Sunday, March 20, 2011

Education Reform: Boondoggling along

Posted For

Sandra In Brevard

As SB736/HB7019 heads to Governor Scott's desk for signature, questions continue on costs. The Senate Pre-K12 Appropriations subcommittee peppered Commissioner Smith on costs, even though these committee members are the most knowledgeable on the question of costs. An article in the Tampa Gradebook asked if the questions indicate the bill went through too fast. Race to the Top funds will pay for most of the development of new tests, but no word on funding after federal funds run out. The merit pay portion of the bill receives no new money. Governor Scott indicates that he will sign the bill without answers to basic costs question indicating he is apparently satisfied that there will be no impact on taxpayers.

President Obama has presented his educational reform "Blueprint" modifying portions of No Child Left Behind, a welcome aspect; however, the plan includes additional testing to measure growth before the high-stakes test and pinpoint areas that require more attention. The rationale is that the correct things are not being tested. Congress is in a budget cutting mood and education will not get special attention on the chopping block.

Nationwide, parent unhappiness over the obsession with testing is getting some notice.

Duncan last September said he has visited 42 states and that nearly everywhere he went, teachers, parents, principals and lawmakers complained that what's taught in school is narrowing as more teachers focus on improving scores in standardized tests, especially in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students
Pennsylvania allows parents to "opt out" of standardized testing and there is a movement to do just that in order to cause a shift away from schools as testing factories.

Under Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4 (d)(5), parents have the right to opt out of testing for their children. The exemption is “religious,” but the Pennsylvania Department of Education confirmed this includes any moral, psychological, philosophical or even medical objection. The reason cannot be challenged.

A large national "opt-out" movement, will impact the quantity and frequency of tests and the way the results are used. Such a movement would impact the vast amount of dollars spent on test development, scoring, and implementation costs. Apparently, the only "opt-out" provision available in Florida is to homeschool or find a private school, where other accountability rules apply.

Against this backdrop, there are clear supporters of maintaining the status quo on the testing routine.


Grumpy Note  Ducan openly admitts kids parents, teachers, smart politicians and Obama's dog Bo have had it with the all the testing,  As always Obama could care less about public opinion.  Besides his close buddies Jeb Bush and Bill Gates are all for it.  I'm beginning to wonder why when Gates barks, Obama jumps.  

To see the rest of Sandra's blogs on Education Reform, visit Grumpy Educators


  1. The second richest man in the world, in concert with other venture philanthropists rolling in dough, have allies and supporters in both parties. Money, power, influence is the answer to your question.

    To question the folly gets packaged responses...reform is to change the status quo or don't believe conspiracy theories. So far, that is what is done with the input.

    BTW, the chief of staff for secretary of education, Arne Duncan, was a senior official of the Gates Foundation.

  2. Seems to me there is a lot more emphasis on testing than there is on learning. If all the time is spent on one, when does the other occur?

  3. " the chief of staff for secretary of education, Arne Duncan, was a senior official of the Gates Foundation"

    Makes me wonder if likes Gate's Training Program for School Superintendents is salary is also subsidized by by the Gates Foundation.
    Bud the short answer is it doesn't. A by produc of teaching is the sudents (hopefully) start to learn how to think and reason..

    Those are skills are not needed to parrot things you've been told to say.

  4. imoonly says:

    Time to head for hills. Take your voucher money and run. This testing theology is not going away. I'm so thankful my kids only has two more years. If they offer Vocuchers I will take it and put her in private school. And then hopefully will move out of Florida. No one is paying attention to this issue right now. Why? Because people are out of work; out of money and have much larger problems to solve. If Scott hits public employees with the 5% but there will be a mass exodus of public employees form this state. You say no, that's just a threat, but you simply cannot put the demands on people that public employees carry and then give them pennies for their efforts. Wise parents will start looking to alterantives for their education needs. RS wants to model Florida after TX for their job creation. They have a 47% poverty rate in TX. Meaning jobs are there, but they are low paying and no benefits.That's what will happen here. Move if you can. It's not even worth the fight anymore.

  5. One would have to do some quality research since these efforts are not confined to Florida; however, recently I have heard more and more people talk about leaving. I think people are paying attention and are voicing their views, all of which are brushed aside.

  6. Imoonly, you saw some of this coming a couple years ago. Long before most others you were advising teachers the money wasn't there. If I recall you some advice for DiPatri(?) as well. It wouldn't surprise me any if he turns up a desk somewhere in Obama's DOE.

  7. I don't much care if Johnnie THINKS... the real issue is that Johnnie CAN NOT READ!!!! Teach the kids to READ and they can learn anything they want to learn. The tests just confirm that the teachers aren't teaching and the kids aren't learning... not a surprise to me. Good luck leaving Florida and finding better schools and taxes elsewhere... LOL

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