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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

You have your story but it only partially matches the data. Go back to Figure 3 on page 23.

Average scores aren't flat from 2001 to now, they are up slightly, but all of that improvement comes from the 2006 to 2010 period, when we had no large central programs in place.

All of the analysis of No Child Left Behind came to the conclusion that not only was it worthless, it did some damage, average scores down. All that phonics helped kids at the lower end (up ten points), but the interference hurt the upper end of the spectrum (down 9 points).

Then from 2006 to 2011, we had a gilded age of no new fads and interference from the center. Reading scores up across the spectrum, the upper end and lower end both up 17 points.

Then from 2011 to 2016 we had the devastation of "Race to the Top." Scores down across the spectrum but particularly for low-end kids, down 12 points.

Lesson to be learned? Washington D.C., leave us alone.

5 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 12/12/2017 at 12:08 PM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

Ms. Putnam-Hidalgo writes, "tying scores to teacher and administrative pay and advancement possibilities and other toxic intrusions on a teachers' ability to actually teach have always been ineffective, and now we have a decade and a half of proof that that is the case. Teaching to the test has become the mantra, and the kids' education be damned."

Some thoughts on this, in increasing order of importance.

First, if teachers are "teaching to the test", why aren't the test scores better?

Second, whenever I see this particular complaint by teachers, my reaction is always, "gosh, wouldn't it be nice to have a job where I could claim that it was impossible to objectively measure my performance or effectiveness? That must be nice."

But third, maybe Ms. Putnam-Hidalgo has a point, although it's one she would never articulate in these terms. As Bslap above points out, we have the highest percentage of foreign born people in our country (or nearly so) in U.S. history. 10% of everyone alive today who was born in Mexico and 20% of everyone alive today who was born in El Salvador lives in the United States. But the United States is not built on magic dirt. So, why would we expect that we can educate those people better here than they can be educated at home? Maybe it's unfair to punish teachers when they cannot do that.

5 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Nathan K on 12/12/2017 at 10:05 AM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

Who does the evaluations in PIRLS? What do the tests look like? When I saw that RUSSIA, and CHINA are in the top TWO I immediately became suspicious that there is money under the table or some kind of mismanagement of the test scores because neither of those countries ever goes into a contest without knowing they are going to be First or Second. It's going to take more than the PIRLS judges to convince me that American kids are not at a reading level comparable to Russians and Chinese. Stop blaming the teachers or the students and take another approach .

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Beneal Good on 12/12/2017 at 10:04 AM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

These are all good reasons why US teachers have become ineffective. Why is it that we have people in leadership positions that are causing this to happen? Affirmative action hires?

Talk amongst yourselves...

5 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Wayne Olson on 12/12/2017 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Cinema Clips: Lady Bird

Agree. This film is a winner on many levels.

Posted by Kathleen DeBoer on 12/12/2017 at 9:28 AM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

Looking at the data, American white and Asian students are doing just fine. Indeed, the white PIRLs and ePIRLs averages are higher than the averages for all the countries listed above except Singapore and Russia, blowing all their other European peers out of the water. Stagnant educational performance data is just measuring changing U.S. ethnic demographics. And that means it's just going to get worse.

4 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Nathan K on 12/12/2017 at 9:21 AM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

No coincidence that the percentage of foreign born is the highest in American history. It's tough to make progress when you can barely tread water getting 41 million immigrants and their children up to speed.

8 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by bslap on 12/12/2017 at 7:11 AM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

Obvious question...what are Singapore, Russia, Ireland, Finland, and Poland doing that we're not ? These are the countries cited as out scoring the US. Do they do less/more testing than the US ? Are their teachers better trained or motivated ? Do the students come from more stable 2 parent households ? Do they go to school more days per year than the US ? It would seem to be a good idea to start with the facts before venting prejudices.

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by bsinn on 12/12/2017 at 6:32 AM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

US teachers have NOT become ineffective, Wayne Olson. Using up vast quantities of instructional time on test prep and testing itself, tying scores to teacher and administrative pay and advancement possibilities and other toxic intrusions on a teachers' ability to actually teach have always been ineffective, and now we have a decade and a half of proof that that is the case. Teaching to the test has become the mantra, and the kids' education be damned. And of course we are so "data driven" that we just ignore the data that has been showing us that for all these years.

9 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Betts Putnam-Hidalgo on 12/12/2017 at 5:52 AM

Re: “New VICE Documentary Revisits Murder of Raul Flores and 9-year-old Daughter by Border Vigilantes

Almost 10 yrs after this horrific murder a handful of Arivaca residents choose to hold a memorial gathering for Raul and Brisenia because a group of concerned citizens who patrol the border have bought property in Arivaca? While these are the same people who insist that all illegal aliens should not be lumped into a heinous criminal category, they have no problem whatsoever lumping the Arizona Border Recon folks into a category akin to Shawna Fordes self proclaimed militia. The double standard and faux tolerance from these assuming hippies is nauseating at best. *How does one condone the actions of a drug and human trafficker by saying "Other than those felonious activities Raul was a good guy?" He was a cartel affiliate who put himself and his family at risk and the entire town refuses to speak ill of the drug cartel(s) at every turn and in every interview. Its as if the influx of drugs through our southern borders doesnt exist and only poor Mexican immigrants are using the brutal and unforgiving mountainous terrain to cross. The sooner these border residents call out the "real evil" that penetrates their town 24/7 the better off they and every resident will be. *(Please note: The above statement in no way is meant to trivialize the murders that took place nor give credence to Shawna Forde or the savages involved, I hope they all suffer greatly for their actions.)

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by OneMansTrash on 12/12/2017 at 12:23 AM

Re: “Cinema Clips: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Festivals are an opportunity to gather and play. It is a happy day. We should respect each other's customs. Christmas is coming soon. It's also a happy holiday. I think a website is very good. I like it very much in decorations and Christmas elements. I hope to have a happy Christmas with you. The website is shent.ebcoo.net.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by 陈嘉豪 on 12/11/2017 at 6:45 PM

Re: “Cinema Clips: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Christmas is a very happy holiday, I really like it. The link is as follows: shent.ebcoo.net

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by 陈嘉豪 on 12/11/2017 at 6:45 PM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

Why have US teachers become ineffective? Talk amongst yourselves....

12 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Wayne Olson on 12/11/2017 at 3:30 PM

Re: “The Latest U.S. International Reading Scores Are Flat

Good points you make here, David Safier. I agree with you, from the perspective of a teacher.

But from the perspective of a parent, the question of why the over-use and mis-use of testing has become so pervasive seems related to this question: "Can I trust administrators to make decisions that are in my child's best interests every year, in every classroom?"

Mistrust develops in many ways. Your child has a poor year of learning, and you find out the teacher isn't credentialed, or is related to an administrator. You notice the school district making decisions that satisfy in-groups but don't result in good services being delivered to children in your school. Seeing test scores every year starts appealing to you as a way to document inequities and hold those making decisions accountable. Yes, the testing companies benefit, but they benefit from failures of responsibility that have destroyed trust. Before the testing companies started lobbying and marketing, the mistrust was already there in the community. Their agenda plays on it, but it didn't create it.

In the end it always comes back to whether the institutions delivering instruction can be responsible and responsive to all populations. And unfortunately, many large urban public districts cannot. Recent local case in point:
http://tucson.com/news/local/tusd-consolidation-plan-pits-high-schools-against-one-another/article_8d0f9c51-c55c-5c8d-b825-846e3029555c.html

"Sandy Elers, president of the Catalina High Foundation and a Catalina alumna, said the way the Governing Board authorized UHS to pursue [taking over Catalina High School's site] without having consulted the Catalina community was unfair and shows the boards biases. 'Due process was not used at all. And everyone was horrified at the suddenness and the finality of the move. The kids basically found out on the internet. And they feel defeated. Why should we bother? Why not drop out now instead of waiting until next year when we lose our school?' she said."

The disadvantaged have always had good reason to distrust districts like TUSD. And as long as that is the case, it seems unlikely that a program of testing every three or four years rather than every year could win broad support.

11 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Mistrust breeds over-testing, and mistrust is justified. on 12/11/2017 at 2:34 PM

Re: “It's Going to Be an Education Election in Arizona

The false mental paradigm that David and most of the commenters bring to this debate was revealed once again this week. Stanford came out with a massive, very sophisticated analysis of public school districts across the nation.

Three school districts in Arizona were revealed be among the top twenty, two were revealed be among the top ten.

Chandler Unified School District was shown to be among the top ten school districts in the nation at improving student results across grade levels.

Recognize that name? I've written about them a lot. Since 1998, the percentage of Chandler Unified parents rating their school excellent has risen two points a year.

Chandler Unified is now at 75% of their parents rating their child's school excellent, up from 38 percent in 1998. They measure that rigorously, with an independent phone survey.

That's modern school management and the Chandler School Board and administration are among the very best. Their excellence rating might easily be the highest percentage in the nation among large school districts.

Chandler has 75% market share in its district. Brutal competition has not caused them to be weak, it has driven them to be strong.

Eight percent of Chandler's students come from other districts.

Do their results just come with the territory of an upscale urban area? No, all we have to do is compare their results with that of the Chandler City Government. Since 1995, the percentage of chandler citizens rating city government excellent has dwindled from 55% to 38%.

Did Chandler just ride a national wave? No, the national wave headed in the opposite direction. From2011 to 2015, the national percentage of parents rating their child's school excellent dwindled from 36% to 24%.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by jhuppent@hotmail.com on 12/10/2017 at 3:14 PM

Re: “Cinema Clips: Lady Bird

I saw it at the loft a few weeks ago, and enjoyed it. More funny, mature, and down to earth than most high school comedy dramas.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Palisades on 12/09/2017 at 5:44 PM

Re: “Ed Sec Betsy DeVos on School Choice, College Costs

How does the sentence "Hopefully, your commenting days are coming to a close" constitute as a threat? There's nothing hidden in that sentence, the meaning is just as it is presented...a hope. I'm allowed to have hopes and dreams, right? You were really stretching when you came up with that one.

You never cease to amuse me. You keep on citing the rules yet you break one of them with practically every tome you post. My guess is that you're not reading the policy all the way to the very end or you feel as if you're above it all. If you go back and read the policy, you might notice that the last rule regarding comment removal states: "Comments that harass the reporters and newspaper staff." It's true! I'm not making this stuff up. I actually copied and pasted all those words between the quotation marks to prove it. I promise you that I did not add, alter or change any words.

Because of this rule which you choose to constantly ignore, you have exposed yourself as a hypocrite. By the way, that's not name calling, nor is it a threat; it's a cold hard fact. You need to learn how to play nice and follow the rules which you expect others to follow. If you heed this sage advice, you may actually convince those who abhor your arrogant and long-winded rants to consider the information you provide as being sensible. Until then, you lose.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by The "comments policy" applies to everyone, including you. on 12/09/2017 at 4:26 PM

Re: “It's Going to Be an Education Election in Arizona

Democrats have created the situation in which Republicans have formulated policy that allows exit from public district schools. They did it by treating public district schools as their fiefdom and not respecting the reality that community schools in a pluralist society needed to be places tolerant of and respectful of a diversity of beliefs, not just secular liberal orthodoxy. They did it by allowing all kinds of abuses on the part of the governing board politicians and administrators affiliated with their political networks. They did it by hiring unqualified people in the network who delivered poor services. They did it by neglecting the tedious citizen advocacy tasks that keep public institutions healthy.

It would be better if they had had enough civic virtue, honesty and tolerance of diversity not to have created this situation. But they did create it and now they blame everyone but themselves for it. In Southern Arizona we sit in our cities and our schools in the cesspool they've created in their public institutions and listen to them rant about the evils of PRIVATIZATION. They'd be a lot more credible if their own public sector didn't stink to high heaven of every kind of thing they like to call evil when they see it in the private sector: greedy and self-serving behaviors, promotion of in-groups and business interests at the expense of citizens, neglect of poor minority populations.

One of the main ways they get away with their BS is by preaching to and mobilizing a crowd of Democrats who have retired here from other states and who don't have on-the-groud experience of how local Democrat-controlled institutions are actually run. Comparing the propaganda in blogs like this with what is actually going on in local governance and in the schools highlights the hypocrisies of this network of "humanitarians" and is more than enough to cure anyone of the belief that anything worthwhile in the social justice arena can be accomplished by affiliating with or listening to Southern Arizona Democrats. If given the reigns of state as well as local governance, they will run this sad shambles of a state right into the ground.

10 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Former Dem on 12/09/2017 at 3:50 PM

Re: “Ed Sec Betsy DeVos on School Choice, College Costs

This will be my last reply in this stream because I think this dialogue has long since done its work in illustrating the points I've been trying to make.

In closing, I note that Tucson Weekly's comments policy states that the following will be removed by their administrator:
"Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language." It states, "Name-calling will not be tolerated."
https://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/CommentsPolicy/Page

Calling someone mentally ill is a personal attack and an insult. Using the term bitch is name calling, and a nasty form of it at that. And now we have, "Hopefully, your commenting days are coming to a close."? What is that? Threatening language?

Why has Tucson Weekly not removed the posts in this stream that violate its policies? Could it be because people can't reasonably expect civil discourse to be protected here, by this crowd, any more than they can reasonably expect their children to be protected from injury and abuse in a district like what TUSD has become? I hope not, but my doubts only increase every time another abusive reply is added and it remains up, un-deleted by those who are the policy enforcers at Tucson Weekly.

0 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by "Comments policy" seems to be an un-enforced scam on 12/09/2017 at 12:15 PM

Re: “The New, New Jim Crow

Two points regarding Prof. Alexander's book, which is a must-have tool to signal your liberal virtue from your coffee table, by the way. First, mandatory minimums for crack offenses where enacted at the urging of urban black community leaders, whose neighborhoods were turned into crack fueled war zones in the 1980s. Second, Prof. Alexander focuses on drug sentencing, while largely ignoring violent crime, which puts a huge number of black people behind bars. Here is UCLA's Prof Forman's critique of Prof. Alexander's book, if anyone's interested. https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/vi…

4 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Nathan K on 12/08/2017 at 5:50 PM

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