Monday, May 19, 2008

School Crackdown

Education Schools, teachers that don't measure up will be held accountable for their inaction,

FREDERICTON - Education Minister Kelly Lamrock is cracking down on teacher accountability, and he thinks more standardized testing is the key.

A whack of new standardized testing unveiled this month, including a pre-kindergarten assessment, will go a long way toward determining the difference each school and teacher makes in a child's development, Lamrock said.
Those that don't measure up will be held accountable for their poor results.

"At some point, we're going to have to come up with a clear plan for what happens when schools consistently don't perform," Lamrock added, though he discouraged "overly punitive" measures, such as shutting down schools or transferring students elsewhere, which could end up having undesired side effects. More incentives should be created to motivate teachers to strive for excellence, and then encourage others to learn from the "stars," Lamrock said.

He pointed to the example of fantasy football, an online game he participates in where users can draft players and earn points when those players score. The program publishes data annually on "keys to victory," he explained.
"You can actually see the guy who bet on Brett Favre in the fifth round did a lot better than the guy who drafted Carson Palmer in the first," Lamrock said.
"Amazingly, a society that has the ability to drill data down for fantasy football leagues, we aren't yet able to say, 'Wow, over a five-year period over 80 per cent of the students who had this teacher showed marked improvement in literacy.' "

Brent Shaw, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, was dubious that beefing up standardized assessments will lead to any real change.
"If you look at any of the countries that are doing the best in the world, one of the things that makes them the best is certainly not external evaluations," Shaw said, noting a better way to measure student success is through teacher-driven, "authentic" evaluations that reflect each classroom's unique learning environment.
Evaluating problems doesn't solve them, he added, and departmental resources could be better directed.
"You can't fatten a pig by weighing it," Shaw said.

Click here to link to article

A sampling from 53 comments-to-date on the Telegraph-Journal webpage in response to Minister Lamrock's comments in this article.

My, the Min of Ed certainly knows his sports analogies! Wow, isn't he impressive! Give me a break, now it is the teachers! First it was the EFI program and not it is the teachers. Of course there are a few bad apples, trust me I have seen them, every profession has them. But there seems to be more than the Liberals fair share of bad apples. Min of Ed at least 2-3 times a week has a new announcement, he is just putting up smoke screens to make the people not see what he is trying to cover up, his idiotic decision to eliminate EFI in the Canada's ONLY bilingual province. People, please wake up and smell the coffee, see what "Lamerock" is really doing. We will not forget, 2010!
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Anonymous Reader on 19/05/08, 7:45:56 AM ADT
Minister Lamrock should start to listen to "experts" and to do his own little research. This look like "No Child Left Behind" from the US and it has not been successful. It is so easy to blame the teachers! It is also easy to see "the couple high school teachers who have no business in the classroom". Most teachers are doing an excellent job. The Scaba report says exactly the same thing. The NB teachers are well trained and efficient, but the system is mismanaged. She said that for the immersion program too. It is mismanaged. The problem is not with the program, it is with the way it is managed. Scaba also said to refrain from adopting a one-size-fit-all approach to solve the problems. Poor, poor students and teachers! This is a real mess. Lamrock has to go faster than 2010!
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Anonymous Reader on 19/05/08, 7:56:25 AM ADT
A headine from the citizens of NB:
Government Crackdown
Education Minister, Premier and Liberal MLAs that don't measure up will be held accountable in 2010
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Anonymous Reader on 19/05/08, 8:31:28 AM ADT
I'm one teacher who can no longer tolerate Lamrock's obsession with “testing” and his opposition to educational choice. This teacher, with an advanced degree and work experience in the field that I teach in, has been given the "incentive" and "motivation" to leave the province by Kelly Lamrock.
I can no longer participate in an education system that runs contrary to expert advice and opinion, taking us to follow the most unsuccessful models of education and assessment. I agree with Mr. Shaw, testing does not solve problems. Broad based, authentic evaluations performed by teachers, over the course of a student’s schooling should not be considered irrelevant next to a test of memorization skills. It is wrong.
I do not need Kelly Lamrock to write a test on assessment and education to see how little he knows about assessment and education. The result is painfully obvious to this trained educator.
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Anonymous Reader on 19/05/08, 9:27:17 AM ADT
Could Kelly Lamrock possibly get more time with the Telegraph Journal Editorial Board???
A little journalism here, folks - No Child Left Behind has left a generation of students in the US unable to read, write or think.
Even George W. Bush's closest supporters agree.
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Anonymous Reader on 19/05/08, 11:03:27 AM ADT
Doug Willms, besides being the public policy professor that published the sole brief in support of Lamrock when the C&L report got into trouble, is also the director of a for-profit company that has, until now, done much of the educational testing for the province:

It would, of course, call future testing into question if the same person were to do future testing as the person who has put his public reputation at stake and who has been commissioned to make a report that supports the C&L process.

I trust the Ombudsman will recommend that any future spate of testing be performed by the many capable firms outside of our province. This will benefit NB, too, because Willms' company would be presumably be drawing further business into NB and expanding its market, not simply circulating cash within the province.
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B. Robertson, Sackville on 19/05/08, 12:18:54 PM ADT
I work with teachers everyday, and they never cease to amaze me. They run from the minute the students come in in the morning until the final bell, frequently without a break. They rush to prepare for the next day, frequently attending professional development after school. They make the most out of impossible situations, oversized classes, no resources, unreasonable parents, special needs children etc etc. They take money out of their own pockets to pay for books, classroom resources, lunch, milk, parties, decorations and on and on. They make the BEST out of an IMPOSSIBLE situation. MR Lamrock, you should be ashamed for putting MORE PRESSURE on teachers, and WASTING even more money on testing that should be going to resources. You owe the teachers of NB an apology!
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Anonymous Reader on 19/05/08, 12:21:43 PM ADT

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