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It's the Administrations Fault for Pleasanton Middle School being in probation

Original post made by What was the plan, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2011

I think that the real story on the notification on Pleasanton Middle School fallen into program improvement is what steps the administration took after receiving the notice of deficiencies last year.

To fall into probationary status, you have to miss benchmarks under the No Child Left Behind Act for two straight years.

Since we missed this last year, what was the plan the District took to ensure it would not happen again, putting us in probationary status and potentially loosing Federal funding?

I don't remember hearing about this last year. Did the Superintendent even bring this to the attention of the community and School Board last year and talk about the plan to correct? I did not remember hearing about this.

Comments (69)

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Posted by No Problemo
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Doesn't matter, it is a whole lot easier to blame the teachers.


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I suggest you start reading the facts about NCLB and what it is actually requiring. 100% proficiency ranking on the STAR tests by 2014. The data sample we are talking about is very small populations within the special populations. At some schools it is between one to five students that are represented in this requirement. These students may be ELL OR have IEPs (learning disabilities) etc. and yet they are all expected to test to the proficient level.

These students have been identified since they were very young and are all receiving the extra help they require, but when it comes down to it, it is up to the individual filling in the bubbles. No matter what kind of instruction, teacher, administrator kids have- it all boils down to their effort and ability when taking these tests.

It wont be long before every school in the US is in this position, not to mention every school in PUSD. Learning doesn't come easy for everyone and no matter what kind of teaching, mastery comes at different points in a child's education, and it definitely is not always best measured on a STAR test.

Come to a meeting at school, hear the plans that are going on. Action planning for these students has been in place for years.


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Posted by Another thing to be angry about
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

A more appropriate thing to be angry about is why in the world was our district notified last week that PMS was placed on Program Improvement? All of the other schools in the state were notified in September. Why did the stake make this mistake and why is it requiring PMS to bring up these test scores with 10 weeks left until the STAR, while other schools had the entire year?

Someone at the top made a big mistake and our district is paying for it.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

I think it's important to keep in mind that the change in status for the school was the result of a single student (who was proficient according to the federal standards!) being removed from the Hispanic subcategory on the basis that the student had moved into the school too late in the year for the student's scores to be included in the statistics.

Even though the district's schools are generally rated as effective according to federal NCLB criteria, PUSD still works to close achievement gaps. To do so is important not because of the federal law, but because of the moral imperative of providing equal opportunities to all students. Because of her moral commitment, Superintendent Ahmadi led a district-wide push to address achievement gaps this past fall. Objectives were identified school by school to address the particular needs of different socioeconomic groups of students. Students who are not progressing are identified individually by their teachers in October, and teachers work together to get students the help they need.


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Posted by Yet Another Teacher
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

The objective of No Child Left Behind is to raise the standards until they present an insurmountable barrier to ALL public schools, no matter how effective those schools are at teaching kids. By 2014, a school that has 99.5% of its students marked as "proficient" will be a failure according to NCLB.

What's the ultimate objective of this? The ultimate objective is not educational but political: the Republican authors of the NCLB law made it clear they wanted the US public school system to be assessed a colossal failure and turned into privatized institutions (so-called "charter schools"), run by their political supporters at a very nice profit. It also occurred to them that charter schools don't have union representation, which means they'd break the public school teachers' unions across the country.

The joke circulated at the time of the passage of NCLB was that the acronym meant "No Corporation Left Behind". The joke's not as funny now.

NCLB is entirely divorced from the real concerns of schools in this country. Each year, our teachers are asked to achieve more with a heavier workload (more students) and fewer resources.

You will see not only more schools in PUSD marked "failures" according to NCLB, you will eventually see *all* of them marked "failures". That's how insane NCLB's requirements are.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Criticism of NCLB is definitely something YAT and I can agree on. One point of detail though, charter schools (which are public schools too) are also subject to NCLB and also get placed in PI when they don't meet the proficiency requirements and are taking Title 1 money.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"Across the nation, far more schools failed to meet the federal law's testing targets than in any previous year, according to new state-by-state data. And in California and some other states, the problem traces in part to the fact that officials chose to require only minimal gains in the first years after the law passed and then very rapid annual gains later. One researcher likens it to the balloon payments that can sink homebuyers. "

Look, in this article it talks about how schools in California on average improve proficiency by roughly 4% each year. We're in the period now where the bar raises by 11% each year.


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Posted by What was the plan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I agree that the NCLB is a problem. However, our district was notified last year on this and I did not hear about it or see a plan by the school board. So we are paying the price this year.

Perhaps our previous superintendent hid this under the carpet so he could retire without people knowing this happened on his watch?


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Posted by About charter schools
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Stacey-The difference between public schools and charter schools is that charter schools can kick out the students who are not performing. They can demand that parents become more active in their child's education and if the parents do not participate, tell them to leave. Public schools cannot do that.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

What about blaming the students and parents for their own performance? The era of "personal responsibility" was short-lived, wasn't it?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:01 am

"Each year, our teachers are asked to achieve more with a heavier workload (more students) and fewer resources."

All the more reason to freeze step and column and keep CSR (ie, keep more teachers on board).

While I do not like NCLB, this PMS problem cannot be blamed on that, since we have 2 more Title I schools in PUSD, and yet PMS is the only one on probation.

So yes NCLB is a problem, but perhaps PMS needs to figure out what the other two Title I students are doing that is working, as well as start listening to parents' complaints about the Math teachers at PMS.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

"what the other two Title I students are doing that is working, "

should have been:

what the other two Title I SCHOOLS are doing that is working,


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

"I think it's important to keep in mind that the change in status for the school was the result of a single student (who was proficient according to the federal standards!) being removed from the Hispanic subcategory on the basis that the student had moved into the school too late in the year for the student's scores to be included in the statistics."

Are you sure, Sandy? What you said does not even make sense. And remember that the school was already on notice the year before, and this year PMS was put on probation for failing TWO years in a row.

Where did you get that story about the one student? It does not even make sense!


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm

To "Resident"......one student changed the category for that sub group. PMS was not in this place for the past two years. It is called "safe harbor". As a parent there, PMS has been very aware of the need to help ALL students and has been working very hard to achieve that. How easy for you to blame teachers when they only have our children between 8 and 3. At the middle schools, most students see that one teacher for 43 minutes.Not every student is capable of achieving 60% and above on that one week of tests. Many other schools are close to "falling" in the same place. Support our schools and please stop looking for what doesn't make sense to you.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm

"one student changed the category for that sub group. "

But PMS was already on notice the year before. In order to be put on probation, a title I school needs to fail to meet the required scores for the subgroup for TWO years in a row. So maybe one student did something this year, but the problem already existed the year before. Quit blaming the one student for the school's failure to address a known problem from the year BEFORE.

And again, Pleasanton has 3 Title I schools but only PMS is on probation.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Teacher:

According to Sandy's post, the one Hispanic student was proficient but did not get included in the subgroup because he/she came to PMS late in the year.

That means that the existing subgroup at PMS was already failing, and sure, the one students would have helped PMS to barely avoid the probation, but that does not mean PMS addressed the "Program Improvement" status from the year before, when the subgroup failed to meet the standards.

So what is PMS plan to improve? To recuit more Hispanics who are ALREADY scoring at proficient levels? Do that instead of making the hispanics already at PMS who are failing proficient? It does not look like a smart, or even fair to failing students, plan.

I guess Sandy's lack of logical information must be coming from the district, if we have a teacher defend such a non-logical statement presented by Sandy.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm

For clarification..PMS was not in PI the year before. The "existing subgroup" had many students who scored proficient during that one week on testing? Why would you assume they are not addressing the concern when overall the school has an API of 936 (above the district average)? No one is blaming one student, but one small change could put any of our schools in PI. Getting 100% of students with varying backgrounds and levels of intelligence, proficient or better is a daunting task for any school. As always, Pleasanton as a team, will work to address this and I will put my faith is this town.


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Posted by Please compare the 3 Title 1 schools
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Yes, please compare the three Title 1 schools. Village High School had an API of 622, Valley View had an API of 911, and guess who had the best API? Pleasanton Middle School at 922.

NCLB is BAD legislation. Most schools would kill for an API of 922. I'm calling it now - wait until 2012, when even more high API schools are placed on PI. The legislation will have to change.

I can't believe all of this talk about freezing step and column. Does no one realize that if our teachers were paid based on test scores, they would be one of the highest paid group of teachers in the state? And yet you want to freeze step and column to punish them for an API of 922? Seriously?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Does no one realize that if our teachers were paid based on test scores, they would be one of the highest paid group of teachers in the state?"

Well, yes, precisely, because good teachers should be paid more. I think you confuse the idea of being contractually obligated to hand out raises even when there is no money with a system that would pay good teachers well and NOT hand out raises when there was no money to do so. That isn't to say that paying teachers based solely on test scores is the best method. That's a whole other discussion!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Teacher:

A school must fail TWO years in a row to be put on probation. Read about it from the California Department of Education website:

Web Link

That means PMS failed to meet the criteria for that subgroup the year before.

Sandy's (and yours too) argument that it was due to one proficient hispanic student coming in too late in the school year to PMS is absolute nonsense! PMS' subgroup did not perform the year before, and all PMS can say is that if they only had that one proficient hispanic student counted, they would have been okay? Gee, that is scary!

Read what PUSD said in the article, it is not 100% of students in need of proficient status that put PMS on probation!

And yes, freezing step and column would help keep more teachers on board, since teachers are saying it is not possible to have proficient students with more kids in a class. Well, keep more teachers rather than laying off a bunch of them in order to give the ones who stay a raise.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm

"Yes, please compare the three Title 1 schools. Village High School had an API of 622, Valley View had an API of 911, and guess who had the best API? Pleasanton Middle School at 922. "

Yet only PMS is on probation, which is not a good thing. Read this:

"To be released from monitoring, Pleasanton Middle School must meet its academic yearly progress goals for two years. Under a worst-case scenario, the process could take up to five years and would involve replacing staff, the principal and having the state take over the school."
Web Link

Being on probation, even if it is the best school in the world, is not a good thing. If PMS does not come out of its PI status, there will be penalties, and can mean replacing teachers, etc. PMS already failed to meet standards for two years in a row:

"At Pleasanton Middle School, Hispanic students did not meet math proficiency targets in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. "

Web Link


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Wow...the school didn't "fail" two years in a row. You would never make it as a teacher (or a parent) if you treated every situation from the negative point. PMS is not saying one student caused this to happen. That is purely to make the point that one or two students can dramatically change the numbers up or down. Taking one point and beating it to death will not help anything. You've failed to mention that the school is ranked 28/1000 middle schools in California. We will celebrate what they/we do well and roll our sleeves up to do the best job we can to help ALL students achieve.


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Posted by I laughed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Do you really think the teachers will be replaced at PMS? Come on now, that hasn't happened in Oakland. Let's compare those API scores.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

".the school didn't "fail" two years in a row"

Yes it did. It failed to have the subgroup be proficient for two years in a row. That is why it is on probation now. The one student came to PMS this year (too late from what I read), but that does not address the problem, which was already an issue the year before. One student should not make or break a school's status. PMS should not rely on one person to barely make it. It should try to get a larger percentage of that subgroup to be proficient. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

But oh well, keep the non-logical thinking going. If PMS keeps relying on one student to make it, maybe they will eventually go through the re-organization required for schools that fail to come out of PI status.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

"Do you really think the teachers will be replaced at PMS?"

No, thanks to the union this particular aspect of the NCLB is not implemented even in the worse schools. But that is the threat of being on probation.

I hope that Wisconsin is able to reform unions. It is only a matter of time before the rest of the nation does something similar, out of necessity.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I laughed:

Oakland's problems were quite different than PUSD's PMS being on probation. They had from financial troubles where the state had to take over, to other issues.

What the NCLB looks at, from what I have read, is improvement, so even though Oakland schools are not that good, they were improving as per the requirements. PMS did not improve for two years in a row. PMS has to do something to improve its scores for that subgroup this year of testing which begins soon.

Here is an article you may want to read:

Web Link

You can answer your own question about whether PMS' staff would be replaced. Just google it and you can look at what has happened in other districts/schools.


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Posted by Eye in the Sky
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

PMS community:

Answers to your PI status can indeed be found on CDE/DataQuest.

First of all, the overall mathematics program rating at PMS is doing exceptionally well. However, the eighth grade student population does have a percentage of non-Alegebra I students creating havoc on eighth grade STAR testing results. Of the 418 students enrolled in eighth grade, 42-45 students are not enrolled in Algebra I or higher. This is the population of students creating havoc on the STAR scoring sub-group result at PMS. Sixty-seven percent of these non-Algebra I students are at Basic (21%), Below Basic (29%), or Far Below Basic (17%).

Demographics for non-Alegebra I students at PMS:
27 Whites (259 White 8th graders)
8 Mexicans (32 Mexicans 8th graders)
3 Blacks (5 Black 8th graders)
3 Asians (102 Asian 8th graders)
2 Other Asian
1 Indian (Asian)
1 Mixed Race

The problem at PMS is that 25% of the Mexican population is enrolled in General Math and not scoring well on STAR mathematics, a statistically significant number.

Eventhough 3 of the 5 Blacks at PMS are enrolled in General Math, these numbers are not statistically significant.

Therefore, bottomline, the teachers/adminsitration at PMS must find a way to teach Hispanics how to score better on the STAR mathematics section. A tough job when language, cultural barriers exist, and parents are unable to help out.

I would suggest someone with the PMS PTA/PTO getting serious in understanding how to run DataQuest reports on the CDE site.

PI is not fun!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Thank you for the information, Eye in the Sky. This means that the district blaming it on one hispanic kid who happens to be proficient but came to PMS late in the year is nonsense. I can see that the subgroup of kids taking a Math class below Algebra includes more than just hispanics.


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Posted by Eye in the Sky
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Resident you are correct. This is Pleasanton Middle School's second year not meeting Hispanic sub-group mathematic targets.

When Hart Middle School opened in 2000-01 alleviating the enormous student population at PMS, student enrollment dropped from 1633 students to 1071 students. The Hispanic population at PMS was 74 students or 6.9%. In 2009-10, PMS enrollment was 1232, and the Hispanic population was 115 students or 9.3%, an increase of 2.5%. While PMS student enrollment has grown 13% from 2000-01, the Hispanic student population has grown 55%. One in four students, or 25% of the students enrolling into PMS over this time period have been of Hispanic origin. Whatever the reason, perhaps a disproportionate increase of low cost housing in the area, Pleasanton Unified School District must accept the fact that a significant population of Hispanics now resides in Pleasanton and must be educated to Federal Standards.

The increase of Hispanic students at PMS from 74 to 115 may not sound significant, but an additional 41 students is more than a classroom of students.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Wow, amazing how much can happen on this forum during 36 hours when I was away from the computer!

Resident -- my information came from the article in the Pleasanton Patch. Mathematically, removing one student from the numerator and denominator (numerator=proficient Hispanics, denominator=all enrolled Hispanics) will always reduce the fraction of students who are proficient. 2/3rds is less than 3/4ths, 3/4ths is less than 4/5ths, etc. So the statistical logic is sound.

I certainly did not mean to imply that achievement gaps do not exist or should not be addressed. As I mentioned in my earlier post, each school in PUSD has developed a plan to address particular gaps based on their previous years' data. I did not see such focus on closing achievement gaps as a goal in the school improvement plans that were presented to the public in 2009-2010 or 2008-2009; the focus on this particular issue has intensified since Superintendent Ahmadi's arrival.

I agree with Eye in the Sky that parents (and particularly the parent at PMS) should learn as much as they can about their school's plans for addressing achievement gaps.

Were any of the forum readers able to attend the information session at PMS last Thursday?


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Posted by Espanol
a resident of Avila
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm

The solution is to offer Math and English instructions in Spanish to all students. That way all PUSD student can benefit from learning Spanish also.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

"Mathematically, removing one student from the numerator and denominator (numerator=proficient Hispanics, denominator=all enrolled Hispanics) will always reduce the fraction of students who are proficient. 2/3rds is less than 3/4ths, 3/4ths is less than 4/5ths, etc. So the statistical logic is sound."

But again Sandy, PMS was already failing to have that subgroup score at a proficient level the year before. One student happened to come into PMS, happened to be hispanic, happened to already be proficient but came too late to be counted. If PMS is explaining its failure to have that subgroup perform based on that one ALREADY proficient student, that is pathetic. The student may not have enrolled at PMS, then waht? PMS should ot rely on the "maybe another already proficient hispanic student may enroll at PMS and help our numbers" situation. Ie, PMS is not coming up with a plan to help non-proficient students do better but relying on already proficient students to enroll, be counted and help the numbers...wow!

The bottom line is that PMS knew about the problem, and rather than releasing a statement that sounds ignorant, they should explain how they will address the issue of their hispanic subgroup not being proficient for TWO years in a row.


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Posted by Deport Them
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:11 am

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.)


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

If the hispanic student population has increased dramatically over the past few years, wouldn't those students be coming from other districts? Isn't it possible that part of the reason the average performance hasn't improved is that we are inheriting lower achievement from other, less-demanding schools? Even if all those kids improved individually, the average performance might not.

How about comparing the performance of Pleasanton's hispanic population to the average performance of hispanic kids throughout California? I think that would paint a very different picture.

Also, while many of Pleasanton's Hispanic families speak English, engage in successful careers and provide their kids help and enrichment; there is a sub-population of low-income kids who don't speak English well, who have moved around repeatedly, and whose parents cannot help them with homework due to language, education, or work demands. And cultural priorities in this population often put family and work ahead of school. It is not realistic to expect the school to completely eliminate these issues to performance.


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Posted by Doooom
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm

(Post deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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Posted by Ro
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 23, 2011 at 6:35 am

As a student in this area I feel that everything we do is completely rushed. We sometimes cover two units at a time, just to speed things up. We cover math chapters so fast that some of us haven't got it, yet we simply can't slow down because we will miss the train. We cover way to much work, so much that teachers don't have the time to mark a lot of it, and because of this we are doing work that might be wrong, but no one is picking up on it. We are way behind the teachings of Europe. You can give us students fifty math problems a night, but if teachers are not correcting it, how do we know we have done it right. I'm not trying to attack any teacher, I'm simply stating the facts. I sometimes feel I'm on a fast elevator and I can't get off. At the beginning of the year we covered chapters one and two in biology. Both chapters on the same test. Well, I got 68%. This kind of practice is setting us up for failure, and if we take a look at how many students have to take Biology in summer school, something is really wrong. Let us take a breath, we're over loaded students.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

"but if teachers are not correcting it, how do we know we have done it right"

I agree with this statement. My children do their homework, and it is either "checked" meaning the teacher sees the paper and that's it (no feedback, student does not know if the answer is right or wrong), or a classmate "corrects" it, without the teacher going over questions students may have about the homework. Students do not get any feedback on their work, so unless a parent or tutor checks the homework, a student has no way of knowing if he/she did the work correctly.

There is a goal now in PUSD to get as many kids into Geometry by the 8th grade, and that means rushing through the important, basic Algebra concepts. Some students can handle it, but most get tutors or help from parents, and many just fall behind.

Math is an important subject, and teachers should focus on learning the basic math concepts rather than rushing through the book so fast that the students are on their own for learning.

Why can't teachers collect the math homework and grade it? Language arts teachers collect essays they assign and grade them, math should not be any different. If math teachers collected the homework and graded it themselves, they would see that some students are not getting some concepts and could go over them in class or work with the student(s) at lunch time or after school.


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Posted by RO
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

For once we have intelligent people making sense. If you were to look at why Europeans give homework, it is because it gives teacher's insight into what each student knows. I was blow away when we went back to Germany for a holiday. My cousin's math book was full of corrections made by his teacher. Yes! It was corrected by a teacher, and do you know that he is only given ten problems per night. I told him that we had to correct our own work, and he responded, isn't that the teacher's job? Yeah, well one would think so. We have a big problem in this area, because lots of students are failing Geometry, not just Hispanic students, but if one isn't marking our work, the only way a teacher knows we are failing is when we take a chapter test. Yes, we fail because nobody understood section D, but you didn't take the time to mark our homework. So in a way we're all being cheated. And if anyone doesn't agree, take a look at my cousin's math book.


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Posted by Kelly
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Clearly schools are too busy teaching the children about tolerance for their issues, the Green scheme or social re-engineering studies to have time to focus on math and real science, much less homework!

So, lets make a documentary and take survey's and build a movement to create a new homework policy that decreases and or removes homework all together. Why don't you just remove homework, increase the school day, and while your at it, can you feed my kid dinner too?


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Posted by Kelly
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Clearly schools are too busy teaching the children about tolerance for their issues, the Green scheme or social re-engineering studies to have time to focus on math and real science, much less homework!

So, lets make a documentary and take survey's and build a movement to create a new homework policy that decreases and or removes homework all together. Why don't you just remove homework, increase the school day, and while your at it, can you feed my kid dinner too?


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Posted by Eye in the Sky
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

2009-10 PUSD 8th Grade Mathematic Enrollment Classification

PMS % Harvest % Hart % Total %
General 42 10.1% 12 3.1% 25 6.0% 79 6.5%
Alg I 365 87.7% 321 82.9% 362 86.8% 1048 85.9%
Geo 8 1.9% 48 12.4% 28 6.7% 84 6.9%
Alg II 1 0.2% 3 0.8% 2 0.5% 6 0.5%
Other 0.0% 3 0.8% 0 0.0% 3 0.2%

Total 416 100.0% 387 100.0% 417 100.0% 1220 100%


Source: CDE Star Test Results 2009-10



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Posted by Kelly
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

@Espanol, they already do teach in all Spanish. PUSD is no longer encouraging immigrants and their children to immerse in the English language in American society.

Pleasanton tax dollars go to support the PUSD "Special interest Spanish ONLY" elementary classes where they teach the entire school year all in Spanish year after year. They chose a few token over achiever English students to participate. They claim they'll stay in this program until they graduate.

I have seen the homework for English Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd grade in this class and sadly, it was nothing to get excited about (I actually pretty surprised and disappointed as it appeared so below grade level expectations). Also I heard that most Spanish only speaking volunteers did not come back to volunteer after the appropriate and required school volunteer background checks were announced, that was the observations of one parent.


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Posted by Eye in the Sky
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Sorry, impossible to read CDE report due to limits in blog formatting.

Points to be made. Geometry classes appear to be being pushed to too high of an extent at Harvest Park only, 48 8th grade students out of 387 8th grade students or 12.4%. Harvest Park, though also has the least amount of 8th grade students enrolled in General Math, 12 8th graders.

Personally, I believe it is important to ground students in Algebra mathematics before moving on to Geometry. Better use of the developing mind.

PMS has only 8 8th grade geometry students, while Hart has a full classroom of 25 8th grade geometry students.

You think the learning pacing is ridiculous. California teachers are forced to teach to grade standards. They must keep moving on, even if the students or certain students are not grasping the material.

It is even worse in Program Improvement (PI) the state forces you to follow pacing guides, page by page, day by day. A recipe for disaster.

PI is not fun, nor is it helpful for generally high performing schools.


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Posted by Eye in the Sky
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

It is much more powerful when speaking about edcucational performance, especially to PUSD administration, when one utilizes facts.

Web Link


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Posted by Mr. Conservative:
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

My closest friend, a retired Teacher from the PUSD, and the mother of several graduates of PL schools,and CA colleges, when she learned of this "DEFICIENCY" at one of our great schools, immediately said that it was a problem of DEMOGRAPHICS.
For anyone "in the know", I don't need
to clarify that word any further.
VALID QUESTIONS:
1. What children are not meeting standards?
2. What is their ethnic background?
3. Where were they born?
4. Are they or their parents CITIZENS?
5. What language is spoken within the home?
6. Where does the family stand within the income levels of the
community --- Higher, Medium, Lower, or ????
7. WHAT HAS BEEN THEIR EDUCATION BEFORE THEY CAME TO PMS?
8. Are the parents involved in their childrens' educational process?
9. Is it a single parent household, or one with both parents
present?

I think these are all valid questions, and while I'm sure the teachers know the answers to MOST of these questions, do they have the latitude to structure the EDUCATIONAL PROCESS to the DEMOGRAPHICS of the children that they are supposed to TEACH??
After all, MOST of the above questions are what is called PROFILING! Oh, a naughty word!!!! SHAME, SHAME!

At least, this is how I see this problem, to a great degree.

The cookie cutter does NOT apply to all the recipients!

A concerned parent and tax-payer, who does NOT blame just the Teachers and "The Administration"!!!!!





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Posted by La Raza
a resident of Avila
on Feb 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Mr. Conservative,

Whether you like it or not, hispanics are a growing part of the Pleasanton community. Whites are no longer the majority in California, and hispanics will become the major ethnic group in California within 25 years. They will be your business leaders, political leaders, and educational leaders, etc., whether you like it or not. This may not impact you directly, but it will directly impact your children.

Having a highly educated hispanic population in Pleasanton, as well as in the entire state of California works for the benefit of all.

Concord, CA (Mt. Diablo USD) ignored this fact 25 years ago and didn't bother to integrate and fully educate the hispanic. Now they live with the repruccions of their educational deficiencies (Four Corners and the surrounding area). City blight, and the cost of the problem now far exceeds what it would have cost to educate hispanics properly. Yes, I know they are a transient population, with cultural and economic obstacles.

No sense closing the borders, too late.

Differeniated education is the "buzz word" when teachers ask how they can teach their students from so many different backgrounds.

The hispanics are the future of California.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by elementary parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

"Differeniated education is the "buzz word" when teachers ask how they can teach their students from so many different backgrounds."

And can you imagine the problems we're going to face with class sizes going up again? How will kids who need more help get it and how will the kids who are good learners get taught to their ability?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Remove the traps
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm

La Raza, it's not about what was spent on the classes. Money is NOT the problem.... it's allowing and nursing along doing everything IN Spanish...that keeps them STUCK right in Mom's, Dad's, and McDonald's kitchen forever....HOW does that help them ? I thought the experts say the kids rise to the level of EXPECTATIONS for them ! ! EXPECT them to ASSIMILATE....DEMAND ENGLISH RADIO AND TV...STOP THE BABYING TRAP !


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gringo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

La Raza,

That is the problem. Such a huge percentage of the Hispanic population are illegals or the children of illegals, have no right being in this country, and should be deported. We don't want this country becoming another Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Columbia or Venezuala. There isn't a Hispanic country on this planet that is a well-functioning country. So why do we want to adopt that culture?

Its a well-known fact that most Mexicans and Mexican-Americans consider the south-western United States as territory that was taken from Mexico, they want it bake, know they can't get it back by force, but they can get it back by over-breading and over-running.

BTW, La Raza is a racist term and it would be nice if those that are constantly hollering "discrimor" would quit referring to themselves as "The Race" and practicing racism themselves.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Don't blame the students.

What is important to realize is that many parents spend several hours a week tutoring their children in math or sending them to tutoring centers like Enopi, Sylvan, Huntington, Kumon, Steps, the list goes on.

The API scores are significantly propped up in this community by the countless hours parents spend in teaching their children themselves. Many times children received homework for concepts that were not covered in class. Sometimes it is not clear if the teachers really understand the math concepts.

Having gone to college and having been taught math by professors who could not speak English very well, but spoke German, I can say that an math teacher can be very effective even though they do not speak the native language of the students.

We need better math teachers that understand the concepts.




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Posted by resident
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Feb 25, 2011 at 2:37 am

I have a student at PMS and the NCLB guidelines do not seem reasonable. PMS is on par with other schools and i do not think this sounds like a fair assessment of the school.

I do agree that good test scores may be as much to the credit of parents and tutors teaching outside of school. There are lots of great teachers but many who do not seem to be motivated. I do not believe this is a result of the recent budget issues but precedes this.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Charter Oaks
on Feb 25, 2011 at 3:15 am

If there was a way to calculate how much tax payers money was spent on the support and education of illegal residents I am sure we would all be surprised. I think there would be more concern about it if people could see what resources people here illegally might be taking from their kids. What special services are our tax dollars going to instead of for instance reduction of class size.

Why do we feel beholden to people that do not respect our laws? Why does this group seem to be exempt from following the laws that all citizens must follow. Are people here illegally entitled to preferential treatment? I think we underestimate the financial burden illegals have on our tax dollars in the form of increased spending on entitlements like welfare and health care. How much more money do the schools need? Could our children's education be impacted more than we realize by illegal residents? Would test scores, class size, lack of funding and better allocation of resources be significantly improved if this issue was addressed?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 25, 2011 at 8:50 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Illegals are pandered to by Dems to buy votes, pure and simple. They are not discouraged to come her and they continue to breed, creating anchor babies that will vote to uphold their generous handouts paid for by the soon to be taxpaying minority.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 9:06 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Sorry, have to state the obvious. Illegals can't vote?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eye in the Sky
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

Illegal aliens are entitled to free public education and health care. In Title I districts, such as the ones west of the Castro Valley hills they also receive free or reduced breakfast/lunch and obtain after school programs involving athletics and academics (3:00pm -6:00pm) at a much reduced rate of $100 per school year. The actual program cost per district is over a million dollars per school year. The reasoning by the state is that is better to organize the underprivileged than to incur costs such as graffiti, vandalism, robbery, etc., thus developing productive citizens for the community.

With regards to teachers not understanding mathematic concepts, this is extremely hard for me to phantom. Elementary school teachers are rigorously educated and tested in their discipline before obtaining a credential, which must still be cleared through actual teaching and observation in the classroom.

Teachers are mandated (forced) to teach to state educational standards by a strict school year timeline. This is where the problem actually lies. If students do not grasp the concept, they must continue to move on, while providing assistance to those students outside the classroom. Teaching is no longer a liberal art, or a craft, but a robotic science based on adhering to state standards, and in Title I districts to a stern pacing guide of instruction.

It is extremely easy for disgruntled parents to blame the teacher, as this is where the rubber visually hits the road. Little is known by the community about what goes on behind the scene which makes the teacher's job nearly impossible to succeed.

Disgruntled parents in the community then vaguely complain that teachers do not understand basic concepts.

Linked to this posting is the California Content Standards for Mathematics by grade level. Please identify the specific mathematic standard that PUSD teachers are not teaching or do not understand well enough to teach.

Vague complaints are not helpful, but hurtful to hard working and caring teachers.

Web Link


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Eye wrote: "With regards to teachers not understanding mathematic concepts, this is extremely hard for me to phantom. Elementary school teachers are rigorously educated and tested in their discipline before obtaining a credential, which must still be cleared through actual teaching and observation in the classroom."

But elementary school teachers don't need to get a passing grade on the math portion of the credentialing exam if the total score is high enough. In other words, you can be awesome at reading and writing and really bad at math. That's a big criticism leveled against California's credentialing program that has yet to be fixed. Math teachers, obviously, have to pass their subject exam.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's the 2009 report card on California teacher policy from the National Council on Teacher Quality: Web Link

Major Policy Strengths:
Places no restrictions on alternate route usage or providers
Requires that all new teachers pass a pedagogy test
Supports differential pay in high-needs schools and shortage subjects
Maintains full authority to approve teacher preparation programs

Major Policy Weaknesses:
Awards tenure virtually automatically
Fails to make evidence of student learning the preponderant criterion in teacher evaluations
Does not ensure that middle school teachers are appropriately prepared to teach grade-level content
Does not ensure that elementary teachers are well prepared to teach mathematics
Lacks an efficient termination process for ineffective teachers


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Cool, the NCTQ 2010 reports are out now...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eye
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Stacey,

PMS has an extremely, extremely high API score, and mathematic scores.

What specific California Mathematic content standard is PMS failing to address?

Please be specific, (e.g., standard 2.1 sixth grade)

2.0 Students analyze and use tables, graphs, and rules to solve problems involving rates and proportions:

2.1
Convert one unit of measurement to another (e.g., from feet to miles, from centimeters to inches).
2.2
Demonstrate an understanding that rate is a measure of one quantity per unit value of another quantity.
2.3
Solve problems involving rates, average speed, distance, and time.

I don't believe that you be able to identify a deficiency in the PMS mathematic's department according to the prescribed teaching standards. California teachers teach to California content standards. Please state the standard.

It is not right to hold California teachers to vague criticism, outside the California content standards.

Thank you.




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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Eye,

That's fine if you want to focus on PMS specifically, but I was responding to your claim that elementary teachers (PMS is not elementary) are "rigorously educated and tested". And it is right to hold criticism because the teacher credentialing process doesn't really prepare teachers to teach California's content standards. The fact that there are standards does little to address assessing knowledge of the standard by the instructor.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eye
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Stacey,

Elementary school teachers have multi-subject crendentials. In order to teach middle or secondary schools in California, you must have a single-subject credential which prepares you more than adequately for the California content standards in your subject matter and beyond. California text books are also written in alignment with California content standards. Pretty simple.

Again what California mathematic content standard are PUSD middle schools having difficulty in teaching to our students.

I look at the text books and at the California mathematic content standards and I do not see a concept that is all that difficult, or at least one that I could not master myself without the aid of a teacher with a little attention, concentration and focus.

Please be specific in the California content standard that PUSD teachers are having difficulty in teaching.

Vague criticism is useless and ineffective.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Eye,

I'm sorry, I guess I'm not understanding your issue. I think you're trying to discuss something with me about PMS that I never spoke to. I merely responded to your statement about being unable to fathom that an elementary school teacher would not understand the math concepts being taught as they are rigorously tested. I cast doubt on the idea of rigorous testing to explain how it can be fathomable and showed that California does not require a passing score on the math portion of CBEST. That's all. One reason it is important to require that people pass the math portion is because female elementary school teachers who have math anxiety can pass that on to female students as shown by this study: Web Link Requiring a passing grade can only help to strengthen education in California.

If you'd like to talk specifically about PMS and this math proficiency issue, I suggest you look at my posts above and on related threads where my criticism is leveled against No Child Left Behind and not PMS. I have no issue with PMS specifically (others have written thus, not I). The problem there is NCLB.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eye
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Stacey,

Sorry for the confusion. I was just attempting to get parents who are complaining against schools, administrators and/or teachers to speak specifically regarding the perceived deficiencies in relation to the mandated California education standards.

Yes, NCLB is a large problem, the Feds are now trying to wiggle out of this ill advised reform. In most instances, education should be left to the states and local communities, the more the feds get involved in education, the more screwed up education gets.

By the way, passing the CBEST will not allow you to become a credentialed teacher of any type, only a limited emergency 30-day substitute, that is if you already possess a four year college degree. Otherwise you must pass the CSET (California Subject Exam Test) which is much more rigorous. The CBEST only determines that you can breathe, think and have some minimal amount of common sense. Perhaps you were referring to the CSET, and not the CBEST.

Personally, I can't think of a (K-5) elementary school mathematical concept or operation that could not be handled or taught by any reasonable thinking adult.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 1:42 am

As a veteran parent I would like to speak of my observations:

I passed the CSET and I did not feel that it was all that rigorous. I had 3 kids at the time and I studied on my own for several weeks before the test. I passed. It was not the Bar Exam.

My oldest child is now 25 and the youngest is 18 so I've seen a lot over the years. I do not agree with you about NCLB .... actually, I think it has put the educational community "on its toes" which is a good thing. There has been more urgency and less laxity in recent years. Finally, there is some accountability! As a classroom volunteer for many years, I saw too many kids (not necessarily Hispanic) who couldn't keep up because they had parents who didn't study with them - what a crime - it was the teacher's JOB to teach math facts and grammar. Without the very basics of education, these kids were lost for years to come. It's not the parents' job to teach - it's the teacher's job to teach! And, the whole ball of wax comes from the top - the principal.

In the private sector, if the organization isn't working, something changes at the top of the organization. Enough said.



As far as PMS...well, I had 1 of my 3 kids there...it was not what I expected all the way around...starting from the top. And that has not changed, to my knowledge.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eye
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:12 am

@ Hmmm

Your confusing the exam that you took years ago with something else, perhaps the CBEST. Of course, it is not the Bar exam, however if you do not believe California's teacher's test for subject competency is not rigorous enough you should contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTCC) or your congressman (they would laugh at you). Pleasanton Unified School District teachers are more than highly qualified.

You may think NCLB is great for the country, but even the Feds (both Democratic and Republican)realize it is a bust. Lonely out were you stand.

PUSD is doing great! Look at their scores, comparable if not better than Danville, Alamo, and San Ramon.

If you don't think so, I would suggest that you move to the other side of the hill, try Hayward, Castro Valley, Berkeley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, or better yet Oakland. How about just moving down the road to Fremont or Union City.

PUSD is doing even better than when your kids were in school.

Again, if the teachers in your community are not doing something great or to standard, state the California Educational Standard they are missing. Otherwise your words remain worthless and frivolous.



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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 26, 2011 at 9:25 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Eye,

No worries. It is only fair to ask others who make such claims to point out specifics.

Hmm,

Don't get me wrong, I think the drive for accountability that grew from NCLB is good. I just think that, when schools have been averaging 4% growth in proficiency annually, trying to push for 11% growth is unrealistic. I also think that 100% proficiency is too much of an idealistic goal: something like 95-98% is more practical.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eye
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 26, 2011 at 11:49 am

After obtaining a four year college degree in Education, specializing in a discipline, student teaching, BTSA training, passing the competency test (CSET), and a background check, the teacher obtains a cleared credential.

Test your knowledge against some sample CSET questions (choose a discipline).

English (four subset tests) Example: subset II, Language, Linguistics, and Literacy 45 sample questions Web Link:

Mathematics (three subset tests) Example: subset I, Algebra: Number Theory 27 sample questions Web Link

Physical Education (three subset tests) Example: subset I, Growth, Motor Development, and Motor Learning; The Science of Human Movement 17 sample questions Web Link

I don't think anyone reading this blog could even successfully pass a sample subset array of Physical Education questions.

Of course, it is not the Bar exam, but the CSET does measure competency in a teaching discipline.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just Saying...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Eye and Hmm,

You are correct, Eye, the test that Hmm is speaking of is the CBEST. In California, this test is required to be taken before one begins a credential program or substitute teaching.

The CSET, however, was an "answer" to NCLB legislation requiring that all teachers be highly qualified. Passage of this exam "proves" their competency.

The CSET became a requirement for all individuals earning their multiple subject credential on or after July 1, 2002. I believe the exam was first offered in early 2004, if my memory serves me correctly. Teachers who earned a credential after the above date have x amount of time to pass the CSET.

Now the CBEST is quite easy. I took it 14 years ago when I was entering the student teaching program at my university. I passed it after a night of college antics, no problem. I hear, whether this is true or not, it is written at a 7th grade level. Anyone wanting to teach should pass it!

Though I have not taken it, the CSET, on the other hand, I have heard is much more rigorous as one is required to know the in's and out's of the K-8 (multiple subject, here) standards/curriculum. Think of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader". Some of the things our kids have to know...meaningless and quickly forgotten!

Hmmm...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just Saying...
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Hmm,

"It's not the parents' job to teach - it's the teacher's job to teach!"

Whatever did you do for the first five years of your children's lives before they had a real teacher? They must have learned nothing!

YOU are your child's first teacher, and might I add, most important teacher. Sometimes that means you just might have to help them with their math facts.


Eye,

Check this out...


"Illegal aliens are entitled to free public education and health care. In Title I districts, such as the ones west of the Castro Valley hills they also receive free or reduced breakfast/lunch ..."

They receive this in non-Title 1 districts/schools as well. In fact, they receive free and reduced lunch, free lunches packed for them and delivered to their school for field trips, free spirit wear, free books from the book fair, free health insurance coverage for field trips, etc...right here in Pleasanton.


Absolutely blows my mind.


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