Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tally Shell Games

I've commented several times about thoroughness of Sandra's research, I think it's hard for most people to envision how difficult and time consuming that is.. I'm going to use last night as an example, but first you need to know a few things about Sandra.  She has a real job, except for a few big names on a handful of large websites, there is no money in blogging.  She's not an educator, or teacher, scared reform and merit will cost her money, or get her fired.  She's a taxpayer, she knows reform will cost money.  She's sees the potential for Tally's proposals to cost taxpayers a fortune, funding a scheme that's clearly flawed and may only provide a benefit to the various special interests lobbying for it's passage..

Remember what I said about time consuming research, last night around 9:30 she posted a comment with a link to a pretty damning article that I suggest everyone read:

Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business 

Talks about how the Test Companies Actually grade tests that determine the future of students, schools and even school systems.  Soon if the legislators have their way, the reach of the test companies will go much farther.  I read the article and suppressed the sudden urge slam my fist against something.  The article featured a company call Pearson. that was the company that screwed up Florida's FCAT scores last year and left tens of Thousands of Florida 3rd Graders with otherwise good report cards wondering all summer if they were going to fourth grade or not.

Think back to when you were that age, would you have wanted that hanging over your head all summer?  It's incredible, a honor roll report card is not enough to outweigh a single Tallahassee mandated test, administered and graded by a company that might be engaged in questionable practises.

This morning I found Sandra had sent me another email around eleven last night.  She'd been wading through the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STAFF ANALYSIS for HB 7019, and found the :
FISCAL ANALYSIS and ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT, it's on pages 15 and 16 and reads like this


1. Revenues:
The bill does not have a fiscal impact on state revenues.

2. Expenditures:
See Fiscal Comments.

The bill does not have a fiscal impact on local revenues.

2. Expenditures:
See Fiscal Comments.

The bill does not have a direct economic inpact on the private sector

Florida’s $700 million Race to the Top grant is funding implementation of most bill requirements. DOE will allocate at least $69 million in grant funds to improve teacher and principal effectiveness.82 Grant funds will be used to assist school districts in the development of new educator performance evaluations; test item banks; student learning growth formulas for subjects tested on statewide assessments; and growth models for district-developed assessments. DOE will provide assistance to school districts in developing or acquiring assessments for subjects and grades not tested on statewide assessments, including:
Resources for districts to develop test items for "hard to measure" content areas, such as physical education, fine arts, and foreign language. Test items for core content areas such as math, social studies, science, and language arts for subjects and grades not tested on statewide assessments; and A technology platform to provide districts with secure access to high-quality test items and tools for the creation and administration of student assessments.
Additional resources may be necessary to maintain a test item bank or platform at the conclusion of the grant period, which is the end of the 2013-14 school year.83
Since 1999, school districts have been required to measure student performance on educator performance evaluations using statewide assessments and, for subjects and grades not tested on statewide assessments, local assessments. During the next three years, the grant will provide funding for the development of assessments in most subjects.
The bill establishes new priorities that must be met by school districts when determining educator compensation; however, it does not require school districts to expend any new funds on adjustments and supplements if funds are not available to do so.

Not exactly relaxing reading
I'm not exactly sure how you change an entire Education system and claim it will have no fiscal impact on anything..  Just changing from store brands to name brands when you're grocery shopping has a fiscal impact at the cash register.  Here the State is telling us we'll go from our existing system (chicken thighs) and upgrade to the best available (Whole beef tenderloin) and it will have no effect..  Bullshit, and this line. WTF???
The bill establishes new priorities that must be met by school districts when determining educator compensation; however, it does not require school districts to expend any new funds on adjustments and supplements if funds are not available to do so.

How do mandate someone do something, and then toss in a clause like that.  Early this morning I emailed Sandra, who'd been researching this stuff until really late last night, and asked her what she thought it meant. She answered before heading off to her real job;
They are trying to answer the mail on costs by a little double speak. The bill mandates compliance. Given budget cuts and more to come, sounds like an unfunded mandate or reallocate what you have to meet the legislation. The DOE will supplement.....they will? Tax if you need but it is not a state mandate to tax.
Clear as mud.
What she didn't find was a price tag, no one in Tallahassee is willing to mention what this will cost.

Suffle the cost around, a little slight of hand, keep the suckers focused on what they might win, so they don't think about what they're losing



  1. Everyone is silent on costs...even Grumpy regular commentors.

  2. Might be because regular Gumpy Commentors like to have facts to back up what they say.

    There have been few facts about this coming from Tallahassee,

  3. Or maybe because frequent visitors don't know what to say. I have read miles and remain thunderstruck. I just hope people are reading.

    The two year silence by legislators with regard to cost details is what bothers me. Either they are clueless or they know full well, or both. Since the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting when money and cost concerns over SB736 were raised, I have not read a single comment by any legislator. The silence speaks volumes.

  4. P.S. The video clip is perfect.

  5. Somehow carnival scams and Tallahassee seemed to go together.

  6. It is true, I find it hard to comprehend, hard to reason. How can we have regressed so far?

  7. News reports that President Obama will appear with former Governor Jeb Bush at a high school in Miami, which has made student achievement progress after 10 years of being stuck in the mud. Obama will praise the success and challenge students to beat their international counterparts. I predict Bush will say it is his reforms that are responsible for this turnaround. To get a better idea of what they are (and are not) talking about go to Grumpy Educators to read about international tests: 1)Roof Leaks, Call 911 (in the list) and 2)Let's Be Like Singapore (on top today)

  8. You'll find a link located near the top of the right sidebar under Other Grumpy Sites.

    Once there, all Sandra's are easily findable in a table of contents on the right side of the page.


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