Skip to comments.Illinois erases state's last writing exam
Posted on 07/06/2011 7:07:40 AM PDT by KeyLargo
Illinois erases state's last writing exam 11th-graders will no longer take the test saving state $2.4 million
By Tara Malone, Tribune reporter
July 6, 2011
Illinois high school juniors no longer will be tested on writing skills during the state's standardized tests every spring, eliminating the last Illinois writing exam and shaving about $2.4 million amid budgetary shortfalls.
While students might welcome being spared the sweating over topic sentences and persuasive verbs, many educators worry the essential skill could get short shrift in Illinois classrooms as a result.
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
The 11th grade might be a bit too late to test for writing skills...
“Illinois erases state’s last writing exam 11th-graders will no longer take the test saving state $2.4 million”
And costing Illinois in 2024 billions.
More likely Gay and Pan-Gender studies.
Their children do not need to be able to write well these days. Obama will guarantee them jobs even if they have no skills.
And the dupes in Illinois will believe it.
It was a long time ago and my memory isn’t perfect but I cannot remember any “true/false” or “multiple choice”, type tests in my small town, Missouri, high school, 1959-1963.
I do remember lots and lots of essay type Q & A. (And proper spelling was required).
Ah yes, the “Americans With No Abilities Act”.
I think people forget that life in the ghetto’s don’t require reading and writing. It only requires education in theft and murders and welfare.
The Daily Caller
Obamas 454 aides will make $37,121,463 this year
By Andrew Malcolm 07/05/2011
In his numerous fund-raising and policy speeches around the country these days, President Obama often bemoans the difficult economic times and uncertainties afflicting millions of Americans, including the nearly 14 million still seeking work unsuccessfully.
The Democrat argues that his administration needs more time to straighten out the economic mess left by somebody else, whos been gone almost 900 days now.
But good news this morning: The challenging Obama era and 9.1% national unemployment rate do not include the 454 people now helping President Obama do presidential things.
This crowd is being paid a total of $37,121,463 this year. Thats up seven staff members and nearly $4 million from 2008, the last year of George W. Bushs presidency.
Writing Skills: More Important Than Ever on the Job
by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Be sure to read our main career/job skills article, How to Capitalize on the Looming Skills Shortage.
In 1997, while writing the book Write Your Way to a Higher GPA, Dr. Randall Hansen and I cited several studies about not only the importance of writing skills, but about how too many workers, especially at the entry level, lack these skills. [See: The Importance of Good Writing Skills.] More than a decade later, little has changed except that writing has become even more important.
Given the relative informality of e-mail, it may surprise some to know that e-mail’s ubiquity is a major reason writing skills have become so crucial. E-mail is so heavily and globally used to communicate in the workplace — replacing the telephone as the primary communications venue — that unclear, garbled, poorly written e-mails waste time, money, and productivity. R. Craig Hogan, who runs an online school for business writing, said in 2004 that “e-mail is a party to which English teachers have not been invited ... People just let their thoughts drool out onto the screen.”
Another impetus for better writing skills is that demand is greater; two-thirds of salaried workers in large U.S. companies have jobs that require writing, reported the College Board’s National Commission on Writing in 2004, and bringing workers’ skills up to speed requires $3.1 billion annually in training. The study described writing as a “threshold skill” for employee selection and promotion. Columnist Andrea Kay adds that professionals spend up to 30 percent of their days — more than two hours daily — writing.
They could save a lot more by closing the schools
I’m a business process analyst - impossible without writing skills. Mrs. jimfree is a historian and program director for a house museum. Even my brother as a Pepsi tech for a couple decades had to write up justifications for repairs and replacements and had to document what he did on a call.
Though some deny it writing is everywhere.
Gee, just think of the savings they could realize if they did away with all their tests.
Good writing exemplifies higher cognitive functioning. The ability to reason is anathema to leftist indoctrination. The last thing that leftists want is young people learning to think and analyze.
Gee, just think of the savings they could realize if they did away with all their tests.Not to mention the stress on teachers. Just think how hard they have to work actually teaching something. Screw that! Let's turn the schools into a Free Party Zone and turn up the music and Dance The Day Away! Free pot and rap music for all! (But no sugared soda! Heaven forbid! No sugared soda!)
It wasn’t working anyway. That’s why there are judges who say “Apparently my orders don’t amount to a hill of a bean”.
They are not going to replace it with anything. The point is that the schools in Chicago, and therefore Illinois, are run for the teachers’ union and the vendors with sweetheart deals. By removing this wsriting test they are removing yet another way to monitor the abilities of the teachers, as well as a more objective way to determine which schools are the worst for their students.
By removing the test, the school establishment has removed pressure to remove certain teachers and close certain schools. This is a diminution of transparency so corruption and hidden agendas can run further amok.
Interesting that we all agree we should test for writing, but paying a living wage to hire teachers that can teach writing is anathema. Oh wait, I forget, one is “Standards Based Education” and the other is “Caving in to greedy teacher’s unions”.
I find it difficult enough to get the resources to teach writing, and yes, talking about writing simple comp and rhetoric, not “social studies” or “multi-cultural studies”. Believe it or not, most teachers actually want to teach and for their students to do well.
Flip side of this, a writing test has to be graded. This generally costs a lot, and is inefficient. I’ve graded AP English tests, for instance, for several years. It generally involves, as ETS couldn’t and shouldn’t afford to hire people year round just to be there when the tests come in, a group of educators, usually put up in a hotel for about two weeks. There are a couple of days of training as to standards, and then you work a twelve hour day, generally spending 10-15 minutes on each essay. You have no idea who the students are, their skill level, etc.. you look for specifically identifiable points, i.e. is there a topic sentence, are there three pieces of supporting evidence, is there a conclusion statement, and check them off a list.
For what it costs to administer and grade these standardized tests, and the quality of grading that occurs when you have to grade large amounts of them cheaply and quickly, I would say you are not doing anyone any favors by testing. It would be better to put the money into teacher training, monitoring less experienced teachers and mentoring them, and attracting more people to teach as a profession.
Testing makes for a great sound bite, and was central to No Child Left Behind. It is also excellent for the testing companies, who make good money from it. Heck it is good for me, every summer I can spend three weeks in Florida, two weeks grading and a week on the beach. It isn’t teaching, though.
I don’t agree with tenure and union seniority, but I sincerely feel it is better to put money into better teaching, than testing.
And I’m going to be again demonized for saying this. There is a lot of anti-teacher sentiment on this board, to the point where I usually don’t say I am one. In this situation? On behalf of Writing Teachers, if you give us a living wage, curriculum support, and the benefits commensurate with any corporate job, I’ll leave college teaching and go back to high school English in a second. The years I spent there were the most satisfying of my life.
A little secret, or not so secret, there is a reason why there aren’t many conservatives in education. We don’t compensate teachers for the work they do. Evidence for that? I’m not teaching anymore at the HS level, which is what I loved and enjoyed. But with that skill set, I can get better employment elsewhere. Free Market, friends. Why should I get paid less to benefit your kids? No reason I can think of.
The people who are willing to put up with the institutional B.S., take a wage cut, and be in the system are generally idealists, a.k.a. liberals.
Its a churning environment too, people stay for two, three years and are gone. Amins are the ones who have survived the process they exemplify the adage, “those who can’t teach, administer other teachers”.
When I grew up, teachers were respected professionals. That isn’t the case now, so test all you want, if you don’t have people teaching, really teaching, testing won’t do you any good. I can give you a standardized test every day about playing the piano, and grade you, and expect improvement. That isn’t likely the best way to learn to play the piano.
There are solutions, charter schools, removing union seniority, etc.. But here’s a hint, if we make teaching the last refuge of the incompetent, and are happy about it, we get incompetent teachers.
So, yeah, take some money from a testing program that probably didn’t have any useful effect anyway, and put it back into education. I’m for it, and don’t see it as a erosion of standards.
No static from me. You summed it up well. I would add there is no incentive for students to do well on a test. They are going to get promoted anyway. If they don’t do well on a test, it’s the teacher who is punished. A teacher teaches for a future they may not see. This economy was not ruined by teachers. For those who have intelligence and want to learn, our teachers do the job. For others, teaching has no meaning.
If we are even hit by an EMP we are so screwed in more ways than one.
My mother went to school in the 1950’s in an extremely poor part of the country. She has only a high school education, but her writing skills are light years beyond most university “educated” kids these days. Her school probably spent a few hundred dollars per year per student. Very good arguments can be made that the quality of an average high school education in the 50’s and before is much more valuable than the average “University” education today. How were they able to achieve these things before the unions, and the tens of thousands of dollars, and the “improved” teaching methods, in buildings without air conditioning, hot and cold running water, computers, and (those ancient worthless text books).
I am from your mother’s generation.
Public grade and high school teachers during that era taught to a standard that was well above what is now referred to as a ‘college education’.
I have to say, Newbie, that your post is beyond insipid. Talk about a liberal mindset. You wrote quite a lot and in the end said nothing of honest substance. The idea that there should be no proficiency testing means your job got a f@$kload easier. Save the money and spend it hiring more teachers that are better prepared to teach students writing proficiency(?!)...and then we just have to take the liberal education establishment's word for it when they claim that that students are indeed improving? Yeah, right!
What a circular-logic-jerk. A simple net search gave me some interesting numbers in regards to education spending/compensation in Ill. So let's go to some facts and not this koolaid crap you are peddling. A simple net search gave me some interesting numbers in order to assess spending in Illinois over the last ten years that are actual empirical data comparing FSY 2003-04 to 2008-09:
Enrollment: 2,116,219 + 1.6%
K-12 Teachers 135,635 + 6.3%
Per-Pupil-Spending 10,835 +25.2
Per-Pupil-Compensation 10,398 +46.4%
As you can see the education spending in Illinois has increased exponentially in the compensation end, particularly on the bureaucrats front. The number of teachers vs. enrollment is almost a 4-1 increase in favor of more teachers. Yada, yada.
Now when you actually get down to the Chicago numbers you have a -3.0% in enrollment and a -6.3 in the number of teachers. Sounds great, huh? But then we look at per-pupil spending in the same period is up 30.7% while per-pupil compensation (teacher salaries, medical, yada) is up 80.4%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just chew on those facts for a little while.
Bottom line: 2.4 million in cuts is literally a drop in the bucket when the annual budget is 22,000 x a million. And for what long term costs?
Your excuses are anything but honest. As Fonzie used to say - "Sit on it!"
Two corrections - I forgot that you stated were out of the high school game now. Whoops. I forgot that you thought teachers in MANDATORY K-12 schools should be paid as much as professors at college/universities that have VOLUNTARY enrollment.
The other is that the annual education budget is around 11 billion. So 2.4 million in savings is STILL a drop in the bucket when compared to a budget of 11,000 million.
I am grateful for my public school education all those years ago. I had many memorable and terrific teachers, and even learned from the ones I wasn't crazy about.
So, yeah, take some money from a testing program that probably didnt have any useful effect anyway, and put it back into education. Im for it, and dont see it as a erosion of standards.
Nowadays, 'putting it back into education' really means more emphasis on social engineering rather than educating.
It is no secret that liberals have hijacked the teaching profession. Educators now teach with certainty that global warming is a real phenomena, as well as environmental "truths" that aren't even close to being factual. Young, impressionable minds are captive to teachers who revere and idolize someone as flimsy and fraudulent as Obama.
In many, but perhaps not all schools, educating no longer involves critical thinking, reasoning and logic, but rather creating group-think. The underlying tenet of socialism/Marxism/liberalism is - the loss of the individual and elevation and primacy of the group.
Depending on the study you read, we're now at a point in higher education that one in four, or one in three college freshmen need remedial instruction in basic subjects, mostly math and English. How did this happen? The incremental erosion of the teaching profession, and of the primary and secondary educational systems. You can make the same argument for higher education: students at the mercy of tenured liberal professors. Higher education churns out teachers who, like their professors in college, don't encourage critical thinking and don't actually teach. The last thing nanny-staters want is more strong, self-reliant, intelligent people in the world. They want good followers, and the educational system in this country is devoted to producing as many of them as possible.
There are no easy answers or solutions. Charter schools and homeschooling are options for parents who want nothing to do with public school indoctrination for their children.
...and of course I would agree that there are still many good teachers left - the ones who tough it out because they love to teach and they have an impact. But I’m not convinced that they are the majority of teachers.
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