Meet the new boss…


We want to provide better information. … We then want to provide support. You can’t be held accountable for things that you can’t do or that you can’t reach without any prospects of help or support to get you there. And then we want to provide pressure. Use the tools, use the information, use the supports. Or we’re going to make some changes. That system has changed the paradigm. It’s a culture here of getting better.

What makes our accountability model kind of special is that it’s not like the federal or state “all or nothing” measure of you’ve either made it or you haven’t. … How do you tell a teacher who has just worked with kids who are two or three grade levels behind and moved them two or three grade levels that they’re not proficient? That’s not a failing teacher in Charlotte. That’s a teacher that’s going to get recognized. That’s a teacher that has really moved the bar for kids. Our accountability model reflects that.

I know the bit on with the numbers on how many grade levels a student moves is a little messed up, but I’m going to take the statement that if you move a kid who is multiple grade levels behind significantly, even if they aren’t yet proficient, you’ve done something. He doesn’t seem to be wanting to pull out a can of whoop-a$$ on the teachers (and their union), no hidden brooms, so he passes the “not scaring me test”.

There are some specific areas of the district that could do with a “house-cleaning” that could make a significant difference in getting more technology in learning, and my whole world. These could be avoided in a “love” of paper approach, or de-railed if the focus for technology is just as a test prep tool. I have NO idea what to expect from this new leader based on these articles.

I worry, because all I’m seeing is that success is based on testing, and it’s all about the numbers. To paraphrase Chris Lehmann, I’d like to create citizens, not just “test monkeys”. I don’t see a vision of that at all here. Like Chris and Tom, how much hope can you have about a system where progressive reformers are described as the status quo?

by posted under politics/policy | 6 Comments »    
6 Comments to

“Meet the new boss…”

  1. August 16th, 2009 at 8:33 pm      Reply Doug Noon Says:

    As long as “success” and testing are directly linked, no matter how much or how little, we’ll celebrate our real accomplishments quietly. Public schooling has become a game in which people far away from the action are keeping score. Time will tell if any of this “information” is actually worth anything to kids.

    • August 16th, 2009 at 9:04 pm      Reply alicemercer Says:

      Well, it has brought mediocrity, which in the case of the schools I taught at in Oakland, was a big improvement. The old system had some kids passing through the system and winding up illiterate or at an early emergent level in upper grade. That was clearly NOT working for the kids and needed to be changed. But, as always, if NCLB was the answer, that’s a really weird take on the problem.

      Doug, what would you think if this was your new superintendent?

  2. August 16th, 2009 at 11:33 pm      Reply Doug Noon Says:

    If we’re going to settle for mediocrity, then what’s the point of caring at all about what we’re doing? Especially when we know that’s the best we can hope for from the vision for reform being promoted by these people. I’d be unhappy if my new boss came in talking about applying “pressure” to use “the information” with a veiled threat about making changes, and a “culture of getting better.” What information are we talking about? We all know. As long as administrators want to pressure teachers while the economy and funding dries up around us, and they do little or nothing to remedy that, any talk about getting better sounds toxic to me.

    • August 17th, 2009 at 8:29 am      Reply alicemercer Says:

      I guess I’m just an optimist, lol. Seriously, I did ask for your opinion. I’m wondering what’s going to be coming because we’ve just moved beyond the parroting cr*p like “program fidelity” and been given leeway to deviate not just from the script but from the pacing, and skipping some assessments. That usually is the final step before a new set of requirements, assessments, and scripts are handed down. Fortunately there isn’t one for computer lab, lol.

  3. August 17th, 2009 at 9:29 pm      Reply Doug Noon Says:

    Believe me, I’m paying attention to what teachers like you have to say about how accountability measures are working out in other places. I’m trying to be an optimist myself; I like to push discussions beyond test scores to how we recognize substantive learning, because eventually, most every school will be full of “failing” kids, and we’re going to have to take another hard look at what kids are actually learning and how they are benefiting – or not. I know that doesn’t sound optimistic, but my hope is that people will eventually come to their senses about how stupidly NCLB has been implemented.

    Yes, I can still dream.

    • August 18th, 2009 at 12:47 pm      Reply alicemercer Says:

      Well, I think a lot depends on text book adoptions here. The state is letting districts skip adopting new texts. We are doing a math adoption in elementary this year. I think if we DO a language arts adoption (next year), we may be back on the “program fidelity” wagon again. They CANNOT argue for program fidelity now, because it is clear that there is POOR alignment to grade level standards, so if you do that, your kids will not make proficiency (unless they have parents who are professionals, native brilliance, etc.) A “new” text would give them the opportunity to put us back on script on the basis that it will be better aligned to the standards.

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Links of Interest


Creative Commons License
All of Ms. Mercer's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Skip to toolbar