Testing, Charters and Strikes, oh my! Video of panel with Jesse Hagopian, Wayne Au and Dora Taylor

On October 17 of this year, Jesse, Wayne and I spoke on a panel at the annual Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference sponsored by Rethinking Schools about the testing opt out movement, the recent Seattle teachers’ strike and the Washington State … Continue reading Testing, Charters and Strikes, oh my! Video of panel with Jesse Hagopian, Wayne Au and Dora Taylor

Notes from the field: The Nathan Hale Rally

What was to be a forum presented by the League of Women Voters and the Seattle PTA with some of our state representatives there to field questions on funding for public schools quickly turned into a rally when a teacher from Nathan Hale High School brought down the house while talking about the SBAC and its unfairness to students and families. At the end of his speech, parents started chanting “Opt out, opt out, opt out!” and stomping their feet. Soon, the entire gymnasium exploded with excitement as the chant caught on and everyone was on their feet clapping, stamping … Continue reading Notes from the field: The Nathan Hale Rally

The Spring of Resistance: More learning, less testing #ResistTheTest

I and others around the country came together last summer to discuss the over testing of our students. We knew that there are parents, students and teachers coming together around the country in large cities and small townships, resisting the high stakes testing, demanding more class time with teachers instead and opting out of testing altogether. We decided to draw upon our resources and create a website that will provide  information on events, workshops and actions that are happening around the country in respect to testing, the Common Core Standards that are pressuring school districts to increase the amount of … Continue reading The Spring of Resistance: More learning, less testing #ResistTheTest

The Bunkum Awards in Education go to Rhee, Gates, ALEC and more of your edu faves

From the National Education Policy Center (NEPC): This marks our eighth year of handing out the Bunkum Awards, recognizing the lowlights in educational research over the past year. As long as the bunk keeps flowing, the awards will keep coming. It’s the least we can do. This year’s deserving awardees join a pantheon of divine purveyors of weak data, shoddy analyses, and overblown recommendations from years past. Congratulations, we guess—to whatever extent congratulations are due. 2013 Bunkum Honorees The ‘Do You Believe in Miracles?’ Award To Public Agenda for Review of Failure Is Not an Option Read Review → The … Continue reading The Bunkum Awards in Education go to Rhee, Gates, ALEC and more of your edu faves

Tonight: Public Forum Race, MAP tests, and privatization: the fight for equality in public education

Public Forum Race, MAP tests, and privatization: the fight for equality in public education Wednesday, February 20, 7:00pm New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle Bring your thoughts and opinions to a public forum with Special guest speaker Dr. Steven Strauss Dr. Strauss is a Baltimore-area neurologist and a Ph.D. linguistics scholar. As a speaker and writer on education issues, he brings an anti-capitalist analysis and the passion of a parent with two children educated in public schools. In 2011 he marched with Save Our Schools in Washington, D.C., to protest corporatization and high-stakes testing. Also featuring Matt Carter … Continue reading Tonight: Public Forum Race, MAP tests, and privatization: the fight for equality in public education

Video: The nonsense of Value Added Measures (VAM)

A peer-reviewed study on VAM: The SAS Education Value-Added Assessment System (SAS® EVAAS®) in the Houston Independent School District (HISD): Intended and Unintended Consequences. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 20(12) The introduction: The SAS Educational Value-Added Assessment System (SAS® EVAAS®) is the most widely used value-added system in the country. It is also self-proclaimed as “the most robust and reliable” system available, with its greatest benefit to help educators improve their teaching practices. This study critically examined the effects of SAS® EVAAS® as experienced by teachers, in one of the largest, high-needs urban school districts in the nation — the Houston … Continue reading Video: The nonsense of Value Added Measures (VAM)

Teacher Evaluation Bill SB 5895 and why it should be opposed vehemently

There is a Teacher Evaluation Bill SB 5895 which ties test scores to teacher evaluations. At this time the teachers union in the state of Washington has been working with OSPI on an evaluation system that was set forth to be developed in last years legislation. Now certain legislators want to ratchet it up a notch and tie a large percentage of the evaluation to student test scores. Let’s start with a great video that distills this issue down to the point where even a politician who knows nothing about public education could understand it. This video describes why merit … Continue reading Teacher Evaluation Bill SB 5895 and why it should be opposed vehemently

Weekly Update: Smart ALEC, Black Teachers Fired En Masse in Chicago and Chalk Face Radio

Glen Ford nails it in his commentary on A Black Agenda Radio Black Teachers Fired En Mass. In his introduction Mr. Ford states: Educational policy in the Obama era isn’t about education at all. It’s about replacing skilled, experienced teachers with rootless temps better suited to serve in the privatized holding tanks they wish to turn public schools in poor neighborhoods into, for a population on its way to low wage jobs and prisons. “Blacks currently make up only 29 percent of Chicago’s teachers, but they comprised 43 percent of those recently fired…” I would like to add to this … Continue reading Weekly Update: Smart ALEC, Black Teachers Fired En Masse in Chicago and Chalk Face Radio

Weekly Update: It’s the Poverty Stupid and the Crazy Talk of Teacher Evaluations Based on Test Scores

As many of us have been saying over and over again, it’s not an “achievement gap”, it’s an “economic gap”, it is income disparity that has created the chasm between students who are able to succeed in school and their counterparts who are not. When folks decide to ignore that basic issue, you have crazy talk like charter schools, merit pay and teacher evaluations based on test scores as the way to eliminate the difference in success rates in our schools. Have any of these policies made a difference? No.  Which gets us back to having to actually face the … Continue reading Weekly Update: It’s the Poverty Stupid and the Crazy Talk of Teacher Evaluations Based on Test Scores

According to NAEP, Our Students Are Improving

One final thought regarding test scores and teacher evaluations before I move back to the  proposed charter school bill in our state. From the Economic Policy Institute blog,  ‘Reformers’ playbook on failing schools fails a fact check, an excerpt: Education “reformers” have a common playbook. First, assert without evidence that regular public schools are “failing” and that large numbers of regular (unionized) public school teachers are incompetent. Provide no documentation for this claim other than that the test score gap between minority and white children remains large. Then propose so-called reforms to address the unproven problem – charter schools to … Continue reading According to NAEP, Our Students Are Improving

Part 3: Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores: The Washington Education Association responds

It looks like my query went out far and wide. I have received responses from all over the country on teacher evaluations particularly as it pertains to the Washington State House and Senate bills regarding teacher evaluations based on test scores. For information regarding these bills, please see Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores. Parents around the country respond with their own experiences and Part 2: Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores: The studies. One of the responses that I received was … Continue reading Part 3: Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores: The Washington Education Association responds

Part 2: Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores: The studies

Teacher evaluations based on test scores: Part 2 I received so much information in response to my query about teacher evaluations based on test scores that I decided to provide the information in three posts. The first post can be found at Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores. Parents around the country respond with their own experiences. In this post, we will look at what researchers have to say on the subject. Linda-Darling Hammond at Stanford University responded to my query with a paper titled Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: A Background … Continue reading Part 2: Washington State Bill Proposals HB 2427/SB 6203 and HB 2451: Teacher evaluations based on test scores: The studies