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View Diary: Florida mom takes kids from public schools, blames the right people. Supports teachers. (165 comments)

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  •  Common core and performance testing is driving (52+ / 0-)

    everyone to 'brand names' in educational material.  Any set of instructors with moderate experience in creating lesson plans could create their own common-core lesson plan, by why take on the risk individually as a teach or as a group (district), because if the test scores come in low then the witch-hunts will begin as someone must be blamed, heads must roll, a 'strong leader' is required, yadda yadda yadda.

    So you end up with high priced low quality corporate mush.  I've found problems where the 'right' one is actually wrong, questions with no correct answer listed, and questions with multiple correct answers.

    The worst part is the idiotification, which immediately follows standardization in most corporate scenarios: I don't have to know the material since it is standardized, I only need to manage the process.  It is now so easy any idiot can do it, and if any idiot can do it, idiots will end up running the show.

    "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

    by ban48 on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 04:00:09 PM PDT

    •  Ioduot already run the show; they're the teapublik (4+ / 0-)

      They do what they're told by evil stupid rich people.

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 04:06:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My daughter's in kindergarten (20+ / 0-)

      So she's never had anything but the Common Core. Now, I actually like a lot of what she's been taught this year, I love the fact that they're preparing kids for algebra in kindergarten (using level-appropriate material.) But there were indeed some questions on a KINDERGARTENER's  homework that were incomprehensible this year. My husband works at Brookhaven National Lab in the Light Source (and the new Light Source 2) particle accelerators as an operator. He also has a side business creating websites--he's the type of guy who thinks coding is fun. I'm currently a SAHM, but I went to grad school at Yale and at one time I learned to read four different dead languages in three different writing systems. Not to mention the living languages, and all the history & social sciences I studied and researched (including running some pottery through an electron microscope, which was way fun.) In other words, we're smart, educated people with a breadth of knowledge.  There were questions on her homework several times this year that neither of us could figure out. They made no sense--and that still held even after I went over all the material they learned in class. Luckily, these didn't turn up too often, but they did more than once.

      I think Common Core is a laudable goal, and I think it may actually be a great program in a bunch of years if it's allowed to be updated and fixed as it goes along, AND if the horrible corporate control is taken away. I worked for a subsidiary of Pearson for many years, and the idea of them writing our kids tests scares me.

      •  I'm seeing that same problem in tests (18+ / 0-)

        Questions that don't make sense even if you see the work.

        In one case two grade level teachers and I studied one test question, regarding the "topic" of a paragraph, and none of us could agree on the "correct" answer.  

        And, here's another one.   They read a poem from a woman who was talking about her grandmothers who were slaves.  

        There was a line that said, "They touched the earth and grain grew".  The question asked what it meant.   Options were "it was effortless" and "they were very skilled".   If you chose "very skilled" you got it wrong.

        Because everyone knows that it was "effortless" for a slave to work grain fields in the South.   Totally effortless.   Barely lifted a finger.

        Now, the kind interpretation is that someone didn't think this question through.   The not-so-kind interpretation is that this is a push-polling form of propaganda, shoved at our schoolkids, trying to minimize the horrors of slavery in the South.  

        I'm starting to wonder about the not-so-kind interpretation.

        The tests are BULLSHIT.   This whole trend in testing of "choose the most correct answer" is BULLSHIT.  The point is not to get a nuanced sense of who is smartest.  The point is to randomize the results.  By using random chance to exclude some of the kids who really knew the right answers, you make people think your test is challenging.

        Fortunately, my kids do well on tests, but my next door neighbor's kid is making A's and B's in school, but got told she's on track to fail THE TEST, and despite her A's and B's and one C, she's being forced to go to summer school.   They've been putting that family through Hell.  For years, now.  

        When I was a kid, summer school was for kids with an F.

        And, another problem is that it's not just an academic test.  It's an endurance test.   My daughter struggles, not because she doesn't know the material.  When she gets through it, she always passes.  What our trouble is, is that she has a disability, and has very little tolerance for cold, bright lights, uncomfortable chairs and gets fatigued very quickly.  That's why she's in virtual school.  She got sick in the middle of two tests.  I was this close to having to pull her out of school and transfer her to some school that doesn't take any state funding.    Kids who are perfectly smart, may just not be able to endure a four hour test, with two hours of sitting around waiting to take the test, and possibly even skipping lunch.    I finally solved the problem by dressing her in triple layers of sweaters, sending "Hot Hands" with her to help keep her warm, dropping her off at the last possible moment so she didn't sit around for no apparent purpose for an hour, and packing extra food and drinks.  She helped by  throwing a bit of a fit if they wouldn't let her out after she finished the test.  On top of all of this, she has trouble reading printed material, particularly high contrast black on white, and they don't offer the test on a computer.  It's a friggin train wreck of every possible condition that could sabotage and kid and make them fail.  The first one of these tests she took threw her into a massive flare-up that was so bad that she was literally unable to read anything for a week.  She was basically sick in bed for a week.   Except, they had another of the damn things scheduled the following day.  So, we had to call in sick for that one.  When they rescheduled, they scheduled them both on the same day, and asked me to sign a permit to allow her to take them in one day.  I refused to sign it.  Fortunately, one of the tests was not required for advancement, so we managed to blow that one off.

        Yet, she does her schoolwork just fine, because she is in a comfortable environment, and can take breaks when she needs to.

        I suspect other kids struggle with the endurance required for these tests, as well, and it is that which is reflected in their grades, not just their level of smarticles.

        I'm sick and damned tired of people grading our kids like sides of beef.   This is not for the benefit of our kids.  Our kids are being inspected and branded like a herd of cattle.

        •  Yeah... I've noticed weird themes thrown in (3+ / 0-)

          every now and then.  And if these were teachers writing their own lesson plans, this crap could be weeded out quickly.

          "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

          by ban48 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 03:06:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

            If you had six million teachers writing six million lesson plans, you'd get six million flavors of mistake.

            The difference is that they would be completely invisible and unaccountable. Nobody audits a teacher's weekly math quiz.

            Common Core gives us one ruler to do the measurement. Even if it is a broken ruler, we now have a way to compare one district to another. It is better than nothing.

        •  You can't opt-out of the tests? (3+ / 0-)

          My daughter's now going into first grade, so she hasn't had any of those long tests yet--she did have a couple of standardized tests, which I didn't find out about until later. They gave the  kids one in the first week or so of school, and told the kids to fill in the bubbles with the correct answer, and these kids had no idea what that meant. My daughter was four and had never seen anything like that when they gave her the test, and her teacher told me that all the kids were flummoxed, and getting upset, so she told them to just color in what they wanted. I do wonder if their class had some blowback from that. Anyway, here in NY there is a pretty big movement to opt-out of testing, and I'm seriously considering it for next year and subsequent ones. I'm putting in to be the class mom, and then I'll know when they're coming up. And I plan on joining the PTA. My daughter is very good at academics, but not so good at sitting still and standing neatly on lines and taking direction, so not so good at that kind of testing, I'm afraid. Not at this age, anyway. She's in OT and PT at school, and it helped a lot, even though she only started with it in the early spring. Next year she'll be in it all year, so they'll hopefully make a huge difference.

          Anyway, the corporate, profit-driven testing that is now pretty much mandated in our schools makes me really angry. Other than paying for textbooks and other hard materials (desks, paper, pencils, etc) I don't think that there should be any sort of profits take in our schools.

          •  No (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            You cannot opt out of tests, in Texas.   If you refuse to take the test, you will not be advanced.   Also, private schools which take state funding are also required to give the tests.  All the other virtual schools in Texas take state funding.  Some are operated by State Universities.  

            I was having to look at a national virtual high school, as an alternative.    Fortunately, we are hanging on by our fingernails.

      •  I agree. Some of the concepts I like. But the (4+ / 0-)

        quality of the corporate worksheets they hand out are low.  It is fine if you want to throw in a vague question every now and then, but vague questions do not have one right answer.  Another problem I see is in the writing portions where the 'correctness' of the answer is a key-word count.  Well-written responses that miss a keyword or two get knocked down. It is idiotic.

        "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

        by ban48 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 03:04:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I find this at the college level as well (6+ / 0-)

      Online materials especially. Online labs that only work in ONE browser, on ONE platform. Woe unto you if you use something else. Exercises that allow only ONE way to do something, when it's obvious to anybody who actually does use the software that there are numerous ways to accomplish a task.

      I hate those things. HATE them. They don't explain anything, and they're way too limiting. I want my students to experiment and make mistakes along the way. Then I want them to figure out what they did wrong and fix it. That's how you learn.

      Any idiot can follow a path, it takes an explorer to create one. I want to train explorers.

      Explorers take us to new places. Others just follow the ruts in the road.

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