Parents and Educators Respond to Governor Cuomo

New York State Allies for Public Education wrote a research-based response to a letter written on behalf of Governor Cuomo by his director of state operations Jim Malatras. The letter makes incisive points that are relevant to every state and every district in the nation so I am posting it in full. Please open the post to see the links to research.NYS Allies for Public EducationJanuary 5 2015Dear Governor CuomoWe the undersigned members of NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) are writing in response to the December 18th letter to the Commissioner and Chancellor that Mr. Malatras wrote on your behalf. By responding to the questions posed we want to separate fact from misinformation. We are also very troubled by several questions that were not included in your letter which continues to demonstrate a disconnect between your office and the public.We strongly believe in the importance and power of public education for all children. While the vast majority of our students are successful we cannot rest until our struggling students are supported and given the needed resources to be successful.Unfortunately you have based your vision of school reform on a misguided agenda. That agenda includes ineffective strategies for school improvement. If current policies are not corrected more state resources will be wasted and our students futures will be put at even more risk.Lets start at the beginning of the letter. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has established capricious and inaccurate measures of proficiency and college readiness. The proficiency rates that are quoted in the letter (34.8% and 31.4%) reflect arbitrary cut scores set by Commissioner King in 2013. In 2012 proficiency rates in ELA and Math were 55% and 65% by the cut scores set by then-Commissioner Steiner based on a college readiness study that he commissioned in 2010. Prior to 2010 proficiency rates were higher still under Commissioner Mills. In short proficiency is an arbitrarily defined standard and there is good evidence to suggest that NYSED has now set the Common Core standards unreasonably high for political rather than pedagogical reasons.We understand that you believe that over the past four years much has been done to improve public education. We disagree. Our high school graduation rate has barely budged since 2011 and the percentage of students earning a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation has been stagnant for several years and decreased this year. During the past four years the graduation rate for the states English Language learners has dropped by 6 percentage points.The Common Core proficiency rates were essentially flat between year one and two of the new tests (as were the rates on the final two years of the prior test) and our states SAT scores have decreased since 2010. In short although we have engaged in four years of market-based corporate reformsexpansion of charter schools evaluating teachers by student scores imposing the Common Core standards and more time-consuming and developmentally inappropriate teststhere is no evidence that New York schools are improving and there is some evidence that results are moving backward instead. We believe that there is sufficient evidence to change course.Clearly the public agrees. The 2014 Times Union/Siena College poll indicates that 46% of New Yorkers oppose the implementation of the Common Core standards compared to only 23% who support them while 46% oppose the current use of standardized testing compared to 29% who support it. We believe it is time to listen to your constituents rather than double-down on damaging policies that are hurting our children. It is our intent by answering the questions that your office posed to help you advocate for a better and wiser course in the months ahead.Question 1How is current teacher evaluation system credible when only one percent of teachers are rated ineffective? The NYC system was negotiated by Commissioner King directly and no one claims it is an accurate reflection of the reality of the state of education in NYC. What should the percentages be between classroom observations (i.e. subjective measures) and state assessments including state tests (i.e. objective measures)? What percent should be set in law versus collectively bargained? Currently the scoring bands and curve are set locally for the 60 percent subjective measures. What should the scoring bands be for the subjective measure and should the state set a standard scoring band? In general how would you change the law to construct a rigorous state-of-the-art teacher evaluation system?The first question implies that the teacher evaluation system called Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) which you insisted be quickly adopted is deeply flawed. We strongly agree. When it was put in place over one third of the principals of New York State signed a well-documented letter explaining why APPR would have negative consequences for students and harm the profession of teaching. Since that time the evidence against evaluating teachers by test scores has only increased.The New York State School Boards Association recently passed a resolution against the use of student test scores for teacher and principal evaluations and the National Association of Secondary School Principals has also disavowed their use for this purpose. In April of 2014 the American Statistical Association clearly outlined how unreliable this methodology is. Opposition to the evaluation of teachers by test scores is growing among parents as well with only 31% approving of the practice in national polls.Your question implies that test-score based evaluations are good because they are objectivethat is generated by an algorithm devised by the New York State Education Department. We strongly suggest that you review the evidencejust because a number can be generated based on other numbers does not make it a valid measure of performance. To revise APPR to give more weight to test scores would be a grave mistake.You seem troubled that only 1 in 100 teachers were found to be incompetent according to the APPR evaluation system. Do you have research that indicates that the number should be higher or lower? We strongly suggest that you return the decision on how to evaluate teachers to local education officials and each communitys elected school board. Your recent veto of your own Common Core APPR bill demonstrates that your office does not have a clear understanding of teacher evaluation and the problems associated with Common Core testing. Albany bureaucrats should not be in the business of designing evaluation systems and arbitrarily determining what acceptable outcomes for each district should be.Question 2How would you address the problem of removing poor-performing educators when the current 3020-a process makes it virtually impossible to do so? Likewise how would you change the system in New York City where poor-performing educators with disciplinary problems continue to be paid in the absent teacher reserve pool as opposed to being terminated?No one wants incompetent teachers in the classroom. Tenure assures due process not a job for life. You have been misinformed if you believe that the removal of teachers using the 3020a process is impossible.The 3020a proceeding which was streamlined in 2012 can lead to the termination of a teacher in 125 days or less. Teachers can be terminated for insubordination immoral character conduct unbecoming a teacher inefficiency incompetency physical or mental disability neglect of duty or the failure to maintain certification.Most experts say the real crisis in teacher quality specifically in our high needs districts is teacher turnover. According to a study of New York City schools by researchers Ronfeldt Loeb and Wycoff teacher turnover has a significant and negative impact on student achievement in both math and ELA. Moreover teacher turnover is particularly harmful to the achievement of students in schools with large populations of low-performing students of color.We will not attract and retain the most talented teachers especially in high-needs schools by removing their right to due process.Question 3What changes would you make to the teacher training and certification process to make it more rigorous to ensure we recruit the best and brightest teachers? Do you agree that there should be a one-time competency test for all teachers currently in the system? What should be done to improve teaching education programs across the state?We also want best and the brightest to be recruited to teaching which happens by making the profession more attractive to highly talented people who have a desire to commit their lives to guiding and instructing children.Since 2012 and the onset of reform teacher morale is at a 20 year low. New reports have shown that there has been a dramatic drop in enrollment in teacher preparation programswith a 22% decline in New York State in just the last two years. This suggests that the overwhelmingly negative rhetoric targeted to teachers and the assignment of blame for any and all problems in the way our schools are run have made the profession far less attractive. If the current trends continue there will soon be a critical shortage of teachers especially in STEM special education and foreign languages areas in which it is already very difficult to find sufficient candidates.If you are interested in advancing teacher education programs practicing educators should be surveyed especially recent graduates to ascertain how their preparation could have been improved. The idea that the quality of a teacher education program can be assessed by using the student test scores of its graduates is even more unreliable than evaluating teacher quality by means of student test scores. Likewise creating a single high-stakes test to weed out practicing teachers is a gimmick not a sound basis for judgment.Question 4What financial or other incentives would you provide to high-performing teachers and would you empower administrators to make those decisions?The idea that teachers should be financially rewarded when their students receive high test scores has been proposed for decades despite the fact that numerous studies have shown that merit pay does not work including a recent three year study conducted by the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University.Merit pay would be a waste of taxpayer dollars that would be far better spent on proven reforms.Question 5Do you think the length of a teachers probationary period should be extended and should the state create a program whereby teachers have to be recertified every several years like lawyers and other professions? What other changes would you propose to the probationary period before a teacher is granted tenure?New York State has a rigorous pathway for teacher certification. In order to earn Initial Certification a candidate must be awarded a bachelors degree pass no fewer than three certification exams spend a semester of mentored student teaching with a certified educator pass a written exam and complete the performance based assessment known as the edTPA.In order to maintain teaching certification and progress to the required Professional Certification teachers must have 3 years of satisfactory teaching experience including one year of mentoring. Additionally they must earn a Masters Degree. Once teachers have completed all of these requirements and obtained their Professional Certificate they must accrue 175 hours of additional professional development every five years.A three-year probationary period during which they are frequently observed and given feedback from principals and other certified observers provides ample opportunity for a school district to assess an educators professionalism growth and ability to incorporate best practices into his or her instruction. It is not unusual for that probationary term to be extended to four or even five years if there are doubts that sufficient progress has not been made. During probation many struggling teachers leave the profession through the resignation process so that fewer need to be formally dismissed.Although teachers are not required to undergo recertification they are required to engage in ongoing professional development and yearly evaluations which is comparable or goes beyond the requirements of other high level professions. Local school districts should be encouraged to continue to develop robust programs and protocols to monitor and support both new and veteran teachers.Question 6What steps would you take to dramatically improve priority or struggling schools that condemn generation of kids to poor educations and thus poor life prospects? Specifically what should we do about the deplorable conditions of the education system in Buffalo?The current practice of shutting down schools that are deemed failing is not an effective long-term strategy. Replacement schools usually do not serve the students in the so-called failing school. These displaced students then remain in a phase-out school with fewer resources and drop out or are displaced to another school with an even higher concentration of at-risk students thus continuing the cycle of school failure and closure.Your question is based on the false assumption that schools are solely responsible for the outcomes of poor and disadvantaged students. Neither high-stakes testing the Common Core or the continual closing of schools can fix the systemic problems of our high-needs schools. NY State has one of the most inequitable funding systems in the nation despite the decision of the states highest court in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit that the funding system should be reformed. You have refused to address this inequityschools with the greatest needs continue to receive the least resources and support.As a result class sizes in our highest need districts have grown each year. Lets take Buffalo as an example. In Buffalo many kindergarten classes have grown to 30 students or more compared to a statewide average of twenty students per class. In New York City class sizes have increased sharply since 2007 and last year they were the largest in 15 years in kindergarten through third grades. If you are truly interested in improving outcomes in our highest needs schools these schools must be provided with the resources to reduce class size a proven reform that benefits all students but especially those most at risk.In addition providing resources for health services counseling after school child care and recreational programs to reduce truancy and improve attendance would likely have a positive impact on student learning.Question 7What is your vision for charter schools? As you know in New York City the current charter cap is close to being reached so would you increase the charter school cap? To what? What other reforms would you make to improve charter schools ability to serve all students?The charter cap should not be raised. Many researchers including Macke Raymond head of CREDO a pro-charter research organization funded by the Walton Family Foundation now agree that charter expansion and enhanced competition do not work to improve public schools. Moreover charters do not enroll their fair share of high needs students especially English language learners and special needs students as acknowledged by the NYC Charter Center and independent researchers. According to the 2010 amendment to the New York charter law before charters are renewed or allowed to replicate they must show they enroll and retain equal numbers of at risk students as the districts in which they are located and yet neither the Board of Regents nor SUNY have ever rejected a charter proposal on these grounds despite the fact that many charters have sky high student suspension and attrition rates. Neither SUNY nor the Regents have provided adequate financial oversight and in 95 percent of charter audits the State Comptrollers Office has found corruption or mismanagement. Yet when the Deputy Comptroller wrote a letter to the states major charter-school regulators asking for stronger oversight he received no response.The recent approval by the Regents of a charter school started by a 22 year old who faked his educational background only further reveals the inability of authorizers to carry out their current responsibilities no less authorize yet more charters that could waste taxpayer funds. Meanwhile in New York City where the vast majority of the states charter schools are located about two thirds of these privately-managed schools receive more public funding per pupil than district public schools a disparity that will grow even worse with the new law requiring that charters receive free space paid for by the city or be provided space within the districts already overcrowded public schools. This year NYC charters are siphoning off $1.3 billion in public funds while leading to the concentration of the most at-risk students in public schools with fewer resources and less space. It is no wonder that more NYC voters believe the number of charters should remain the same or decrease than be raised.Question 8Do you support using technology to improve public education like offering online AP courses by college faculty to high schools students who do not have any such courses now even though these changes have been resisted by education special interests?The push towards using more technology in public education is not being resisted by special interests as your letter claims but instead is promoted by special interests including software companies eager to get a larger share of the $8 billion education technology market. There is no rigorous research showing that more exposure to online learning improves student learning or outcomes in K12 schools and many studies suggest that expanding the amount of time students spend in front of computer screens has negative effects.Question 9What would you do about mayoral control in NYC and do you support mayoral control in other municipalities? What changes and improvements would you make to NYC Mayoral control?In general mayoral control is an unproven experiment that has NOT worked to improve NYC schools compared to other large urban districts across the country and should not be expanded across the state. In New York City the mayoral control law should be amended to give more local control to the citys residents by giving the City Council the authority to provide checks and balances since the city lacks an elected school board. Our democratic system of government relies on the separation of powers and an omnipotent executive inevitably leads to abuse and poor decision-making. At the same time the new state charter law should be amended with local control returned to NYC officials to enable them to determine whether or not privately run charter schools should receive space at city taxpayer expense.Question 10There are approximately 700 school districts in New York many of which have declining enrollment. Do you think we should restructure the current system through mergers consolidations or regionalization? If so how would you do it?This question implies that through mergers consolidations and regionalization we can improve education while reducing costs. The research however contradicts that suggestion. Studies show that consolidations and mergers actually increase costs to districts and there is typically no gain in academic achievement. The following summary is from Penn State College of Education:School consolidation continues to be a topic of great concern for many small rural school and districts. While advocates for consolidation commonly cite fiscal imperatives based upon economies of scale opponents have responded with evidence undermining this argument and pointing out the prominent position of the rural school in the economic and social development of community. Additionally evidence continues to build demonstrating the advantages of small schools in attaining higher levels of student achievement. Larger schools in contrast have been shown to increase transportation costs raise dropout rates lower student involvement in extra-curricular activities and harm rural communities sense of place.The consolidation of services is already underway and should be incentivized when it makes sense and benefits students. It is interesting that while you have proposed consolidation for school districts you have also supported charter school expansion each of which are considered a separate local education authority or school district which appears to be a contradiction.Question 11As you know the appointment and selection process of the Board of Regents is unique in that unlike other agencies selections and appointments are made by the Legislature. Would you make changes to the selection and appointment process? If so what are they?We believe the Board of Regents must stay independent of the executive branch and the Governor should not interfere in matters of education policy. The authority should remain with the legislature to intervene when necessary.There is a fair balance of powers in the NYS Constitution Articles V and XI requiring that the Governor and the Senate have the authority to appoint heads of departmental agencies and the joint legislature to elect members of the Board of Regents which in turn appoint the Commissioner of Education.We do believe the nomination of Regent candidates should be a more transparent inclusive process and involve stakeholders from each judicial district including parents educators students and local legislators. For the at-large Regent seats there should be a state-wide committee consisting of parents educators and legislators to nominate candidates after assessing gaps that may exist in the Board of Regents expertise diversity in background and geographical balance.Question 12Chancellor the Board of Regents is about to replace Dr. King; can we design an open and transparent selection process so parents teachers and legislators have a voice?We strongly believe there should be a more rigorous inclusive and transparent process to appoint the next New York State Commissioner of Education as well. While the appointment process is at the discretion of the Board of Regents as per Article V of the NYS Constitution the overwhelming dissatisfaction of New Yorkers with the current policies and the failure of state education officials to listen to parents and teachers has revealed the need for a new Commissioner who is more responsive to stakeholder needs and concerns.Questions That Should Be AskedWe were disappointed by the omission of important questions that should have been asked in your letter. During the past year members of the public especially parents expressed serious opposition to the current education policies during forums that were held across the state. Those concerns however were excluded from your list. Here are three questions which are very much on the minds of parents and that we would like to be asked of state officials:How will the State Education Department review and modify the Common Core standards given the enormous public outcry against the standards and their implementation?In October of 2014 Governor you said that you were working to roll the standards back. You recognized that implementation had been rushed and that there were questions regarding whether the Common Core standards were the best standards for the students of New York State. The public has clearly expressed its dissatisfaction. A plurality of New Yorkers believes that the implementation of the Common Core should be halted entirely. Many other states are now engaging in a thorough analysis of the standards as they make revisions both large and small. New York students deserve the best possible standards. Please join us in urging the State Education Department to provide a date when an open review of the Common Core standards will begin in New York.How will we reduce the time students spend on state standardized testing?Polls consistently report that New York parents do not support the grueling and inappropriate Common Core tests. Time spent on state testing has dramatically ballooned since 2012. Last year between 55000 and 60000 students opted out of the grade 3-8 New York State exams. Make no mistakethis was a deliberate decision on the part of parents to show how displeased they are with the Common Core exams and the way in which these tests have narrowed and diminished the education of their children.Your support for reducing the effects of test scores on students was but a small step in the right direction. Please join us in asking the State Education Department to provide a plan to radically reduce the time spent on state exams rolling it back to 2010 levels as long as yearly testing is mandated. Please also inquire as to when teachers will be allowed to author better assessments so that the state is no longer spending millions of taxpayer dollars to corporations that have consistently produced shoddy products.How will personally identifiable student data be protected?Data privacy of students personally identifiable information is still not protected nor is the privacy legislation that was passed last spring being enforced. While the legislation helped to stop sharing with inBloom it did not address the concerns of parents of the widespread collection and sharing of their childrens personal data that is occurring without their knowledge or consent.Moreover allowing data-mining vendors to access childrens personal data has huge risks including to student privacy and safety. Yet the State Education Department still has not implemented or enforced the new student privacy law passed last spring which requires the appointment of a chief privacy officer who will create a parent bill of rights with public input. As a result numerous districts and schools throughout the state continue to disclose highly sensitive personal student data to vendors without parental knowledge or consent and are ignoring several federal privacy laws including FERPA and COPPA without enforcement or oversight by the state.In summary it is apparent that the punitive education agenda of testing and privatization is not working to improve student achievement and instead is having a deleterious impact on our schools. It is time to change course rather than intensify these policies through requiring more school closings expanding charters and putting even more emphasis on unreliable test scores.What New York badly needs is a new Commissioner with a strong background in public education and a deep understanding of how students learn. He or she should have a healthy respect for local autonomy and the need to work collaboratively with stakeholders. The era of top down bureaucratic and monopolistic control of our schools by state officials must end.We believe that the members of the Board of Regents should be thoughtfully selected with input from the communities that they represent. Most importantly parents and teachers demand appropriate learning standards that allow teachers to focus on learning not testing. With equitable funding thoughtful standards sufficient teacher autonomy local control and community support we know public education will better accomplish what we all wanta brighter future for all students. We also urge you to hold public forums so you can hear directly from parents teachers and other stakeholders how they want their schools improved rather than remain in a bubble up in Albany separated from the constituents whose interests you should be dedicated to serve.SincerelyNYS Allies for Public Education- See more at: http://ift.tt/1FuECdr via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1xVJe5L

After Kevin Huffman stepped down as state commissioner in Tennessee, Governor Haslam selected Candace McQueen as his successor.


The Momma Bears of Trnnessee–the state’s parent activists—here figures out who she is, what she believes, and hopes for the best.


She is a Common Core cheerleader. The Mama Bears say poo to that.


She testified to the state legislature on behalf of Common Core and PARCC. Mama Bears say poo again.


“Finally, the announcement was made that the heir to the throne would be… Dr. Candice McQueen! A woman! A mom! A person who spent 5 years as a real teacher! We knew a little bit already about her from writing a past Momma Bear blog, but we researched her even more. There wasn’t much new to learn. We were disheartened to see that she has been a tireless cheerleader for Common Core. She testified to the TN legislature in support of the Common Core and the high-stakes PARCC test. Pooey. She is serving on the board of SCORE (the organization funded by Bill Gates to support Common Core and reformy stuff). Double pooey. She’s also served on boards that profit from Common Core (like the Ayers Foundation who received a huge chunk of the Race to the Top prize money to develop Common Core videos). Triple pooey. She’s involved with Pearson (a British mega-corporation) through Pearson’s EDTPA program that grants teaching licenses to people who can pass Pearson’s tests. Quadruple pooey. That’s a whole lot of poo, people!”


“On the other hand, her own private school, Lipscomb, was not doing Common Core; Lipscomb’s three private schools have their OWN standards. In fact, there was nearly a parent revolt at Lipscomb when the private school parents thought their little darlings would be doing the same Common Core standards as public school darlings… but Candice wiggled her way out of that one, assuring them there is no way in H-E-double-hockey sticks that Common Core has been adopted at Lipscomb and there are no plans for Common Core ever at Lipscomb, saying, “We make decisions about what’s going to be best within the context of our community. I would say that’s absolutely what we’re going to do now and for the future.” (insert applause from the Momma Bear gallery).”


The Mama Bears also read her doctoral dissertation on parent involvement.


Their conclusion is a home run:


Momma Bears have a whole bunch of questions that nobody will know the answers to for a few years:


Will she be the Governor’s puppet?


Will she still be a champion for the Common Core initiative? Will she defend and strengthen the battered teaching profession? Will she be an advocate for children or for business interests? Will she listen to parents when we tell her the testing is excessive? Will she understand and act wisely upon what she hears? Will she see parents as the enemies as Kevin Huffman did? Will she truly listen?


If we could ask her some literal questions, we’d like to know:


What were McQueen’s TVAAS scores were when she taught? Was she a level 5?


Why didn’t she teach longer? 2 years at one private school + 3 years at a public elementary school don’t seem to be very long at all. That’s not even long enough to gain tenure. Why did she quit so soon?


What happened to the 5th grade student she wrote about in her dissertation who was frustrated to tears over math homework? Would Sue Dugger, the student’s mother, rate McQueen as an excellent or poor teacher?


Does McQueen keep in touch with any of her former public school students? (we’re not talking about the adult students in her grad programs, but want to know about the children she taught because teaching is a lot about building relationships) Did her students feel valued, respected, and did they enjoy learning?


Where do her own children attend school? Is she involved as a parent there? Does she volunteer with the PTO/PTA?


What does parental involvement mean to her? Private schools often have different expectations than public schools.


What would she do if her own child was overwhelmed with testing and/or homework?


Would McQueen support suspending TCAP testing for 2015, or at least make it a no-consequences test since it is not aligned with the standards that are in limbo?


Would McQueen support throwing the secretive TVAAS formula and evaluation system out?


Will McQueen push the Governor for increasing teacher pay in Tennessee as he promised to do years ago?


Will she advocate for smaller class sizes and more support staff in schools?


Will she be a supporter of Art, Music, and sports in every school in TN?


Will she respect a parent’s choice to opt-out of standardized testing for their child?


Will she get rid of all these expensive benchmark assessments and screener tests that are eating up instructional time and recess for our children?

Will she take an honest look at the new RTI2 program mandated in TN? Is it really helping students, or is it helping the testing companies? Is it hurting students with disabilities and special needs?


Will she hire qualified, experienced people within the Tennessee Department of Education, or will she favor young, inexperienced Teach For America yes-man types like Huffman did?


Will she strengthen our locally elected school boards or seek to further revoke their power?


Will she favor charter schools over public schools?


Will she have the guts to close failing or corrupt charter schools, including the online K12 virtual school that is making so much money for its owner and for politicians’ campaigns?


Will she get rid of the ASD and give failing, poor schools the support they desperately need to help their students succeed?


Will she sign a multi-million dollar no-bid contract with Teach For America with our tax dollars?


Goodness, that’s a whole lot of unanswered questions!


and a whole lot of poo!!!


Momma Bears will be watching…
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://dianeravitch.net/2014/12/28/tennessee-mama-bears-review-their-new-state-commussioner/

This is the regular report from Bob Schaeffer of FairTest, which has been promoting test reform for many years.


 


 


Happy Holidays to assessment reformers around the nation from everyone at FairTest, and best wishes for a New Year filled with victories rolling back test misuse and overuse.


 


You can help strengthen the movement for 2015 by making an online contribution at: http:/www.fairtest.org/donate or mailing a check to P.O. Box 300204, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.


 


Thanks for all you do!


 


Delaware Selective School Entrance Exams Under Fire

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/76322-delaware-school-entrance-assessments-face-tough-test


 


Florida State Government Will Investigate School Testing Concerns

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/state-says-it-will-investigate-standardized-tests-in-schools/2211152


 


Atlanta, Georgia Test Cheating Trial May Last Until Spring

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/2014/12/atlanta_trial_week_11.html


 


Maryland Teachers Call for Suspension of Kindergarten Readiness Test

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2014/12/maryland_teachers_union_calls_.html


 


New Jersey Teens’ Testimony Leads Board to Evaluate Testing Requirement

http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2014/12/voorhees_student_opposition_to.html

Parents Cheer 10-Year-Old Student’s Dissection of New Jersey Common Core Test

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/12/16/i-dont-want-to-deal-with-this-nonsense-what-a-10-year-old-girl-had-to-say-about-common-core-left-parents-cheering/

12 Reasons Why New Jersey Activists Oppose PARCC Testing

https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurSchoolsNJ/posts/882113598488468


 


New Mexico Legislation Would Limit Testing Days

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3656903.shtml


 


New York Advocates Blast Gov. Cuomo’s Teacher Testing Scheme

http://poststar.com/blogs/a_time_to_learn/cuomo-poses-teacher-changes-advocates-say-priorities-misplaced/article_1c4d39be-870e-11e4-aa87-8332f9b35724.html


 


Over-Testing Tea Party for North Dakota Students

http://www.grandforksherald.com/opinion-letters/3637256-letter-tea-party-students-tested-enough-already


 


Purpose of Texas Schools Should Not Be Generating More Testing Data

http://www.cagle.com/2014/12/point-of-schools-isnt-more-testing/


 


Utah Grades the Wrong Things in Education

http://www.standard.net/Guest-Commentary/2014/12/20/Grading-the-wrong-things-in-public-education.html

Teacher Defense Association Seeks Reinstatement of Educator Fired for Refusing to Administer Tests

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Utah-Teacher-Defense-Association/733485876728516


 


Common Core Tests Steal Joy Out of Reading

http://www.alternet.org/how-newest-high-stakes-tests-are-stealing-joy-reading-our-kids?akid=12579.32230.NKFXSG&rd=1&src=newsletter1028778&t=11


 


More States Drop Out of PARCC Testing Consortium

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mercedes-schneider/parcc-attrition-from-2011_b_6364458.html


 


Arne Duncan’s World of Denial

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-greene/arne-duncans-denial_b_6336960.html


 


Duncan and Other “Reformers” Should Apologize

http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2014/12/thompson-the-power-of-the-words-im-sorry.html


 


Teachers Cal for 360-Degree Accountability

http://www.livingindialogue.com/teacher-team-offers-new-vision-responsibility/


 


One Public School Teacher’s Open Letter to America

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/an-open-letter-to-america-from-a-public-school-teacher–2


 


Pushing Back Against High-Stakes for Students with Disabilities

http://www.aft.org/ae/winter2014-2015/tanis


 


Bad Assed Teachers Push Sec. Duncan on Test Misuse for Students with Disabilities

http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-badass-teachers-association-open.html


 


Pearson and the Assessment Problem

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-cobb/pearson-and-the-assessmen_b_6343602.html


 


 


 


Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director

FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779

mobile- (239) 699-0468

web- http://www.fairtest.org
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://dianeravitch.net/2014/12/27/fairtest-reports-on-advance-of-test-reform-movement/

The weekly report on testing from Bob Schaeffer of Fairtest:


FairTest provides these weekly summaries of news clips and other resources as a tool to build the national assessment reform movement. We encourage parents, educators, students, administrators, community organizers, researchers and other allies to draw on the positive initiatives described in these links as models for their own local campaigns.


If you have similar materials to share, please send them to us for possible inclusion in future editions.


Some States Rush to Tie Common Core Tests to Graduation


http://ift.tt/1slIP89


California Rethinks How to Report Test Scores


http://ift.tt/1qAogZY


Colorado Legislators Express Bipartisan Skepticism About Testing at Pre-Session Hearing


http://ift.tt/1slIP8a


Connecticut Working to De-emphasize Testing in School Accountability


http://ift.tt/1qAoeBm


Florida School Boards Association Takes a Stand Against Over Testing


http://ift.tt/1yeKbDu


Text of Florida School Boards Resolution


http://ift.tt/1slIQZI


Opposition Grows to Illinois’ Use of PARCC Common Core Test


http://ift.tt/1yOVeam


Louisiana Political Struggle Over PARRC Testing Continues


http://ift.tt/1G90upL


How Massachusetts Teachers Defeated a Test-Based Evaluation Plan


http://ift.tt/1ERxGl8


New Jersey Parents, Teachers Talk About Opting Out of PARCC Test


http://ift.tt/1qAoeRH


Mom Dares New Jersey Gov. Christie to Defend Common Core Exam After Taking It


http://ift.tt/1yLOLxc


Judging New York’s Education Chancellor By Her Own “Standards”


http://ift.tt/1qAohgo


Ohio’s Harmful Obsession with School Testing


http://ift.tt/1z8onxf


PTA in Oklahoma Calls for End to High-Stakes Testing


http://ift.tt/1slIPoy


Oklahoma PTA Resolutions on Testing


http://ift.tt/1qAoeRK


Dallas, Texas, School Board Responds to Parents Call for Less Focus on Testing


http://ift.tt/1zT8A3D


What Might a Republican Rewrite of “No Child Left Behind” Look Like?


http://ift.tt/1qAohgp


Duncan’s Hammer: Test Scores


http://ift.tt/1slIQZM


National Secondary School Principals Group Criticizes Value-Added Measurement


http://ift.tt/1wEvWfN


First Step to Close Test Score Gap: Reduce Poverty and Segregation


http://ift.tt/1slIRg0


To Fix School Problems: Listen to Experienced Education Experts


http://ift.tt/1qAohgs


Standardized Testing a False Solution to Attacking Educational Racism


http://ift.tt/1slIRg3


Beware of Another Standardized Test: This One on Civics


http://ift.tt/1G4XWL3


Corruption and Cheating Increase with Imposition of School “Accountability” Schemes Says Finnish Expert


http://ift.tt/1pYAE5G


The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — forthcoming book available for pre-order now


http://ift.tt/1slIPoH


Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director

FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779

mobile- (239) 699-0468

web- http://www.fairtest.org
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1qAoeBj

This article appears on Breitbart.com, a conservative media outlet. Written by Dr. Susan Berry, a regular contributor to the website, it is critical of Jeb Bush’s support for the Common Core and details his relationships with other groups and funders.


 


With polls showing Republican support for Common Core plummeting, common sense would dictate that Bush call it a day with the nationalized standards, as has been done by other Republicans, such as Maine Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who plans to run for governor of Louisiana next year.

However, as a review of Bush’s history with the education initiative demonstrates, his interest in pushing onto the entire nation the reforms he introduced while governor of Florida – and his methods for doing so – have led his critics to claim he is more about big government crony capitalism than concern for children’s education.

Bush is the founder of several organizations that all play into a reported strategy that involves not only motivating “the people” at large for changes in education, but also using state education officials to administratively make some of those changes happen without the scrutiny or approval of the public.

As the founder and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), a national group which states its ambitious mission is “to build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential,” Bush tapped for CEO Patricia Levesque, his former deputy chief of staff for education, enterprise solutions for government, minority procurement, and business and professional regulation while he was governor.

Chiefs for Change is an affiliate of FEE and describes itself as a “bipartisan coalition of current and former state education chiefs who believe that American public education can be dramatically improved.” Current members of Chiefs for Change include Mark Murphy of Delaware, Tom Luna of Idaho, John White of Louisiana, Hanna Skandera of New Mexico, Janet Barresi of Oklahoma – who was defeated in the state’s primary election this year, Deborah Gist of Rhode Island, and Kevin Huffman of Tennessee, former education commissioner and ex-husband of controversial Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee…..


 


As it happens, some of the Chiefs for Change are also members of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of the two federally funded interstate consortia that are developing tests aligned with the Common Core standards.

“Cronyism and corruption come in all political stripes and colors,” wrote [Michelle] Malkin at Townhall. “As a conservative parent of public charter school-educated children, I am especially appalled by these pocket-lining GOP elites who are giving grassroots education reformers a bad name and cashing in on their betrayal of limited-government principles…..”


 


Additionally, Bush has joined with former president of the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute Chester Finn and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Conservatives for Higher Standards, a group that promotes the Common Core standards but whose supporters still call themselves “conservatives.” Among the organization’s supporters are Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), soon-to-be head of the Senate committee that oversees education; former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R); former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R); Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R); former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R); and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R).

The Fordham Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Bush’s national organization have all been awarded grants by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary private backer of the Common Core standards.

In 2013, Bush’s FEE itself received $3,500,000 from the Gates Foundation. Two million dollars of that was awarded to FEE “to support Common Core implementation,” and $1.5 million was “for general operating support….”


 


In addition to the Gates Foundation, FEE’s donor list includes names not unfamiliar to critics of the Common Core standards: the GE Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, News Corp, the Walton Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation, the Schwab Foundation, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil, Paul Singer Foundation, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel, K12, Pearson, Scholastic, and Target.

Book publishers such as Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, K12, and Scholastic are all poised to reap billions off the sale of Common Core-aligned textbooks and instructional materials that school districts are forced to purchase if they want their students to succeed on the Common Core-aligned assessments. Similarly, technology companies will benefit from the online assessments and student data collection.


 


 


 


 


 


 
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1AGDhdl

Anthony Cody was not heartened by Marc Tucker’s vision of a new accountability system with fewer tests. In this post, he explains why. If ever there was a need for close reading, he believes, this is it.


Cody writes:


“Tucker’s plan is confusing. In a proposal in which accountability remains closely tied to a set of high stakes tests, Tucker cites the “Failure of Test-based Accountability,” and eloquently documents how this approach doomed NCLB.


“Tucker speaks about the professionalization of teaching, and points out how teaching has been ravaged by constant pressure to prepare for annual tests. But his proposal still seems wedded to several very questionable premises.


“First, while he blames policymakers for the situation, he seems to accept that the struggles faced by our schools are at least partly due to the inadequacy of America’s teachers. I know of no objective evidence that would support this indictment.


“Second, he argues that fewer, “higher quality” tests will somehow rescue us from their oppressive qualities. He also suggests, as did Duncan in 2010, that we can escape the “narrowing of the curriculum” by expanding the subject matter that would be tested.


“It is worth noting that many of the Asian countries that do so well on international test contests likewise have fewer tests. This chart shows that Shanghai, Japan and Korea all have only three big tests during the K12 years. However, because these tests have such huge stakes attached to them, the entire system revolves around them, and students’ lives and family incomes are spent on constant test preparation, in and out of school.


“Third, and this is the most fundamental problem, is that Tucker suggests that the economic future of our students will only be guaranteed if we educate them better. Tucker writes:


“Outsourcing of manufacturing and services to countries with much lower labor costs has combined with galloping automation to eliminate an ever-growing number of low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs and jobs involving routine work.


“The result is that a large and growing proportion of young people leaving high school with just the basic skills can no longer look forward to a comfortable life in the middle class, but will more likely face a future of economic struggle.


“This does not represent a decline from some standard that high school graduates used to meet. It is as high as any standard the United States has ever met. And it is wholly inadequate now. It turns out, then, that we are now holding teachers accountable for student performance we never expected before, a kind and quality of performance for which the present education system was never designed. That is manifestly unfair.”


“Tucker then repeats what has become the basic dogma of education reform. The economy of the 21st century demands our students be educated to much higher levels so we can effectively compete with our international rivals. Education — and ever better education to ever higher standards — is the key to restoring the middle class.”


But Cody objects:


“I do not believe the economy of the 21st century is waiting for some more highly educated generation, at which time middle class jobs will materialize out of thin air.


“Corporations are engaged in a systemic drive to cut the number of employees at all levels. When Microsoft laid off 18,000 skilled workers, executives made it clear that expenses – meaning employees, must be minimized. Profits require that production be lean. There is no real shortage of people with STEM degrees.


“On the whole, it is still an advantage for an individual to be well educated. But the idea that education is some sort of limiting factor on our economic growth is nonsense. And the idea that the future of current and future graduates will be greatly improved if they are better educated is likewise highly suspect.


“Bill Gates recently acknowledged in an interview at the American Enterprise Institute, “capitalism in general, over time, will create more inequality and technology, over time, will reduce demand for jobs particularly at the lower end of the skill set.”


“This is the future we face until there is a fundamental economic realignment. Fewer jobs. Continued inequality and greater concentration of wealth.”


Cody argues for a different vision, in which accountability goes far beyond teachers and schools:


“For far too long educators have accepted the flagellations of one accountability system after another, and time has come to say “enough.”


“We need to learn (and teach) the real lesson of NCLB – and now the Common Core. The problem with NCLB was not with the *number* of tests, nor with when the tests were given, nor with the subject matter on the tests, or the format of the tests, or the standards to which the tests were aligned.


“The problem with NCLB was that it was based on a false premise, that somehow tests can be used to pressure schools into delivering equitable outcomes for students. This approach did not work, and as we are seeing with Common Core, will not work, no matter how many ways you tinker with the tests.


“The idea that our education system holds the key to our economic future is a seductive one for educators. It makes us seem so important, and can be used to argue for investments in our schools. But this idea carries a price, because if we accept that our economic future depends on our schools, real action to address fundamental economic problems can be deferred. We can pretend that somehow we are securing the future of the middle class by sending everyone to preschool – meanwhile the actual middle class is in a shambles, and college students are graduating in debt and insecure.


“The entire exercise is a monumental distraction, and anyone who engages in this sort of tinkering has bought into a shell game, a manipulation of public attention away from real sources of inequity.”


Cody says:


“We need some accountability for children’s lives, for their bellies being full, for safe homes and neighborhoods, and for their futures when they graduate. Once there is a healthy ecosystem for them to grow in, and graduate into, the inequities we see in education will shrink dramatically. But that requires much broader economic and social change — change that neither policymakers or central planners like Tucker are prepared to call for.”
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1lCjUyU

Anthony Cody is confused by the contradictions of the corporate reform movement. “On the one hand, we have a seemingly utopian project with bold pronouncements about the boundless capacity of all students – even those with serious learning disabilities – to succeed on ever more difficult tests. On the other hand, we have tests that are apparently intentionally designed to fail in the realm of two thirds of our students.”


Cody considers the views of Bill Gates, who has finally admitted that student motivation plays a role in whether students learn.


Cody points out that student motivation is affected by their sense of their own future. Yet as Gates himself admits:


“Well, technology in general will make capital more attractive than labor over time. Software substitution, you know, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses… It’s progressing. And that’s going to force us to rethink how these tax structures work in order to maximize employment, you know, given that, you know, capitalism in general, over time, will create more inequality and technology, over time, will reduce demand for jobs particularly at the lower end of the skill set. And so, you know, we have to adjust, and these things are coming fast. Twenty years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”


So if there are fewer jobs, a shrinking middle class, and fewer opportunities for social mobility, students face a bleak future. How can they be motivated in an economy where their prospects are dim?


Cody writes:


“Gates is suggesting we increase taxes on consumption by the wealthy, and use those revenues to provide a sort of subsistence level payment to the poor. He opposes an increase in the minimum wage because it might raise employer costs, which they would then try to cut by laying people off.


“Gates is unconcerned about income inequality as an issue. He defines poverty as abject starvation and homelessness, and hopes employers can be convinced to keep on employees because they do not cost very much.


“The motivation of 50 million K12 students in the US is directly related to the degree to which their education leads to a brighter future. We have a big disconnect here when the future does not, in fact, offer much chance at access to college or productive employment. And as Wilkinson and Pickett established in their book The Spirit Level, the level of inequality societies tolerate has a dramatic effect on the mental state and wellbeing of its citizens…..


“As I wrote earlier in the week, there seems to be an attempt to use ever more difficult Common Core aligned tests to certify as many as two thirds of our students as unworthy of such opportunities.


“This brings to mind a dystopian future where an underclass of Common Core test rejects is allowed to subsist with the bare minimum payments required to keep starvation at bay, while a shrinking cadre of insecure workers maintain the machinery that keep the lights on and the crops harvested.


“The fundamental problem of the current economy is that we have not figured out a means by which the top 1% can be persuaded to share the prodigious profits that have flowed from technological advances…


“I cannot reconcile how this future of growing inequality and a shrinking workforce intersects with the grand utopian vision of the Common Core. So then I go back and have to question the validity of the promises made for the Common Core, since the economic projections Gates is making here seem sound….


“These economic problems will not be addressed by Common Core, by charter schools or any other educational reforms. They will not even be addressed in a significant way by what we might praise as authentic education reforms, such as smaller class sizes or more time for teacher collaboration – though these are worthwhile and humane things.

Imperfect as they have been, public schools have been an institution under mostly democratic control, funded by taxpayers, governed by elected school boards, and run by career educators. Market-driven education reform is bringing the cruelty of commerce into what was part of the public sphere, attempting to use test scores to open and close schools like shoe stores, and pay teachers on test score commissions as if we were salesmen.


“The rhetoric of the corporate reform project draws on the modern movement for civil rights, and even Bill Gates asserts that his goal is to fight inequity. But elites have rarely, if ever, designed solutions that diminish their privilege, and this is no exception. It appears that corporate education reform has devised a means to affix blame for inequity on classroom teachers, even as technological advances make it possible to transfer even more wealth into its sponsors’ bank accounts, with fewer people being paid for the work that remains necessary. The promise that the Common Core will prepare everyone for the American dream is made a lie by the intentionally engineered failure rates on Common Core aligned tests.”
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1xLxGRL

Anthony Cody is confused by the contradictions of the corporate reform movement. “On the one hand, we have a seemingly utopian project with bold pronouncements about the boundless capacity of all students – even those with serious learning disabilities – to succeed on ever more difficult tests. On the other hand, we have tests that are apparently intentionally designed to fail in the realm of two thirds of our students.”


Cody considers the views of Bill Gates, who has finally admitted that student motivation plays a role in whether students learn.


Cody points out that student motivation is affected by their sense of their own future. Yet as Gates himself admits:


“Well, technology in general will make capital more attractive than labor over time. Software substitution, you know, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses… It’s progressing. And that’s going to force us to rethink how these tax structures work in order to maximize employment, you know, given that, you know, capitalism in general, over time, will create more inequality and technology, over time, will reduce demand for jobs particularly at the lower end of the skill set. And so, you know, we have to adjust, and these things are coming fast. Twenty years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”


So if there are fewer jobs, a shrinking middle class, and fewer opportunities for social mobility, students face a bleak future. How can they be motivated in an economy where their prospects are dim?


Cody writes:


“Gates is suggesting we increase taxes on consumption by the wealthy, and use those revenues to provide a sort of subsistence level payment to the poor. He opposes an increase in the minimum wage because it might raise employer costs, which they would then try to cut by laying people off.


“Gates is unconcerned about income inequality as an issue. He defines poverty as abject starvation and homelessness, and hopes employers can be convinced to keep on employees because they do not cost very much.


“The motivation of 50 million K12 students in the US is directly related to the degree to which their education leads to a brighter future. We have a big disconnect here when the future does not, in fact, offer much chance at access to college or productive employment. And as Wilkinson and Pickett established in their book The Spirit Level, the level of inequality societies tolerate has a dramatic effect on the mental state and wellbeing of its citizens…..


“As I wrote earlier in the week, there seems to be an attempt to use ever more difficult Common Core aligned tests to certify as many as two thirds of our students as unworthy of such opportunities.


“This brings to mind a dystopian future where an underclass of Common Core test rejects is allowed to subsist with the bare minimum payments required to keep starvation at bay, while a shrinking cadre of insecure workers maintain the machinery that keep the lights on and the crops harvested.


“The fundamental problem of the current economy is that we have not figured out a means by which the top 1% can be persuaded to share the prodigious profits that have flowed from technological advances…


“I cannot reconcile how this future of growing inequality and a shrinking workforce intersects with the grand utopian vision of the Common Core. So then I go back and have to question the validity of the promises made for the Common Core, since the economic projections Gates is making here seem sound….


“These economic problems will not be addressed by Common Core, by charter schools or any other educational reforms. They will not even be addressed in a significant way by what we might praise as authentic education reforms, such as smaller class sizes or more time for teacher collaboration – though these are worthwhile and humane things.

Imperfect as they have been, public schools have been an institution under mostly democratic control, funded by taxpayers, governed by elected school boards, and run by career educators. Market-driven education reform is bringing the cruelty of commerce into what was part of the public sphere, attempting to use test scores to open and close schools like shoe stores, and pay teachers on test score commissions as if we were salesmen.


“The rhetoric of the corporate reform project draws on the modern movement for civil rights, and even Bill Gates asserts that his goal is to fight inequity. But elites have rarely, if ever, designed solutions that diminish their privilege, and this is no exception. It appears that corporate education reform has devised a means to affix blame for inequity on classroom teachers, even as technological advances make it possible to transfer even more wealth into its sponsors’ bank accounts, with fewer people being paid for the work that remains necessary. The promise that the Common Core will prepare everyone for the American dream is made a lie by the intentionally engineered failure rates on Common Core aligned tests.”
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1xLxGRL

When the Gates Foundation issued a press release calling for a two-year moratorium on the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, its position met a mixed reception. Some saw it as a victory for the critics of high-stakes testing; others as an attempt to weaken the critics by deferring the high stakes.


Anthony Cody says, don’t be fooled. The Gates Foundation gives no indication that it understands that its path is wrong, it is simply buying time.


The question we should all be asking is how this one very rich foundation took charge of American education and is in a position to issue policy statements that should be the domain of state and local school boards. What we have lost is democratic control of public education; while no one was looking, it got outsourced to the Gates Foundation.


Cody writes:


“As a thought experiment, what would it look like if the Gates Foundation truly was attending to the research and evidence that is showing how damaging the new Common Core tests and high stakes accountability systems are? Would they simply be calling to defer the worst effects of this system for two years?


A real appraisal of the evidence would reveal:


VAM systems are unreliable and destructive when used for teacher evaluations, even as one of several measurements.


“School closures based on test scores result in no real gains for the students, and tremendous community disruption.


“Charter schools are not providing systemic improvements, and are expanding inequity and segregation.


“Attacks on teacher seniority and due process are destabilizing a fragile profession, increasing turnover.


“Tech-based solutions are often wildly oversold, and deliver disappointing results. Witness K12 Inc’s rapidly expanded virtual charter school chain, described here earlier this year.


“Our public education system is not broken, but is burdened with growing levels of poverty, inequity and racial isolation. Genuine reform means supporting schools, not abandoning them.


“The fundamental problem with the Gates Foundation is that it is driving education down a path towards more and more reliance on tests as the feedback mechanism for a market-driven system. This is indeed a full-blown ideology, reinforced by Gates’ own experience as a successful technocrat. The most likely hypothesis regarding the recent suggestion that high stakes be delayed by two years is that this is a tactical maneuver intended to diffuse opposition and preserve the Common Core project – rather than a recognition that these consequences do more harm than good.”


Moratorium or no, he notes, we are locked into a failed paradigm of testing and accountability. Standards and tests are not vehicles to advance equity and civil rights. If anything, they have become a way to undermine democracy and standardize education.
















via Diane Ravitch’s blog http://ift.tt/1m4Lleg

Fuel Education Announces New Online and Blended Courses for Middle and High School Math As Part of its Expanded 2014-2015 Catalog

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Fuel Education Announces New Online and Blended Courses for Middle and High School Math As Part of its Expanded 2014-2015 Catalog

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HERNDON, Va., May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Personalized learning solutions provider Fuel Education today announced it is expanding its comprehensive portfolio of more than 500 unique online and blended courses and titles for pre-K through 12th grade with more than 25 new additions for the 2014-2015 school year.

Fuel Education's catalog now features multiple new math courses for middle and high school students, new electives designed to promote career readiness, as well as the recently announced mobile, standards-aligned FuelEd Middle School curriculum. Each course or title has been developed in full alignment with the Common Core State Standards, as well as other state and national standards.

Fuel Education's new middle and high school math courses for blended and/or full-time learning include:



  • Algebra, Geometry, and Fundamentals of Algebra and Geometry Fundamentals of Algebra and Geometry provides students enhanced computational and problem-solving skills while learning topics in algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics. Pre-Algebra provides students a broader look at computational and problem-solving skills while learning the language of algebra, and Algebra enables students to deepen their computational and problem-solving fluency through topics in linear relationships, functions, and geometry.
  • Developmental Algebra and Continuing Algebra for high school This two-year algebra sequence, that begins with an exploration of the tools and principles of algebra is designed to provide students completing these two courses with a deep understanding of Algebra I.
  • Algebra I Extended Learning for high school Students are able to master working with and evaluating mathematical expressions, equations, graphs, and other topics, with an emphasis on real-world applications throughout this year-long course. Unlike a traditional Algebra course, this course uses adaptive learning technology and contains a built-in diagnostic to assess foundational pre-algebra skills, and provides instruction targeting any gaps in prerequisite skills. After these learning gaps are addressed and tested, algebra instruction is presented. If mastery is not achieved following core instruction, alternative activities are presented to improve comprehension.
  • Integrated Mathematics I, II and III for high school In these three courses, which are aligned to the Integrated Pathway for Mathematics as defined in the Common Core State Standards, students learn about linear and simple exponential models, followed by irrational and complex numbers and quadratic polynomials, and then learn how to integrate all of these concepts in the third course.

“Mathematics is so closely tied to overall student success that educators now regard Algebra I as a key predictor of high school success, and Algebra II as key predictor for work, college, and career success even further down the road,” said David Pelizzari, Vice President of Curriculum.

“We are happy to offer new paths to mathematics success for middle school and high school studentspaced in different ways and scaffolded to support an even wider range of students, from those with the greatest skills to those needing the most reinforcement, review, and support. These fresh offerings are aligned with the new standards and more sophisticated assessments associated with Common Core State Standards and many state standards, offering high quality course choices for every type of student.”

Also new for the coming school year is 7 new high school electives designed to engage teenagers and promote exploration of their career interests. New electives include Careers in Criminal Justice, Introduction to Agriscience, Public Speaking, Early Childhood Education, and Entrepreneurship. In addition, many electives previously available for blended programs are now available for full-time programs.

As previously announced, the catalog also features FuelEd Online Courses for Middle School, the standards-aligned curriculum designed for students as they transition through the “make or break” years, available on a wide variety of platforms and devices such as the iPad, Chromebook and Android.

New courses designed for blended learning are also integrated into PEAK, Fuel Education's Personalized Learning Platform, which makes it easy for districts to integrate and manage all of their online learning programs in one place. In addition, teachers can easily customize the courses with resources available in the PEAK Library, which includes more than 5,500 supplemental lessons and assessments plus content from third-party partners such as Britannica School, and open educational resources such as Khan Academy and YouTube Education.

All of Fuel Education's courses, including core, foundational, honors, AP, world languages and credit recovery courses, can be found in Course Finder in the Curriculum section of the company's web site.

About Fuel Education

Fuel Education partners with school districts to fuel personalized learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK, enables teachers to customize courses using their own content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open educational resources. Fuel Education offers the industry's largest catalog of digital curriculum, certified instruction, professional development, and educational services. FuelEd has helped 2,000 school districts to improve student outcomes and better serve diverse student populations. To learn more, visit getfueled.com and Twitter.

2014 Fuel Education LLC. All rights reserved. Fuel Education, FuelEd, and PEAK are trademarks of Fuel Education LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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