Results of Global Study on School Choice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tyler B., Nov 10, 2017.

  1. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Nov 14, 2017

    Tyler actually thinks taking money from other people and injecting it elsewhere will solve the problem, not realizing (or ignoring because it doesn’t fit his narrative) they already do that in some school districts (like in the entire state of NJ) but it doesn’t actually solve the problem.
     
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  2. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Nov 14, 2017

    That sounds like he wants a lowest common denominator situation.

    I can't see any positive outcome from ignoring Pareto distribution.

    Basically, that's a 20/80 distribution of resources, which is found throughout nature, but was originally discovered through a study of wealth distribution, which is what Tyler seems to be arguing against.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_distribution
     
  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Folks, the money conversation is just not that straightforward if we're approaching it from a research-based, data-based perspective. There are so many mediating variables between money and academic achievement that it's just not possible to say either of the following:

    1) Lack of money invariably leads to lower teacher/school performance and/or student achievement

    2) More money leads to higher performance/achievement.

    What we have to do if we're going to be responsible professionals is to talk about what strategies/structures actually make a difference, then talk about whether money/resources have made those things possible. It's simply not interesting to talk about a school that was hugely funded but has underperformed, without talking about what they did with the money.

    Obviously, a lot of things cost money. Take the development of a Tier II program in an RtI model - we obviously can't just rely of schools restructuring existing supports - we need new, additional supports to fully resource a Tier II program. However, just because a Tier II model is put into place and fully funded does not mean it will be effective. Obviously, there are effective and non-effective strategies.

    We can talk in circles about money, and as long as we keep throwing out anecdotes about how money made a difference or not, or talking about money without talking about what money buys, we're not going to get anywhere.
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There are a variety of incentives that could persuade effective, seasoned teachers to stick around at underperforming schools. These incentives don't necessarily have to be offered to everyone--maybe to only those teachers who consistently post exemplary results. Incentives could be tailored to individual teachers, tapping into each person's currency of choice. For example, additional prep periods or personal days would make me a lot more likely to stay at an underperforming school, and both would reduce my burn-out speed.
     
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  5. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Maybe it could be as simple as to stop labeling high poverty schools as failing. It's really hard to give 100% and face denigration by the media, and even worse, by other educators.
     
  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I don't understand why educators think poor kids do not need additional resources. Studies show that the brains of impoverished children show a lack of development and slower functioning. To say these kids just have lazy teachers, and that's why they are underperforming is absurd.

    These kids need additional resources. To deny this is like saying farsighted children should have their neighborhood schools shut down and sent to charter schools instead of just getting them glasses.
     
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  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure that anyone is arguing against resources. I think what's making people buck back is the idea of more money, like actual dollars, when it seems like money is often spent willy-nilly on stuff that isn't necessarily directly beneficial to students and the school community. Money spent on reading programs, school supplies, hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes...good. Money spent on fancy swivel chairs for the office staff, new paint for the athletic director's office, a Keurig for the principal's office...not good.

    My own district could do with a serious audit, maybe even a forensic audit. I've seen what gets spent on some programs and subscriptions that see usage rates of 1-2%, and it's appalling. I'd much rather see those hundreds of thousands of dollars get spent on paper, library books, safe athletic field turf than on some of the frivolous/unnecessary stuff that it actually gets spent on.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I see your point. Labels do matter when it comes to public perception. At the same time, many of these schools (mine included, at least in the past) are producing failing results. Several years ago I remember that my previous school posted results that were something like 4% of students in grade 10 were proficient in math. Four. Percent. Even taking into consideration the cultural and linguistic bias that can be/is present in those standardized tests, I can't imagine that 4% proficiency is an acceptable result anywhere.
     
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  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    There’s no question that higher teacher pay would need to come with higher teacher accountability. There is certainly a valid criticism of how teacher accountability is approached in some districts, but the Germans have a good expression which highlights the need for both resources & accountability: “Demand & support.” At least that’s what my German friends have told me!
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    And we digress. Where are you getting this from the last few pages of comments? Where are people saying that teachers are lazy, and who is advocating for fewer resources?

    It’s a logical fallacy to conclude that a separate argument for improving teacher quality by default means that people don’t believe other resources/strategies aren’t also needed.
     
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  11. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Nov 14, 2017

    So we should stop labeling schools successful too then.
     
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  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 15, 2017

    I think this is so very true. Some places I would not stay at no matter how much they pay me. (well I mean, I guess if it were a million dollars or something, maybe, lol) Real change needs to be effected to make schools a good place to work that teachers want to be at, where they feel safe, and their professionalism respected, and that doesn't necessarily mean more money. It could mean a change in administration or administrative policies, school-wide rules, effective behavior intervention for students, and finding the right resources for each student (though to be perfectly frank, these probably do mean more money in the form of paying for special education resources, ISS supervisors, and better administration).

    But I also think incomes/benefits are in a stagnant or downward trend in some places, and that needs to not happen either, if we want to keep seasoned teachers. I don't think we need hefty incentives but we do need sane income growth and medical benefits to match the ever increasing cost of living.
     
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  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But this is happening across almost ever sector, not just teaching. The medical benefit problem is hitting sectors outside of teaching even harder.

    Funny thing is that I am currently watching a district deny a 17,000 pay raise over 3 years because they have to pay 350/year if they want the Cadillac health plan all the while these teachers are being paid well. There are 2 free options available but aren't as good coverage wise all while my friends outside of teaching are paying that much each month for their average health plans. Greedy teachers like these are making teachers all over look bad.
     
  14. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    We are currently reviewing our demographic and academic data from the past six years as part of our WASC (accreditation) process and some interesting trends stood out to me. We are a Title One school meaning at least a third of our students are considered low-income, but at the same time, our state testing results are 20-30% higher than the county and state average. Starting in 2014, our population started to shift: our white and middle-class populations started to shrink, and our low-income and non-English speaking populations grew. Our homeless student population went from 4 out of 1700 to 34 out of 1650 in two years. At the same time, unsurprisingly, our test scores began to drop, especially for low-income and ELL students. And that is all that changed: our population. Not our funding levels, or our teaching staff quality or their level of dedication. Our schools are judged on our test scores, and the tests essentially test for affluence. Overall, affluent students fare better on the tests, and low-income and ELLs fare worse. I wish we used a better metric than just test outcomes, such as growth over time, or ELL redesignation rates, or even graduation rates, to determine what "success" means for a school.
     
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  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
     
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  16. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2017

    So a quick comment about "We're the same teachers but a different population, so it must not be teacher quality" - There are undoubtedly different skill sets when it comes to working with different populations, from ELL to homeless youth or just kids from impoverished backgrounds. So, the idea that test scores drop when a new demographic increases does not automatically mean that the issue is solely with the demographic. Again, I'm not trying to blame teachers for having caused issues, but with my previous example of heart surgeons, we'd expect heart surgeons to have specialized skills in heart surgery, not just surgery or general medicine. Likewise, working with specific populations can take specialized skills or experience, so you can't just swap out and expect things to stay the same.
     
  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    If poor students score lower overall, then how come students from impoverished nations, that have second and third-world statuses, score higher than American students, on average? Shouldn’t their scores be lower?
     
  18. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Impoverished nations have their elites. The children of the elites are the students who are able to attend school and take the PISA test. Are you saying that because some kids in Bangladesh score higher on the test than a kid in South Chicago, that the Bangladeshis are doing a better job of educating their poor?

    Show me an apples to apples comparison of someplace that does a better job of educating their poor. Will you also find charters and vouchers? I think not.
     
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  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Comparisons of poverty between nations is tough because poverty is not absolute. The poor in America are vastly more wealthy than even middle class in many nations, but the experience of poverty in childhood could still be quite intense from a psychosocial perspective. You can get into international comparisons, but honestly they’re not go too examples which easily prove your point.
     
  20. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Which countries are you referring to, specifically? What kind of tests are they taking? What percentage of students in those countries attend school to begin with, and what percentage takes the tests?

    A huge problem with our standardized tests lies in their inherent cultural bias. A perfect example was when I was teaching 8th grade at an inner-city school. One of the test items that stumped all of my students was a text passage about picking huckleberries. None of my students had any clue what a huckleberry was, and had never been berry-picking (or ever picked any kind of food, for that matter), and so they were all lost on the passage. Kids living in poverty, in the US at least, have not had the same wealth and kind of life experiences that provide the background information/schema necessary to comprehend text passages and questions that are based in a culture as foreign to them as a Bangladeshi slum would be to your average, middle-class American kiddo.
     
  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I agree that certain life experiences play a role, but can’t you infer from the passage that a huckleberry is a type of fruit? For example, we are taught at an early age that a fruit is a carrier of seeds, and the word “huckleberry” has the word “berry” in it so most students would guess it’s a fruit, regardless if they ever picked a berry. Also, the idea that you have to have done something to know of it is nonsensical. I wasn’t alive during the American and French Revolutions, but I know of those.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do you know the difference between a wharf and a pier? A dock and a port?

    Having grown up in the upper Midwest, far away from places where such items are the norm, High School Caesar would have been hard-pressed to have been able to make inferences about the differences among these terms. Would High School Caesar have known that these were all related to water, based not on experience but on reading many and varied topics? Sure. Would cursory familiarity with those terms have been enough to make specific inferences on standardized tests? Nope.

    Throw in a few questions about "rigging the jib", and High School Caesar would have gotten really flustered and frustrated, feeling dumb, losing confidence, and probably performing more poorly on questions than what might have otherwise happened if the jib questions hadn't been included.
     
  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    But states have about the same educational standards, give or take. Sure, certain states may emphasize certain subject matter or place a different emphasis than others, but all students are taught the pledge of allegiance, the preamble to the constitution, the germination process for plants, about the three states of matter, how to compare and contrast, to read and analyze Shakespeare, etc. My elementary and middle schools were not great, by any stretch of the imagination, and I still learned these things there. Those schools had and still have significant budget issues — most students have parents who are lower middle or at or below the poverty level.

    The crux of the argument does not hinge on whether a student knows a certain word versus a similar word. The problem is that students are unfamiliar with things that are common knowledge and taught in virtually all public schools, regardless of funding.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Have you ever taken a standardized test? Many of them, at least back in the day, included vocabulary sections and analogies. Even the ones that don't have explicit vocabulary or analogies nowadays do have reading passages that may be about any number of topics...because ELA standards are usually tied not to the topic of the reading but to the theme, mechanics, construction, etc. There are a great many standards about informational texts that could most definitely include jargon related to very specific industries and settings. While students should be able to make inferences, sometimes it's very, very challenging, especially when there is ZERO background or cursory familiarity with a topic.

    Read the following passage. Draw and label a picture that demonstrates the process described.
    Rigging the jib varies somewhat depending on your equipment. Some jibs have fasteners or clips on the luff of the sail; others have sleeves. Attach them to the forestay, starting with the fastener at the bottom of the luff first, and continuing up to the top. Attach the jib halyard to the head of the jib. Check that the haylard is not twisted around the forestay. Attach the jib sheets to the jib clew and feed through the jib blocks (fairheads) on each side of the cockpit.

    I mean, I wouldn't have the first clue where to start or what that picture is supposed to look like.
     
  25. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    What the hell is this? I really hope this is not real. If it is, then I take back what I said. Sheesh, this is awful.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If the goal of the passage that ms.irene references is to shed light on students' ability to learn unfamiliar processes by reading, then futuremathsprof's objection has some merit - but the passage had darned well better be a good little Huckleberries For The Uninitiated for this to work. And the questions associated with it will inevitably be inaccurate measures of this ability for students who do already know about huckleberries and how to pick them.

    If huckleberries loom large in the passage - and I note that ms.irene said of the passage that it was ABOUT picking huckleberries and not that it simply MENTIONED picking huckleberries - and if the goal is to test ability to make inferences about character or the like, the validity of the results will be tainted to the extent to which some populations of students but not others have to navigate both the overt task and the additional cognitive demands.

    The fact is that even a skilled test taker who knows most of the content can be derailed by an unexpected question or odd phrasing. CSET Math no longer explicitly tests number theory, but when it did, the questions on it were the first four or five in Subtest I. The rest of the subtest was on algebra, and the number theory questions were few enough that it was perfectly possible to leave them all blank and still pass the subtest. You'd be surprised how many test takers simply gave up on Subtest I after question 2 or 3 - either they'd walk out then, or they'd attempt the remaining questions with the mental frame that all of those questions were also also too abstruse and too challenging. Let me add that these were grown adults, with plenty of successes in testing and math under their belts.
     
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  27. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Just so I understand what you are saying, do you think there's no relationship between background knowledge and comprehension? I'll bet you've never taught a kid to read.
     
  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You are correct that I’ve never taught a kid to read, but I took a class on how to teach reading. You can teach even struggling readers if they can recognize sight words, and if you teach them how to read unknown words using phonemes and graphemes, how to syllabicate and decode using phonics, etc.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Right, but being able to decode a word and knowing that word and what it means are very different things. I bet you can read the word "paralus", but do you know what it means or how to understand it in context?
     
  30. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Perhaps it's more that you can teach them either way, but that more progress (and thus greater success) will be made with additional background knowledge? For example, a kid new to the country could learn the words in the pledge / how to say it, but someone who perhaps has heard the word "liberty" before might be able to see "lib" and infer that the word will be liberty much faster than that other student.
     
  31. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    This may be a bit tangential, but I have always wondered if the solution needs a more holistic approach. In college, I studied German (and German culture) and even though the system has changed since then, I wonder if a similar set up would be beneficial here. What if after 6th grade, students were placed on tracks. Students who score 4/5 track together, 1s/2s track together on an occupational/vocational track and would no longer take EOGs. Along the vocational track students would be trained in trades and remediated in the elementary school reading and math skills that they never gained proficiency in, gradually moving up to middle grades as appropriate, when cognitively ready. Crossing over between the two tracks would be possible, as it is in other countries.

    I firmly believe that many low-performing students simply are not cognitively ready for the content that is pushed at them. Emphasis is placed on "growth" while shoving stuff at them they simply aren't ready for. Like last year, on one of my reading benchmarks, a 1600-level lexile passage (with such esoteric language that context was not context, but just a bunch of meaningless words) was given to my 7th graders. They could've been given a passage in Chinese and done just as well, by random guess. There is a point where content is too advanced for somebody, and if it is what good are we doing for them, just leaving them behind and shooting in the dark for growth? Every school I've worked in is simply not equipped to really meet the needs of these kids, they are placed in classes of 35 and consistently score 1st, 5th, 9th percentile--and function on 3rd/4th grade levels throughout middle school.

    I really don't know what the solution is, but I know, as it stands, what we have now doesn't work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
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  32. TeacherGroupie

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    The term "word calling" is reading teacher jargon for being able to decode a word but not being able to make sense of the text in which it occurs. The kid in math class who can read the word problem aloud prettily but can't figure out what to DO with it doesn't need phonics: he needs help in figuring out what the phrases and sentences in the word problem signify - you could say, and I do, that he needs help with the grammar of word problems and how that grammar maps onto what one does in math. As a proficient and experienced doer of math problems, maths, you know that a rate problem is a rate problem whether it deals with miles per hour or huckleberries per quart. That's second nature to you now, part of the background knowledge on which you routinely draw without having to think much about it - but at some point you had to LEARN it, and before you learned, you too would have found it difficult to see how on earth miles are like huckleberries and hours like quarts.

    Dear maths, your reading instruction coursework was a while back, or insufficient, or both. Let me recommend a book that's been out for a while that might shed some light on things that you, like many of us (and like its author) haven't had to think about. The author is Cris Tovani; the book, I Read It, But I Just Don't Get It. Tovani was a successful and respected elementary teacher specializing in reading who was asked to work with struggling readers in middle school. It was easy to assume that the kids just needed more and better phonics - but in short order, and at the cost of some of her pride in herself, she discovered that phonics was almost never the problem. Rather, these were kids who had internalized a number of misconceptions about what reading really is: among these misconceptions, that a good reader always gets all the meaning on the first go, that a good reader never gets sidetracked and never has to go back and reread, and that they themselves were already failures because they had acquired the label "struggling reader".
     
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  33. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Nov 16, 2017

    You guys are reminding me of when my kids first took PARCC and they had to read a 6 page thing on tennis racquets. :eek: None of my ELLs had ever set foot on a tennis court. :confused:
     
  34. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Nov 18, 2017

    Are they taking the exact same tests?

    You are comparing apples to giraffes.
     
  35. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Nov 18, 2017

    Yeah, no.
     

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