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Re: [FL-SAC] FCAT /High School

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  • Jean Stevens
    To All the High SChool SAC People - - we have the same problem with kids ending up in high school that aren t prepared. The last two years we ve been stuck at
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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      To All the High SChool SAC People - - we have the same
      problem with kids ending up in high school that aren't
      prepared. The last two years we've been stuck at a "c"
      because of our "drop-out" prevention program
      (computer-based) that has most of the kids that should
      be 11th or 12th stuck at "10"th classification
      (haven't passed Alg./less than a 2.0), they have to be
      over 17 and most are 18 or 19 - most have taken the
      FCAT 2 or 3 times - - but diidn't have to pass it to
      grad. since they came in under the HSCT - but were
      required by the state to take the FCAT - WHAT A MESS !

      Anyway, part of that will solve itself with the end of
      the HSCT, but our Superintendent/School Board also
      came up with a new way to raise the FCAT scores . . .
      make ALL 9th grade students PASS ALGEBRA 1 before they
      can become 10th - - no more Alg Ia/Alg1B, etc. That
      way all the kids that were not passing FCAT math due
      to lack of math skills will probably still be in 9th
      grade next year(and the year after in come cases)! All
      the high schools are worried about the number of "9th"
      grade students we'll have next year - - but it could
      definitely make for a better group of kids taking the
      test.

      By the way, we also realized why the supt. came up
      with this kind-of-sneaky way to raise scores - - he
      negoiated(?) a contract tied to scores, school grades
      etc. - - he can DOUBLE his salary if all the goals are
      reached !

      Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know I feel the same
      way regarding "grading" high schools when if you're
      not a major magnet school,educate the "average kids
      and the ones the magnet school send back and actually
      keep kids from dropping out,etc. you have a very,very
      difficult time becoming a B or A school.

      JEAN STEVENS, SAC Chair
      W T Dwyer High School, Palm Beach Gardens

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    • Drivinmom@aol.com
      Good idea. I think it s riduculous of the state to require all students to pass Algebra.
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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        Good idea. I think it's riduculous of the state to require all students to
        pass Algebra.
      • Don Goodall
        In response to Jean Stevens e-mail post, our high school has the same problem, i.e., many of our 9th graders come to us unable to read and with no idea of how
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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          In response to Jean Stevens' e-mail post, our high school has the same
          problem, i.e., many of our 9th graders come to us unable to read and with no
          idea of how to study. Last year at the end of the first grading period 54
          per cent of them flunked one or more subjects.

          High schools teachers should not be expected to spend a lot of time on
          remedial work. Any more than should college/university teachers. Don
          Goodall, Dunedin Hi (Pinellas Co.) community SAC volunteer.
        • Marion Brady
          ... to pass Algebra. You have lots of company in the ranks of professional educators. One of my files contains articles on the subject. Sample excerpts: KAPPAN
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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            > Good idea. I think it's ridiculous of the state to require all students
            to pass Algebra.

            You have lots of company in the ranks of professional educators. One of
            my files contains articles on the subject. Sample excerpts:

            KAPPAN article by Michael K. Smith, University of Tennessee: "How can
            we justify to our children the learning of such material [abstract
            mathematics]? The rationale for mathematics rests on three virtually
            unchallenged assumptions. The first, bequeathed to us by Greek
            philosophers....is that mathematics is the foundation of the
            universe.....The second, which draws its strength from a naive brand of
            psychology, assumes that the study of the logical, deductive, and inductive
            methods common to mathematics will enable one to think more clearly and more
            rationally about other subjects.......The third and more pragmatic premise
            is that mathematics is so frequently used in daily life that it should be
            taught to all our children."
            Smith then argues that, generally speaking, "the evidence supports
            exactly the opposite conclusions...."

            Report of the National Science Board Commission on Precollege Education
            in Mathematics, Science, and Technology: "......serious doubt exists about
            whether many of the commonly offered mathematics, science, and technology
            courses in the secondary schools are, in their present form, of much value
            to students planning careers outside of mathematics, science, or
            engineering."

            Journal of College Science Teaching, Karen Johnston, NC State, and Bill
            Aldridge, Executive Director, National Science Teachers Association: "The
            courses neglect the needs and interests of the vast majority of
            students---the 90.4 percent who will not enter college and major in science,
            math, or engineering; the 96.1 percent who will not earn a bachelors degree
            in these fields......"

            But change, no matter how commonsensical, is impossible. Some of my
            references --- pleas for reform --- go back to 1932. It doesn't make any
            difference how irrational, useless or indefensible a particular curricular
            component is, once it gets entrenched, bureaucracy (and adults who as
            students had their thinking programmed by that bureaucracy) see to it that
            the status quo is maintained until the whole structure becomes so irrelevant
            it simply collapses. When that happens, however, it's usually too late to
            matter.
            The politically correct position is "raise the standards" --- tighten
            the screws. Nobody in authority asks if the screws being tightened are the
            right ones.

            Marion
          • DWMINERESQ@AOL.COM
            Nina, So good to see you Saturday and learn from your wisdom. What you point out are both the benefits and detriments of the FCAT. It is good to the extent
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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              Nina,
              So good to see you Saturday and learn from your wisdom. What you point
              out are both the benefits and detriments of the FCAT. It is good to the
              extent it is seen as one of many tools for seeing where a child is in the
              education process; it is very bad in how it is being applied to prevent
              graduations and to punish schools and teachers and narrow the teaching focus
              and to encourage drill and kill.
              Dave
            • Merri Mann
              Yippee! Marion, finally someone is saying what needs to be said. I wish you would look at the Clast test in math that ALL teacher have to pass in order to
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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                Yippee! Marion, finally someone is saying what needs to be said. I wish
                you would look at the Clast test in math that ALL teacher have to pass in
                order to teach in Florida. When I asked one of our esteemed
                legislators...who works with budgets, if he could pass CLAST, he told me he
                didn't have to...he wasn't a teacher! I couldn't believe my ears...I never
                understood why English teachers, for example, needed to know higher
                mathematics? When I showed my husband, a CPA, a sample test, he said he
                wasn't sure he could pass it. Luckily, I didn't need to take it...one of
                the few benefits of being "old" and an old teacher....Merri

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Marion Brady [mailto:mbrady22@...]
                Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001 12:28 PM
                To: FL-SAC@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [FL-SAC] FCAT /High School


                > Good idea. I think it's ridiculous of the state to require all students
                to pass Algebra.

                You have lots of company in the ranks of professional educators. One of
                my files contains articles on the subject. Sample excerpts:

                KAPPAN article by Michael K. Smith, University of Tennessee: "How can
                we justify to our children the learning of such material [abstract
                mathematics]? The rationale for mathematics rests on three virtually
                unchallenged assumptions. The first, bequeathed to us by Greek
                philosophers....is that mathematics is the foundation of the
                universe.....The second, which draws its strength from a naive brand of
                psychology, assumes that the study of the logical, deductive, and inductive
                methods common to mathematics will enable one to think more clearly and more
                rationally about other subjects.......The third and more pragmatic premise
                is that mathematics is so frequently used in daily life that it should be
                taught to all our children."
                Smith then argues that, generally speaking, "the evidence supports
                exactly the opposite conclusions...."

                Report of the National Science Board Commission on Precollege Education
                in Mathematics, Science, and Technology: "......serious doubt exists about
                whether many of the commonly offered mathematics, science, and technology
                courses in the secondary schools are, in their present form, of much value
                to students planning careers outside of mathematics, science, or
                engineering."

                Journal of College Science Teaching, Karen Johnston, NC State, and Bill
                Aldridge, Executive Director, National Science Teachers Association: "The
                courses neglect the needs and interests of the vast majority of
                students---the 90.4 percent who will not enter college and major in science,
                math, or engineering; the 96.1 percent who will not earn a bachelors degree
                in these fields......"

                But change, no matter how commonsensical, is impossible. Some of my
                references --- pleas for reform --- go back to 1932. It doesn't make any
                difference how irrational, useless or indefensible a particular curricular
                component is, once it gets entrenched, bureaucracy (and adults who as
                students had their thinking programmed by that bureaucracy) see to it that
                the status quo is maintained until the whole structure becomes so irrelevant
                it simply collapses. When that happens, however, it's usually too late to
                matter.
                The politically correct position is "raise the standards" --- tighten
                the screws. Nobody in authority asks if the screws being tightened are the
                right ones.

                Marion









                Florida Association of School Advisory Councils (FL-SAC)

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              • Nina Camp
                Merri, I am sure that this is true of these schools. My problem is not with teaching chess. It is with the schools who don t take school improvement seriously.
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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                  Merri,

                  I am sure that this is true of these schools. My problem is not with
                  teaching chess. It is with the schools who
                  don't take school improvement seriously. The school in question presented
                  their 15 minute school board presentation
                  on the current year SIP by stating that School Improvement was like a game
                  of chess. They are not teaching their student chess strategies, if fact, I
                  don't know what they are teaching. I saw no specific objectives, strategies
                  or action plans. They did not present any strategies that were successful
                  last year, or any planned strategies for this current year. JUST A CHESS
                  BOARD in their
                  "dog and pony" show presented in a power point presentation. I will state
                  again that this middle school had 71% of their students
                  scoring below level 3 in FCAT reading. These students feed directly into our
                  high school. We have to spend our recourses to
                  remediate these students to successfully pass the FCAT cut scores. If your
                  feeder schools are doing a poor job of educating
                  the students that move up through the system, you will have a continuous
                  problem year after year. You only have to read the newspaper to see the
                  percentage of 10th grade students that did not pass on the first try.

                  Hey, we are a "C" school, and hope to stay there, with the undereducated
                  students we get every year.
                  BTW...the Principal of this Middle school was selected as one of the State
                  Principals of the Year by DOE.
                  yada...yada...yada.

                  Nina Camp
                  ncvan@...
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Merri Mann [mailto:Merri@...]
                  Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2001 4:03 PM
                  To: 'FL-SAC@yahoogroups.com'
                  Subject: RE: [FL-SAC] FCAT Graduation Requirement


                  You might be interested to know, Nina, that there are several schools in
                  Miami-Dade which have increased student achievement...by teaching chess
                  and
                  supporting chess teams, etc. It does teach you how to think and it also
                  gets kids more involved in school. The side benefit is that it is far
                  more
                  enjoyable than rote memorization of FCAT type questions.

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: nina.camp@... [SMTP:nina.camp@...]
                  > Sent: Friday, September 28, 2001 4:59 PM
                  > To: FL-SAC@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [FL-SAC] FCAT Graduation Requirement
                  >
                  > Dave,
                  >
                  > I wrote a short and sweet post about the problems we are having with
                  > the FCAT requirement for graduation at OHS. Monday the 17th we had
                  > SIP presentations to the School Board for the 2001/2002 school year.
                  > These presentations are broken down by cluster/feeder schools. There
                  > were 4-5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and our High School.
                  > One of the middle schools gave their presentation based on the fact
                  > that they see school improvement like a chess game. They had a great
                  > Power Point Presentation with chess board and all. I did not hear a
                  > single strategy or objective concerning how they planned to raise
                  > student achievement. This school has 71% of their students reading
                  > below level 3 on FCAT. Keep in mind that a student does not have to
                  > pass FCAT to move on to the ninth grade. They only have to pass the
                  > FCAT in the 10th grade to graduate from high school. These students
                  > are struggling to keep up and this school feed directly into our High
                  > School. What to do?
                  >
                  > We are looking at suspending curriculm for students who have scored
                  > below level 3 in any of the previous FCAT tests. These students need
                  > intensive remediation to be able to move ahead. They didn't get it in
                  > the lower grades and we must bring them up to speed, or they will
                  > dropout. This effects our School Grade along with other factors.
                  >
                  > I called one of our school board members to invite them to our SAC
                  > meeting held on Thursday after the Presentations. Told the school
                  > board member to try to join us as we had trashed our SAC agenda and
                  > we planned to play chess for two hours. I was bringing snacks and
                  > sodas, and a good time will be had by all. Why should we concern
                  > ourselves with student improvement when our feeder school don't take
                  > this seriously?
                  >
                  > Can't wait till the cadre meeting next monday night when we will
                  > read, check and approve the SIPs for all schools in our District to
                  > go to the School Board for final approval. I wonder if this middle
                  > school plans to bring strategies on playing chess?
                  >
                  > Nina Camp
                  > ncvan@...
                  >
                  > From: DWMINERESQ@A...
                  > Date: Sun May 26, 2002 8:31 am
                  > Subject: FCAT GRADUATION REQUIREMENT
                  >
                  >
                  > Nina,
                  > Good to hear from you and thanks for sharing your thoughts about
                  > the FCAT
                  > passage requirement.
                  > Did you hear about the school that just dropped teaching
                  > Eastern Farsi
                  > so that it could better focus its teaching resources on standardized
                  > tests
                  > and better prepare its students for passing the FCAT required for
                  > graduation?
                  >
                  > Woudn't that be a tragedy when this country so desperately needs
                  > linguists which standardized testing and the FCAT seem to discourage.
                  > Along that line, however, yesterday at the Bradenton Kiwanis
                  > Club, our
                  > speaker was Dr. Ed Fernald, who I understand is a retired FSU
                  > Geography
                  > Professor and head of a thing called the Florida Geographic
                  > Alliance.
                  > (getp.freac.fsu.edu/fga) He quoted Johns Adams, as reported by David
                  > McCullough, as saying "For a good education, one needs to know
                  > geography."
                  > Included in his remarks was a lament that geogrpahy had been dropped
                  > from
                  > the curriculum by many Florida schools because they wanted to focus
                  > on the
                  > FCATwhich doesn't test geography.
                  > Professor Fernald said he was not there to politic but to just to
                  > report
                  > a fact. However his reporting this fact does have political
                  > implications
                  > because his audience included many influential voices which
                  > reverberate come
                  > election time.
                  > I think Adams was right. We need geography more than we need
                  > FCAT. And
                  > we particularly need geographers now when the geography on the other
                  > side of
                  > the world seems to so directly affect our lives here in the United
                  > States.
                  > Dave Miner
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Florida Association of School Advisory Councils (FL-SAC)
                  >
                  > Subscribe: FL-SAC-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (SAC issues only)
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                  > President: president@... "Dwayne Mundy" (Any questions?)
                  >
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                  >
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                • Nina Camp
                  Dave, I thought we had a great general meeting of FL-SAC. I wish more members could have attended. I have been a SAC chair for over 5 years and a SAC member
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 1, 2001
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                    Dave,

                    I thought we had a great general meeting of FL-SAC. I wish more members
                    could have attended.

                    I have been a SAC chair for over 5 years and a SAC member for 7 years. As my
                    daughter is a Senior this year, I plan to turn this wonderful job over to
                    someone else in the 2002/2003 school year. So far there have been no takers.
                    I wanted to have a SAC chair in training this current school year, but no
                    luck so far. I'm sure there are those that will be relieved to see the last
                    of me. What they don't know is that I plan to come back next year as a
                    community member, sit in the back of the SAC meeting and generally cause
                    trouble. Just kidding!

                    When you talk of drill and kill, that is exactly what we have to do. We
                    don't like it, but it is a fact of law. As long as FCAT is used in the
                    current way to assess students for graduation and schools for a grade, we
                    must take "teaching to the test" to new heights.

                    Nina Camp
                    ncvan@...
                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: DWMINERESQ@... [mailto:DWMINERESQ@...]
                    Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001 10:01 AM
                    To: FL-SAC@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [FL-SAC] FCAT Graduation Requirement


                    Nina,
                    So good to see you Saturday and learn from your wisdom. What you
                    point
                    out are both the benefits and detriments of the FCAT. It is good to the
                    extent it is seen as one of many tools for seeing where a child is in the
                    education process; it is very bad in how it is being applied to prevent
                    graduations and to punish schools and teachers and narrow the teaching
                    focus
                    and to encourage drill and kill.
                    Dave

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                    Florida Association of School Advisory Councils (FL-SAC)

                    Subscribe: FL-SAC-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (SAC issues only)
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                    (unmoderated discussion of general education issues)
                    Unsubscribe: FL-SAC-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    President: president@... "Dwayne Mundy" (Any questions?)

                    http://fl-sac.org (web site of FL-SAC)
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