Monday, March 03, 2008

Testimony on YouTube


My apologies to those of you who wanted to see the testimony before the House Special Initiatives sub-committee and found it was unavailable due to heavy traffic. Over the weekend it was uploaded to YouTube. It's been broken down into seven segments of about five minutes each for ease in finding and digesting what's most interesting to the viewer. Comments in the right hand column let you know what's in each clip. That page is hosted at TnHomeEd.com.

Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) states in his introductory comments:

"What it does, Mr. Chairman, is to make use of best practices that the homeschoolers would be able to develop, proven out. We've got to have some general way of measurement and actually collecting that data and bringing it into the school system. But that's cheaper and makes a whole lot more sense than having to develop umpteen laboratory schools. We've already got it working..."
further in clip six he states:
"Let's work on things together. Let's talk about whether the assessment tests that the public schoolers are doing and the assessment tests that the private schools and the homeschoolers are doing need to be the same. "
Lest folks brush this off as a homeschool issue please see what is in bold above. His intention is to measure all students in every home and private school in an effort to find out what works. Sitting down over coffee or reviewing the information already out there won't work. He tells us we won't know what works unless the State of Tennessee actually collects data. Further he thinks testing students not in the public school system will be cheaper. The fiscal note for this bill quickly puts it at about $4 million a year and I believe they've highly underestimated the number of students not in the public school system. I don't call that cheap. I know some schools that could do a LOT with $4 million as public school parents are quick to point out.

And we haven't even gotten into the particulars of testing itself. As those who toil under the yoke of NCLB will tell you...the test doesn't always tell you the whole story. Criterion reference or normed reference have big problems--especially if the students aren't following the expected scope and sequence.

The calls to Hardaway and his partners in this effort Rep. Joe Towns (D-Memphis) and Rep. Tommie Brown's (D-Chattanooga) will continue until the bill is withdrawn.

3 comments:

Dana said...

In our recent hearing here in NE, the legislator who introduced the bill mentioned, "Do we really know what is going on in private schools?" While that had nothing to do with the bill, it definitely shows the direction they are heading with this.

Tom Guleff said...

With every political move, one has to wonder what motive is behind such action. I am still puzzled over G.A. Hardaway's motives. This Super Nanny needs to find another cause. :)

din819go said...

The Nashville Business Journal just ran the stats on Nashville's private schools and their test scores. They listed both ACT scores and the SAT scores by the three categories for most schools. If you can find the listing you will see how the private school perform against the public schools (need to pull the most recent chamber reort card for the school by school mnps results)in those categories. Go to the private schools and ask them for the following data -- amount of scholarship money received (remember for them to include the dollars for every student eligible for the Hope Scholarship like MNPS does whether the students go to TN schools or not), ask where the students go to college and see if they can tell you where they graduate (this is really the important part). However, showing where kids are admitted to college will tell you about the focus of the school towards certain colleges, regions of the country, etc. as well as the standing of the school in the eyes of the colleges/universities that accept their students.

For instance -- Nashville has one of the top fifty private schools in the country that have students selected/admitted to ivy league schools - University School of Nashville.

Look at the curriculum offered and find out what students take. Private schools will give you the information if you ask. Visit their web sites...read their mission statements they are very impressive (I have wonder why MNPS cannot get ideas from the stated missions of the private schools -- oh yeah, they are too short sighted to look outside of the public school system for ideas and best practices.)

I could go on and on ---anyway the private school info is readily available even if one has to spend some time gathering the research.

The government has extended its arms way to far into our business. It is time to say stop --

Thanks --