"What we could have done with the work of Hanushek and others is use it to identify effective teachers for the purpose of understanding their practices well enough to codify them and replicate them at scale. In other words, we could have developed a craft of teaching that can itself be taught. Instead, we settled for No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and the testing “lunacy” Blackmon decries."
No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies are accountability focused. Their ultimate aim is to ascertain whether tax payers are getting a bang for their bucks. Failure to extract best teacher practices from results of tests mandated by these policies is really an indictment of school administrators who have a teacher development responsibility. It is also an indictment of those in higher education responsible for teacher preparation.posted @ Monday, October 27, 2014 - 07:04
Your sarcasm is noted.
"...standardized tests are flawed if they do not test what has been taught."
You have admitted not looking into the matter but do not hesitate to register an opinion on it. As a former teacher who professes knowledge you know better but do it anyway. If you want to enhance your understanding assert less and question more.
It is clear I cannot sway you on this one so we will have to agree to disagree.posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 16:49
@dahreese: "I think Myra has a point, and speaks from her perspective as a volunteer in the classroom - as well as being a parent and daughter of a teacher."
That is your opinion and you are entitle to it. However, being a classroom volunteer, a parent, and daughter of a teacher do not provide the knowledge requirements necessary to understand what makes a test flawed. They provide a base for opinions, not necessarily informed and enlightened ones.
I am a former teacher (at graduate level) with a terminal degree, parent, know something about test and measurements, as well as married to a veteran teacher of 40 years and do not feel qualified to assert that a particular test is flawed without careful study of its relevance, methodology and validity.
Not once has Blackmon written a piece explaining the need for and justification of accountability in public schools. Why? The answer is obvious.posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 12:30
I am at the computer more than usual today because of the weather, which explains my ready response.
We usually agree on public policy matters so I will try to enhance your perspective on this matter. The argument that high stakes testing encourages teaching to the tests is weak on its face. Teaching to the test is motivated more by a desire for the tangible reward or recognition than the facilitation of learning.
I agree that some in the reform movement have unfairly placed too much blame on teachers. Some of it is due to political posturing, and some is attributed to administrative ineptness within and among the public school structure. Student/parent also bear some responsibility. That said, Blackmon's drivel on the subject matter is constricted by an apparent inability to recognized and acknowledge the need for more accountability from public school educators, teachers and administrators alike.
Instead of suggesting more effective use of test results Blackmon constantly laments about those behind the reform movement. Constantly making weak attacks against test designers and publishers,as well as questioning the motive of those in the reform movement who have a different perspective than she does.posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 10:23
@autumnlark: "The rest(of my comments) make no sense to most people who actually work in schools."
Quite a generalization! Either you do no like or understand what I said...neither render my comments meaningless.
A goodly number of people in public school education do not embrace the drivel Ms. Blackmon has been spewing about testing for quite some time now. It is irresponsible to make general claims that tests are flawed without demonstrating how. Even more, it is irresponsible to claim that tests are invalid because they do not measure what you think they ought to measure and because of a failure to make effective use of their results.posted @ Monday, October 13, 2014 - 07:58
"Both programs(No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top) have proved to be deeply flawed, rendering them virtually useless in actually improving teaching and learning."
"Improving teaching and learning" is not their aim. The better teachers and administrators can and do make effective use of test results.
"A great deal of testing data today comes either in aggregate form for the class, the school or the district and makes it impossible to use for diagnosing the needs of specific children."
For the most part, individual student test results are available upon request.
"High-stakes testing is not about measuring “student growth” or helping teachers do a better job."
The burden of using test results to facilitate student learning rests with teachers and administrators, as it should be.
Increasingly, your comments on this subject matter are not only circular, they are getting more and more elementary.posted @ Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 22:40
Teacher Keys "requires that half of a teacher’s evaluation score be based on standardized test scores."
The learning process is a shared responsibility between student and teacher, for which the latter gets paid. Test scores not only make a statement about the student, they also say something about teacher performance.
Teacher Keys "requires that districts create and test student learning outcomes, taking time away from teaching and learning."
The same could be said about tests administered by teachers.
"these tests are little more than a measure of poverty." Quite an assertion with no basis in fact. How do you explain the fact that a goodly number of students excel in spite of their poverty situation?
Your assertion that Teacher Keys test "is not used effectively to improve teaching in our classrooms" is quite an indictment of teachers, principals and others in the management structure because effective teachers and administrators should know how to make qualitative use of such information.
"There is no doubt in my mind that teachers in Clarke County and across the state are committed to improving learning opportunities for our children."
So are the accountability advocates.posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 07:47
"Politicians have the responsibility to provide sufficient funds for children in all public schools to receive an equal and adequate education."
They also have the responsibility of making sure that taxpayers are getting a bang for their bucks, which has not been the case.posted @ Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 18:00
@nowheregirl: "Maybe "content of character" needs explaining to our younger generation."
It also needs to be explained to some commentators on this board.posted @ Monday, August 25, 2014 - 19:01
@grove600: "Yes, that perception is cast upon individuals we haven't met before, but that's the fault of the facts of prior history, and not any animosity or bias against that individual."
Do you want to be judged based upon the actions of your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins?posted @ Monday, August 25, 2014 - 07:39
You really need to do a serious examination of some of what you are for… “Teachers should not be held accountable for outside influences on children’s learning, accountability measures that aren’t punitive, but rather serve as diagnostic measures to help schools improve. I am for more flexibility and much less testing.”
Should teachers be held accountable for their impact on learning? There are people in the teaching business that simply should not be there, which is why accountability demands a punitive component. How much “less testing” and what alternatives do you propose to ascertain whether aggregate learning goals are being met?
With authority comes responsibility. One hundred percent local funding exempts school systems from federal and state mandates.
Grady L. Cornishposted @ Sunday, August 10, 2014 - 08:29
"But even in those simpler times, Mr. Gatlin couldn’t make us learn anything. What he did was make us want to learn. I’m not quite sure how he accomplished that feat, except he loved his job and loved us and we loved him. We still do."
Knowledge of subject matter, effective teaching methods, job and student love are still effective.posted @ Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 00:19
"Jody Hice is not a perfect person, just as other candidates and leaders are not perfect. However, at least Hice knows what he believes, why he believes it, and he has an infallible resource to guide him in his decisions. He understands the biblical worldview upon which our nation was founded. He also understands, just as the Founding Fathers understood, that without accountability, men and women will drift away from doing what is right to doing what benefits themselves. We never seem to drift in the right direction."
Quite an endorsement. However, you are too adamant with your assertion about what Hice believes and understands. In fact, you only know what he says he believes. Should he get elected only time will tell what Hice believes and understands.posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 09:26
The substance of this piece is about medical marijuana. Because he is history and will have no impact on Congressional action on the matter, I am curious about why you chose the Paul Broun, Jr. caption? Just trying to better understand what goes into the decision making of a reporter.posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 09:09
Republicans in Georgia have made a strong statement...we are tired of the obstructionism. All of the incumbents for the nomination for US Senator from Georgia lost...Kingston, Gingrey, Broun,Jr. Hice, a newcomer, beat Collins, an experienced politician. What a statement.
Are there similar trends around the country?posted @ Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 09:44
The Athens Banner Herald should use its unique position to inform readers about the candidates, what they have done and what they want to do in the jobs they seek, as well as the issues that are critical to the future of our community and state. It should stop giving instruction about who to vote for. Not only does it diminish credibility, readers do not adhere to the suggestions for the most part.
Grady L. Cornishposted @ Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 22:32
Republican politics on the issue of Common Core are interesting and contradictory. Perdue could not stand the pressure and has changed his position. Local control and anti Obama are the rallying cry on this issue.
The interesting thing about the responses of both candidates is no to Common Core without offering of a reasonable and doable alternative for improving reading and math scores. Both are playing to the status quo crowd. Well, I would too if I thought that is all voters expected or wanted from me. A sad commentary.
The run off ads of both candidates are elementary in content and offensive to any voter who does his or her homework on the issues and the candidates.posted @ Monday, July 7, 2014 - 22:11
@The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald:
Certain requirements have to be satisfied by the State Board of Education, which I am sure Clarke County School System is in the process of doing. Once its complete there should be answers to the excellent questions you are raising.
By the way, I am retired and in no way connected to the school system. I support the alternative to the status quo, which has not produced a desired result in student achievement.posted @ Monday, July 7, 2014 - 16:06
@jimgeiser3: "Regardless of your feelings about charter schools--this is simply more of the same."
Charter schools are quite a departure from status quo in that they are goal driven, e.g., a commitment to improve reading and math scores by a defined amount. If the goals are not met, the entire school system is held accountable, including the Board of Education.posted @ Monday, July 7, 2014 - 16:00
@The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald:
I encourage you to read up on charter schools. One good feature is that they are accountability driven. Based upon my read, answers to the information you desire are in the formulation process.posted @ Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 21:32
@jtsim: "It seems like everyday we read about someone getting called out on something they said, tweeted, or posted on facebook."
Its called social transformation. In other words, society is redefining what is socially acceptable and what is not.posted @ Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 17:05
@TeeWee: "The concept of affirmative action and the way the concept was applied did great harm which is why years later Courts have generally struck down quota systems as a way to obtain equality."
You are correct, race based affirmative action had a harmful effect but so did slavery and segregation, which were also race based. It can be effectively argued that, unlike slavery and segregation, affirmative action also had a remediation effect, in that it was a time limited policy designed to correct past wrongs.posted @ Saturday, July 5, 2014 - 15:07
@TeeWee: Affirmative action is a constitutionally based concept birthed out of America’s history and it dictates that the nation must not only declare but also take affirmative steps to ensure an equal opportunity society. Like emancipation, segregation, illegal discrimination and integration, it is another among a series of policy passages in America’s quest for equal opportunity. Affirmative action emerged as a tool to remedy the subjugation of racial and ethnic minorities and of women. It was aimed at ending entrenched illegal discrimination.
Executive Orders, not the laws mentioned in this article, have been the main tools for implementing affirmative action. The first was issued in 1941 by President Roosevelt, which, among other things, prohibited discrimination against African Americans by defense contractors. President Kennedy’s 1961 Executive Order mandated that federal contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” President Johnson’s 1965 Executive Order, which added women two years later, mandated that all federal contractors take affirmative steps to recruit, hire and promote more minorities.
Preference initiatives or race based affirmative action, on the other hand, are affirmative action strategies that use racial or gender preference in hiring practices, job promotions, college admissions, and business opportunities. This strategy shift occurred with the issuance of President Nixon’s 1970 Executive Order. It required all government contractors with fifty or more employees who received at least $50,000.00 in federal funds to carry out affirmative action plans for achieving a proportional representation of minorities in the workforce. The primary aim of this shift was to accelerate the remediation of entrenched discrimination. Nixon’s Executive Order spurred similar ones at the state and local levels.
Although the policy never enjoyed widespread support, experience with its preference or race based feature moved reaction to it from tolerance to a court challenge. The courts have held that there is no compelling public interest in considering race as a automatic means of correcting past discrimination.
The prejudice factor must be considered in any and all efforts to answer the question of whether affirmative action is still necessary. It has been defined as “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” Prejudice is not always about dislike or hate, it is equally driven by like or a predisposition for the like minded, like looking, or familiar. All humans are possessed with this frailty. This more expansive view of prejudice recognizes it as a predisposition that causes actions which thwart equal opportunity. Because it is a human frailty it will always pose a threat to equal opportunity. Ergo, the continuing need to detect and interdict the adverse effects of prejudice makes affirmative action a necessary tool for ensuring an equal opportunity society.posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 02:31
@TeeWee: " With this also brought a legalised form of discrimination called Affirmative Action."
You are incorrect! This is was a race neutral law that was aimed at ending affirmative action for whites. The quota system was instituted by Executive Order by President Nixon in 1972. Its purpose was to root out the remaining vestiges of discrimination and based upon the notion of correcting pass wrongs against the affected groups of American citizens.posted @ Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 21:03
@TeeWee: " With this also brought a legalised form of discrimination called Affirmative Action."
You are incorrect! This is was a race neutral law that was aimed at ending affirmative action for whites. The quota system was instituted by Executive Order by President Nixon in 1972. Its purpose was to root out the remaining vestiges of discrimination and based upon the notion of correcting pass wrongs against the affected groups American citizens.posted @ Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 21:03
Summary: I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. read more
As you might imagine, the vast majority of the editorial cartoons available these days for publication through the syndicate which supplies cartoons to the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens are addressing the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white police officer has touched off a number of demonstrations -- some peaceful, but many not at all peaceful, with tear gas fired by police officers and gunshots fired by some protester. read more