Pennsylvania: Waivers Arrive, Punishments Follow

Diane Ravitch’s blog: A site to discuss better education for all, 8/26/13

Blogger Yinzercation reports that Pennsylvania finally got its waivers from No Child Left Behind’s irrational goals of 100% success, only to face the equally punitive regime crafted by the Obama administration.

ATP (Adequate Yearly Progress) will be replaced by SPP (Student Performance Profile). Three of the four new measures are based on standardized tests. No surprise there. Love those tests

“This new SPP system will label schools without providing any real help for struggling students. If a school receives federal Title I money (based on its proportion of poor students), it will be labeled “priority,” “focus,” or “reward.” All other schools will get a profile score. It’s not clear if that score will be a number or letter grade (A – F), which is very trendy right now among corporate-style-reformers who support vouchers, charter-expansion, school closure, and other privatization efforts. Either way, the bottom line is these rating systems do not appear to work and are definitely subject to cheating.”

She points to research by Matthew Di Carlo showing that such grading systems typically identify schools serving minority communities as low-performing, setting them up for closure or privatization.

Governor Corbett boasted that the new measures would bring help to struggling schools.

Yinzercation asks, “Hello, what? Where is the money to hire back our teachers, school counselors, nurses, and librarians? How about some funding for our after-school tutoring programs we had to cut? And early childhood education? Maybe SPP should stand for Stupid Public Policy.”

And she adds: “I worry that SPP will just replace AYP: with more high-stakes-testing, more labeling-and-punishing schools, more blaming teachers, and still no results for our kids.”

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