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Interests: Baseball, sailing, skiing, fly fishing
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Great points, Mark. I agree, lawmakers need to see the negative impacts of their inaction before they act. But it hurts to see it first-hand. As for the families of those 14 kids,they did find a "non-failing" school in the district. Unfortunately for them, that school will definitely "fail" next year, which means they'll have to either re-enroll in our school (if we have any room) or figure out a way to get their kids across town to their new school, since the district doesn't have to provide transportation from one failing school to another. This whole mess is like a Joseph Heller novel.
I'm with you on the time thing. As a fourth grade teacher, however, I don't have those ridiculously long weekend days spent grading papers. I can almost always get everything my students do graded ready to go home before I leave at the end of the day. Most of my extra time is spent planning; I spend 1 or 2 hours each night planning the next day's lessons. It works out to about 50 hours a week.
You're right; we should get our waiver back. The very people who encouraged using test score for teacher evaluation are now hedging. Such irony!
Great post, Mark, and David's post is also excellent. I can only add what I once told our superintendent, "Remember, your name is on the contract too; you didn't have to sign it. But since you did, you should probably focus on hiring really good teachers and planning really good professional development."
Too true, Mark, about the technology. Despite a year of having my students use "All the Right Type," a self-paced typing program, I watched in dismay as many of them hunted and pecked their way through their tests. As far as the level of difficulty goes, I don't think they've rolled out the adaptive features yet; my kids also had different tests, but the level of difficulty seemed relative to the background of individual students.
I like this. Especially the visual,colorized presentation of their growth. And even though it's based on proficiency, not deficits, it makes it easy to see how the kid who's seventh from the bottom began to slide downhill. And a teacher like you, even with 150 or so kids, can and would do something about it.
And Mark, hopefully that's the direction we'll move toward. David, I'm sorry but I honestly don't understand your comment. Perhaps you could clarify.
Great post, Mark. Believe it or not, I've also been asked what my "career plans" are. I've never given any serious thought to being an administrator, and it's not because I'd feel like a traitor or because I'd be "going to the dark side" or any of that. It's simply because I would be doing activities that I don't think I'd find very enjoyable. I enjoy teaching. I don't enjoy putting out inter-personal fires between adults. I don't enjoy leading meetings. I don't enjoy supervising big people. A good administrator is priceless. I admire their patience and the hard work they have to do. I just wouldn't want to do it.
Interesting perspective. When I was on a bargaining team I remember waiting impatiently for the niceties to end and the "bare-knuckle" bargaining to begin. Eventually it did, at which point it became more-work-for-less-pay vs. less-work-for-more-pay. But what distinguished my experience from yours, apparently, was that the players in this "game" understood that the rules of the game. The union, for example, didn't really want everything they asked for, but they knew that they wouldn't get what they really wanted without asking for more than they expected. Fortunately it never got personal. Everyone understood the parameters and the protocol. It went back and forth until it became clear where each side's bottom line was, at which point we met in the middle and went home. That's why it's called bargaining.
Awesome primer on CCSS. I'm a big fan of common core, but worried as heck about its smooth implementation. This post is part of what we as teacher need to do to educate each other about the coming changes.
As a member of the audience when Duncan made this speech, I have to agree with Hess on this, when he characterizes his idea of teacher leadership as "followership." I definitely had the impression that Duncan want teachers to help implement stuff that the administration creates. Not that implementation isn't important, but it's not the same as leadership.
I whole-heartedly concur. With everything. This is a pivotal time for education in Washington and the people who make the decisions in this state need to hear teachers' voices. This conference is all about helping teachers learn how to lead and be heard. (And by the way, I'm presenting a session on blogging. It will be awesome. And there will be small containers of candy at every table. I promise!)
I agree completely, Mark; the state is getting a bargain. I remember when those NEAP scores came out. The Seattle Times was complimenting everyone involved - parents, students, administrators - everyone except teachers. Why? because complimenting teachers doesn't fit the narrative they've built about teachers being the weak link in the system.
Thanks for the post, Spencer, and welcome to the community of Washington State NBCTs! I didn't see you at the conference, probably because there were so many other outstanding sessions. As you say, the teaching profession is dependent on the voices and efforts of teachers like you.
Time. More than anything, teachers need time. After spending a week in DC working with teachers and attending a great conference, it's amazing how much energy and enthusiasm teachers have when they get together to collaborate. Yet the demands of teaching are such that we rarely get to "lead" when we're at our best and most energetic.
Very interesting. Regrettably, I missed that session, but I definitely picked up on the tension between speakers encouraging teachers to lead by changing policy and speakers encouraging teachers to lead by helping other teachers execute policy.
If this passes, it seems to me that it could work out really well for us. Consider the phrase "when relevant." It seems to me that state tests are never relevant. Ergo, state tests won't ever have to be used! Of course, it all depends on who gets to decide when data is and isn't relevant.
Both points are well taken, Mark and Pezz. And again, I certainly don't like the direction in which this is going. TPEP has definitely been damaged by these developments. I guess what I'm trying to communicate is that bad as it is, it isn't the end of the world or the ruination of TPEP. The people in DC have a certain set of priorities that doesn't exactly overlap with ours, and because they're holding the checkbook, we really have no choice but to capitulate. That's reality.
I set out to write a comment, Mark, but it morphed into an entire post, which I promptly dropped right on top of yours. Sorry buddy!
Maybe they listened, Mark:
I agree with everything above; awesome summary of the main distinction between what "they" want and what we have. But if talks break down, as they often do, I would love to have our delegation look someone in the eye and call them on their cynical power-play; i.e. using the threat of NCLB - which nobody favors - as leverage to get states to comply with "their" preferences.
Good question, Todd, and lawmakers gloss over this all the time. How can a test be used with consistency for teacher evaluations, when only 17% of us have access to it? But like I said, the issue is moot since the Legislature voted it down.
It looks like the issue is moot: Apparently the legislature is more willing to to a gamble than I am! We'll have to see how this turns out; could be interesting!
Two things: 1. I totally agree with Mark that teaching to the CCSS doesn't "squeeze the joy" out of teaching. At least not my joy. I find joy in the daily challenge of planning, executing and reflecting on my teaching and my students' learning. Frankly, it matters little what standards I'm teaching to, as long as they're coherent. 2. Linda, your remark that some standards are "developmentally inappropriate" concerns me. On what basis do you make this claim? I have found that developmental appropriateness is a very nebulous concept. Even within one classroom there might be 15 kids who are ready to learn fractions and ten who aren't. Do we wait until all of them are ready?