Dee Finney's blog
start date July 20, 2011
Today's date is Aug. 6, 2011
TOPIC IF THE DAY: MY ANGER
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.
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
down by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"Governor Rick Perry is holding a political Prayer meeting in Texas. A
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
getting a pre-approved by my insurance company to get a $25 vaccine
for Shingles. What?
Standard testing cheating
They Learning?” (editorial, July 17):
Focusing solely on punishing the Atlanta school employees who wrongly
answers ignores more fundamental problems.
The Georgia investigators found that a primary cause of cheating was
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
Misusing standardized exams as the primary factor to make educational
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
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
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
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
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
AARON M. PALLAS
New York, July 17, 2011
The writer is a professor of sociology and education at Teachers
College, Columbia University.
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
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
Published: 08/04/2011 09:07:35