When California had its own set of standards and teach-to-the-test crap, at least California didn’t use the test scores to rank-and-fire teachers even though the state did rank schools and required schools to post a detailed school report card on the Internet where parents could see how the school performed and a lot of other information like suspension rates, poverty rate, etc. And that school report card revealed that schools with low ranking all had high rates of childhood poverty. Parents could use those report cards to pick where to live to escape those high rates of poverty so their children wouldn’t be exposed to children that lived in poverty — that is if the parents who cared could afford to live in communities with little or no poverty.
But, California’s standards and high stakes tests were developed over a period of years and involved all the stakeholders: teachers, students, parents, etc. There were even challenges in court to elements of the program that some parents/teachers didn’t like.
In addition, at the start of each year, teachers met and went over the results of the standards for previous year’s test results for the current year’s crop of students. Then teachers broke out in department/grade level groups and planned what standards to focus on based on the previous year’s results for the current year’s students and planned how best to achieve that — there was no demands that we had to teach every standard. Instead, we focused on a few standards the test results revealed the students were weakest in and brainstorm cooperatively how to achieve success in those areas.
After more than a decade of developing this program, it was all trashed when the Common Core Crap and its secretive very profitable flawed and fraudulent tests came out of Washington D.C.
California’s standards were not without their flaws but it was a much better than the crap fostered on the nation by the Obama-Gates-Pearson for Cabal of profit at any cost while trampling parents, teachers, teachers’ unions and children.
John Thompson, teacher and historian in Oklahoma, is a frequent contributor to the blog.
Diane Ravitch publicized an educator’s concise and astute critique of Florida’s standards of instruction where “The FLDOE has absolutely no clue on how long it takes to teach each standard effectively.” An educational software company “looked at the standards that a fifth grade teacher is required to teach effectively and stopped counting when we found it would take a minimum of at least 300 school days to teach the standards to an effective level.” The obvious problem is that covering the tested standards would take 2/3rds of a school year more than the time students are in class – even if there were no disruptions of learning ranging from assemblies and class disruptions to the time wasted on benchmark and other form of testing.
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