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Re: SWAT TEAMS!



Juanita--

See below, excerpts and comments thereon.

--Erwin

Juanita Doyon wrote:

> Oh, boy Oh, boy. You lucky Dallas schools you!
>
> http://www.dallasnews.com/metro/260407_schoolswat_12m.html
>
> DISD officials team up
> Moses sending help to problem schools
>
> 01/12/2001
>
> By Mike Jackson / The Dallas Morning News

> In his first major initiative as Dallas superintendent, Mike Moses is sending
> squads of administrators into the district's worst schools to help students
> catch up with their peers in reading, writing and math.

Squads of administrators? That's quite an
image.

When a company is performing poorly, do
you send in squads of managers?

> Schools are rated low-performing if more than 50 percent of all students fail
> any portion of the TAAS.

We have a better system here. All schools
are ranked by a complex average of individual
SAT-9 percentiles, and any school in the bottom
half of that *ranking* is designated a "low-
performing school". This guarantees an unending
supply of cannon fodder, since precisely half the
schools will (by definition) be low-performing.

> The rating also goes to schools in which more than half of any one student
> group (black, white, Hispanic or low-income) fail any portion. Other factors
> that can affect a rating are a dropout rate that exceeds 6 percent or an
> attendance rate that falls below 94 percent.

Wow! With definitions like that, you could easily
have 90% or more of all the schools in the state
be "low-performing".

> The number of DISD's 215 schools rated in the lowest category jumped from
> nine in 1999 to 28 in 2000. And about 40 other schools stood at the edge of
> being low-performing.
>
> Administrators blamed the slide on a change in the law that caused the
> district to test 6,000 additional children who had limited English skills.
> Before that change, Dallas and other districts were allowed to exempt such
> students.

Good thinking. Add more points at one end
of the range, and you change the average.

> This year, the number of limited-English test-takers will go up by another
> 3,000 and could cause the list of low-performing schools to grow, Dr. Moses
> said.
>
> "We're going to do what we can between now and May, but it's going to affect
> us," Dr. Moses said. "Are we going to see some fall into the low-performing
> list this year? Possibly."

Every year, we will change the way we measure
and then fret about the change in the measurement.
Don't these people know *anything* about data
analysis?

> Although test results ultimately will measure student achievement, teachers
> and principals will be encouraged to concentrate solely on helping children
> improve skills, Dr. Moses said. Incremental improvement would be considered a
> success, he said.
>
> "You have to be careful hanging your hat on ratings," he said. "What I would
> rather hang our hat on is continuous growth. What I'm really going to look
> for in June is if we've inched forward. ... I hope we can show that we've
> reversed the decline."

What decline are they talking about? Is it
real? How do they know? Or is it the decline
caused by changing the set of points you are
averaging?

> Student progress will be measured weekly, and the children will be given a
> mock TAAS test in early February, she said.

And to think we benighted souls here in California
thought annual measurement was too much.

With weekly testing, what fraction of total school
time will be devoted to such assessment?

> A good deal of attention will be paid to teachers as well, Dr. Dobbs said.
> Some might get coaching in tutoring methods or classroom management, for
> example. Administrators also will speed needed supplies, such as calculators
> and other materials, to the classrooms.

> Dr. McAdams, the Houston professor, said there are a variety of things school
> districts do to save poorly performing schools. Sometimes changing principals
> or teachers makes the difference. Some districts, such as Houston's, have
> replaced entire school staffs.

With what effect? (I want to hear about *all*
the cases, not just selected success stories.)

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