No Zero policy-deux

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sorry Timebandit but I was telling you how it was for my son not claiming that was how it was in Edmonton. I thought I was having a conversation with you and mostly agreeing so I think that would rightly be a straw man conversation not a straw man argument.

The actual semantics of what you call consequences is irrelevant. I don't understand how any system will change the amount of time a teacher needs to take with individual students.  The idea that one method will change behaviour without a teacher pressing the student in some manner is also not in play here. It seems to me that after 150 posts we have reached consensus that the real key is not the mechanics of the policy but the teaching skills of the teachers. 

I personally think a good teacher will be able to get good outcomes no matter whether they have the ability to give zeros on an assignment. This teacher was using his students to make a political statement in a dispute over policy.  I think he should not be using children to make political points over a policy he disagrees with. If this is the best he can do in getting his message across I would give him a D- for creativity and tell him that he should give his next assignment more thought before rushing it to meet a press deadline.

Sven Sven's picture

Caissa wrote:

Unionist wrote:

I liked the fourth letter the best.

D ?

Unionist, I'm sure, was saying that with an ironic voice, Caissa.  It's one of the reasons I love reading Unionist's posts!

Sven Sven's picture

Timebandit wrote:

...3D teenagers....

That's a good one, TB...  Wink

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

@ kropotkin - Okay, sorry if I misread.  But my point stands, I don't think we're talking about giving an absolute zero on the report card, but about the ability of the teacher to use what they think will motivate the student to get in there and do the work.  To my mind, the difference between a zero or failing grade and an incomplete is purely semantic - there is no practical or functional difference to the student, they still have to go to summer school.  So why don't we give the teacher the flexibility to use what tools they feel are effective to manage their classrooms?  (Barring verbal or physical abuse, obviously.) 

Ultimately I agree with you on the point that it doesn't matter if there's a zero or no zero policy if the student is in the hands of a good teacher. 

6079_Smith_W

@ k

Then I am sure there is a fair bit we agree on, but also a few things which are up in the air:

Do we need effective, engaged teachers? Absolutely.

Was the teacher in this case in the wrong? I can't say for sure, but personally I think there is a little bit more to it than this one policy. While teachers should play ball with their administration, there is also an expectation that administration should provide some backup for teachers as well as students.

Is the no zero policy beneficial or harmful? Clearly we don't all agree there.

 

Caissa

Timebandit wrote:
To my mind, the difference between a zero or failing grade and an incomplete is purely semantic - there is no practical or functional difference to the student, they still have to go to summer school.

 

I beg to differ. If a student receives a 0 on a piece of work that has not been don s/he has received an assessment and is not required to complete the work. If s/he receives an "incomplete" the work has not been assessed and it is still required to be completed for assessment.

Unionist

Sven wrote:

Caissa wrote:

Unionist wrote:

I liked the fourth letter the best.

D ?

Unionist, I'm sure, was saying that with an ironic voice, Caissa.  It's one of the reasons I love reading Unionist's posts!

I liked the fourth letter at the Globe link. It advocated the legalization of marijuana. 

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

While I don't support a no-zeros policy, I support the student being able to hand in an assignment and get a grade for it, up to the point where the teacher needs to have the assignment in order to be able to grade it. That way the student is given the maximum opportunity to complete the assignment, and get the learning that comes from the completion of the assignment and the teacher's assessment of it.

There needs to be a penalty for not handing in an assignment on time, so that students are motivated to be punctual with their assignments. I think 10% is a good penalty. Much more than this, and students will decide that the've lost too many marks on the assignment and not bother to complete it.

After that, no more loss of marks until something like one week before the teacher has to hand in the marks to the office to go on the report cards, one week being a reasonable ammount of time for the teacher to mark the assignments handed in last minute. This ensures that the penalty for lateness doesn't become a deciding factor in the sutdent's decision whether or not to complete a late assignment.

Giving a zero on assignments not handed in one week before the teacher has to hand in marks is to ensure that the student's assessment in the course is based on the total number of marks handed out. So that if there are 300 marks are available to get in a course, an assignment with 30 marks is worth 10% of the course for all students.

This avoids having different students assignments weighted differently for the grade in the course. It also avoids giving a final grade of Incomplete, and thus having to take summer school, simply because the student failed to hand in one or more assignments, even when they got more than 50% of the marks handed out in the course.

Caissa

The Atlantic premiers seem to agree with you Unionist based on the following CBC story title:

Atlantic premiers expanding joint buying

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

The Atlantic premiers seem to agree with you Unionist based on the following CBC story title:

Atlantic premiers expanding joint buying

LOL!

Thanks for cheering me up, Caissa. I'm still in shock at having to explain one of my jokes. All my life, my demure subtlety has got me into trouble.

 

Caissa

Here's the article:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2012/06/07/pei-joint-buying-atlantic-premiers-584.html

 

I can't imagine you ever being in trouble, Unionist. Laughing

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Quote:
Timebandit wrote:To my mind, the difference between a zero or failing grade and an incomplete is purely semantic - there is no practical or functional difference to the student, they still have to go to summer school.

Quote:
Caissa wrote:  I beg to differ. If a student receives a 0 on a piece of work that has not been don s/he has received an assessment and is not required to complete the work. If s/he receives an "incomplete" the work has not been assessed and it is still required to be completed for assessment.

Not necessarily.  My daughter's school allows teachers to accept assignments previously given a zero for non-completion if arrangements are made to submit the work later, or to redo the work.  It's up to the teacher's discretion.  Normally, it only remains a zero if the student refuses to do the work, which doesn't seem unfair to me.  So again, you are imagining this situation to be something far more rigid and draconian than it actually is. 

Where the work isn't submitted, though, I maintain that the difference between an incomplete and a zero and a failing grade is purely semantic. 

The other thing I keep thinking of is that the teacher's work load is going to be pretty unweildy if students aren't given deadlines that aren't just end of semester or midterm.  Most of the teachers in high schools here have between 20 and 30 students in 4 or 5 different classes per day.  So that comes to around at least a hundred students, probably more.  If a portion of those students are backloading overdue assignments, that's not a fair expectation on the teacher.  If they have to set drop-dead dates to manage their work loads effectively, I think it's unreasonable to allow them to do so.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Quote:

What has not been spoken about too much in this debate is that there are also very specific political reasons that principals may choose to implement a no-zero policy, and they revolve around the way schools are funded.

Give my kid a zero

MegB

My youngest was recently suspended for a day because she intervened when another child, with documented behaviour and agression issues, was assaulting her best friend.  After intervening in a non-violent way, my daughter got punched in the head by this child, and then hit back.  Both my daughter and the aggressive child received the same treatment. There was no consideration that my daughter and her friend were being assaulted and were protecting themselves.

The only reason the incident came to the attention of the school administration was because my daughter and her friend went to a teacher to get help/protection against this aggressive child. They would've, otherwise, turned a blind eye.  I don't blame the child -- she apparently has had a really rough childhood and her aggressive behaviour is indicative of that. She displays symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome.

The zero tolerance policy is, to say the least, a knee-jerk reaction for school boards who have lawyered up.  Serious butt-covering, and I don't think the behavioural child is getting any benefit from the school's approach  She's clearly vulnerable and and needs a supportive and safe environment.  Muzzling and punishing children who are at the receiving end of this child's behaviour isn't the way to go.

 

Halq’emeylem

Maybe you'd like to see all the FAS children bussed to some out-of-the-way industrial setting in order to protect your little precious...

6079_Smith_W

I don't think the fact that one mentions the extra pressures on the school system means that one necessarily thinks they are a bad thing, in fact, I got the opposite impression. 

It is a fact, though, that our schools nowawadays have far more students with special needs - behavioural, disability - as well as ESL students. 

I think this is a good thing - a VERY good thing. But it involves greater and more specialized work. When I was a kid parents never came to school - now we are regularly there pitching in as helpers to do the work that teachers cannot manage. 

I consider myself lucky having our kids in a school where I think behavioural problems and bullying are dealt with quickly and in a good way. 

 

MegB

Halq’emeylem wrote:

Maybe you'd like to see all the FAS children bussed to some out-of-the-way industrial setting in order to protect your little precious...

That's just nasty and completely uncalled for, and extremely hurtful.  The assumptions you make - won't even go there.

Tommy_Paine

"Maybe you'd like to see all the FAS children bussed to some out-of-the-way industrial setting in order to protect your little precious..."

It is very difficult not to take commentary like that personally.  It is nasty.  And I an in the most excellent position to know that Rebecca West does not favour bussing FAS children to some out of the way industrial setting.  No where in her post did she indicate this. 

The point is that this child and many others present challenges to adult professionals.  That's just the facts of it.  And that will continue and that's a good thing.  I would surmise from your snide comment that you-- like myself and Rebecca West, are in favour of, as much as possible, keeping kids like this in school like everyone else.  I remember the old days when kids with 'behavioral problems' or deemed 'slow' were streamed into special schools.  I didn't like the idea when I saw it as a student-- saw it happen to some friends-- and I don't like it now.

But if children like this present challenges to adult profesionals trained in this area should we be demanding perfection from 11 year olds in situations like this?  That's what zero tollerance demands.  Perfection.  From kids.

The thing about "zero tollerance" is that it absolves the administrators from having to do any decision making.  With zero tollerance, you don't need a vice Principal or Principal-- you just need a chart.  And while I am not one to complain about teacher's wages etc., if we are removing the responsibility for decision making from a job description, then there should be some consideration to cutting the salary at the same time.  After all, an inanimate chart can do this aspect of the job.

I remember back a few years to an incident at the Catholic High School just up the road from me, John Paul II. A grade 12 student fired a water balloon at a teacher from the top of some stairs.  The kid got charged and convicted of 'assault with a weapon'.  I'll grant you that the kid was out of line, that it was some kind of assault.  But to put a water balloon in the same catagory as a baseball bat or a knife?

Nonesence.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Rebecca, I hear you on the zero tolerance policy.  My eldest was badly bullied, and she usually fought back because when she didn't she was accused of either making things up or over-reacting.  When she fought back, she was punished equivalently with the other students in the clique that had targeted her.  When we complained, we were brushed off with policy and accused of over-reacting.  This started in grade 5.  By the end of grade 6, five girls, all larger and older than my daughter caught her in the pool on a school trip and repeatedly "dunked" her while she tried to get away.  If she hadn't been a good swimmer and knew how to take and preserve breaths, or if she had panicked, she would have been hurt.  As it was, she got a lungful of water.  It took her all evening before she would tell me what was wrong because they'd told her afterwards that if she ratted on them they'd hurt her little sister.  The next day I was the parent screaming at the principal in the hallway "What does it take for you to do something?  Brain damage?  Dead?  What will it take?" 

The school system never did do anything.  We had to bring in the police.  And I still felt shitty about it because these girls had been done almost as much a disservice as my kid.  They were not getting what they needed from the system.  I had been pointing that out for two freaking years and ignored all the way.  There were multiple opportunities for intervention so that it didn't need to come to that.  Finally we took it up the ladder at the school board and they moved the principal and vp to another school.  I'm sure they're doing a much better job there.  [/sarcasm]

MegB

My youngest is the smallest in her class, and has epilepsy.  Being punched in the head is a big deal.  She also has no history of being "in trouble" or being sent to the principal's office.  In fact, the only issue she has, by and large, is the fact that she has a hard time remembering things (petit mal seizures and an associated learning disability) and kids sometimes make fun of her (though not often -- she has good friends and gets along with kids very well).

My eldest daughter was  bullied in grades 5 and 6, and spent a great deal of time in the principal's office, being repremanded for her behaviour while defending herself (she was no saint, and mostly gave back as good as she got, but she didn't deserve that kind of treatment).  She's 27 now and is still somewhat traumatized by the experience, even though she has great friends, a job she loves, a cool apartment in Toronto, etc. 

There is something deeply wrong in our public school system, and I'm damned if I can figure out how to change it, to make the school experience more equitable for all kids.

Sven Sven's picture

Halq’emeylem wrote:

Maybe you'd like to see all the FAS children bussed to some out-of-the-way industrial setting in order to protect your little precious...

That is just an ugly personal attack. 

ETA:  I cross-posted with RW...I'm sorry you felt that you had to explain that. 

MegB

Thank you Sven, I appreciate the support more than I can express.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

RW, Ms B had difficulty with a very rigid teacher who took a dislike to her in grade 4, resulting in a lot of being sent to the office and being labelled as difficult.  It doesn't help that the asynchrony means that she's a little volatile at the best of times - usually in a good way, but not always - and the teacher's inability to deal with that made for a very tough year. 

What's interesting is that when a kid is seen as less sympathetic to the teachers, this is where the kids who are prone to bullying behaviour step in.  We had a great teacher the following year, but the damage was done.  She was an easy target because the authority figures in the school wouldn't take her seriously.  This is something I wish more bullying experts would look at more closely.  There are only a few small studies about teacher bullying out there, and to me it seems that there can be either a spiral started by a teacher, or at least condoned by the adults that then escalates. 

At 14, Ms B is starting to learn that she can trust some authority figures, but she still goes into fight mode far too easily.  And I have to say, her spirit wasn't broken and that's a good thing.  But there are days where we could do without the survival modes she adopted then and still brings out when she feels threatened.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Rebecca West wrote:

There is something deeply wrong in our public school system, and I'm damned if I can figure out how to change it, to make the school experience more equitable for all kids.

Indeed. It might never be equitable but we need to think outside the box and not treat education as a cookie-cutter template factory.

To the topic, it's not binary and neither are we. It's complex, like how DNA was quite complex. So many different strands.

MegB

Timebandit wrote:

At 14, Ms B is starting to learn that she can trust some authority figures, but she still goes into fight mode far too easily.  And I have to say, her spirit wasn't broken and that's a good thing.  But there are days where we could do without the survival modes she adopted then and still brings out when she feels threatened.

You know, at this point it's somewhat a negative for Ms B to be combative because she doesn't have much power over her own life, but when she gets past the insanity that is adolescence and begins to understand how she can use her rebellion to her own and others' advantage, I think she'll be a force to be reckoned with.

6079_Smith_W

Rebecca West wrote:

There is something deeply wrong in our public school system, and I'm damned if I can figure out how to change it, to make the school experience more equitable for all kids.

It doesn't help that the climate and the problems vary from school to school and division to division. 

From what I've seen of schools, classes, and school boards, I put at least part of it down to a combination of a process that is stressful to begin with, thinly-stretched resources, and that action often comes down to reacting to the squeakiest wheel, or going with the flow of what dominates the community.

I am happy where ours are now, but am still holding it in the back of my mind that I will pull either or both of them rather than have them in an unbearable situation. There are enough kids killing themselves over shit like that.

 

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

RW - I think B will make an awesome adult some day.  Now we just need to get through adolescence!!  ;-)

Smith - In retrospect, we should have pulled her and taken her to the other elementary school close to our house in grade 4, when it all began.  Wish I had it to do over again, but we don't so onward and upward.  We did move our younger kid at the end of last school year - we saw the clique forming and she was having increasing trouble with them, so we just opted to get her out of there.

6079_Smith_W

Just so you know, I wasn't trying to cast any blame. I know it is not always possible - and especially not if someone lives out in the country in a place where there is nowhere to run to. 

Also, I had a bit of an eyeopener a few years ago, while I was doing playground supervision - one kid seriously acting out, and playing like he was shooting a longgun. He was starting to get in the faces of some other kids, and then I saw from how they were smirking that they were the ones teasing him into a frenzy. A teacher who obviously was familiar with the situation gave them a talking to, and took him inside to cool off. 

He seems a lot better this year, and from what I can see is a nice, if overy-sensitive kid, but it was still a blood-chilling moment I will not forget.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Re: blame -  No, no, I didn't think you were!  It's just that my own lack of flight response really coloured the situation, and I wouldn't recommend anyone do what we did.  Move them if you can, it's much easier on everyone.

ryanw

I agree with Halq. its rude to not ask "why did they say what they did?" oh they're crazy lets censure them

its hardly out of line to follow your own feelings in good faith; its very unlikely an individual is responsible for offending themselves and it is the offended party's feelings that matter on the books our own legislation rather than the intent of the offender(s)

it seems exceeding ironic that the followup posts deal with situations where the 'acting out' child is the victim, I can imagine the 'behavioral' classmate is in survival mode all the time and could easily mistake intent or feel alienation and shame afterwards when they made that mistake in the heat of the moment

 

Slumberjack

Rebecca West wrote:
The zero tolerance policy is, to say the least, a knee-jerk reaction for school boards who have lawyered up. 

A curious assignment of blame.  It negates having to consider where the impetus for such zero tolerance decision making might come from in the first place.  Or do these boards just sit back in a bubble and issue random edicts without any input from the employees?  Because if that is how it actually works, and I don't doubt that it does work that way often enough, it's curious as well that the teachers aren't up against it.  But of course zero tolerance does serve a useful purpose after all, which is to absolve them from having to deal with anything out of the ordinary in the run of an average work day.  What I don't find curious at all, what with the hyperlinked logo of a teacher's union embedded on the rabble homepage, is the hear, see and speak no evil approach toward understanding that for the marginalized child, the autistic, the hyperactive, or what have you, the institutionalized teacher is the first face of authority, followed in succession by boards, and in many instances the police, the courts, and the more direct carceral system.  And lawyering up?  It might have something to do with the parents who might wish to bring forward their objections.

6079_Smith_W

@ ryanw

Sorry, but I don't see how your comments relate at all to what either Rebecca or Halq'emeleyem said. It's not just that you are spinning it differently; I think you will have to explain it again so that I even get what you are refering to. I actually scrolled up the whole page to make sure there wasn't another comment I had missed.

H made an accusation that was not based on anything she said at all, and amped it up with a very offensive, very personal insult, It was unnecessary, and no, I don't agree with it. 

and @ Slumberjack

Well yes, but there is a proactive, supportive (to all concerned) way of doing that, and there is a boneheaded, self-interested, and unfair way to do it. 

Yes, ministries  boards and administration and principals sometimes do things in a bubble, not thinking or caring about the impact. 

And no, zero tolerance doesn't always work, and not just in the classroom. When our neighbour was hauled off by the cops on the word of her violent and abusive husband because she slammed a door, and unable to make any sort of charge because he called the cops first, I think there was some cause to question whether zero tolerance is always applied in a sensible way, despite the good intentions of those who made the rule.

 

Sven Sven's picture

Lou Arab wrote:

Quote:

What has not been spoken about too much in this debate is that there are also very specific political reasons that principals may choose to implement a no-zero policy, and they revolve around the way schools are funded.

Give my kid a zero

Lou, that was a great article.  Thanks for posting it.

The counterweight to a school deciding to eliminate zeros as a means of inflating its passing or graduation rate would be standardized test scores.  Although I don't favor using standardized test scores as the metric for assessing a school's quality, they can serve a very useful purpose.  If a school is opting to focus on just getting kids through the system to inflate graduation rates, then that approach will also likely be reflected in lower standardized test scores.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sven, the standardized testing is more an issue in the US.  I don't think we really use them the same way up here.  Really, it's more about completion rates for high school.

About zero tolerance policies and bullying - One of the things that came up for us in the bullying situation was that acting in self-defense is something adults are allowed to do and is actually permissable under criminal law, but under a zero tolerance policy on the playground, no such allowance is made.  It's a policy that expects children to show more restraint than we would from any adult.  It's a peculiar idea.  I can see it working in a situation where you have two students equally matched in size and strength and social power and it's just a "takes two to tango" situation, but when applied to bullying or difference in size, power differential, etc, is simply unworkable and unreasonable.  It also means that you don't have to bring in any supports for kids at risk for worse behaviours and troubles later on when they start bullying. 

Caissa

A high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, held onto four graduates' diplomas and required community service as punishment for what it describes as overly boisterous cheering by their families during the graduation ceremony.

The mother of one of the graduates, who was one of the leading tacklers on the Mount Healthy school football team, doesn't think he should get flagged for excessive celebration.

"What does that have to do with him?" Traci Cornist told Cincinnati radio station WDBZ.

She doesn't dispute there was a lot of loud cheering for Anthony Cornist. Cornist also said she teaches her children to be accountable for their own actions, but she doesn't think he should be punished for what other people do.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2012/06/08/graduation-diplomas-withheld-cheering.html
This article has to be read to be believed.

pookie

Is the issue really about "zeros" or about a failing grade?  And is it about individual assignments or the grade for the whole course?

I assume it is about failure for the entire course,  Otherwise you just give the kid, I don't know, a 37 or something and get on with your other dozens of assignments. But the cited research talks specifically about "zeros". Weird.

In my university program, a zero (or F) guarantees an automatic rewrite, where a D does not.  Every year I struggle with the choice.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It's about zeroes on individual assignments, not the final grade.  One method calculates the final grade as including unsubmitted work as a zero, while the no-zero policy calculates the marks without including unsubmitted work.  So if you get Bs on all the work you submitted, but only did half the work, you'd get a B in the class, where by the first method, you'd get a much lower mark and potentially fail the class because you hadn't done the work.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Our public schools have to few resources and they keep diminishing in BC.  My oldest son needed a SEA to be able to attend at regular schools.  He is still non verbal but he is a fairly happy 32 year old man living in a small group home.  I have too many stories to relate about teachers and others allowing and sometimes perpetrating violence towards him.  Restraints were the least of it. In past generations in Canada most developmentally different children were subject to residential schools where they were subjected to various forms of violent assault.  Like all places with large numbers of marginalized children those schools were a magnet for pedophiles. It makes me seriously sad to contemplate the abuses that those kids suffered given what I know about the abuse heaped on my son. Being non verbal is a trait that increases human vulnerability exponentially.  While many people will not talk for fear of reprisal it has always seemed to me that the fact he couldn't say anything empowered some of the SEA's and teachers to take their frustrations out on him.

All children deserve to go to the same schools but in an atmosphere where they are treated as member of the school community.  The more children get to interact with others who in the past would have been relegated to our Special Schools the more that our society has a chance to get beyond the differences to the similarities that we all share but that takes resources.

My youngest son, who is at UBC now, came to me at the end of Grade 4 and asked to go into the late French immersion program at another school.  At the time he was in the neighbourhood community based school that I thought was a great school.  Since he has grown up and we talk as adults he has told me that he was being bullied at the school and that was the reason he wanted to go into French Immersion. I would have rated the school as excellent including its in-place anti-bullying programs and could never figure out why my seemingly slacker son wanted to jump into a more difficult program.  Turns out he just wanted to change schools rather than get involved with the process of complaining about being picked on.

We have major problems in our schools and the no zero policy, one way or the other, is not one of them.

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:

Really, it's more about completion rates for high school.

I presume you heard the news about the provincial auditor's report , and the interview with the minister this morning. 

No need to worry about jobs; we're raising a generation ripe and ready to head out and work on the rigs - when they get out of junior high.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2012/06/08/sk-work-drop...

 

ryanw

Halq did nothing personal to anyone. It's not as if there was a direct quote at an individual member; promoting a discussion from all angles is hard to do when theres a sudden circling of the wagons which ignores Halq's concern entirely.

 It was perhaps a general accusation that the tone of the discussion was heading in a NIMBY direction, what relevance does a student having "documented behavioral problems" have to the subject of bullying as a whole? Fear? ignorance? labels are a very powerful tool for control in society

 as if to say I'd much prefer my kids be bullied by someone without documented behavioral problems thank you very much

and "not seeing how something relates" is pretty much what prompted Halq to address the group in the manner they did

Slumberjack

ryanw wrote:
Halq did nothing personal to anyone. It's not as if there was a direct quote at an individual member..

Quote:
Maybe you'd like to see all the FAS children bussed to some out-of-the-way industrial setting..

It's a bit much, by any standard.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

@ Smith:  Heard about the auditor's report, but the link where the Minister of Education is quoted confirms some thinking I've had for a couple of months.  You're aware of the cuts to incentives for film and tv, so we'll be losing the major part of an industry of skilled and educated cultural industry workers.  A lot of the back and forth between industry reps and the government have had a kind of scary theme - they know they're making us unable to compete on the national scene, but they seem to think most of us will just shunt into jobs in the resource sector.  Greg Fingas wrote an opinion piece for the Leader Post that sort of encapsulated it for me:  http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Film+credit+part+bigger+story/6377058/story.html

We've had another couple of proposals in front of them and things haven't really changed.  In a year I will be leaving Saskatchewan, unfortunately.

There seems to be a concerted effort to not only stream current labour into a narrow sector of the economy, but future labour.  We are training up kids to fill those roles, but not investing in other roles that foster diversity (economic and cultural) that gives a place a better quality of life.  Really, the interest here doesn't seem to be educating anyone beyond the point of being able to work the rigs or potash mines or in the service industries.  They certainly don't want educated voices complicating their conservative, resource-based utopia.

Sven Sven's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Sven, the standardized testing is more an issue in the US.  I don't think we really use them the same way up here.  Really, it's more about completion rates for high school.

Interesting.  Completion rates are subject to being gamed by school administrations.  Standardized tests can be abused as well but it's much more difficult to do so.  If the only standard of excellence is a school's completion rates, that's almost a worthless metric, it seems to me.

Caissa

The best way to attempt to measure a school's standard of excellence would be periodically pre and post-testing students and looking at the difference. Even that is problematic and not necessarily indicative of anything important.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I think with standardized testing, and with the funding imperatives many states place on them, you run the risk of teaching kids to parrot what's on the test without actually fostering the more important outcomes of learning.  I don't miss having them at all.

My thinking is that there is a curriculum, and there are standards and you have to give the teachers the supports they need to reach those standards.  I think you can see an overall indication that there are issues within a population, but standardized tests won't tell you much detail about what those issues actually are or how to address them.  Cutting funding hardly seems to be a solution, but that seems to be the common remedy. 

Sven Sven's picture

Timebandit wrote:

My thinking is that there is a curriculum, and there are standards and you have to give the teachers the supports they need to reach those standards.

With respect to this particular point, I think the question is: How does one know whether or not those standards are being met?  How is performance against those standards measured or assessed?  And, how is that assessment then communicated to parents and other interested people in the community?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sven, I don't have a short answer to those questions.  However, with the US's use of standardized tests to address those issues and the current abysmal state of public education in the US, I'm pretty sure we can rule out standardized testing as a solution.

Sven Sven's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Sven, I don't have a short answer to those questions.  However, with the US's use of standardized tests to address those issues and the current abysmal state of public education in the US, I'm pretty sure we can rule out standardized testing as a solution.

Diane Ravitch wrote an excellent book (2010) focused, in part, on standardized testing ("The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education").  After reading her book, I was still left with the unanswered question: How are schools best assessed?

I think the problem with standardized tests is that some people want to use them as the only measure of excellence.  I think they can be very useful tools but an assessment of a school should not be solely based on standardized test (some significant amount of weight should be assigned to such tests but other factors should be assessed as well).  The unanswered question (for me, at least) is what are those other factors and how would they be assessed?

 

MegB

ryanw wrote:

Halq did nothing personal to anyone. It's not as if there was a direct quote at an individual member; promoting a discussion from all angles is hard to do when theres a sudden circling of the wagons which ignores Halq's concern entirely.

It was very clearly directed at me.  I know it, several other babblers know it (even babblers with whom I don't have a meeting of the minds). This disingenous crap is precisely that - crap.  If I were to accurately express how I feel about this completely unprovoked attack, I would be suspended for at least two days.

And rightly so.

ryanw

I can digest that there's feelings on both sides

do you see it the same way? or is everything crap?

certainly tough talk by marginalized groups are framed as extreme, as the rawness of the demands are exceedingly uncomfortable to consider

for First Nations in particular I remember they had a prominent political leader in David Ahenakew who made alot of honest, feeling-charged statements concerning history in Canada and abroad. And he was destroyed for saying if he had the power; he would reverse the fortunes of his people and wiped out those that had inflicted so much suffering, for so long. The immigrants.

we can rewind a bit and go back to talking about persons being in survival mode and debate whether or not those persons should be bound by the expectations of others for maintaining polite decorum when appealing for understanding in some manner.

 

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