(Mensaje se repite en Español)
If you know Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, the Ides of March- or March 15th- is the date in 44 BC when Julius Caesar was assassinated. The Ides of March in 2017 California might in the future just be looked back on with the new California School Dashboard (CSD) student performance evaluation system as the date that marked the purposeful assasination of anything even remotely resembling any kind of real accountability for the public education system.
On that date state officials unveiled the CSD public education accountability system that in reality is the most comprehensive way yet devised to further obfuscate how students are actually not doing well in public schools. Under CSD it is virtually impossible to address the subjective needs of any student, if the CSD assessment never allows an objective standard of even their minimal actual education level.
Simply stated, anything that even remotely approximates an objective standard for measuring how students and specific schools are doing in comparison to all other students and schools in the state has been eliminated from this new CSD assessment in favor of a color coded new system of feel good assessment that gives contrived acceptable ranking based on improvement without any notion at any time of ever holding students to the ultimate mastery of grade-level standards that they will in the not too distant future be held to, when they leave school and try unsuccessfully to be gainfully employed.
Even the Los Angeles Times acknowledges in a March 16th article about this new CSD assessment framework that finally replaces what was the prior objective standard of the Academic Perfomance Index (API) that it "paints a far rosier picture of academic achievement than past measurements." If the patient/student is running a high fever and is very sick, you can either treat the patient/student or break the thermometer. CSD breaks the themometer.
So now under CSD "80% of schools serving grades three through eight are ranked medium- to high performing...when last year the majority of the [same] students failed to reach English and math standards." The fact that "those schools whose average math scores fell below proficiency [now] receive the dashboard's highest rating for math" is never addressed.
There is clearly an effort by the CSD to obfuscate the continuing failure of too many schools and students. Getting rid of an API objective standard that let you know if you were in an 800 or 900 API school, things were okay, but if you were in a 400 or 500 school, you couldn't learn even if you wanted to now makes any kind of accountability impossible.
Given the pressure on teachers to pass students whether or not they have been able to do the work, how can passing or rates of graduation be used in CSD assessment, when they in no way reflect an objective and independently verifiable level of actual academic achievement.
CSD even takes into account suspension rates at a school without ever asking the threshhold question as to whether teachers still have the power to suspend students from a class that are making it impossible for their fellow students to learn.
Carrie Hahnel of Education Trust West in Oakland said it best when she said CSD is "terribly misleading- communicating things are just fine even if they're not." Most telling is what Jenny Singh of the California Department of Education says in opting for having blue or green positive ranked schools, even if you have to engage in hiding the true level of too many schools in order to do so.
It is not surprising that LAUSD official have called the new CSD system "useful," since its lack of a clear and objectifiably verifiable standards of academic excellence will allow them to continue putting their careers ahead of the needs of what remains their purposefully failed students. For them, its a "fairer way of looking at schools," because it continues to not hold them accountable for predictable student failure that could be easily addressed, if these students were assessed and educated in a timely manner.
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