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Monday, October 24, 2011

Half of Illinois High School Students Not Making Progress at Reading or Math


SPRINGFIELD — Half of Illinois’ high school students cannot read or solve math problems at grade level, but state school leaders are not blaming the students or teachers.
They are blaming the federal program No Child Left Behind, or NCLB.
Illinois State Superintendent Chris Koch and State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico on Thursday unveiled the dismal results from last spring’s standardized tests.

Under NCLB guidelines, 85 percent of students must be proficient in reading and math by 2011. The bar is raised to 100 percent by 2014. These same percentages apply to science for high-schoolers.

Students in third through eighth grades as well as 11th grade take standardized tests to measure their adequate yearly progress in reading, math and science.

This past year, about half of Illinois’ 11th-graders, who take the Prairie State Achievement Exam, or PSAE, scored at or above the 85 percent benchmark:
  • 51 percent in reading and math;
  • 49 percent in science.
In all, 656 of Illinois’ 666 public high schools failed to meet NCLB requirements.

Students in third through eighth grades, overall, scored below the 85 percent benchmark, except for the following student groups who scored at or above the mark:
  • 85 percent of eighth-graders in reading;
  • 86 percent of eighth-graders in math;
  • 87 percent of fourth-graders in math.
Students in third through eighth grade take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, or ISAT. In all,1,892 of the state’s 3,231 elementary and middle schools did not meet the federal guidelines.

Overall, 65 percent of Illinois’ 4,321 schools failed to meet the federal standards. Last year, 51 percent of schools did not progress.

Chico said the rise in failure rates indicates that NCLB has “lost its usefulness.”

“The motives were good; the ideas were good. But like a lot of things over time, it … is now creating problems for us,” said Chico.

Chico said NCLB is “improperly labeling” students and schools as failing, because schools that are close to meeting the benchmark are still classified as missing the mark.

Illinois is seeking a federal waiver from the NCLB requirement that all students must pass standardized reading and math proficiency tests by 2014. President Barack Obama recently said the federal government would agree to waivers, if the states were to be held more accountable for whatever educational progress students and schools actually achieved.

“We all kinda knew that the bar that was being set, every year, that level was going up to a point that  no one can reach it,” said Chico.

But Kock said NCLB ignores progress in favor of results.

“If you’re making improvements in one, two, or three grade levels, that’s a great thing,” said Koch. “Right now in this system, you don’t get credit for that. If we were given credit for that, we’d be seeing and recognizing a lot of schools for the improvements they are authentically making on behalf of students.

Robin Steans, executive director of the  education advocacy group Advance Illinois, said parents need to monitor their child’s progress.

“At the end of the day, parents care most about what is going on with their children,” said Steans. “Parents need to be involved to make sure your children are really where they should be.”

Reported by Benjamin Yount, Illinois Statehouse News

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah yes there is absolutely no need for school vouchers and above all keep the useful idiot union teachers sucking your tax dollars away. Isn't 50 years time enough to realize you have a failed system and it needs to be overhauled?

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem w/ NCLB and these standardized tests is there is no allowance for individual differences in the kids themselves, and performance on the tests is also affected by many factors outside the control of the school district and teachers. Special Ed students are expected to perform at the same level as kids taking Advanced Placement classes. And if they don't, the school is punished, and loses the resources that would help it improve. Those in higher education have recognized for some time now that scores on standardized tests are not particularly good predictors of ultimate student performance, and have been de-emphasizing (or at some colleges even eliminating) ACT/SAT scores for college admission decisions. It's amusing that the first post talks about school vouchers and taking kids out of public schools being the answer -- i.e. moving them to schools that don't have to answer to the standards in NCLB!

Anonymous said...

The teachers via their union are 100% responsible for this.

Their need to expand employment at all cost lead to labeling and segregating children into micro constituencies that are served by their union teacher thugs who do everything they can to keep dollars in their program by continually demonstrating a need. There is no incentive to create better students. The dollars reward failure not success.

6:58 am post illustrates the problem. It the schools would not have clamored to get special ed students in so they could get the dollars that follow then the problem would not exist. And the idea that colleges are now looking at things other then predictors of academic performance will only hasten their decline.

Not every child is educable. Not every one is deserving of the same level of education. The world needs ditch diggers and produce pickers.

Anonymous said...

Uh, no, 2:33's post shows the big problem. People that have no clue what they are talking about jumping to conclusions. Yes, the world needs ditch diggers and produce pickers. But every child deserves the education they need to reach THEIR potential -- even the ditch digger and produce picker needs a certain level of education to survive in this world, although I guess you'd prefer to go back to the days when it was illegal to teach certain people to read. And your statement "And the idea that colleges are now looking at things other then predictors of academic performance will only hasten their decline" shows you have some reading comprehension difficulties yourself. Colleges are looking at things other than standardized tests, such as Grade Point Averages, past performance in school, etc. Because studies have found that these other items are better predictors of performance in college than the standardized tests are. And your rant that the teachers have no incentive to create better students is pure bull. That's why they went into teaching -- to try to enhance each student's knowledge and help him/her to do their best. The disincentive comes from things like NCLB, which was NOT written by the teachers' unions, that focus on an unachievable goal. Bush, thru the NCLB, is the one that thought everyone, including your ditch diggers, should be able to achieve the same level of education and performance on the test. The result was a disincentive to bring the top students higher by pushing them to do better, and a focus on the lower achievers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry not every child deserves an education. Children of illegal aliens do not - period. Refugee's children do not.

Anonymous said...

Stop teaching illegal alien children and giving away free medical and food and then watch the exodus of mexicans head back to Mexico. Then the grade scores will amaze you. One word all mexicans know is "free".

Anonymous said...

Teachers go into teaching for the retirement and that is all. They see the ones making two and three hundred a year in retirement and aspire to that. If the were truely interested in teaching for the sake of teaching there would be no EVIL teacher unions period.

Anonymous said...

Teachers go into teaching for the retirement and that is all. They see the ones making two and three hundred a year in retirement and aspire to that. If the were truely interested in teaching for the sake of teaching there would be no EVIL teacher unions period.

Anonymous said...

7:29 and 7:30 posting untrue comments twice doesn't make them true. The ones making 200-300k in retirement are by far the minority; the people railing against the retirements system know that, but focus on it and deliberately try to mislead the public that those large pensions are the norm. Guess you fell for their lie. The vast majority of teachers retire on pensions well under $100k. And at the age they enter the teaching profession, they're like most young adults. They don't really think much about retirement. I don't know of a single high school new graduate who looks that far into the future.

Anonymous said...

A lot of our tax dollars are wasted on unnecessary frills & pet projects for administrators' favorites. For example, the EHS band director is being paid $7,330.00 over & above his $10,000.00+ "band director" stipend, just for directing the pit for the musical. This works out to at least $100.00/hour for actual time spent doing this one particular job.

And that's without considering the fact that the Jazz Band is the pit for the show--and the Jazz Band rehearses during the school day.

How many reading or math tutors COULD have been paid (at a rate of maybe $25.00/hour) with that $7,330.00??

Anonymous said...

That $7300 is a lot of money, and could be used for lots of other things. But neither of us really knows what the band director actually does to earn that stipend. I know I've never gone to look up the contract, and what time and other obligations are placed on him to earn that stipend. And I'm pretty sure you never have, either. You're basing your $100 per hour on guesses and assumptions, not on actual knowledge. Who knows -- it might even be more!

Anonymous said...

8:32 - teachers are pretty much the scum of the earth. they waltz around and pretend they care about the children while gang raping their parent's wallet and thus lowering the economic climate that the children grow up in, all to fatten their own coffers.

I'll give you an example. In Aurora we have this useless piece of trash named James Varney. He was a very useless grade school principal who never did a useful thing. Right before he retires he gets his joke degree - a pHd in education (a blow off PHd if ever there was). So he ratchets up his salary the last few years so he can go out with a fat pension. How did the children or school district benefit? They only received any alleged benefit for the last handful of years of his working life. But since he was in the same position, it is obvious it did not make him more effective or improve his leadership. So all it did was boast his pension and we are left holding the bag for his lavish retirement.

Anonymous said...

Classroom teachers are the buggy whips of the new millennium. Technology has long ago surpassed the need for these biased, useless tools of Government propaganda.

The amount of money that is wasted employing these worthless dolts is staggering. Most teachers make Chuck Nelson appear useful by comparison.

Anonymous said...

8:53 Since you know his pension so well (you described it as "lavish"), what is the amount he gets annually? I'm curious as to whether your definition of lavish is the same as everyone elses. I suspect you really have no clue, because your first paragraph applying your own description to teachers has already destroyed your credibility.

And 1:00 pm your ignorance is staggering. While technology has definitely brought about many changes, embraced by most teachers, and maybe at some point in the distant future may be able to replace teachers, it sure isn't there yet. The human interaction is still important.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:41 - Get a FUCKING LIFE YOU PIECE OF SHIT

Anonymous said...

Yeah 8:53 - ALL teachers are the scum of the earth.

Just like all bloggers are stupid pieces of shit that need a fucking life.

Anonymous said...

In 2006, James Varney pension was 76,086.84...which is over double of what it should be.

Without any inflation adjustment, spousal benefit etc, that is worth 1.35 Million according to Vanguard as of today when I called.

As I said it is lavish. Varney always was a piece of trash buffoon who played a gamed system to the disadvantage for the children of this community.

Anonymous said...

The powers in government don't really care as long as the mush heads can vote for the DEMOCRATS and join ACORN, Which by the way is still eating up your tax dollars under a different moniker.

Anonymous said...

9:13 that is higher than the pension I'm going to get, but definitely not what I'd call lavish, especially when he's not getting any social security. It's sure nowhere near the $200,000 pension that the "reformers" all like to insinuate are the average. Basically, he came in and made an agreement with the state as represented by the school district. He promised to do his job and pay his share of his retirement. The state promised to pay him his salary and pay their share of his retirement. The problem is, the state didn't keep its word. And now that after all these years of the employees doing what they promised, and the state NOT doing what it promised, there's a crisis and the answer you come up w/ is to punish the people who kept their word, and reward the ones who didn't. Your values are really all screwed up.

Anonymous said...

No, you missed the point. Varney received his doctorate in education (a blow-off doctorate not in any way comparable to a real doctorate or even a master's degree in a real discipline) for the singular purpose of bumping up his pension. In no way did the school district benefit from this. This was simply money in Varney's pocket and out of the pockets of the partners of the children in this community.

And it is a lavish pension. Do you not get bumps for inflation? And who goes out at 75% of final salary in the private sector? It is unheard of.

If you are one of the 12% who have a real pension in the private sector (real means a live pension, many people who are counted as having pensions have pensions that have been frozen and are no longer contributed to)you are most likely to get 40% of top 7 years of finale salary after 30 years, and up to 50-65% for 40-15 years and no inflation adjustment.

If you factored in an inflation adjustment according to Vanguard Varneys pension leaps to 1.73 million.

The State keeping its word or not is not the issue. the fact is these pensions were immoral from the get go. The state did not anticipate life expectancy going up, spousal benefits accruing to people who in their 2nd or third marriage married much younger spouses and the cost of the inflation benefits over the extended lifetime.

Anonymous said...

there's a crisis and the answer you come up w/ is to punish the people who kept their word,

A school is suppose to educate and the have not even begun to keep that promise. It is fraud.

Anonymous said...

Go fuck yourself

Anonymous said...

Go fuck yourself

An obvious product of the public school system.

Anonymous said...

10:27 8:46 p.m., you just called YOURSELF a stupid piece of shit.

Makes sense, since you seem to have no problem with ADMINISTRATORS wasting $100.00/hour (at least) on a double-dipping musical pit director.

After all, if you're too stupid to figure out how many hours of work $7,330.00 should be buying our district you're probably too stupid to realize you're part of "all bloggers".

:)

Anonymous said...

10/28/11 1:30 PM

You are right and wrong at the same time. Yes, in the private sector pensions may end up around 40%. BUT you "forgot" to then add in the Social Security that they are going to get in addition to their pension, which will be around 35-40%. So they'll end up at the same percentage as the teachers.

As far as immoral, I'll repeat that your values are screwed up. The immorality is by those companies that provide no pension at all. That use an employee for years and years, and then when they've become too old to continue to do the job, they just throw them to the curb. But that's just for the line workers -- the CEOs and executives always get taken care of. Heck, they get paid huge amounts of money when they get fired for incompetence.

Anonymous said...

A school is suppose to educate and the have not even begun to keep that promise. It is fraud.

10/28/11 4:22 PM


The fraud is your statement. While there are some problems in the education system, it does a much better job for the majority of the students than the standardized testing mandated by NCLB shows. All 3 of my kids came from the education system you say is so bad, yet one went to one of the federal service academies, which have very high academic standards for admissions, and the other 2 both received academic merit scholarships to private colleges. The whole premise that we can really know how our students and schools are doing based on standardized testing, especially when we bundle all students together regardless of their inherent abilities, is flawed from the get go.

Anonymous said...

BUT you "forgot" to then add in the Social Security that they are going to get in addition to their pension, which will be around 35-40%.

Excuse me? 1. You pay in over 15% of every dollar up until a bit over 100K. An after that you MAY get back 20-25K a year, but guess what there is no guarantee. They are already talking of means testing it. Essentially there is no way a higher earner like teacehr would ever get back whaat they paid into the system.

Moreover you ignore once again what Varney and almost every teacher does to pad their pension. They suddenly work every project they can in those last few years to jack up what they receive.

Anonymous said...

Public school exist simply to provide jobs for teachers who could ALL be easily replaced with on line learning that would yield superior results - period. Teachers are archaic and provide no value. They shoudl all be eliminated in favor of electronic education.

Anonymous said...

We withdrew our children from Freeman this year and started homeshcooling using an on-line schools.

We withdrew becasue we did not like the behavior of some of the kids going to Freeman and since I lost my job I could now be at home with them.

We could not believe the results. Our children are really realizing their potential. I never realized what a hindrance the traditional way of education children was.

Now that we think about it, the idea that each child develops at the same rate and should have the same amount of a material every day is ridiculous. The on-line classes are so much better. I take the kids shopping and they learn those skills, they help make their own lunch and breakfast, and some days they do more schoolwork than others.

What is fun is to watch them go back and retake the lesson that really interested them. Kids like repetition and having the ability to replay lessons or have diffident ways of covering the same materiel is such an advantage.

If someone asked me 2 years ago if I thought teachers were expendable I woudl have said no, but now I really do see them as an impediment to learning. technology has simply given us a much better way of providing education. One of our children will be completing their school year early and then staring on the next year. The other one is ahead too, but likes to spend more time drawing and using the on-line artwork. Where one likes math the other likes art and this allows them to pursue their own interests at their own pace. The results are simply amazing. No complaints about going to school anymore. they love learning. Once they are done with their lessons, well they want to talk about all they learned. So days go by wihtout the television being turned on. Evenings are spent answering their questions about their lessons. It is all very exciting for the whole family.

The other advantage is when they are sick, they don't miss anything! And we can vacation off time and save money. Fields trips all the time!. It is just great.

We are so happy. So if you can afford a stay at home om or dad I suggest you try it.

Anonymous said...

So if you can afford a stay at home om or dad I suggest you try it.

Which of course is the problem. And of course your kids are doing much better, with such a low student/teacher ratio.

Anonymous said...

10/29/11 12:24 PM

Excuse me? 1. You pay in over 15% of every dollar up until a bit over 100K. An after that you MAY get back 20-25K a year, but guess what there is no guarantee. They are already talking of means testing it. Essentially there is no way a higher earner like teacehr would ever get back whaat they paid into the system.


Okay, I will grant there is no guarantee because the politicians break their word every chance they get (well, to the average person, they always keep their promises to the rich people who buy them off w/ contributions), BUT I'm going off my own annual social security estimate statements they send out. Those estimates show that I will receive about 35-40% of my take home salary every month. That added to my pension which will pay me ~40% of my final earnings brings my total retirement income up to about the same 75% of my final salary that teachers get according to 1:30. So comparing JUST the pension of the private sector worker to the pension of the teacher is an unfair comparison. You need to include SS, which teachers don't get.

Moreover you ignore once again what Varney and almost every teacher does to pad their pension. They suddenly work every project they can in those last few years to jack up what they receive.
I can't ignore "once again" something I never ignored. I know about it, it's just not as cut and dried as you pretend it is. First, the amount that their rate of earnings can go up is limited to a certain percentage per year. So if you double your pay the last year, only a small portion of that will count toward the final rate of earnings used to calculate your pension. The other thing is you seem to be ignoring your own words. One word in particular: "work". They're getting paid extra for doing extra work. Workers in the private sector get paid overtime for doing extra work. (or at least they do until the Repubs manage to repeal the Fair Labor Standards Act)

Anonymous said...

Which of course is the problem. And of course your kids are doing much better, with such a low student/teacher ratio.

It is myth that student teacher ratios matter. That is just teacher union propaganda to keep more teachers in the classroom. For example the Japanese and Koreans typically have 33 in Japan and 36 in South Korea and have exemplary students.

You may have missed the point the computer is their teacher. The courses are marvelous. Even if I had to send my children to public school again I would not want them to have classroom instruction. The electron self paced stuff is so much better.

My sister is pulling her children out of public school too, after Christmas. She was amazed by how much more enthused our children are about learning and noticed how much more advanced they are then her children who are the same age (yeah we tried to time our families so the children could play together.

Well have good Halloween. Enjoy those little goblins.

Anonymous said...

They're getting paid extra for doing extra work. Workers in the private sector get paid overtime for doing extra work.

A few points. Funny how they only do it just before they retire, just like the advanced degrees. Moreover though in the private sector a lot bonuses and extra income is not pensionable. Yep you read that right. And a much of it does not count for company matches for 401K plans. Of course it depends on the company. But even huge ones like IBM do not count all of the income to 401k contributions or health care credits. And they are regarded as having the best 401k plan there is.

Anonymous said...

We were in District 129 too, and also withdrew our child after 4th grade. We used ABEKA streaming and our son graduated from highschool when he was 15 and enrolled at Waubonsee where he has completed 63 credit hours now (he is 17) and has 4.0/4.0.

I agree that electronic education is the way to go. He finds the college classes a bit too slow paced for his liking but he does like the science labs. He has pointed out that the teachers very in quality and English skills and he wished he could play back the things they say. And some days the teachers are just not as enthusiastic, where as with streaming the quality is consistent and far more professional.

I think public schools should give parents a choice if they want traditional classes with teachers or technology based classes for their children.

Not only is the technology based education cheaper but there would be no health care and pension costs that are bankrupting the State.

Anna

Anonymous said...

BUT I'm going off my own annual social security estimate statements they send out. Those estimates show that I will receive about 35-40% of my take home salary every month.

Did you read the part where the SSA itself says they only hve enough money to pay you x percent of your promised benefit? In my case in is 67%.

Moreover becasue Obama wants social security to become a total welfare program he cut the amount of contribution you make at the time when they are needed most!!! The system cannot pay out even close to what was promised. So guess what you won't get what they said unless you are on the very lowest end of the wage scale!

So why should public sector workers be any different?

Anonymous said...

Dude/Chick, teachers deserve every penny they earn, because, like dude/dudette they are like, well, er, uh, they are like teachers, yeah that is it. They work like, 9 months and boy that is hard. Have you ever worked 9 months, with a salary equal to what people make for working a whole year?

It is tough. You have to figure out how to spend all your time off, what with winter break, spring break, thanksgiving off, it take a lot of time to figure out what you are going to do with all your time off. And all that travel takes money, that is why so many teachers are broker. They spend their money traveling due to all the time off. So they deserve more.

So stop picking on teachers, many graduated in the bottom of their class in high school so they have it tough.

Anonymous said...

10:19 says "Funny how they only do it just before they retire, just like the advanced degrees."

While this is a correct statement in some cases, in the majority of cases it is false. Teachers are required to complete continuing education every year. Most of those accomplish that thru working on higher degrees -- which immediately bump their income. What you say makes no sense -- "gee, I'll work at a lower pay rate for 30 years, then I'll run out and get a higher degree so I can make more money the last few years I work, and my pension will be higher". No, they'll get the higher degree earlier so they get the benefit for longer. In fact, at most school districts the pay scale for a teacher w/ only a bachelors' tops out after 10 years. And I guess I have to repeat, because you didn't get it the first time, there is a limit of how much the pay can increase in the last few years (I think the last 4 years your pay can only increase by something like 4 or 6%). In fact, the school/teacher pays a penalty if the pay increases too much. I know a school where the head wrestling coach didn't get paid a stipend the last 2 years, because he got a raise on his base pay and getting both was more than the allowable increase.

Anonymous said...

10/30/11 8:49 PM You obviously are one of the ones who dragged down the school's test scores. Most teachers I know use the summer time for continuing education, prepping for the next academic year, learning new things to bring into the classroom, and working a second job to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

I want you to prepare for an ENTIRE YEAR from now what you are going to teach 150 students that you don't know.

What a moron.

Anonymous said...

Folks I never thought of it before but these people are right, our current teaching model is outdated. It is time to get teachers out of teaching and move to automated delivery. Instead of teachers there should be some counselors to deal with those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have emotional issues. But for your average child I agree that automated, self paced delivery is the way to go so each child can develop at their own rate.

Anonymous said...

Good - Develope it - Create a school like that and make millions. What's stoping you?

Anonymous said...

Well one thing that stops anyone is the teachers and their unions are bleeding the taxpayers dry by insisting on using an outdated and obsolete 1860s model of education.