Anti Collective Bargaining Bill: Can Tennessee Afford the Status Quo?

There is much on the plate of Tennessee legislators right now, particularly in the category of education reform. I think the question on the minds of many is, “Are these bills – especially HB0130/SB0113 – really about the students? …

Continue Reading March 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

A Snapshot of Student Achievement and Student Growth

The Education Consumers Foundation has created a new online chart that enables parents, policymakers, and the public to compare their local schools to each other, to state averages, and to schools across Tennessee.
 
The charts show how each school in grades K-8 stands with respect to both average student achievement (TCAP scores) and annual growth in student achievement (TVAAS scores).  At the high school level, the points of comparison are the ACT composite scores and cumulative achievement gain.
 
ECF’s new ” Birdshot Chart” was created in response to a problem raised by parents: How can we easily see which are the best local schools?
 
Parents are accustomed to looking at achievement scores, such as those from the TCAP and ACT tests, in order to see whether their students are performing at grade level. Many are also accustomed to seeing achievement-growth data from Tennessee’s value-added assessment system (TVAAS).  But, there was no way to see a “snapshot” of both at once.
 
The Birdshot Chart allows parents and interested others to do exactly that.
 
By simply selecting the elementary, middle, or high schools they wish to review, any user can instantly compare local schools to each other and to state averages in an intuitive, easy-to-understand format.  They can see which schools are doing the best job of lifting student achievement­–regardless of economic advantage or disadvantage–and which have the most students achieving at a high level.
 
The new chart also allows users to identify high poverty schools, view each school’s state-assigned letter grade for recent performance, and find other useful descriptors.  All charts can be customized to the user’s schools of interest and printed in color.

J. E. Stone, Ed.D.
President
Education Consumers Foundation

August 18, 2010 at 9:36 am 7 comments

Transparency Sought, Transparency Offered

I feel as though some may be misinterpreting a message of criticism for a message of hate. With school back in session and school officials markedly unhappy about this blog, I have heard many candid opinions about what has been written here.

Continue Reading August 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm 5 comments

Weighing in on the Candidates

Anyone endorsed by the SCEA is the candidate you do not want to vote for. Those individuals were all recruited by Benny Bills and his followers to run in these races. They only want to serve on the school board to be the rubber stamp Bills so desperately needs. Maybe you’re tired of all the “warring” on the school board, but the only way to move past it is to rid ourselves of Bills. Until he’s gone, it will not stop.

Continue Reading August 3, 2010 at 11:03 am 46 comments

Our Money. Our Children. Our Decisions.

I show you this video so you know that my words are not just my opinion. On the contrary, like you I want to be proud of my public school system. But in order for that to happen, progress has to be made. We have to take responsibility, as education consumers, for what we are allowing to happen. Benny Bills has proven time and time again that he is incapable of even keeping pace with neighboring counties, much less progressing. Many of our elected officials on the school board have proven they are incapable of holding Bills accountable for his ineptitude. It is up to us to see that changes do occur. And we can start by demanding that the budget for the coming year be redrafted.

The most recent draft, presented to the Board on May 18th, showed a $7.9 million shortfall and included the recommendation that the shortfall be addressed by reducing employee benefits (saving $4 million) and eliminating classroom expenditures (saving nearly $3 million). This is unacceptable. And, no, “Republican” Beth Cox, the answer is NOT a property tax increase. You don’t reward the mismanagement of money with more money.

Continue Reading June 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm 7 comments

We Did Not Create, But We Are Amused

There is a video on YouTube that was recently brought to my attention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFZZ3-lH69o

It is a clip from a Sumner County School Board meeting. It is both informative and entertaining (and it looks as though little editing was done to make it entertaining). What’s particularly interesting about this video is the name of the creator, SumnerPublicEduc. Hmm… Is someone piggybacking on our incredibly successful blog? Are we being framed? They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Regardless, we wanted to put it out there so you would know that there is not a connection (although I may reach out to establish one). It looks as though the video creators and us may have similar goals but are using different avenues to achieve those goals.

June 9, 2010 at 10:22 am 28 comments

A Response to Mr. Jon Duncan

Value-added scores should not be compared to student achievement scores. Both are important but they measure different things. Achievement scores (be it TCAP or ACT) measure the competency of the child being tested. Research shows that the factor most affecting student achievement is socio-economic status. Hence the reason Sumner County has moderately high student achievement scores. Williamson County has high student achievement scores, as we would all expect. Since student achievement scores have been proven to be impacted by socio-economic status, there’s little accountability for the schools if we measure the schools’ effectiveness solely on student achievement scores. Value-added scores are different than student achievement scores. They don’t measure the child’s aptitude. They measure the impact a teacher/school/system is having on a child’s learning in any given year.

Continue Reading June 7, 2010 at 12:23 am 9 comments

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