Monthly Archives: July 2014

Frankenstein: Idaho’s $42 Million Inept Data Monster

640px-Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)Idaho could benefit from examining the successful models of several States and hiring a professional grant writer and some technical experts who could better inform the development of a better-conceived application to fund the work that the State so desperately needs.

Such was the scathing critique by the US Department of Education when it rejected Idaho’s $21 million dollar grant request to develop Idaho’s big data longitudinal data collection system (Idaho System of Educational Excellence, or ISEE and its companion Schoolnet). Continue reading

Proudly Ineffective Human Capital

1aMaoYou might be excused if you assumed the phrase “Ineffective human capital Investments” is a relic of a central planning communist Stalinesk era.  After all, we would never assume to treat teachers, let alone students, as widgets mass produced on a national scale would we?

Yet, that is exactly not only the tone, but the message being sent by the latest National Governors Association guide to building a robotic, ahem human, workforce.  Their latest report (you just can’t make this stuff up) is titled “A Governor’s Guide to Human Capital Development.”

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Please Pass that Test, Johnny!

Pass Or Fail Keys To Show Exam Or Test ResultDespite consistent criticism from educators around the state to tying compensation and certification to student growth as measured by standardized tests (SBAC), the Tiered Licensure Committee continues to insist that compensation and teacher certification be tied to student test scores.

A refresher, I emailed every member of both the technical advisory committee as well as the subcomittee about a month ago.  To some members credit, including IEA President Penni Cyr and Superintendent Luna, I received a legitimate concerned response.  However, it seems the bulk of the members declined to open a dialogue, and little (if any) of my concern–particularly to special education and English language learner students–made it into the discussion.

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Response to OpEd Criticism: Square Root of Stupid

Recently my OpEd critiquing the logic of tying federal special education reimbursement dollars was published in the Idaho Press Tribune.  As with its publication in Idaho Education News it was generally well received.

However, I did receive several messages from special education advocates arguing that special education students are capable of performing at academic proficiency and thus schools should be held accountable via Duncan’s plan to withhold the purse-strings of federal coffers for districts who are not proficient under revised guidelines for special education reimbursement.

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The Square Root of Stupid

StupidRecently National Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that the federal government will be changing the way in which it allocates federal money for special education services to states.  Secretary Duncan wants to tie test scores for special education to the amount of money a state receives from the federal government for reimbursement of special education services.

The logic is simple:  states that send back high special education student test scores will get more money, those with lower scores will get less or even no money.  Surely this will improve student learning, right?  Clearly No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) emphasis of tying student test scores to federal money was a major success!  Cloning NCLB tools for special education students sounds like a real winner.

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