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Every Child Left Behind

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http://news.yahoo.com/americas-biggest-tea...-213734183.html

 

The gist of it for those who don't read the actual link and instead expect a summary here, is that in Atlanta teachers have been cheating on the standardized tests to improve the scores of the audited classes. According to the story, it's 178 teachers in just Atlanta, and they're seeing indications of it in six other states.

 

The reason for this happening is the "No Child Left Behind" act that tied school funding to test scores (the Gates foundation does the same) so if they don't show the improvement needed their funding drops.

 

Honestly the "act" sounds great on paper (keeping an eye on kids based on their testing scores) but realistically, it's a train wreck. From what I've seen, the teachers in my area, in order to keep scores up, would teach to the slowest members of the class, and make sure that EVERYONE knew what was on the test, but wouldn't teach much else.

 

Anyway, DISCUSS!


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It does sound great on paper. It's designed to incentivize teachers making sure their students comprehend. Going that extra mile! However, path of least resistance comes into effect.

 

I have to wonder if some of these same teachers (and how many), might have short changed the students anyway.


"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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Ah, the problem with standardized tests. Reminds me of the standard tests back in Trinidad for high school and university entrance, with teachers getting access to the test then taking large amounts of money from kids' families to give copies out. Gotta love my homeland :)

Edited by Malcador

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I have to wonder if some of these same teachers (and how many), might have short changed the students anyway.

 

 

I would guesstimate a large percentage. "The system" doesnt make people liars and cheats, their own morals allow it. Besides, I dont think anyone here will claim the US public education system is a ball buster so unless you're teaching retards every child should be easily teachable up to the minimum levels. IMO.


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Standardized testing is a waste of time and money. We have a bunch of politicians who have no experience or understanding of education pushing the weakest type of assessment as the ultimate indicator of student learning.

 

I'm lucky I teach in a district where the parents do all the pushing for studying on standardized testing. That way I can focus on real things like critical thinking skills and writing a frickin' thesis sentence.

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I have to wonder if some of these same teachers (and how many), might have short changed the students anyway.

 

 

I would guesstimate a large percentage. "The system" doesnt make people liars and cheats, their own morals allow it. Besides, I dont think anyone here will claim the US public education system is a ball buster so unless you're teaching retards every child should be easily teachable up to the minimum levels. IMO.

I would argue that while the system doesn't make people liars and chats directly, putting pressure like the act does on the teacher does allow them to rationalize MUCH more easily than they would otherwise.


Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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Besides, I dont think anyone here will claim the US public education system is a ball buster so unless you're teaching retards every child should be easily teachable up to the minimum levels. IMO.

 

If they want to learn, sure. My wife teaches PE, and she can't even get a good chunk of the kids to dress out or walk a mile in 20 minutes. It's all based on communities and how they prioritize education.

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The problem is trying to use bureaucracy of any kind to measure human factors. Beans yes, brains no. Mind you I take an extremely dim view of anyone who evinces an enthusiasm for bureaucracy of any kind.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I would argue that while the system doesn't make people liars and chats directly, putting pressure like the act does on the teacher does allow them to rationalize MUCH more easily than they would otherwise.

 

What is this pressure you refer to? Accountability? Doing ones job? The program sprung into place do to unacceptably high percentages of US children doing poorly. What entity is directly responsible for educating our children? Teachers. So if the teachers are asleep at the wheel dont you feel they should be held accountable in some way? Shouldnt there be some metric for grading individual teachers capabilities in how they perform their jobs?


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Besides, I dont think anyone here will claim the US public education system is a ball buster so unless you're teaching retards every child should be easily teachable up to the minimum levels. IMO.

 

If they want to learn, sure. My wife teaches PE, and she can't even get a good chunk of the kids to dress out or walk a mile in 20 minutes. It's all based on communities and how they prioritize education.

 

Agreed.

 

Are you also saying the large percentage of children doing poorly in standardized testing is comprised of only ne'er-do-wells?


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I would argue that while the system doesn't make people liars and chats directly, putting pressure like the act does on the teacher does allow them to rationalize MUCH more easily than they would otherwise.

 

What is this pressure you refer to? Accountability? Doing ones job? The program sprung into place do to unacceptably high percentages of US children doing poorly. What entity is directly responsible for educating our children? Teachers. So if the teachers are asleep at the wheel dont you feel they should be held accountable in some way? Shouldnt there be some metric for grading individual teachers capabilities in how they perform their jobs?

 

I see your point, but if I set up a bonus scheme which rewards staff for making trips to clients on the assumption that this means improved contact with clients... I'm going to see a wadge of surprising journeys turning up in my in-tray. And I don't think my reaction would be to smack just THEIR foreheads.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I would argue that while the system doesn't make people liars and chats directly, putting pressure like the act does on the teacher does allow them to rationalize MUCH more easily than they would otherwise.

 

What is this pressure you refer to? Accountability? Doing ones job? The program sprung into place do to unacceptably high percentages of US children doing poorly. What entity is directly responsible for educating our children? Teachers. So if the teachers are asleep at the wheel dont you feel they should be held accountable in some way? Shouldnt there be some metric for grading individual teachers capabilities in how they perform their jobs?

 

It just grades schools, it doesn't actually show which teachers aren't teaching to the test well enough.

 

As for accountability, that is BS. I've told you that I teach in a high performing school. Our test scores are always at the top. Does that make me a better teacher than my wife, who teaches at a school in downtown that gets significantly worse test scores? Not at all! I'm pretty sure she works harder than me. As I said, my kids are already motivated, they show up on day 1 ready to learn. The parents and the entire community push for education, and the students respond to it. I can just focus on teaching.

 

My wife deals with all sorts of crap on a daily basis. Gang problems, pregnancies, kids on drugs. Does that make her a bad teacher? Standardized testing does nothing to account for all this.

 

If I was greedy and wanted a bigger payday, I would be pushing merit pay and standardized testing accountability. It would be great for me. But it's a stupid system that doesn't work in the least. I believe in teacher accountability, but our current system is nowhere near the answer.

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I would argue that while the system doesn't make people liars and chats directly, putting pressure like the act does on the teacher does allow them to rationalize MUCH more easily than they would otherwise.

 

What is this pressure you refer to? Accountability? Doing ones job? The program sprung into place do to unacceptably high percentages of US children doing poorly. What entity is directly responsible for educating our children? Teachers. So if the teachers are asleep at the wheel dont you feel they should be held accountable in some way? Shouldnt there be some metric for grading individual teachers capabilities in how they perform their jobs?

You do realize that teacher's jobs hang in the balance, funding goes down and they fire half the staff and the half that remains needs to carry double the load. Plus how much can teachers actually do when all the rules tie their hands on their backs? We have protected the little kiddies :bastards: so much that there is no reinforcement to make them learn.

Basically the grading system is set up so that you can only fail if you actually make an effort to fail. Not to mention the lack of an unified curriculum, under-payed teachers, lack of funding and just plain old stupidity by the board of education.

Because as soon as some naive parent who's ignorant that their son/daughter is actually a spoiled, nasty little brat goes and raises some hell to the director their backs are against the wall.

 

So please tell me; when faced with so much hostility and regulations can you really blame teachers for doing a poor job on teaching a bunch bastard that rather be texting that actually paying a modicum of attention?


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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I would argue that while the system doesn't make people liars and chats directly, putting pressure like the act does on the teacher does allow them to rationalize MUCH more easily than they would otherwise.

 

What is this pressure you refer to? Accountability? Doing ones job? The program sprung into place do to unacceptably high percentages of US children doing poorly. What entity is directly responsible for educating our children? Teachers. So if the teachers are asleep at the wheel dont you feel they should be held accountable in some way? Shouldnt there be some metric for grading individual teachers capabilities in how they perform their jobs?

Well, you'd have a leg to stand on if they broke the testing down by teacher, rather than just did a school average. If you're a fantastic teacher in an absolutely garbage neighborhood, should you get your pay docked (and your school's funding lessened) because of the six teachers who view teaching as "Turn on nova and read the internet"?


Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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It just grades schools, it doesn't actually show which teachers aren't teaching to the test well enough.

 

As for accountability, that is BS. I've told you that I teach in a high performing school. Our test scores are always at the top. Does that make me a better teacher than my wife, who teaches at a school in downtown that gets significantly worse test scores? Not at all! I'm pretty sure she works harder than me. As I said, my kids are already motivated, they show up on day 1 ready to learn. The parents and the entire community push for education, and the students respond to it. I can just focus on teaching.

 

My wife deals with all sorts of crap on a daily basis. Gang problems, pregnancies, kids on drugs. Does that make her a bad teacher? Standardized testing does nothing to account for all this.

 

If I was greedy and wanted a bigger payday, I would be pushing merit pay and standardized testing accountability. It would be great for me. But it's a stupid system that doesn't work in the least. I believe in teacher accountability, but our current system is nowhere near the answer.

 

I agreed with this particular point above, you probably didnt see it.

 

 

So please tell me; when faced with so much hostility and regulations can you really blame teachers for doing a poor job on teaching a bunch bastard that rather be texting that actually paying a modicum of attention?

 

I see you subscribe to the school of "if you cant beat them, throw in the towel". You can shrug your shoulders if you like but I expect more out of our educators.

 

Well, you'd have a leg to stand on if they broke the testing down by teacher, rather than just did a school average. If you're a fantastic teacher in an absolutely garbage neighborhood, should you get your pay docked (and your school's funding lessened) because of the six teachers who view teaching as "Turn on nova and read the internet"?

 

C'mon, we arent splitting the atom here. For example, if your schools science scores are tanking I dont think it takes a genius to figure out which teachers in that department arent up to snuff.


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It's a poor solution to a difficult problem. A lot of money gets poured into education, mostly from the state level, but frequently supplemented with federal grants, and there is an admirable instinct that said money should come with some accountability structure. The problem is that an accurate assessment of educational efficacy is an extraordinarily difficult, nuanced, and multifaceted endeavor. Simply put, it's not a feasbile thing to do on a national level. Probably not even on a state-wide level. So that leaves us with two options: no broad-based accountability, or broad-based accountability using imperfect methodology.

 

NCLB is one flavor of the latter, and by all reports it isn't working particularly well.

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C'mon, we arent splitting the atom here. For example, if your schools science scores are tanking I dont think it takes a genius to figure out which teachers in that department arent up to snuff.

 

Actually, I'd suggest its harder than splitting the atom. Splitting atoms is easy once you have the right machinery. Fixing a faulty education outcome is a hell of a lot harder. You got a lot of elements in complex interaction here:

 

- School facilities

- Curriculum

- Student background

- Family background

- Chaotic emotional issues

- Funding

- Teacher behaviour

- Teacher management

- Dept. politics

- School politics

- Racial tensions

- Violence/gang violence

 

It's like doing plate spinning with 100 plates. And the plates are live pigs.

 

Just my view, anyway. I don't think you can just point at a teacher and say 'you suck'.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Just my view, anyway. I don't think you can just point at a teacher and say 'you suck'.

Well, a competent and objective educational professional can, I think, point at a teacher and say 'you suck' with a pretty high degree of accuracy. But only after observing that teacher first hand for a period of time and taking many of the factors that you list into account. Better local-level management of school systems would be greatly helpful, as those are the people who would have the information to make a judgment about teacher quality. But if you give local management real authority over teacher pay and/or termination, you need to have lots of controls to ensure that those people are in fact competent and objective (hint: they often aren't).

 

At some point in here, the costs, risks of lawsuits, perverse incentives borne of poor assessment methods, and such become daunting enough that the best option is to stop pouring resources into a pursuit of teacher accountability and instead focus efforts on other avenues of improving educational quality.

Edited by Enoch

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I see you subscribe to the school of "if you cant beat them, throw in the towel". You can shrug your shoulders if you like but I expect more out of our educators.

Now I subscribe to the school of "they are not paying me enough money to put up with this" You can't get the kids to do anything, you can't fail them (you really can't) and you basically have everything against you. Not to mention that the lesson plans coming from the State are f'ed up.

 

C'mon, we arent splitting the atom here. For example, if your schools science scores are tanking I dont think it takes a genius to figure out which teachers in that department arent up to snuff.

And you say that knowing that only about a quarter of students actually show up for their Science tests, I assume?

 

 

It's a poor solution to a difficult problem. A lot of money gets poured into education, mostly from the state level, but frequently supplemented with federal grants, and there is an admirable instinct that said money should come with some accountability structure. The problem is that an accurate assessment of educational efficacy is an extraordinarily difficult, nuanced, and multifaceted endeavor. Simply put, it's not a feasbile thing to do on a national level. Probably not even on a state-wide level. So that leaves us with two options: no broad-based accountability, or broad-based accountability using imperfect methodology.

 

NCLB is one flavor of the latter, and by all reports it isn't working particularly well.

I doubt money is the problem, is a general level of stupidity up to the point of being idiosyncratic to the fabric of education in the States. Basically the problem comes from coddling the students. Hell even Third World countries have a better level of education than the US, so I really doubt that money or accountability is the problem.

Talk about impossible expectations. :lol:


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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At some point in here, the costs, risks of lawsuits, perverse incentives borne of poor assessment methods, and such become daunting enough that the best option is to stop pouring resources into a pursuit of teacher accountability and instead focus efforts on other avenues of improving educational quality.

 

That's a good point. There are plenty of other avenues as well, test scores really don't improve me as a teacher. Professional development with my peers, new classroom strategies, and interesting new technology are what keep me from becoming stuck in a rut.

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I think as usual it's probably 'horses for courses'. Getting results from a group, even an oppositional one like a school, depends on the responsible authority twigging to the style they need. Tidy focussed minds like order and objectives. Dynamic untidy minds need inspiration and energy.

 

Although, writing this, I can see how teachers are probably the orderly sorts and schoolkids the disorderly sorts. Hence the premium on a good headmaster-secondmaster match.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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It seems that the more I read about the state of education in America the more charter schools make sense. Putting the money set aside for each kid in the hands of the parents does have inherent problems, but much less so than the current system. Unfortunately the lobby of Teacher's Unions, text book suppliers like McGraw/Hill, the private busing companies seems to be way too powerful for any widespread change now matter how much the system is in crisis.

 

 

Standardize testing is a detriment to both the student and the educator and simply is an attempt at a blanket solution for a system made up independent school districts. The fact that the quality of education you receive in America is directly related to the amount of property tax in your district really makes the way that the standardized testing system works completely backwards.


People laugh when I say that I think a jellyfish is one of the most beautiful things in the world. What they don't understand is, I mean a jellyfish with long, blond hair.

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It seems that the more I read about the state of education in America the more charter schools make sense. Putting the money set aside for each kid in the hands of the parents does have inherent problems, but much less so than the current system. Unfortunately the lobby of Teacher's Unions, text book suppliers like McGraw/Hill, the private busing companies seems to be way too powerful for any widespread change now matter how much the system is in crisis.

 

 

Standardize testing is a detriment to both the student and the educator and simply is an attempt at a blanket solution for a system made up independent school districts. The fact that the quality of education you receive in America is directly related to the amount of property tax in your district really makes the way that the standardized testing system works completely backwards.

Actually from what I've heard charter schools aren't any better, the only difference is that their curriculum tends to move towards a specific career.

Aside from any economical obstacle there is also a sociological one; namely that your common Joe has a certain expectation from schools (much like I read from Gfted1's post) America is the land of the "easy pill" we want to lose weight but we don't want to exercise, we want our kids to be smart but we don't want to have anything to do with their education. A lot people just drop their kids education solely on the teachers, but is a two way effort on the part of both the educator and the educated.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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