Friday, January 25, 2013

Testing today

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Testing today-- new topic please
Please someone clarify neighborhood discussion:
I know we have all complained about the4 amount of testing etc.
But now I am hearing that teachers are actually documenting 43 days to testing out of a 90 day semester? Also, new policies not allowing teachers to see the test prior to giving it-- so no study guide like info.
Enough people live and have families in other districts etc. to KNOW this isnt how high school goes. So no worry about "testing to the test" Do you really wonder why people are looking to charters, parochial, private, moving-- anything so their kids have a normal "study for finals" kinda life-- and yet, we want "college ready??"


Anonymous said...

I have a nephew in Kindergarten. I can't imagine what his years as a student will bring. I do know that all the yapping parents do must be directed to someone. Beginning at the grassroots level will need to include each school's PSCC to return to its original purpose, to illicit change and ask the hard questions. In recent years. at some schools, those meetings have become a place for the district message to be delivered rather than the place to go for parents to ask WHY? on all issues affecting their children.

For teachers to do a better job the shadow of extreme oversight must be removed at least temporarily. Teaches have seen the big stick and have witnessed its impact.

Parents when you meet at your kids' indoor scocer game, hockey game or at a swim meet, talk about what might seem amiss and maybe someone might step up to talk to a principal. Don't skip an opportunity to participate in a discussion about what matters. Too much testing? Some kids appearing to slide through? An absence of or too much rigor? Things won't improve without you.

PPSparent said...

"those meetings have become a place for the district message to be delivered rather than the place to go for parents to ask WHY? on all issues affecting their children."

That's by design. And you can try to make little changes around the edges by working quietly within the school. But ANY big changes will have to come from up above. Especially the big change to allow their well-qualified administrators and teachers to actually make changes at the school level.

The problem is that the only two ways to approach this are through public hearings and trying to directly contact your board member. But the pro-admin board members are so solidly entrenched there, that that's unlikely to make a difference either.

Your attendance at the public hearing will be taken in a couple of ways:

1) your principal and/or teachers will get in trouble.

That is, if what you are asking "why?" about can be blamed on them in any way, shape, or form, it will be.

Or, it may indicate to an administrator there that there is some lack of "fidelity" at your school and prompt a walk through.

2) You will be written off as a troublemaker. Your name will be known by the administrator powers that be and everyone will know that you are bad news.

You'll be tagged as some combination of uneducated, stupid, snobbish, bitter, racist, old-fashioned, out of touch, confused, irrationally angry, too Pittsburgh-y to know better...

It depends on what you look like, sound like, dress like and talk about. But you'll be lucky to get away without at least two negatives!

3) Sometimes, if you are specific enough about a single topic that is near and dear to an entrenched member's heart, you will see some small opening or get a specific problem solved.

#3 is a pretty rare occurrence, though it has happened.

Anonymous said...

Years ago I went the public hearing route and was branded a malcontent.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! These posters have hit the problem dead-on. Those parents/observers/whoever who could possibly help this district get it right are written off at the first sign of criticism given in hopes of moving toward improved conditions for kids.

This central office cannot take the slightest observation, suggestion or anything that could be labeled a criticism. Instead of embracing such suggestions, they ostracize in ways not imagined and circle the wagons. Instead of involving those who make suggestions, they attempt to get rid of them in any way possible and they have no qualms about solving problems by 'burying' them, outright.

Those who care enough to make suggestions or offer alternatives should and do become the best friends of secure and competent leaders!

Anonymous said...

The only hope is to vote out board members. NO matter what political party they run under.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster. Both Political parties have left teachers in the dust. Rahm Emanuel (D) makes a lot of republicans look like nice guys towards education!

Nobody (with clout) the has the teachers backs. It is depressing.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. I've been teaching for three decades and have never seen anything like this. Oh sure, you hear veteran teachers say that all the time, but I don't mean the kids, I don't mean parents and I don't mean urban life. I have always rolled with the changes in the aforementioned areas and have had no problems.
I have always love the kids, been empathetic where parents are concerned and been cognizant of the limitations in the most harsh of urban environments.

But today, education is no longer education as we know it. As a teacher, I can tell you that the best thing I can do for your child is to help him move towards higher academic achievement and to help him realize his God-given potential.

PPS curricula precludes that.

I want to teach him how to think and not what to think. I want to expand his curiosity and desire to explore.

PPS curricula squelches that. Not only do they not want me as a teacher to have any involvement with a student at all, but they want me to fence in his curiosity and teach him what to think in a true politically correct, feel-good mentality.

I want him to be prepared for life beyond high school as an individual who now carries a number of personal intellectual characteristics that were enhanced via his time in school. I want him to make the transition to college or professional live in a seamless fashion.

PPS curricula would rather we take the easy way. Pair up. Get together in triads. Do 4-square work. Do it every day.

Sorry, but with kids, nephews and nieces in college courses of all kinds, I can tell you that this is not a constant at the next level, if done ever.

No, it's another way to enhance grades. It's another way to get kids on the pathway to promise money. As if a misguided 50% grading policy wasn't laughable enough, you have this mentality pervading the administration on Bellefield, because getting everyone to drink from the promise well is good PR. It will surely make an impression in the public consciousness that allows for those annoying little incidents of sexual assaults or trysts by security guards, teachers or administrators. It will make people forget about a gun found at school, an assault on a teacher or in general, any concerns voiced by parents or teachers.

It's all about PR and it's not education. It's a complete cop-out by those in charge. We stopped educating when Roosevelt came to town, when Gates money was accepted and when Pitt's IFL and Judy Johnston were allowed to set policy.

There are many good teachers in PPS, but I would never allow my kids to go to school in even the best institution here. And I would never, ever allow my child to be a teacher.

And testing? It's all about PR. It's all about the money.

Anonymous said...

Teachers were at a training this past week where our fearless leaders presented their propaganda about "Debunking the Myths about RISE". Seriously? If you need to put out a two page document to tell the entire district why they are wrong, you need to rethink your approach. When will central office begin to realize they are alienating their entire work force...morale has never been lower.

Anonymous said...

Let's tell it like it is: RISE is a complete sham, a subjective way to get rid of people that you don't like, period. That gutless union leadership approved this is a complete outrage.
The next time someone talks about how progressive this district is, have them read the board minutes to see who has been either terminated or forced to resign. Do some legwork and then ask yourself why in almost each case it is a veteran teacher with more than 20 or 25 years experience.

How did he or she suddenly forget how to teach? Is the problem that they don't walk in lock step with a failed curricula that only shows how poor it is with each PSSA testing result?

I have never ever seen so many incompetent principals and vice principals in our schools. They are there for one reason---to cut payroll by cutting staff.

I am hopeful that good records are being kept by teachers and that court proceedings will follow. In this era, workers still have rights in the face of administrative harassment.

And morale? Ha, yeah it's low, until it's time to vote and we all get to watch in wonder as the truly gutless vote current leadership back in, if they vote at all.