SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘STAR tests’ Category

Kicking over stones and asking questions

I was just looking at the new job qualifications for “Principal, Superintendent’s Priority School”.  Did you know that their starting pay is $96k – $107k?   A regular principal starts at $83k – $98k.  The lower of both starting salaries are for principals at elementary schools, while the top starting salaries are for high school principals.  Why the increase in pay?  Where is the district getting the money?

Another thing I noticed is, it would appear the district has brought in a consulting firm called Mariner LLC.  Apparently, they are already working in SCUSD.   They developed and run a program that is called Data Dashboard in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  I wonder how much they cost, as well as any new training, hardware, and software associated with their services.  Will this take the place of Data Director (our current tool for organizing data from the district benchmark tests and the STAR test)?

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Written by carlosrico1

April 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm

No child left behind races to the top?

Last week’s release of the AYP Progress report for SCUSD shows that many of the schools in our district are failing to adequately educate Sacramento children according to No Child Left Behind standards.

SCUSD schools in year 1 of program improvement status jumped from 3 in 2008-09 to 15 to 2009-10.

The statistics are troubling
. Many of our local high schools are at risk of entering PI status next year.

In last week’s Sacramento Bee, Superintendent Raymond describes the vicious cycle of program improvement:

“It’s like the Hotel California, you check in but you never check out.”

What constitutes failure? STAR test results? Isn’t it clearly obvious that NCLB has most educators focused on “teaching the test”?

The one-size-fits-all approach to the law doesn’t reflect or support the incredibly varied needs and strengths of the schools …

Enter President Obama’s Race to the Top, part of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In order to receive federal money, California must tie teacher performance to test results and legislators will soon meet in a special session to consider Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Race To the Top” plan which would allow merit pay and more charter schools.

Consequently, the teachers’ unions feel squeezed by former allies, including the president, seeing more of the same, tired rhetoric around test scores as opposed to real, educational reform.

And, by the way, is anyone asking the local teachers about reform? Is there any other profession in this country where salary is used as a punitive measure? Do we pay legislators on how many laws they pass?

It’s long overdue to start listening to educators, teachers and parents.

It’s hard to fathom that Education Secretary Arne Duncan (who has never taught in a classroom) has a better idea of reform for our district than say, Susan Miller.

Will you take Arnold Schwarzenneger’s advice on how to enrich your kid’s high school experience? Wouldn’t your principal be just a bit more knowledgeable?

Let’s ask Kevin Johnson to come into your child’s elementary school class and give the teacher some pointers on how to race to the top…

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