Location: Texas, United States

I am a teacher with 33 years experience in public education. The purpose of this web log is to critically examine the present state of education in our great country and, particularly, in Texas.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Looking around in the ed news

Now here's an idea. In a story found in the Dallas morning news Plano Independent School District seems to be having some success with AP Spanish. The idea is to encourage Hispanic students to enroll in AP Spanish as a way to get them into the AP frame of mind. The students find that they are able to do difficult work. Because of their success they may move on to difficult work in other areas. This looks like a good way to help Hispanic kids who are struggling. So often, these kids get shuffled into the less absorbing classes with the Mr. or Ms. TweedleDee at many schools. Check it out at this link.

Well, the Texas legislature is in session so that means that there is going to be a cat fight over merit pay for teachers along with the usual fight over school financing. The governor remarked "Excellence should not be rewarded the same as mediocrity, otherwise mediocrity becomes it's own incentive" in his State of the State message. This remarkable proposal would, of course, be tied to the scores on the state test lovingly referred to as the TAKS. An assumption that needs to be considered in developing merit pay plans is the idea of a level playing field. Considering schools that I am familiar with this presents a bit of a problem. It's kind of like comparing groups of runners who are made to run on a course that is absolutely flat and a course with a 20% grade. I taught students who were in Pre-AP science. These kids typically finished the TAKS test by 9:30 in the morning when it started at 8:00. But, my teaching buddy down the hall taught everyone who walked through the door. Given that my kids were scoring in the 97th to 98th percentiles versus hers that scored all over the spectrum, one must ask how the difference in raw material going to be handled? My kids may have been scoring that high because of me (chance that pigs will fly tomorrow) or because they came to me with brains full of information (chance that if you jump off your house you will fall). My buddy down the hall often had kids make major gains in their percentile rank while they still lagged in the overall comparison. It is easier to go from 60% to 70% than it is to go from 98% to 99%. She was more than likely doing extraordinary things with her kids. I hope I was also, but who knows? Hmmm. You can see the article here.

This particular kid might be the next CEO of Microsoft...unless he wears an orange jumpsuit. In the old days he would have stolen the answer key off the teachers desk and if he got caught he would have gotten popped. Well times they are a-changing. Now, you use a keystroke recorder and go the your local school districts kiddie prison. Student could be jailed on cheating allegation...

The Education Wonks tell an interesting tale of censorship here

We find support for my view that the Smithsonian Institution is biased at Edwatch. Check it out here

Chris Correa has an excellent post that outlines how researchers look at teacher thinking.

The Blackboard Jungle tells a horrifying story about why teachers most likely need combat pay, not merit pay. This teacher to me is a true hero



Blogger Lectrice said...

Gosh. Thanks.

"It is easier to go from 60% to 70% than it is to go from 98% to 99%." Very interesting point. I think I might raise that with my final year students, tomorrow.

5:36 AM  

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