[Numeracy 319] Re: Controversial News Articles

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Michael Gyori tesolmichael at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 20 23:48:49 EDT 2010


Hello Christine and all,
 
It seems we're discussing education policy on the numeracy list - ironic in ways, perhaps, but a most important discussion to have, I believe!
 
We should most definitely have a lot of discussions about the knowledge we value - in itself a huge challenge because of the tension between those who embrace the intrinsic value of education vs. those who view it an assembly line that produces individuals to fill slots in our socioeconomic fabric. In fact, we've reached a point at which the very meaning of a credential, whether it be a high school diploma or college degree, has become far too diluted.  When we have high school graduates who read at the 3rd grade level, and we've even lost sight of what that might mean, the need for a discussion is not only obvious, IMO, but urgent!
 
I also believe that we need to implement a multi-track public education system, as exists in most European countries.  To push a human being through the school system, knowing all too well that he or she is not responding to instruction, borders on the unethical (i.e., making students waste valuable years of life with little or no promise of meaningful life outcomes related to the time they spent in the clasroom).
 
Matters get even more complicated if we believe that much of what is not learned is attributable to questionable teaching practices.
 
Having national standards is one thing.  Placing schools in a stranglehold by measuring them according to how their students perform on multiple-choice assessments that shed no light on the students' strengths, dispositions, and interests is quite another. Now, with The Race To The Top (a super-NCLB), competition among K-12 public schools (for funding) has been elevated to a desirable quality of education.  Assessment data reported via NRS and a few standardized norm-referenced tests have a similar effect on adult education providers.
 
I don't believe that instilling fear of reprisals among educators will improve our schools.
 
Michael 
 
 
Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School
www.mauilanguage.com




________________________________
From: Christine Miller <cmiller53 at student.gsu.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Tue, April 20, 2010 10:32:47 AM
Subject: [Numeracy 316] Re: Controversial News Articles


Should't we at least consider having a national discussion about what knowledge we value? Coming from the South and knowing about the history of public education in the South in comparison to say, the Mid-Atlantic states, I am cynical about depending on state politicians to improve and/or maintain education. Georgia arm wrestles every year with Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina for the bottom four ranking order. I believe that a lot of our struggles originate from our shared history.  Southern states were the last to offer public education and we have a checkered past when it comes to inclusion and realistic funding. The federal government interventions have sometimes offered the only relief from injustice. Hopefully, talk about national standards will include a broader discussion of how the outdated way we pay for education, i.e. through property taxes, means that those who need the most will always get the least.

Chris

________________________________

From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] on behalf of Michael Gyori [tesolmichael at yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:37 PM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 314] Re: Controversial News Articles


The problem with national standards is that they become the primary means of evaluating performance by means of multiple-choice assessments.  Linda herself is one of the leading opponents of such assessments, as evidenced by her espousal of assessment practices elsewhere that shed light on the reasoning processes our students undergo.  They take a lot more time to "score" and don't lend themselves to digitalized scoring.

The federal government already has too huge of an impact on what and how teachers should teach.  The backlash to that impact is itself, IMO, a major cause of educational failures.

Michael
 
Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School
www.mauilanguage.com




________________________________
From: Christine Miller <cmiller53 at student.gsu.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Tue, April 20, 2010 4:37:36 AM
Subject: [Numeracy 312] Re: Controversial News Articles

In reading the article about the closing of the charter school that Stanford and Linda Darling-Hammond ran, it seems like a good illustration of the challenges facing educators everywhere -- systemic poverty, diversity, limited resources, english language learning, assessments. The fact that Linda Darling-Hammond has the President's ear and hopefully Secretary Duncan's as well could be a really positive thing. The article said that the schools had shown improvments, just not the dramatic leaps which observers demand. Maybe this is a valuable "teachable" moment demonstrating that education is a lengthy process of many steps.

I am trying to understand why the idea of national standards or a curriculum is objectionable. I am from Georgia and I see how bogged down our state and local governments get in the politics of curricula. We also linger towards the bottom in national tests like the SAT. What would be so bad about having a set standard of math objectives for each grade so that to say you graduated from a U.S. high school means that your math education included whatever is in the national definition? Another bonus would be that if students have to move during their k12 career, they are ready for their new school.

Christine Miller

________________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] on behalf of tsticht at znet.com [tsticht at znet.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2010 3:58 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 311]  Controversial News Articles

Colleagues: Here are extracts from two news stories that may be of interest.
They seem to challenge some of the more innovative actions (e.g., authentic
assessments; professional development in math) that many educational
researchers recommend to improve the nation's K-12 educational system. No
doubt these reports will be considered quite controversial! You can find
full stores on www.educationnews.org
Tom Sticht

Posted on 4/17/2010 at www.educationnews.org

#1 Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings
After the First Year of Implementation

Results after one year of providing teachers math professional development
(PD) indicate no improvement on their students' math achievement when
compared to teachers who did not receive the study-provided PD.




#2 Obama’s Linda Darling-Hammond and Her Failed School”

by Donna Garner



Early in Obama’s presidency, it looked as if he was going to appoint Linda
Darling-Hammond as his Secretary of Education.  Instead, Obama decided to
empower Darling-Hammond to complete the federal takeover of the public
schools by authorizing her to help develop the national tests (i.e.,
assessments).  These assessments are the centerpiece in Obama’s plan to put
the federal government in charge of what gets taught each day to public
school students.



By having national standards, national curriculum, national assessments, and
a national database tying students’ scores directly to teachers’ pay and
longevity, teachers will be forced to teach their students whatever is in
the national standards and on the national assessments.



Today we see that Linda Darling-Hammond’s approach to education has failed.
The school she founded in California is to be closed because of low test
scores and lack of significant improvement.

A similar charter school (Aspire) in the same district focused on academics;
Darling-Hammond’s school focused on project-based learning, subjective
assessments, portfolios, and  “students’ emotional and social lives.”


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