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Moving On: NY’s Democracy Prep Seeks New Operator for Its Failed DC Charter School

The August 11, 2018, Washington Post reports that New York-based charter chain, Democracy Prep, will free itself of a DC-based charter school, that is failing its charter operator: Democracy Prep Congress Heights.

In 2014, Democracy Prep assumed control of the charter school from yet another charter operator, Imagine Schools, which had been operating the school since 2008. The school, then named Imagine Southeast Public Charter School, was up for its five-year review and was just about to be closed by the DC Public Charter School Board.

Prior to Imagine Southeast’s seemingly-certain closure in 2014, Democracy Prep came to a fellow charter operator’s rescue and assumed control. From the January 10, 2014, Washington Post:

New York-based charter school operator Democracy Prep has agreed to take over Imagine Southeast, a large public charter elementary school in Ward 8 that narrowly escaped being closed last year for poor academic performance. …

“We are confident that Democracy Prep will create a learning environment where every child has the support needed to succeed,” Barbara J. Bazron, chair of the Imagine Southeast board of trustees, said in a statement.

Cut to 2018:

“Four years ago, we promised Ward 8 a school in which scholars would thrive academically and socio-emotionally,” reads the letter from Democracy Prep chief executive Katie Duffy and the chair of the board of directors, Jennifer Wider. “Ultimately, we have not been able to deliver on that promise.” …

In math, 12 percent of students at the school met or exceeded expectations on a national standardized test. Citywide, 27 percent of students met or exceeded expectations on the test. In English, 16 percent of Democracy Prep Congress Heights students met or exceeded expectation, compared with 31 percent citywide.

The school’s suspension and expulsion rates in the 2016-2017 academic year were drastically higher than citywide averages. …

“We tried every play that we knew that has worked in Camden, Las Vegas, Baton Rouge and for whatever reason, we were not able to meet the needs of the kids, whether that be socially, emotionally or academically,” Duffy said. “And it wasn’t for a lack of support or trying.”

So now, this charter school gets passed on to the next operator, if one can be found.

Like Imagine Schools before it, Democracy Prep gets to leave its problems behind. It’s easy to do when one is not tied to a community.

And the students get to attend Imagine-Southeast-Democracy Prep-Congress-Heights-Whatever-Comes-Next.

A novel idea it to turn failed charters over to the local school board, an idea broached in the 2018 WashPost article:

Cathy Reilly, executive director of Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators, a D.C. advocacy organization, said it would prove detrimental for students at the school to potentially have three charter operators with their own leaders and teaching philosophies in five years. She argued the traditional school system offers more stability, because struggling schools simply can’t close and the traditional system offers more support for campuses.

“I would like to see a way that schools like that could come back into [D.C. Public Schools] so there is stability in the system instead of just changing operators,” Reilly said. “It’s confusing for the kids and families.”

Stability. Not a market-ed-reform concept. Necessary for healthy development, but not able to be packaged as test-score skill-and-drill.

DC needs to choose stability for these passed-along charter school students.

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Metro Denver School District Officially Opens 2018-19 as a Four-Day-a-Week District

A school district located in metropolitan Denver has just begun its first school year as a four-day-week district.

While a number of Colorado school districts have switched to four-day school weeks, this practice is apparently unusual for a suburban district.

Brighton-based School District 27J petitioned the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) for permission to offer fewer than 160 days of school to its students. The 2018-19 school year began on August 10, 2018, for middle and high school, and August 14, 2018, for elementary school. The last day of school for all students is May 24, 2019. Even so, students will receive the same amount of class time as they did during the five-day school week: 1080 hours per year for secondary schools, and 990 hours per year for elementary schools.

One of the purposes in School District 27J’s moving to the four-day week is to attract and retain teachers while addressing budgeting constraints. From the February 08, 2018, Denver Post:

The change [to a four-day school week] was proposed after voters rejected a $12 million mill levy override in November. The money garnered would have been used to compensate teachers, upgrade books and materials, and expand staffing.

While the district dug into savings to replace 20-year-old textbooks and outdated technology, it didn’t have enough money to boost teachers’ pay or update curriculum. Superintendent Chris Fiedler said he thought of shifting school hours while he was crunching budget numbers and wondering, “How in the world are we going to cut 20 percent of what we do?”

That’s when he saw it — five days in a school week, each day worth 20 percent. …

Fiedler said his first concern when considering the change was, How will kids make up the lost time from skipping a day each week? As proposed, the district would drop early releases, late starts and the occasional Wednesdays off, as well as add time to school days. …

Teachers would work 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays (and some Monday hours each month, to be determined). …

Fiedler is confident a four-day week would save the district $1 million a year, mostly in transportation, utilities, and substitute teacher costs. …

District 27J has the lowest starting and average teacher salaries of the 15 metro districts — and the turnover rate has been as high as 22 percent.

According to the March 22, 2018, 9News, teachers will work one Monday per month for only a half day.

The effort to attract teachers seems to have worked; an April 2018 job fair had so many 27J applicants that almost 200 were turned away. The 2018-19 27J salary schedule can be found here.

The district offers child care on Mondays for $30 per day and advertises that Monday day care scholarships may be available. For more information on 27J’s four-day week, including its 2018-19 school calendar, click here.

cutting the dollar

_______________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Louisiana’s ESSA “Innovative Assessments”: Testing Based on Books Students Will Have Already Read

In Louisiana, test-based ed reform will innovate by testing students on books they’ve read ahead of time.

Apparently US ed sec Betsy DeVos agrees. On July 30, 2018, she announced her approval of Louisiana’s bid to pilot these “new, Innovative assessments” as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) testing “flexibility.”

Of course, this means that these state-tested books will become the most important curricular component of a child’s education in the eyes of those affected by the resulting test scores, including student, teacher, school admin, and district admin.

The first announcement of Louisiana’s “innovative assessment” pilot bid came on April 02, 2018, in the throes of the release of Louisiana’s awful 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores. Louisiana state superintendent needed a cheerleader press release, and even though the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) proposal had not yet been approved, it was better news than anything resulting from that NAEP-score drop.

But forget NAEP. Louisiana is on to something new, sort of:

Test students on books they’ve read.

Here’s the LDOE press release on Louisiana’s ESSA “innovative assessments” approval:

LOUISIANA ESSA INNOVATIVE ASSESSMENT PILOT FIRST TO RECEIVE FEDERAL APPROVAL

Jul 27, 2018

Pilot in Five School Systems Will Allow Teachers and Students to Focus on Knowledge of Books

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Education today announced the state’s proposal to pilot an innovative English assessment is the first to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education under the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority, part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). By measuring students’ knowledge of specific books, rather than texts they have not read before, the test aspires to build knowledge of facts and texts in students.

“Research shows students need deep knowledge of a subject in order to effectively read about it,” said State Superintendent John White. “Louisiana’s pilot offers a unique opportunity to develop assessments that support this research. We are thrilled to be the first state in the nation to receive the authority to explore innovative ways to better assess student achievement.”

Louisiana submitted a proposal for the pilot in April 2018 in response to a provision in ESSA by which select states are allowed to develop and pilot new high-quality assessment formats in lieu of the existing statewide achievement tests. Louisiana and New Hampshire were the only states to submit proposals. Louisiana is the first state to earn approval from the federal government. Louisiana now has five years to develop, pilot and expand the innovative assessment.

Key features of Louisiana’s innovative assessment pilot include:

  • Combining English and social studies tests to streamline state testing;
  • Measuring what students have learned via passages from books that students have read, rather than passages that they have not read as part of the curriculum;
  • Assessing students through several brief assessments throughout the year, rather than one longer test at the end of the year; and
  • Preserving local control as to which books and which assessments their students will take.

The five initial partner school systems include Ouachita Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, and St. Tammany Parish, as well as KIPP Public Charter Schools and Collegiate Academies in Orleans Parish.

“St. John the Baptist Parish is excited to implement and study streamlined and integrated assessments that truly assess the books students read and the knowledge students build,” said St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools Superintendent Kevin George. “This new and innovative approach has great potential to improve learning in literacy within our district and across Louisiana.”

As for the actual details behind Louisiana’s proposed ESSA “innovative assessment” pilot: The 318-page application can be found here.  (Appendices begin on page 77, beginning with the professional bio info of LDOE project staff and external partners.)

Below is a 5-minute video advertising Louisiana and New Hampshire’s ESSA assessment pilot proposals. It’s shy on details but makes for a pretty commercial:

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Louisiana’s Falling School Scores: Many “A’s” Expected to Become “C’s”(?)

On August 05, 2018, the New Orleans Advocate included this article about the anticipated drop in Louisiana’s school performance scores, set to be released in the fall of 2018.

The title of the article is, “You might be shocked to see your school’s letter grade dropped, but Louisiana leaders can explain…,” and it includes the following excerpts of interest:

Michael Faulk, executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said his group has been advising superintendents for months on how to get ready for the changes.

“To prepare people so it won’t be a shock,” said Faulk, former superintendent of the Central School District. …

…During the transition the number of F-rated schools will rise by 57 percent and those with A ratings will drop 38 percent, according to state figures released last year.

On February 26, 2018, Faulk sent an email to Louisiana district superintendents. The subject line was simply “Attachments,” and it did include three attachments (I linked these in the text below), along with the following text:

Superintendents:

Please find attached 3 documents which have been worked on and developed for use in presenting information

to various audiences.

1.  A Power Point Template which you may use and adapt for presentations to business groups, parent organizations or staff.

2.  ESSA White Paper in a Word document.  Superintendent Kelli Joseph will be discussing the components of this document at the LSBA [La. School Boards Assn.] Convention.  This helps developing a perspective on School Accountability.

3.  A  Power Point Transitioning to New and Challenging Academic Standards which I presented to school board members at Trail Blazers held in the Fall of 2017.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

M. Faulk

Below is some key information from the three documents linked above.

To begin, regarding the drop in A-graded schools and increase in F- graded schools, the first Power Point includes the following details:

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The same information is included in the ESSA white paper, and it is followed by commentary on “Louisiana’s impressive progress” and how the new rating system is better because it “will now value more the progress of every child.” However, the reality is that schools and districts will be punished for receiving lower school grades– as is starkly noted in a slide from the second, “Transitioning” Power Point:

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Many “A” schools and districts will become “C” schools or districts.

“C” schools and districts will drop in performance either barely maintaining their “C” rating or drop to a “D” rating.

More districts will be eligible for charter schools.

“A” schools and districts becoming “C” schools and districts will be looked at as failure; there is no way that this will be played off as “but we’ve improved.”

The ultimate punishment waiting in the wings:

*Charter school eligibility.*

Of course, the great irony here is that most charter schools in Louisiana are concentrated in New Orleans, and 40 percent of those scored D or F in 2017prior to the anticipated, 57 percent increase in F-graded schools. But in the view of market-based ed reform, it is okay for charter schools have Fs because theoretically, these can be replaced by new charter schools ad infinitum with charter-closure churn being branded as a success.

In 2010, Louisiana state ed board (BESE) president, Penny Dastugue, commented that “people can relate to letter grades,” implying that letter grades are simple.

The shifting criteria behind them is not “simple”; it is simplistic, and as such, it is destructive and feeds a joyless, authoritarian, fear-centered atmosphere in schools and systems unfortunate enough to not have access to hefty doses of wealth, privilege, or the capacity for selective admission.

The ESSA white paper includes a comparison to football game with a mid-game rule change– an analogy that the author(s) appear to believe works because “a good team will soon revise its playbook and strategies to once again be successful”– with no mention of any negative consequences, including losing the game; the coach being fired; players dropping the program due to low morale, and the football program possibly being defunded. (Another irony: Many charter schools do not offer extracurricular activities to their students.)

Still, district superintendents are urged to proceed with some “don’t worry, be happy” talking points:

Communicating Change

It will be very important to communicate with all stakeholders that declining changes in scores and letter grades may result despite no significant change or even some improvement in a school or district’s effort.

Our top educators and school district CEOs support efforts to find new and better ways to serve students. However, that pursuit for improvement should not be undermined by a grading system that does not accurately represent the work being done. The shifts toward growth and higher standards under ESSA should be managed more effectively and more productively, rather than in a somewhat punitive structure.

The anticipated changes could be equated to a football game where teams use a traditional point system through the first half, but at half time, they are notified that the values of their scores have been changed based upon whether the points were gained through a run or pass play. Additional points are also being awarded or subtracted from the team’s overall score based on actions related to the game, but that previously, may have had no direct bearing on the score of the game.

Clearly, such a “mid-game” change could put a well-organized and talented team in an underdog position. And while any team may struggle to adapt to the new game conditions and structure, a good team will soon revise its playbook and strategies to once again be successful.

Remind stakeholders that your school/district is ever adapting to better educate your students to be successful in an ever changing, ever fluctuating global society. These changes may cause temporary setbacks, but even those setbacks can result in improvements that better advance our goals.

Next comes a chart of talking points (included in both the ESSA white paper and the first Power Point). Note the intentional (deceptive?) downplay of the standardized test scores that undeniably overshadow all else on the public school campus:

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So, if  since February 2018, your Louisiana district has communicated that it is shifting its focus away from test scores and back to standards, and that the standards are to drive instruction, you now know where that message originated. However, I doubt if the “back to standards” campaign has been advertised enough to overshadow the message of consequence:

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_____________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

 

 

Success Academy “Got to Go” List: Federal Lawsuit to Move Forward

In October 2015, New York Times reporter, Kate Taylor broke the story of the “Got to Go” list created by Success Academy Fort Greene principal, Candido Brown. The list– entitled “Got to Go”– included the names of 16 students that Brown wanted out of his school, which served grades K-3 at the time (grade 4 was added later).

candido brown crying

Candido Brown, after “Got to Go” list exposed

Cut to 2018:

On August 01, 2018, US District Judge Frederick Block allowed a federal lawsuit against Success Academy charter schools (New York) to proceed on the basis of discrimination against children with disabilities, intent to retaliate, and “bad faith or gross misjudgment.”

Parents of five of the “Got to Go” list students are named as plaintiffs in the federal suit on behalf of the five children.

The children were only four and five years of age at the time that they attended Success Academy Fort Greene.

Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz dismissed the issue, as Taylor reports:

…After this article was published online, Eva S. Moskowitz, a former New York City councilwoman who runs Success Academy, was asked by reporters about the “Got to Go” list. Ms. Moskowitz said that given her network’s size, “mistakes are sometimes made.” She declined to answer further questions, saying she would hold a news conference on Friday to discuss “the mistake that was made in that particular case.”

In January 2016, Brown left Success Academy Fort Greene, but he did not leave the charter chain altogether; he was reassigned to another Success Academy school as a teacher.

Judge Block’s decision includes background on the micromanagement of student behavior at the Success Academy school as well as information on each of the five students; I briefly offer info on three of the five students in the excerpt below:

Success Academy is a system of charter schools in New York City that receives funding and other benefits from the federal, state, and city governments. It chooses its students via lottery. Success Academy Fort Greene is a school in the Success Academy system. Brown began as principal of Success Academy Fort Greene in October 2014.

Success Academy runs a strict disciplinary system known as the “Code of Conduct.” Its zero-tolerance approach prohibits, among other things, failing to sit in the “Magic 5” sitting position and requires the students to always be on task, stay engaged in learning, and comply with the dress code. Teachers use stopwatches to script the school day, and students must carry “air bubbles” in their mouths when walking from class to class so they do not speak to one another.

Behavior infractions are tracked with a green-yellow-red system. If a student violates the Code of Conduct, he is moved from green to yellow. A second violation moves the student from yellow to red. At this point, the student will be put in “cool down,” often be moved to a different classroom, and receive zero credit for missed assignments. If moving the student does not work, the student is dismissed from school for the day. This requires the parent to leave work and pick up the student immediately; failure to do so results in formal suspension of the student and sometimes threats by the school to call the police or the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”).

The five plaintiff children won the Success Academy lottery and were enrolled in the school at various times between 2013 and 2015. They were between the ages of four and five at the time of their enrollment. Though the details vary, the essence of their claims is the same: Each plaintiff struggled to comply with the strict disciplinary code and was consequently barred from the classroom. …

I.L. struggled to conform to Success Academy’s strict Code of Conduct and was removed from class on an almost daily basis. I.L.’s father, Shawn Lawton, attempted to keep I.L. on track by sitting in on classes under the school’s parental “open door policy.” When he did so, I.L. was able to finish the school day. However, I.L. began to suffer from anxiety and depression stemming from his inability to function at Success Academy.

In December 2014, Mr. Lawton inquired about an individualized education plan (“IEP”) for I.L. under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). Success Academy then began an IEP evaluation, but while it was being conducted Brown met with Mr. and Mrs. Lawton and told them I.L. was not a “good fit” for Success Academy. He then barred Mr. Lawton from the classroom.

The evaluation was completed in January 2015 and a behavior management plan was recommended, but not implemented. The Lawtons began to receive daily phone calls, almost immediately after I.L. arrived at school, informing them that he had been put in “cool down” and threatening removals and suspensions. In February 2015, the Lawtons removed I.L. from Success Academy. …

B.S. attended Success Academy from September 2014 to June 2015. Though he has not been classified as having a learning disability, defendants “regarded him as having a learning and/or behavioral disability that impeded his ability to comply with Success Academy’s rigid disciplinary code.” He was sent home early from school three to four times a week and suspended approximately five times. On one occasion, he was suspended because his father was five minutes late picking him up on an early dismissal day. Brown and other school officials repeatedly pressured B.S.’s mother, Monique Jeffrey, to remove her son from the school. She finally relented and did so in September 2015.

C.S. attended Success Academy from September 2014 to June 2015. He has “been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (“ODD”).” In addition, “Success Academy perceived C.S. as having an autism spectrum disorder.”  His “learning disability substantially limited him in major life activities—namely, in learning.” C.S. also struggled to comply with the Code of Conduct and was frequently removed from class early, dismissed, and suspended. After Brown became principal, C.S. was suspended once or twice per week. In October 2014, C.S. was evaluated for an IEP and recommended for an Integrated Co-Teaching classroom. However, in November and December 2014, his mother, Shanice Givens, was repeatedly pressured to remove her son from the school. In February 2015, the school administration threatened to turn him over to ACS if Ms. Givens did not pick him up from school within twenty minutes. Ms. Givens enrolled C.S. in public school the following year. …

After the five students were disenrolled, the parents learned that Brown had intentionally targeted their children, among others, for removal using a so-called “Got to Go” list. The list targeted students, including those with disabilities or perceived disabilities, for removal from the school. The list was reported in a New York Times article, in which Brown acknowledged, “I felt I couldn’t turn [Success Academy Fort Greene] around if these students remained.”

From Judge Block’s reasoning regarding allowing the federal suit to move forward:

…The complaint is rife with allegations of bad faith or gross misjudgment, not the least of which was the establishment of the “Got to Go” list targeting disabled students for removal, as well as the daily removals, frequent suspensions, and repeated threats to call the police and ACS on four- and five-year-olds, which were sometimes acted upon. These allegations are sufficient to show more than “errors in judgment” on the part of Success Academy and Brown.

“Mistakes are sometimes made”??

Intentionally targeting young children for removal from school is no “mistake.” It is cruel foolishness that rightly resulted in a federal lawsuit.

scales of justice 2

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

College Board Botches the Scoring of the June 2018 SAT; Affected Test Takers Petition for Rescore

I have no faith in the College Board under David Coleman. Over the years, I have written about repeated score reporting delays, hastily recycled testsineptness at accommodating injured students, the leaking of SAT items to the press, Coleman’s reluctance to address SAT problems, including SAT bias against females, and Coleman’s using the Parkland, FL, school shooting as an opportunity to promote College Board.

Thus, this most recent SAT chaos comes as no surprise:

Something fishy has occurred with the scoring of the June 2018 SAT. For example, test takers are getting more answers correct than they did on previous tests, only to find that their scores compared to previous administrations either flatlined or drastically dropped, and the explanation, “easier questions” does not account for the severity of the problem.

June 2018 SAT test takers are tweeting their displeasure. Still, on July 12, 2018, College Board tweets that nothing is wrong and that it “plans for consistency across administrations”:

However, those College Board tweets attesting to its own competence are failing to pacify June 2018 SAT test takers.

As a result, thousands of affected individuals are petitioning College Board to Rescore the Test. As of this writing, the petition has 28,809 signatures. I learned of the petition from an individual on Twitter, @FixTheTest. According to this individual, 100,000 signatures are needed in order to prompt College Board to rescore the June 2018 SAT. But it seems there is some behind-the-scenes pushback from College Board:

The Rescore the Test home page has links that enable affected individuals to tell their stories and enable the public to read those stories, a few of which I have posted below. (There are many more.)

Alyssa, FL:

After taking the May 2018 SAT and being disappointed with my score of 1360, I paid the late fee for the June test and received a 1270. My score dropped NINETY points despite getting 2 more questions correct overall, which in my mind, would warrant the same score or slightly higher. I am disgusted by the College Board’s inaction and will not stop until every test receives a fair rescore.

Eli, FL:

I took the SAT in December and I got an 1150 and I took the June 2nd SAT and received the same score even though I got a total of 17 more questions correct. I studied 3-4 months for this exam to be curved negatively, I am furious.

Salma, NY:

I paid around $2,000 prepping for this exam. I had taken it in April and gotten a score I was not happy with. I studied for an entire month using khan academy and my own books to prep for the June SAT and in the end I saw that my score stayed the same. In addition, I got 10 more questions right than last time.

Connor, CA:

In March of 2018 I took the SAT with no preparation and zero confidence. I ended up doing very poorly missing a total of 56 questions. I missed 17 in math, 17 in writing and language, and 22 in reading. I ended up getting an 1170 which wasn’t a terribly low score considering how many questions I got wrong. I decided to study so I could improve my score. I spent many hours studying so that I could raise my score and get into a good school. I went into the June SAT with much more confidence and preparation. After the test I felt I did so much better than the first time. Over a month passes and I receive my scores. I am happy that I improved, but then I look at how many questions I missed. I ended up getting 7 questions wrong in math, 8 questions wrong in writing and language, and 8 questions wrong in reading. That’s a total of 23 wrong. I got 33 more questions correct and only improved by 120 points! I could’ve easily had a 1370 or higher which would have tremendously increased my chances at getting into a better school. To add to that, College Board decides to release the scores MUCH later than usual which makes it harder for students to retake the August SAT. There are so many reasons College Board is in the wrong and I hope something is done about it. Thank you.

Mary, PA:

One daughter got -5 on math in October and got 760. Her twin got -6 on math in June and got 670! 90 point difference for 1 less math question! First twin missed 21 in October and got 1440. Second twin missed 17 in June and got 1350! 90 points less despite twin 2 missing less! Identical IQ scores. Nearly identical standardized scores their entire lives. Nearly identical psat scores. Both got 4 on AP calc exam. Second twin has higher gpa and was doing 50-60 points better than first twin on practice exams. And studied an extra 8 months! Yet 90 points lower on June test! 1440 v 1350 when both applying to colleges????

Jacky, NY:

I woke up like everyone else to a notification saying that SAT scores are available. When i took the test, i felt that the test was practically the same level as the one i took march and october. I had studied for weeks for this test, staying up late just to do some practice test problems. Anyways, i log in and see that i have a 1440. At first i thought that i might have screwed up on one of the sessions, but i logged on and saw that i only got one math wrong and 11 questions wrong for the reading and writing section combined. That was around 8-9 questions more than i had last time, but i saw little improvement. I began to look at sat scoring websites like collegepanda and it told me that i should have scored around a 1500. All that hard work and feel that me and my peers have been robbed of the points that we earned and the only response that we get from the college board is that “they believe it is fair”. Us students want change and their word isn’t enough. We want action.

Student, GA:

I just wanted to improve the math section of my SAT in hopes that I could take another test in August and focus on the reading and writing section later having it superscored. I just want something over a 1400 to get a scholarship at this university I want to go to. I have worked with a private tutor and I have greatly approved my math abilities (I have consistently been scoring in the 700s when taking the practice tests college board has released). In 10th grade, I got a 680 on the math section with 13 wrong but in the June Sat I only got 1 wrong in the no calculator section and 7 in the calculator section but my score for the section came out to be a 660, 20 points less than my previous score. See now I am a rising senior and I know for a fact that I haven’t gotten any dumber in the past year if anything my score should go up. Look at the scoring for the curves for the previous tests I should get about a 700-750 and my overall score should be in the mid-1300s. Further, I really don’t want to keep worrying about studying for the math part of the SAT, I already spend a ton of time on it so even if they gave me a refund I’ll still be very cross, and with school starting in a few months I won’t have much time to spend on the SAT especially with the sport and clubs I’m involved in as well as the APs I’m taking. So #rescorejunesat

Aris, NY:

I took the March SAT and got a 1420. That was okay for then and I decided to work through my AP tests in May and take the June SAT. I came out of that test on June 2nd completely confident I at least scored higher, and I felt I did very well with the least wrong, finishing with good timing, and I felt I was prepared my best after finishing my math course and my AP English Courses. June was the best time for me to take it. My feelings after the test proved true after I received my score report. I saw details on each of my SAT sections. I went from 9 wrong (710) on math to 6 wrong (670) on math. I also finally achieved a perfect score on the writing and language section (from getting 3 wrong on last test) also my reading stayed same. Yet my scores went down. What I thought would be a 1470-1490 went down to a 1390. That’s a difference that won’t fly in college admissions. I feel helpless and powerless. I dread the moment where I would get denied to my dream school, where my predicted score would have put me in a great spot for admission. But unfortunately CollegeBoard is failing at putting kids on path to college and advocating for retakes in August.

Justin’s comment offers more information regarding a College Board flub in publishing questions with errors on its June 2018 SAT and then trying to “fix” the issue in the scoring phase:

Justin, WA:

2018 March: 1250, 620 R&W, 630 Math -16 Reading, -9 Writing, -14 Math

2018 June: 1290, 630 R&W, 660 Math -12 Reading, -6 Writing, -7 Math

Comparing to other curves:

Low: 700 Math, 650 R&W

High: 750 Math, 680 R&W

The claim that the 2018-06 test was easier is invalid. Section 4 had 2 easy questions and 14 hard questions. Additionally, four questions from Sections 1 and 2 were eliminated. Why do these four questions go against our score as opposed to be free boosts? We’re not the ones who made the error questions. It was you who made those silly error questions.

College Board flub-and-fix. Aha.

It seems that College Board chose not to score some questions that it determined as erroneous; however, choosing to not give students credit for questions that College Board botched does not account for so many students getting many more questions correct and seeing their scores markedly fall. It also seems that in including questions with errors on the June test and then trying to fix the problem in a fly-by-the-seat-of-pants fashion by ghosting out those questions in scoring, College Board wrecked its test-form equivalency, erring on the side of penalizing students on a high-stakes test that requires timely reporting of scores.

Justin continues with some impressive research into the issue about which College Board owes him and other June 2018 test takers some answers:

Justin, WA:

This is a follow up to my story. I would like to take a look at some of the arguments the other side has made and analyze them to assess if they’re valid or not.

Argument 1: The test was easier.

T1: No it was not. It was actually quite similar, if not possibly a bit harder. Please look at this breakdown (and here and here) of Section 4 as an instance. There were only 2 easy questions and 14 hard questions. Rest were medium.

Argument 2: This was due to equating.

T2: Please observe the score table in this article. Sure, if the test was considerably easier, then this curve would have made sense. But, since the claim that the test was considerably easier is a falsehood, this suggests that the College Board did not comply with its rules of equating. Because, in Section 4 for instance, 36/38 were medium to hard, the curve should have stayed similar or maybe slightly more lenient.

Argument 3: The CB was still ethical in its testing process.

T3: Why are there complaints that the 4 removed questions counted down against the students when the students had no role in the test questions design? Can you elaborate on your argument now that I pointed that out? If the CB was ethical, wouldn’t these 4 removed questions work as boosters? After all, it’s their fault for those defective questions. So, a concrete acknowledgement is the fair response. And please look at these. You can save the audio clip to your Google Drive and play it on the app (and here and here).

You are free to examine the contradictions that undermine the CB’s argument. In my eyes, a refund and cancellation is not an ideal goal. The College Board can likely afford these hits in the future. So, this would be a slap on the wrist. The right solution is a fair rescore. And while that, the College Board must post a public letter acknowledging their mistake so this never happens again.

If you have been negatively affected by the June 2018 administration of the SAT, or if you plan to take the SAT in the future, consider signing the petition to rescore and forwarding to friends and classmates.

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

It’s My 51st Birthday, and I’m Raising Funds to Attend NPE!

UPDATE 08-06-18: Thank you for making this campaign a success! You generously exceeded my $750 goal and gave a total of $820!  I so appreciate your kindness to me, both for this and previous fundraising campaigns. Thank you all so much.

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Hello, all.

I’m 51 today, which means I get to enjoy yet another birthday cake and make a wish. 🙂

Here is my cake:

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As for my wish: I am once again hoping for a fully funded trip to the Network for Public Education (NPE) conference, which will be held in Indianapolis on October 20-21, 2018.

This year, I will be presenting, and NPE is partially funding my expenses.

I still need $750 to cover the entire trip. For this reason, I invite those who are so inclined to visit my GoFundMe page to assist me in this effort.

Thank you for your consideration.

Signed,

The Birthday Girl

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