Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009-12-23 Education Round Up

Tennessee may submit Race to the Top application for $500 million: My BIG concern is how much more what should be our local schools will be controlled by Washington DC, Arne Duncan and his 'safe schools czar' as a part of this payoff. He who pays the piper calls the tune, ya know.

"The governor insists, therefore, that tests should be made the largest factor in tenure decisions and teacher evaluations." (City Paper) Bredesen's spot on with that. I'll reiterate my suggestion that this information be posted, along with the teacher's CV, for every parent to see.

And for a link to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) Race to the Top score card check this link from EduWonk.

Talks break down in NAACP school discrimination suit: No surprise here. It's my opinion the NAACP didn't go into either of the two meetings held willing to compromise. I'm betting they're counting on Judge John Nixon to rule in their favor. I'm hoping he doesn't. Was it done perfectly? No. Imperfect isn't a crime--else MNPS would have had many of its schools shut down years ago.

Avoid quick fixes that hurt teaching: Even if it improves the education of students? Like every good union the MNEA fights to protect their territory and works supply and demand to their favor. Their union pushes the efforts that have demanded teachers become more social engineers than teachers and refuse to recognize the reality that it doesn't take a teaching degree to teach. Gatekeeping doesn't ensure competency as we all know so well, and that's why they fight tooth and nail using those student scores to rate teachers.

A suggestion: if the union and their members want to encourage more folks to get into teaching it would help if they'd quit whining about how little they get paid, how bad the conditions are how, how under appreciated they are etc. Their students are listening and they're teaching them they've got a lousy job. Who'd want to join them?

Nashville school chief set job goals: And how is this different than the Garcia reign?

"Board members are trying to develop an in-depth evaluation tool that reflects the goals of the school district and measures the director against those goals..."
The BOE has had quite an elaborate evaluation tool that they failed to utilize on former Superintendent Pedro Garcia. What's our assurance that the BOE will develop a better one and/or use it THIS time?

Family sues Metro schools after child shocked by pencil sharpener: Not surprising. I remember a school with a pile of donated computers that couldn't be installed for lack of adequate electric service. Seems to me it was this same school that had light fixtures explode during a parent meeting. Both MNPS and Metro Nashville have failed for decades to focus on maintenance. If we cannot maintain what we have why should we take on more?

Lottery Brings In $280.2 Million For Education: Out of sales of $1BILLION dollars. When the figures are flipped and the students get $720 million instead of Rebecca Paul, her staff, the advertising and printing company, the vending manufacturing companies and the janitorial staff that has to sweep up all the scratch-off litter that'll be news.

States Struggle to Stitch Together Pre-K-20 Data: Talk about mission creep. The public school system used to be grades 1-8. Then 1-12. Then K-12. Now pre-K through 12 and coming up soon Pre-K through 20!

Private Colleges Question Kindergarten-to-Career Data Collection: I have some privacy concerns about this effort. If I'm not in the public system...why should I submit to this data collection? I'm also concerned about the breadth of the information that will be gathered. See what's emphasized in red below.
Tn DOE Spokesman Rachel Woods kindly forwarded me a copy of this grant application. I haven't had time to read all 122 pages and still wrap gifts and bake cookies but here are a couple of snips:
The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and the state of Tennessee propose to build a longitudinal student data system that will push the frontier in collection and utilization of P20 data and promote improvements in program administration and educational outcomes. The initiative will significantly increase teacher, school, and district-level use of near real time student data by employing sophisticated, as yet underutilized longitudinal data for predictive and retrospective identification of student achievement growth and academic risk factors.
TDOE and its partner, the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), will collaborate with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (L&WD) to expand the P12 LDS to a P20 system.
The project will develop a secure and adaptive database architecture that will integrate academic data on teacher/student relationships, attainment,
course completion, and test scores, as well as data on health, children’s services, mental health, and delinquency. This project envisions and plans to execute what is coined as TLDS 360: Tennessee Longitudinal Data System 360 Degree View of the Student. TLDS will incorporate data elements from other child-serving departments and will facilitate more robust characterizations of health, social welfare and behavioral conditions that influence students’ progress from earliest child care, through P12 and higher education, and into the workforce.

The Explosion of Charter Schools in America: Well, explosion in some states. Hardly a hiccup in Tennessee though by the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the educrats you'd have thought education choice folks had stabbed them in the back instead of providing a hand up for students. (Hat tip: Jay Greene's excellent blog.)

1 comment:

Eric said...

I wonder why the state doesn't put up billboards by the interstate about the $800M raised for "administration" and "winnings"? That breakdown of the $800M is strangely missing in the article and you sure won't see it on the lottery website.

I will say though that they are ahead of the measly 15% of revenue originally projected to go to education. But five years later, is there an increase in anything secondary education except the tuition rates?