Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What the school board’s not talking about

I hear this post got a mention (during public comment) at our local school board meeting tonight. I’m pretty mystified about why school board members throughout Iowa aren’t kicking and screaming about the proposed enormous increase in spending on standardized tests. When it’s time to make the cuts, those board members will be the first ones to take the heat. Is it just that they’re so used to thinking of themselves as state employees rather than elected representatives that they’re just waiting for the state to tell them what to do? Or maybe they think it’s all a good idea?

Related post here.
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6 comments:

Julie VanDyke said...

ICCSD DPO public meeting today, January 14, 2015
11:30-12:00 lunch
12:00-1:00 Magnet Programming & Alternative Curriculum presentation
Location: Kirkwood Elementary, 1409 9th Street, Coralville, 319-688-1120

Julie VanDyke said...

Hi Chris,
Though mentioned during the board meeting briefly...the "real" discussion took place in the worksession after the board meeting. Worksession/committees are where they really do the majority of discussion most candidly by each director and administrator with board meetings mostly just for show, administrative posturing and spin, last minute concerns, public comment they seem to only want to have if it's in agreement with the administration's stance, and to vote.
The worksession went into great detail about testing done currently, what you're talking about coming down the pike, how things currently work, how the new testing could/might be handled as far as tech needs, funding, but of most concern to me was a potential they might be increasing the frequency per year of perhaps multiple forms of standardized testing and maybe in more grades than now also.
I will review my audio of the work session but it seemed to me I was hearing the new testing might not replace but be in addition to, increasing the number of days of standardized testing. So we might do multiple forms of testing, the number of grades they test in may increase, and even the frequency and number of testing days may increase.
If they don't put that audio up quickly, let me know and we'll work something out.
With your interest in standardized testing I would think that this work session, which didn't last all that long, would be the most important things you could personally review to know what they're talking about doing because this was the first time I've heard any of them go into any detail about it whatsoever. The presentation was given by Pam Ehly (sp?) so we won't get a more informed description from anyone who knows more about it than she does within our district.

Karen W said...

Interesting. The agenda items of
1. Leadership for Student Learning
2. Strategic Planning: Teaching and Learning
don't clearly communicate that standardized testing is going to be discussed.

Chris said...

Julie -- that's interesting to hear. Did the board members show any inclination to speak up about the matter to state legislators?

Julie VanDyke said...

Not so much at the board meeting as today when they spoke to the DPO. Parents were encouraged to write, call, tweet, and most exciting of all...to take a road trip to Des Moines for the "Legislative Day on the Hill" on Tuesday, 2/17. They said that anyone can go, they will essentially caravan it up there, and Murley/Ramey will get the parents that want to go a packet of material in addition to and support of the Board's stated legislative priorities on their web site (gosh, hope it's easier to find than FERPA was unless it's changed since last night's meeting). Parents that wish to go were asked to contact Chace Ramey Ramey.Chace@iowacityschools.org is his email...I think. I lost his phone number. I think we should go. The governor set the ever changing name of the money they provide the schools per child way, way, way, way below what was hoped for, and quite frankly, what every district very much needs. There are two other also rather important board voted legislative goals.

Julie VanDyke said...

@Karen W...you so funny. I'm smiling because your point is something that regularly bothers me too...in addition to the severe deterioration of board meeting minutes...and not being condescending at all, seriously. Except it's not funny. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to know what was they were really talking about that best way...you know, when no District level administrator will return your call, message, or ever but rarely answer your emails and only then with the most unpleasant imaginable consequences...that the only way to even hear any of it is to attend committee meetings (which now happen but one a month or so), work sessions, and board retreat meetings. The audios are on their web page but rather difficult, as are many things, to locate. After having learned quite a bit from their body language and personal styles, I can usually pretty well guess what's going on much of the time. They all have their tics.

Interesting. The agenda items of
1. Leadership for Student Learning
2. Strategic Planning: Teaching and Learning
don't clearly communicate that standardized testing is going to be discussed.