So here it is. Miller thinks he can improve NCLB by:
- Providing much-needed fairness and flexibility.
- Encouraging a rich and challenging learning environment and promote best practices and innovation taking place in schools throughout the country.
- Supporting teachers and principals.
- Continuing to hold schools accountable for students’ progress.
- Joining the effort to improve America’s high schools.
- Investing in our schools.
Let me translate this congressional gobbledygook into English:
- weakening standards
- spending more money
- spending more money
- doing more of the same
- spending more money
- spending a lot more money
I suspect Miller thinks that he knows how to spend the money in new and better ways. Yet, I couldn't find any evidentiary support for anything Miller is proposing. I'm not surprised and neither should you be. Miller is one of the self-anointed educational experts who simply knows how schools must be run to achieve superior student achievement and doesn't find it necessary to justify any of his bold initiatives with cold hard evidence.
There's not enough digital ink to cover every one of Miller's points, so I'll hit the less silly ones.
The legislation I will introduce will contain a growth model that gives credit to states and schools for the progress that their students make over time.Growth models are basically the same as the current safe harbor provision. There is the illusion of "fairness" since you are measuring the growth of the same cohort. But who are we kidding? The schools that need the growth model the most have such a high transient rate to make the concept of "same cohort" laughable. Moreover, there is a downward trend in student performance as they rise in grades, making achieving growth goals all but impossible, if the growth goals approximate anything close to the student's actually achieving proficiency by the time the graduate.
In addition, many Americans do not believe that the success of our students or our schools can be measured by one test administered on one day. I agree with them. This is not fair.I suppose if "many Americans do not believe" it, it must not be true.
So what's the answer? More testing? Where is the evidence that more testing will yield more reliable/accurate results than one test?
We will allow the use of additional valid and reliable measures to assess student learning and school performance more fairly, comprehensively, and accurately. One such measure for high schools must be graduation rates.
So if they can't read or do math, the school passes if they graduate enough illiterate and innumerate students?
The legislation will also drive improvements in the quality and appropriateness of the tests used for accountability. This is especially important for English language learners and students with disabilities who should be given tests that are fair and appropriate, just as they should continue to be included in our accountability system.Because the current legislation requires states to give unfair tests to ELLs and disabled kids currently. Actually the current legislation leaves it up to the states to decide and the states don't have a great interest in failing kids unnecessarily now does it?
In exchange for increased resources, states will be allowed to develop better tests that more accurately measure what all students have learned.Sure it will.
In so many meetings I have had in my district and elsewhere, employers say that our high school graduates are not ready for the workplace.
Because states are looking to make their standards even tougher being that their students can't pass today's easy standards.
This requires that assessments be fully aligned with these new state standards and include multiple measures of success.
These measures can no longer reflect just basic skills and memorization. Rather, they must reflect critical thinking skills and the ability to apply knowledge to new and challenging contexts. These are the skills that today’s students will need to
meet the complex demands of the American economy and society in a globalized world.
We all know how well students apply those elusive "critical thinking skills" before they learn (or memorize if you will) those "basic skills."
This is pure semantics. The critical thinking skills kids learn today are tomorrow's basic skills, just as the basic skills kids learned yesterday form the basis of tomorrow's critical thinking skills. Skills are skills are skills.
Even with all of these changes, we will not meet our national goal of closing the achievement gap until and unless we close the teacher quality gap. No factor matters more to a children’s educational success than the quality of their teachers and principals.
Except the curriculum factor. Great teachers with a substandard curriculum aren't exactly known for their superior results.
All children deserve their fair share of teacher talent and expertise. We must do more to ensure that poor and minority students are taught by teachers with expertise in the subjects they are teaching.
In a world where the rules of supply and demand do not exist perhaps.
As a nation we are not offering teachers the respect and support they deserve today, and as a result we are facing a very real teacher shortage crisis. Particularly in urban and rural communities, in subjects like math, science, foreign language, and for children with disabilities and children learning English, we must hire, train, and retain excellent teachers.
For these reasons, the legislation I will introduce will provide for performance pay for principals and teachers based on fair and proven models, teacher mentoring, teacher career ladders, and improved working conditions.
A certified teacher shortage perhaps. But there is no shortage of
people capable of educating students in any of these subjects. This one will get past the teachers unions sometime about the time hell freezes over.
The bill will include comprehensive steps to turn around low-performing middle and high schools. It will include uniform standards for measuring graduation rates that are fair, accurate, reliable, and will do more to keep students in school.
Because we know exactly how "to turn around low-performing middle and high schools." Thankfully, those "steps" will be enshrined in the next legislation.
This new direction for education in America is premised on the growing consensus that there is a need for greater and sustained investments needed in American education.
The legacy of a great American education system for our children and our country cannot be built on the cheap. America deserves better.
"Growing consensus" my ass.
If only our education system was built on the cheap.
Social and economic opportunity begins in the classroom. Discovery and innovation begin in the classroom. Economic growth and economic disparity begin in the classroom.
This is all true which is why our public education system with all its unfulfilled promises for minorities and the poor is such a national disgrace. It is a failed experiment with socialism. Miller merely wants to double down now, like a good tax and spend Democrat that he is, when he should be folding his hand.