On receivership, the next big punishment.

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Receivership. Further loss of local control looming large.
This is their next move to “stop the opt out movement” and regain control from parents protecting their children. Of course we are concerned.

Some ideas from Eric Mihelbergel of NYSAPE and NYS Refuse the Tests.

“Receivership and Opting-Out:

Let’s discuss this. Over the past couple weeks, a few people from different parts of NYS, have expressed worry about their school possibly being placed in Receivership due to less than 95% participation on State tests.

I don’t believe this to be an issue that we need to worry about. In fact, I think the best defense against Receivership is a high opt-out rate. But I would like you to challenge me on my points below so that we can really figure out a way to fight the State on this, develop a solid defense, and put people’s mind at ease.

1. It would seem to me that those schools facing the threat of Receivership are in that position for something other than high opt-out rate. Most likely it is low test scores or low attendence. So unless the school improves their test scores and attendence (for example) they are still going to be facing the threat of Receivership. It won’t matter if the school has high opt-out or low opt-out if the school still has low test scores and attendence. So, you might as well stick with your principle of opting-out if it isn’t going to affect the situation anyway.

2. Let’s say a school has 500 kids. That means if only 25 kids opt-out the school will be below 95%. So, if you are considering NOT opting-out because you fear it might spell Receivership then you also have to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that more than 25 other kids do NOT opt-out. How will you know? You can’t possibly know!!! If you decide NOT to opt-out, it will make absolutely no difference at all if more than 25 other familles still decide to opt-out. So, you might as well stick with your principles of opting-out if you can’t possibly know the future.

3. If you allow your child to paticipate in the test they could actually contribute to the low test score problem and make the Receivership problem even worse. What if your child is not feeling well during the test and scores poorly? What if their friends convince them to purposely score poorly because they don’t like the teacher? What if the questions are unfairly written and they score poorly? What if there is a cultural or language barrier in the questions and your child contributes to the low score of the school? If you opt-out then your child cannot possibly be a low scorer and hurt the school. Yes, some will argue that the child could be a high scorer and help the school’s score, but now we are predicting the future. As far as I know, courts of law generally do not rely on predictions of the future. If your child opts-out and there is a high opt-out rate for the school, then your school has a valid arguement that not enough data was collected to verify that the school is failing. A high opt-out rate is the BEST DEFENSE (and probably the only defense) a school can have. If there are a large percentage of students that are not taking the tests then how can the state know that there has been no “demonstrable improvement”. Lawsuits will happen, and schools will be saved by these high opt-out rates.

4. If a school does everything perfect except they have less than 95% participation, I can’t envision Receivership. This is the same argument we have conquered with regard to financial loss for less than 95% participation. Of course, it is very unlikely that a school will have done everything else perfect, so we probably don’t even need to address this one, but if they did do everything else perfect, you’re telling me that the State is still going to put the school in Receivership because 5% of parents did what they believe was best for their kids? Seems completely unlikely. Again, lawsuits will happen and schools will be saved by these high opt-out rates.”

A parent writes in that she spoke to her local superintendent on receivership.

This NYS super states;

“Do you really think that the state has the capacity to manage all of these schools? They cannot even manage the revised evaluation plan. That’s their immediate problem. Their other problem is the potential increase in opt outs. The new commissioner has cited addressing this as a priority. First, she needs to better understand why there are opt outs and that it is not just about teacher unions. It is so much more complex.
Those schools in receivership are in the most impoverished communities in the state. The state will have its hands full addressing their needs. If a district, such as X or X, goes into receivership because of scores affected by opt-outs, the state’s credibility, and the governor’s, will sink to even lower depths.
Also, expect more appeals, lawsuits, and procedural entanglements because of the poorly designed evaluation systems.
This ‘new’ Common Core commission will roll out some broad recommendations and will perhaps make changes to language in the standards and topics; however, if they did it right, there would a very strong research-based review with experts – not generalists – but researchers who have studied the standards movement and the relationship between learning standards (not high expectations) that drive curriculum and student outcomes; experts on early childhood and adolescent cognitive and emotional development; experts on learning environments with a look at the science of addressing needs of students with cognitive disabilities and children learning a new language. Finally, there can be no real understanding of the Common Core unless there is a frank discussion of how a punitive testing system is corrupting learning environments across the state.
The work of the American Educational Research Association, The American Statistical Society, and other research organizations should be carefully studied. These are apolitical organizations in search of truth and accuracy of effective teaching and learning, not about ways to find efficiencies and garner public approval for pseudo-accountability measures.”

Parents are concerned, rightfully so. The word of nysed is of punishment and threat to children and the schools we hold dear. We must stay the course.

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Please find Mr. Mihelbergel on Facebook at NYS Refuse the Tests.

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