Sunday, October 21, 2012

The soft bigotry....

The state of Virginia has received a waiver on the No Child Left Behind act.

There were concessions.

The state had to agree to implement a Teacher Evaluation process that relies heavily on student growth measures.  40% of teacher evaluations must be based on this measure.  Multiple measures, to be sure.  For now we are permitted to establish our own group of students, identify the goal, collect data, and prove that the teacher realized growth.

OK, I think I can live with that since I hope I have been trying to move students along a continuum ever since I started teaching.  The challenge, frankly, will be in working this collection and study into an already full workload.  But it is doable.  Wish it came with some time....

Apparently, another concession was to move from AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) to AMO's (Annual Measurable Objectives--semantics?).

OK.  So what does that mean?  According to the State Department of Education it means these are goals for reducing proficiency gaps between low-performing and high-performing schools.

The AMOs represent the percentage of students within each subgroup that must pass Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in reading and mathematics in order to make acceptable progress over six years.  While the AMOs represent yearly goals for low performing schools, all schools must meet these objectives.  (My emphasis, not theirs.)
They used the actual pass rates of student subgroups in low-performing schools to set the percentage of students who must pass in order for accreditation (I assume?).  They will determine the subgroup pass rates on Reading after the new SOL test, which is predicted to depress scores, is administered this year.  So here they are in Mathematics.

For 2012-2013, pass rates in Mathematics:

All students:                             61%
Proficiency Gap group 1:         47%
 (students with disabilities, limited-English proficient students and economically disadvantaged students  
  regardless of race and ethnicity)
Proficiency Gap group 2:         45%
  (African-American students, not of Hispanic origin, including those counted above)
Proficiency Gap Group 3:        52%
  (Hispanic Students)
Students with disabilities:         33%
LEP Students:                          39%
Economically Disadvantaged   47%
White students:                         68%
Asian Students:                         82%

Here is the Virginia Department's argument that this is not discriminatory or expecting less of our students.  Guess we're only going to leave some kids behind.  In the case of those who are African American, only 55% of kids in the next six years.

Is this not the same thing Florida is up in arms about?

Anybody want to agree that we should be done messing with numbers and figure out how to get all kids off to a good start so that learning for every group is possible?

Here is what we ALREADY KNOW works.  Read Nick Kristoff's recent editorial that discovers (huzzah!) that quality preschool instruction and nurturing of kids can overcome all the above "sub-groups."

But we wouldn't want to spend money there....