Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 4, 2013

Drag test

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

On Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation which would dump the old STAR testing for a new assessment to follow the new Common Core standards.  From the Associated Press:

Assembly Bill 484 replaces the pencil-and-paper, multiple-choice STAR tests with new language and math tests taken on computers. The new assessments, called Measurement of Academic Progress and Performance, were designed with other states to follow a set of national curriculum standards known as Common Core.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has criticized California for wanting to go a year or more without reporting test scores and threatened to withhold federal funds if it made the switch.

Supporters of doing away with the old tests ahead of schedule say it does not make sense for schools to give the old tests when teachers already are gearing their lessons toward Common Core, which calls for more in-depth teaching of fewer subjects and emphasizes real-world applications of material in an effort to prepare students for college and careers.

What this means is that this school year students will be the first guinea pigs using the new testing system so the scores won’t count.    This springs test is called a “Field Test” and details can be found here.

It is not clear what the lack of test results means for schools (and Districts) in under Federal Program Improvement status.   As suggested in the piece above, the US Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that he might withhold precious federal money from the State if California were to implement the testing early — which it has done — so at this point it’s up to the Feds to decide whether they are going to make good on their bluff.  Excerpt from the EdSource article:

Duncan did not hint at how or how much California would be penalized if it suspends state tests without a federal waiver. Ritsch said the federal government may withhold money it gives the state for testing and perhaps other funding.

It also isn’t clear how they will continue  to gauge the whole Program Improvement thing in general with the new assessment measures and the new Common Core standards.

Speaking of testing, last week (or maybe longer I can’t remember) Ruby Bridges had its annual Back to School night.  One interesting tidbit that I learned was that the longer students stay at Ruby Bridges the better their test scores are.   The reason why this is important is that Ruby Bridges is probably has the most transitory population of all the elementary schools in Alameda because of the Coast Guard families.   Those families don’t get a lot of choice as to when and where they move so kids could potentially be at Ruby Bridges for all their elementary years or maybe half a year.  This is why you see so much fluctuation in the scores for Ruby Bridges, which just goes back to the whole problem with the testing in general.   It seems pretty unfair to hold up one school with a much more stable population to a school with a much less stable population and say “look this stable school is better because their test scores are higher!” Hopefully these new Common Core standards which supposedly will standardize what kids learn across the national and focus more of kids learning how to problem solve rather than how to take a test will do a much better job at actually educating kids as opposed to teaching them how to excel at a standardized test.

I’m not sure how some families are going to justify moving their kids from a “low performing” school when those measures no longer exist in the form they know it.

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27 Comments

  1. I’ve stated previously on this blog that Arne “The Empty Suit” Duncan is a stand in for the real Secretary of Education, Bill Gates. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mercedes-schneider/gates-money-and-common-co_3_b_3986424.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123 Otherwise why wouldn’t Obama have kept his transitional appointee Linda Darling Hammond as secretary? She is infinitely better qualified than Duncan, but not in the Gates camp. Obama’s education policy has been one of his most disappointing, but there has continued to be what have seemed like more important issues, but in the end he has a cabinet to delegate because he can’t be hands on everything.

    California should call their bluff and make a statement.

    Comment by MI — October 4, 2013 @ 10:10 am

  2. from the link posted in comment 1. :

    Thomas B. Fordham Institute

    For just shy of $2 million in Gates money, Fordham offers this CCSS propaganda on its blog:

    …why not just support this daring effort that has been miraculously adopted by multiple states and correct whatever defects you see in the course of its actual implementation?

    Allow me to register my thoughts on how idiotic it is to ignore the fact that CCSS has never been tested and instead advocate for “just fixing” an untested national curriculum (yes, I did just call it that). This “let’s just do it already” attitude endorses potentially squandering already stretched state and local resources — not to mention teacher morale and students’ mental and academic well being.

    Comment by MI — October 4, 2013 @ 10:24 am

  3. more…..

    James B. Hunt, Jr., Institute

    The Hunt Institute is another in a long list of organizations that declare the ‘terrible state” of American education:

    “Education is more than the cornerstone of our democracy. It is also the engine of a thriving economy. But as the demands of increasingly global markets require a skilled workforce with highly technical knowledge, America is falling behind. Once the envy of the industrialized world, a public education in the United States is now on par with that of emerging nations. If this downward trend continues, we will thwart the chances for our young people to compete in this global economy, and the status of the United States as a great power will be a memory.”

    Hunt’s solution is to “fix” American education via privatization by “getting measurable results” (note the who’s who in reformer support listed on this webpage).

    Of course, “results” funded by Gates money means CCSS:

    Date: August 2013

    Purpose: to support the development of broadcast quality videos in which teachers demonstrate classroom strategies to teach the Common Core State Standards

    Amount: $500,000

    Date: November 2009

    Purpose: to provide state-level policy and communications support to states seeking to rapidly implement the Common Core

    Amount: $5,549,352

    American education is falling apart. Gates has arrived and is helping the Hunt Institute “to reverse this crippling situation.” Gotta move fast. The Nation is at Risk. Our National Security Depends Upon Our Schools.

    Hunt received $5.5 million from Gates to “rapidly implement the Common Core.” Nevertheless, in North Carolina, where Hunt is located, teachers register complaints about CCSS echoed in states across the nation: We weren’t in on this. We were told what to do. We lack materials. We don’t like the emphasis on testing.
    As is all too familiar in discussion of corporate reform: “Rapid” implementation” spells “impending structural collapse.”

    Comment by MI — October 4, 2013 @ 10:34 am

  4. Although on the other hand the current NCLB is severely broken, so continuing down that path isn’t sustainable either. RB’s new assistant principal helped to implement the Common Core math program at her old school and RB’s teachers and administration seem to be fairly positive about Common Core.

    At this point if implementing Common Core can get us from out of this cycle of Program Improvement — there’s some statistic out there that a ridiculously high percentage of Districts are in Program Improvement including Alameda — it’s worth a try.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 4, 2013 @ 10:55 am

  5. I don’t think California needs to call anyone’s bluff on Education. We are Ranked 48th or 49th in Nation in Student Performance..

    Looking at The Federal Accountability Standard Requires Schools to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress.

    Encinal High Missed The Federal Adequate Yearly Progress — So they Failed under Federal Standards in 2012

    Alameda High School Missed The Federal Adequate Yearly Progress—So they Failed under Federal Standards in 2012

    Probably why California wants out of being Judged in the Education game and create a measuring tool that works for them.

    Comment by Would be pretty large Bluff to Call — October 4, 2013 @ 11:38 am

  6. “The root of our problem is not that we’re in a Great Recession or a Great Stagnation, but rather that we are in the early throes of a Great Restructuring. Our technologies are racing ahead, but our skills and organizations are lagging behind.”

    Source: Race AGAINST the Machine, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

    It’s also happening in Education.

    Comment by It's also happening in Education. — October 4, 2013 @ 11:45 am

  7. I won’t argue with your points Lauren because to do so would be tantamount to cranky Tea Baggers holding nation hostage over Affordable Health Care funding. But to just go along cause it might work and we are already invested in a corrupt process is to ignore everything which is wrong with this process and the implications for privatization wolf dressed is reformer’s clothing. I won’t be herded like a sheep in the name of “reform” and I think California has the bully pulpit with this funding thing.

    I’m pulling two excerpts from above 2 and 3.

    First: Allow me to register my thoughts on how idiotic it is to ignore the fact that CCSS has never been tested and instead advocate for “just fixing” an untested national curriculum (yes, I did just call it that). This “let’s just do it already” attitude endorses potentially squandering already stretched state and local resources — not to mention teacher morale and students’ mental and academic well being.

    Second: teachers register complaints about CCSS echoed in states across the nation: We weren’t in on this. We were told what to do. We lack materials. We don’t like the emphasis on testing.
    As is all too familiar in discussion of corporate reform: “Rapid” implementation” spells “impending structural collapse.”

    I think in the big picture we will look back in ten years (hopefully less) and see that CC was more or less window dressing, like many education fads which proceeded it..

    Comment by MI — October 4, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  8. #4: .”..there’s some statistic out there that a ridiculously high percentage of Districts are in Program Improvement including Alameda.”

    Sixteen of the 18 school districts in Alameda County are in PI this year.

    The two that aren’t are Piedmont Unified and Sunol Glen Unified (which is composed of only one elementary school).

    I don’t have the exact number of districts in the state that are in PI, but you can see the list here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidatafiles.asp.

    I opened the “2013–14 LEA Status – Data File”, which is pretty far down on that page. (LEA stands for Local Education Agency, which refers to school districts.)

    Comment by Susan Davis (posting as senior manager,community affairs, AUSD) — October 4, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

  9. How many Alameda Schools Passed the Federal Accountabilty Standards that Requires Schools to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress?

    Comment by How many Alameda Schools Passed the AYP — October 4, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

  10. #9 — I think the easiest way to answer that is to say that only three “traditional” schools (Paden, Ruby Bridges, and Wood) in AUSD are in PI as of this year. (Two charter schools are also in PI.)

    By the way, it’s very possible for a school or district to be placed in PI even when its scores are increasing (or it has scores in the 800s or even 900s). That’s because the federal government demands that the scores increase by 11 percent every year, with the end goal being 100 percent of all students ranking “proficient” by the end of this year. That’s just not attainable for some schools. So I don’t see the fact that schools (and districts) are in PI as a sign of school failure; I see it as a sign that the system is unreasonable.

    You can read more about this year’s rankings here:
    http://alamedausd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1310911403421/1376459767278/4846941869073669449.pdf

    Comment by Susan Davis (posting as senior manager,community affairs, AUSD) — October 4, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

  11. M.I., in re: your comments above (and comment #6), it sounds like the CCSS is a chip off the old (tech) block, when the mantra in the go-go tech days (which Gates knew well) was “Ready, fire, aim!” To bad there may be a generation of kids who aren’t properly eddicated because the grown ups were tinkering with the system.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — October 4, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

  12. 10)

    I asked a specific question regarding how many Alameda Schools passed the Federal Accountabilty Standards that Requires Schools to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress.

    Why lead me to another report created to dodge that answer?

    How many Alameda Schools actually Passed the Federal Accountabilty Standards that Requires Schools to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress?

    I know Island High passed so even though the performance was Horrendous they passed the AYP.

    Under Star Testing in AUSD we averaged about a 55% Proficient Rank on Tests so we want to drop that as a measurement also.

    If we keep lowering the bar and lying to our students and families about educating them……. might be biggest problem in Education……According to Arne “The Empty Suit” Duncan in MI description. The Secretary of Education.

    Comment by If being honest is a empty suit. — October 4, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

  13. A Conversation with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

    Comment by If being honest is a empty suit. — October 4, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

  14. Laurene Powell Jobs, Condoleezza Rice,Governor Jeb Bush, and Sal Khan have interesting conversation on Education.

    Positive Competitive Competitive: Tim Draper at TEDxUNPlaza 2013

    http://www.youtube.com/wat

    Comment by Florida has leap frogged California — October 4, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

  15. Comment by Becoming Competitive — October 4, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  16. Wow so many experts in education. Maybe you should run for AUSD board. Or field candidates who listen to you.

    Comment by justsayin — October 4, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  17. from 12: If we keep lowering the bar and lying to our students and families about educating them……. might be biggest problem in Education……According to Arne “The Empty Suit” Duncan in MI description. The Secretary of Education.

    It’s not like none of the platitudes uttered by these Puppets for Privatization touch on basic and obvious truths, it’s that the actions by these people are hollow with regard to meaningful reform. Like a motivational speaker shilling a product.

    Conedollezza Rice and Jeb Bush…..really?

    Comment by blind leading the blind — October 5, 2013 @ 10:25 am

  18. #7 “I think in the big picture we will look back in ten years (hopefully less) and see that CC was more or less window dressing, like many education fads which proceeded it.”

    Maybe something like this Mark.

    Comment by frank — October 5, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  19. 17)

    “Conedollezza Rice and Jeb Bush…..really?”

    Can you believe it. Florida soars past California in Education. Those hillbillies actually are concerned about the Dam Kids. Who would have thought.

    In one generation in education Florida will go from 49th to 5th while California has gone from 5th to 49th.

    Comment by Who would have thought. — October 5, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  20. 19. how about some detail and sources on those stats? where is the bar in Florida? It can’t be CC because that hasn’t been implemented yet, so Florida has set their own bar. Maybe they skewed their score with a category for marksmanship in phys ed? extra points for nailing unarmed kid in a hoody.

    Meanwhile:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/05/1243822/-This-week-in-the-War-on-Workers-The-cyber-charter-school-scam?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29

    Comment by blind leading the blind — October 6, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  21. You need to dial 1-800-FUCKYO quickly. They may put you on hold for a few days but keep trying because you’re really sick and it’s free (they cover vision).

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 6, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

  22. A review of the second book by Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education under George Bush the elder and a former supporter, now vital opponent, of testing and choice. http://digital.hechingerreport.org/content/diane-ravitchs-error_924/

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — October 8, 2013 @ 8:12 am

  23. Mike McMahon,

    How many Alameda Schools actually Passed the Federal Accountabilty Standards that Requires Schools to Meet Adequate Yearly Progress?

    Comment by Someone who voted for you — October 8, 2013 @ 9:24 am

  24. #23. You can see the list of AUSD schools that made (and didn’t make) AYP here:

    http://ayp.cde.ca.gov/reports/Acnt2013/2013AYPDst.aspx?cYear=&allCds=0161119&cChoice=AYP12a

    So you can see that three made AYP is both Mathematics and English Language Arts and six made AYP in Mathematics.

    Again, this doesn’t mean the schools didn’t improve; they just didn’t reach the target scores set by the federal government.

    Comment by Susan Davis (senior manager, community affairs, AUSD) — October 8, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

  25. The Federal mandate to ensure 100% of all students attain proficiency was a bad policy decision without addressing the multiple contributing factors that determine educational attainment. It would be like requiring health care providers who receive Federal dollars to guarantee all of it patients live to the age of 79.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — October 8, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  26. Susan and Mike thank you.

    So the Federal Program was a Bust.

    We had only 20 % of our Schools Pass The Federal Standards for Average Yearly Progress.

    4 in 20 or 20%

    The 20% of Schools that passed composed of about 10 % of the Students.

    AUSD results from Star Testing was about 55% Proficient Rate on Students.

    So out the Window goes the Federal Program and Stars testing.

    Watching the meeting last night was pretty eye opening.

    We now have only 7% of African American students, 17% Hispanic students graduating with courses needed to attend UC/CSU.

    So now we Dump them into the College System and say Good frkn Luck.

    If the AUSD is set up to prepare our Students for College what kind of a Grade or Score should we put on these numbers.

    If a “a test does not define us” and the Students are not taking courses needed to attend our Colleges , what tool should we used to evaluate our progress.

    What is our Competency as a District to Educate and have our students learn.

    We now have tools to measure a students competency but some Board Members refuse to Bury their Dinosaur bones and Ignore the Results.

    Category tonight Hope.

    Alex give me Hope for 10,000 in Education.

    Comment by Category tonight Hope. — October 9, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

  27. “One thing we have done that has Hurt our Children our Community and our Country tremendously is we have Dummied down and reduced the standards and testing for learning to make our politicians look good. We were actually Lying to our Students and their Families telling them they are being prepared for being successful when frankly they were not even close. To me that is insidious and heartbreaking and that is the worse thing that can happen to a student and a family that think they are on track for college and career ready and not even in the Ball Park.”

    Interview of Secretary of Education in “Having a Honest Conversation about Education”

    Comment by Is it happening in Alameda — October 9, 2013 @ 9:20 pm


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