Responding to Kirby Urner's post dt. Mar 12, 2013 11:56 AM (original post appears below my signature for ready reference):
I find it quite astonishing, really, that this kind of thing can happen - the entire way the 'teacher recertification' has been designed, planned and carried out. I had not responded earlier because I found it difficult to believe that such things could actually be in the USA - and that you had not figured out practical means to overcome them.
Three immediate points arise: +++ 1. Two prime groups of stakeholders (parents and students) had no say at all in any of the sub-systems designed for 'teacher certification! Nor, apparently, did the teachers, another prime group!! How come? Surely this points to some pretty hairy skull-duggery? How come THAT was not ended right at the start?
2. The teachers are treated like hard core criminals - and neither the teachers nor the parents have as yet seen fit to raise their voice against this! i) Teachers are subject to body searches at the testing site; ii) They are warned that questioning the testing procedures is likely to adversely affect their scores
How come the test has not yet been thrown out? How come its local promoters and the UK-based company that apparently 'owns it' have not been jailed ?
3. How come the citizens of Oregon primarily affected by this evidently failing system have not yet understood it is failing? +++ Plenty else in Kirby's story strikes me as being patently WRONG (from ground up). I observe NONE of this would ever happen if the stakeholders in the education system, namely:
- -- students; - -- teachers; - -- parents; - -- administrators, politicians, others had an effective hand in designing the education system (including the testing procedures for 'teacher certification'). Check out the attachments to my message heading the thread "Democracy: how to achieve it?" - http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2419536 - for information about simple practical tools that can help you ensure such issues do not ever arise in the systems you need of various kinds, including: 'education systems'; 'teacher certification systems'; etc.
I suspect the issue goes a bit deeper here: it's the whole 'system of democracy' that is not adequately understood there: while the needed tools for effective problem solving are described in the attachments to the message, the message itself discusses this 'mysterious' thing we call democracy and how most nations have failed to achieve it.
I do agree that teachers should be tested for 'effectiveness in teaching students'. It seems clear that this is NOT being achieved at all in the parts of the Oregon education systems described by Kirby. How come the parents in Oregon have not realised it? Strikes me there is a great deal that is VERY wrong with Oregon's education systems.
Yes - if the story correctly describes the education system in Oregon, there IS indeed an 'Education Mafia': only thing, this Mafia is NOT quite what Haim had always been claiming it was! See my questions under Item 2 above, and now allow me to suggest that Haim's slogan: "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" should be taken up as a rallying cry (with appropriate modification in who it is aimed at).
Kirby Urner posted Mar 12, 2013 11:56 AM: > Here's an interesting true story regarding teacher > training and criteria. > > Parent activist: we had this teacher in our Japanese > immersion > program, a native Japanese, whom the parents and > students likewise > adored. Her students were actually doing better in > math than those > with other teachers. Her students were motivated. > Given this was an > elementary school teacher, she taught all subjects. > She had done so > successfully for three years. Successfully as judged > by student and > parent satisfaction, student test results. > > This parent is not me. He's a smart guy for sure, > has worked for > government labs (Sandia), knows psychometrics / > statistics, respected > as a coach at Nike most recently (Nike has a > reputation for > appreciating smarts, Intel too, both local > employers). He adores his > kids. His wife is a PhD chemist and member of a > native American > tribe. The school greatly benefits from this > family's participation > in its community. > > The school, elementary, has a Japanese immersion > program. > > Anyway, there's this recertification test teachers > need to take every > so often, or maybe that's a new policy. In any case, > it turns out in > Oregon the teachers get herded through a testing > experience that > Oregon bureaucrats have seen fit to outsource to a > UK-based firm. No > other private companies are allowed to compete for at > least five > years, says the contract. Teachers submit to body > searching at the > testing site and are warned that questioning > procedures is likely to > adversely affect their scores. They're forced to pay > for the > privilege, to keep a license in Oregon. > > The parent activist solicited State offices for > records of any > complaints against the private testing czar that > Oregon has apparently > sold out to. He was charged money but given some > records. This > company has an iron fist in other states as well > apparently, or at > least there've been lawsuits. There was one for > bias, stating the > test was culturally biased, and the company lost on > that one. Do > Oregonian legislators know anything of this? Public > schools are > firing teachers based on a test that other states > have found to be > deeply flawed? > > Here we have a Japanese person who maybe doesn't know > the fifth US > president. She can Google it up, as she can any > number of trivial > facts. But when it comes to a closed testing > environment with no > Google, it turns out she doesn't have sufficient > recall of the kinds > of trivia one needs to please this UK company. The > low score goes > back to the State and the State, in its infinite > wisdom, applies its > automatic cut offs, its low pass filters. The > bureaucrats assume > Americans will take this meekly and mildly, usually a > safe assumption > in this land of the cowed, obsequious and afraid. > > These parents, now missing a teacher, are curious > though. About 75 of > them. How can a whole school of people be over-ruled > by some foul > bureaucrats in bed with some UK private empire? Why > is the faculty > makeup of this public / community school being > determined by people > who write SAT tests or whatever? Who needs them? > What business is it > of theirs? > > I'm taking the parents' side. I find it scandalous > that Oregon is in > the grip of such incompetent bureaucrats and their > paymasters. Any > test is bound to have its exceptions and people get > paid at some level > to exercise judgment. Applying rules in a mindless > exceptionless > manner is NOT intelligent, though it's what judges > have been forced to > do with "three strikes" etc. The rule-minded want to > run the world > mindlessly, according to spreadsheets and their > formulae. They don't > want to have to really *think*. They are anti > thinking. And they're > trying to control the public schools. > > This would be Haim's "education mafia" I'm pretty > sure. Lots of big > private capitalist companies are benefiting though. > I never > understood why he thought this EM was "socialist". > Is the Mafia > socialist? Well, in looking out for family interests > maybe. It's far > from obvious though. > > Kirby