Posts Tagged ‘high stakes testing’

The Corporate Way to School Improvement

In Economics, Education on March 22, 2012 at 19:52

high stakes testing from http://www.rethinkingschools.org

We have a crisis of graduation rates in our schools. The more data we manipulate to support our view that the schools are collapsing, the worse schools look. We at the Nationalist Association for Superior Intelligence (NASI) have come up with several ways to demonstrate the schools are failing. In fact, we came up with solutions to address this calamity even before creating the data proving the need for our solution.

Our greatest tool used to dismantle schools and the public education system is high stakes testing. The creation of high stakes testing allows us to enforce arbitrary bench-marks that schools must meet, or we take the schools down. We must also start using these test to not only fire teachers, as our beloved Michelle Rhee did in D.C., but we must start using these tests to expel worthless students.

Students that fail to meet an arbitrary score on a standardized test must be summarily kicked out of the school district. While liberals might worry about these stupid kids and want to coddle them, they fail to take into account that this is what we have prisons for. Prisons are the safety net for stupid students all over our great nation.

And if by chance some undesirables skirt through the testing regimen, we can just expel them. By clearing out the human refuse from our schools, we can increase the percentage of students that graduate and not have to waste money and energy helping students undeserving of an education.

For example, if a school has 300 students in its graduating class and only 150 graduate, that’s a 50% rate. If you expel the 50 most at risk students from the school, you can have 150 out of 250 that graduate, a rate of 60%. Expel 100 students that won’t graduate, and you could have 150 graduate out of 200 (300 minus the 100 expelled) and you will have a rate of 75%. The Memphis school district did just this to increase graduations rates, and the rest of the nation should follow.

Another problem with our schools is there’s not enough corporate investment. Just like corporations made the banks work for everyone, corporate money in the schools will make them work. We need to deregulate the schools to allow more corporate investment as soon as possible.

We need to make up more statistics to show the schools are failing. One such clever data switch was discovered when a data entry clerk in the Seattle schools entered a curiously low number of high school graduates going on to college, 17 percent.

Turns out the true number is much higher — 46 percent. Not ideal either, but a far cry from 17… The damningly low 17 percent number was publicized and repeated by SPS these past two years and used to justify Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan,” and the onslaught of controversial (and unwanted) ed reforms she has since imposed on the district…

By using the lower rate for graduates starting in the university, we manufactured a crisis in our schools, justifying not only more high stakes testing, but merit based pay and national standards.

A Council of Foreign Relations task force chaired by Joel Klein (Lawyer) and Condoleezza Rice (Former Secretary of State) came up with The U.S. Education Reform and National Security report. Neither of them have been educators, but they want to change the education system. Thankfully, no teachers were consulted for this report, as far as I could tell.

The report calls for:

  • expanding the Common Core State Standard initiative to include subjects beyond math and English Language Arts;
  • an expansion of charter schools and vouchers
  • an annual “national security readiness audit” that would look at how schools are addressing the country’s needs through increased foreign language programs, technology curriculum and more. (snip)

Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.

And here’s the best part of this report: The report cites lots of statistics that paint public schools in the worst possible light, and continues the trend of comparing America’s educational system with that of high-achieving countries — but doesn’t note that these countries generally don’t do the kinds of things these reformers endorse. Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.

They invented statistics to support our argument that we need more privatization of schools as is our duty because we know what’s best, even if the evidence doesn’t back our solutions. If we can’t sell the public on a corporate take over of schools on academic grounds, we can do so on security grounds. That makes sense since schools in poor districts funnel so many students into prisons or the military, the two legs of the stool of security.

If we stop wasting tax payers’ money educating everyone, and we end child labor laws, the percentage of graduates in our school will sky rocket as will test scores of those more deserving students that remain in schools.

God bless America, ignorance is strength, and if your a stupid student, please drop out for the good of the nation.

Tex Shelters

How to Promote High Stakes Testing: Lie

In Current Events, Education on May 30, 2011 at 22:36

High stakes testing has been embedded in our national system of education funding since No Child Left Behind (NCLB) became law. The law, pushed by then President George W. Bush and his family friends at McGraw-Hill Publishing, was promoted by citing the “Texas Miracle” in the Houston schools. It turns out that the exemplar of testing achievement that helped sell this nation NCLB was fabricated,

“In the late 1990’s, Texas claimed dramatic increases in test scores and high school graduation rates. The jump was so high that observers nationwide were calling it the “Texas Miracle,” a phenomenon that led Rod Paige, Houston’s superintendent of education at the time onto the national stage. He later served as Bush’s secretary of education. By 2004, the “Texas Miracle” was found to be a total sham. Teachers and administrators were fudging data.” (Link)

So, the high stakes testing regimen faced by schools all over this nation was based on a lie, and that lie has produced millions in sales for CTB/McGraw-Hill, makers of testing materials and Friends to President Bush. That was only the start of the lies used to sell No Child Left Behind and other high stakes testing models. These lies are also used to sell private, charter, and other corporate school models while attacking teachers and their unions.

More on the faked Texas “miracle”.

High Stakes Lying in D.C. and Baltimore

Now, educational testing celebrity Michelle Rhee has been discredited for lying about her teaching prowess. Rhee, along with the Rhode Island Central Falls School district superintendent Catherine Gallo who fired ALL the teachers in the district, has became the champion of teacher firing by letting go at least 600 teachers based on testing data.

Moreover, Rhee didn’t even bother to interview the teachers, observe them in the classroom or give any type of evaluation. Rhee fired teachers based on limited information, a lie of omission. Fortunately, seventy-five of the fired teachers will now be reinstated.

Rhee also falsely claimed that she was instrumental in raising test scores from the 13th percentile (from the bottom) to the 90th percentile (near the top) while teaching in Baltimore for three years. (Link) Critics point out that this is nearly statistically impossible and on further investigation, have caught Rhee in a lie. However, her followers still support her methods, discredited as they are.These fabrications are used to prove that testing and “accountability”, which amounts to firing teachers, works.

Washington, D.C. Erasuregate
Washington, D.C. schools recorded a vast improvement on test scores over the time Rhee was school chancellor from 2007 to 2010. During her tenure, she gave 10 schools special recognition for improvement. One improved school was Crosby S. Noyes.

“In 2006, only 10% of Noyes’ students scored “proficient” or “advanced” in math on the standardized tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Two years later, 58% achieved that level. The school showed similar gains in reading.” (Link)

However, as many suspicious of this grand achievement point out, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Eight out of the ten campuses that were rewarded for achievement were also schools that recorded an abnormally high incorrect to correct erasures.

Among the 96 schools that were then flagged for wrong-to-right erasures were eight of the 10 campuses where Rhee handed out so-called TEAM awards “to recognize, reward and retain high-performing educators and support staff,” as the district’s website says. Noyes was one of these. (Link)

Rhee claims that the erasure critique is based on one school. Yes, the study focused on one school, but as previously noted, the high erasure rates from incorrect to correct were found at 96 schools, not just at the one school focused on in the study. And the study looked at over 100 schools that had suspect erasure percentages.

The high stakes testing game leads to lying,

Union officials say the pressure for high test scores may have tempted educators to cheat…”

“This is like an education Ponzi scam,” says Nathan Saunders, head of the Washington Teachers’ Union. “If your test scores improve, you make more money. If not, you get fired. That’s incredibly dangerous.””  (Link)

And, it can lead whole states to lie about scores.

States Lie about Scores

Let’s start with the smoking gun of testing lies, former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen,

“”…former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, who admitted that he “lied” about test scores on statewide education tests, deliberately inflating them to get Race To The Top funding. As further revealed by CNN, almost all of those states that submitted statewide test scores had “lied” about the results to look better in competing for Race To The Top funds.”  (Link)

Yet, the White House keeps touting Race to the Top.

When interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on CNN, Governor Bredesen admitted to the lie,

L O’BRIEN (voice-over): Maybe not a misperception. After this revelation from Tennessee’s former Governor Phil Bredesen.

(On camera): Were you lying to parents about —


O’BRIEN: Out and outlying to parents about how well their kids were doing?

BREDESEN: In one case in eighth grade math we were telling 83 or 84 percent of the kids that they were proficient when they took the national test.

O’BRIEN: What was the real number?

BREDESEN: 22 percent.


Another thing to note is that while Race to the Top supposedly promotes “accountability”, it also requires states to commit to more charter schools, schools that aren’t accountable to city and state standards in the same way a public schools are.

New York

Not to be outdone, New York Has it’s own testing scandal,

The latest example of how test results can be doctored is the New York state testing scandal, which broke open this week. The pass rates on the state tests had soared year after year, to the point where they became ridiculous to all but the credulous The whole house of cards came crashing down this week after the state raised the proficiency bar from the low point to which it had sunk. In 2009, 86.4% of the state’s students were “proficient” in math, but the number in 2010 plummeted to 61%. In 2009, 77.4% were “proficient” in reading, but now it is only 53.2%…  (Link)

In order to meet the enforced proficiency standards set by NCLB, schools lowered the bar on standards to a level where the target percentage of students would be proficient. So not only do the test encourage lying, but they encourage a lowering of standards.

Waiting for Stupid, Man

In the movie Waiting for Superman, charter schools based on the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) model are touted as out performing public schools. However, this model leaves children behind and thus their stats are gamed,

Taxpayer-funded KIPP schools, praised in the film “Waiting for Superman,” succeed in sending poor graduates to college because the lowest-performing students drop out or don’t enroll at all, a study found.

KIPP academies have higher attrition rates than traditional public schools and enroll fewer students with disabilities and limited English skills, according to the study released today by Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York. KIPP oversees a network of 99 charter schools, publicly funded institutions operated by outside organizations, and enrolls more than 27,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia. (Link)

So, in order to perform well, they slough off or reject the lower performing children. All schools would perform better if they could just get rid of the castoffs. Instead of spending money helping the top students, why not work to make all schools better for all students?

Cities are also Manipulating the School Data (lying)

Obama’s Phony Memphis Miracle

Booker T. Washington school in Memphis, TN won praise from the President for raising graduation rates in 2010. This miracle was achieved by dramatically lowering school enrollment and not counting students who dropped out the year before.

Then the ‘miracle’ year of 2010, the ‘cohort dropout’ was back to 24.3% which, though lower than it had been in the previous two years was still slightly higher than it had been in 2007. But when you look at the ‘graduation rate’ for 2010 you get the often quoted, and the reason for the special guest speaker, 81.6%.

The question is, how could a school with a 24% dropout rate and a 55% graduation rate have an 85% graduation rate three years later? The answer is attrition of failing students.

The school enrollment was 760 in 2007, 732 in 2008, 649 in 2009, and then in the ‘miracle’ year 2010, down to 566. So the school had lost nearly 25% of its students in that time period, which is also the exact percent that the graduation rate climbed by.

It is this kind of misleading data that is being used to give bonuses and close schools and fire teachers. It is no wonder schools are dropping the non-performing students and manipulating their testing data.

If you get rid of those in danger of dropping out, you end up with a lower drop out rate and higher graduation rate. High stakes testing leads to lying and does nothing to improve the schools that they are targeting.

Corporate Education Supporters Get the Help of Lying Statistics

A data entry clerk in the Seattle schools entered a curiously low number of high schools graduates going on to college, 17 percent.

 Turns out the true number is much higher — 46 percent. Not ideal either, but a far cry from 17… The damningly low 17 percent number was publicized and repeated by SPS these past two years and used to justify Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan,” and the onslaught of controversial (and unwanted) ed reforms she has since imposed on the district…

That number coincided with the announcement of Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan” that called for more charter schools and increased testing. Her plan was deemed too expensive, and the Superintendent has subsequently been fired. Again, a local school district, as they did in D.C., recognized bad leadership and fired the head of the schools. Perhaps this is why people in favor of high states testing love the top down federal government approach.

States are starting to Reject High Stakes Testing

Montana rejects high stakes testing entirely.

Moreover, newly reelected Governor California Jerry Brown has suspended the California high stakes testing model and is calling for more local control. In this, he sounds very much like a traditional, non Tea Party, Republican. https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/4130/

Actions and Links

Join the Bartleby project and reject high stakes testing.

Arnie Duncie, Secretary of Education, promotes more Race to the Top competition grants and U.S. Secretary of Health and Humans Services blames the children. I don’t this is an improvement from blaming teachers.

Fake Harlem Miracle

Rhee lied

Evidence of the Student’s First President’s lies:

Rhee ignore the reality of neighborhoods in DC

Teachers take a stand against Florida’s testing grading and bonuses by returning money

DC lies about advancements

Rhee defends Erasures

The Hoxby hoax and the false data supporting charter schools

Same kids, same lies

Visit your local school board today and ask them to stop the testing madness.

Tex Shelters