Monday, March 21, 2011

Perdue wants new way to hold schools accountable

In the Friday rush I somehow missed Gov. Bev Perdue's announcement that she wouldn't sign House Bill 48, to eliminate public school testing, but she said she wouldn't veto it, either.  She's obviously trying to avoid an excessive number of confrontations with the Republican-dominated General Assembly, after vetoing two bills (including one that she first said she would not sign but wouldn't veto, either, before she did). Perdue said she would urge the legislature to work with the State Board of Education to create a new way to hold schools accountable for their performance.

 Wake Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who oversees the ongoing improvement that is supposed to come under the N.C. Supreme Court's decision in the Leandro case requiring that every child have the opportunity for a sound education, is also troubled about the legislature's decision to end end-of-course testing. As noted in an earlier blogpost, Manning says that testing is constitutionally mandated because it's a critical part of assessing where the troubled schools are and figuring out whether they are making progress. A few weeks ago I spoke with Manning briefly asking him what he was going to do. At the time, he was planning to sit back and think about his options.  He may be thinking harder now.

Here's Perdue's statement.

"Personally, I believe the tests now used in school systems are due for change. I've talked to many teachers, and heard from education leaders across the state. It's clear that current testing does not accomplish our shared goal of excellent teachers in every classroom and the best schools for our children in every community.
"But let me be very clear: I do not support simply eliminating testing. This state must have some process in place for identifying areas in need of improvement.

"For those reasons, I will not sign this bill, nor will I veto it. Instead, I urge the General Assembly to work aggressively and deliberately with the State Board of Education to develop a new method of holding schools accountable to the people. This is the only way to ensure we meet the state's Constitutional obligation of a sound, basic education for our children."


therestofthestory said...

Apparently Gov Bev has not seen what the SBOE sent out, shown at last BOE meeting about evaluating criteria for teachers.

Anyway, I lost faith in Judge Manning since he sat back and let TFA's and other types displace experienced teachers who simply had different opinions from the principals becuase they had classroom experience and the principla did not.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the UNC System cannot afford to clean its classrooms but can spend hundreds of millions on basketball.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious, the state sees fit to let go of the multiple choice tests but Gorman wants a test for EVERY class, even culinary arts and chorus!!!! WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY.

Anonymous said...

How will they get excellent teachers in the classroom with wage freezes and now wage cuts? How about hold the student accountable and not the schools? We need to quit promoting kids who can't read.

Cap Lee said...

Of course schools should be held accountable. The problem is that artificial testing did not accomplish that goal for many reasons. First they forced teachers to abandon their professions and teach to the test. Education is about learning, success on the test is about winning, getting the highest score in any way possible.

Rather than spend my time talking about what has and always will fail, it is time to develop, in the words of historian James Anderson, "a system and philosophy of education which really does respect the intelligence and abilities of ordinary people."

We know there are many ways to assess a school. Graduation rates, attendance etc. But on the academic level in order to fairly assess schools there must be a level playing field.

The best way to do that is to determine how many INDIVIDUAL students made progress during the school year. Due to its artificial nature the test is not a valid tool for this objective.

In a proficiency based school, a good indicater of success is the progress students individually make in achieving proficiencies. Not those spewed out by the test but demonstrations of learning. This way all students will show what they really learn and their true individual progress. If a student learns slower, for whatever reason, that students progress is compared with that students average yearly progress. The same if a student moves faster.

I realize this is too much for a small response to an article. If you are interested in the complete design of a new way of schooling, google my book, Saving Students From A Shattered System. For the first time in the history of this country, those who follow our lead will have a school designed for all students. Imagine that! A school for kids!

Cap Lee