Thursday, October 19, 2017

Where is the Forrest?

The stats are in. Well some of them as most of the new testing data is wrong but hey Teachers are evaluated on it but what does it matter with an increasing retention problem and lack of collective bargaining, the Teachers how we say it the North are screwed.

The blog, Tennessee Education Report, noted some of the ongoing problems with testing data as well as many of the other issues that plague the district; however,  my favorite right now is the literacy rates.  Most of the kids here are illiterate which given the numbers their Parents are. Shocking, I know.  But then with the head of our Department of Education saying that literacy is consistently an illusive issue.  I go, " Really?"   To the kids and Teachers in Massachusetts, Washington State and even New Jersey they would go WHAAT? Or maybe just the proper what, when it comes to meeting standardized scores when it comes to reading.

I used to laugh with kids now I laugh at them. I was in class recently reading one of the canons for High School, Lord of the Flies, and one student informed me that even reading one chapter was an effort. I asked if he had issues with the English language that could prevent comprehension and he replied no. I asked if he had issues with words or letters to see if he was dyslexic or had a reading disability and he said no. I asked if he was able to read at all and again no. So I asked why and he told me just reading a chapter in a book was hard and did not want to do it. So I asked him if that response would be acceptable when he is working in a job  when asked to do something he did not want to do.  His response was no. An no he was 17 not 2.   He informed me that he would never be asked to do anything a job he did not want to do and he would be paid anyway. So I asked if grades were not payment and he of course said no. There is no correlation here with regards to outcome and in turn how grades can affect ones performance even later in life. Yes some kids do fail and overcome it but on average, once a failure always one. This is how one distinguishes those who understand and value the work ethic. He looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language and this is the center zone of the work ethic mantra that dictates the Southern culture. But then again in the South logic is for the listener.

And when I read the below article I busted out laughing. The reality is that the schools are dumps.I was in the Teacher of the Year's class this morning and to say award winning yes, but not in a good way. The endless throwing of pen caps, breaking pencils and even their breakfast cereal quickly littered the floor.  Then it escalated to whatever available, a pencil bag and calculators the last one nearly hitting me as it flew by.  I wanted to leave.  I have said that I have no intention of getting angry anymore and allowing these children to see any emotional affects of their abuse, so I went to the class next door said to please call someone I want to leave.  They sent in the Police that yes again our stationed Officer whom I had met before when I had another issue with another class and a student touching me in a sexual manner.  The school every time I have come is one bizarre scene over another so I go back on some quest to again be proven what, right?  But I think just once it has to be different but you know the definition of insanity....

The next class they stationed the Counselor who was in his first year of the gig and proceeded to inform me how to do my job and I said well you do it and I will support you. He said he did not teach math nor seemingly seemed to understand even 8 grade level math of proportions, so that was highly amusing as I don't think you need to be a math genius for that, but the kids did the work in record time and then the noise level then stayed at 8 the entire time.  Less damage but utterly a farce.  The Counselor seemed clueless but to make a veteran Teacher feel like shit is part of the program here and the apple and trees rarely go far in this forest.  The reality is that most of the kids are so damaged they want anyone to respond as they need the rage it is all they know.  I suspect why the kids and the Teacher is one of the Year here is because there are few competitors. I watch repeatedly implosions after implosions here and it has nothing to do with a Teacher's skin color versus that of the Student.

Monday,  my birthday,  spent the morning a another middle school just up the road with a Special Education class.   The class was too diverse with the needs of the kids, from those deep into the spectrum of Autism, two physically disabled (one with a full time support person) and some learning disabilities as well as behavioral ones.  The class needed at least two assistants or split in half. The Teacher hired this year quit after two weeks and the new Teacher transferred from another class is in over her head.  They need videos and Ipads and many other means to have kids focused and on task at least something for those who are at least there and not possible to ever mainstream.  I cried when I left and thought never again. I said it today and I meant it, I can't put myself through this.

Living here has done my head in.  Conversation is like a meal, it satiates me and from that I find sustenance and energy to carry on.  I have none. I chat with Baristas but they are very young and too equally not as educated. I am exhausted but I carry on with the belief the end game is another year away and I can make it that far.  The light is on in my house and I am home in the Nashville Public Schools I cannot say the same.   The Forrest is full but it is of Gump trees and I can only run as fast as I can to escape it. 

TNReady results: Only 25 percent of Nashville elementary, middle school students on grade level in reading and math

Jason Gonzales, USA TODAY NETWORK –  Oct. 19, 2017

About a quarter of all Nashville middle and elementary school students are reading at the level deemed proficient by the state, first-year TNReady data released Thursday shows.

Altogether, Nashville third- through eighth-grade students trail the rest of the state in the two subjects tested for the first time under the TNReady assessment in the 2016-17 school year.

The district’s students also are behind the state in science, which is tested under an older assessment.

The results set a baseline for the district under a test that is considered to be aligned to national standards and more rigorous overall. Here are the 2016-17 results for Nashville students:
•In reading and English-Language Arts, 25.6 percent of students were on track or mastered the subject.
•In math, 27.6 percent performed on track or mastered the subject.
•And in science, 42.8 percent scored on-track or mastered the subject, down from 49.1 percent in the 2014-15 school year. The science test was taken under the same test as previous years.

Statewide, 34 percent of Tennessee's third- through eighth-grade students are considered proficient in English. In math, 38 percent were considered proficient in grade-level expectations.

Scores throughout the state read lower than previous years, but state officials have said the different tests can’t be compared.

Tennessee Commissioner Candice McQueen and education department officials hope the new TNReady test is an overall more accurate reflection of student achievement when looked at nationally.

The state’s elementary and middle school test should align closely with results seen on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, which is often referred to as the Nation’s Report Card.

High school scores, which were released in late August, are closely aligned to the ACT test. Nashville also trailed the state in its results.

This is the second year the test was administered for high school grades.

More: Beth Harwell calls for hearings after more than 9,000 TNReady tests scored incorrectly

More: Nashville schools hit hardest by the incorrect scoring of TNReady tests

Elementary and middle school students were unable to take the test after the state’s testing vendor was unable to administer online tests in the fall and then get districts enough paper tests. The state fired its vendor, Measurement, Inc., shortly after the issues and then hired Questar Assessment last summer.

While testing in all grades went smoothly during the 2016-17 school year, the year’s TNReady tests haven’t been without its problems.

The release of data, especially, has been a challenge for the state. Questar Assessment has taken responsibility for errors this year after the Tennessee Department of Education was unable to get districts scores for report cards after the school year.

And then, more recently, thousands of TNReady scores in high school grades were scored incorrectly. A Tennessee Department of Education spokeswoman said the 9,400 incorrectly graded tests represent a small portion of the 1.9 million tests taken during the 2016-17 school year.

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