we’ve seen the headlines on bad math results for years and years now. But the author here tries to move us along towards possible improvements, much needed if we are to support STEM improvements overall. Kudos to Joe Hartley, my bro-in-law, for sharing this link to his essay.
I am sure we all know the answer – self-preservation.
A commentary on Obama’s higher ed plan includes the following:
What this leaves undone
As explained above, this doesn’t include important granular data of the kind the Wyden-Rubio bill would mandate released. But it also doesn’t include perhaps the most important data for any rankings system: data on whether students are actually learning.
As New America’s Kevin Carey has often pointed out, schools’ scores on two widely used assessments of student learning — the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) — are rarely made public, even though when they are, the results are frequently quite surprising. “The best Texas university by [the CLA] isn’t the flagship, highly ranked UT-Austin campus,” Carey writes. “The biggest gains are occurring at UT-San Antonio, UT-El Paso, and UT-Permian Basin, all of which are at the bottom of the U.S. News rankings.”
Understandably, schools are terrified about that data getting out. But in a world where individual teachers’ test scores are splayed across the pages of the Los Angeles Times, the fact that even the most basic college learning data is still private is a scandal.
Big education news out of Indiana, where the state’s former schools chief – now Florida’s Commissioner of Education – apparently gamed his own school-rating system:
[Tony Bennett] built his national star by promising to hold “failing” schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature “A-F” school grading system to improve the school’s marks [from an “C” to an “A”].
[Bennett] had spent months (and much political capital) building an A–F accountability system for Indiana’s schools. These systems are as much art as science (more akin to baking cookies than designing a computer), and when they tried out the recipe the first time, it flopped. One of Indiana’s brightest stars, a charter school known to be super high performing, ended up with a C. Clearly, the recipe needed fine tuning.
The whole point of a “charter” public school is strict accountability for results. A “charter” is nothing other than a performance contract. If, as Bennett now claims, the bad grade for his pet school illustrated problems with the scoring system, it should have been discussed publicly after the results were released. I’m a long-time supporter of public school choice (and a bitter, last-ditch opponent of vouchers). But it’s getting to the point where you have to put “charter” in quotations when you are talking about some of these schools, particularly in states where the underlying commitment to public education is lacking.
Look: I believe in outcomes measurement. I believe in accountability. I even believe in school choice. (After all, I live in the jurisdiction of the LA Mummified School District.) What I don’t believe is that the current testing/accountability/choice con artists and racketeering enterprises are going to make things better rather than worse. The cheating is so pervasive that I now see no basis for believing any claimed good result. That’s why Diane Ravitch has switched sides.
You’d have thought that charter schools, like private prisons, could hardly have done worse than their big, clumsy, bureaucratic, union-dominated public competition. But you would have been wrong, twice.
Andrew Ujifusa says the scandal could reverberate nationwide:
Bennett, in his new role as Florida’s education commissioner, the job he landed after losing his 2012 re-election bid in Indiana, recommended a dramatic change to Florida’s A-F accountability system so that no school’s A-F grade will drop by more than one letter in one year for both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. That move encountered some resistance, but won the approval of the state board of education earlier this month. The AP story may create a more difficult political environment for A-F school-grading systems in general and provide ammunition for those who believe the whole concept is flawed.
One of these ubiquitous white papers/ ebooks on various topics… through Training Mag… where we get acquainted with various vendors out there in the workforce development and training space, which I’m curious who’s out there and what they are doing.
Kind of still a parallel universe to conventional educational “circles” but one we forecast is converging with same.
This one on making the transition from understanding the employee (student) and designing an appropriate DLE for them. We know this plan as the Dynamic Learning Plan (DLP).
Liked the idea of peer “appraisal” being involved in the process…
In Gary’s last post on the “fall out” from free education, the writer was concerned about the role of community colleges as partners in economic development.
I’m wondering if assessment-based certificates will help community colleges transition to a new business model. Workforce development at community colleges has long included traditional certificates as well as short continuing education credits.
Providing something in between called an assessment-based certificate would increase revenue for the organization, as a certifying body according to a video by Castle Worldwide.