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Milestones online student testing system crashes in test run

@drdonna: so much more to it than that.

posted @ Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 14:04

Blackmon: Surveys, tests don't illuminate real issues in education

I completely agree Myra and Rita, spot on! What continues to confuse me about Myra is how she can feel this way about inept accountability reforms and then turn around and defend Lanoue for pushing us further down that path and also support the charter conversion which will also further push us into this "phony" accountability nightmare.
Liza Jackson
Those who would like to be part of the local education conversation can join us here:

posted @ Sunday, January 11, 2015 - 16:44

Georgia official says teachers need more training

Well you know, if the standards/assessments aren't working it couldn't possibly be that they are poorly written or over burdensome, could it? Throwing out the nonsense is just not profitable like assessments and the ruse of "teacher training". We can't have the kids profiting emotionally and academically from what really works like hands on experience for teachers, nothing in that for politicians and corporations is there?

posted @ Friday, January 9, 2015 - 21:15

School HQ move could turn into bigger redevelopment

Lol, that's funny..."Bernard Downing" calling out people for not using their real name. I have no problem with people knowing who I am. My name is Liza Jackson and I have said so in comments before many times. If someone can tell me how to change my screen name i will happily do it. Ok, please enlighten us as to why the middle years program is not useless? We do not have the high school program in which kids actually get CHOOSE whether to participate or not and actually get HOPE credit and a special diploma, we have the middle years program. They gain nothing from it. It is humanist theology sponsored by UNESCO that should not be forced upon kids, nothing more. All that money going to the swiss government every single year! Meanwhile we cut nurses, counselors, paras, and libraries. And yes, when a newspaper article tries to portray the CCSD as doing this project because they care so deeply about the black history of this part of town then it is actually very key to mention that a black school board member made it very clear that the poor minorities in this town are none of her concern. There is no good in this article or in much that the administration is doing to our kids, that fact that you continue to protect them and ignore it is what is sad. We are going to need a whole lot more than luck to get out of this reform nightmare. Soon we will be a charter system, and when we are labeled as failing to meet the charter agreement we will become a recovery district just like Louisiana. Sad indeed.

posted @ Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 23:51

School HQ move could turn into bigger redevelopment

Yep, should have reused the building in the first place instead of letting it sit there and get run down. Unfortunately if they do bank roll a bunch of money by selling off the Mitchell Bridge road property it will not go into things truly needed for the school district that will also be helpful to that area of town and the will just go to more wasteful spending on things like one to one technology and the IB middle years program. Did you know the district spends over 200k PER YEAR EVERY YEAR on that useless IB program? Did you know they spent 400k in title I funds on one to one technology for just 4 schools last year? What that non-profit is doing with the community garden is awesome, I hate to see that pushed out but I know that will happen as well. One black school board member actually told me face to face that it was not her job to wage a war on poverty and that I should not be concerned with it either, I should just take my privileged children and go join some clubs or something.

posted @ Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 11:19

State Rep. Spencer Frye earns UGA degree, gets legislative perspective

Good, maybe it will also help him reconsider what constitutes "merit" for the HOPE scholarship these days. Many kids who work hard for their good grades in on level classes often work harder than those in the advanced classes. I've seen that in my own three children. I am certainly proud of my son who is number 7 in his class with a 4.3 GPA, 6 college credits, 2150 SAT, and 4 AP classes but he will be the first to tell you he hasn't worked near as hard for that as he has for his music or near as hard as his siblings have worked for their good grades in lower level classes. I don't think he has even ever studied for a test. To me "merit" is doing your own personal best and challenging yourself in something you are passionate about. We don't need to be "well rounded" to the point that we are ok at everything and excellent at nothing. We should be encouraging kids to focus on their strengths and to perfect their passions. Also, he seemed to be pretty successful BEFORE he got that college degree. I agree we need to fix the costs of college to make it more accessible but we also need to stop allowing a society that deems a college degree necessary for every job. So many jobs need no more than on the job training. Companies need to be put back on the hook for training employees rather then forcing them into expensive degrees in which most of the classes have absolutely nothing to do with the job. Perhaps every legislator should be made to go back to school and take today's standardized tests so they can gain more perspective. Kudos to Spencer!

posted @ Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 10:40

Blackmon: Time to rise up against student testing regimen

Yes! Bravo, I agree 100%!! So can we count on you opting your children out this year Bertis? I have one question though, if everything you say here is true....why support the move to a charter system which will create MORE accountability through a bigger emphasis on this inept testing system and reliance on data collection?

posted @ Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 09:26

Blackmon: Don't whitewash American history in schools

Yep, I agree with Myra on this one. There is a war for the minds of our children going on between the elites who want fascism (Glenn Beck and his Black Robe Regiment, CWA, APP and many other conservative groups pretending to fight so hard against CCSS yet pushing the charter/voucher movement) and the elites who want socialism/Communism (Coleman the one trying to rewrite AP history with a "whitewash" against anything positive in American history or Christianity, Gates the eugenicist). And both are being supported by their respective politicians and mega corporations. You'll notice the thing they have in common is that they both discourage civil disobedience. More convinced everyday I did the right thing pulling my daughter to homeschool.

posted @ Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 07:07

Clarke school board adopts resolution critical of teacher evaluation plan

This is a very good step in the right direction and after 2 years of expressing my concerns to the board and Lanoue I am very happy to see this! Now if parents would step up to the plate and refuse the tests for their children as I did we could see a real movement in getting rid of outcome based education and useless high stakes testing. Now, all that being the back door here. Clarke County is going for a "Charter System" (totally different from Charter Schools). A Charter System is a public school taking federal funds but doing its own thing. Sound good? It would be if there goal were really local control. The Clarke County School Board is making decisions based on Board Governance (control) and digital CURRICULUM that makes oversight by parents and concerned citizens difficult if not impossible to stay on top of. They are spending all of our title I funds on one to one technology. If they were truly against this high stakes environment they would not be drawing up a charter petition that will lock us into more state board accountability which relies even heavier on horribly written standardized tests. And what happens if we don't meet the risk in the new HIGHER accountability charter contract held by the state board? That's right, we lose our schools. There is another side to this coin. Be on guard.

posted @ Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 16:47

Georgia system to grade teachers 'paralyzing,' Lanoue says

@bertisdowns: talk is cheap. time to take action. the biggest and quickest weapon we have is for parents to opt their children out and yet Lanoue says we shouldn't do that. He also says he wants less testing mandates and at the same time is pushing us into a higher high stakes testing accountability model through the charter which is it? Either he is for it or against it. Time is running out for our kids and simply "saying" I don't like testing just isn't enough anymore.

posted @ Monday, September 8, 2014 - 20:40

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

[quote][b]myra blackmon[/b] - @The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald: Those measure--graduation rate, literacy, SAT scores--are what must be included in the goals, along with others. I do not believe this is a "new product line," but a new operating system. I do not believe it will go down in flames, not by a long shot. If we don't like the results, we can elect a different school board. That's where the ultimate accountability lies.

If it goes down in flames, and it will because we are being set up to fail, it will be the teachers and students who lose, not the school board or Dr. Lanoue.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:36

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

[quote][b]myra blackmon[/b] - @jimgeiser3: Jim, We start with a fundamental disagreement. I do not believe our system of education is fundamentally broken. I believe it is simply a reflection of the ills of our society. A new system can't fix that.

Unless it is a charter system, right? Again, you contradict yourself. You say you fundamentally disagree with Jim Geiser and yet here you sit, promoting a charter system.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:32

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

[quote][b]myra blackmon[/b] - @The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald: The district is in the process of writing those goals. When they are done, I hope there will be a public meeting (or several) to discuss them. I shall certainly write about them. They are part of the charter contract and must be approved by the local school board and the State Department of Education.

There better be a public meeting, actually two, or they will be in violation of the law.
"§ 20-2-2063.2. Charter systems
(a) The state board shall be authorized to
enter into a charter with a local board to
establish a local school system as a charter system.
(b) A local board seeking to create a charte
r system must submit a petition to the state
board. Prior to submitting such pe
tition, the local board shall:
(1) Adopt a resolution approving
the proposed charter system petition;
(2) Conduct at least two public hearings a
nd provide notice of the hearings in the same
manner as other legal notices
of the local board; and
(3) Send a notice to each pr
incipal within the local school system of the hearings with
instructions that each school
shall distribute the notice to
faculty and instructional staff
members and to the parent or guardian
of each student enrolled in the school."

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:30

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

@dahreese: I don't think you truly understand cut scores. The new cut score this past year for the CRCT was 48%. If you don't know what that means, Peg does a great job explaining it in this video starting about 22 minutes in: is the spread sheet for the cut scores since 2010: This is the largest decrease yet.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:23

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

Myra, what you say you "want" for our children and what you support continue to contradict each other. You can not say you are for a charter system but against current reforms when a charter system simply drills those bad reforms much much deeper. I am growing weary of your input with no real research to back it up. You sound just like the rest of the reformers...from both parties. And same goes for you Bertis, talk is cheap but when will you stand up for your LOCAL teachers and voice your concerns on a LOCAL level? When will you hold the LOCAL board and Lanoue to the same standards you hold other politicians and public servants? When will you come out of hiding and take a stand LOCALLY by opting out your own child from the tests your claim to be so harmful? Don't act like you care about our neighborhood schools and kids if you aren't willing to actually do something about it. It is highly offensive and I am tired of it.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:05

Blackmon: Community is key for charter school system

This article is most certainly more of the same "feel good" rhetoric spewed by school reformers. We already have all the community partnerships (ie, WIT, PTA/PTO for each school, Communities in Schools, federation of neighborhoods, tutoring programs, PAB for each school, ELECTED school councils for EACH school, UGA, Athens Tech, and ELECTED school board, just to name a few) we can handle and none of them require us going to a "charter system" to make them work. We do NOT need ANOTHER governing board for each school. What Ms. Blackmon and Dr. Lanuoe fail to mention here is the the "risk" involved is offering up our school district to an UNELECTED form of local governing in exchange for higher accountability in standardized test scores. Who holds the charter? The state of GA. Who appoints the governing council for the charter? The state school board. Who APPOINTS the state school board? The Governor. The new "local" governing boards for each school will only have so called "input", they will not have any authority over the rules of the Charter agreement. Then, what happens if we don't meet the "risks" involved in signing a charter with new higher accountability rules based on student scores on horribly written tests that are based on horribly written standards (which we already KNOW is a joke because the way data is conveniently played around with using things like cut scores and bonus points)? We lose the charter and all the state/federal funding that is being dangled in our faces (not even a promise of more funding btw, just a possibility of maybe a million dollars) to get us to sign the stupid charter in the first place.What happens when the measly little funding being offered up from the state and federal level isn't enough to sustain this new level of computerized testing, massive SLDS data base, and one to one technology? You guessed it, WE ARE BEING SET UP TO FAIL so we can just sign away more ELECTED power for more federal dollars and more unelected state control and federal control. I'm done having Dr. Lanoue and reformers "experiment" on and take "risks" with MY children. Go experiment on your own children and leave mine out of it. Ms. Blackmon out to be ashamed of herself. For someone who claims to be against the high stakes tests that are harmful and abusive to our children and teachers she sure is quick to support policies and people who do what she claims to be against. Also, still waiting for her to publish the research she claims to have done, in her previous article, which leads her to support of Lanoue in moving us to a charter system. Here is the actual GA law that shows just exactly what moving to a charter system means. Read for yourself.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 11:29

Blackmon: Charter system option will foster sense of community

Exactly, what we need is more teachers and paras for smaller class sizes. Plain and simple. We can and do foster community without becoming a charter system. It is the same mentality that says we need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on IB to integrate subjects and create socially conscious, well rounded children. We already have elected School Councils, PAB, PTO/PTA, the neighborhood federation, WIT, Communities in Schools, family engagement specialists, mentor programs and on and on....Do we really need another school level council of parents and community members? Do we really need to trade half of our governing authority for stricter testing accountability measures and more state governance with more strings attached funding? The charter system offers very slight changes and those changes are in governance and accountability which are not in our favor. I'm sure Dr. Lanoue really wants to do what is best but he needs to realize by now that jumping through hoops for measly amounts of strings attached funding never actually puts the money where it needs to go. While the elected board "might" have more flexibility with local funding the state board (and now the new school-level...remember school-level does not mean local...governing boards of the charter) will have control over how and where the state and federal grants are spent. Those grants will be used to specifically to target the new more rigorous (don't you love that word?) accountability measures that will be put in place by the charter contract. If we lose the charter, we lose that money...which there isn't even a guarantee of any additional funding (I just love how they throw around words like "might" and "could" to make things sound so nice). So....we may be stuck with more unfunded mandates. And what if we don't measure up to the new accountability standards outlined in the charter? We lose the charter and then what? Too much risk here imo...too much.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 09:44

Barreca: Can education truly be measured?

Excellent article. The fact is OBE is meant to make children and teachers conform to the human capital/workforce model or fail. Plain and simple.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 08:50

Blackmon: Charter system option will foster sense of community

The key Myra is, as quoted from your previous piece on the charter issue, "It offers more control over curriculum, spending and approaches to instruction at the school level, it spreads the decision-making among parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders. It shares the current decision-making authority of the superintendent with people at the school level. More local people will be deciding exactly how our tax dollars will be used in our own schools." This is not what you think it is. Just because THEY (the new APPOINTED governing board) will be required to "hear" input does not mean we will have any more "say" in what goes on. This was exactly the issue we had with SB167 and Amendment 1 was it not? That we would be giving up more control for more testing accountability and federal/state strings attached funding? What we will have is and elected board that is just for show and nothing more. There will be a "school-level (which does not mean local btw) governing board" and a " school-level governing council" (which is supposed to be made up of local parents and teachers) in a charter system. I cannot find anywhere where it says this governing council will be elected. The governing board is "responsible for ensuring the contract is implemented and upheld", the council is merely "involved in governance"...and we all know what that means. I would love if you could elaborate on your "deeper research" of other charter systems. If you are going to reference your own studies as a reason in newspaper articles to support charters then I feel like you should be able to supply the research to go with it. Plus Dr. Lanoue will not answer my emails but he seems to have no trouble answer yours even though you are not a parent of children in CCSD. I think it would be wise for him to have a community forum on such a huge change. If he truly cared about community input he would do a better job at having open discussions WITH the community. We have not had a community forum since Amendment 1 (which was not even set up by him or the board, it was put on by the PTA) and there have been equally or even bigger changes since that issue. In fact he is legally bound to have 2 community panel discussions on this BEFORE submitting the petition to become a charter system. § 20-2-2063.2 I know of several Madison county parents who have not seen any positive changes from becoming a charter district. In fact they had a much harder time with the opting out of testing than I did here in Clarke. Also it easy to see how bad the charter systems are working for other states like LA and NY.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 08:15

Blackmon: Charter option makes sense for Clarke schools

There is no point in having control over the how if the outcome is predetermined for everyone. Teachers will teach to the test even more and if they don't they will be replaced with technology and TFA...heck they may be replaced anyway cause they cost too much. This is the key "It offers more control over curriculum, spending and approaches to instruction at the school level. It spreads the decision-making among parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders. It shares the current decision-making authority of the superintendent with people at the school level. More local people will be deciding exactly how our tax dollars will be used in our own schools." This is not what you think it is. Just because THEY (the new APPOINTED governing councils) will be required to "hear" input does not mean we will have any more "say" in what goes on. The real question is who appoints the councils and who the appointees will be. What we will have is and elected board that is just for show and nothing more. I don't mean any disrespect but for someone who is so against losing control to legislators you sure are very willing to give control to the Governor and state board (who will be doing the appointing)....who all support the very reforms we are trying to fight. Moving to a charter loosens where we don't need it to and further tightens where it already is strangling us.

posted @ Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 11:50

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

@MyraBlackmon: This charter move is everything you hated and warned about with SB167. It will solidify the bad reforms and unelected governance for good. Please read the stuff I posted here and in the Clarke County facebook group.
- Liza

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:56

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

It is all part of the reform plan.

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:37

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

@Hawaii Five O: Yes, it will strip them of their power, which they didn't have much of anymore anyway. It is happening all over GA.
Moving to a charter district is NOT a good idea. "Teachers, parents, and local school boards work with a local governing board and a strict set of accountability standards from the State Board of Education" The local governing Board will be APPOINTED, NOT ELECTED, by the State Board of Education...whom is NOT ELECTED either but APPOINTED by the Governor. Both choices we have for Governor in November here in GA support Common Core and other current educational reforms such as HST, TFA, Career Clusters,TKES, SLDS and on and on. They are using the word "local" as a distraction here but what they are doing completely eliminates any say the "local" school boards, teachers, and parents have in governance.

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:35

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

This will lead to TFA and technology teaching our children. This is not a good move but it is the plan for all school districts.

posted @ Friday, June 27, 2014 - 12:54

Mandatory overtime ordered for Georgia child-safety agency

@electroman: As a mother of 3 children in public schools, someone who grew up in foster care, and a daycare provider and tell you with %100 certainty that you are correct. They have been working for years to create a crisis in education and child care by reducing funding and staff so they can swoop in and privatize they plan to do the same with the foster care system. It is disturbing to say the least. Fran Millar has sponsored and passed a bill to privatize foster care. He also supports the RTTT and CCSS efforts. He is secretary to the Health and Human Services Committee and a member of the Education and Youth and Rules committees. People have no idea what they are up to....

posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 13:25

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