December 26, 2010

The "Canada effect" is wearing off here in Wisconsin.

The term refers to the way students in the northern tier of states do better on standardized tests.
It's a common perception that most educational problems belong to Milwaukee Public Schools, but the state's decline goes beyond lower achievement scores in urban areas. In fourth-grade reading, the state's white students - most of whom are educated outside urban school districts - have scored below the national average for students of the same race on all four assessments given since 2003.

"I don't think that most people in other parts of Wisconsin think that their school district is having trouble; I think they clearly can see that MPS has challenges, but they don't think anybody else does," said Governor-elect Scott Walker, adding that even the state's successful school districts have some struggling schools....

Walker supports a statewide evaluation system with multiple measures of performance that would rank teachers in four categories: ineffective, needs improvement, satisfactory or exemplary....

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said people will reject efforts to evaluate teachers if they perceive them as being solely driven by ideology. 
Barrett was the Democratic candidate who lost to Walker last month.

19 comments:

former law student said...

Northern Tier kids used to read when the weather was shitty; now they play video games.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In addition to looking at the teacher they might consider looking at the ciriculum.

Currently the "things" that they are teaching are loaded with politicially correct, feel good, useless activities that don't actually TEACH the children anything. Time wasting and politicially motivated textbooks and activities.

Most teachers are progressive liberals and are activists and consider it thier job to 'indoctrinate' the students into 'right thinking' (and I do mean that in an Orwellian way. Therefore, they see nothing wrong in the system or in the way that they are concentrating more on PC than real learning.

However, even if you are a spectacular teacher, you can only be as good as the tools that you are allowed to use or the ciriculum to which you are forced to adhere.

Crappy tools = crappy product.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Dust Bunny Queen: In addition to looking at the teacher they might consider looking at the ciriculum.

That sounds sensible. I'm all for rewarding teachers based on their performance, but the idea that a lack of consequences for bad teaching is the only cause of our declining educational system seems unlikely to me.

Consequences for teachers may help us eventually improve, but they aren't going to magically make things better. At best, they encourage improvement, but teachers exist in a system. How is the rest of the system, from curriculum to teaching styles, being evaluated (and changed!) based on results?

Maguro said...

Looking at the test scores, I'm not sure anything has really changed. The Wisconsin scores are staying about the same and the national scores a rising a little bit. The changes might not even be statistically significant, though I don't claim to be a statistician. Maybe Wisconsin teachers and administrators cheat less than the national average.

edutcher said...

Have to agree with fls and Jason (have I got the Christmas spirit or what?), as well as DBQ.

There's a lot of fluff in the curriculum these days, texts are like comic books, but Jason and fls have a point. There are a lot of parents out there who don't seem to give a damn about their kids. An offshoot of the fact the game console is used as a babysitter is that kids are fat as well as dumb.

DADvocate said...

Guess I'll have to dumb down my comments so the folks in Wisconsin can comprehend (understand) them.

djf said...

"With research showing the most important school factor in student performance is the effectiveness of classroom teachers"
HA
Might I note the presence of a gigantic elephant in the room: The most import factor in student performance is the genetic background of the student's parents?
"Bad Schools" do not make bad students, "Bad Students" make bad schools.
But never fear, if we just spend Billions and Billions on "Head Start" and other such nonsense, and hire an army of "Nice White Ladies", we can have Black and Hispanic students from the inner city and barrio performing in reading and math at the same level as say, our Chinese-American and Korean-American students. It's all the environment you know. (sacrasm)

Paco Wové said...

"Most teachers are progressive liberals and are activists and consider it thier job to 'indoctrinate' the students into 'right thinking'..."

My daughter's high-school physics teacher has a sign up in his classroom declaring it a "No-racism zone". From what she's told me of the curriculum, it is also a no-physics zone as well.

Titus said...

Even though Massachusetts is libtard and commie it has the best test scores in the nation and is the highest educated state in the U.S.

Great hospitals and Biotech and High Tech companies too.

PatCA said...

DBQ, if you want to be horrified about PC in elementary ed, watch Waiting for Superman and observe the little girl learn from her teacher than the American Indians took care of their land and the settlers who came spoiled it with their wasteful, dirty ways. The girl's test scores are down, her indoctrination way, way up.

I would say "unbelievable" but it's standard stuff. The world according to Howard Zinn.

DADvocate said...

The most import factor in student performance is the genetic background of the student's parents?

And the parents own emphasis on the importance of education. Look at any city and it's easy to see that the schools that perform the best have students whose parents are mostly college educated themselves.

Alex said...

Ask yourself why Asian kids do so well in any schools they attend, while stupid rednecks keep failing. Keep asking yourself that!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Here's the kind of teacher that has been running American education into the ground : HuffPo's Larry Straus:

"I'm not a big fan of token gestures that conspire to obscure our attention from all the entrenched inequities -- the over-feeding of homeless people on Thanksgiving, for example, or TV-network-funded home makeovers.

I try to train my students to see through this kind of feel-good fraud and recognize the difference between slick charity and exquisite justice. So when I was approached one December afternoon, by two aids from a daycare next to my high school and asked to be their Santa Claus, I nearly uttered the words "opiate of the masses.""

Jason (the commenter) said...

Alex: Ask yourself why Asian kids do so well in any schools they attend, while stupid rednecks keep failing. Keep asking yourself that!

Wrong comparison. Scots who went to the South became "stupid rednecks", ones who went to the North, rich industrialists.

former law student said...

why Asian kids do so well in any schools they attend,

Immigrants have a strong work ethic, which they instill in their kids. But it wears off. The second generation born in this country slacks just as much as anyone, giving rise to the ABC, for example.

Alex said...

Maybe it's true that all 2nd generation immigrant kids become slackers, but for the time being we have enough influx of Asians to keep humiliating the rest of us.

Penny said...

"The "Canada effect" is wearing off here in Wisconsin."

And the "Wisconsin effect" seems even thinner here in NJ.

Where once we appreciated a rare air brusher, we now find your tatooing rather common?

Larry J said...

In fourth-grade reading, the state's white students - most of whom are educated outside urban school districts - have scored below the national average for students of the same race on all four assessments given since 2003.

Sounds like the reverse of the Lake Woebegone effect, "Where all our kids are below average."

E.M. Davis said...

And here I thought this was a kerfuffle over underwear.