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They're useful, but note the agendas that shape the rankings.
The worst part about all these assessments is that we do not want help in getting better. We either want to be told we are doing great or we want to explain away a poor score. For example, in the latest state math testing we were told 31% failed. Instead of figuring out how to help 31% pass this test or to look at what is behind 31% failing, we cry that the test is too hard or that the test is inaccurate. We have become such a society where we would rather have an excuse instead of acknowledge we actually need to get better. The shame should be on us for ill preparing our children because we are scared to ever tell them they might have failed or they just do not yet measure up. If we are going to continue to water down not only education but our expectations as well, hen we need to also accept the average uninspiring society we are intentionally creating.
Residents would do well to look at the MMR ratings for their schools as determined by MDE. How is your school doing on closing the achievement gaps? How is your school doing on high school graduation rates? How is your school doing on seeing to it that students achieve at higher than expected rates? How are "at risk" students doing in your school? Ask your School Board what your school is doing to work on these four areas? As for a state rating Minnesota schools are mixed as I read the numbers. Our top achievers are doing well on SAT and ACT scores. But, we are 50th in closing the achievement gap and this is a serious problem. What's interesting to me is that we are 7+ years in this boat and we have made very little progress. And, as I visit schools I mostly see an attitude of "what can we do?" Too bad there's not better leadership at both district, school, and teacher leadership levels to inspire change that could make a difference in the future of the state for ALL students.
jchillman12: Thanks for telling it as it is.
bluedevil101Jan. 13, 13 5:49 PM
Residents would do well to look at the MMR ratings for their schools as determined by MDE. How is your school doing on closing the achievement gaps? How is your school doing on high school graduation rates? How is your school doing on seeing to it that students achieve at higher than expected rates? How are "at risk" students doing in your school? --------------------- These are four FANTASTIC questions you've posed. I'd like to add another: How is your school doing with incoming transfer students from other systems? The school where I work spends massive amounts of time, energy, and resources trying to help the students you've described, and we find the vast majority (80-90% or so) of the ones who struggle with these criteria come from other places, . We've found that we do a fantastic job educating our students. They start with us, stay with us, and they thrive with us. The data backs this up. Where we struggle greatly is dealing with problems generated elsewhere - other schools, other districts, other states. We DON'T do a very good job fixing the problems created elsewhere, and this is where we absolutely MUST get better. It's difficult, because it breaks my heart to pull resources and attention away from students and families who have done all the right things all along, but that is clearly what society - and you - feel we should do.
Dayton vetoed a bill that would have had teachers retained because of their teaching abilities rather than their seniority, thus keeping the best teachers for our kids. That makes sense. His real priority is keeping the unions happy, so that they will continue to give money and organizational strength to the Dems. Dayton puts politics over our kids' chances of achievement. That is no surprise. If only more voters would realize that.
Thoughtful editorial. We need to focus on things like expanding high quality early childhood ed for all low income and limited English speaking kids, allow teachers from other states to come here without spending thousands of dollars taking sometimes questionable courses at colleges of ed, and learn from outstanding schools - both district & charter. There's too much denial in Mn - schools can't solve all the problems but they can do much better.
that's quite an editorial coming from a newspaper that treats - UNQUALIFIED! - reports from the right wing National Council on Teacher Quality as gospel. Your credibility is out the door already. But we already knew that - as you tacitly acknowledge - consider the source!
BTW - SF gives an automatic D to any state that still has defined-benefit pensions for teachers.
Loved the phrase "average uninspiring society we are intentionally creating." Some people may not understand it, so I will translate it for them now: "the dumbing down of America." Schools have become the scapegoats for our failing society. It's as simple as that. I would offer you a solution to it, but some would pound on me for saying that some parents are failing. So I guess there is no solution; or there is no problem and life and schools go right on as always. Call me when you get serious about starting over. Reforms have been going on for the last 30 years now with programs like mastery learning and OBE, and the profiles of learning and now high stakes testing. I wonder what politically motivated gimmick will be next? Like I said, call me when you get serious.
PS... As long as I am translating for everybody, here is what was said about Rhee...."Michelle Rhee, a hard-charging, controversial reformer." If you would like the real characterization of her, you can probably sum it all up in the phrase, "high paid lobbyist."
(from the article): "So what are Minnesotans to make of these and other education ranking reports? How can the public use such wide-ranging grades to assess how state schools are doing?" ---- Simple. Measure the amount of time before one group blames another. The faster the blame shift, the more likely the data is accurate. Its the parents fault, the teachers fault, the admins fault, the unions fault, the governors fault, the test designers fault, the counselors fault, the lack of even more tax money fault, the burned-out teachers fault... And, around and around it goes completely similar to how children blame someone or something else for their own irresponsible actions. A completely SIMPLE and LOGICAL change on seniority could not even be accomplished. It proved that the kids' best interests are truly NOT #1 as all teachers claim.
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