This Saturday the host of The Great Education Struggle blog and podcast , Isaac Moffet, was gracious enough to open up his studio for an interview on how Common Core is impacting special education students.
It was a pleasure to take part in describing the impacts I see of Common Core and related policy in my own classroom.
Also of note, Travis Manning, a candidate for District 10A in Idaho’s legislature and Director for the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, was kind enough to join us to share impacts he sees of Common Core in the general education classroom, particularly for special education students who have been mainstreamed into his environment.
The interview covered lots of juicy topics including common core, the SBAC, tiered certification, and the influence of politics in Idaho’s educational system.
The Board of Education recently sent out an open letter to Idaho’s educators regarding the new Tiered Teacher Certification proposal.
The letter flatly admits that Idaho’s teachers aren’t compensated anywhere near where they should be (true), but then argues that the only way Idaho legislators would find a raise to be palatable is to move to a tiered teacher certification system (false).
A few things to point out here: a tiered certification system is a completely separate topic than teacher compensation. The attempt to conflate the two different items as being one and the same is deceptive, at worst, and misleading, at best.
Recently, I inquired to ISDE’s Director of Assessment and Accountability about Idaho’s recent decision to give the SBAC to sophomores this year instead of juniors; I thought this decision was problematic due to the fact that the SBAC includes questions from 11th grade Common Core Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics.
However, I was shocked during this exchange when the Director told me that the decision was due to the fact the state was worried students wouldn’t take the test seriously, and they didn’t want their data set tainted…because, you know, then the results wouldn’t be valid.
“For movement to a Professional Certificate and
maintenance of a Professional Certificate: At least three
assessments must be used in demonstration of a
teacher’s student achievement. Of those three, the Idaho
Reading Indicator [IRI] and the Statewide standards
achievement test must be included as applicable. Student
Learning Objectives, including pre and post assessment
for student learning must be included for non-tested (SBA
IRI) subjects. Other measures shall be chosen at the
district level, selected from the attached list. The majority
of student achievement evaluation shall be based on
student growth” (58).
That’s what the proposed rule change requires for an educator to move from a residency certificate to a professional certificate, or for an educator to maintain a professional certificate and not be stripped of that certification and be placed on a quasi-probationary contingent certificate.
You 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.”
The Value Added Model is still a Model that Disvalues
Superintendent Tom Luna, last week, was kind enough to respond to my concerned regarding SBAC testing and the Value Added Model (VAM) for special education students. I am appreciative of his feedback, but I am critical of several elements in his response.
I am concerned that the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC, appointed by Luna) is not working collaboratively with the Tiered Licensure Committee. I have heard several comments from this committee that they have not seen recommendations from the TAC committee. This concerns me greatly.