AIR, Data, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, reading, Schools, Testing, third grade

STOP 3rd Grade SOUL THEFT

Jackie blog cover

I teach third grade. Every one of my kids, age 8 or 9, has talents and dreams. This past Wednesday, we had a circle of friendship. That’s when we sit on the carpet in a circle and take turns saying something nice about each other.

The desks were all spread far apart, since we have been MAP testing in Reading, Math, and Science this week on computers. So we had plenty of space.

The first time I did a circle of friendship, it was hot, early in the year. We kept having to unclasp our hands because they were sweating. The kids were uncomfortable.

This time, right after lunch, I told them we were doing a circle, and they cheered. See, they look forward to the affirmations. From peers and from me.

I ended up talking the most, because when they were done, I did the whole circle.

I told them that I know them really well now. And I named the things I saw in them, each one. Their abilities, their struggles, how they had grown over the year, and I ended up telling them that I believed in each and every one of them.

Later, I asked them to trace their hand on the blue paper and write about what they thought I would say about them at conferences.

One student, who has struggled, wrote that I would say he has gotten his anger under control, that he was smart, that he was good in math, and that he liked to dance.

These are PEOPLE.

I put their essays in their conference folders.

We took our MAP Reading test the next day. The test is on a computer. Everyone gets different questions, depending on how they are doing, they get harder or easier questions. They worked really hard, since a score of 196 during one of the tests can equal promotion under the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee.

Less than half of my class has met a promotion score so far. Only a few more surpassed the 196 that day. And that is to be expected, since the nationwide mean is 198.6 at the END of the year. But this is technically the END OF THE YEAR. April. Because in order for the State of Ohio to decide what sort of a job I have done for my evaluation, we need scores by early May.

I have some kids that need to score a 672 or higher on the AIR/TIDE test, which we are taking next week. If they don’t, they will have to attend summer school attended then take MORE tests.

Like the MAP, the AIR test has passages we have never seen, questions we have never seen, it is taken on a computer, and the kids have to read 2 passages and then write an essay which includes evidence cited from both passages.

It is going to be scored by a computer.

The computer cannot read.

The computer is looking for conventions like capitalization, end punctuation, an introduction, use of transitional words, and a conclusion.

The prompt asks them to write a “multiparagraph essay”. The same rubric is used for grades 3-5. The “exemplars”, which are essays written by I-don’t-know-whom, but are available on the ODE website, are mostly beyond what my kids can do.

Children who are 8 or 9 are not developmentally ready for keyboarding, based on their fine motor skills. Nor have they entered the cognitive level of formal operations. But let’s ask them to do this, because we can defeat them easily at this age.

And so, today, in the Plain Dealer, appears this article:

Computers mis-grade 5,300 state tests after programming error by American Institutes for Research

There are days I can’t wait to get to school. There are days I would prefer not to go. But I do, anyway.

I love my kids. I raise butterflies in the summer, and teaching is better than butterflies, but in some ways, the same. It’s seeing the potential. The egg hatches into a caterpillar, and if you provide what it needs, you end up with a butterfly.

Teaching can be like that.

Honestly, though, I am feeling defeated tonight.

I know that computers can’t read. I don’t buy into the snake oil…I don’t want to live in a world with self-driving cars. I don’t see technology as the answer to everything. I look at my kids and no matter how hard I try, I don’t see data points.

I see organic people. They have strengths. They have weaknesses. We have a culture in the classroom that allows us to say that out loud. As a teacher, I too have strengths and weaknesses. So does EVERYBODY.

And I feel very WEAK. Right now.

Because what I know about those people in my class doesn’t mean jack squat. What the computer “knows” means EVERYTHING. Except WHEN IT SCREWS UP.

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Education, Gun Violence, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized

jc

I am a 3rd grade teacher. 19 8-or 9-year-olds walk in every morning. It is not easy. See, they have to pass a reading test to move on to 4th grade, and a lot of energy and time is devoted to this, and they want to be what they are, kids, and play and talk, and goof off, and it’s really, really hard to move them.

Nevertheless, I persist.

My school is a typical urban elementary, K-6, with all the pressure from the government to raise scores, tweak lessons, always striving for more bang for less buck.

My background included guns from an early age. I shot trap, skeet, sporting clays, and blackbirds in cornfields with a Remington 1100 12 gauge shotgun. I shot cans and bottles with a 22 pistol and quite the array of BB guns. I hate to brag, but I’m a decent shot.

Throughout the year, my school has a variety of drills. We have fire drills, in which the objective is to get kids out quickly, tornado drills, in which the objective is to get the kids to the lowest level of the building quickly, and we have lockdown drills, in which the objective is to get the kids to an area in the classroom which is the least penetrable by bullets and keep them absolutely silent.

Our staff received A.L.I.C.E. training a couple of years ago. We were taught how to teach students to throw books or marbles at an active shooter. We learned to barricade our doors, things we could use as weapons in our classrooms, such as creating a puddle of dish detergent on the floor in front of the door to make the shooter slip, how to throw children out of windows, which would not work in my current building at all, by the way, and the overriding theme was simply, “It’s not IF, but WHEN.”

I have to go to school on Tuesday. The latest slaughter was on Wednesday, and I went numb to school Thursday and Friday.

Thus far in 2018, we are averaging a shooting on school property somewhere in the U.S. every 60 hours.

After tomorrow, we will be due for another.

It would be helpful to have some guidelines from the government here. After all, the government has no issue with making up requirements for promotion to 4th grade, who should graduate, or which teachers are great, mediocre, or should rework their resumes to seek employment outside of education.

I keep checking, but I find nothing.

In the latest incident, there was a smoke-producing device, a fire alarm pulled, and students slaughtered as they followed protocol and filed out of classrooms.

Some legislators (or their unelected but vociferous spouses) ((Sara Marie BRENNER, but not naming names; however, there is a screenshot below the article)) apparently found it in their tainted souls to bring up the fact that murderers can use pressure cookers or cars to slaughter others. And then to ask if we should ban fire alarms. And then to suggest that teachers should arm themselves with handguns to protect their students.

This is a terrible thought. Who in their right mind would want their child taught by a commando? And for many other reasons.

I am sure that one who is intent on murdering others can creatively use a sharpened pencil, a computer cart, a frayed electric pencil sharpener cord, or sundry other available implements to murder. We are rather frail, after all.

My question was, “What should I do for the NEXT fire drill?”

I am still having trouble falling asleep, see, because I think about the fact that, in the latest, but certainly not last, slaughter of schoolchildren on 2-14-2018, teachers like me followed protocol, at least at first, and SENT CHILDREN TO DEATH UNKNOWINGLY.

This awareness is going to haunt me for some time. I grieve for the children, their teachers, their parents, who sent them to school that morning with maybe extra money for a rose or some candy because it was Valentine’s Day, never to see them again except in the morgue. I grieve for innocence. I grieve for what I was before and what I am becoming. I am definitely not my happy-go-lucky self today. All of us share a collective soul, and I grieve for that.

I am not looking forward to Tuesday. I dread the next fire drill.

I want someone with more authority than me to fix this and make it NEVER happen again, but the math part of me knows we are due for another soon.

~Jackie Conrad

sara

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#OhioGradCrisis, Charters, Data, ECOT, Education, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools

ECOT now ECOY…. Oh, Despicable Him

ecot blog

ECOT now ECOY…. Oh, Despicable Him
by: Kelly Ann Braun

*please note: words in bold type are links!*

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow will now be the Experimental Catastrophe of Yesterday.

The largest school in Ohio, the biggest charter scam in Ohio, has (at long last) lost their sponsor. They are closing their doors.

So, after actively fighting calculated greed and conniving thievery behind the nearly two decades of direct and indirect destructive effects of William Lager’s education entrepreneurial enterprise, one would think we (public education activists) would all be hooting, hollering and relishing the victory.

But that is NOT the case. Quite the opposite, I am personally, as are scores of others, scathingly infuriated with William Lager and ALL those who took those millions of dirty dollars all those years. He preyed upon dear families’ desperation. He exploited the needs of children. He downed his oversized ego dominos right into 1000s of brick and mortar classrooms. And now sickeningly, all who were robbed in the first place to pave the way to his riches will pay once again for his inevitable failed outcome.

12,000 displaced, dislocated, and disjointed students will now see their school year chopped cruelly in half. Above that number, how many (1000s upon 1000s) of frustrated parents will now scramble to obtain the papers necessary to transfer transcripts and medical information etc., to the next place in their child’s forced move? Additionally nearly 1000 staff and faculty are now also stuck in the full-fledged muckery mudslide and out-of-work midyear! What an utter, ugly, unacceptable mess.

I fear terribly, that huge numbers from this whole fiasco will just not graduate this year or complete the year. I honestly, in a totally guessing manner, believe that 1/3 will make their way to some other “non-profit-but-ridiculously-high-administrative-pay-via-tax-dollars” online schools, who, like ECOT, struggle to validate participation and attendance. 1/3 will make their way back into the overcrowded classrooms where the wrongly diverted monies to charters have caused teacher shortages. In the very same public schools where necessary specialty services of counselors, therapists, and nurses have been sacrificed, while the means to resource such through public tax dollars, paid for a private billion-dollar estate in Florida. And the final 1/3 will “lose” this entire year and need to repeat next year. I pray I am way off on my numbers. I want to be extremely wrong about this.

I find it depressing and unbelievable that it took 17 years before any fair and just legal motions could come against such crookery.  The millions that Lager threw back at ‘certain’ politicians for their campaigns was never a secret. I am disturbed that the fight for proper stewardship of Ohio’s education-denoted funds, took this long in order to get past the guarded back-door swindle deals.

I am so thankful for Senator Joe Schiavoni staying the course. He has spent years putting forth bills and legislation which were continually, intentionally misdirected to this or that committee to die. He never stopped though.  I witnessed first-hand, the hardball games that the GOP played to keep this corrupt circle of cash flowing. The intimidation tactics, the snide under-handed tricks, the boldface lies, the white-collar-crimes ignored, and the gang-like loyalty to those in the inner circles, were constant under Kasich’s administration. But, none of that caused Joe to yield or back down. He knew what was good and right for his constituents’ children. He knew what was good and right for Ohio. The harder the ones with lined-pockets came at him or against the truths, the more calmly focused and inexhaustibly determined he became to represent the true primary stakeholders. And yet, I know Joe is not whooping it up and celebrating this either. He is, I am positive, absolutely concerned for the all of the children, and families whose lives were just abruptly sent into chaos and uncertainty. He released this timeline and official statement just hours ago (I already had this blog 90% written).

I have humbly only been an education activist for coming up on five years now, and I have had to fight like crazy against quitting entirely or becoming concrete in cynicism. I know how grueling it is to put forth so much time and energy year after year after year, to only ever see the same disparaging rigged results. This is why my gratitude for anyone’s long-standing part in the fight for public education is so genuine.

While I am giving a very personal heart-felt and mind-solaced shout out to Senator Schiavoni for championing this cause all the way through to the bitter end, I would like to furthermore recognize others who have also remained steadfast in speaking against rampant charter scams in Ohio.

To all the sincere politicians who did not cave into to sizeable Lager donations, thank you more than I’ll be able to ever express.

To all my dear activist friends and other warriors who I have not met, who have advocated and fought hard for children for decades, I admire your dedicated endurance.

To all writers, I would like to express my gratefulness for those, who for so many (too many) years, researched, interviewed, compiled, wrote, and published articles with damning evidence against ECOT. I wonder how many of you 10 years ago, or 4 years ago, or 6 months ago, thought that surely when folks read your latest set of condemning facts that people in a pitchfork-manner would finally shut ECOT down. And yet, it did not happen for so very long that combined all of you have hundreds upon hundreds of ECOT or Lager-related articles in your files. To write with no change ever occurring over such a long course of time, takes a stamina that most do not hold. I hope that you will recognize that ALL of your archived articles paint a chronological record which will serve now as proof-positive that the privatization of public schools for profit (whether they hide under the misnomer of “non-profit” or not), does not work!

This is a very incomplete list, in no certain order whatsoever, of the writers who again and again covered the topic of DESPICABLE HIM (William Lager):

Greg Mild with the Plunderbund is a teacher currently. He is a digger of truths and facts; an artiste at using the Public Information Act. He wrote extensively about ECOT and William Lager for years and the topic is searchable on his site. Thank you Greg, you not only pieced chunks together, but you often wrote with straightforward underlying emote that matched my own. Here is one article from 2014, but numerous others can be searched and read.

Kevin Griffin is also a public education teacher, who like Greg, writes without being paid to do so. He denoted an incredible amount of hours, for quite some years also, and specifically targeted ECOT on his ECOT EXPOSED site. His page was an invaluable resource for those of us fighting to say “Stop…. stealing from our students!” Thank you Kevin for your persevering part in letting the public in on Ohio’s ‘chartergate’ secrets!

Jan Resseger is a sweetheart whose heart truly is for all children. I had a perchance meeting and car ride with her one time after a rallying march in DC, where I got separated from my friends, caught in the rain, and had no wallet. Her diligence in exposing ECOT and others is rooted in pure love for the true profession of education. Thank you Jan, for relentlessly calling evil and greed, exactly that. Her organized site, as I was looking up articles to cite in my piece, was where I was so struck with how very extensively this whole ugly topic has been covered for years without the ability to stop anything, until now.

Steve Dyer is a phenomenal number cruncher. I cannot count the times I and others launched our emails, research, actions and testimonies etc. from charts and statistics that Steve would provide. Thank you Steve, for countering the dizziness of trying to follow the contorted money paths by organizing and providing thoroughly logical sets of information on your 10th Period Blog!

Progress Ohio has put together an ongoing Charter School Scandal Chronology. ECOT is (was) the biggest, and one of the worst, but certainly a far cry from being the only charter scam being run in Ohio. Others too, are flooding monies to their ‘businesses’ disguised to look like public schools, taking full advantage of the non-profit status, and pumping that money straight to the top, and out the door so that a very few people are raking in the millions upon millions, while the children are the ones being completely shortchanged.

Doug Livingston, of the Akron Beacon Journal, was the first one who I personally found was on-target in speaking out about White Hat’s David Brennan and ECOT’s William Lager. Thank you very much Doug, for covering so much of it all for so long!

Patrick O’Donnell with the Cleveland Plain Dealer also has attended meetings and hearings, in order to report on ECOT so many, many times. Thank you Patrick for your writing and for tagging Ohio BATs on exactly what you know will involve and concern us!
The Public Education Partners (many who are also in Ohio BATs) ran an incredible action and managed to get different school districts to bill the ODE, using official resolutions, for the money lost to ECOT. The numbers were staggering when shown in that direct manner. Here is the writing start of that action. Here is a list of the 79 school districts that sent in resolutions via this awareness action.

Finally, I was truly grateful and at the same time completely irked at how very many times Diane Ravitch wrote about ECOT in her blog.  Diane is a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE). She is my inspiration and a treasured friend of education everywhere. Actually, when I spoke with her in person, she and I immediately had a ton to talk about. As soon as I mentioned I was from Ohio, she impressed me at how she was right on top of all of the current charter and other education scams being run in Ohio. She does not mince words; that is for positive. I am always grateful anytime she speaks of Ohio, for she has a very vast following. One also could search her blog site to find a slew of articles related to ECOT and William Lager. Unfortunately, ECOT is not just notorious in Ohio. It is sadly a nationally-known embarrassment.

In closing I would like to reiterate that this list is just a FEW of the ones who demanded transparency and accountability where taxes were abused and a full generation of children were involved.

In the last couple of days, as it looked more and more apparent that ECOT had run out of all finagling options, I heard an interview and read an article that remarked something to the effect that ECOT’s money troubles began last year.

No, No, absolutely not—- the money troubles did NOT begin last year.

The money troubles began when William Lager was scribbling out plans on napkins to remedy his personal bankrupt situation nearly 20 years ago, as this Columbus Dispatch article clearly lays out. The only way to entirely understand the end of this terrible scenario is by being absolutely certain on how the whole entire thing started in the first place. The main reparation that can come now, moving forward, is to not allow children to ever be figured into someone’s financial loss woes or financial gain schemes. Children are too precious to be belittled as mere business numbers and toxic desire for profit.

“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.” ~ Rudolf Steiner

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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

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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

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#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

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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.

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