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  • Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MNOU19N6G8.DTL

    School test results bring confusion

    Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Wednesday, September 16, 2009


    (09-15) 20:44 PDT -- After six long years being tagged as a failure by federal standards, Malcolm X Academy was recast Tuesday as an unmitigated success story.

    The small San Francisco elementary school met both state and federal benchmarks this year, rocketing up the state's ranking system by 99 points on the 1,000-point scale, according to the latest round of state and federal progress reports.

    Yet that success could be short lived, at least from the federal government's perspective. During the next couple of years, Malcolm X is likely to be among the hundreds of schools in California that fail to meet the escalating demands required by the No Child Left Behind laws.

    Even if the state views those schools as successes, federal officials will still see them as failures. That's because while both use the same standardized tests to measure academic achievement, they use two different systems that often come up with contradictory conclusions.

    In short, the state cares about progress at schools like Malcolm X, while the feds care only about the finish line.

    "Both provide a slightly different lens by which to measure progress," said state Superintendent Jack O'Connell. The result is "conflicting and confusing information" that doesn't serve anyone well, he said.

    Barrage of data

    On Tuesday, state officials released the annual barrage of data that includes the state's ranking system showing progress made by each school and district, mostly based on standardized test results. At the same time, it reported whether enough students locally and statewide were proficient in math and English to meet federal standards.

    The federal system, called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), requires a certain percentage of students at each school to test proficient in math and English each year. These results figure prominently in No Child Left Behind.For 2009, about 45 percent of students needed to reach proficiency in each subject for a school to pass muster.

    This year, 51 percent of the state's schools met that federal target, down one point from last year. By way of a loophole for schools with low enrollment, Malcolm X made it for the first time. At Malcolm X, 26 percent of students reached proficiency in English and 56 percent in math.

    But the federal finish line keeps moving from year to year. Next year, that bar rises to nearly 60 percent and by 2014, it hits 100 percent proficiency, a virtually impossible goal at any school.

  • #2
    Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

    I'm torn greatly by No Child Left Behind. I fundamentally believe in its intention. However, the manner of its unfunded mandates and power centralization disturbs me.

    Schools in America are so messed up. The inequality experienced between urban and suburban school systems should be unacceptable, except it is commonly accepted.

    I have many ideas, some of them well-researched and some less-so, on how to systematically correct the myriad of problems facing public education. Devoting myself to correcting these problems would be the one other thing in life, besides the military, that I could see myself being ardently dedicated towards. However, as I look deeper and deeper into the issues, I realize that there is no career path that one can choose that will with any certainty grant them any power to change the system and fix the problems.

    Noble-minded teachers aiming for a Hollywood story of turning a tough inner-city classroom into a temple of enlightenment are wasting their time, because even if they were to do the improbable and turn around one class, all gains would be lost the next year. Principals are saddled with innumerable obstacles, including teachers' unions and Board of Education mandates. Board of Education members and chancellors are political shell games.

    All of these serve as a check and balance against each other, ensuring continued mediocrity and idiocy. The only way I see progress being made is if one or two politicians in very high office see their personal mandate as being to fix the system, and they are smart enough, powerful enough, or savvy enough to actually do it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

      Originally posted by don View Post
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MNOU19N6G8.DTL

      School test results bring confusion

      Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
      Wednesday, September 16, 2009


      (09-15) 20:44 PDT -- After six long years being tagged as a failure by federal standards, Malcolm X Academy was recast Tuesday as an unmitigated success story.

      The small San Francisco elementary school met both state and federal benchmarks this year, rocketing up the state's ranking system by 99 points on the 1,000-point scale, according to the latest round of state and federal progress reports.

      Yet that success could be short lived, at least from the federal government's perspective. During the next couple of years, Malcolm X is likely to be among the hundreds of schools in California that fail to meet the escalating demands required by the No Child Left Behind laws.

      Even if the state views those schools as successes, federal officials will still see them as failures. That's because while both use the same standardized tests to measure academic achievement, they use two different systems that often come up with contradictory conclusions.

      In short, the state cares about progress at schools like Malcolm X, while the feds care only about the finish line.

      "Both provide a slightly different lens by which to measure progress," said state Superintendent Jack O'Connell. The result is "conflicting and confusing information" that doesn't serve anyone well, he said.

      Barrage of data

      On Tuesday, state officials released the annual barrage of data that includes the state's ranking system showing progress made by each school and district, mostly based on standardized test results. At the same time, it reported whether enough students locally and statewide were proficient in math and English to meet federal standards.

      The federal system, called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), requires a certain percentage of students at each school to test proficient in math and English each year. These results figure prominently in No Child Left Behind.For 2009, about 45 percent of students needed to reach proficiency in each subject for a school to pass muster.

      This year, 51 percent of the state's schools met that federal target, down one point from last year. By way of a loophole for schools with low enrollment, Malcolm X made it for the first time. At Malcolm X, 26 percent of students reached proficiency in English and 56 percent in math.

      But the federal finish line keeps moving from year to year. Next year, that bar rises to nearly 60 percent and by 2014, it hits 100 percent proficiency, a virtually impossible goal at any school.
      Why can't students be proficient in Spanish to pass federal standards? How about proficiency in Chinese or Japanese?

      And why can't students be given TIME to give answers? Not only that, why can't student answers be given in their own reasoning, in their own sentences, instead of A, B, C, or D?

      WHERE ARE THE FREAKEN LIBERALS To-DAY, AND WHY AREN'T THEY SPEAKING-UP TO THIS NAZISM oF STANDARDIZED NATIONAL TESTING AND TEST SCORE MANIA THAT WAS PUT-IN BY GEORGE W. BUSH?

      I was in the South Terminal of San Jose International Airport recently, and I noticed that all signs are now in English-only. AND WHY IS THAT BECAUSE SAN JOSE USED TO PRIDE ITSELF IN BEING MULTI-LINGUAL? ALL AIRPORT SIGNS USED TO BE IN MANY LANGUAGES, BUT NO MORE.

      AGAIN, WHERE ARE THE LIBERALS, AND WHY AREN'T THEY SPEAKING-UP FOR MULTI-LINGUALISM IN CALIFORNIA? An international airport and signage in English-only? THIS IS NOT THE SAN JOSE THAT I USED TO KNOW.

      I also noticed this week that bi-lingual signs in California's Motor Vehicle Department offices have vanished. WHY IS THAT, ESPECIALLY NOW SINCE HALF OF CALIFORNIA's POPULATION IS FLUENT IN SPANISH?

      So back to standardized testing in the public schools: What are these tests trying to measure? How English-only or white a student is becoming?

      And it would be one thing if English-only mono-lingualism was a way to get employment in America, but that is not true anymore. Far from it.... Now, employers demand BI-LINGUAL employees, especially in California. Every business, public or private, needs multi-lingual help.

      This is a new century, but don't try to explain that to the public school system and the Christian-right that they pander to.:rolleyes:
      Last edited by Starving Steve; 09-16-09, 10:16 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

        I am writing in response to GHENT12's comment about noble-minded teachers wasting their time in search of bringing about any change through their efforts. I teach jr. high social studies/lang arts to mostly immigrant or children of immigrants. ALL are low income, and many with terrible home lives.

        So long as this country pays teachers the low salaries most states dole out, we will have the terrible school performance that we see all across the country. I am no dummy, although my professional title often leads people to assume so. I won't bore you with my background, but in the most modest terms let me say that my skills and education would have enough cachet, with hard work and the right training and mentoring, for me to be found as a peer to those readers of certain income brackets. With this perspective, I find myself appalled at the low quality of teachers I work with. Appalled. This is the direct result of the shit we get for pay.

        I am very good at my job, and I get paid the same as people who are indifferent, totally ignorant, angry and/or just plain incompetent. That I still love my job is not a martyr complex, but simply that when you're good at something, you enjoy it. What I hate most about my job has nothing to do with the kids, unless the kids are upset and acting out because they just came from a class run by a teacher who bored/berated/insulted/intimidated/ignored them. The shittiest part of this job is the shitty teachers.

        A true professional's salary will get more of you intelligent, competitive, motivated and intellectually curious iTulip readers to leave your high-paying, soul sucking jobs to work in tough places like my school, which will in turn make me work harder, thereby helping students be successful. Pay a salary close to even the low end of what other professions merely start at (accountants, lawyers, doctors), link those salaries to performance instead of experience and education, and you will see a change in the performance of schools across this country. You will also begin to see a better country. A school full of teachers with the curious intellect of Mr. Janszen and other whizzes of finance can, with the right training and mentoring, truly make a difference.

        And no, teaching is not simply making worksheets, especially where I teach. I just got done teaching my 180 8th graders Locke's theory of the state of nature, social contract, etc. Try to nuance those concepts given the background of the student population and when half of them are officially ELL (English Language Learner). In classes of 35-40. 89% passed the assessment by the way. Spend 6 figures annually on one excellent teacher, or spend 6 figures annually jailing/supporting/feeding/hospitalizing a large portion of my 180 kids.

        So back to Ghent12's comment - The naivete of teachers isn't that they think they can change the world, but that they will be taken seriously trying to.
        Last edited by Tom; 09-17-09, 12:52 AM. Reason: forget fancy phrase

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

          I agree. Teachers' salaries are a disgrace.

          However, currently this nation seems hell bent on steering a path toward private affluence and public squalor so I'm not hopeful for an improvement.

          That said, in Massachusetts there is not a clear correlation between per pupil spending and outcome: outcome seems much more closely tied to the home environment of the students. Do you think that simply raising teachers' pay would have a significant effect on raising performance of the kids who are unfortunate to not come from a supportive home environment.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

            Originally posted by Tom View Post
            I am writing in response to GHENT12's comment about noble-minded teachers wasting their time in search of bringing about any change through their efforts. I teach jr. high social studies/lang arts to mostly immigrant or children of immigrants. ALL are low income, and many with terrible home lives.

            So long as this country pays teachers the low salaries most states dole out, we will have the terrible school performance that we see all across the country. I am no dummy, although my professional title often leads people to assume so. I won't bore you with my background, but in the most modest terms let me say that my skills and education would have enough cachet, with hard work and the right training and mentoring, for me to be found as a peer to those readers of certain income brackets. With this perspective, I find myself appalled at the low quality of teachers I work with. Appalled. This is the direct result of the shit we get for pay.

            I am very good at my job, and I get paid the same as people who are indifferent, totally ignorant, angry and/or just plain incompetent. That I still love my job is not a martyr complex, but simply that when you're good at something, you enjoy it. What I hate most about my job has nothing to do with the kids, unless the kids are upset and acting out because they just came from a class run by a teacher who bored/berated/insulted/intimidated/ignored them. The shittiest part of this job is the shitty teachers.

            A true professional's salary will get more of you intelligent, competitive, motivated and intellectually curious iTulip readers to leave your high-paying, soul sucking jobs to work in tough places like my school, which will in turn make me work harder, thereby helping students be successful. Pay a salary close to even the low end of what other professions merely start at (accountants, lawyers, doctors), link those salaries to performance instead of experience and education, and you will see a change in the performance of schools across this country. You will also begin to see a better country. A school full of teachers with the curious intellect of Mr. Janszen and other whizzes of finance can, with the right training and mentoring, truly make a difference.

            And no, teaching is not simply making worksheets, especially where I teach. I just got done teaching my 180 8th graders Locke's theory of the state of nature, social contract, etc. Try to nuance those concepts given the background of the student population and when half of them are officially ELL (English Language Learner). In classes of 35-40. 89% passed the assessment by the way. Spend 6 figures annually on one excellent teacher, or spend 6 figures annually jailing/supporting/feeding/hospitalizing a large portion of my 180 kids.

            So back to Ghent12's comment - The naivete of teachers isn't that they think they can change the world, but that they will be taken seriously trying to.
            I think one of the main problems is that teachers are considered "good" people. They are "helping our children". They are so "important to our future"... blah blah blah. It starts with our attitude. We look at teachers NOT as professionals, but as volunteers. It is a low-paying, crappy profession surrounded by ignorance, bureaucracy, incompetence, etc. When people start looking at teachers like the suckers they truly are, and when NOBODY wants to be a teacher. ... then you will get your raises and attract real professionals.

            In Asia teachers are considered professionals, not volunteers. While their salaries are probably a bit higher (relatively), it is society's attitude that is different. A talented person would like to be a teacher there. They get respect. In America, the last thing a talented person would want to be is a teacher. They get shit on.

            (lest you get offended, of course there are many good teachers, but this the exception, not the rule)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

              I think you've hit on a critical point here. Teaching is not respected in the US. We've all heard the mocking comment, "those who can, do; those who can't, teach"

              Two of my in-laws are (public school) teachers. The horror stories they tell me of children harassing them, parents threatening to sue, the union only concerned with tenure and salaries.

              Is there anything in this country that *isn't* screwed up???

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, consult."
                Ouch :eek:

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                  Originally posted by Starving Steve View Post
                  I also noticed this week that bi-lingual signs in California's Motor Vehicle Department offices have vanished. WHY IS THAT, ESPECIALLY NOW SINCE HALF OF CALIFORNIA's POPULATION IS FLUENT IN SPANISH?:rolleyes:
                  Well because it they are bi-lingual then 100% of California's population should be fluent in English.

                  Is the problem that they are NOT bi-lingual and feel Spanish is somehow a "right" in America.

                  Go to Mexico and try to obtain a non-Spanish government form?

                  Go to Mexico and demand that your kids be taught and tested in English at the local high school in Mexcio.

                  Then go to Mexico and demand "free health" care for all non-Mexican citizens.

                  or better yet go to Mexico and demand the Mexican government pay American hospitals for the Health Care provided for thier own citizens?

                  LOL.

                  I

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                    [quote=jpatter666;123237]"those who can, do; those who can't, teach"[quote]

                    Excatly.

                    Ever read the story of how America became the greatest country on earth? Nothing to do with "formal education".

                    Why is getting a Masters in Fine Art or Bachelors in Literature some kind of "right" and required to then go work in a office or as a real estate agent?

                    Do you think a "formal education" is somehow a "right" or somehow a factor in how smart you are or become?

                    Education in America is screwed up because it is now another pyramid scheme with teachers unions in bed to politicians and lawyers.

                    The California Teachers Union in particular (with help from the California public employees union) is single-handedly destroying the state of California.

                    California is now 3 states - private sector and public sector and illegal Immigrants. Not longer does the state work for the private citizens but they work mostly for the public sector unions and try to keep the private sector in line.

                    The California private sector exists to pay these corrupt unions and you wonder why the California private sector shrinks each year.

                    Training used to be paid for by corporations, only academics went on to complete masters and PHds - corporate trainng has now been pushed off onto the US taxpayers.

                    Why should I pay to train your employees?

                    Bill Gates seems like a smart guy, self-educated, realized formal education is a waste of time.

                    Steve Jobs, probably a smart guy as I've never met him. Work in a very complex technical field - do you really need a PHd engineering degree to be smart enough to build computers?

                    Education, beyond perhaps basic reading, writing, & arthmitic is NOT some social "right" that sould be funded by taxpayers.

                    I would drop all eduction spending at the federal level and use it to pay for universal health care - a much, much more important service.
                    Last edited by MulaMan; 09-17-09, 02:40 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education - Parents are Responsible for Education

                      I total agree.

                      If you find a smart kid you'll find - he or she has smart parents who value education (the parents may or may not have a lot of formal education).

                      Our belief that paying Teachers more is B/S. There are students in underperforming New York City Class rooms with $90K- $100K (overpaid) teachers.

                      Steve Jobs and Bill Gates probably had very smart parents who educated them on our Society works and how to succeed.

                      Find an under performing Student - you may find a student with a true learning challenge or you'll find dis-interested parents who aren't doing their job!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                        Originally posted by Starving Steve View Post

                        This is a new century, but don't try to explain that to the public school system and the Christian-right that they pander to.:rolleyes:
                        You're right, it is a new century. Nationalism is storming into the present in full force as exempliied in the Far East. Your creed of multiculturalism is little more than a delusion with no historical precedent and no success stories anywhere in the world. It is a failed experiment.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                          If I lived in Mexico, absolutely I would demand that the Govn't of Mexico offer forms in English and Spanish both, just as California and the U.S. do. I would also demand that my kids be tested fairly in English or in Spanish, or both languages, whatever the child requests. (Let the child have a voice in the testing decision.)

                          Mexico and all countries need to encourage multi-lingualism. Mexico and all countries need to accommodate language diversity.

                          Just walking thru the Chase Bank here in Watsonville, California, and I noticed all signs on the walls were in Spanish and English, both. Isn't it funny how banks and private businesses understand the importance of accommodating the language diversity of their customers, but the U.S. public school system absolutely REFUSES to accommodate language diversity? (Spanish is treated as a disease in the American public schools.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                            Originally posted by Serge_Tomiko View Post
                            You're right, it is a new century. Nationalism is storming into the present in full force as exempliied in the Far East. Your creed of multiculturalism is little more than a delusion with no historical precedent and no success stories anywhere in the world. It is a failed experiment.
                            The Peoples' Republic of China seems to be doing just fine economically accommodating language diversity and cultural diversity.

                            I watch CCTV Ch.9 ( China Central TV Channel 9 in English ), and the impression that I get is that China encourages language diversity, the rule of law, and democracy. China welcomes the world, and China is moving onto the global stage and assuming a leadership role in the world.

                            Isn't it ironic how America now wants to isolate itself and erect tarrif barriers to trade, build walls along its borders, and erode the rule of law? .... American nationalism, "Buy American", and English-only mean the absolute death of America, not a better future for America.
                            Last edited by Starving Steve; 09-17-09, 04:04 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Applying the 'Free Market' to Education

                              Originally posted by Starving Steve View Post
                              The Peoples' Republic of China seems to be doing just fine economically accommodating language diversity and cultural diversity.

                              I watch CCTV Ch.9 ( China Central TV Channel 9 in English ), and the impression that I get is that China encourages language diversity, the rule of law, and democracy. China welcomes the world, and China is moving onto the global stage and assuming a leadership role in the world.

                              Isn't it ironic how America now wants to isolate itself and erect tarrif barriers to trade, build walls along its borders, and erode the rule of law? .... American nationalism, "Buy American", and English-only mean the absolute death of America, not a better future for America.
                              Um. Right. I think a glance at history will perhaps shed some light on the real reason why English is so prevalent in the Orient. Perhaps over half a century of the world's economic and security activities revolving around the US has something to do with it. In Singapore at least, English is the "business language."

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