"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Medley #8: DOE Waivers for NCLB, Tests in Kindergarten, Bill Gates on Philanthropy

Why states should refuse Duncan’s NCLB waivers
If they accept the deal, states will lock in ever more counter-productive educational practices based on the misuse of test scores, including linking teacher evaluation to student scores. Those policies could be hard to dislodge should Congress decide not to endorse Duncan’s “Blueprint” when it eventually does reauthorize the federal law. States that refuse to sign on to Duncan’s reform program, however, will be denied waivers, Duncan said, and will then continue to be subject to the continue the NCLB charade of seeking “100% proficiency” of students in reading and math by 2014. Neither choice will help children or schools.

Kindergarten teacher details ‘lunacy’ of standardized tests for kids
I am spending so much time recording “formative” assessments that I don’t have time to evaluate the meaningful assessments and plan for instruction, much less time to actually teach! I now have to give a total of more than 27,000 check marks or grades for my class of 25 students per year. This is not counting the stars, stickers or smiley faces I put on their work each day.

Bill Gates Reflects on His Philanthropy
[Gates] said that "the educational achievement of K-12 students is not at all predicted by how strong the union rules are." Yet in states where teachers are heavily unionized, like Massachusetts and Minnesota, students post the highest scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation's report card. Conversely, in states such as Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, where virtually no union contracts exist, students have the lowest NAEP scores.
Stu's NOTE: Check out the poverty levels in the states listed above. Massachusetts and Minnesota rank #14 and 4 in the US poverty level (where #1 - New Hampshire - has the least poverty and #51 - District of Columbia - has the greatest level of poverty). Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi rank # 45, 49 and 50 respectively. Gates keeps talking about teacher quality, which, of course, is important, but he and his billionaire cronies don't believe poverty makes a difference.

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