NCLB and Standardized Tests

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by Iceblink, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Annapolis, MD
    Have you ever been in a classroom while we spend a week or two before every standardized test going over pointless test reviews that do absolutely nothing to help us learn? I didn't think so.
     
  2. Demosthenes

    Demosthenes Member+

    May 12, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A week or two? That's all? I spent at least 3 months.
     
  3. Chicago1871

    Chicago1871 New Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    The City
    Because many parents don't know all that much about their kids education or their sphere of influence, and sure as **** aren't members of the PTA. This is not an assumption, this is fact. Statistically speaking the average US household has less than 2 kids in it so I'm not sure what parents you're thinking of.
     
  4. dj43

    dj43 New Member

    Aug 9, 2002
    Nor Cal
    WARNING: ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE APPROACHING

    Anyone who actually believes that teacher's unions are a fine altruistic institution is deluded.

    Their primary roles is collecting dues from as many teachers as possible to support their own not-so-little bureaucracy. In the meantime, they do just enough at contract time to keep the majority of teachers thinking they are actually doing a good job.

    So here comes the AE; after months of totally ineffective "negotiations" between the union and the local board in my wife's district, a group of teachers got together and hired a consultant who was previously a college teacher and district superintendant, to help them put together a decent deal. The union fought it initially because they realized that if this guy were to be successful it would expose them for the ineffective blobs there truly were. However, after growing pressure from very frustrated and disgruntled teachers, the union agreed to hire the consultant. In the meantime, my wife and I had several meetings with this guy. During the course of those meetings, he allowed that in several other districts in which he had served a similar role, the union was ALWAYS the biggest problem. They didn't do their homework, didn't take the time to properly prepare for negotiation sessions and usually wound up accepting far less than the could have received had they really done their job the way they should. All the while, they insist on absolute secrecy about the negotiations.

    I am now involved in the formal development of a Foundation to represent the interests of the parents and students. Part of the role of the foundation will be to raise funds for special projects but also to lobby the state legislature for re-evaluation of numerous funding categories. In that role, I have spoken with both board members and union leaders. I was absolutely shocked at what a superficial knowledge of school finance and sound bargaining knowledge these union leaders had. There is no wonder they can't get better pay for teachers. I wouldn't hire any of the to pack boxes in my little businesses. They sounded like a 1960s Jimmy Hoffa in terms of how they went about their business.

    But to get back to the testing issue; unions DO fight it but not JUST to protect the teachers. They fight it because if the testing reveals poor teachers, then those teachers will get fired and there goes another dues paying member.

    Same philosophy goes for teacher evaluations. In the last 5 years in California, only 62 of just over 220,000 teachers have been fired, and only then after an average of 24 months and $100,000 in legal fees and legal hassel. Now just show me any other industry that has such low turnover in a business. And, yes I know all about the poor teacher stuck in low income schools with kids from coke-head parents. Sorry, it doesn't apply when you look at the broader picture.

    In most districts, according to this consultant, admin have said "it just isn't worth it to try to get rid of a bad teacher." All that happens is the district winds up using money better spent in the classroom to fight the much-better-funded union, and often the ACLU as well. Hence, bad teachers just get moved from school to school every 3-5 years as parent complaints build to the point the board is forced to do something.

    No, the unions are the biggest part of the school problem. All they do is complain in expensive ads about a lack of funding but rarely get involved in lobbying to get any fundamental change in funding allocations. Instead they have all these alliances with other state employee unions in which they have a "gentlemen's agreement" not to step on each other's toes. The result is that the prison workers union gets the biggest slice of the money closely followed by "social workers" (welfare) But if we truly believe that education is the key to avoiding prison and welfare, why doesn't the teacher's union start fighting to increase their share even though it will be at the expense of their alliance partners??? Answer: They don't care about anything but the dues. Whether a 10 year teacher gets paid $45,000 or $50,000, the union gets $84/month/teacher anyway. :mad:
     
  5. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Club:
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hold the phone, back up the truck, and wait just a cotton-picken second... please explain why you are spending time on "test reviews" which analyse the basic core curricula? Are you not confidant that your lesson plan covers these already? And if you coaching your students, are you not defeating the point of the tests?
     
  6. Chicago1871

    Chicago1871 New Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    The City
    Wow, just wow.
     
  7. Chicago1871

    Chicago1871 New Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    The City
    From what I understand of teachers unions, most of the time they're effectively used as bargaining chips during contract negotiations. My mother is currently embattled in a very heated contract negotiation with her schools board, and the teachers refused (privately) to bring in a union representative because they feel they don't need nor do they want the unions involved. However, the threat of bringing in the unions is a bargaining chip that when played, can be pretty effective. Other than that, you're pretty much spot on.
     
  8. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Annapolis, MD
    First of all, I'm a student. Secondly, the only reason that is done is at the urging of school officials. I'm sure teachers would tell you the same thing. And lastly, the fact that you don't know about test reviews shows how tuned out you really are.
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    The thing is, if he actually reads his last post and then compares what he is saying to reality... he might experience a breakthrough.

    Then again, he seems to live in cognitive dissonance the way a fish lives in water, so who can tell?
     
  10. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Club:
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You didn't answer the question! If teachers are teaching the basics, as they well should, no time needs be spent on test review.
     
  11. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    SWING and a miss

    strike one
     
  12. Chicago1871

    Chicago1871 New Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    The City
    You're only making yourself look more ignorant about the educational process by continuing to post junk like this.
     
  13. Samarkand

    Samarkand Member

    May 28, 2001
    The dearth of knowledge is just mind blowing. After, what, 4 pages here, and countless other threads and despite contrary evidence form just about everywhere else, well, just, WOW.

    I'm beginning to think that not only was he absolutely the child left behind, he was the child locked in the closet by the teacher who then died without telling anyone where he was........
     
  14. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Club:
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FYP
     
  15. Samarkand

    Samarkand Member

    May 28, 2001
  16. dj43

    dj43 New Member

    Aug 9, 2002
    Nor Cal
    FYI,
    my wife is "preparing" her students to take the STAR test this week. She is required to review how to do everything from reading the questions to how to mark the card. In her words, there will be absolutely no "educating" done the entire week in classes designated to take the test.
    Absolute total waste of time, especially since the test results mean absolutely nothing to any of the students. HOWEVER, it means a great deal to each school as the test results determine a certain amount of funding for the coming year.

    So here is the deal: kids are taking a test that they know in advance has no influence on their grade so the only thing they have going for them is their pride to do well. Unfortunately a large portion could care less and just fill in blanks randomly or at least spend very little time on it.

    The teachers, on the other hand, are doing their best to try to get the kids to do well because it influences the amount of money the district will have next year to pay the teacher's salary.

    So as you can see, it is just an absolutely miserable, no-win situation for the teacher with nothing for the student either.

    NO WIN, NO WIN!!
     
  17. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Annapolis, MD
    They do teach the basics, and I feel that, when I end the year, I learned what I was supposed to. However, the Standardized testing doesn't help the process at all. It hurts it more than anything. I just finished the last TAKS test today, and I have barely learned anything in the past two or three weeks because of this ******** test. Schools are so overly paranoid about getting bad scores, that they go to excessive lengths to make sure students do well on a test, effectively ignoring the entire purpose of school in the first place - to learn.
     
  18. pething101

    pething101 Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    Smyrna, Ga
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just let it go, folks. It is obvious tht IntheNet has his mind made up and will not change it.
     
  19. Samarkand

    Samarkand Member

    May 28, 2001
    Ehhhhh......mind?......
     
  20. pething101

    pething101 Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    Smyrna, Ga
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    :D

    I was trying to be respectful.
     
  21. dj43

    dj43 New Member

    Aug 9, 2002
    Nor Cal
    I suppose there are some situations where union presence might be helpful. However, from what I have learned in the past few years, that is just union members deluding themselves. Board members with whom I have spoken just snicker when they talk about some of the things union members have done and said in negotiations. Ultimately, the board just gets tired of playing with them, and like a cat playing with a mouse, gives them the coup-de-grace, a contract far below what they should get.

    Here are a couple of examples of union "expertise:" In 02/03, the total aid to schools increased over 6.1% but the union settled for no net increase in wages or benefits. For 03/04 the revenue increase was 7.2% and the union GAVE BACK $100/month. This year the funding increase was again in excess of 6% and the union settled for a 2.41% raise. In questioning one of the union negotiators, he revealed he did not even have these numbers even though they are available on the Dept of Ed website. And this same group negotiated contracts for 4 surrounding districts.

    With union representatives like this, if I were a board member, I would hope they were called in.
     
  22. dj43

    dj43 New Member

    Aug 9, 2002
    Nor Cal
    Do you know why schools are so paranoid over test scores?

    Note my previous post; if the scores fall, schools that are already under-funded, will lose even more money. It's a catch-22.
     
  23. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Annapolis, MD
    I do know all about that, and I think that it is ridicolous. School funding needs to be overhauled in some way, although it is a very complicated issue.
     
  24. dj43

    dj43 New Member

    Aug 9, 2002
    Nor Cal

    :) The word is ridicUlous, but then I know you were just typing too fast. ;)

    School funding IS more complicated than it needs to be but it is not as complicated as many people believe. And so, people too often just don't try to do anything about it.

    I can assure you from my recent experience, a person can get enough info from the internet in 1 day's time to get a pretty good handle on what is going on. One of the things I have learned is that the average school board does a TERRIBLE job of keeping up with the various cat aids and grants, to say nothing of adjusting their revenue limit funds to get the max they can from both state and feds.

    Everyone sits back and blames Bush for underfunding NCLB or whatever else they dream up. That is just laziness. I would guess that 95% of school districts in this country could get significantly more money than they now do if they paid attention to business. In my wife's distric we have already identified almost $700/student in state and local funds that have been there all along but the district was too lazy, or too stupid to go after.
     
  25. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Annapolis, MD
    In reality, something like 95% of school funding comes from state and local (re: property taxes) funding. Although, since Bush was governor not too long ago, it's still possible to blame him and Rick Perry (current governor, former Lt. Governor under Bush, and Bush's sock-puppet).
     

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