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DC schools, Michelle Rhee, getting test happy. Increasing testing to 3 or 4 times a year

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 01:28 AM
Original message
DC schools, Michelle Rhee, getting test happy. Increasing testing to 3 or 4 times a year
even for kindergarten students. I guess this will be standardized testing in addition to any other testing that teachers might do at the end of a lesson. High stakes testing is growing by leaps and bounds.

From the WP:

D.C. schools chancellor plans to expand use of standardized tests

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee plans to significantly expand the use of standardized tests so that, eventually, every D.C. student from kindergarten through high school is regularly assessed to measure academic progress and the effectiveness of teachers. The plan, to be phased in beginning in the spring, is certain to reignite debate about what some D.C. parents and teachers already regard as a test-happy culture.

.."It's been a priority for a long time," said Rhee, who is preparing to ask outside firms to submit proposals for developing the tests. "We want to have a much more robust set of assessments, not just in math and reading, but different subjects. As a parent, I want to know on a regular basis how my kids are progressing or not, and have my teachers take a pulse not once a year or four times a year."

School officials declined to discuss the potential cost of the expanded testing before negotiating with vendors.


There is always evaluation in classrooms, daily or weekly quizzes, end of period tests. Portfolios to show progress.

Why do we let the "reformers" get away with inferring there is not enough testing and evaluation?

Some parents are rising up against the culture of high-stakes testing.

Some parents and teachers say that the fixation on tests is sucking the oxygen from basic classroom instruction and other activities that enrich school life, such as field trips.

"They're not learning when they're taking a test," said Mary Melchior, a parent leader at Langdon Education Campus in Northeast, who added that test preparation and testing periods should not count against the 180 legally required days of school. "You're effectively reducing the number of days that kids have in the classroom."

Crystal Sylvia, a social worker at Bruce Monroe Elementary, called her school a "test factory" in a recent essay. During DC CAS and DC BAS periods, an "all-hands-on-deck approach paralyzes the school so that no other important issues or responsibilities can be appropriately addressed," she said.


Rhee has so much power now. A Huffington Post blogger pointed out how much power she holds over the education system in DC.

He listed her criteria:

Her latest gambit might be her wildest. How can someone hire nearly 25% of their work force over the summer and then less than a month into the school year throw up her hands and move to lay so many off?

Here's how:

Step 1: Hire a lot of Teach For America rookies and people who agree with you.

Step 2: Put in place impossible-to-meet standards for teacher performance to make anyone a target for sacking.

Step 3: Announce there has been a budget shock and a reduction in force is unavoidable because of the economic downturn. Pretend you somehow didn't understand in July 2009 how bad our budget situation would be in just two months. The teachers to be reduced will be selected out of those with less than stellar "performance" (and practically everybody will be vulnerable).

Step 4: Get rid of whoever you want, sidestepping due process and remaking the teaching force in your image.

A Hell of a Power Play


Here is more from Dan Brown on Rhee's tactics.

Mass Teacher Layoffs in D.C. Amount To One Hell of a Power Play by Michelle Rhee

This brand of shock therapy is attractive to observers who love words like "bold" and "hard-charging" and assign them to self-styled reformers like Rhee who want fast revolutions. They dismiss voices of caution and defense of existing contracts and due process as defense of the abominable status quo.

.."Rhee's mislaid battle of gutting the union and purging veteran teachers will leave an experience and institutional knowledge vacuum that no quantity of super-caffeinated twenty-two-year-old Yalies can remake. As with any profession, there are some teachers in D.C. who should not be there, but Rhee is moving here to throw out the baby with the bathwater.




Since the start of her tenure, Rhee has followed New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein's lead by repeatedly calling herself a reformer, and trumpeting basic skills standardized test scores as the definitive word on a student's education. To achieve success in this brave new world, autocratic, corporate-style power is crucial. Too many dissenting voices could reveal that the emperor of testing isn't wearing any clothes when it comes to truly supporting students.

Rhee's mass hiring of newbies thankful to have jobs, juxtaposed with an expected mass layoff of veterans who know about how schools should run, takes cold-blooded, short-sighted "reform" to a new level.




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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 02:36 AM
Response to Original message
1. Currently, the D.C. schools do the federal bare minimum.
From the article you cited....

"Some experts say the District's testing calendar is relatively light compared with those of other states, including Maryland and Virginia. "What D.C. has in place right now is the minimum testing required by the feds," said Christopher Swanson, director of the publication Education Week's research center.

The additional tests would cover English language arts and math in kindergarten through second grade, math "pretesting" in third grade before the DC CAS, social studies and science in grades six through eight and core subjects in high school. Officials said none of the high school exams would be high-stakes tests for students, in the manner of the Maryland High School Assessments, a set of exams in English, algebra, biology and government that seniors must pass to graduate."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

I fail to see how additional testing is a bad thing. Do you have any research or empirical data that shows how this testing would be a detriment to the students?
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. "Do you have any research or empirical data that shows how this testing would be a detriment "
Oh, now really. Really. If you have to ask, then you won't understand.

It's really not about testing for learning purposes, it is about testing to cause schools to fail so they can be given to private companies to run.


Taking the "public" out of public schools.....happening quickly.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Faces of school reform. Too many billionaires.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

"a great and terrible charade"..school leaders and entrepreneurs triumphant at school closings?
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

"Democracy Privatized!"...education blog talks about turning over public functions to the market.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Eli Broad: We dont know anything about how to teach or reading curriculum or any of that."
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Seems my taxpayer money will be sending many more to private schools....
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Former GOP insider says "Billionaire Boys' Club" dismantling education.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Boston schools officials: We are not "firing" all teachers, just making them reapply.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

1994: Project Censorship The Sandia Report On Education. Showed schools improving. Not published.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

WP: It was a "sad, desperate" decision to fire all of R. I. school's teachers.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Parents at PS 15, an "A" school, ask state to intervene in PAVE charter invasion.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Two things: A clear concise indictment of charters, and a Chicago fight to stop school closings.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Harlem charter school head emails show very special access to NY school chancellor
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Living and dying by test scores: a charter faces probation for weeding out problem students.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...
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Towlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Then protest privatizing schools, not testing. Increased testing sounds like a great idea to me.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Then don't fight it. Let it happen. Do what you believe in.
I protest the testing because it is a method to turn children into testing machines.

But if you don't think teachers test enough already, then you post here and push for more testing. Go for it.
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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. Again, do you have any empirical data or research that indicates that this
testing is detrimental to the students involved?


If your opinion is that increasing testing above the bare federal minimum in DC is a bad idea, that's an interesting theory.

I'm just wondering if you ANY actual evidence that supports your theory.


No link you provided seemed to be on point. If you have a specific link that addresses this issue, I'd love to read it.

Merely listing journal entries does not support one's theory.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. I think you should make an OP saying more testing is good.
I think that would be interesting. I don't intend to argue with you, it seems pointless.

I provided much proof that this admin is privatizing education, and testing is the tool. Start your own post, defend your position.

Bye for now.

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msanthrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. I think you should provide direct proof of your assertions that involve this administration.
If you think that DC public schools increasing their level of testing above the federal bare minimum is proof of a larger conspiracy to privatize said schools, and that this conspiracy is fomented by the Obama administration, then kindly provide proof of said conspiracy.

I fail to see how mandating that kindergartners be tested for math and language arts proficiency is somehow detrimental. Further, I cannot see how this is evidence of privatization.



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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 02:48 AM
Response to Original message
2. Was there this much stupid testing when we were putting men on the Moon?
Presuming that several of our geniuses and scientists in the recent past were also products of the public schools, do those in power really think that days and hours of lost instructional time to administer these tests is actually going to improve learning outcomes? Usually the month for STAR testing here is so tiring on the kids they look ill and exhausted for the entire month of April. I let them have a snack and rest in my class just so they don't totally lose it and start getting sick on top of everything. That loses them some work time in my class, but at least they get kind of a breather. :( Even that isn't really enough towards the end. They get just totally squirrelly and drained.


And now they want more?
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jp11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 03:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. Too much testing, overstating the point of testing, relying on testing to 'judge'
teachers excessively all smack of treating children, and even teachers, like lab animals.

"It's been a priority for a long time," said Rhee, who is preparing to ask outside firms to submit proposals for developing the tests. "We want to have a much more robust set of assessments, not just in math and reading, but different subjects. As a parent, I want to know on a regular basis how my kids are progressing or not, and have my teachers take a pulse not once a year or four times a year."

Sorry I thought part of what teachers were doing in giving grades and assignments did that. Did teachers stop grading kids since I left the public education system, are there no more parent teacher conferences, was there some new clause in teacher contracts that state they don't have to or are no longer allowed to talk to parents about their kids?

I get the feeling the point is she doesn't give a crap what the teacher who spends x hours a day, x days a week with her child thinks and all she wants is some 3rd party to decide the lessons and material that should be taught, test kids on that then tell her how the kid is doing as well as the teacher. Since the child's test results will of course directly reflect upon the teacher, and not in anyway on the parent, or the testing company's goals like selling more tests, re-tests, preparation materials, etc.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Well, Rahm is bragging they turned education into open markets...
"In a Thursday interview, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel argued that rather than recoiling against Obama, business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half-dozen counts: his advocacy of greater international trade and education reform open markets despite union skepticism; his rejection of calls from some quarters to nationalize banks during the financial meltdown; the rescue of the automobile industry; the fact that the overhaul of health care preserved the private delivery system; the fact that billions in the stimulus package benefited business with lucrative new contracts, and that financial regulation reform will take away the uncertainty that existed with a broken, pre-crash regulatory apparatus."

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=B2F85DDF-18...

So they really don't care how arrogant they appear. They really do not.
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. rahm, pffft
How much longer are we stuck with him? I thought he was leaving soon.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
7. Wow! That cover brings to mind..
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MedicalAdmin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. Really? The Wicked Witch of the West? I thought more along these lines ...
Edited on Fri Jul-09-10 11:07 AM by MedicalAdmin
<>

On second thought ...







Is it just me or is much of what passes for conservative politics these days really just Revenge of the Cheerleaders?
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. Actually, a melding of the two...The wicked witch as RWingnut cheerleader.
That pic of Malkin is sooooooooooo perfect. Captures her essence to a "T".
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
12. our country has lost its way
:(
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
15. How do you test kindergartners? Don't let them go to first grade if they color outside the lines?
Edited on Fri Jul-09-10 11:26 AM by KamaAina
:wtf:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
16. High stakes testing is taking individuality and depth of learning from students.
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/...

Two folks have just said there should be more testing, and that I did not present my position well. Since I had just put this in my journal yesterday, I did not include it in the OP.

Lots there about testing and testing and kinds of testing.

I would like to see people put their money where their mouths are and post a thread defending high-stakes testing.

I think if they are feeling that strongly about more testing being good, they should provide some evidence.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
18. Buy stock in the major testing companies.
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