Check out the full Rouge Forum update here.
Reminder: Nominations for the Rouge Forum Steering Committee go to Community Coordinator
Little Red Schoolhouse:
Alfie on Assessments, Goals, and Big Tests: What is its basic conception of assessment? To get a sense of how well things are going and where help is needed, we ought to focus on the actual learning that students do over a period of time—ideally, deep learning that consists of more than practicing skills and memorizing facts. If you agree, then you’d be very skeptical about a program that relies on discrete, contrived, testlike assessments. You’d object to any procedure that seems mechanical, in which standardized protocols like rubrics supplant teachers’ professional judgments based on personal interaction with their students. And the only thing worse than “benchmark” tests (tests in between the tests) would be computerized monitoring tools, which the reading expert Richard Allington has succinctly characterized as “idiotic.”
The Bottomless Pit of Evidence vs High-Stakes Tests (does evidence matter?): Children perform best in exams when teachers are not overly concerned about their test results, according to research published today. Pupils show greater motivation, are better behaved and are more likely to be independent and strategic thinkers when teachers are not obsessed by grades, the study by the Institute of Education found.
Krashen on VAT: Value-added evaluations of teachers assume that higher test scores are always the result of teaching. Not so. Test scores are influenced by other factors. We can generate higher scores by teaching “test preparation” strategies for getting higher scores without students learning anything. We can generate higher scores by testing selectively, making sure that low scorers are not in school the day of the test. And of course we can generate higher scores by direct cheating, sharing information about specific test questions with students. Teachers who prepare students for higher scores on tests of specific procedures and facts are not teaching; they are simply drilling students with information that is often soon forgotten. Moreover, research shows that value-added evaluations are not stable year to year for individual teachers, and that different reading tests will give you different value-added scores for the same teacher. If The Times is serious about helping children, don’t bash teachers, address poverty. American children from high-income families do very well on international tests, but our children of poverty do much worse.
The One-Sided Truth About Value Added Teaching: From the LA Times owner’s perspective, they tell the truth on behalf of important sections of the ruling class, and occasionally those sections fight it out both on the editorial pages and in the rest of the paper too. Within that context of what is really their truth, the value added research “works,” in that it sees school workers (who have always been workers and have been professionals almost only when bosses want educators to make sacrifices) as people whose minds must be stripped; their minds and creativity replaced with the minds of managers as in the common (bourgeoisie) core standards, in other regulated curricula, in high-stakes exams (production quotas), and who must be won to this alienation as a necessity for, on one hand, the chance to keep a job, and on the other hand, for the good of the nation’s kids (future workers and warriors)…
The Lines of Influence in Education Reform (check the link to the draft/chart): Another example is the AFT, the American Federation of Teachers, where Bill Gates gave AFT $3.4M for “teacher quality initiatives” and $217, 200 for AFT conference expenses. See: Did Bill Gates Buy His Podium at the AFT Convention? Sometimes a breakdown of the numbers provides a more clear picture of the power and influence of money. Then there is money “with stipulations” that the Gates Foundation provided to NPR. The purpose of that money is “to support coverage of education issues on NPR programs, including the Morning Edition and All Things Considered”. The amount provided was $750,000. I don’t feel comfortable with that on many levels.
UC Boss Lives Like Czar (Flees Lease): Mr. Yudof, 65, moved with his wife into a 10,000-square-foot, four-story house with 16 rooms, 8 bathrooms and panoramic views. He said he needed the house, which rented for $13,365 a month by the end of the lease and was paid for by U.C., to fulfill his obligation to host functions for staff members, donors and visiting dignitaries.
Mr. Yudof held 23 such functions over a two-year period, according to the university. He also ordered a list of improvements and repairs — including air conditioning and 12 phones — that drove up costs and, according to staff members, tied up university officials in meetings and lengthy negotiations on issues ranging from water bills to gopher eradication.
After the Yudofs vacated the property at the end of June, Brennan Mulligan, the landlord, informed university officials that he intended to keep the U.C.’s $32,100 security deposit. Mr. Mulligan requested an additional $45,000 to cover the repairs for hundreds of holes left from hanging art, a scratched marble bathtub, a broken $2,000 Sivoia window shade and other claims.
WSU’s Tragic Detroit Trajectory–Falls to 4th Tier, then This: Wayne State University is failing its African-American students, graduating fewer than one in 10 while success for their white counterparts is four times higher, according to a report issued this month. The graduation gap between white and black students at WSU is the worst in the nation among public universities, according to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Education Trust.
After Painting School Doors Blue (closing 40, laying off hundreds of teachers) Detroit PS sends 62 page Homework Packages to Students 2 Weeks Before School Opens but 2000 teachers and Dozens of Principals Have No Assignments: Detroit elementary and middle-school students don’t resume classes for two weeks, but they already have homework. Detroit Public Schools announced Monday it will mail 62-page packets of homework this week to 28,650 students in grades three through eight. The packets, which must be finished and turned in the first day of classes, focus on areas in which DPS students have tested poorly.
The initiative is the first time DPS students have been given homework before the start of school, said DPS spokeswoman Kisha Verdusco.
Detroit Foundations Release List of Worst Schools in Detroit (August 25): The first-ever ranking of the city’s public, charter and private schools is being released today in an effort to help parents choose good schools and pressure failing schools to shut down…
listing of schools in the city is produced by Excellent Schools Detroit, a broad coalition that includes Detroit Public Schools, charter school leaders and several foundations. The list is divided in three categories — elementary, middle and high schools — and the schools are ranked based on test scores and other data averaged over a three-year period.
What if There Was a Parade for Schools and Only Fools and Crooks Came? (Cosby pops up waiving his bogus doctorate): Waving from the final float were Mayor Dave Bing, activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, comedian and activist Bill Cosby, and Robert Bobb, the district’s emergency financial manager under whose watch the parade was launched last year…The crowd was fairly thin.
California–No School Funds for September: California will delay paying $2.9 billion of subsidies to schools and counties in September, a month earlier than projected, to save cash amid an impasse that has left the state without a budget for 54 days.
RaTT Saps: The department chose nine states – Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island – and the District of Columbia for the grants (which means that teachers in the “winner states” will suffer, but so will education workers in the “sucker states” which entered the shell game, and lost–States that did not apply are: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Delaware and Tennessee, as Round 1 winners, were not eligible to apply). USE RATT MAP
Obamagogue’s Errand Boy, Duncan, Wants More Data For Merit Pay and Firings: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will call for all states and school districts to make public whether their instructors are doing enough to raise students’ test scores and to share other school-level information with parents, according to a text of a speech he is scheduled to make Wednesday.
SoCal Bans Literature With Help of Teachers and Profs: “The Old Man and the Sea,” “The House on Mango Street,” and “The Great Gatsby” are so last century when it comes to high school English classes in Chula Vista and National City. Once literature-based, English classes throughout the Sweetwater Union High School District — and elsewhere in California — have been revamped in an attempt to better prepare students for college and the real world.
That means reading lists once dominated by the classics now consist of newspaper editorials, historic documents, advertisements and some nonfiction. Assignments no longer dwell on the symbolism in a poem or focus on an entire novel. Instead, they emphasize expository, analytical and argumentative writing.
Developed by professors from the California State University system with help from high school teachers, the new “rhetorical approach” to English was designed to curb the growing number of high school graduates who need remedial instruction in college…the district saw a jump in scores on statewide English tests.
Vita For Professor McClish
Secrets of the Wag-the-Dog CSU Foundations Begin to Leak: California State University officials are concerned that they have erroneously mixed public and private funds in accounting for the foundations that support the system’s 23 campuses, according to a report the California Faculty Association is releasing today.