None of this would bother me if parents had the ability to go somewhere else. I don't care if a company has a union or how much Six Sigma training they have or if they are ISO 9000 certified. I can judge the product just fine, and I'll wager that most parents can do the same if schools weren't allowed to have such unknown products. Our school only publishes a very vague list of goals and topics for each grade, I don't know what goes on in classes, and everything gets hidden away in portfolios!Steve's right about that: if parents could take their (tax) dollars and go, that would change things up considerably. Choice doesn't guarantee good schools. But it opens the door.
They want involved parents, but we don't get the tools to even help them do their job. We get questionnaires that ask us if we have enough information to help with our kids' math homework. It's an incredibly bad product for the price we pay. Clearly, parents will make better decisions when it comes to their kids' education, and it will be based on their individual needs, not the need to improve low cutoff test numbers.
I don't want to play their game and argue whether they should have coaches or not. Coaches could be a great asset if they were used to ensure consistency and mastery of basic math skills. Obviously, that doesn't happen, but arguing against coaches just means that I'm playing their game according to their rules.
The only thing that will really change schools is the ability of parents to walk away. No arguing. Just walk away.
Then, magically, the goal becomes a good education for your child and not fixing the schools, and schools will start paying attention to parents, not the other way around.
re: what is my school actually teaching & when?
Interesting moment at a school board meeting recently.
The Interim Curriculum Director was giving her report rejecting Singapore Math in favor of Math Trailblazers on grounds that "there us bi perfect curriculum." In practice, "there are no perfect curricula" means the district pays employees to "develop" the imperfect curricula we've bought. Citizens pay twice: once to buy the curriculum, then again to improve the curriculum. Because there is no perfect curriculum.
Virtually none of this activity is pegged to student achievement data.
Anyway, there was the Curriculum Director rejecting Singapore Math because there is no perfect curriculum.
At least two board members, of the four who were present, raised the question of international benchmarking and algebra in the 8th grade. At some point during the discussion, the new principal of the middle school said that we have 40% of our kids now taking algebra in the 8th grade. At an earlier meeting he had pegged that figure at 35% (which used to the case - he's right); but when he'd gone back and looked at this year's enrollment it was 40%.
Another board member said to the Interim Director: "Anecdotally, you hear that the accelerated course is less accelerated than it was. So we don't know what is happening. Are there more kids in accelerated math because accelerated math is less accelerated? What are your findings there?"
The Interim Director had no findings to share on that point.
Which begs the question. Why exactly do we need a central administrator to investigate whether the accelerated math track in the middle school is now less accelerated?
Why don't we have a published scope and sequence everyone can read and evaluate?
I fear I am going to have to pursue this issue.
Because I've got time on my hands.
what is "scope and sequence"?
Scope is the material or skills that is to be taught, and sequence is the order in which you teach the information.