Saturday, December 5, 2015

Another NCLB Update

In G2A, NCLB Update Jerry noted that progress was being made and the opinion below.

MJ's View of NCLB Update
Breibart NCLB Update
FOX NCLB Update
"You left out one of the most important features of the NCLB law, the one requiring that schools failing to make adequate yearly progress to offer kids (parents) what would essentially be a voucher to attend another school. That was very quickly gutted by the liberal education cartel. Unfortunately that was the only thing that might "get the attention" of the educracy. " Jerry
I agree that things need to change to help the kids who are being left behind, however taking funding from them and busing the kids to a school with less poverty may not be a good answer given the number of factors that create a failing school. If all Parents and Children were the same, then that would be a good idea.  However we know that is not the case and that "the failing schools" are usually where the "failing Parents" live. (ie poor areas)

As for the silly Mother Jones article...  I do not even know where to start.  As far as I know NCLB only requires 2 to 3 tests per year (ie math, reading & science), how they come up with their numbers is beyond my understanding.

21 comments:

Laurie said...

At my school students take 3 required standardized test per year ( 2 MCA and 1 long Access test for English language learners) They also do a couple of pracitce MCA math tests on the computer (OLPA) and take NWEA test twice. In addition they do many teacher made practice tests in preparation for the MCAs. Anyhow, we do have a big focus on testing.

What I am by far the most cuirious about is will the state shut us down in a few years when we have not improved enough. I think the new law gives the state authority on what to do with failing schools and I don't think they are require to shut us down.

Sometimes I think maybe the right thing is to shut us down. Maybe our students would be more successful at another school, but I think most would transfer to a school equally as unsuccessful and perhaps worse. I think they should give my school more funding so we could hire more teachers.

jerrye92002 said...

I agree with Laurie right down the line. Yes, the new law allows states to decide what tests to use, what constitutes a "failing" school and what to do about it. It DOES give the state some flexibility in WHAT that "something" is.

More to the point, I think the State will now have an obligation to "fix" failing schools, and will prefer that rather than reconstitute the school or, even worse for the unions, hand out vouchers. For Laurie's school, since the DFL thinks the only thing that matters is funding, maybe their first attempt will be to equalize funding for public charters, a good thing.

But let's not delude ourselves any further. Failing schools are ALWAYS in neighborhoods where there are failing schools. Unless you can convince me that those schools (and the Districts they're in) are already doing everything possible to improve results, I say that's the place to start.

John said...

Now this is amusing. "the State will now have an obligation to "fix" failing schools"... From my perspective, they have had an obligation to fix failing schools for decades and have not done so.

Please share with us where this new sense of urgency will come from.

From my perspective, little will change:
- incapable and/or negligent parents will keep having kids.
- union supporters will keep demanding more money, more job security and more autonomy, while blaming their failure on not receiving enough money and autonomy.
- capable and responsible Parents will keep moving out to districts / schools with a better class of Parents and Students. (ie "successful schools" like Wayzata, Orono, Minnetonka, Edina, etc) Thereby increasing the burden on the most challenged schools / communities...
- Conservative tax payers will keep striving to pay less while demanding more.

As I always say... This cycle of collusion works pretty well for the adults and the lucky kids... The only people truly harmed by it are the most needy, the unlucky kids who have those incapable and/or negligent parents. Thus the cycle continues.

Anonymous said...

Here is a modest proposal. Instead of closing the low performing school, why not move the staff of a high performing school to the low performing school.

Wouldn't that solve the problem?

--Hiarm

John said...

That is an excellent idea !!!

Unfortunately the seniority / tenure rules will never allow this to happen within a District.

And steps/lanes pretty much defeats paying by position difficulty and bonuses based on results.

jerrye92002 said...

Correct, the State had a FEDERAL obligation to fix failing schools under NCLB. Now they will again have such an obligation and it will probably be de-fanged and ignored by the education cartel and their liberal legislators. What will be needed is for some brave Republican governors to stand up and say we're going to FIX this, and make it happen like Jeb Bush did.

As for the "modest proposal," it's a terrible idea and it's already been tried. For example: Tallulah, Louisiana is a historically segregated town. A small river goes through the town, formed when the "black town" south of the river and the "white town" north of the river grew together. The federal government poked their nose in and observed that the school south of town was older, had fewer books, yada yada-- an arguably unfair situation. The solution, unfortunately, was to bus half of the black students clear across town to the white school, and half the white students clear across town to the black school, taking money and time away from BOTH schools that might better have been spent improving conditions at one or both. BUT... that wasn't good enough and was still "unfair" to half the students, so the courts mandated that half the black kids get bussed north in the morning, half the white kids south, and at noon the OTHER half of the black kids get bussed north and the other half of the white kids get bussed south, and then EVERYBODY has to get bussed clear across town home in the evening. Needless to say achievement plummeted on both sides of the river.

Now we see a lawsuit against the Mpls school district demanding, not an improvement in results, but the same sort of stupid color-mixing that has failed every place it is tried. I'll say it again: the ONLY way to improve student achievement is to work on improving student achievement, not on mixing colors or reducing discipline or being politically correct. Find a way to reach each student where they are, expect self-discipline and effort, and watch what happens.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately the seniority / tenure rules will never allow this to happen within a District.

why not just merge the districts? Arbitrarily drawn lines should not prevent kids from getting a good education.

--Hiram

John said...

I agree whole heartedly that we do not need 328 districts in MN.

328 Districts
District Maps

However how exactly would having 1 BIG District help anything at all? I think it would make things worse.

Now the high paid / high seniority Teachers are at least trapped within their districts. With one district and the current Union Seniority based rules all the high paid Teachers could flee the Mpls schools. The senior Teachers would all float to Wayzata and all the other easy communities. Just like they currently float to the easier schools in the MPLS district...

jerrye92002 said...

"why not just merge the districts?"

Unfortunately district size has very little to do with the quality of education, and if anything it is a NEGATIVE indicator. Making them bigger would likely move things in the wrong direction. Not only that, but whatever it is preventing kids in (some) inner city schools from higher academic achievement is ONLY solved by trying to improve academic achievement. We could paint all the schools in bright colors, or give every teacher a big raise, or promise to do better. Without actually doing something that we know improves academics, academics will not improve.

John said...

What again are those things?

"actually doing something that we know improves academics"

Laurie said...

If I was principal of a failing school I would want to increase my budget and hire as many teachers as I could. What low achieving students need is as much small group and 1:1 instruction as possible.

I would stretch my budget as far as possible by hiring as many teachers as I could (at the lower end of the salary scale.) I'd keep a few top performing veteran teachers around for leadership value.

As an aside, my older son finally got around to looking for a job and found one in only 2 days, in Denver, at a salary more than 50% higher than his cousin who is a first year teacher. Anyhow, I am excited to have one kid who is no longer my responsibility and looking forward to a Colorado vacation next summer.

John said...

Summary

John said...

Laurie,
Did you remember to multiply the cousins compensation by 12/9 to account for the school holidays and summers off?

Also, please remember that Union steps/lanes are why new Teachers are paid so little. The pie is only so big and the higher seniority Teachers get extra big pieces whether they deserve them or not.

Laurie said...

I was just doing a rough estimate. If I include his bonus for passing the CPA exam he will make 75% more than his cousin. The problem is not the top of teaching pay scales are too high, the problem is the bottom is too low. And charter schools pay scales are too low, as he his starting pay is already equal to my salary :(

about my other prior comment- I think the state shoud mandate that schools with a high number of at risk students get higher per pupil funding than those with a low number of at risk students. As I have expained previously the schools in Mpls that have the fewest at risk students actually have the biggest budgets, as they are filled with high paid staff. Schools with high numbers of high risk students should have the funds to be able to lower class size.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately district size has very little to do with the quality of education, and if anything it is a NEGATIVE indicator. Making them bigger would likely move things in the wrong directio

The point as I understood it, wasn't relevant to size. We seem to be unable to transfer successful staffs to non successful schools because of arbitrary, imagninary lines drawn somewhere on a map. Well, that map is interfering with the education of our children, so why not just get rid of it?

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Thanks for the "summary," John, but I fear it is a bit less than objective. There is, for instance, this quote:
“It’s not a good thing in general to give states this much authority; the bill marks a significant abdication of the federal role in education, relying on good-faith efforts of the states...."

All the conservatives I know have pointed to the Constitution and to common sense and said the Federal government should have NO role in education, and indeed that is how this bill is being sold in Congress, as a substantial reduction in federal interference in education. I have long held that the only reason for NCLB, IMO, was that the federal government was the only thing big enough to break the stranglehold of the unions and force schools to improve. But as your item admits, the first thing California and most everybody else did was to waive, ignore, and neuter the "accountability" portions of NCLB. The new bill essentially does for education does what the Iran deal does for nuclear proliferation-- allows schools to decide how to inspect, what to inspect, WHO gets to do the inspecting, and to reward those who continue to fall short of objectives.

As for those things "we know improve academics" I will again say it's not my job; I'm paying for it, not being paid. It is the job of legislators and "education leaders," district administrators and principals and teachers to figure this out. I used to believe that those folks wanted to improve but just didn't know how and that somebody needed to show them. I no longer believe that. I believe the examples of how to improve are all over the place and the failure to adopt those improvements is a matter of deliberate intent to fail, starting at the top. Good teachers in a bad system produce bad results, it's inevitable. The system must change.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, I think your idea would work, with a few caveats. First, not all new teachers are good teachers, and much depends on the kind of "leadership" you intend for the senior teachers left. You could, of course, accomplish the same result more effectively if you simply installed a pay-for-performance plan. The least qualified would leave and be replaced by new "junior teachers," while the best would stay on as "master teachers," paid accordingly and actively tutoring their juniors.

Realizing that your school is, I believe, elementary, I still believe the best way to get 1:1 teaching is to increase class sizes but employ computers to do the 1:1 for every student, in some classes. (Wonder if anybody has tried that for PE?) Seems to me at some point teacher salaries could go up, for fewer teachers, and almost pay for the computers. Discipline problems usually decrease, in my experience, too.

Anonymous said...

Do we know that high performing schools perform better because they have better teachers? Are there studies on that?

==Hiram

John said...

Jerry,
The article was fine, it was just quoting:

"John Affeldt, managing attorney for Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization, expressed the ambivalence. “It’s not a good thing in general to give states this much authority; the bill marks a significant abdication of the federal role in education, relying on good-faith efforts of the states. But California is headed in the right direction with the still unanswered question of whether in the end it will get it right.”

And I think NCLB was/is needed because of the reasons I stated above...
- incapable and/or negligent parents will keep having kids.
- union supporters will keep demanding more money, more job security and more autonomy, while blaming their failure on not receiving enough money and autonomy.
- capable and responsible Parents will keep moving out to districts / schools with a better class of Parents and Students. (ie "successful schools" like Wayzata, Orono, Minnetonka, Edina, etc) Thereby increasing the burden on the most challenged schools / communities...
- Conservative tax payers will keep striving to pay less while demanding more.

These folks aren't bad, they just insist on putting their wants above the needs of the unlucky kids... And until we as a country demand better, many states and cities will continue to do so.

John said...

Laurie,
The reality is that most of us choose our education / career. I could likely pursue a job that makes much more money, however I would not enjoy what I do as much. So I choose to do what I do.

Median Earnings by Educational Attainment

Please note that Teacher Salaries are right in line. And my graph is from 2010...

jerrye92002 said...

"the article was fine, it was just quoting." That's not fine when you quote somebody with a completely wacko idea of what the federal government should be doing and then don't offer a contrary comment.

Either way, whether the federal government does it, or it is left to State governments (as it should be), the fact is that it isn't getting done, that there is no accountability for results that creates an incentive to get better. In a few rare cases, schools are reconstituted, but that is where they are obvious outliers in their district. When whole districts are dysfunctional, they get more money, not less.

At the risk of being a broken record, I'm going to ask again: Which is more likely, that some government action is going to eliminate the social ills-- poverty, drugs, unemployment, welfare dependence, hopelessness, single motherhood-- collectively called "unlucky kids," or that government can get schools to perform better than they are?