July 21st, 2011

Parents–the (ignored) key to improve education

I recently came upon several articles by Joseph W. Guald (founder of the Hyde Schools). His thesis is that parenting is the key to America’s future. One of his pieces is called, “Fix parents, not kids. ”  We can’t be more direct than that!  We continue to ignore the parents’ role to our peril.

http://www.strugglingteens.com/news/lettertoeditor/fix_parents050415.html

See also his, “Parenting:  The Key to America’s Future, ” in Education Week, December 1, 2010.

I agree with him. All the reform efforts underway are not going to make it if parents don’t step up to the plate to mentor and educate their children.

Who else is writing this stuff and this truth?  Please send it along.

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | No Comments

July 15th, 2011

Why math tutors prosper… read this and weep

http://www.joannejacobs.com/2011/07/why-math-tutors-prosper/

Thank you, Joanne, for posting this article. And, of course, it garnered many comments. I agree with the suggestion–no calculator use till 11th grade! Let them learn their number facts, please!

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July 13th, 2011

What is ‘cheating’ on tests? What does that word mean?

I’m reading with horror –as many of us are– story after story about the cheating mess on tests in Atlanta, focusing on 2009 state tests. OMG. What are we doing here?

But then I wonder, what is ‘cheating?’ What does that word mean? As I see it, it’s a way of pretending that a  reported score on a test is valid and actually tells us how the student performed and what that student actually knows on that test.  Apparently, this cheating scandal (along with others recently reported) shows that many reports had been tampered with in various ways and were not valid. Scores were too high–and did not actually show what students know and can do. Tragic.

And to this mess, I would add my concerns about state and testing policies that allow students to take tests that are not valid from the get go. That is, tests that have been modified in significant ways and no longer measure what they purport to measure. Yet,  reports of those tests are issued and claim to report valid results. In these situations of test modification, we can’t blame teachers or students or any of the players on the ground. These are policies set at the top– by companies or states or other test makers   Examples? 

How about the fact that the SAT and ACT now allow extended time on those critical tests for some students without letting anyone know that the tests were modified? http://www.collegeboard.com/ssd/student/index.html#apply.

How about reading a reading test to a student who can’t read or giving a calculator to a student who can’t add and subtract–and then reporting the tests as if they are valid. See, e.g., Massachusetts policy.  http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/participation/sped.pdf

Isn’t this a form of ‘cheating’ also?  Certainly it cheats the student from knowing what he can and cannot do.  What do we actually mean by ‘cheating?’  And who is cheating whom?

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July 6th, 2011

David Brooks and Diane Ravitch….

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/opinion/01brooks.html

Article was picked up by John Merrow.http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=5183

Lots of interesting and passionate comments already, but I’d like to focus on David Brooks’ assertion (oft repeated by others) that charter schools don’t skim the best students. As evidence he cites the high number of students who are below grade level when they enter and the relatively high number of students with disabilities. All well and good but those numbers do not tell the tale.

Children who apply for and attend charter schools are skimming because their parents knew enough to apply, wait on line, sign the parent/school contract. Inshort, the parents are passionate and active in supporting their children’s education. That gives these children a tremendous leg up, and I’d say those families are skimming–leaving behind the children who do not have such active and supportive families.

Why does noone discuss this reality?

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | No Comments

July 4th, 2011

South Dakota to stop taking NCLB money? How often does that happen?

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July 4th, 2011

Palo Alto story of teacher accused of answering student test goes virtual

http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2011/07/how-often-does-this-happen-teacher-accused-of-testing-fraud-to-avoid-special-education-referral-for-.html

How often does this happen?  Ever?  And why?

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