"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.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tell Duncan He's Wrong!

Arne Duncan and the Obama Department of Education have redirected their attack on public schools to post-secondary schools of education. Duncan has proposed that colleges be judged based on the test scores of their graduates' students and the ability of their graduates to get hired. There is simply no research which indicates that this is an accurate measure of the success of a school of education. Simple common sense says that there are other factors which come into play...most notably, the socio-economic status of the children teachers teach. Poverty is the number one factor in student test scores, not their teachers' SAT scores or school of education.

Of course, it's important for teachers to be competent at what they do. Good training is vital, and why Duncan is going after schools of education instead of Teach for America is a topic for another post (think $$$).

In the meantime, using VAM to measure the effectiveness of schools of education is no more appropriate as using VAM to measure the effectiveness of classroom teachers. It is simply invalid.

Student achievement test scores should be used for tracking student achievement and determining the instructional needs of students. That is what achievement tests were designed for...and that's what they should be used for. Anyone who has ever learned anything about standardized tests ought to know that tests should be used only for that which they have been designed. Period.

You have a chance to tell Secretary Duncan how wrong he is.

Anthony Cody, a blogger, public education activist, author, teacher, and founding member of the Network for Public Education, writes...
We have a short window -- just until Jan. 2, to submit public comments for consideration by the Department of Ed in response to their proposed new regulations affecting teacher education.

These regulations are aimed at wiping out "ideological resistance" to high stakes tests.

The proposal states that the new regulations will evaluate teacher education programs based on the following criteria:
  • Employment outcomes: New teacher placement and three-year retention rates in high-need schools and in all schools.
  • New teacher and employer feedback: Surveys on the effectiveness of preparation.
  • Student learning outcomes: Impact of new teachers as measured by student growth, teacher evaluation, or both.
  • Assurance of specialized accreditation or evidence that a program produces high-quality candidates.
Please let the US DOE know that VAM is inappropriate for evaluating teachers, schools, school systems, and post secondary teacher training schools. Anthony Cody has all the information in his post, Duncan Brings the Sham of VAM to Teacher Education.
There is a window of opportunity to comment on this proposal. Everyone associated with teacher education ought to comment. Professors – this is a perfect opportunity to acquaint your students with the policies that will impact their careers in the years to come. Student teachers, challenge your professors to take a stand. Comments should be sent to this address: OIRA_DOCKET@omb.eop.gov by January 2, 2015.

[UPDATE: The window for making comments on this web site is February 2, 2015, not January 2.]



All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

Stop the Testing Insanity!


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