However, within a short time, this approach developed so much momentum that few people questioned it. The report highlights the Cincinnati Public Schools as an example of meeting student and community needs via collaborative, homegrown partnerships. Meeting Community Needs Annenberg and SEF penned “Investing in What Works” to propose a better way, specifically locally based strategies backed by proven research. While the campaign led by educators, parents and students against overtesting has helped bring about real improvements, Koretz, professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, cautions that too many policymakers refuse to give up their “blind reliance” on high-stakes tests – to the detriment of students, schools and the teaching profession. “Test-based accountability has become an end itself in American education,” he writes in The Testing Charade, “unmoored from clear thinking about what should be measured, how it should be measured, or how testing can fit into a rational plan for evaluating and improving our schools.” Koretz recently spoke with NEA Today. NCLB federalized these programs and made them harsher, but most of its components we had already seen before.
On Friday, a celebrity-studded cast of individuals will join hundreds of local students and the beloved Cat in the Hat at the historic New York Public Library in New York City to celebrate Dr. Pattison replied that governors and legislatures are limited in what they can do because an anti-tax climate still exists, even in those states that elected new leaders. “There’s not a lot of flexibility on the revenue side. They weren’t all NEA members. Initiated by GAE, the coalition comprised of education organizations, community and business leaders, parents, and a sundry of other public education stakeholders, was forged in the wake of the Georgia governor’s OSD legislation. The authors of the report suggest that Georgia lawmakers take into account the entire school community, which includes students, educators, parents, businesses, elected leaders, and residents, before making a decision that perpetuates unproven practices and have the potential to hurt students and communities. “When public schools become community hubs—offering services and programs beyond the school day, creating strong learning cultures and safe and supportive environments for both students and educators—student outcomes improve.” Photo: Associated Press This week, three Cat-a-Vans will log more than 5,100 miles as they travel from coast to coast to celebrate NEA’s Read Across America and deliver an important message about reading—and brushing their teeth.
Seuss’ birthday and conduct a read aloud of his all-time classic book, The Cat in the Hat. But test-based accountability was well-established long before NCLB was signed into law in 2002. That’s especially significant in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and create the building blocks of future learning,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Everyone from Horton to the Grinch can benefit from developing good oral health and reading habits. That’s what we’re going to take on.” On Tuesday, voters in Arizona rejected Proposition 305, which would have significantly expanded the state’s school voucher program. The 17 cities along the reading Cat-a-Van route include Phoenix, Ariz.; Boise, Idaho; Las Vegas, Nev.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Little Rock, Ark.; Sherwood, Ark.; Nashville, Tenn.; Hopkinsville, Ky.; Indianapolis, Ind.; East Cleveland, Ohio; Warren, Mich.; Lansing, Mich.; Charleston, W.V.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Orlando, Fla.; and Miami, Fla. NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour – made possible through a unique partnership between the National Education Association and Renaissance Dental – begins on Monday, February 25, and concludes on Friday, March 1—the official Read Across America Day.
Test-based accountability didn’t begin with NCLB. Actor Uma Thurman will be one of the celebrity readers at the event. (You can watch a livestream of the event from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Seuss famously said, ‘Teeth are always in style.’” Visit NEA’s Read Across America for more information. More than 45 Million people young and old participate annually in the literacy program, now in its 16th year. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) released a new report on Dec. 17 that makes a strong case for collaborative, grassroots efforts to help turn around struggling schools. “Investing in What Works: Community-Driven Strategies for Strong Public Schools” points to examples of public schools that have improved student outcomes by becoming the center of a community while denouncing reforms that undermine local authority, such as school takeovers.
As Dr. The school district has seen attendance and graduation rates increase, and student learning growth escalate. Community schools can also be found in Kentucky, a state that has focused on providing all students, regardless of ZIP code, the support and tools they deserve. When did this shift begin and what were the factors that triggered it? Daniel Koretz: This started at least as early as minimum competency testing in the 1970s and “measurement-driven instruction” in the 1980s. Some of these strategies include charter conversion, indiscriminate staff and leadership removal, or school closures.
Academic performance in most of the ASD schools has shown mixed results—and even some decline. Chris Caldwell, a member of the Shelby County (Tennessee) School Board told the Commercial Appeal, “The way that (ASD) was implemented, it gave the families a feeling that they were being punished or isolated from the rest of the school system because of the performance of the school.” If the Georgia legislation passes, Governor Nathan Deal would appoint an OSD superintendent who could enforce one of four interventions: direct management by the state, joint management by the OSD and local school board, conversion to a charter school, or closure. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, Scott Pattison of the National Governors Association (left) and Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute discuss Election 2018 and public education at the National Press Club on November 9. In February, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 133 to create a state-run system—dubbed “Opportunity School District (OSD)”—that would control some of Georgia’s lowest-performing schools. Georgia’s proposal mimics the misguided school reform efforts found in Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee, which usurp local control as a way to transform struggling schools. If successful, the state would be “sent back to a dark past we’ve all worked so hard to overcome,” writes Kent McGuire, president and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation, in the foreword to the report. If a school falls below 60 points of the CCRPI, it would be removed from local authority. The proliferation of high-stakes testing is most often associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the national education law that was in place for more than a decade.
With good reason – the law imposed a crushing accountability regime that turned many of our schools into test prep factories and corrupted what it meant to teach and to learn. The centers are in almost every school statewide and reach more than 12 million students and 4 million families annually. Chapman said, “None of this Opportunity School District business addresses the real problems of the community.” Because of the national implications, GAE Executive Director Chris Baumann solicited the aid of the National Education Association (NEA). “The NEA has been very supportive since we’ve started this effort to counter the OSD initiative,” he says. “If we weren’t part of a national organization, we wouldn’t have the resources to tap into for the high-level campaign we have to have here in Georgia,” Baumann said. EST) Along the reading route this week, more than 20,000 books, toothbrushes, tooth timers and other goodies will be distributed to students to keep them reading and brushing at home. Many people attribute some of the impetus for serious test-based accountability to the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983, which painted a dire picture of the condition of American education. The 2013 campaign with Renaissance Dental is designed to increase the awareness around good oral health and literacy habits by asking children and their parents to brush for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes each day for a daily total of 24 minutes.
We feel that one of the best ways to communicate this message is by reaching out to educators, children and their parents through the classroom during the early educational years—and Renaissance Dental’s partnership with NEA’s Read Across America allows us to do this.” “Students who are absent from class due to health problems are missing out on critical instruction time. Moreover, GAE President Sid Chapman fears this could have dire consequences. In fact, tooth decay continues to be the single most common chronic childhood illness—about five times more common than asthma. “The sad part about these alarming statistics is that many of these oral health issues can be easily prevented and easily fixed,” said Rob Mulligan, president and CEO at Renaissance Dental. “Visiting the dentist and developing good brushing habits early on is key to preventing issues down the road. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., has grown into a nationwide initiative that promotes reading every day. The idea is for schools to serve the entire community: students, parents, and residents. Critics of the governor initiative suggest the referendum subverts the community aspect of public education by eliminating local control of schools and further erodes state funding. The pressure really started ramping up in the early 1990s, when states began putting in place concrete sanctions and rewards homework market based on test scores.
Burnette asked the panelists about the challenges governors will face next year in finding the revenue to increase education funding. Student academic performance is improving, too. According to Annenberg and SEF, the takeover models of Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee have neither shown continuous nor sweeping improvements in student outcomes. “These state takeover districts have failed to consistently improve student outcomes, and failed to engage (and invest) communities and educators in any kind of visionary transformation that is needed in our public schools,” the report states. “Without such investment, even initial academic results will falter.” It goes on to say that these initiatives have created “bad will in the communities and schools that have been targeted by them.” Tennessee’s Achievement School District (ASD), for example, was cited in the report for turning 18 of the 23 takeover schools into charters. Today, there are 137 schools statewide that would meet the proposed requirements of Senate Bill 133. This caught the attention of the general public,” Eskelsen García said.
These partnerships have turned Cincinnati’s schools into community hubs, called “Community Learning Centers,” which might offer—depending on community need—after-care, English language classes, health care services, or arts programs. Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. One indicator would measure these schools: the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI). And the economy may face a downturn in the next few years.” Eskelsen García said the nation needs to take a hard look at those “priorities.” “Why is it always the first order of business to dish out massive tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals? It’s always called an “economic development program” but study after study shows that the promised job creation and new revenues never materialize,” Eskelsen García said. “We have to talk about funding. These involve early childhood and Pre-K; collaborative and stable leadership; quality teaching; restorative practices and student-centered learning environments; a strong curriculum that is rigorous, rich, and culturally relevant; wraparound supports; deep parent-community-school ties; and investment, not divestment.
The Georgia State Constitution, however, blocks the bill from easily becoming law, as it limits the control of public education “to that level of government closest and most responsive to the taxpayers and parents of the children being educated.” With that, OSD is considered unconstitutional. However, looking back, what we called “high-stakes testing” back in the 1980s was very weak tea compared with what we see now. Countering the OSD Initiative Another barricade to the legislation is the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). “Investing in What Works” is not just the title of a comprehensive plan developed by Annenberg and the SEF to avert a unilateral state takeover of public schools; it’s also the mantra that has driven a group of concerned citizens to stand together on behalf of their respective community schools. Originally created as a one-day event to celebrate the joy of reading, Read Across America, sponsored by NEA and Dr. School based Family Resource Centers and Youth Service Centers provide pre-kindergarten programs, professional development for teachers, before- and after-school, substance abuse programs, and family literacy classes.
The focus of the report is recent activity in Georgia. Renaissance Dental also will be distributing more than $30,000 in grants to public schools visited by the Cat-a-Van Reading Tour to help keep their libraries stocked with books and other reading inspiration. Voucher proponents worked overtime to sell the proposition to the voters, but “we made sure they knew exactly what they were voting for,” Eskelsen García said. “Democrats and Republicans agreed with us.” “We need to stop taking about these distractions,” she added. “The bottom line is this: if you have a poor neighborhood school that doesn’t have the funds or resources that those state-of-the-art, top-tier schools in your state have, then there’s something wrong with the way you fund your schools. We have to talk about what every student in this country deserves.” To be successful, however, the conversation also has to shift its focus away from “school choice” schemes that siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools. Parent frustration has become an issue.
It comes down to the decision-making process, but there are a limited parameters and all kinds of competing priorities. And it persists today, two years after the law was replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), says Daniel Koretz, author of The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better. The Legislature will turn to voters in the next election (November 2016) and ask that the constitution be amended and a referendum passed to give the state control of public schools.