Skip to comments.Calif: The exit exam end-around. Educrats’ latest trick: phony diplomas to hide their failures
Posted on 11/23/2005 8:28:18 AM PST by John Jorsett
Call me a cynic, but I think the educrats plan it this way. They wait for challenges to pass from the scene, like Prop.s 74 and 75, and then, once they have won, they literally spit in voters faces. The latest outrage: a plan hatched for some community college districts to issue diplomas to high school students without regard to the state requirement that students receive a high school diploma only after they have passed the official state high school exit exam. This end-around maneuver is intended to bail out our failing K-12 system, another effort by state educrats to avoid accountability for doing their jobs.
A little background: in 1999, in his first year as governor, Gray Davis passed a milquetoast education package, intended to improve our schools. He also proposed a high school exit exam, a final test to determine whether a school district had done its job: teaching students to read the diploma the school handed them. Students can take it each year in high school, and must pass it only once, but they must at least do that much to get their diploma. Testing has always been more about evaluating the adults who make money off of the education system than about evaluating the students. If the adults do their jobs, most students pass their tests; if the adults fail, so do the students.
Californias students have been failing. While every other part of Daviss program was watered down by the Sacramento educrats, the high school exit exam survived intact. And now it is a constant target. From the day it was passed, they have tried every trick in the book to avoid the consequences of a meaningful exam.
The test was supposed to be a rigorous test of basic skills. More than 80 percent of the students who took the exam failed when it was first administered, so the educrats panicked. Rather than change their behavior, or actually do their job, they convinced the Davis administration to lower the score necessary to pass the test. Now only 40 percent of test-takers fail.
That still didnt satisfy the educrats. Every year since 2001, they have tried to eliminate the test. Failing that, they have succeeded in delaying its implementation. It was supposed to apply in 2004; they delayed it to 2006. Now it is taking effect, and 20 percent of the high school seniors may not graduate next June because they have yet to pass the test. The failure of our school system will become clear next year, and the educrats are afraid their failure will be exposed.
But they think they have found a loophole. As I said above, some community college districts, primarily Los Angeles and San Francisco (which have the largest proportion of failing students) think they can issue a diploma to a high school student ignoring the exit exam requirement. That the law requires precisely the opposite is lost on them. They think they can bail themselves out by issuing the diplomas themselves. They are becoming co- conspirators in covering up the gross negligence of the states worst performing school districts.
The losers, of course, are the students. If the failure of the K-12 system was actually exposed it would have to change, have to begin teaching the children how to read and write. The diploma ought to mean something, and the exit exam would give it meaning.
But this is about money without accountability about fooling parents who might actually ask that someone lose their job for their childrens failure. We cant have that. Instead, we union bosses thank the voters who just supported our side in the Special Election, thank them by spitting in their faces.
They are about transferring cash to government workers.
Why do you think they will cut services before reducing pension payouts? The payouts are the priority, plane and simple, for all to see.
When I was a college professor, 80% of freshmen failed placement tests and the college spent a year or two in remediation. That filled the seats in classrooms where the ecxpression was that we just needed warm bodies to keep our programs going. A lot of what the uniopns favor is really just featherbedding to make work for more unqualified "teachers". We would not need universal preschool, smaller classes, so much jr college, if qualified teachers would just teach the K-8 curriculum like they used to.
But at least most of the students out in Cali vote Democrat.
Be happy in your ignorance!
I have kids who, according to their ESL portfolio, have failed the ESL level they are in three times and don't know they've failed it till I tell them. They just think every ESL level uses the same book until I say, "No, this is your third time in 2B, that's why you keep seeing the same book."
They and their parents (mostly Mexican) don't seem to know what the report card means or how to read it. They just know that every year they go to school, they get "free" lunch, they hang out with their friends, and are regularly in big rooms with an adult who tries to get them to do things they don't want to do and have no interest in trying. It's baffling to me, the whole culture here.
What's really weird is I can't even get them to put things together in their heads. Most of them can't seem to see things like cause and effect, can't see anything unless it's spelled out completely. If anything requires the slightest effort, they just tune out immediately. All most of them can do is chatter and copy. They can't even paraphrase.
One week we covered a short account of the Titanic. I told them there would be a quiz. I gave each of them one of the five questions on the quiz. I told them the pages the answers were on. I told them to look up the answers and write them down for notes to study from. Then I put them in groups where each of them had one of the five questions so that together, they had all five questions and all five answers. I told them to share their questions and answers. I told them to study these because tomorrow was the test.
The next day I gave them the test. Exact same questions. Average score: 17%. Seriously.
You might say I made it too easy, but this was after several attempts at teaching at the level I thought they should be able to function at. This was a last resort attempt to see, can they think at all?
The most disheartening thing was, when I told them the next day that their average was so abysmal.... they laughed. They thought it was hilarious... and proof that they were too cool for school, not nerds. Cool kids fail, that's the culture here. And a lot of these kids are very sweet and charming one on one. But they are as indifferent to academic achievement as a baby is to a lecture on disaster preparedness.
Back in the mid-'80s, when the Clintons were governor of Arkansas, they got a law passed which was supposed to improve education in Arkansas by making the teachers pass an exam. Supposedly the test was one that a seventh-grader should have been able to pass, and the teachers wanted 50% to be considered a passing score. (I think it ended up being 70%.)
Any fool who voted with these idiots DESERVES to have the unions spit in their faces.
Pretty bleak. I can't answer your concerns, but I am reminded what Michael Barone said on Fox News several years ago as one of his books on immigration was coming out. He said that Hispanic employment was the highest in the country because they value work so much. Given their reputation for very hard work in our area, I don't have any problem believing that. But the downside is that they favor work so much more highly than education. They don't tend to see the need to finish high school--or I guess do well in school--if they can get a job and work. So maybe what you're seeing is a larger cultural mindset.
The state can simply house these ESL students and take the hit from the feds. Or, the state could defy Bush, give up it's federal monies and with what it has left from the General Fund, concentrate on its educable citizens.
Just limping along, warehousing could be at 60:1 and those interested in an education could enjoy a 20:1 ratio. Where 4 teacher's salaries previously existed, California taxpayers would now only face 2.
Or, more boldly, California could refuse to forward employee's withholding to the feds until Bush enforced immigration regulations. Enforcing immigration regs would reduce enrollment in California's K-12 (primary) program by almost 40%.
We would not have an education proplem, if we did five things.
1. Decertify the unions.
2. Do away with tenure.
3. Double teacher's salaries.
4. Pay no administrator more than two times the average teacher's salary.
I am an education problem. Proplem=Problem
The sad fact in CA is that we are trying to educate children of illegal immigrants and other minorities who really don't care about educational achievement. The parents view school as daycare. My wife teaches as a chapter 1 (poor) high school. She teaches Spanish. 50% of the graduating seniors can't past the exit exam at her school, and the results are similar for most other big city districts. 50% of the CA state budget goes for education and the achievement levels are some of the worst in the country. CA schools are not going to get any better either. It's the biggest black hole of wasteful spending on the planet. Real reform will only come from charter schools and vouchers for private schools. Also, most districts now have a stupid practice of "school of choice" which allows any student to attend any school within the district if there is room. The end result is that they spread out all of the poor performing students, and schools located in more expensive and better quality neighborhoods look just as bad on paper because students from poor areas are allowed to attend.
I have a cynical opinion about the basic problem with our public schools: Almost all of our politicians send their children to excellent private schools, thus the poor quality of public education does not affect them personally.
If we knew the real truth about California's high school graduation rate, it would embarrass the teachers' union, and voters would be hesitant to put more money into an unsuccessful system.
Yes, the parents seem to be hardworking, nice types. There doesn't seem to be much discipline though. I contact parents about behavior problems and they agree with me that their child is acting just terrible. Then they turn to the child and ask "Why? Why do you act like that?" The child shrugs. The parent turns back to me and assures me that they tell the child every day as they are dropping them off for school, "Be good, study hard." But the child just doesn't listen; what's a parent to do? Then they promise me to "talk to him" again... it's really depressing.
I disagree with your 2 and 3. While I agree that tenure has gotten out of hand, it still does have a purpose. I think tenured teachers should be easier to fire with cause, but the protections given with it can protect conservative teachers. I personally think that teachers discovered to be conservative would have a much more difficult hanging onto their jobs were it not for tenure. High teacher's salaries where we live are part of the problem. Because they make so much more money than what they could make in private industry, they hang onto their jobs long after they are, if they ever were, effective. Good teachers are rarely motivated by money (although they should be justly compensated). My daughter went to a Christian school where teacher's salaries were a third of the public school. They held onto the best teachers without a problem.
The problem to me is the curriculum at K-12, as foisted by unions. It makes students "troubled". This then creates more jobs for "grown-ups". More special programs, ad nauseum. Ray Haynes is right.
The point is we do not know the truth because the Federal Government passed a Privacy act, that had the unintended but real consequence, of destroying the public schools.
If you ran a store and what you were actually selling (as opposed to what you were advertising) was kept a secret from the customers how long would it last? The whole concept sounds too bazaar for words, but this is the situation.
If taxpayers spend $2000 for John Smith to have a year of math class, the taxpayers have a right to know if John Smith learned any thing or not. They have a right to know if the "A" John earned was the average for the class or not. If everyone received an "A" they should know what an exceptionally brilliant teacher they have.
All of this information is hidden, and it is wrong. Every student should be listed and the grades each student gets should be in the public record. This way the public knows the score and can elect school boards accordingly.