Saturday, November 09, 2013

CCSD's Stacking the Deck Decoded by BRIDGE Opponents

BRIDGE--another program introduced by the Charleston County School District that is directly encouraged and funded by federal grants in the Race to the Top national competition.

Whether you agree or not with Sarah Shad Johnson's opposition to standardized testing, her Letter to the Editor published Saturday shows she understands how Superintendent Nancy McGinley guarantees her intended outcomes in CCSD. Long-time watchers know how she has stacked community committees for her entire tenure.

Johnson's analysis shows that the Bridge steering committee deliberately omits "parents who are not CCSD employees" and "independent community members," while including only four teachers, one of whom represents StudentsFirst. The rest are administrators, and we all know whom they answer to in fear of their jobs.

CCSD claims to "'welcome input of our teachers, principals, parents, and community partners.'"

BRIDGE's goal is to replace current salary structures for teachers with value-added merit pay based on standardized test scores. In other words, each child is a product on the assembly line of schooling, and each teacher adds value until the student reaches the end of the assembly line, or graduates. Furthermore, that value can be measured from year to year.

What's wrong with this picture?


Alex Peronneau said...

Everything is wrong with this picture. Until this is actively questioned by county board members and civic groups such as the League of Women Voters stop providing cover for this kind of scam, it will continue. Our public schools are being fleeced by a group of bureaucrats who see the education of youth as a secondary outcome, if they seriously consider that goal at all.

Clisby said...

Yes, everything is wrong with this picture.

First, while I'm not adamantly opposed to standardized testing, I think everyone should recognize it for what it is. It's *A* test, taken at *A* point in time, which may or may not tell you something useful about *A* particular student's academic achievement.

This, in itself, isn't inherently bad, in my opinion. When I was a kid, periodically we'd turn up at school, be handed a #2 pencil, and told, "take this test." There were no practice tests, there were no PASS test pep rallies, there was no angst over it. It was just *A* test. Maybe our parents got some kind of results - I don't know. We students never heard of it again.

Now, these tests, which I don't even think are very good at evaluating students, are being pushed as ways to evaluate schools and teachers. It's crazy.

I've gotten to the point where I'm considering opting my child out of the standardized testing (public school principals might claim you can't do that - they are misinformed). I'm mildly interested in how he does on the tests - but if his test scores will figure into his teacher's evaluation? I don't want my child used that way.