"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NEWS FLASH! DESE attempts to shut down MSIP5.com. Secretary of State says NO.

Superintendents and teachers are apparently quite concerned about changes being pushed through by DESE and the State Board of Education regarding MSIP5.

Here is the link for the proposal. From the Missouri State Teacher Association (MSTA) website, MSIP5.com:

The latest version of the Missouri School Improvement Program, or MSIP 5, sets accreditation and performance standards for Missouri schools. Commissioner of Education Dr. Chris Nicastro declined to meet with educator organizations before pushing the document through the State Board of Education in March. MSTA and other education organizations have opposed both the content in MSIP 5 and the lack of educator input in its approval.

MSTA created MSIP5.com to provide information, news and discussion of the proposal. The site lists options for submitting comments to the department during the comment period, which began April 15. MSIP5.com also has a list of concerns that educators have expressed with the proposed rules, and how the proposal could hurt students and schools.

“Apparently, Commissioner Nicastro and the department do not like it when information is gathered that opposes what they are trying to accomplish,” states MSTA Executive Director, Kent King. “If the department really wanted to hear from the public, including teachers, about MSIP 5, they would not have tried to get the site taken down.”

From the site on April 15, 2011:

MSIP determines accreditation and performance standards for Missouri schools. The document addresses academic achievement, subgroup achievement,college readiness, and attendance and graduation rates. The proposal leaves out subjects such as music, physical education, library staff and counselors, which contribute to a well-rounded education. The document was also pushed through without input from educators.

The State Board of Education approved MSIP 5 at its meeting in March, without a chance for the public to comment on the proposal. A public comment period on the proposal was to start April 15.

Does DESE not like educators and citizens commenting on DESE's decisions? Why was no input allowed from educators and taxpayers? This goes to a deeper question. Why were common core standards adopted by the State Board of Education in July 2010 when these were to have been voted on (per the agenda) in August 2010?

Do you see a pattern emerging here? Is there any oversight regarding DESE expenditures and decisions? Did you know that MSIP5 is predicted to cost the state (and districts) $1.2 million a year, which may be a recurring cost? (page 1068) As DESE is expected to face a $900,000 deficit next year, where is this money going to come from?

Trying to shut down questions and scrutiny does not make for good transparency in government. When did it become a crime for taxpayers and organizations to provide news, information and discussion about government programs? The Secretary of State's office made the correct decision in the interest of the taxpayer in this instance.

The power of the State Board and DESE must be examined...perhaps it is time for the Legislature to consider amending the Constitution so that State Board members and commissioner are elected by the citizens, rather than being appointed by the Governor. It is time for them to be accountable to the taxpayers; apparently they believe they can do whatever they want as shown by the Common Core decision and the attempt to shut down free speech.

1 comment:

  1. Gretchen,

    I'd love to read your take on this new research which flies in the face of what many ed schools are teaching math and science teachers.

    HarvardStudy Shows that Lecture-Style Presentations Lead to Higher Student Achievement

    Widely-usedproblem-solving pedagogy as implemented in practice is not as effective forraising achievement levels

    Cambridge, MA– A new study finds that 8th grade students in the U.S. scorehigher on standardized tests in math and science when their teachers allocategreater amounts of class time to lecture-style presentations than to groupproblem-solving activities. For both math and science, the study finds that a shift of 10 percentage points of time from problem solving to lecture-style presentations (for example, increasing the share of time spentlecturing from 60 to 70 percent) is associated with a rise in student testscores of 4 percent of a standard deviation for the students who had the exactsame peers in both their math and science classes – or between one andtwo months’ worth of learning in a typical school year.

    Schwerdt and Wuppermann observe that in recent years,a consensus has emerged among researchers that teacher quality “matters enormously for student performance,” but that relatively few rigorousstudies have looked inside the classroom to see what kinds of teaching stylesare the most effective. Their study of teaching styles finds that “teachingstyle matters for student achievement, but in the opposite direction thananticipated by conventional wisdom: an emphasis on lecture-stylepresentations (rather than problem-solving activities) is associated with anincrease — not a decrease — in student achievement.” They report that prominent organizations such as the National Research Council andthe National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, for at least the last three decades, have “called for teachers to engage students in constructing their own new knowledge through more hands-on learning and groupwork.” The emphasis on group problem-solving instructional methodshas been incorporated into most U.S.teacher preparation programs, and the authors found that teachers in thestudy’s sample allocated, on average, twice as much time to problem-solving activities as to lecturing, or “direct instruction.”

    About the Authors Guido Schwerdt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Program on Education Policy andGovernance (PEPG) at Harvard University and a research at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, Germany. Amelie C. Wuppermann is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Mainz,Germany.

    Education Next is a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution that is committed to looking at hard facts about school reform. Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, part of the Taubman Center for State and Local Governmentat the Harvard Kennedy School,and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

    For more information please visit: www.educationnext.org


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