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Re: Fw: [LiteracyForAll] Response to Bill Gates

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  • Todd Groves
    Great points as always , Scottie. MC is a world apart from WCCUSD. As a DC bedroom community, MC is home to many that intimately know federal regulations and
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 3, 2011
      Great points as always , Scottie.

      MC is a world apart from WCCUSD. As a DC bedroom community, MC is home to many that intimately know federal regulations and how they are meant to work. We must have similar expertise throughout our community. How do we coalesce it?

      Perhaps guerrilla Site Council Parent Rep trainings are in order? A parent advocacy group apart from the district? WCCUSD SSC's are pointless organs -like an appendix- that exist solely for compliance. Also like an appendix, who would notice if SSC's were removed.

      We should be able to distill essential Site Council choices into approachable forms. SSC members could use standard assessments to gauge site functioning, and have a menu of potential options. The school data we get doesn't tell us if messages are getting home, or if the principal is on a power trip, or if phones are left ringing. Surveys certainly could.

      We need all the help we can get. Empowering Site Councils will be a great start.

      Todd Groves

      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, SCOTTIE SCOTTIE <scottiesmith65@...> wrote:
      >
      > Todd:
      >
      > As to Montgomery County Maryland, one has to understand that the school system
      > is County wide and divided into areas, where each area has a representative on
      > the Board. From the Superintendent's office on down there is an advisory
      > committee, made up of representatives from each area. Therefore, the parents
      > have an opportunity to compare what the schools in each area have and are doing
      > to improve the achievement of the students and can advocate for equity and get
      > it. Plus, as you know, MC is a very wealthy county and the involvement is
      > outstanding. I started my advocacy there over 35 years ago, which involved the
      > amount of money PTA could rise and how it was spent, as well as the disparity
      > issues in terms of the inability to raise funds for some schools in MC,
      > which allowed other school in the same county to afford more and leave others
      > out, hence forth, the limitations of PTA fund raising.
      >
      > I also co-chair the parent involvement committee and with the help of Supt.
      > office instituted a county wide parent committee and parent information and
      > training center. There was law suites against the county for the lack of
      > implementation of equity in many areas, from HS exit exams, teachers and funds,
      > as well as special education programs and services to state a few. The major
      > force in MC was and is the economical status of many of the families, therefore,
      > with the structures of the areas and representation, it was much easier to force
      > accountability in the majority of the schools.
      >
      >
      > There is much I could say about MC, but, mainly, it is the abilities of the
      > parents that has forced the administration to implement practices
      > that enable teachers and parents to work as a team. That said, I was surprise to
      > see that the WCCUSD has now revisited the DAC, but from my perspective, the
      > people involved as representative have little knowledge about why the District
      > dismantle the previous DAC or the history of a Title I DAC. If implemented
      > properly, with the complete knowledge of what the Title I DAC is supposed to do,
      > it could play a very power role in the educational decisions for Title I
      > students, but just listening the other night, when the parent came in and said
      > that her principal told her to come to the meeting and she did not know what it
      > was all about, yet she had voted to approve the By-Laws, etc. without knowledge,
      > speaks volumes to the effectiveness of this DAC.  
      >
      > The above said, the SSC are only as strong as the knowledge they have about
      > their roles and responsibilities and their independence to represent.  Scottie
      > Smith
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: Todd Groves <tag1022@...>
      > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thu, March 3, 2011 11:11:00 AM
      > Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: Fw: [LiteracyForAll] Response to Bill Gates
      >
      >  
      > Here is another view on the subject or poverty and education.
      >
      > http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=is_education_the_cure_for_poverty
      >
      > Instructional quality has been a huge problem in my kids' schools, and the
      > problem only seems to grow. Yet teachers didn't choose the curriculum, were
      > punished for disputing its effectiveness, were lorded over by imperious
      > supervisors, were powerless to change any aspect of the school outside their
      > classrooms, and coerced to following dubious scripts within them. This
      > dis-empowerment results in complacent despair, and an unwillingness to
      > collectively problem-solve.
      >
      > WCCUSD instructional quality declined precipitously after NCLB. Having one child
      > pre and one post-NCLB, we had the same teachers but vastly different classroom
      > experiences. The scripted curriculum devastated learning for a good number of
      > kids now in middle and high school, but they did OK on elementary CST's. They
      > were grossly unprepared for higher level thinking demanded by upper grades.
      >
      > Although our past boards and administrators are mostly responsible for the
      > problems we currently face, we have a fair number of ineffective teachers, many
      > of them tenured. Their colleagues know very well who they are. Perhaps teachers
      > themselves should be the ones to ferret out weaker faculty? It's done in
      > Montgomery County, Maryland and Toledo, Ohio. We need the highest quality
      > instruction to break the cycles of poverty.
      >
      >
      > In order of priority, these are the fixes I think we need. What are your ideas?
      > We need some new ideas and desperately.
      >
      > Bottom-up evaluations and problem solving. Site Councils need tools to
      > objectively evaluate school functioning. Our current Site Plans are useless for
      > the most part. Bissell chooses our textbooks/curriculum and writes most parts of
      > our plans. It's then sent to SSC's for rubber stamping. Why even bother? Bissell
      > or the principal has already decided a "research-based" course of action, until
      > it fails and we then implement the next flavor of the month.
      >
      > Bottom up administrator evaluations. Check out this Principal Evaluation Rubric
      > http://www.thirdmilegroup.com/resources/Sample+Prin+Eval+Rubrics+Jan+10.pdf .
      > How does your principal stack up in this rubric?
      >
      > Better teacher evaluations. The article below insists we have no crisis in
      > teacher quality. How do we know if we can't measure individual teacher
      > performance? Here is an evaluation tool for rating teacher evaluation schemes
      > http://tntp.org/files/TNTP_RatingATeacherObservationTool_Feb2011.pdf
      > . Now read the UTR Contract Evaluation sections,
      > http://www.wccusd.net/Human%20Resource%20Information/HR%20Forms/FINAL_UTRContrac%202009-2012-8.4.10.pdf
      > Article 15 and Appendix J. I don't see rigorous evaluation of teacher
      > performance, but rather a system that seems incomplete, subjective and pro
      > forma. If you have a dispute with your principal, you might likely get a low
      > ranking. Why shy away from objective systems, which might enhance job security
      > for effective yet outspoken teachers?
      >
      > The only way to avoid having solutions imposed on us is to create better ones
      > ourselves.
      >
      >
      > Todd Groves
      >
      > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Eduardo Martinez <ezedmartin@> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > http://www.eduardomartinez4richmond.net/index.html
      > >
      > >
      > > the next best thing to playin' and winnin'
      > > is playin' and losin'
      > > from "The Lucky One" - Robert Lee Castleman
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ----- Forwarded Message ----
      > > From: Stephen Krashen <skrashen@>
      > > To: LiteracyForAll@yahoogroups.com
      > > Sent: Tue, March 1, 2011 5:10:08 AM
      > > Subject: [LiteracyForAll] Response to Bill Gates
      > >
      > >
      > > The First Step: Protect Children from the Effects of Poverty
      > > Sent to the Washington Post, Feb 28, 2011
      > >
      > > To the editor:
      > >
      > > Bill Gates proclaims that "other countries have raced ahead" of the US in
      > > education, and in order to catch up, our teachers must improve ("How teacher
      > > development could revolutionize our schools," Feb. 28). The premise is false:
      > > American education has been successful. The problem is poverty.
      > >
      > > American students from well-funded schools who come from middle-class families
      >
      > > outscore students in nearly all other countries on international tests. Our
      > > average scores are not spectacular because the US has the highest percentage of
      > >
      > > children in poverty of all industrialized countries (over 20%; in contrast,
      > > high-scoring Finland has less than 4%).
      > >
      > >
      > > All educators are interested in improving teaching quality, but there is no
      > > national crisis in teaching quality. Our first step should be to protect
      > > children from the damaging effects of poverty: better nutrition (Susan Ohanian
      >
      > > suggests the motto "No Child Left Unfed"), excellent health care for all
      > > children, and universal access to reading material. The best teaching in the
      > > world is useless when students are hungry, sick, and have little or nothing to
      >
      > > read.
      > >
      > >
      > > Stephen Krashen
      > >
      > > Some sources:
      > >
      > > American students in well-funded schools …
      > >
      > > Berliner, D. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism,
      >
      > > Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the
      > > Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R.
      > > (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and
      > >changing
      > >
      > > schools.
      > >
      > > Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. In press.
      > >
      > > Bracey, G. 2009. Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality. Educational Research
      > > Service
      > >
      > > Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and
      > > mathematics
      > >
      > > achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13.
      > >
      > > Poverty and hunger, health and access to books:
      > >
      > > Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School
      > > Success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center &
      > > Education Policy Research Unit.
      > > http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential
      > >
      > >
      > > Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership 55(4):
      > > 18-22.
      > >
      > > Martin, M. 2004. A strange ignorance: The role of lead poisoning in “failing
      > > schools.” http://www.azsba.org/lead.htm.
      > >
      > >
      > > How teacher development could revolutionize our schools
      > > By Bill Gates
      > > Monday, February 28, 2011;
      > > As the nation's governors gather in Washington for their annual meeting, they
      > > are grappling with more than state budget deficits. They're confronting deep
      > > education deficits as well.
      > >
      > > Over the past four decades, the per-student cost of running our K-12 schools
      > >has
      > >
      > > more than doubled, while our student achievement has remained virtually flat.
      > > Meanwhile, other countries have raced ahead. The same pattern holds for higher
      >
      > > education. Spending has climbed, but our percentage of college graduates has
      > > dropped compared with other countries.
      > >
      > > To build a dynamic 21st-century economy and offer every American a high-quality
      > >
      > > education, we need to flip the curve. For more than 30 years, spending has
      > >risen
      > >
      > > while performance stayed relatively flat. Now we need to raise performance
      > > without spending a lot more.
      > >
      > > When you need more achievement for less money, you have to change the way you
      > > spend. This year, the governors are launching "Complete to Compete," a program
      >
      > > to help colleges get more value for the money they spend. It will develop
      > > metrics to show which colleges graduate more students for less money, so we can
      > >
      > > see what works and what doesn't.
      > >
      > > In K-12, we know more about what works.
      > > We know that of all the variables under a school's control, the single most
      > > decisive factor in student achievement is excellent teaching. It is astonishing
      > >
      > > what great teachers can do for their students.
      > >
      > > Yet compared with the countries that outperform us in education, we do very
      > > little to measure, develop and reward excellent teaching. We have been
      > >expecting
      > >
      > > teachers to be effective without giving them feedback and training.
      > >
      > > To flip the curve, we have to identify great teachers, find out what makes them
      > >
      > > so effective and transfer those skills to others so more students can enjoy top
      > >
      > > teachers and high achievement.
      > >
      > > To this end, our foundation is working with nearly 3,000 teachers in seven
      > >urban
      > >
      > > school districts to develop fair and reliable measures of teacher effectiveness
      > >
      > > that are tied to gains in student achievement. Research teams are analyzing
      > > videos of more than 13,000 lessons - focusing on classes that showed big
      > >student
      > >
      > > gains so it can be understood how the teachers did it. At the same time,
      > > teachers are watching their own videos to see what they need to do to improve
      > > their practice.
      > >
      > > Our goal is a new approach to development and evaluation that teachers endorse
      >
      > > and that helps all teachers improve.
      > >
      > > The value of measuring effectiveness is clear when you compare teachers to
      > > members of other professions - farmers, engineers, computer programmers, even
      > > athletes. These professionals are more advanced than their predecessors -
      > > because they have clear indicators of excellence, their success depends on
      > > performance and they eagerly learn from the best.
      > >
      > > The same advances haven't been made in teaching because we haven't built a
      > > system to measure and promote excellence. Instead, we have poured money into
      > > proxies, things we hoped would have an impact on student achievement. The
      > >United
      > >
      > > States spends $50 billion a year on automatic salary increases based on teacher
      > >
      > > seniority. It's reasonable to suppose that teachers who have served longer are
      >
      > > more effective, but the evidence says that's not true. After the first few
      > > years, seniority seems to have no effect on student achievement.
      > >
      > > Another standard feature of school budgets is a bump in pay for advanced
      > > degrees. Such raises have almost no impact on achievement, but every year they
      >
      > > cost $15 billion that would help students more if spent in other ways.
      > >
      > > Perhaps the most expensive assumption embedded in school budgets - and one of
      > > the most unchallenged - is the view that reducing class size is the best way to
      > >
      > > improve student achievement. This belief has driven school budget increases for
      > >
      > > more than 50 years. U.S. schools have almost twice as many teachers per student
      > >
      > > as they did in 1960, yet achievement is roughly the same.
      > >
      > > What should policymakers do? One approach is to get more students in front of
      > > top teachers by identifying the top 25 percent of teachers and asking them to
      > > take on four or five more students. Part of the savings could then be used to
      > > give the top teachers a raise. (In a 2008 survey funded by the Gates
      > >Foundation,
      > >
      > > 83 percent of teachers said they would be happy to teach more students for more
      > >
      > > pay.) The rest of the savings could go toward improving teacher support and
      > > evaluation systems, to help more teachers become great.
      > >
      > > Compared with other countries, America has spent more and achieved less. If
      > > there's any good news in that, it's that we've had a chance to see what works
      > > and what doesn't. That sets the stage for a big change that everyone knows we
      > > need: building exceptional teacher personnel systems that identify great
      > > teaching, reward it and help every teacher get better.
      > >
      > > It's the thing we've been missing, and it can turn our schools around.
      > > The writer is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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