The oligarchs of this nation have bought our schools. “Stakeholders” have become obsolete. Money speaks louder than ethics. New York educator John Sheffield submits evidence for those who have forced their law upon us. What these people are doing is wrong. Wrong in intent, wrong in theory, wrong in practice.
John Sheffield shares:
“So here is yet another great irony for Mr. Gates to ponder. He is so enamored with data…or at least he claims to be. Let’s take a gander at some data:
1) Start with the “Nation at Risk” report that is still cited by reformers: That report reached a false conclusion based on flawed data. “Systems scientists there produced a study consisting almost entirely of charts, tables, and graphs, plus brief analyses of what the numbers signified, which amounted to a major “Oops!”
As their puzzled preface put it, “To our surprise, on nearly every measure, we found steady or slightly improving trends.”
One section, for example, analyzed SAT scores between the late 1970s and 1990, a period when those scores slipped markedly. (“A Nation at Risk” spotlighted the decline of scores from 1963 to 1980 as dead-bang evidence of failing schools.) The Sandia report, however, broke the scores down by various subgroups, and something astonishing emerged. Nearly every subgroup — ethnic minorities, rich kids, poor kids, middle class kids, top students, average students, low-ranked students — held steady or improved during those years. Yet overall scores dropped. How could that be?
Simple — statisticians call it Simpson’s paradox” More info here http://www.edutopia.org/landmark-education-report-nation-risk
2) The PISA scores which more recently have been used as the reformer weapon of choice are also not a valid measure of a nation’s education system and even in its own manual clearly states that it should NOT be used as such. Christopher Tienken of Seton Hall University provides a great breakdown which can be found here- https://youtu.be/nA8Max3GXtQ
3) Even Mr. Gates will have trouble rebuking the “data” presented here…. https://youtu.be/zjxBClx01jc regarding Common Core birth and agenda
4) Regarding the teacher evaluation methodology that he pushed onto teachers and public eduaction; In 2013 Gates’ company microsoft did away with this in his own company. In November 2013 Microsoft abandoned the “hated” system.
“On November 12, all Microsoft employees received a memo from Lisa Brummel, executive vice-president for human resources, announcing the company will be adopting “a fundamentally new approach to performance and development designed to promote new levels of teamwork and agility for breakthrough business impact.”
Brummel listed four key elements in the company’s new policy.
* More emphasis on teamwork and collaboration.
* More emphasis on employee growth and development.
* No more use of a Bell curve for evaluating employees.
* No more ratings of employees.
Sue Altman at EduShyster vividly sums up the frustration of a nation of educators at this new development. “So let me get this straight. The big business method of evaluation that now rules our schools is no longer the big business method of evaluation? And collaboration and teamwork, which have been abandoned by our schools in favor of the big business method of evaluation, is in?”
BUT- it is still being used in public schools.
By the way Mr. Gates, maybe you should be fighting against the use of VAM if you believe in data so much.
Read here on the court findings.
VAM UPDATE: NYS court case re VAM finds it to be “Arbitrary” and “Capricious”.
5) Common Core itself underwent no vetting process, NO accepted and reliable prcedures to even see if it would work…NO DATA EXISTS TO SUPPORT IT.
6) CC is widening the achievement gap NOT narrowing it.
7) You, yourself, Mr. Gates, claim to want a world class education for every child…..yet neither your children, President Obama’s children, form SecEd Duncan’s children, current SecEd King’s children….NONE of them ever attended a school that uses CC or its practices…or any of the practices you (and they) have forced upon the nation’s public schools. That means either you are a liar or a person that doesn’t want their OWN children to have a world class education like all the other kids (in which case you are unfit parent).
8) The actions of you, and the people mentioned in item 7 seem to indicate you are unfamiliar with the Federal Dept of Ed tenets set forth in 1979 by the Carter administration, so here they are for you:
9) It also seems as if your grasp on the past 30 to 40 years of history is lacking, so please read this synopsis:
10a) Recently Mr. Gates, you have started to blame teachers and even students for the Common Core failure;
It is the typical “out” used by politicians and education reformers for years. Take a closer look please: Teachers, especially since the year 2000 and NCLB, have been systematically removed from the process of educational decisions; the very people with proper (and ongoing) training and experience in the fields of child development & education were removed from the process! Please tell me what data there is that says that that even makes sense?! The bottom line sir, is that educators in this country have always tried to do what they have been told by the policy makers and superiors…but the decision makers themselves are NEVER held accountable. Now, with Common Core, parents and educators alike are making their voices heard and the status quo (which includes you) is making the conscious decision to ignore these voices and continue with a “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” attitude.
11) Perhaps Mr. Gates you should look at the problem and not the symptoms, start here:
http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074/chapters/How-Poverty-Affects-Behavior-and-Academic-Performance.aspx or here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528798/
Mr. Gates, I submit to you that your drive for data has added to the problem. YOUR reliance on technology has placed blinders on you. I understand, you and many like you, make more money the more reliant society as a whole becomes more like you. It is no secret that many hedge fund managers and reformers and testing companies are in it for their piece of educational money pie; what is best for the kids is taking a backseat.
I submit to you that an educational system that becomes over reliant upon technology and focusses upon breaking our children down to nothing more than a collection of data points in order to “serve them” better, misses the point. It misses the point because education- true education, is to make the human being better….not make the human being perform better on a test. It is about inspiring, it is about the lifting of not just academics but more importantly the human spirit. It is about stoking the fires of desire to learn and unleashing an individual’s potential. It is about freedom. It is about humanity.
When a test on a computer overrides the input of the people involved with a child each and every day regarding decisions about a child’s education…about a child’s life…then we have given over too much power to technology in the name of standardization. We have indeed removed the humanity from humanity….
…..and that day has come.
My data: I witnessed this happen, and sadly, do so every day.
That is why I fight. I do not have your money Mr. Gates, nor do any of my peers who fight against what you are trying to do. We are not the enemy, we are fighting for our children, the children we are with every day, the children we know and love. While we do not have your money sir we more than make up for in things that often defy measurement. The immeasurables so important to humanity: compassion, passion, perseverance, empathy, and an indomitable human spirit. To put it terms YOU may understand: we have grit and tenacity, and our kids don’t need you or FedEd to teach our children that…they see it in us every day.
It is not too late for you, Bill. You just have been fighting the wrong fight.
Once again I extend you this invitation via the technology at hand:
John D. Sheffield