Thursday, February 16, 2012

You asked ...

Those of us who are critics of NCLB and/or state blueprint plans, particularly the rush to retain kids and high-stakes test them, have been challenged to put up some ideas.  Below is a start.
Beliefs:
1. Schools ought to run for students.
2. Students need to own their learning, and be in charge of it.
3. Transparency.

1.  Student Assessment
-  Schools will develop interdisciplinary dispositions for students. They will be published.
The dispositions will be based on the 4 C's, adaptability, etc.  Skills that the literature has identified are necessary to students to be successful - in any and all senses of the word - in THEIR future.
-  The schools will develop a performance-based opportunity for students to exhibit their progress in the attainment of the interdisciplinary dispositions.  These exhibitions will occur at approximately the following age intervals, at least:  age 8-11, 12-14, 15-18. The students will have unlimited options in exhibiting their progress on the interdisciplinary dispositions.
- A trained team of teachers, parents, business/community leaders shall provide formative feedback to each student.  This is following the student presenting evidence of progress to the team, place, time, form, and substance to be determined by the student.
- Once in each interval of age 9-11, 12-14, 14-17, the school is required to administer a *standardized test to all students. The school will be required to develop and **publish the following:
    a.  Results on the test.
    b.  What the school has concluded regarding the test results in terms of implications for the school curricular and instructional program AND in terms of implications for individual students.  Specifically:
         - Are the results reliable, are they a true indicator or an aberration?  How was that determined?
         - Are the results valid, meaning, are they important?  How was that determined?
         - What is being done in response to the results as part of improvement plans for school?
         - What is being done for individual students as a result of students spending time on this test?**
* Standardized tests: NWEA, MAPS, Scantron, WKCE, ITBS, FCAT, MCASS, PSAT, EXPLORE, PLAN, SAT, ACT.
** Publication must adhere to student privacy laws.

2.  Freedom
- Grade retention of students is banned.  Nationally.
- Schools and districts are given freedom from the Carnegie-unit system.
- Schools are given freedom from seat-time/student attendance requirements.
   Rationale: This is the 21st Century.  Students do not have to "physically be in a school building" to "be in school", or learn.
- Schools can abandon the traditional "curricular/extra-curricular" paradigm and implement a student interest-driven, passion-based model.  Certification requirements, limiting schools to traditional subject-area silos, are waived.  Content fidelity under this model is to the inter-disciplinary, application-based dispositions as referenced above. rather than discrete subject area knowledge.

3.  Highly Qualified
Each student is entitled to a "highly qualified":
- teacher.
- principal/administrator.
- parent/guardian/community advocate.
- school board.
- state legislature.

4.  Role of State Legislature
The state spends approximately 50% of their budget on education.  Therefore, they are required to spend 50% of their time working on education, and learning about what kids need for tomorrow from their education today.

5.  Role of State Educational Agency
- Educate the state legislature.
- Help schools.
- Work in cooperation with the State Legislature to develop and implement models to ensure each student is provided the highly-qualified team identified  in #3 above.

6.  Role of US Dept. of Education
Report card to Congress and the people, to include identification of:
- State legislatures in Need of Improvement (SLIFI).
- State Education Agencies in Need of Improvement (SEAIFI).
Suggested criteria: Google Vincent v. Voigt for finance needs, proficiency of each unit in duties assigned above, other.

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