Friday, April 25, 2008

Facts from WEA and
.....Facts with Opinions from C.R. Hoff

Charlie Hoff reports:

According to "The Advocate", the local WEA publication the following are "facts".

Italics are mine

1. Terry Bergeson promised that the WASL would not increase drop-out rates.

15% of the class of 2008 are not reported in the WASL pass rates

The class of 2008 has 17,000, out of about 68,000 (my estimate), students than the same count as 9th graders. Let's see 17/68 comes out to 25% in traditional math. By discovery math the answer might be something else.

The latest OSPI report shows that 45% of Native American students were not scheduled to graduate as were 41% of special ed students, 40% of Latinos, 39% of African-Americans and 35% of low-income students.

By any conventional "standards" is this a surprise? We knew this before the WASL and yet we are "shocked!" Is it any wonder that we are dead last in college completion?

2. As recently as 2006, when the WASL was still a graduation requirement, TB promised the Legislature and the public that there would be a student "motivational bump" which would increase the passing rates for the graduation WASL. She predicted the 42% pass rate of 2005 would increase to 94% for the class of 2008. As of last year, only 61.7% of the class of 2008 had passed the WASL and that percentage was stacked to include only the students that were scheduled to graduate on time and who had taken all three tests.

Why would anyone think this if the test were not required to graduate? As long as we run "consequence free" education we will have a group of kids that understand that these are idle threats. Remember this is supposed to be an 8th grade content test!

3. On the 4th and 7th grade WASL tests, less than 30% of Native Americans, Hispanic, and Afro-Americans pass the reading writing and math WASL in 2007.

And what are we doing to change this? Demanding parent involvement and concern? Nope! The message remains, "this too will pass" and "I will pass also".

4. The cost of the WASL is projected to increase by $ 41.7 M next year.

Could this be because the educational community designed an esoteric test that is very costly to administer instead of buying off the shelf one of the long ago standards of NY, VA, NC or any Canadian Province? Of course if you did this you would be "compared" to these places!

5. Overall, the WASL has cost at least $ 850M since its inception.

Way off on this figure. HB 1208 included a vast sum of money for "Student Learning Improvement Grants" (SLIG) that was distributed to every school in the state to allow schools to "get ready" for this testing. No results of this expenditure have been published.

6. The WASL has decreased the amount of time spent in schools teaching art, health and fitness, social studies, world languages, and career and technical classes.

True! However could this be true because the students do not have the necessary skills in the basics to even begin to comprehend most of the above subjects? It would seem to me that those that cannot do the three basics at the level called for have little hope for doing anything meaningful in other subjects such as social studies, world languages, and career and technical. Again the principle reason for this is the lack of engagement with the parents of these kids.

7. The WASL and the accompanying regulatory implementation decisions made by TB have created an intolerable workload for teachers, and have taken critical time and resources away from our primary task--bringing all students up to the state standards.

Wait a minute! If we have lost all of the time suggested in 6 for this and we still are unable to get kids to "standard" what will it take? I would suggest that it would take parent involvement and predictable consequences for students, parents, and teachers.

Due to these, and other impacts of the WASL brought on by TB's leadership many local associations throughout the state will be deciding their response.

I do believe that many members of this organization were responsible for the content of the WASL!

Possibilities of local response might be"

A vote of no confidence in TB

A call for TB to tell the truth to the public and legislators about the WASL performance results and total WASL costs.

She might also want to remind them that HB 1209 called for both Parent and Student responsibilities and that there is no evidence of this to date.

Affirming a statement that TB's lack of credibility makes her an ineffective spokesperson for Washington's students and public schools.

Well, if she said the truth we would all be very "shocked" to learn of our failures. Teachers, Parents, Students, School Boards, Superintendents are all here. She, alone, cannot do this.

Supporting a change in leadership in OSPI.

It this is more than rearranging the deck chairs so be it. What we need, I think, is to look this problem straight in the eye and determine rather quickly what each party's duties are and insist upon there efforts. One party cannot solve this problem when the other two are indifferent at best.

Many locals are working with their Executive Boards and Reps to craft their own response to TB.

Charlie Hoff, LOBT

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Try Billions.........

Seriously. Billions have been spent on reform math already. Every teacher has had workshops. Every parent has paid for tutoring, workbooks, etc... Every district has spent millions on reform curriculum - there are 296 districts in the state of WA alone. The total cost of the WASL. The overhead costs at OSPI that drive reform math. District level overhead costs. Not to mention the fact that this same senario has proven futile all over the country numerous times already.

Teachers have been saying there was a problem with TB for years. Will the public ever listen?

Billions........ And we are dead last in college completion.