Monday, February 26, 2024

In Case You Missed It – February 26, 2024

Here are links to articles from the last two weeks receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column of our blog page to be informed when our blog posts are published.
Click the image to view Learning
First Alliance's Public Schools Week website.


“The tests are not measuring how much students learned or can learn. They are predominately measuring the family and community capital of the student.” -- from Christopher Tienken, quoted by Peter Greene in Research Shows What State Standardized Tests Actually Measure


Standardized testing is still being overused and misused...and we discover that tests measure family income instead of school quality or teacher success. Spoiler alert: We've known this for years.

Who Redefined Teaching as the Production of High Test Scores and Who Taught Us to Believe in the Myth of the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations?

From Jan Resseger's Blog
...many people and many of the state legislators who allocate dollars for public education too easily blame and scapegoat the schoolteachers and the schools and school districts unable to raise test scores upon command. We continue to watch school districts themselves ignore poverty and systemic racism as they close or punish the schools in the poorest neighborhoods, and we continue to watch state legislatures take over “failing” schools or school districts and install so-called turnaround experts. The polls show that most parents are grateful to their child’s own teacher, someone they know personally, but when people think about teachers in general, too many have learned from several generations of school reform to blame the teachers and look down on the so-called “failing” schools that can’t seem to produce high test scores.

Yong Zhao: Why Doesn’t the U.S. Scrap PISA?

From Diane Ravitch
I have studied the results of international assessments such as PISA and TIMSS for years. Eventually, I began to wonder what the connection was—if any—between the test scores of 15-year-old students and the economic productivity of their nation 10, 15, 20 years later. We’ve been bemoaning our scores since the first international tests were given in the 1960s, even as our economy soars way beyond the nations with higher scores on the tests.

I invited Yong Zhao to share his reaction to the latest PISA scores. His response was as brilliant as I anticipated.

Research Shows What State Standardized Tests Actually Measure

From Peter Greene in Forbes
First, we can once again recognize that the standardized tests used to make definitive statements about student learning and teacher effectiveness, to assess the quality of administrators, to declare a school “failing,” to pinpoint student academic weaknesses and strength— these tests are in fact simply reflecting the demographics of the students’ families. Maroun and Tienkin write:

The results from the state-mandated standardized tests used in New Jersey have not been independently validated for all of the ways the results are used, yet some education leaders rely on them for decision-making purposes.

That stands true for every state where big standardized test data is used in these ways.

Second, if policy makers must insist that the big standardized test scores must be used for this wide variety of policy purposes, research like this suggests that the best way to improve test scores for students from less resource-filled backgrounds might be to provide them with wider and deeper experiences aimed at building background knowledge, rather than bombarding them with test prep exercises and workbooks.

Education centered around high-stakes testing has been pushing schools down the wrong road for twenty-some years. This study is a reminder that the big standardized test generates data that actually says far more about a school’s demographics than its effectiveness.

IN: From the AG, Another Edu-witch Hunt Site

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita sets up a web site to intimidate schools and teachers.

From Peter Greene in Curmudgucation
...what this is going to do is add to intimidation of teachers, allow unsubstantiated slamming of schools, increase distrust of public ed, make some political hay for Rokita, and spread smoke without light. All that and waste the time of a lot of people working in public education (which school administrator will draw the task of doing the daily Check For Lies on the AG Website). What it won't do is improve the quality of public education in Indiana.


The Indiana General Assembly seems to think that they know more about education and educating children than the experts -- the teachers of Indiana. This legislation will force teachers to ignore research and provide a one-size-fits-all solution to student achievement.

Indiana lawmakers advance bill to hold back more third graders who don’t pass reading test

From Chalkbeat*
A bill to hold back and provide more support to third graders who can’t read proficiently passed the Senate Education and Career Development Committee Wednesday along party lines.

Senate Bill 1 would reinforce the state’s policy of holding back students who fail the state’s reading test, while also requiring schools to identify and give remediation to those who are at risk of not passing the exam.

Under the provisions of the bill, schools would also need to track students’ reading skills beyond third grade, and provide reading instruction rooted in the principles of the science of reading through eighth grade.

The legislation continues the state’s recent focus on improving students’ literacy and reading instruction. Last year, Indiana lawmakers enacted a law requiring schools to adopt research-backed curriculum based in the science of reading. The state also prohibited schools from using a reading instruction method known as three-cueing.

Indiana literacy overhaul bill advances as worries rise over provision to retain more third graders

From Indiana Capital Chronicle
Numerous parents and educators who testified said that although they support efforts to identify and assist struggling readers earlier, they remained opposed to the legislation due to the mandatory retention provision.

“It’s possible to cherry pick a study here and there showing positive effects. But no review of the entire literature has concluded that retention has any positive long term benefits,” said Russ Skiba, professor emeritus at Indiana University, also representing the University Alliance for Racial Justice.

Skiba additionally said retention is “likely to cause serious, long-term effects for students,” including failure to complete high school, failure to advance to college, “and even increased crime.” Negative effects of retention “fall hardest” on Black and Latino students, he continued.


Peacemaker program to expand at Fort Wayne Community Schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A program that’s cultivating a culture of peace at South Side High School received Fort Wayne Community Schools board approval Monday to expand.

The $500,000 contract with Alive Community Outreach formalizes the expectations for the Peacemaker program at each high school, said Matt Schiebel, the district’s executive director of safety and community partnerships.

Built upon Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles of nonviolence, the program includes a summer Peacemaker Academy for students, a school Peace Club and mentorship through a community volunteer program known as the Peace Grannies and Grampies.

The experiences give students a deeper understanding of social justice issues and how to develop nonviolent ways to resolve conflict and promote peace.

Northwest Allen County Schools pauses redistricting plans

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Northwest Allen County Schools won’t alter school attendance areas – for now, that is.

Superintendent Wayne Barker announced during Monday’s board meeting that postponing rebalancing decisions for one to two years is best.

“As we look at our current building numbers and capacities in conjunction with the ever-changing plans for housing developments in our district, it was decided that more information and time are needed to aid us in making sound decisions,” Barker said.

Northwest Allen County Schools hears board election options

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Northwest Allen County Schools began conversations this week about potentially changing the structure of its elected board.

The five-member school board comprises two at-large members and three members elected from residency districts – Eel River, Lake and Perry townships. All voters within NACS may vote for all five seats, regardless of their address.

At-large member Darren Vogt said last month it’s time to revisit the residency districts because the townships vary in population.
*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is essential; one way to do that is to support your local newspaper. For subscription information, go to [NOTE: NEIFPE has no financial ties to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.


No comments: