4/2/2015 – Resistance To Standardized Testing Not Going Away

THIS WEEK: Test Companies Spend Big On Lobbying … Teacher Attrition Costs Billions … Teacher Experience Matters … Competition Doesn’t Improve Education … Wall Street’s Schemes


Resistance To Standardized Testing Not Going Away

By Jeff Bryant

“What just happened in New York has implications nationwide, as the rollout of new tests in practically every state are prompting widespread opposition … Journalists aren’t describing the resistance well because anger, by it’s very nature, often comes across first as incoherence to those who aren’t yet angry. But make no mistake; it really is ‘something big.'”
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Report: Big Education Firms Spend Millions Lobbying For Pro-Testing Policies

The Washington Post

“Corporations that dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials … to persuade them to favor policies that include mandated student assessments, helping to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business … Pearson Education … underwrote untold sums on luxury trips for school officials …The company is currently embroiled in a lawsuit in New Mexico for alleged bid rigging when landing an ‘unprecedented’ $1 billion contract for K-12 testing … [Educational Testing Service] ETS lobbied heavily for the introduction of a statewide testing system in California and against a bill requiring test agencies to ‘immediately initiate an investigation’ after complaints on ‘inadequate’ testing conditions … Testing companies have donated to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, founded by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, with Pearson writing three checks totaling at least $125,000 between 2012 and 2014. The foundation is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC.”
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Revolving Door Of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Every Year


An interview with education professor Richard Ingersoll explains, “There’s a revolving door of teacher turnover that costs school districts upwards of $2.2 billion a year. … Beginning teachers are more likely to drop out. Those from top colleges … are more likely to drop out … Minority teachers are more likely to drop out … One of the main factors is … having say, and being able to have input into the key decisions in the building … something that teachers usually have very little of … Shrinking classroom autonomy is now the biggest dissatisfaction of math teachers nationally… One thing that we’ve found that’s effective is freeing up time for the beginning teachers so that they can meet with other colleagues.”
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New Studies Find That, for Teachers, Experience Really Does Matter

Education Week

“The notion that teachers improve over their first three or so years in the classroom and plateau thereafter is deeply ingrained in K-12 policy discussions … But findings from a handful of recently released studies … suggest the average teacher’s ability to boost student achievement increases for at least the first decade of his or her career – and likely longer … Teachers improved their ability to boost student test scores on average by 40% between their 10th and their 30th year on the job… As teachers gained experience, they were linked to lower rates of student absenteeism. The researchers postulate that more experienced teachers got better at motivating students and in classroom management, resulting in better attendance and fewer infractions.”
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How Do Schools Respond To Competition? Not As You Might Expect.

The Washington Post

“The school-choice movement is built on the philosophy that competition forces schools to improve. But new research on New Orleans – arguably the nation’s most competitive school market – suggests that school leaders are less likely to work on improving academics than to use other tactics in their efforts to attract students. Of the 30 schools examined in the study, leaders at just 10 … said they competed for students by trying to improve their academic programs or operations … Far more schools – 25 – said they competed by marketing their existing programs … 10 schools exercised some sort of student recruiting or screening, even though almost all of them were supposed to be open-enrollment schools where such selection practices were not permitted”
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Wall Street’s New Student Loan Scheme: Subprime Loans Are Coming To Financial Aid


Jeff Bryant writes, “Education debt is rapidly becoming a cradle to grave omnipresence … With edu-debt levels mounting higher and higher at every turn, cash-strapped parents, municipal governments and education institutions have turned to solutions from Wall Street … An alphabet soup of new financial vehicles – SLABS, CABS, PPPs, ISAs – that’s been created in the edu-debt sphere spells disaster, as Wall Street tightens its control of how – or even whether – the nation educates its future workers and citizens.”
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