Site Meter Josh's Blog: State Legislation, NCLB, CMT and CAPT

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

State Legislation, NCLB, CMT and CAPT

In it's last session, State legislators passed a series of education accountability bills that are aligned with NCLB and have significant implications for Stamford. I have been talking to other superintendents around the state, as well as State Department of Education officials (including the commissioner) about it, in order to understand what it means for us. The bottom line is that if Math and Reading scores don't go up significantly soon, we will have to take comprehensive reform efforts at schools that have persistent low performance. These measures may include instituting after school programs, reconstituting schools and/or implementing new curriculum. Some districts in Connecticut have been designated in Corrective Action, which means that they must follow some prescriptive steps that the State has laid out. Our recent CMT and CAPT scores should have put us in corrective action, however, the State didn't analyze the data quickly enough. Essentially, we got a "bye" year.

My strategy going forward this year is : 1)continue to work with the State Department of Education so that we fully understand the implications of the legislation, 2) begin exploring comprhensive and aggressive measures that can be taken at schools that have had persistently low performance over a number of years, and, 3) fully understanding the successful practices in Stamford and beyond that can be replicated. My belief is that if we develop our own solution that meets the intent of the legislation, the State is less likely to impose their solution on us.

This work will require everyone - teachers, parents, administrators and community - to fully understand the implications of the legislation and to come together to problem-solve. There are some things that I will have to do, some that the Board will have to do, and other things that can be done collaboratively.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

So, because the state was lax we can put off comprehensive reforms for yet another year?

Do we really need the state to tell us what to do, and when? Haven't we been aware (for YEARS now) of which schools and students are getting an unequal educational experience?

The children whose CMTs got their elementary schools designated In Need of Improvement when NCLB first came out are in high school now! Why do we continue to wait and wait and wait--doing only the bare minimum (offering school choice to the few, tutoring to a few, etc.)?

As long as our schools are being judged by the quality of the student (which is what comes from judging a school by its test scores) until there is dramatic reform you are not going to be able to say that all schools in Stamford are of the same quality.

As we have understood you in the past, you cannot redistrict our schools until all schools can be said to be offering the same quality education.

This sounds like a catch-22 situation to us. We're counting on you to do what needs to be done at the schools that need it--not to hold endless discussions about the same things over and over.

If this is indeed an action year, let's see some action. We're behind you--and you'll have our endless loyalty if you get some results, so let's get on with it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that was a correct assessment of the statement that we have a "Bye" year. Lax is not how I would describe this administration.
Stamford has changed but many things about the schools have failed to change with this. The problems are outlined simply below:
1.)Chronic under-financing
2.)an unwillingness to address issues of equity and fairness (redistricting)
3.)changing content standards of what students must learn
4.)exponential growth in the technology of how students learn

Combine to create a situation in which teachers appear uncertain of what to teach, how best to teach it, and further lack the resources to change the way they have been teaching.

I would personally add to this that I believe that students have profoundly changed the way they learn through their exposure to media/technology.

Check out the teacher tube

"Did you know?" ranked in the most popular catagory.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that we have to wait for something to happen! I would think that better education standards are a plus for every city. I have 2 students in the school system one does not take it too seriously because basically education is not enforced.
My youngest when she practices and practices for those CMTs comes out with comments such as "oh yes we are supposed to do well because it makes the Teacher look good!" Education is being interpreted in a very incorrect fashion - Focusing on State tests for statistical reasons is not a way to learn or teach. Please get a grip and focus on proper education to get our kids inspired not bored! That is really the only way we can improve education for our kids.

Ayannali said...

I personally do not see the point in taking these tests if they are not a true reflection of what is going on in the schools, at least in regards to Special Education. Please explain to me the point in testing Special Education students at grade level when you know they AREN'T at grade level?
Maybe instead of trying to offer the minimum amount of help to the 20% of students in Special Ed, you may want to offer as much help and support as possible. The Special Education scores still count to the over score of the school. Let's not Dimiss them.