Thursday, June 9, 2016

ECOT can't use poverty as an excuse anymore.

Copied from

Cyber charter schools, like ECOT, can't claim their failures are because of poverty anymore.  Even though they try.

Lobbyist Neil Clark, spokesman for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, is throwing to the wind the mantras of "all kids can learn" and "stop making excuses for failure" that prevailed during the birth of Ohio's charter schools.

A recent CREDO report on e-schools shows that e-schools have the same poverty problems as common public schools, but ECOT's graduation rate is still the lowest in the country.
From the CREDO study:

ECOT's advertising campaign obviously kicked in, starting in 2008, and has been drawing in students from all over Ohio.  So now that the poverty level is similar between ECOT and public schools, what is their excuse for 62% of their students not graduating?

So much for "every student can learn," and how about that whole accountability thing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

ECOT Exposed - The ECOT Report Card


ECOT's Value-Added score was 842nd out of 843 schools and districts ranked in Ohio.  The only other school to score worse was the Ohio Virtual Academy, another online charter school.  A recent study showed that online charters, like ECOT, had student growth that was "as if students didn't go to school at all."

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Why teaching is so hard: the Sweet Spot and the Troubled Spot

This morning I was sitting at Panera Bread grading some timed writings.  My phone buzzed with a twitter notification that so-and-so and so-and-so liked a pic.  Needing a quick break I looked at it.

At first glance I really liked it.  Seeing what is typically running through my mind in an organized and concise chart brings me an odd sense of, I don't know, approval?  I saved the chart to look at later.

I began looking at the chart with my students in mind.  Which kid would fit into which area.  Mark would be here, Amy over there, Samamtha...  Oh, what about Samantha?

Then I realized what is missing from the chart.  What about the students who lack all three of these traits?  There needs to be another area outside the three circles.

"The Troubled Spot?"  Na, too negative.  At-risk is what this group is typically called.  These are the students who are at, or who lack, the very basic needs of Maslow's Hierarchy.

One of the great things about teaching is the challenge and the reward of seeing your students grow.  At times, it's also the most frustrating and saddening part.

Look at the chart.  This is what we must do.  But remember the students who need us more those those who can be placed in these areas.  The ones who are hungry, cold, lonely, neglected, and worse.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Gene V. Glass

Gene V. Glass is a well known education statistician.  I just read his 25 page pdf called "Advancing Democratic Education: Would Horace Mann Tweet?", which was forwarded by Education guru William Phillis of Ohio Education & Advocacy.

I won't pretend that any of you will read his pdf, but here is my synopsis to entice you to take a look:
Pages 1-4 explain why and how the United States education crisis is a myth and that it started with "A Nation at Risk."

Pages 5-25  What is driving Ed Reform?  1.  Economic Self Interest of the White Middle Class, 2.  Racial/Ethnic Apathy, 3.  Corporate Profits.

Page 9 - The Billionaire Boys - Gates, Zuckerberg, Koch, Walmart, etc.

Page 11 - A pretty cool thing on Warren Buffett

Page 16 - ALEC - In my opinion, a must read.

Page 18 - Value-Added is a "stupid idea."

Page 21 - Why parents should opt-out of common core standardized tests.

Page 23 - About Pearson 
So a little gem that was stated in the section about Microsoft/Gates:
Microsoft admits keeping $92 Billion in offshore accounts to avoid paying $29 billion in U.S. taxes.  This equates to TWO MILLION DOLLARS FOR EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE COUNTRY.

Now, a bit of perspective...

Not every school district is the same.  Columbus has many more students than Madison Plains Local Schools.  So two million to Columbus is different than two million for MP.  But, that is JUST FOR MICROSOFT!

What if every U.S. corporation that is currently avoiding taxes in offshore accounts was no longer able to?  (Can we even consider them U.S. companies?)  How many millions would go back to our schools and communities?

Who is really on your side?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Email to OCMC

Dear Members of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission,

I am dismayed and disappointed by the fact that our government is trying to silence the voice of voters by making the State School Board even more rooted in political ideology then it already is.  Clearly the testing/accountability and charter/privatization experiment on hundreds of thousands of Ohio's students is not having the desired effect, and the move make the State School Board 100% Governor appointed is an obvious move to give this failed experiment a new life.

Ohio is going in the wrong direction.  We have fallen from 5th in the country to 23rd in national education rankings because of governmental intrusion in our classrooms.  To fix our schools we need a board whose only goal is to do what is best for our children.

Please keep politics out of our classrooms by making the State School Board an independent, nonpartisan, panel who can truly put the needs of students and communities first.

Kevin Griffin
Dublin, Ohio

Friday, February 5, 2016

Forced Government Testing

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

Last week HB 420 was amended to make it a misdemeanor offense, coupled with a loss of job, for any school employee to talk about Common Core AIR testing.

The state Legislators are in quite a predicament.  You see, parents are catching on and teachers are getting fed up.  Even some brave Superintendents are flippantly dismissing test results as being, "meaningless, invalid and inhuman."

These claims are not only being expressed by the people in the trenches, you know, the ones who actually work with kids, but also by scholars who really understand the science behind testing, and who have no skin in the game.

The solution should be simple.  If something isn't working, or is "meaningless, invalid and inhuman," then stop.  And if it's costing taxpayers billions, yeah.  STOP!

But here is the problem the Ohio puppets politicians have: they need test scores more than teachers do.  They want schools, teachers, districts, (and by default, students), to fail.  Without failure, there is nothing to fix.  With nothing to fix, they can't push privatization.  They can't sell charters schools and vouchers and advocate for radical reforms if everything is OK.  And then, of course, there's the money.

So they need data.  (Except when it works against them.) The only way to get actual numerical data, across the state, is though the common core AIR tests.  But the tests are invalid and unreliable, not to mention "meaningless and inhuman."  And anyone who has spent just a little time researching it has concluded the Common Core tests are meaningless, if not harmful.

Now that parents are catching on and refusing to allow their children to take the Common Core tests, and teachers are speaking out against their validity, how can the government get their precious data?

Well the first step is to patch the leak.  Silence the teachers.  Prevent the ones who actually know something, the ones who the parents will listen to, from saying anything about the tests.  This won't fix their problem, but it'll slow it down.

Now, believe it or not, they aren't only trying to silence school employees, but the voters as well, by changing the state school board from being mostly elected by the general public, to being 100% appointed by the governor.

The state can then continue to collect invalid test scores and pretend it's meaningful.  But if they get no data at all, what will they do?  Their boat will sink and all those political donations will dry up.

Pay attention.  Connect the dots.  Act.