Category Archives: common core

Busch hears from teachers about salary, workload, Common Core

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MICHAEL ERIN BUSCH, Speaker of House of Delegates
Democrat, District 30, Anne Arundel County

From workload woes to complaints about salaries, House Speaker Michael E. Busch heard it all.

The Annapolis Democrat, a former teacher in county public and private schools, spoke to members of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County on Saturday at Union Jack’s, three days after the start of the 2014 legislative session.

The General Assembly, Busch said, pumps $6.2 billion into Maryland schools, making the state’s education system one of the best funded in the country.

“We have two constitutional mandates — to balance the budget and adequately fund education,” Busch said, pointing out that Maryland’s state government is one of the few that contributes money toward school construction.

“You either fund education, or you don’t. It’s not a complex issue,” he said.

Some county teachers, though, told Busch funding still lags in some areas.

One, who said she had been teaching for 24 years, said Anne Arundel teachers can go to neighboring counties and earn far more. She said one teacher she knows recently left for a job in Calvert County, getting a raise of $11,000 per year.

“We are behind,” she said, as other teachers applauded.

Interim schools Superintendent Mamie J. Perkins’ fiscal 2015 budget proposal includes a 2 percent raise for all employees.

Last June, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education voted 8-1 to give employees raises that vary depending on the worker’s position and union representation.

In fall 2012, according to the state Department of Education, the average teacher in Anne Arundel County earned $61,643 per year. Statewide, the average salary was $64,248.

The salary concerns, coupled with growing stress over workload, have many teachers wanting to flee the profession, several educators said.

Teachers aired similar concerns Thursday night at a hearing in Annapolis on the school budget.

Retired teacher Lois Nicoletti told Busch she spent so much time documenting student progress and collecting data she felt she had no time for actual instruction.

“When was I supposed to teach?” Nicoletti said.

Another teacher, a 42-year veteran of the profession, said he has never seen it as tough as it is right now, particularly with this year’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards for curriculum.

Richard Benfer, TAAAC’s president, told Busch that before the meeting he asked one teacher how she was doing. She got so emotional she had to walk away, Benfer said.

A teacher in the audience began to sniffle.

“It’s kind of ridiculously crazy,” Benfer said.

After the gathering, Busch said he expects state lawmakers to look at Common Core and figure out its strengths and weaknesses. The Anne Arundel County delegation is scheduled to hold a meeting on Common Core on Jan. 28 in Annapolis.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t even know how we adopted Common Core,” Busch said. “But I think it’s always good to review.”

“All these people here are dedicated, and they want to see the system work.”

Session 2013

Common Core generates bill to drop old tests in Md. public schools

Nancy King

Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery, the sponsor of the Senate companion bill she will introduce shortly to scrap the test

Emergency legislation to stop Maryland from administering a federally mandated student assessment test was introduced Thursday in the House of Delegates with strong bipartisan sponsorship.

The Maryland Student Assessment test (MSA) is slated to be phased out after this year, when it will be administered once more this spring. But the test is considered outdated because it doesn’t test for what students are learning in classrooms this year under the state’s new Common Core education curriculum.Luedtke 2

Del. Eric Luedtke

“The MSA tests students on material they aren’t being taught, and takes away valuable teaching time to do it,” said Del. Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s testing for the sake of testing, and we should not be giving it.”

The bill, which has 10 co-sponsors, including five Republicans, would require the state to request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education  (DOE) to excuse Maryland from administering the MSA test this year. It costs the state $6 million to give the test.

The Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), a union which represents 71,000 public education employees across the state, asked the state education department to obtain such a waiver, but state officials said DOE offers no such waiver.

Read more:  http://marylandreporter.com/2014/01/09/common-core-generates-bill-to-drop-old-tests-in-md-public schools/#ixzz2q9ATbZw1 Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

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Dr. Lillian Lowery Embattled State Superintendent is currently presiding over deep-seated corruption in Maryland school system. She has demonstrated a culture of discrimination and racism while on the job.

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PGCPS lost 500 student assessment tests

Incompetency continues at Sasscer

Change -

Photo courtesy PGCPS

Approximately 500 Prince George’s County first-graders had to retake an assessment test used to identify students for the county’s gifted and talented program after the original exams went missing on their way to be scanned.

Seven schools re-administered the Otis Lennon School Ability Test in December after schools officials realized they could not locate the exams, said Max Pugh, a school system spokesman. Students took the test in October as part of an evaluation to see if they should be placed in the county’s gifted and talented programs….

….One upset parent Mr. Gross stated that,  “It is not fair to the students who took the test back in October to be retested without the parents being given a quality explanation as to why the students have to be retested,” Gross wrote. “I do not consider a vague letter that states that the test was misplaced/damaged in transit sent home in my daughter’s backpack a quality explanation. . . . If my daughter or any other student does not turn in an assignment because it was misplaced/damaged, they will be held accountable by receiving a grade of zero for that assignment. The adults who were tasked with the responsibility of handling the test scores should be held accountable just as the students would be if they misplaced/damaged their homework.”  >>> Read More Washington Post

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Criticism of Teacher Unions in 2013.

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Anthony Cody a teacher who spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high school reviews his own sharp criticism of teachers’ unions during the past year for their support of the Common Core standards in 2013.

Cody questions why teachers have no one to support them when they question the validity of the Common Core.

He doubts that a one-year moratorium on high-stakes testing of the Common Core will matter much.

In a column that he cites, he wrote:

In effect, the Common Core tests will refresh NCLB’s indictment of public schools and teachers, with supposedly scientific precision.

Teachers – and union leaders — may feel as if they should get on board, to try to steer this process. However, I think this is a ship of doom for our schools. I think its effect will be twofold. It will create a smoother, wider, more easily standardized market for curriculum and technology. This will, in turn, promote the standardization of curriculum and instruction, and further de-professionalize teaching. The assessments will reinforce this, by tying teachers closer to more frequent timelines and benchmark assessments, which will be, in many places, tied to teacher evaluations. And the widespread failures of public schools will be used to further “disrupt the public school monopoly,” spurring further expansion of vouchers and charters and private schools.

We must move beyond not only the bubble tests, but beyond the era of punitive high stakes tests. Only then will we be able to use standards in the way they ought to be used – as focal points for our creative work as educators. I would be glad to have a year’s delay for the consequences of these tests, but I think we need to actively oppose the entire high stakes testing paradigm. The Common Core standards should not be supported as long as they are embedded in this system.

He calls upon the unions to exert leadership–not just in helping to impose CCSS–but in thinking critically about the corporate agenda and CCSS’s role in that agenda.

He holds out hope for change in 2014, a hope that we all share.

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Read more >> Union Accountability needed in PG County

Read more>>>Violation of the Grievance system

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Cartoon of Income Inequality