Re: A Proposal

1

I was approached by another person today to ask me to run for the school board. No. But maybe I could present this as my idea and then they wouldn't want me anyway.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:24 AM
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But maybe I could present this as my idea and then they wouldn't want me anyway.

Unfogged: adding value.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:27 AM
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Snarky Thorn is the best Thorn. This idea is pretty gloriously terrible, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:27 AM
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4

There are so many reasons it would never happen, but I love this idea.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:28 AM
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You could probably do a decent half-assed job of it, if you just went with freshmen-year grades instead of instructors filling out a form. And you would need some metric for the kids who didn't go to college. And churn the whole thing through some socio-economic filter, to see what schools are actually doing a better job of teaching than others, and which are coasting based on student populations made up of rich suburban kids.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:33 AM
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Because all high school students go to college, and the only thing that ever would stop them from doing so is a poor high school education.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:33 AM
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7

Are we talking as a replacement for yearly testing or just for ACT/SAT? The yearly testing is kind of important.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:35 AM
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Because the graduate students who teach intro classes in college have so much extra time on their hands to get to know each student and determine which of them failed because they were partying all the time and which failed because they were unprepared for college.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:36 AM
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9

And all colleges -- all college freshman course instructors! -- are informative judges of student preparedness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:38 AM
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Aren't the high school tests sort of important for determining who gets into college where in the first place?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:41 AM
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Even aside from that, you'd get a flattening effect; worse prepared kids probably end up at colleges with lower standards, whose professors have a different idea of what it means to be ready for college than at more selective schools.

(The idea does have something attractive about it -- I really like the fact that the kids' school feeds them into college classes in the later years of high school, because I think of it as a check on how the high school is doing. If they can function in college calculus, then their high school has done an adequate job.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:42 AM
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But 6 seems to point out one big advantage of this scheme: we already have data on the percentage of kids at each school who go on to college; this tells us where they go and how they do, which I imagine does have something to do with their high school.

8 and 9, meh, in the aggregate, it'll be fine.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:44 AM
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worse prepared kids probably end up at colleges with lower standards

Exactly! This is part of what I mean about the data being granular: if kids are deemed prepared at Nowhere Minor State, but only kinda prepared at State, that's really good info.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:48 AM
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I'm still struggling to reconcile my feeling last year on the graduate admissions committee of "oh wow, there are so many students here who are way more qualified than I was and we can't possibly let them all in" and my feeling in teaching this year of "how the hell do none of these students know the most basic facts about their field?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:48 AM
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So it seems kind of miraculous to me now that any sorting mechanism works to any extent at all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 11:49 AM
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They've shown racial bias in teachers' opinions of preschoolers, and you think you'll get a reasonable dataset from grad student instructors subjectively judging their freshman students?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:00 PM
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If y'all are worried about grad students, then have college accreditation depend on having intro classes that are taught and graded by tenured profs. Why the fuck not? You're Congress!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:05 PM
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16: Also, it would be (normally) their first time teaching. How do they know what's average or not? Grades vary by course time, too. In the big lectures I TAed, the 8 am section averaged 5-10% lower than the 9 am section of the same course. Hard to know that if you TA 30 students in the 8 am section out of 1,200 enrolled in the course.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:08 PM
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Although I don't think 16 would be a big problem. Prepared or not is not a super hard call.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:08 PM
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Isn't this meant to be the role of the recommendation letters in the college admissions process? The high school teachers attest that the applicant is prepared for college?


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:10 PM
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21

Don't you dare create any more work for me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:10 PM
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Anyway, this is just a fancy roundabout way to measure the wealth of the high school.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:12 PM
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Prepared or not would lead to almost everyone saying the same thing, though. Either your college admissions process is failing (maybe not the best thing to admit), or everyone's just great! 100% of freshman arrive academically prepared! Come to Private U! Or, no wonder Public U needs more money! They enroll so many unprepared students from rough high schools under some soon-to-be-illegal preference system that they clearly need more funding.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:14 PM
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I was just being mean to ogged because I don't want him to have too much manly confidence. But after the kids' therapy session this afternoon (because the only therapists who work outside school hours are the swanky ones who don't take Medicaid, so all the kids at their school who go to therapy have to be absent) I have to go back and try to convince the principal that throwing a bouncy house carnival for the kids who've met their goals on the final MAP test but leaving those who didn't inside in class is sending all kinds of bad messages and not a good idea. It may just have been something she suggested to scare or bully the teachers, but who knows?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:15 PM
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maybe not the best thing to admit

Which is why you have the instructors answer--they're not all company men, are they?

It's funny, I took out the paragraph about how intro instructors are the big losers, because it's more work for them, and there'll be pressure on them to game things, because those don't seem like huge problems. You can handle it, professors!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:17 PM
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being mean to ogged

I agree that a lot of high schools would hate this, but I don't think that's a point against it, necessarily.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:18 PM
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No, I think it would be really useful information to have, but I wouldn't bother destroying the whole current system for it. I mean, I'd have made my high school look like a disaster just because they didn't prepare people to be sexually assaulted and spiral into awful depression and withdraw from school, but that wasn't one of its goals anyway.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:21 PM
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prepare people to be sexually assaulted and spiral into awful depression

Suddenly I have an idea for a charter school.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:24 PM
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Are any of these criticisms, except for the part about extra work for instructors, not also applicable to the current ways of measuring schools? The baseline is pretty bad.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:24 PM
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30

Also, apparently there's a Pro Publica piece on desegregation and resegregation in Tuscaloosa and throughout the south in the latest Atlantic that I really want to read and will probably give people here a lot to say if it's online. I heard the portion connected to NPR's Race Card Project this morning.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:33 PM
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No, I think it would be really useful information to have, but I wouldn't bother destroying the whole current system for it.

This is why it appeals to me. The current system is terrible. Lets destroy it!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:34 PM
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Anyway, the schools are fine. Fuck "parental information", we just finished saying parents should be hands off. But more importantly: anything that isn't focused on reducing poverty is beside the point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:35 PM
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It's here. Huh, the wife has floated the idea of living in Tuscaloosa for a year; I'll have to read that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:35 PM
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33: I'll just paste the link because I'm mobile, but the girl who's still considered "contaminated" because she dated outside her race once was so upsetting to me. http://wuky.org/post/probe-gains-integration-eroded-especially-south


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 12:55 PM
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35

Why does every new idea about education involve me filling out more forms?

I have an idea: I think ogged should fill out more forms. I think this would add tremendous efficiency to everything he does. Blogging, swimming, whatever. More forms means we can identify the best practices and reward them.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:20 PM
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36

I agree. Best practices 4evah.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:30 PM
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37

NMM to GGM


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:36 PM
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38

And another thing: we already have a test of incoming students at the cc level which does an excellent job of identifying students who need remediation. If you made all the instructors at Last Chance Community College fill out one of these forms (which) i don't put beyond administration) the information would be completely redundant.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:38 PM
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ogged, is what you're looking for basically something like the following: won't get into Harvard, would be middle of the pack at Northwestern, top third at Penn State, top tenth at Western Betta State? So you can calibrate your parental expectations?

35: No shit. That or innovation. Which means basically iPad.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:48 PM
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39.2: Can't innovation also mean new, possibly 3D, methods of generating charts to capture metrics? I'm counting on novel data representation as being the breakthrough that solves education.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:52 PM
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37: I went on Google News to find out who GGM is, and I found out that Chelsea Clinton announced that she's pregnant. I guess that means Hillary won't be running in 2016, since she'll be needed as a babysitter.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:55 PM
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41: it's the generic group model. It's simply been supplanted by different methods of evaluating computational hardness because it is trivially easy to defeat at this point, and is simply dead to modern cryptographic researchers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:57 PM
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43

If there is one thing that my high school experience impressed upon me, it was how uniformly we were prepared for college work by virtue of having gone to the same high school. If there is one thing that my college experience impressed upon me, it was how high school was destiny and no one from less demanding / resourced high schools ever caught up with those who went to more demanding / resourced high schools. Wait.

Maybe, though, I am missing the point.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 1:58 PM
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Gen/eral Gau/ge Medi/ation has been dead since around the second week of December 2011, and only perverts would have masturbated to it anyway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 2:32 PM
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45

NMM to Gabriel García Márquez (this means you, you at the back).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 2:35 PM
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46

Oh, goddamn it.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 2:36 PM
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47

I had no idea he lived long enough to see the end of HIMYM.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 2:43 PM
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Yeah, put me down in the ANM to GGM category. Lived a pretty good life, it has to be said.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 2:46 PM
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And another thing: we already have a test of incoming students at the cc level which does an excellent job of identifying students who need remediation.

I'm curious what you think of this, helpy-chalk.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 4:04 PM
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I went on Google News to find out who GGM is, and I found out that Chelsea Clinton announced that she's pregnant

So you have up to 9 months to M to pregnant Chelsea Clinton, if that's your thing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 5:17 PM
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is what you're looking

Here are some ways I think the data could be useful.

--you have an economically diverse high school that places some kids in the ivies and some kids in secondary state universities. If the ivy kids are prepared, but the state ones aren't, then you have a good idea that the school isn't doing much to educate it's middle/lower tiers.

--a small regional high school places a lot of its kids in second tier universities, but they all get marked as hella prepared. that's a clue to parents (and colleges) that kids from that school could be good first tier candidates.

--some parents want to start a run free in the woods charter school. this gives them the freedom to do that, without worrying about taking time off from running free to study for whatever it's called test, and the proof will be in their graduates.

You could think of dozens of scenarios where this data could be useful, and heebie and helpy chalk's CULPABLE LAZINESS notwithstanding, it would be trivial for a teacher to check a prepared/not prepared box as they're putting down grades.

It's crazy that we spend so many resources testing kids' knowledge/preparedness, and then stop when we could actually get an answer. In fact, I'd be shocked if the better universities don't already track things like this in some form. They're not going to keep admitting kids from Rocky Isthmus Prep if RIP's valedictorians keeps getting Cs in college.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 5:21 PM
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I'm skeptical that better assessments should be any kind of priority in education right now. There's no commitment to providing meaningfully better resources to schools that aren't doing a good job educating students. There's no commitment to doing the things we know would help low-income kids, like universal Head Start and other social-democratic wishes. Those things would all cost money.

The task of creating better assessment methods is (at best) directed at finding some magic bullet that will improve education without having to commit more resources. (At worst, assessment obsession is much more pernicious.)

The best you'd get from this is, yeah, a somewhat tricksier and slightly more accurate way for fancy colleges to choose a portion of their incoming students.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 5:36 PM
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I think we can mark this teacher down as failing. Used to teach in a neighboring city...


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 5:39 PM
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54

Is my reflexive "oh my god, fuck charter schools" a reasonable position, or did it come from having been exposed to badly implemented versions of the idea that shouldn't be taken as an indictment of the whole concept? Because definitely I am inclined to think "fuck charter schools."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 5:52 PM
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Supposedly the original concept of charter schools was more like cooperatives - the teachers of a school getting together and taking over for the administration above them - and definitely not as for-profit entities. I could see that achieving something, but only occasionally.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-17-14 6:02 PM
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In NZ, all our state schools are kinda-charters --- individually governed by a board elected by the parents, with guaranteed staff and (in high schools) student representation, with broad freedom to shape and determine the school's direction. (Since Tomorrow's Schools, for those following at home.) However wages, funding, and a broad curriculum are set at a national level, as is the exam system, and entrance is governed by zoning plus ballot.

On the one hand this was probably the first charter schools experiment in the world, and was motivated by neoliberal evilness (the idea was to allow schools to set wages etc, which would have been evil) and all that. On the other, once the really evil bits were beaten back, it does seem to work OK.

So, yes, charters not inherently evil, but they almost certainly will be set up by evil people, I think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:47 AM
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Could we simply not assess students, teachers, or schools at all? No one gets grades or degrees; schools and universities exist as public services.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 3:01 AM
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54: I think the deal is that any specific charter school might possibly be a fine school run by decent people, and might even be an improvement over the local public schools. They're going to be highly variable, so sometimes that's going to be good. But the movement generally is still an attempt to defund public schools and make segregation, economic, disability-based, and ethnic, easier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 4:43 AM
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Actually, I only like Ogged's plan if its done in lieu of all the testing crap that's done right now. In the real world, it would be one more metric thrown on top, and the current, terrible testing activities would not be dropped.

So if it ends up being one more metric to use to beat up teachers unions, and ends up having its own distortionary affect as soon as any money-related-decisions get attached to the thing - on balance it would be negative, in spite of the overall improved relevance of the data.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 5:38 AM
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Oh hey, that teacher mentioned in 53 used to pick up one of the kids at Zardoz's day care sometimes. So that's neat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 1:20 PM
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Followup to the recent "raising a moral kid" post: Someone taking exception to the author of one of the studies cited.

Now, the fact that the British-born Rushton-he partly grew up in South Africa after his family migrated there the year Apartheid was introduced-is, in University of North Carolina Anthropologist Jonathan Marks's elegant gloss "a guy who ass-rapes evolutionary ecological theory in order to show that Africans have an innate intellectual ability equivalent to mentally handicapped Europeans" does not necessarily mean that his findings on child behavior are invalid. But it doesn't exactly inspire confidence, either.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-18-14 7:49 PM
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