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Today's Exerpt
A Great School
Low Test Scores

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CHAOS in our schools...our flagship exposé

Today's excerpt:

Our current path began with the idea of growth. 

As teachers, we all agree that growth is essential.  If we're not growing, we're stagnating.  The focus on studying growth as a strategy to meet student need did not ring alarm bells for many of us at first.  We teachers had been studying growth in Colorado Student Assessment Program scores since its inception in the late 90's.  We used the information to adjust our teaching strategies, informally, because that's what teachers do.

In 2012, analyzing growth in standardized test scores 

became tracking growth in our own classrooms.

We were informed that the growth in our students' knowledge is so important it eclipses their actual achievement.  Any analysis of test results should focus on the growth in scores rather than the raw score itself.

The new teacher evaluation system would rely, in part, on this rationale.  However, because it is not possible to analyze standardized test scores for this growth as part of a formal evaluation, a system that could be doable by every teacher had to be developed.

In came a plan requiring all teachers to create student learning goals that we could then track for growth across a school year.  In effect, we were creating our own testing vehicle, vetted by no one but our principal or her designee.  

Chaos Book Cover Sept 2023.jpg

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Also available in hard cover and paperback.

FROM OUR 
FEATURES PAGE:

What makes a great school?

A great school is an effective school.

This happens when the student is the focus of the school.

Currently, schools are planned around what is acceptable and desired by the adults who work in those schools.

This  must change.

Read Chaos in Our Schools 

for the whole story.

Chaos Book Cover Sept 2023.jpg

Our Model School

  • Curriculum that promotes reading, writing, and math skills, plus history, civics, geography, and science.   

  • Transparency in hiring and evaluation practices.
    - Teachers hired for a demonstrated ability to teach.

  • Cameras to monitor teacher and student performance.
    -  Everyone behaves better when they know they're being filmed.  Just walk into any government office or bank.

  • Student placements that recognize ability and motivational levels.

  • ​​ - Social/emotional development fostered with   

   different  groupings for non-core classes, meal   times, and recess.

  • Testing that makes sense.
    - Current testing is more about a student's ability to navigate the online system and the convoluted way questions are asked than about basic curriculum.

If Steel Mills Were Operated Like Public Education, continued from HOME page

  • Every  manager also submits data to prove at least 80% of their workers passed a quiz on the difference between iron and iron ore.

  • The mill itself supplies data that nearly 3/4 of its workforce, including mgmt. and  labor, possess advanced degrees in steelmaking.

  • Meanwhile, the steel mill is putting out a product that cannot reliably support any structure requiring steel girders in its design.

  • In spite of this, the mill is given an excellent rating by the Dept. of Steel because its paperwork is in order and its testing data shows that certain, hand-picked girders have passed all stress tests. Due to its excellent rating, the steel mill is awarded more money to continue its good work.

  • This is public education today. When you create a law that rewards paperwork over substance, eventually all that matters is the paperwork.

 

And that is No Child Left Behind.

The result is CHAOS in our schools:

 

 

Get the facts today.

Nationally low test scores have more to do with kids pushing back than kids not being able to perform.

Common Core tests mislead the public.

The test question you see is for 4th grade.

  • All work must be shown using a computer keyboard and the textbox with buttons.

  • Clarifying questions to the test proctor are not allowed.

So just what are we testing?

  • What if you're pretty good at math thinking but have a delay in reading comprehension?

 

You're 10 years old when you take this test.

  • How long are you going to try solving this problem, let alone making sure you type everything correctly in the box to get maximum points?

 

Do kids really care about our test that supposedly measures their ability to examine a topic deeply? 

 

Common Core kills curiosity.

It makes children feel inadequate and even...stupid.

Pushing oneself is a good thing.

Feeling like you're being pushed to serve someone else's agenda feels...invasive and manipulative.

 

Common Core is just one aspect of our failed education protocols; read our book for the full story.

Watch our video Common Core Vs. Kids, Part 2 for the details:

Steel Mills
Our Broken Schools

What Can Fix Our Broken Schools?

This is a question that haunts most of us, at least those who are not fooling themselves into believing ALL IS OKAY...Or that all will be okay with more money and mandates.

The (elementary) public school system can be fixed when these things happen:

  • Class sizes are adjusted to reflect differentiated instruction. Years ago, the only thing that mattered was that a teacher delivered the necessary information and provided feedback in the form of grades. The students were responsible for absorbing that information. There was no expectation that teachers would develop individual learning plans for every student. Today, every elementary teacher is expected to do just that. Do you think it’s possible, in a classroom with a ratio of even 20:1, let alone the usual ratio of 30 or more to one?

  • Students are placed in classrooms according to aptitude and achievement, and their placements are fluid. 

That is a non-starter with both the education elites and the teachers’ unions. Students are purposely placed in mixed groups of high, medium, and low intellects, as well as high, medium, and low behaviors.    This is to make teaching equitable for the teachers, a brain child of the unions. How does this help students?

Additionally, education researchers have been claiming for years that mixed-ability groups work for all students. The gifted can help the non-gifted, and everyone wins. The trouble is that the research this comes from is conducted in controlled settings. That’s not how real classrooms work. In my experience, the gifted students languish in mixed-ability classrooms because their teacher is not trained to work especially with them. In a purposely-mixed sixth grade classroom, the levels of ability could range from first grade to eighth grade. Who could effectively teach 30 children in that scenario?

Read More

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The Bottom Line
Common Core v. kids, pt 2

From our book Chaos in Our Schools:

The Bottom Line
    There’s an insidious element in education that is unnoticed by most people. Schools are not set up for the children; they are set up for the convenience of the adults who run them. If children were the top priority in a school, they would not be assigned to static class groupings without the opportunity to advance to a different group when they are ready.
   If children were the top priority, the people who work with them would be seen as more important than the bureaucrats who direct those people. Class groups would not be divided into “fair” sets of upper, middle, and low aptitudes. The behavior problems would not be dispersed throughout the school so that every other child has his education seriously diminished by the outlandishness of a few.
   If children were truly the reason schools exist, the ratio of adult to child would be a reasonable and realistic one.


   Our schools, particularly at the elementary level, are operated with the guiding principles that
   
1) Procedures and standards, copiously outlined, meet the

        education needs of students,
        and
    2) Children should be arranged in groupings that are

        acceptable to the adults in charge.


   This is nonsense, but at present, there is little that can be done to thwart these ideals because the teachers’ unions won’t allow for a sensible approach to education.

Teaching civics

Why We Need to Teach Civics in our schools:

Visit our Quora Space

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  Our Feature Post:
     When do you think 
th
e school system will             be fixed?  

Today's Exerpt cont.

Today's Exerpt...continued

At the end of the school year, the growth we recorded would influence our evaluation by 15% and give some teachers a raise for exceptional performance.

It became clear after the first year of this exercise that the growth we reported wouldn't need to be verified by anyone other than ourselves.

In early 2014, I began to wonder just how far this concept of tracking and rewarding growth went.  So I went online to the CDE's website to find the full wording of the mandate.  What I read gave me chills:  SB 10-191 was not only a performance doctrine for teachers but for principals as well.  We all had to document and collect data to prove our worth.

Were principals creating and tracking growth goals for their teachers like those we made for our students? Were my colleagues and I the unwitting participants in another person's own growth data? 

Who vetted the principal's goals?  How would anyone know whether her data was valid?

I knew a teacher's data could be suspect, unverified as it was;  it was not difficult to imagine a similar scenario for our administrators.

- CHAOS in our schools, p. 3    

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