Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ipswitch Kids Want to be Paid for Taking Field Tests

No testing without compensation! Ipswich is not far from Boston harbor. This has tremendous potential! Imagine if dozens or hundreds of schools caught on to the idea that students field testing products of for-profit companies should be paid; kids all over the country start sending bills to state officials. ... Jeff N.

What I found so great about this story is that the teacher made an off-hand comment that the kids should be paid for their time, and it was a student who took the initiative to run with it -- these are 11 year olds! I am so impressed with various student efforts to fight what's being done to their education!... Nancy K.

A year or two ago Change the Stakes calculated the bill Pearson would have to pay kids and teachers for their labor. The bill came to $34 million. We knocked on the door of Pearson and presented them with a giant version of the bill. We haven't gotten the check yet.

Ipswich 6th graders calculate a rebellion

·  ·  Alan Laroche’s sixth grade A and B period math classes sent a petition to the state Department of Education to be paid for their time spent taking a trial  math test. Courtesy Photo / Alan LarocheAlan Laroche’s sixth grade A and B period math classes sent a petition to the state Department of Education to be paid for their time spent taking a trial math test. Courtesy Photo / Alan Laroche
·  ·  ·  Posted May. 29, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

By Kate Evans

Two sixth grade math classes lost an entire week’s worth of instruction taking a trial run of a new test and now they want payment for their time.

The state randomly selected Ipswich Middle School teacher Alan Laroche’s A and B period math classes to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test drive.

The multi-state group is working to create English and math K-12 assessments that will help prepare students for college and their careers.

Starting this fall, Massachusetts school districts have the option to choose the new test over the MCAS for grades 3, 8 and 9 in math and English.

But for now the test is still in its trial period and Laroche’s 37 students are among the 81,000 that spent two 75-minute periods in March and two 90-minute periods this past week completing the test.

This time would have otherwise been spent writin and solving and graphing inequalities from real-life situations.

During class last Monday, May 19, a teacher jokingly mentioned that the students should get paid for taking the test since their participation helps the PARCC and at the end of class the students pressed Laroche further on the idea.

"The kids proceeded to tell me that PARCC is going to be making money from the test, so they should get paid as guinea pigs for helping them out in creating this test," said Laroche. "So I said, ‘OK, if that’s the case and you guys feel strongly then there are venues and things you can do to voice your opinion, and one would be to write a letter and have some support behind that letter with petition."
At 8 p.m. that night Laroche received a shared Google document with an attached letter from A-period student Brett Beaulieu, who asked that he and his peers be compensated for their assistance.

"I thought it was unfair that we weren’t paid for anything and we didn’t volunteer for anything," said Beaulieu. "It was as if we said, ‘Oh we can do it for free.’"

Beaulieu used his math skills in the letter, determining that the two classes would collectively earn $1,628 at minimum wage for their 330 minutes of work. He then went on to figure out how many school supplies that amount could buy: 22 new Big Ideas MATH Common Core Student Edition Green textbooks or 8,689 Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils.

"Even better, this could buy our school 175,000 sheets of 8 ½" by 11" paper, and 270 TI-108 calculators," Beaulieu wrote.

On Tuesday, May 20 he gathered over 50 signatures from students, as well as from assistant principal Kathy McMahon, principal David Fabrizio and Laroche.

"I think Brett took the right steps and drafted a letter in the right way, and we’ll see what comes from it," said Laroche. "I’m proud of him for doing that and for the kids supporting him and what he’s trying to do."

·  ·  ·  Page 2 of 2 - Laroche mailed the letter off to the PARCC, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. Laroche used return requests for a better chance at getting an answer.

"We’re hoping we’ll get some type of response," Laroche said. "I would think with us having them sign for the document might add a little bit of pressure on getting a response from them."

Beaulieu thinks they will receive some type of reply. He would be satisfied receiving school supplies, but he’s rooting for the money. "I hope that we can get the money," Beaulieu said. "I mean it’s really not all about that, but I think it would be cool if we could actually kind of make a difference."

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