Dee Finney's blog

start date  July 20, 2011

Today's date is Aug. 6, 2011



I don't watch the news every day - I usuallyu listen  to internet radio news -  it all makes

me angry. But today, I watched CNN and everything they showed made me angry.

What in particular:

Standardized testing of children in public schools.  Governm ent money goes to the best

 testing schools, The poorest testing schools get nothing.  Wolldnt you expect the poorest

 testing schools to need the most help?????

SOMALLIA DROUGHT -  30,000 children have starved to death already.  There are

camps set upu to help those people.  The Muslim war lords shoot at people and wouldn

't allow other countries to help.  Worse yet, the mothers who are heading to the camps

 for help are leaving their babies alongside the road and in the bushes along the way

 because they can't take them all the way to the camps.

31 of our highest trained military were killed in a helicopter crash, after being shot

down by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"Governor Rick Perry is holding a political Prayer meeting in Texas.  A stadium

that holds 70,000 people has about 7,000 people at this prayer meeting.

Standard and Poors hs downgraded the United States credit rating because the

government looksk unstable looking forward.

Besides alll that, my doctor's office sent me a bill expecting me to pay a $75 co-pay for

 getting a pre-approved by my insurance company to get a $25 vaccine for Shingles. What?


Standard testing cheating

Are They Learning?” (editorial, July 17):

Focusing solely on punishing the Atlanta school employees who wrongly changed test

answers ignores more fundamental problems.

The Georgia investigators found that a primary cause of cheating was “unreasonable”

 score targets coupled with “unreasonable pressure on teachers and principals.” They

concluded that “meeting ‘targets’ by whatever means necessary became more important

 than true academic progress.”

Misusing standardized exams as the primary factor to make educational decisions

encourages score manipulation. Campbell’s Law predicted this result decades ago.

It states, “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making,

 the more subject it will be to corruption pressures, and the more apt it will be to distort

and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

That is precisely what happened in Atlanta. The nation’s students, schools and taxpayers

deserve assessment systems that promote ethical behavior, better teaching and stronger

learning outcomes.


Executive Director, FairTest

Jamaica Plain, Mass., July 18, 2011

To the Editor:

Put people in high-pressured, competitive situations, and hedge-fund managers are going to practice insider trading, athletes are going to use performance-enhancing drugs, and school superintendents, principals and teachers are going to manipulate the test scores of their students. With prestige, income and job retention at stake, who among us would not be tempted to cut corners to succeed?

But one does not have to be a “test hater” to understand that this is exactly the situation in which the No Child Left Behind law, as well as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top program, has placed teachers, and why the Atlanta scandal is just the latest example of a series of fraudulent miracle success stories.

Competitive approaches pitting teacher against teacher, schools or systems or states one against another elicit exactly this type of cheating, which is antithetical to authentic educational reform.

There exist models of educational excellence in other nations and in our own based on cooperation and support among educators, where tests and other forms of assessment are used by teachers to develop strategies that enhance children’s learning, not to reward or punish teacher

Noting the disaster the competitive model has produced, why don’t we substitute a model of education where teachers, principals, colleges and universities work together to provide every child an education that is stimulating and productive, and that leads to a life that seeks out continued learning?


Chautauqua, N.Y., July 17, 2011

The writer is professor emeritus of education at Queens College.

To the Editor:

Your response to the Atlanta school-cheating scandal — “It’s the cheats who need to go, not the tests” — reflects a fundamental misreading of what happened.

Rather than focusing on the people who violated professional standards, we should recognize this as an example of organizational misconduct.

In any organization in which members are pressed to reach goals that cannot be attained through legitimate means, cheating and other forms of misconduct are likely to occur. That’s the real threat of high-stakes testing.

New York, July 17, 2011

The writer is a professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

THE TEACHERS WHO CHEAT / Some help students during standards test -- or fix answers later -- and California's safeguards may leave more breaches unreported

May 13, 2007|By Nanette Asimov, Todd  Wallack, Chronicle Staff Writers

Teachers have helped students cheat on California's high-stakes achievement tests -- or blundered badly enough to compromise their validity -- in at least 123 public schools since 2004, a Chronicle review of documents shows.

Schools admitted outright cheating in about two-thirds of the cases. And while the number reporting problems represents a small fraction of the state's 9,468 public schools, some experts think the practice of cooking the test results is more widespread.

That's because the California Department of Education relies on schools to come forward voluntarily, and to investigate themselves when a potential problem is flagged.

"The vast majority of educators are ethical and play by the rules. (But) when identification of potential cheating hinges largely on self-reports, it is almost certainly underreported," said Greg Cizek, who teaches testing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the author of "Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It."

Records show that California teachers who unfairly helped students boost scores usually did so during the test. For example:

-- Teachers in East Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Alhambra (Los Angeles County) let students consult world maps or helpful reference sheets as they took their state exams.

-- In Modesto, a teacher let his eighth-graders use calculators on the 2006 math test.

-- Teachers in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, San Jose and elsewhere simply helped students answer the questions.

These are among the known examples of cheating. But California's method of checking for cheaters makes it impossible to know how common the practice is.

Each year, California scans millions of tests in search of unusually high numbers of erased answers changed from wrong to right. The tests were the California Standards Test and the California Achievement Test Sixth Edition, given annually to students in grades two through 11.

Between 2004 and 2006, the scans found suspicious erasures in 459 classrooms at 162 schools.

The school districts were then asked to investigate themselves. In the end, just 28 schools acknowledged a problem.

NOTE FROM DEE :  What Standard Testing is missing is that every child learns in a different way than every other child, and teachers are taught to follow a specific text of informatin and standard tests  Teachers need to teach childrn in the form they learn best from - some learn by reading, children who hate to read, may learn from pictures, or by music or by experience.    You can't use a standardized test for kids to give rote answers when they are so different.  Kids need to be taught how to learn from a very early age, and we are talkikng about BEFORE birth.   mOVEMENT OF A CHILD HAS A LOT TO DO WITH HOW A CHILD LEARNS AS WELL, CRAWLING, SWIMMING, BEING TAUGHT TO USE BOTH SIDES OF BRAIN NEEDS TO BE TAUGHT EARLY ON IN ORDER TO BECOME A GOOD STUDENT.





Famine devastates Somalia: Nearly 4 million at risk of starvation

Nearly four million Somalians are at risk of starvation. The United Nations has <a href="http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-07-21/news/29818545_1_somalia-somali-refugees-rashid-abdi" target="_blank">declared a famine</a> in two regions of Southern Somalia, with nearly half the African nation's population in need of humanitarian aid. Somalia and other East African nations are enduring the worst drought conditions in 60 years, leading to massive crop failures. Somalians now fight for their survival.
Above, a severely malnourished Somali child receives Oral Rehydration Salts.

Nearly four million Somalians are at risk of starvation. The United Nations has declared a famine in two regions of Southern Somalia, with nearly half the African nation's population in need of humanitarian aid. Somalia and other East African nations are enduring the worst drought conditions in 60 years, leading to massive crop failures. Somalians now fight for their survival.

Above, a severely malnourished Somali child receives Oral Rehydration Salts.

Published: 08/04/2011 09:07:35