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Re: “The Best Way To Get Results-Based Funding Is To Be Well-Off and White

Yes, this is a stupid way of allocating funding within a states public education system and next year it will become stupider. State legislatures have the power to tamper with public education policy in dangerous, inadvisable ways.

So what now? I suppose your goal is to use the information presented here and elsewhere to get Democrats into the legislature and governorship.

Would a Democrat-controlled Arizona solve our problems with public ed or make education more equitable? Watch a TUSD Board meeting and ask yourself the question. Three of the five board members are or were Democrats. In last nights meeting, you can observe discussions of why the district seems to be moving in the direction of kicking Catalina High students off their campus and moving them to Rincon so University High School can have their site. The presenters on this topic were representatives of a committee composed primarily of a UHS faculty, parents, and alums. If I recall correctly, there were no representatives of Catalina High School on the committee, and representatives of Catalina High School were only notified at 1pm the day of this TUSD Board meeting that UHS would be presenting the recommendation to the TUSD Board that Catalina High School be kicked off of its site so UHS could have it.

Equity in action in TUSD.

9 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by How do we solve equity problems? on 10/04/2017 at 10:14 AM

Re: “The Best Way To Get Results-Based Funding Is To Be Well-Off and White

Stop with the racist excuses and let's take a look at the facts.

https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2017/10/03/tusd-receives-low-grades-8-receive-f-grades/#comment-229533

This is shameful TUSD. Our children deserve better.

9 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Wayne Olson on 10/04/2017 at 9:20 AM

Re: “Why I Keep Writing About Those Damn AzMERIT Scores

There are a couple of logical questions I have for you.

1. How is the incentive to cheat any different than with grades? If a test with stakes attached teaches administrators and teachers to cheat, doesn't issuing kids grades teach kids to cheat?
After all grades have high stakes attached in terms of parental judgments, grade advancement, privileges like athletics, and eventually college acceptance, scholarships and lifelong higher income. Should we eliminate grading?
2. If having a test causes teachers to teach to the test, isn't that a good thing? Provided the test is testing the right skills that we've agreed students should have and the test measures those skills effectively, then don't we want teachers "teaching to the test"? And if it's not testing the right skills or is unable to measure them, would you support testing if those problems were fixed?

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by bslap on 10/04/2017 at 6:18 AM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Well, Gabby, run again... You were way better than McSally and I think Flake gets more vulnerable as he runs to the Right... like McCain always does. We need to make some changes here...

16 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Cascabel on 10/03/2017 at 6:47 PM

Re: “Why I Keep Writing About Those Damn AzMERIT Scores

It is true that high test scores do not necessarily mean "Excelling schools!" and low test scores do not necessarily mean "Failing schools!"

This is also true: you cannot get at the correct interpretations of what any given set of test scores means or how the educations of the students that produced those test scores might be improved simply by engaging in abstract, theoretical discussions about POVERTY and CULTURE and PRIVATIZATION.

You get at the correct interpretations of a set of test scores (and you develop an understanding of how services to the students who produced that set of scores may be improved) by tracking the details of governance, funding applications, staffing, and what specifically is happening in the classrooms, with what materials, delivered by what instructors with what kind of training, under what conditions.

Where is that kind of reporting for our largest local school district, serving more than 50,000 students? Not here, not in the Star.

http://tucson.com/news/local/work-harassment-complaint-filed-against-tusd-s-sedgwick/article_fda3f9b8-39d6-5f52-a42c-b0a9db2e98e4.html

While TUSD Governing Board members bicker and undermine one another and the Star wastes its time on reporting on every little detail of their infighting (and David Safier philosophizes) there are a lot of important, practical, nuts-and-bolts questions about conditions in TUSD that affect students' ability to learn and to get better test scores that are going unanswered:
--How many subs outsourced to ESI are still covering classrooms that should be covered with permanent teachers?
--What was done to abate the lead problems in drinking fountains? (Lead poisoning at certain levels does affect ability to concentrate and learn.)
--Have teachers at schools experiencing discipline problems (e.g. Secrist, Utterback) received effective training in behavior management?
--Has the amount of desegregation funding re-allocated to increased legal fees under the last TUSD administration been scaled back, and has some of it now been applied to secure more fully qualified teachers for schools with hard-to-fill positions?

Just a few examples of the kinds of questions that should be asked and answered when the goal is to improve, not excuse, test scores in TUSD.

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by A prolix comment with practical questions on 10/03/2017 at 5:28 PM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

President John Adams has aptly characterized what is happening in this Country:

"Democracy while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

15 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 10/03/2017 at 5:49 AM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

Good luck with that, David. Some of the thuggish behaviors on the local political scene may not be quite as easy to correct as you seem to assume they will be. But there is definitely merit in trying.

7 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by The local scene will be what it is...and show itself here. on 10/02/2017 at 10:15 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

About the abusive, profanity-laden response to you. I can't edit the comments section. I sent a note the person at the Weekly who can remove the post and haven't heard a reply. Those two comments were pure ad hominem attacks without any substance and they don't belong in the comments thread. I would have removed them if I could have. (If I don't catch something like that, you can click on "report" at the bottom left of the comment and ask for it to be removed. In this case, the comments were so out of bounds, I'm sure your request would be granted -- once the web editor had time to look at it.)

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 10/02/2017 at 8:58 PM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Nothing will change.

20 dead first graders in sandy hook was not enough, last years benchmark of deadliest mass shooting up that point of 49 people was not enough, this event wont change anything either.

24 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Palisades on 10/02/2017 at 6:49 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

Thanks, David. Good tip. If it ever becomes important to me whether you read and respond to my comments, I may take your suggestion and start using a consistent name and / or my own name. In the meantime, I'll keep posting under whatever title strikes my fancy, just like the individual who keeps writing to call me a "long winded fuck." (Your failure and the editors of these streams' failures to police that behavior: duly noted.) I'm not writing to you or to anyone else in particular, just punishing myself for all the years I spent voting for, donating to, and volunteering for candidates in your dishonest and irresponsible political party, and continuing to measure the distance between Party propaganda and what is actually true. Good mental exercise, and they / you provide plenty of material to work on. Thanks for that.

7 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by No need to respond, David. on 10/02/2017 at 6:06 PM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Gabby Gifford's American For Responsible Solutions should consider runing ads against House & Senate NRA owned lickspittles. Ads showing them saying "thoughts & prayers" along with a graphic illustrating how much cash they've taken from the NRA over their careers.

39 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Wileybud on 10/02/2017 at 5:39 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

To "Include a few more factors if you want an accurate account.": I'm more likely to pay attention to a comment which has a consistent name attached to it. This doesn't mean a real name, just something which, when I see it, I can put it in context of other comments by the same person. If this is your first comment on The Range, I apologize for thinking you might be a returning commenter.

Of course, you're free to continue using a different name as a headline each time, but when someone addresses me directly, I assume that person wants me to read what's written. I'll still exercise the option of reading as much or as little as I wish, but like I say, I'm more apt to take something seriously when I can put it in context of previous comments by the same person.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 10/02/2017 at 4:42 PM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Grow a pair, Wayne.

28 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by Peabo on 10/02/2017 at 4:00 PM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Why not wait until we have some details about the shooter, the weapons, some more facts, and the possibility that these weapons already were illegal?

Then start by outlawing hate. I see plenty of it right here in the comments section.

23 likes, 37 dislikes
Posted by Wayne Olson on 10/02/2017 at 3:06 PM

Re: “Danehy

Ahhhh. I bet you tell that to all the boys !!

4 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 10/02/2017 at 2:55 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

What's interesting about your perspective, David, is that it always seems to omit reference to the factors of individual choice on the part of parents, politicians, and administrators. That's a choice you make, based on political ideology, that screens out several things that are highly relevant to what happens with educational outcomes and in education policy.

I don't deny that money matters or that culture matters, but individual choice and virtue (or lack thereof) matter as well. Take it from someone who has taught (among other places) in private schools serving primarily high SES families: too often even these families do not know how to, or choose not to, or are too busy to provide optimal levels of support to their children. It's actually quite common to observe kids floundering academically in families where both parents are high income earners in demanding professions. Where can you go to hire the right kind of consistent social, emotional, and educational support for your child from a fully educated, committed, reliable and engaging adult? Talk to a few professional women who've recently become mothers and are looking for it: it is in very short supply indeed. 50 or 60 years ago we decided as a society that two parents working outside the home was the ideal for families of a certain educational / professional level. The formal and informal messages that communicate disapproval to women in those cohorts who leave the workforce to care for their own children are at this point pervasive in this country. Unfortunately, while we were developing that new social (economic?) priority, we forgot to develop solid, high quality services that could keep that societal decision from harming the next generation. It's a massive systemic "oops," that harms kids, parents, and the exploited workers in what is largely still a ghettoized employment area: preschool & K-12 "education."

Leaving aside the now highly politicized area of decisions made within the family, let's admit that in school districts, what choices politicians and administrators make and whether they have sufficient virtue that they deny themselves the $500 per night hotel suites when traveling and $500K per annum compensation packages and whether or not they are willing to prioritize funding allocations that benefit students over contractors, consultants, and political affiliates matters a great deal to the quality of education students receive. And to their test scores.

All this beautiful rhetoric about cultures and poverty has a certain amount of truth to it, and those factors do need to be taken into consideration. But narratives that are built exclusively of factors outside individual control don't end up telling the whole truth and they don't end up providing sound foundations for public policy, either.

7 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Include a few more factors if you want an accurate account. on 10/02/2017 at 1:39 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

Nathan K, let me comment on your question about the link between income and test scores. First, the major problem is not the spending on schools. If you spend more on schools in high income areas and less on schools in low income areas, that compounds the basic problem, but it's not the prime mover.

One of the few things about education we know for sure, based on good international data, is that there's a very strong correlation between family income and standardized test scores. So the question is, why is that true. Here's a few probable reasons, in no special order.

Children from families with adequate income have enough to eat and don't worry about where the next meal comes from. They live in adequate housing where the children most likely can get a little privacy and be guaranteed uninterrupted sleep. They live in reasonably safe neighborhoods where a walk down the street isn't a cause for concern. They have good health and dental care. All those factors mean they are less likely to walk through the school doors with bodies and minds filled with physical problems and emotional worries. As any of us know, when we're burdened with personal concerns, or we have a toothache or a stomach ache, or our stomach in rumbling from hunger, we're going to have more trouble concentrating on things that seem less important than what's going on inside us, like what the teacher is talking about or what's written in some book about a subject that's not intrinsically interesting to us.

Another issue is, higher income parents generally have more education than lower income parents, they generally have jobs which require higher education and they value education more. The children grow up in an atmosphere that emphasizes the same kinds of values as schools when it comes to education. The house has books in it, and the children see their parents reading. They are more likely to be read to. When they go to school, parents expect them to pay attention, do their work and perform well -- and as important, since the parents have been successful in school, they know what to encourage. If a child demonstrates gifts in an academic area, those gifts are encouraged and nurtured. Someone in the home can help the children with schoolwork, or a tutor can be hired. And those children are likely to have a wider range of experiences outside the home which are valuable in terms of their classroom education.

When a child has parents, family and neighbors who have gone to college and are in professions demanding education, they assume that's where they're heading. If they don't attend college, that's the exception, and usually a disappointment to the family. If parents haven't had higher education or tried it for a short time and did poorly, the children don't picture themselves as college material, and if they see college in their future, they get less help and encouragement than if they were in higher income families.

The biggest exception to the correlation between poverty and poor educational attainment is people who are educated and come from cultures which encourage education but for some reason lack money. The most typical example is immigrants who were educated professionals in their countries of origin, then come to their new country with no financial resources. While they are low on the economic ladder, everything about their attitudes is more like people who have more money. They expect their children to attain good educations and become professionals, and their expectations tend to be met by their children. You see that in Asian immigrants to the U.S. who tend to come here with education and come from a culture which values education. From what I read recently, African immigrants to the U.S. are the most educated immigrants to this country in history. No matter where these groups of people fall in the economic spectrum, they're going to encourage their children to excel. One exception from Asia is people from the Hmong ethnic group who come from a culture with little formal education and whose children generally don't do well in our schools. It's a telling exception.

Poverty tends to be a vicious cycle which breeds more poverty, and the U.S. creates fertile breeding grounds by not dealing with some of the root causes of poverty. As someone said, trying to get schools to fix poverty without dealing with the problems in the outside world is like trying to clean the air on one side of a screen door. That doesn't mean we should give up on schools. Schools can do a great deal of good. But to burden them with the task of repairing our societal ills is to ask them to do the impossible.

7 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 10/02/2017 at 12:03 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

If you don't like long comments, you can always skip them. Personally, I don't like reading profanity, so usually I won't bother reading or responding to comments that don't have much to offer besides four letter words. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, and fortunately no one is required to read comments not to their taste.

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by It's a free country, as they say, at least in some respects. on 10/02/2017 at 10:48 AM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

The only way to infer the point of view of the commenter who appears now and then to drop profanities into Safier's comment streams seems to be to assume that he or she disagrees with the comments he or she insults. So here I suppose we can assume that he or she doesn't agree that how money is applied in homes and in schools makes a difference to the quality of support or educational services students receive. And / or perhaps he or she does not agree that Title 1 and desegregation funds should be applied to improve the quality of educational services delivered to the populations that should benefit from those funds (the poor and minorities).

It would be interesting to understand how those opinions could be supported. Perhaps one of these days this commenter will state an opinion or a policy preference and be so kind as to explain the rationale for it...?

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Why not explain why you disagree? on 10/02/2017 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Looking at Tucson Unified's AzMERIT Scores: Another Approach

The long winded fuck strikes again.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Still not the kind of commentary needed...or wanted on 10/02/2017 at 9:07 AM

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