Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized

Ohio BATs Agree with OSBA, BASA, & OFT’s Amicus Brief about HB70

signatures of support

Ohio BATs extends its sincere gratitude to the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers for their joint filing of an amicus brief in opposition to state takeovers via House Bill 70. As amici explain so well, the process and the intent of the amendment, that ultimately was introduced and passed on the same day, was an affront to the entire democratic process of our governance.

 

We completely agree with their statement: “Amici share a keen interest in preserving the local, community-centered autonomy of local school boards. Voters elect the members of their districts’ school boards from their own communities, and school districts, in turn, have authority over their districts. But R.C. 3302.10, enacted in Am.Sub.HB 70, upends this system by unconstitutionally usurping the powers of school boards and, by extension, the will of the voters who elected the board members. And it does so in violation of Article VI, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution as well as the Equal Protection clause.” Read the full brief here: http://vindy.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/news/documents/2017/12/07/Amicus_Brief.pdf


When we see amici representing Ohio’s school board members, superintendents, and educators against the state, then it is clear there was an egregious and corrupt attempt to disregard the voices of experts through HB 70. The bill’s intent is an entrepreneurial endeavor designed by the elite. One that is most costly to children and cold to communities. One that indiscreetly discriminates and racially divides. One that has no empathy for the socio-economically disadvantaged. One that is morally bankrupt and intentionally moot about the ill-effects and failures of this greed-driven educational experimentation thus far.  

Our signatures below are a strong stance in solidarity with the amici’s legal challenge put forth in the brief and in unity with all other groups of public school primary stakeholders who are also vehemently opposed to HB 70 and its broad destructive future plans.

 

Kelly A. Braun, 30 years in some form of education-related jobs; currently a pre-K teacher

Brittany Alexander, 21 year educator

Karen Linch, 18 year educator

Linda Englert Kennedy, 35 years, since 1983

Gary Gilbert, father of two, educator in some form for 30 years.

Debra Testa Fedyna, 35 years elementary teaching, 6 years University of Mount Union adjunct professor, supervisor of student teachers

Michelle Amber Clark, 7 year educator

Sherm Koons, 20 year educator

Tucker Kari MacDonald Tucker, 22 year educator

Rania Fowler, 20 years

Kelly Modlich, 19 years public school educator, 8 year pre-school educator

Wendy Duke, 22 yrs now retired

Laura Valendza, 15 years

Karen Dodson-Glanzer, 21 year educator

Teresa Brown, 35 year educator

Marti Franks, 44 years in secondary education, retired but still an activist.

Mary Reed, 20 year educator

Ana Chapman, 25-year educator and 4-year school board member

Elizabeth Evans, 9 years teaching

Beth Egbert, 19 years

Brandon Parsons, 13-year educator, parent for 13 years

Julie Cohan, educator and parent for 25 years

Melodie Larsen, 31 years teaching in urban public education

Jackie Conrad, 25 year educator

June Krayer, 16 years in education

Rhonda Chartier, Elementary education 13 years

Billie Sarich, 31 years, elementary education

Carrie Preston, teacher, 20 years, mother of 3 grandmother of 5

Stephani Itibrout, 21 years high school teacher

Marty Perlaky, 27 years secondary education

Danielle Carey, 23 year educator

Dawn Neely-Randall, 28 years teaching in public education

Jocelyn Weeda, PhD., 23 year educator

Douglas Edwards, 34 year public school educator

Isabel Bozada, 3 year educator

Geoff D. Mize, 19 years public school educator

Rebecca Kleinhenz, 18 years public school educator
Shannon Brazzil, 21 years 8th Grade Special Education

Travis Pennell, 10 years

Eckhart Marylouise Eckhart, 30 years in public schools now retired

Larry Ellis, 17 year public school educator

Mary Palmstrom, 35 years in public schools, retired

Andrea White, Ph.D., 25-year-educator

Becki Schwab, 14 yrs public school educator

Hauer Katie Hauer, 28 year educator

Tom A. Traut, 30 years in public school – retired

Abby Vaile, 39 years as an educator

Myra Keller, 9 years

Laurie Maravetz, 25 years public school educator

Beth Wilson-Fish, 34 years in education, 2 years on public School Board
Charlandra Lundy, public school educator, 23 years

Jeanne Melvin, educator – 3 years corporate-owned private school and 36 years public school district

Amy Fihe, 23 years

Paula Garfield, Retired- 32 years in public schools, Behavior Intervention Teacher/Specialist

Linda Limbach, 35+ years as public school educator and 3 years as an educational consultant

Stephanie Jordan, 16 yrs public educator

Mandy Jablonski, parent, supporter of public education

Matt Jablonski, 18 years public school teacher

Vickie Briercheck, 30 years

Soozie Kish-Hetterscheidt, 17 years

Jo Guido, 33 years

Dan Heintz, 15 years teaching in public education

Jane Barnes, 14 years in public education

Anita Beck, retired 37 yr public school educator

Denis Smith, Retired 36 years public school teacher and administrator

Diane Valentino, 28 year public educator

Rhonna Smith, 25 year public school Intervention Specialist

Matthew Smith, 31 years public school educator-retired

Ruth V. Spanos, 14 years public school Speech-Language Pathologist

Chris Thomas, Retired public school teacher-28 years

Jessica Bosak, parent/home preschool educator, public school supporter

Jinnifer Roach, public school teacher for 21 years

Margaret Moschell, public school teacher for 19 years

Maureen Reedy, retired educator, 36 years of experience, Ohio Teacher of the Year, 2002, Upper Arlington Teacher of the Year, 2001

Stacey Higgins, 22 years experience

Brenda Moran Schaefer, 20 years experience

Sarae Pacetta, early childhood educator, 21 years experience

Pamela Sneary Spadaro, 21 years of teaching

Melissa Marini Švigelj-Smith, 20 years teaching

Penny Parish-Brown, 34 years, 14 as a teacher and 20 as a School Psychologist

Rachel Rowen, public school teacher, 9 years

th

Advertisements
Standard
Charters, ECOT, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized

Teacher Stance with Senator Schiavoni and Ohio Democratic Caucuses

signature ECOT

Ohio BATs stands in solidarity with members of the Ohio Senate and House Democratic Caucuses whose amicus brief defends the Ohio Department of Education in its review of funding for electronic schools – the basis of a lawsuit stemming from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). We applaud our minority party legislators for standing up on behalf of students, families, schools, and taxpayers, who are all being bilked by ECOT.

 

We agree with the amici that compulsory education, in all its forms, requires documentation beyond mere learning opportunities offered by electronic schools. To receive any portion of state tax dollars, all schools must ensure that students are participating in their learning through required attendance procedures and policies.

 

“In its gradual approach to adding funding oversight to e-schools, the General Assembly recognized the core experimental nature of community schools and balanced it against responsible stewardship of public funds and the obligation to ensure children are educated.” We concur with this assessment of intent behind legislative changes regarding e-schools. Read the full brief here: https://supremecourt.ohio.gov/pdf_viewer/pdf_viewer.aspx?pdf=834613.pdf

 

We sincerely thank Ohio’s Democratic Caucus legislators for defending our children, protecting public education, and safeguarding our tax dollars, with special recognition to Senator Joe Schiavoni for leading this effort. The signatures below show our support of these amici.

 

Kelly A. Braun, 30 years in some form of education-related jobs; currently a pre-K teacher

Brittany Alexander, 21 year educator

Karen Linch, 18 year educator

Linda Englert Kennedy, 35 years, since 1983

Gary Gilbert, father of two, educator in some form for 30 years.

Debra Testa Fedyna, 35 years elementary teaching, 6 years University of Mount Union adjunct professor, supervisor of student teachers

Michelle Amber Clark, 7 year educator

Sherm Koons, 20 year educator

Tucker Kari MacDonald Tucker, 22 year educator

Rania Fowler, 20 years

Kelly Modlich, 19 years public school educator, 8 year pre-school educator

Wendy Duke, 22 yrs now retired

Laura Valendza, 15 years

Karen Dodson-Glanzer, 21 year educator

Teresa Brown, 35 year educator

Marti Franks, 44 years in secondary education, retired but still an activist.

Mary Reed, 20 year educator

Ana Chapman, 25-year educator and 4-year school board member

Elizabeth Evans, 9 years teaching

Beth Egbert, 19 years

Brandon Parsons, 13-year educator, parent for 13 years

Julie Cohan, educator and parent for 25 years

Melodie Larsen, 31 years teaching in urban public education

Jackie Conrad, 25 year educator

June Krayer, 16 years in education

Rhonda Chartier, Elementary education 13 years

Billie Sarich, 31 years, elementary education

Carrie Preston, teacher, 20 years, mother of 3 grandmother of 5

Stephani Itibrout, 21 years high school teacher

Marty Perlaky, 27 years secondary education

Danielle Carey, 23 year educator

Dawn Neely-Randall, 28 years teaching in public education

Jocelyn Weeda, PhD., 23 year educator

Douglas Edwards, 34 year public school educator

Isabel Bozada, 3 year educator

Geoff D. Mize, 19 years public school educator

Rebecca Kleinhenz, 18 years public school educator
Shannon Brazzil, 21 years 8th Grade Special Education

Travis Pennell, 10 years

Eckhart Marylouise Eckhart, 30 years in public schools now retired

Larry Ellis, 17 year public school educator

Mary Palmstrom, 35 years in public schools, retired

Andrea White, Ph.D., 25-year-educator

Becki Schwab, 14 yrs public school educator

Hauer Katie Hauer, 28 year educator

Tom A. Traut, 30 years in public school – retired

Abby Vaile, 39 years as an educator

Myra Keller, 9 years

Laurie Maravetz, 25 years public school educator

Beth Wilson-Fish, 34 years in education, 2 years on public School Board
Charlandra Lundy, public school educator, 23 years

Jeanne Melvin, educator – 3 years corporate-owned private school and 36 years public school district

Amy Fihe, 23 years

Paula Garfield, Retired- 32 years in public schools, Behavior Intervention Teacher/Specialist

Linda Limbach, 35+ years as public school educator and 3 years as an educational consultant

Stephanie Jordan, 16 yrs public educator

Mandy Jablonski, parent, supporter of public education

Matt Jablonski, 18 years public school teacher

Vickie Briercheck, 30 years

Soozie Kish-Hetterscheidt, 17 years

Jo Guido, 33 years

Dan Heintz, 15 years teaching in public education

Jane Barnes, 14 years in public education

Anita Beck, retired 37 yr public school educator

Denis Smith, Retired 36 years public school teacher and administrator

Diane Valentino, 28 year public educator

Rhonna Smith, 25 year public school Intervention Specialist

Matthew Smith, 31 years public school educator-retired

Ruth V. Spanos, 14 years public school Speech-Language Pathologist

Chris Thomas, Retired public school teacher-28 years

Jessica Bosak, parent/home preschool educator, public school supporter

Jinnifer Roach, public school teacher for 21 years

Margaret Moschell, public school teacher for 19 years

Maureen Reedy, retired educator, 36 years of experience, Ohio Teacher of the Year, 2002, Upper Arlington Teacher of the Year, 2001

Stacey Higgins, 22 years experience

Brenda Moran Schaefer, 20 years experience

Sarae Pacetta, early childhood educator, 21 years experience

Pamela Sneary Spadaro, 21 years of teaching

Melissa Marini Švigelj-Smith, 20 years teaching

Penny Parish-Brown, 34 years, 14 as a teacher and 20 as a School Psychologist

Rachel Rowen, public school teacher, 9 years

thank you

Standard
Data, Education, Head Start, Ohio, Preschools, Public Schools, Schools

Heads Up to all Head Start Parents in Ohio

cubes-677092__340

The Ohio Department of Education is currently rolling out an unfunded mandatory reporting and data-collecting system which advantageously has your children’s preschool teachers falling into a very expensive and cumbersome TIME SUCK! It is part of the ‘cradle to college’ movement.  It is the very beginning of digital portfolios which will follow your children (all children) all the way through their school years.

It is called the Early Learning Assessments. (ELA, not to be confused with English Language Arts which also uses that acronym!) I will try to explain it as best as I can. We preschool teachers have guides (you have likely heard the term Standards) to which our curriculum and thus our lesson planning are aligned.

The ODE is now requiring that preschool teachers collect and enter all the information for their formative assessments into a huge state data base.

Part of a teacher’s job is to assess the students; so assessing is not new. There are two types of assessments, formative and summative. So, for example, if I observe Loriquel as she is playing in the dramatic play center, and she hands an orange dress to one of her friends and says “Here, you can wear this orange dress.” I would jot that down on a paper (formative assessment) and make note that Loriquel properly identified the color of the dress. Looking over my notes, (ongoing process, and truthfully most of my notes are mental and there is not much time available to stop what I am doing and write it all down)  I might add several other colored dresses to the dramatic play center, or perhaps I would introduce several items that were different shades of orange (a scarf, a wallet, or sunglasses) and then play in the dramatic center with Loriquel, pointing out other ways to describe orange (cantaloupe, neon, burnt orange, etc.) So, I observe where Loriquel is at in her knowledge or skills and then formulate a way to take her to the next level from that knowledge or skill set. A summative assessment, on the other hand might look more like this: I call Loriquel over to the table where I have a card with various colors on it and ask her to name the various colors. I check off which ones she knows and which ones she does not know. I record that information. She was successful in naming the colors or not, and that would pretty much be the end of that. Usually a summative assessment is for someone else’s benefit, not the teacher themselves. The ODE insists the ELA is a formative assessment tool.  I disagree full heartedly. This does not benefit me as a teacher, you as a parent, or your child in any way. This rigamaroll is all for someone else’s benefit.

The ODE wants preschool teachers to basically enter all of their notes and observations for their formative assessments into very specific, boxed categories on the computer. The way we currently do formative assessments dovetails into the fluid, fast-paced, constant changes that occur in your young children’s development. The way the ODE is demanding this be done is a very jerky, stop-action method which pulls teachers away from your children and towards a computer screen. Truthfully by the time the information is entered on the computer, your child will or should well be onto the next level, so time-lapses will be horrid. I keep imagining a strobe light effect as opposed to sunlight dancing in through a window.

For now it is just those centers who receive ECE funding or funding for children with special needs (most of those being the Head Start programs). But, moving forward, ALL Ohio preschools and K-12 schools will be made to do this.

For now it is only required of those teaching 3-5 year olds, but they want it to be from birth as soon as they can get everyone trained. (Seriously, like a caregiver of a 6 week-old baby needs to be on a computer instead of holding & bonding with your sweet new one!)

For now, it is mandatory to report in 10 of 32 areas. This will actually be 24 entries in the computer now (per child) for the 10 areas, and 74 data entries (per child) eventually, when the 32 areas will be reported.

For now it is to be done twice a year, but they will eventually require this to be done for every preschooler four times a year.

My ratios for 4 year olds are 1:14. So realistically when this becomes a full-blown data feeding frenzy, I will have to collect and enter 4,144 bits of information into a computer system, all backed by evidence and observations which will each and every single one need to be scanned. How much time and mental energy do you think that all will require? Time that could far better be spent rearranging my room, pre-cutting materials, previewing next level reading choices, creating a new math manipulative activity, or just talking with or holding your young one on my lap.

The ODE’s argument is that we already do formative (ongoing assessments) so we truly will be doing nothing new! But then they hypocritically pulled us for two whole days from our classes to be trained and tested on all of this! So yes, it is new and an additive!

They are just beginning (testing it out) with the ones who are very bound up with the state by financial reliance. Thus, the preschools with the most vulnerable student and parent populous will have to answer up to the implementation of this problematic new system.

The worst part is they have spent millions upon millions upon millions of dollars on all of this and that alone is driving them all to push it all through, no matter the problems, concerns or negative feedback. How much more effective it would have been to approach preschool teachers on a large scale and directly ask them what would better their teaching abilities, and improve their classrooms for the sake of the children. I cannot imagine any teacher ever suggesting this system.

It won’t work. It will completely backfire. It is a costly farce.

The time constraints will be impossible to fulfill. A preschool teacher does NOT have time in their manic busy weeks to sit in front of a computer entering data. That is ludicrous. Administrators do not have it in their tight-as-can-be-budgets to pay floaters or substitutes to enter classrooms, to cover the time that teachers would require to enter all of this “necessary” data into the computers.

The technology gaps will reveal themselves all over the board. The few computers in most preschools are used nearly one hundred percent of the time for all the office related duties. Head Start centers in particular have a more than full-time job just trying to keep up-to-date on all of the insane amounts of red tape and required paperwork that comes with the state funding, as well as with the constantly-changing rules and regulations, and the numerous printings and reprintings of required updates for official forms.

Technician help will be stretched to the maximum limits. (No, preschools do not have their own tech support!) In our training class of sixteen teachers, one person was able to successfully set up their password as instructed ahead of time. My boss tried for two straight weeks to get three of us registered, and was beyond frustrated.  The second day, when we had to “take our test online” the computers were not letting us into the program, and the instructor said, “well it is difficult sometimes when many are trying to get on at the same time!” (16 is many?) To get to the forms we actually will be filling out online, I kid you not, we had to enter into like 5 different pages with correct names and passwords. On that day they had 2 additional tech support folks there, and it was still beyond chaotic. Can you imagine these poor centers who will be the very first ones trying to use all of this?

All of this money they are blowing. All of the many, many well-paid people the ODE has hired on their end to manufacture and maintain all of this top-down hoopla directly withdrawals from the ability to pay teachers their value and worth.  I make $9 an hour to teach your children (now, to evidently enter excessive amounts of futile data), with no benefits and no paid leave or sick days. The money they spent on all of the glossy, cardstock, full-color print 330+ pages they gave us (and which every preschool teacher will receive) made me physically feel ill when I started to think of the big-picture money they must have invested, and how differently I would have chosen to spend such grand amounts in order to benefit the wee ones we teach, and you their families.

And tell me please what they will find out from studying all of their data. I sure bet they will find out that poverty affects learning! Oh wait, we already more than know that. The research is extensive and conclusive.  I suppose their algorithms might point to the fact that children need to feel safe and nurtured in order for their brains to develop. Oh, that’s right, we already know that also! Wow, but it would be ever so wonderful if they would extrapolate from all of this data that children learn best while playing! But again, research has solidly shown that over and over ad nauseum. And on the list goes! We know, without more data points, that the fine arts feed children’s intelligent creativity. We know that field trips stimulate hands-on exploration and curiosity. We know that children’s movement on wonderful playgrounds directly affects their reading and language intake and ability.

This is not a tool; it is a talon of the vulture capitalists. It will not inform my instruction; it likely will pressure me personally to give up my profession. This will not better the classrooms for your children; it will deplete the valuable rare resources of time and energy. This is not a child-centered project despite all of its appearances; it is a drain on the ones who have made your children’s growth the very center of their professional career choices. The ODE uses you the parent by putting words in your mouth and saying that you want this program so that you can see where your child is in a glance on a spreadsheet. As a mom of five, I angrily scream bullshit.  Primary caregivers know where their children are in development and if they feel uncertain about the nitty-gritty details, they merely have to ask their teachers, not log-in to a statewide database.  How cold and impersonal.

The money is as good as incinerated. Money strangely does seem to come and go (and it never does trickle-down). But it is the time factors that are irreplaceable.

There are no do-overs. Your children are only young once. My time to teach them is precious and cannot be deliberately stolen away in such an irresponsible way.

I encourage you strongly to be “in the know” and I warn you, because it is tied in with so much money and politics, that it is already a monstous, full-blown machine already very much set into motion.

Standard
Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

The Lie/The Reply

mandy's blog

Remember when I worked very hard to get people to a Town Hall with Dennis Kucinich so he could talk about how charter schools receive unfair funding? The meeting was basically taken over by charter school proponents, most notably, those from the Constellation Schools. They all came in expecting the meeting to be about us trying to close all charter schools. That was not true, but it is what they were told. While I do not know for sure if parents of kids in the Elyria Constellation Schools were given a letter like the one that was given to parents in Parma,

I know for sure that there were many parents at our meeting and they were mad. The letter that was sent to the Parma parents was sent to them by Richard Lukich who helped found the schools and is president of the board of directors. This man, aside from being rude to me personally and blocking people from the info I had on a table while he stood at the door like he owned the place, sat in that meeting and said over and over again that charter schools have to adhere to the same accountability and transparency standards as public schools. He also said that everyone there was free to ask him anything that they want and he will tell us.

So I took him up on his offer. A few weeks later I sent him a public records request asking for a long list of information including salaries of staff (including his and the rest of the board), how much they send to their management company, how much money they spend on operational costs, and a few other things. This letter was mailed to him May 11th.

I just received a response from their lawyers this afternoon. In what should be a surprise to no one, they denied my request for information. The letter stated that the schools are not a public entity so they do not have to give me any of the information that I requested. They also stated that since there is no list of the salaries of those I requested, they do not have to give me those or create a list for me. And even if such a list did exist, they are under no obligation to give it to me even if Constellation was a public office.

I know what the treasurer of the Elyria City Schools (where my son attends school) makes but I have no idea what the treasurer of the Constellation School that is three blocks from my house makes. He was also at this meeting and was talking about how the Constellation Schools have nothing to hide.

So now I am just flummoxed. If the Constellation Schools, and Richard Lukich in particular, are such an open book, then why did he pass my letter off to his lawyers who subsequently denied my request? I am sure all of the people that followed him to that meeting would love to know the truth about what he said too. I know I would not be too happy if I found out that the schools I sent my son to were trying to hide something from the public.

Here is the reply:

let 1let 2

Standard
#OhioGradCrisis, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, School Board, Schools, seniors

Head’s Up! Action Alert! #OhioGradCrisis

laser pic

Apples have been set on the students’ heads, and the ‘archers’ are yelling “Be still—our accuracy is arbitrarily set!”  What could possibly go wrong?

Ohio BATs recently chose very intentionally to laser–focus lobbying efforts towards securing a safe harbor for the graduating class of 2018. Our efforts set two Senators into motion to write language into the budget bill demanding a one-time-exception for those with a specific set of high stakes being attached to the receiving of high school diplomas, since the PARCC testing was a one-year-failed-experiment.  Our demands were quickly voted out. A set of extra criteria, developed for those striving to ‘walk with their class’ were inserted instead.  Amazingly, those extra graduation requirements remained in the budget bill. They somehow missed the sword swipes of Governor Kasich’s veto powers.

Ohio BATs will NOT be celebrating the fact that they remained. We are tired of crying out for the freshest of bread loaves for the children and receiving some kind of paltry moldy crumb sprinklings. There is this wrong notion circulating that you can only ask for what you think you might possibly be given, and even then you should be prepared to be haggled down to even a lesser amount.  The power remains with those abusing the power. The oppressed keep their heads bowed and eyes on the ground, acquiescing by profusely thanking those in charge for the tiny appeasements. Those “reforming education” and being motivated by dark monies are artists at keeping with their profit-seeking agendas, and then appearing or acting as though they care for the peasantry by occasionally letting the people think they are getting what they want. This groveling game is growing tiresome and is unbecoming of the what these primary stakeholders more than deserve.

WE, Ohio BATs and others, are not done yet! WE are going to demand a study be done on how this list of extra things the hopeful and stressed out seniors can try and do, will actually impact the kids that still don’t have the points! The study will include data from the spring tests too, (like they did last time). Head’s up! Stop settling!

Time is NOT on our side. The next State Board meeting is Tuesday, July 11th. Please email each of the Board members and voice your concerns that the graduation requirement list for 2018 does not go far enough to help ALL of those families who will now not know until nearly the last few weeks of school, if their students will graduate or not. This is not a game. This is not time for politicking or partisanship. These children were wronged and the wrong needs righted.

Matt Jablonski’s email: http://testingwindow.blogspot.com/2017/07/graduation-problem-it-ain-over-it-over.html

BOARD MEMBERS:

Linda Haycock                    Linda.Haycock@education.ohio.gov                  (419) 979-6438

Kathleen A. McGervey  Kathleen.McGervey@education.ohio.gov               (440) 669-0780

Charlotte McGuire          Charlotte.McGuire@education.ohio.gov                 no ph. #

Pat Bruns                             Pat.Bruns@education.ohio.gov                               (513) 310-8953

Lisa Woods                        Lisa.Woods@education.ohio.gov                             (330) 410-6733

Antoinette Miranda        Antoinette.Miranda@education.ohio.gov                (614) 565-7926

Sarah Fowler                     Sarah.Fowler@education.ohio.gov                          (440) 563-8535

Nancy P. Hollister (VP)   Nancy.Hollister@education.ohio.gov                         (740) 373-6523

Stephanie Dodd                Stephanie.Dodd@education.ohio.gov                       (740) 629-1333

Nick Owens                       Nick.Owens@education.ohio.gov                              (513) 706-2634

Meryl Johnson                 Meryl.Johnson@education.ohio.gov                         (216) 561-1396

AT-LARGE MEMBERS: 

Tess Elshoff (Pres)           ElshoffTess@education.ohio.gov                               (419) 753-2583

Cathye Flory                       Cathye.Flory@education.ohio.gov                            (740) 603-6365

Joseph L. Farmer              Joe.Farmer@education.ohio.gov                                (740) 862- 8649

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings   Rebecca.Vazquez-Skillings@education.ohio.gov

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings   (614) 256- 9317

Martha Manchester       Martha.Manchester@education.ohio.gov                (419) 303-2672

Eric Poklar                           Eric.Poklar@education.ohio.gov                              (614) 519-5526

Kara Morgan                      Kara.Morgan@education.ohio.gov                           (202) 297-4555

Laura Kohler                       Laura.Kohler@education.ohio.gov                          (614) 425-0183

Standard
#OhioGradCrisis, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, School Board, Schools

Safe Harbor for 2018

17883807_10208926290049773_1577311437468719511_n

Chairman Hite, Vice Chair Sykes, and members of the Senate Finance – Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony today. My name is Brittany Alexander and I am a public school educator of (almost) 20 years. I am an education activist, serving in leadership roles in both National and Ohio BATs (Badass Teachers Association). I strongly urge that the subcommittee include language offering a “safe harbor” from standardized testing requirements to specific students in the Class of 2018 to Substitute HB 49.

To my knowledge, there is not state-level data on where students land in relation to earning a minimum of 18 points in the End of Course (EOC) exam pathway, explaining the variance in reports of the number of students whose graduation will be negatively affected. The recommendations sent forth from the State of Ohio Board of Education are commendable in that they reduce the role of standardized testing in graduation requirements. However, even with these recommendations in place, there will still be some number of students who land between being able to meet 2 out of the 6 recommendations and earning 18 points on EOC exams. Those students who are between these two options, and have met all other graduation requirements, will still be in the same situation they are in now: an untenable one.

The Class of 2018 is not only the first to be held to the pathway graduation requirements, but they are also the only people in Ohio to be accountable (i.e. without “safe harbor”) for PARCC assessments they took during their freshman year. In an effort to “make up” points needed for graduation, students with a score of 1 or 2 on any PARCC assessment have to retake their EOC exams with American Institutes of Research (AIR) assessments. Educators know that these retakes have a high cost of lost instructional time.

The “safe harbor” for which I am advocating is a short-term solution intended to help specific students in the Class of 2018. However, it is important to note that Ohio is one of only 14 states that currently require exit exams for high school graduation. In the long-term, I advocate that we rid Ohio’s students of EOC exams tied to graduation requirements. To foster and develop the skills students need beyond their K-12 years, we have to switch our focus away from high-stakes standardized tests.

I ask you to consider my testimony and provide “safe harbor” from EOC tests to students who will land in between the recommendations from the State Board and the requirements of the EOC exam pathway. Their very future is in your hands. Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Standard
Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

Testing Season in Ohio, AGAIN!

testing season

Today isn’t “Good Morning” to me. I’m angry. I awoke non-refreshed after yet another night of broken sleep because of state testing. This is all really getting to me. I’m sick of dreams about kids crying, computers shutting down, trying to hurry to cover more information in class, etc…

Maybe it’s because there is one week left before my fifth-graders will start sitting for 90-minute sessions (which will affect weeks of our school routine) taking state reading tests that I feel with ever fiber of my being are so developmentally inappropriate I could prove it in a court of law.

I’ve spent the past few weeks working late in my classroom. Some nights, I come rolling into my driveway after 7 p.m. I tell myself EVERY YEAR that I will no longer care about this or get sucked into the testing madness. Yet, I take to heart the care of the children on my watch. Because I want to soften and buffer the test-prep for ten-year olds, I keep working after hours to come up with themes of learning and “surprises” to help keep them jumping through state hoops. I try to make the testing game fun, even though everyone loses in the end.

Don’t even tell me schools shouldn’t be doing test prep. Have ‘ya seen the computer program students must master for testing? It’s NEW to them. Actually, it’s the newest of new to them. This is the freaking third state ever-changing test our little elementary children have had to take in the past few years.

They’ve been the victims of:
Ohio NON-Achievement Assessments
then
PARCCC is CCRAP Assessments
and now
“AIR”HEADs MADE THESE TESTS Assessments

Our poor guinea pigs.

Unless you’re a classroom teacher, you can’t fully understand. Even administrators who care so much and have test scores attached to their evaluations, miss parts of the ins and outs of what state testing is doing in mass to individual children on a day to day basis. You have to work like a dog to make preparing for this test fun and engaging. It’s exhausting. (A word of thankfulness: Our superintendent is speaking out at the state level, too. I know from experience he will always put children first.)

Sadly, parents definitely don’t fully understand the assessments that are going on in classrooms because the state specifically withholds information from them. Parents aren’t allowed to see the tests, or even the surveys the students are taking at the end of the tests. Parents aren’t even allowed to know what data is being collected.

Most districts candy coat information to parents (to deter them from refusing the testing for their children, no doubt) going so far as to say that these tests give us valid information.

It’s a lie.

There is nothing valid about this testing. There is not one released test question or graded tests we’ve been “allowed” to see. There is not one way we have of knowing which question a score is attached to in any way, shape, or form.

The phantom scores don’t even come until AFTER a child has moved on to a new grade or in my students’ cases, the middle school.

The people who should be screaming from the rooftops are the teachers because they are in the room on test day to see how inappropriate the testing is and yet, the state has effectively attached their evaluations to these same test results.

In short, a child’s test score equals half of a teacher’s AND a principal’s job evaluation score.

Legislators have removed the Safe Harbor for this bogus system, so guess what?

This year’s student scores will count for a teacher’s 2017-2018 evaluation cycle.

This makes the Ridicu-List.

(To be honest, the Ohio Teaching Evaluation System (OTES) is the least of my concerns. I’m on my way OUT of education and thus far, have been given the state’s top label rating, so my stress isn’t on behalf of me, it’s on behalf of kids.)

High-stakes standardized testing is an education tumor that appears in kindergarten, metastasizes in third grade, and has started to spread by fifth. In middle school, children are so sick of testing they’re becoming lethargic. By high school, some students are goners. Literally. #dropout

Two-thirds of my students came in reading below level this year. Why is that when they had an incredible fourth-grade reading teacher and they passed the Ohio Third-Grade Reading Guarantee?

Because:

Education testing tumors are stealing classroom learning time from children. You can’t keep stealing children’s learning time year after year for dozens of hours of state testing and expect children to learn more, not less.

Education testing tumors are stunting natural reading growth. We don’t read in real life the way we test. We don’t, as adults, do the new “A/B” questions or the “hot text” questions after we read the newspaper. We are unnaturally pushing 8-year olds to be able to type multi-paragraph essays on Chromebooks “on-demand” without even one comma out of place. TOO MUCH TOO SOON!

Education testing tumors are zapping children’s love of literature. Most schools have even gotten rid of their librarians or cut their hours or traded them in for computer programs.(I detest this the most.)

FYI, Ohio elementary schools give one test after another to third-graders, watering them down as they go, until a child can finally pass one test, any test, to fulfill state guidelines. Of course, this means that third-graders are enduring a true theft of critical learning time that can never be regained.

How many hours have my fifth-graders (who were once those same third-graders) already had butt-in-the-seat classroom hours taking high-pressurized, high-anxiety standardized tests prior to this year in which I have to make them do it all again?

Dozens.

My kids will take more hours of testing this spring than they have even had art, music, or physical education classes this entire fifth-grade year.

These kids are 10 years old for God’s sake.

At least some kids are getting spared from the madness. Private school kids and homeschooled kids don’t have to hit the 100 Hours Club of Public School Testing.

Good on ’em. All parents should fight for the same rights and freedom for learning for their children as well.

Actually, parents should be RISING in MASS to stop this insanity. After all, these are their kids and it’s up to them to protect them.

I would NEVER, EVER allow the state to treat my OWN children this way. Heck, I’m the bigmouth who is speaking out about the way the state is treating other people’s children!

There is so much more to say and I’d love to spew about the specifics (like the state’s 10-point writing rubric children are scored on or the compare/contrast three essays insanity), but I need to get ahold of myself, have a cup of coffee, and try to stop thinking about what is in store for these poor kids the week after next.

Testing Season Sucks. Any legislator who is fighting for this (the same legislator who didn’t even have to take a test for his/her OWN job) should have to sit and take these tests, too.

Oh, that’s right. He’s not even allowed to see the same tests he’s mandating.

Nice.

Have a great day.

Standard