Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prisco: Extending mayoral control is a recipe for failure

by Loretta Prisco

Proponents of Mayoral Control state “improvements” in scores as justification. Scores have jumped in cities without mayoral control proving this a fallacy. Teachers know the secret recipes.

The Not-So-Secret Recipe for Increased Scores:
1. Negotiate a $118 million testing company contract that dumbs down the tests.
2. Eliminate social studies and science, throw out the arts and turn schools into test prep factories.

The Mayor’s Sure-Fire Recipe for Increasing Graduation Rates:
1. Transfer failing students to special programs (Goodwill, drug programs) that are not required to report dropouts.
2. Offer failing/ truant students the opportunity to do a simple project for credit in lieu of attending/ passing classes all term. (Credit Recovery).

The Miraculous Recipe to Close the Achievement Gap between Students of Color and White Students:
In scaling scores, make it easier for students to move from a Level 1 to Level 2 and from 2 to 3 (requiring fewer correct answers for Level 2). Voila –– the gap is closed.

The Mayor’s Secret Recipe for Improving Scores of English Language Learners (ELL):
Give extra test time to these students even though have mastered English and passed the NYSSLAT test that moved them out of ELL programs.

Bake and watch the cake rise.

Loretta Prisco
Staten Island, New York

6 comments:

  1. AND, component retesting along with ordering counselors to place students in YABC programs to pad the graduation stats. Thompson is correct, the DOE is the Enron of public education. Those in the schools need to support Thompson regardless of their political affiliation. Or else, line up to be slaughtered if a third term becomes reality.

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  2. I'm in general agreement, but I'll have to take exception to the last recipe. Students pass the NYCESLAT whether or not they know English. The results of that test indicate almost nothing. Plenty of students who pass it need extra time, and I wouldn't begrudge them.

    Perhaps the test is so easy so that extra services need not be provided to kids in need. I couldn't say. But that test is preposterous.

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  3. You put it all in a nut shell Loretta, easily reproduced and distributed to friends and colleagues trying to figure this testing insanity out. Thanks!

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  4. ___________________________________

    RE TESTS AND TEST SCORES

    WHEN ARE THE NUMBERS COOKED ENOUGH ?
    ___________________________________

    When I taught at a Manhattan High School I happened to stop by a room where Science Regents scores were being Cooked- Oops "Graded"

    Every teacher sat with a pile of exams to grade and in front of them a Blue sheet of paper with an elaborate Chart indicating how to take a student's Regents Exam grade, strangely referred to as the student's "Raw Score" and use the Chart to "convert" that "Raw Regents Score" to the student's "Final Regents Score"

    Funny- when I was in High School your score on your Regents, in any subject was THE SCORE you received on that particular Regents.

    But today nothing in the world of "Boss Klein", (reputed by some to be distantly related to Boss Tweed), is what it appears to be.

    You take a Regents and get a grade. BUT - that Regents grade is ONLY your RAW Regents grade. The teacher marking the Regents must then refer to the Blue sheet of paper, "The Raw Score Conversion table" where a grade as low as 43 is magicly metamorphosed into a 65.

    "Look Ma, I passed my Earth Science Regents - remember those Nike Sneakers you promised if I passed?"

    So I tried the new system at an upscale Italian Restaurant when they brought my bill. Retrieving the Blue Sheet from my jacket pocket I looked at the bill, instantly converted the total bill for my Dinner using the Conversion Chart and declared to the Waiter:

    "Great meal and now according to the Blue Sheet that Raw total for my meal comes out to $ 13 dollars and 29 cents after negatively converting the Raw total to the much improved Final Bill".

    Somehow the Waiter did not seem to appreciate the logic of Dinner Cost Conversion but when he snapped his fingers and two rather burly cooks from the kitchen instantaneously appeared at the Waiter's side it dawned on me that not everyone in the REAL world feels the concept of converting numbers wets their appetite.

    Realizing that NOT everyone appreciates Boss Klein's "New Math" system I rethought the situation, paid the original figure written on my Bill (being sure to leave a generous gratuity) and vacated my table as quickly as my legs would allow.

    By the way, did I tell you about the guy who was stopped for speeding for doing 75 in a 35 mile per hour zone and tried to convince the motorcycle cop who flagged him that the Office was behind the times and that after his total driving speed was converted- the officer owed the alleged speeder a Cash Voucher for $ 45 because 75 miles per hour after converting really was ...........

    The exciting world of the "New DOE Math" Right !!!!

    The Driver was puzzled that the Officer ordered him to get out of the car, assume the position and then take a Breathalizer Test and walk 20 feet in a straight line.
    _________________________________

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  5. Principals all over the city are supporting Mayoral control. Kind of makes you wonder about their commitment to education.

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  6. NY Educator makes a valid point. I grew up in a bilingual home, my parents were limited in English and I believe I am somewhat hampered in language by that early experience.

    However, some of our children who grow up in English speaking homes don't have the benefit of language development in their early years which is necessary for success in school in all curricula areas. The number of words, the ease of conversation and ability to participate in discussion is limited for these children.

    I wonder how our students jump the hurdle of being taught to take their time, not to rush through their work, consider different strategies for solving a problem, and check their answers only to being confronted with a Math test that challenges them to answer Math questions in less than a minute on the elementary test.

    Neither ELL nor mainstream students should be given timed tests.

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