Tuesday, April 15, 2008

But we're special

There isn't enough information in this Tennessean article to provide a clear understanding of the complaints of 'a group of Metro principals' but you do get the feeling that MNPS still thinks they're special and exempt from real world consequences. If only their charges were also exempt from real world consequences when their educational needs aren't met.

Let's start with this unnamed "The Metro Nashville Principals Advisory Board", composed of principals across the school system". It would certainly be helpful to know who they are, what schools they're in charge of in order to evaluate their claims. Frankly, I'll take the word of some principals over others. The track record of some gives their observations and suggestions much more weight than a mysterious group of complainers.

You have to actually look at the draft document the Tennessean links to online in order to get the details. These unknown principals allege:

  • The testing date was changed three times and final clarification only came three days before the tests began. They've got a point here if that clarification was actually a clarification and not just part of an attempt to delay.
  • Middle schoolers don't have their own calculators. Come on folks, they're a buck a piece at the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. We can't afford to outfit each class with $30 worth of calculators? Parent's can't afford $1.09 for their child's benefit? Oh, and why do middle school math students need calculators?
  • Basketball finals kept some children up late. Tough toenails. At some point we've got to instill in the system that athletics don't trump academics. Yeah, Maplewood's football team is great. Taxpayers aren't paying for football diplomas...or are we?
  • 'We know other districts in Tennessee had testing schedules significantly different from the one mandated in MNPS." Name 'em. How different? Why?
  • "The state demonstrated lack of trust reserved only for MNPS." Have you noticed you're a hair's breath away from being taken over by the state? The distrust seems earned.
  • And the last point which seems to come straight out of the MNEA office: The state added an accountability clause to the principals' contract and then won't let them decide the scheduling of the tests. I guess we need to go over that employer/employee part again. The number of bosses that set reasonable goals and schedules is few. Most people are working under that kind of pressure.
"Metro officials said they considered the test requirements to be recommendations, not mandates." Oops.

"Next year, [TN DOE spokesman Rachel] Woods expects that Metro will be required to administer testing in a single week, as other districts do." You thought it was tough this year?

In a perfect world we wouldn't need NCLB testing. MNPS is far from perfect. Until they get much closer...they're going to live under some onerous conditions.

1 comment:

din819go said...

Thank s Kay for the additional information.

Can someone please tell me why middle school kids get to use calculators on these test? Also, at what grade are calculators introduced in school?

Seems like having the calculator do the work has sure dumb-downed the kids math skills (prpbably science, too).