Too Much Testing!?

The Sun Times reports on the testing-limits initiative.  AP reports that states are trying to make 3rd grade a retention year for literacy. Chicago Magazine reports Penny Pritzker is going to get a Cabinet appointment, finally (who will replace her?).  DNAI Info reports that Jones Prep kids got credit restored for Latin and other classes. 


CPS parents' petitions seek limits on testing Sun Times: As a group of public school parents petition to cut their children’s standardized tests, the Chicago Teachers Union denounced what they call “abusive” testing in Chicago Public Schools. Parents behind the website will circulate petitions near at least 36 public schools asking the Board of Education to limit testing and provide more details about the cost and stakes of the 22 tests now used in the district.

Mr. Stieber, Protests aren’t on the MAP Test! Gapersblock via CPS Chatter: “While I was teaching this lesson my students said things like, “Mr. Stieber you are going to get in trouble for teaching us this.” or “You made this lesson just for us?!” or “Mr. Stieber are you allowed to teach us this?” My goal was to help them to understand that while protests can seem fun, the point is to use mass protest only when working within the system fails to bring about the change they seek. In this case, the students wanted the building to be warmer or to wear long sleeve shirts over (not under, like the uniform policy dictates) their uniform polos”

Literacy By Third Grade A Renewed Priority For States AP: Retention policies were tried out in large city districts but in recent years have been scaled back or dropped in places like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Los Angeles district spokeswoman Monica Carazo said her school system studied retention and determined that "research did not show it as an effective practice."


CPS School Closure Meeting Sees Parents, Teachers, Aldermen Speak Out DNAI:Parents, teachers and activists filled a church gymnasium to talk about school closures.

Englewood Gresham School Closing Hearing Substance vis CPS Chatter:  During the hearing, it was pointed out by one audience member that the location was better known locally as 740 63rd Street rather than “Halsted.” Coupled with the fact that this hearing was scheduled after the first day of the month she questioned CPS’s commitment to really seek the community’s input.

INCS Applauds Charter School Approval Newswire: The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) applauds the Chicago Public Schools board for approving two new charter schools in their January meeting.  Congratulations to the founding teams at Foundations College Prep and The Orange...
West Side residents fight to keep neighborhood schools open ChicagoTalks:  Last week, hundreds of West Side residents packed Friendship Baptist Church to tell Chicago Public Schools officials to leave the West Side alone when considering school closings. The residents spoke out at the first of two community meetings on school closings in the Austin-North Lawndale Network. More than a dozen Austin schools could be on [...]
Penny Pritzker a Likely Commerce Secretary the Second Time Around ChicagoMag: Barack Obama owes longtime friend and fundraiser Penny Pritzker a great deal, going back to his days as an obscure state senator. 2008 wasn't the right time to include her in his cabinet, for a host of reasons, but he's got a lot more political capital in 2012, and much less to lose.
Madison school district superintendent finalists come with not insignificant baggage The Daily Page: After paying an Iowa-based headhunting firm $30,975 to develop a candidate profile and launch a three-month nationwide recruitment effort, and after screening 65 applications, the Madison school board has narrowed its superintendent search down to two finalists.
Ray teacher gets school supplies award Hyde Park Herald: Barbara Byrd Bennett, CPS CEO, and Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears both spoke to the winning teachers at a special ceremony and thanked them for going above and beyond for their students every day. “Ms. Garcia personifies dedication to all ...
My Voice, My School Survey for 2013 CPS: Student input helps to shape school improvement

Local activists say CPS is not teaching enough black history to students<> WBEZ: Some local leaders are concerned about the lack of African American history education in Chicago Public Schools. Mattie Butler runs a community organization called Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors.

Congratulations Are In Order Tim Furman: I'd like to take this moment to congratulate all teachers who have made it into their fourth year of teaching. Already you have spent more time practicing the profession than Michelle Rhee did. I have admitted before on this blog that I myself was just as misinformed and arrogant as Ms. Rhee is after my third year of teaching.

CPS Restores Latin, African American Lit Classes After Student Petition DNAI: CPS said Latin and African-American literature classes will still count as core credits at Jones Prep.


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  • Madison Wisconsin: First--get you money back from that Iowa head-hunter--you got ripped--these are the two candidates they gave you? Two-Cheatum can go if she would only take all the testing she brought to CPS with her. Three-good luck you need it!

  • Follow the CPS money CPS spends on testing---
    (Makes you wonder if UNO has a contract on this too!)
    CTU testing committee: Full disclosure of the cost, schedule, nature and purpose of all standardized tests--right on.
    Our students will remember that they were tested since they are tested so much--not what they learned or the fun they had learning it.
    Would Rahm allow his children to be tested this much? Would BBB allow her grandchildren to be tested so much?

  • OT: CPS central office is chasing away high quality principals--though that may be what CPS wants. There will be many who will get out--since no one, including BBB is listening to principals. Your memos do not motivate BBB and then our schools have to pay for the ink, paper and person to make all the copies you want.
    Get this--principals have to pay a few hundred $$ to go to the meeting to find out how they are going to be evaluated by CPS. That's how much CPS cares!
    Not one area officer has come from a school at level 3 and made their school to level 1. Many 'chiefs' have no background in a Chicago school and are only using their position as a stepping stone. Some chiefs have never worked in a school as a principal of over 400 students--yet are in charge of the most overcrowded schools in the city.
    These prep programs are only sending student principals to level one schools to learn about being a principal instead of level 2 or 3 schools where things are moving up--New principals will be shocked when they get into a level 3 school thinking that it will work the same as level one.
    One program have actors lead the mock sessions--waste of money

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Why is this surprising? CPS has been chasing away "high quality" teachers for years....this is very obvious with special teachers.....the sharper they are the faster they employees question and that is the last thing central office wants is those who question.....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    According to data I posted on this blog CPS has hired around 200 special education teachers from August 2012 through Jan 2013. Not one teacher on this site questioned that data, so I think to be fair given the level of retirements last year CPS did hire a lot of special education teachers. Vacant positions for special education are now around 115.

    Here is what I find interesting in the general comments by teachers is the blame placed on the CPS central administration for the failure to retain high quality teachers. I think that is not correct. All the data I have seen indicates that CPS teacher retention is driven by school based factors, in particular principal relations with staff, the location of the school in a high or lower poverty community, and the actual working conditions in the building. Non-compliance issues in special education exist in suburban and rural districts just like in Chicago, special education teachers who leave CPS looking for districts that are both compliant and supportive of special education programs could be looking for a long time in this state.

    Most of the best districts in terms of special education are very high income districts and those jobs are not easy to get. I get cases from districts outside of the city on a regular basis and the issues are the same as I see in the city. Many south suburban districts and far southern Illinois districts are far worse than CPS in relation to special education.

    We all know that low poverty elementary schools on the north side have among the lowest turnover rates. These are good jobs in very safe communities with generally responsive parents. In many ways they are better jobs than some positions in north shore elementary schools.

    The central office as we have known it is disappearing. Eventually I believe the current central office space will be abandoned because it is way too big for the number of surviving positions. The vision is for a very small central office that effectively provides limited direct supervision of schools, but rather sits in judgement of schools. Each school will effectively be on its own to sink or swim, just like the relationship of entrepreneurs to venture capitalists in the private sector.

    I am not advocating for this model, but it is apparently what is evolving.

    Rod Estvan

  • Parents and teachers all across America are rising up against testing,

  • Look up Dr. Milton's record from Michigan. A fudged resume, foreclosed home, hiring of a child molestor:

  • MAP was the subject of a Department of Education study published in December. The authors of the study noted that while MAP was used extensively in the U.S., there was "no experimental evidence on its impact on student outcomes. Given that the number of schools investing in MAP and similar programs is projected to increase, evidence on the effectiveness of such programs is critical."
    So the researchers conducted a rigorous study of MAP's effects on the reading of fourth and fifth graders in 32 Illinois elementary schools. The results: Although the teachers in the study were thoroughly trained by NWEA staff in using MAP results to provide "differentiated instructional practices" in their classrooms, they mostly didn't do so. And MAP "did not have a statistically significant impact on students' reading achievement in either grade 4 or grade 5."
    I also asked a CPS spokesperson on Monday morning how much MAP is costing the district. She hasn't yet been able to tell me.
    Chicago Reader

  • Do you know the precise name of the study? I am not surprised with the results. I endured the NWEA "differentiated instruction" training and found it to be the least helpful differentiated instruction training I have ever had in CPS and that's saying a lot. The problem is that the MAP test doesn't differentiate between students very well--it just gives students a normative RIT score for each student. You can then go to NWEA's "DesCartes" document to see what skills a student might need extra help in--but it is hard to choose from a list of 25-50 skills which ones precisely a particular student might need.
    But have no fear that your tax money is being wasted(wink, wink)--MAP wasn't brought to the district to help with differentiation. It was brought to the district to have student growth scores that could be put into the value-added formula to judge and evaluate teachers and eventually fire them.

  • In reply to anon:

    Anon, is absolutely right. Some AMPS schools were chosen to pilot MAP back in 2009, mine was one of them. I specifically remember the presenter telling us all that MAP was not designed to be a summative assessment and was intended to give teachers an idea of what skills the student had mastered and what they were R.eady for I.nstructin T.oday (RIT- I know this is not the literal meaning of RIT, but it applies). It was a
    purely formative assessment. Huberman (anyone remember PM?) used this as an entry point to hijack this test and use it as a VAM metric. 4 years later, here we are with MAP as a district wide VAM measure. Somewhere, Ron is smiling.

  • Rene Descartes was a key figure in the Scientific Revolution and has been described as an example of genius.
    Today, would he sue NWEA?

  • CPAA conference poorly atended-our chief made fun of CPAA. (he was in disney fla) Princpals there lament how bad it really all is--trust no one, talk to no one, ask no one. BBB has all on edge, who will she throw under the bus next?

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