kitchen table math, the sequel: more is more

Thursday, March 4, 2010

more is more

anonymous says:
The Common Core national assessment being developed right now will apparently require teachers to grade it as it will have open-ended, critical thinking questions to which their is no specific right answer.

(per Linda Darling-Hammond's presentation to NGA where she said teachers would be the graders)

Apart from the difficulty of knowing where our kids really stand, this will mean employing more salaried human beings with benefits rather than that disinterested computer scantron without union representation.

Hadn't thought of that.

So we've got, coming down the pike, 4 new categories of public school employment:
  • teachers to provide "Tier 2" intervention
  • instructional coaches in math & ELA (& other - ?)
  • curriculum specialists to 'develop' curriculum
  • stipends for teachers scoring the groovy new Common Core assessments, should such occur
Have I left anything out?

fyi: our Director of Pupil Personnel says that "Response to Intervention" is starting with reading instruction but will then be expanded to include all of the other subjects (and ages) as well. If that is the case, we are looking at paying teachers to teach up to 15% of the K-12 student population in tiny groups of 3 to 5 students. (I think our administrator said 18%, but I'll check.)


lgm said...

>>teach up to 15% of the K-12 student population in tiny groups of 3 to 5 students.

We had this situation before rTi and whole class, when flexible ability groups were used. The difference is that the head classroom teacher is no longer responsible for teaching way below grade level skills..instead, the responsibility is to make a referral to the specialist. The big loss in not having bluebirds & robins is that the younger children feel very isolated...days can go by before they ever have an interaction with the teacher. That specialist is the old Reading Recovery specialist. Same-o, same-o except were pretending equity by having whole class instruction and having the remediation out of the main classroom. The big loss in not having bluebirds & robins is that the younger unclassified children feel very isolated...days can go by before they ever have an interaction with the teacher.

The other elephant in the room is classroom management. As this week's NY Times Magazine article relates, a teacher could be doing everything right, but many students refuse to attend to the lesson or do the assigned classwork. They can't all go to detention or to the psych, and with 30 in the classroom, the teacher will be playing whac-a-mole if she stops to unravel all the passive/agressive behavior. Small group can help bring those children back to functioning in whole group.

Catherine Johnson said...

I checked my notes: our administration gave the figure of 18%.

A friend sent me the TIMES article - will read shortly.

My issue with everything that goes on in my district is evidence based decision making never occurs. Response to Intervention will simply be another mandate; the requirement that schools use scientifically based curricula will be ignored.

Or it won't be ignored & administrators will simply claim that balanced literacy is scientific.

Regardless of what they say or do, there will be no measurements taken of how well any given program is or is not working.

Anonymous said...


Look at this link to see how Guided Reading and Inquiry Math were justified under NCLB back when the "scientifically based" standard first came into effect.

They had to strain and be creative and develop a rather unique idea of research, but that's what they wrote. Since this company marketed in many states, this must have been in wide use with slight modifications.

The Scientifically based research criteria though was hard to get around in special ed and many IEPs specify the type of instruction to be used based on solid research.

I think that's why we're moving away from any federal requirement of efficacy going forward. It was still getting in the way of the programs they want to use and impose.

I fear that the project based classroom is the desired future national template for the K-12 classroom. Everything coming out of DC these days points that way.

So sad.

Catherine Johnson said...

I am absolutely of two minds.

Half the time I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. (In line with what you've said.)

The rest of the time I think the public school system is analogous to the Soviet Union just before the iron curtain fell.

The 2nd perception isn't 'crazy' --- there's a change, certainly, in the way the media writes about public education.

Public schools have been losing legitimacy for years (Education Next has an article tracing the decline - and I know there are posts on ktm somewhere. iirc, public schools have been losing credibility since the 1970s.).

I keep feeling as if we may be reaching a tipping point.

Allison said...

The problem is that schools are not the leading indicator of the collapse of our nation. They are a lagging indicator.

So yes, the public school system is analogous to the Soviet Union. It will fall when the rest of the sclerotic government and economic ponzi scheme falls.

But how can it possibly fall without the rest falling?

Yes, public schools are losing credibility. So are public servants. But the federal and state governments keep growing nonetheless. Why is that? When things are hurting in your pocketbook, you can't afford anything but public schools, just as you can't afford not to take that public union job.

The problem with the educational crisis is: short of a complete financial meltdown that stops anyone sending their kids to college at all, destroys the finaid system, and kills off most service sector jobs here, leading to a short circuit in the public pension system, every other tipping point in governance will be moving to save the US before disaster strikes--and if they succeed, which is better for all of us than the alternatives, then they will succeed in stabilizing public education too.

Catherine Johnson said...

I should look at the ANES data to see if trust in government has fallen as far & fast as trust in public schools....

As I recall, back in the 70s (I think) people not only thought public schools were very good, they thought they were getting better.