Friday, September 20, 2013

The queen holds court

Her Majesty held an open media event, talking out of both sides of her mouth as usual after the state finally released the test scores, even though the board voted to blow off the scores because of the computer glitches. Actually Wendy has been blowing off the scores since day one. I used to go to the board meetings when John Kline would give the results, tell us they would be analyzing them and deciding on a course of action. And that was the last we heard about it until we heard the same thing the following year, during which they were "never satisfied and always trying to improve".

This year, however, we also had the school grading fiasco, after which GiaQuinta said they would also blow off the grades and grade themselves. If they give themselves an "A" they can hang up all those banners again.  Or just wait for the new Glenda Ditz system which will give every school an "A" with no more "F"'s like the new FWCS system.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Innocent by Reason of Fairness.

The bipartisan panel investigating the Tony Bennett incident of grade fixing concluded he did nothing "nefarious". The changes made to get a benchmark charter school up to an "A" rating were applied across the board and likely even improved the grades of urban schools. FWCS might even have gotten to hang up their "A rated" banners again. But they protested too much. Like with the computer glitches during ISTEP which turned out to have no measurable effect on the scores.

What Bennett did was just ill advised, especially when the education establishment held him in such contempt. So he gave them an opening to denounce testing and grading, which they also despise, while telling us they welcome accountability. Hey, not everyone was socially promoted.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Knock knock, who's there...

Wendy. Wendy who? We'n dy premier urban school district. The almost best of the worst.

No it's not an encyclopedia salesman. It's someone from We Are Schools to get your kids registered in FWCS. Every body in a seat on count day is more bucks for the district. And what a deal for somebody with kids who hasn't escaped to the suburbs. Free meals, free transportation, air conditioning, no failing grades in their courses and a guaranteed path to "graduation". They can even recommend the best colleges for remediation.

Why opt for a voucher to a snooty private school with no gangbangers.  How else can they celebrate the colorful vocabulary and jailhouse fashions of street culture? Why spend over $100,000 to send you kids to Canterbury to keep them out of SSHS? I don't know but if GiaQinta knocks on your door be sure to ask him. I've only heard rumors.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A testing time

The glitch in this year's ISTEP testing is certainly a major headache for schools. But the glitch will be fixed and if the scores truly are affected, they will probably be discounted in school ratings and teacher evaluations. One particular year is mainly a point in the trend, and schools have other means such as Acuity to gauge progress even if the official test is questionable. The faux outrage looks like a way to protect their butts just in case the scores look bad. Those "we are an A rated school district" banners were a joke anyway.

What's hard to believe is the stories about kids emotional reactions to the problem. Kids have no real stake in the outcome. Even if they fail every ISTEP they take, they will be socially promoted into high school. If they fail the ECA's in high school they will still get an "alternate path to gradation". There are really no cosequences for kids who fail the state tests, no asterisk on their diploma or disclaimer that they "graduated" from high school with an eighth grade education.

So Wendy's whining about losing the "culture of continuous improvement" because of one year of questionable data is ludicrous. Until they change their policy of blanket social promotion, they will remain just another "premier" urban school district that won't hold kids accountable.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Throw in the Towles

The unilateral decision to change the last two years of the Towles Montessori program to New Tech  seems to have upset a number of parents who knew nothing about the change until it was announced by the district out of the blue.  Understandable, since since their kids had been committed for another year at Towles before hearing about it. Less understandable was the reason given for changing to New Tech and routing Towles kids to Wayne instead of South Side. The district spokesperson blurted out something about SSHS maybe having a bad reputation and that people who though reputation was important just didn't want to give it a chance. "Maybe" having a bad reputation? And somehow Karen O'Frisco blamed  the whole thing on vouchers.

So a half dozen uppity parents came to last night's board meeting to complain and learn first hand about talking to a brick wall, also known as the school board. President QiaQuinta, known to his former schoolmates as Yahweh, explained that board members were "trained" not to respond to the public lest they undermine the superintendent, known to the common taxpayers as Your Majesty. They're well versed in pretending to pay close attention to their customers and feign interest in their concerns. And of course queens don't have customers or a need to win hearts and minds..

Monday, February 25, 2013

Carping about Carpe Diem

There will be a public hearing this month on a proposed new charter school to be located on the Ambassador campus just a stone's throw from my house. Carpe Diem is a for profit operator, so Karen O'Frisco is already moaning about a Republican conspiracy. She's also complaining that the input from the "public" (FWCS school officials) will be disregarded, which would make it just like talking at an FWCS public hearing.

But that probably won't stop Mark GiaQuinta from personally voicing his disparaging opinion about school choice for those who can't afford to send their kids to Canterbury. It's like telling them they can have any car they want as long as it's made by Government Motors.

Karen suggests just e-mailng your comments. Good idea.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Imagine that

Ball State pulled the charters of both Imagine Schools and the Timothy Johnson academy for poor academic performance. That's the way it should work. If they can't perform their basic mission, they should go out of business, even if they have air conditioning.

So now the question is who's going to pull the plug on government schools that don't perform. The answer in Indiana with Glenda Ditz in office is nobody. Kids stuck in bad schools like my former (now F rated) Harrison Hill have few viable alternatives until someone else opens another charter or private schools enlarge their capacity.

At least Wendy's body count will go back up.