PROJECT: Trying to Find Y

Trying to Find Out Y_FACEBOOKParents, Teachers, Students:

We need your help!

We have significant concerns regarding Florida’s current advanced math sequence and the associated EOCs.  We have written several blogs expressing some of our concerns (Algebra 1, Math Problems, Algebra 2).  We even travelled to Tallahassee for a face to face meeting with the Department of Education in January.  At that time, DOE officials felt certain that the low scores on last year’s Algebra 2 EOC were the result of teachers being unfamiliar with the new standards and that student scores would improve this year.  We were less confident.

As students start to take the Math EOCs this year, we are not seeing much reported improvement over last year.  Indeed, there seems to be more concerns regarding the content of the Algebra 1 EOC. Students are, again, feeling crushed and demoralized. We feel something needs to be done.

We are concerned with the appropriateness of the standards.  We hear from teachers that the students, immersed in our test focused, Common Core classrooms, don’t have the firm grasp of basic skills needed to be successful in higher math courses. We hear stories that it may not even be possible to teach the course content in the time allowed.  We have seen the pacing guides that include the teaching of new material in late May, well past the EOC administration. We don’t understand why a state assessment is even needed for courses that are not graduation requirements, like Geometry and Algebra 2. We hear stories of these EOCs destroying students’ GPAs and confidence. We believe 30% of the course grade is much too high.

If you are a parent or a student, please share your stories with us. (If you are a teacher, please read to the end of this post. There are questions specifically for you, there.) We strongly encourage everyone to, ALSO,  share your story with your local school board, your state representative (who votes on the legislation that mandates these exams), the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education (who set these policies). They need to understand what a “math mess” there is in Florida. We have included email addresses below.  The overriding question we would love students and parents to address is this:

  • The Math FSA EOCs are required for all students enrolled in Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2. They are mandated by state law to be worth 30% of the course grade.  What do you want the legislators, who mandated these exams, to know about them?

In addition, consider discussing the following:

Parents:

  • How has preparing for the Math FSA EOCs affected your child?
  • Do you feel your child was well prepared?
  • What factors contributed to your child’s state of preparedness.
  • What was your child’s experience with the EOC?
  • Did you child require a one-on-one tutor in order for your child to stay on track?

Students:

  • Please describe your experience preparing for and taking the Math FSA EOC.
  • Do you feel your teacher prepare you well?
  • Were there items on the test that were not covered in class?
  • Were test questions easy to understand or confusing?
  • How did you feel when you left the test?
  • When do you expect to learn your score?
  • Do you worry about the impact of this exam on your overall GPA?
  • For some students, entrance into magnet programs rely on passing certain EOCs.  Were you in this predicament?  How did you feel knowing that you had extra pressure to do well on this EOC test in order to gain entrance into your selected high school?

Where to send your stories:

Please send your stories to Accountabaloney by posting, or private messaging us, via our Facebook page, Accountabaloney , or emailing us directly at accountabaloney@yahoo.com. Please, please, please send your stories to your state legislators, the Commissioner and the Board of Education. Email lists are below.  It is imperative that they hear these stories and understand the impact of their legislation and policies.

Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart – Commissioner@fldoe.org

State Board of Education Members:

Chair, Marva Johnson – Marva.Johnson@fldoe.org
Vice Chair, John Padget – John.Paget@fldoe.org
Tom Grady – Tom.Grady@fldoe.org
Rebecca Fishman Lipsey – Rebecca.Lipsey@fldoe.org
Gary Chartrand – Gary.Chartrand@fldoe.org
Andy Tuck – Andy.Tuck@fldoe.org
Michael Olenick – Michael.Olenick@fldoe.org

Follow this link to determine your State Senator and Representative: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find

If you are a Math Teacher in Florida, we need your expertise.  Please share your experiences/concerns with us.

  • Do you feel that your pacing guides properly paced the curriculum?
    What percentage of time did you dedicate to test prep verses actually teaching?
  • Did you hold review sessions outside of the regularly scheduled class time?
  • Did your students have access to Math Nation/Algebra Nation?
  • Do you feel like the books you are using properly aligned to the test content?
  • Did you feel like you have the proper time to properly truly teach the standards in the time allotted?
  • Did the FSA testing season changes of schedule impede your ability to properly prepare your kids?
  • What were some of the greatest challenges you faced this year?
  • Do you feel it is fair to have the EOCs count for 30% of the student’s course grade?
  • Have Math teachers in your area been discussing this?  How do you believe teachers can most effectively impact the current situation?
  • Would you be interested in participating in a focus group to address these issues?

Please comment or private message us via our Facebook page or email us at accountabaloney@yahoo.com OR fill out the form below.  We strive to keep teacher involvement confidential.

Thank you for contributing to our project: Trying to Find Y.

Stay tuned, here, for updates.

 

Online “I can smell the education accountabaloney” Toolkit

Do you smell the accountabaloney?  Join us in calling it out.  We are hoping to create a strong online presence of parents and educators that are not afraid to call out the baloney.

Instructions to create your own meme:

CanYouSmellAccountabaloney_FNLClick to download the photo frame with the nose.

If you want to do a group shot, then use the frame without the nose.

Looking forward to a sea of clown noses online.

Feb 16, 2016, Accountabaloney Press Release: Parents ask Lawmakers to “Smell the Baloney”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Parents ask Lawmakers to “Smell the Baloney”

Today, a group of Florida parents will be delivering red foam clown noses to Governor Scott, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, the Board of Education and all 160 legislators, in an attempt to draw attention to what they believe is a flawed Education Accountability system.

Their accompanying message is “We want a fair and valid education accountability system that holds not only schools and teachers accountable, but policy makers, as well. We think our current system is accountabaloney and we are inviting policy makers to join us in our campaign to call out the baloney when you smell it,” according to Sue Woltanski, a Monroe County parent and co-founder of the education blog “Accountabaloney.” She hopes the gift of a red foam clown nose will inspire more legislators to “take a critical look at the current accountability system, to smell the baloney and to work towards solving the problem.”

Inspired by Jon Stewart’s closing monologue, which encouraged people who smelled “baloney”, to say something, the Accountabaloney movement is asking for a complete re-evaluation of the current education accountability system, which relies on standardized test scores, often with questionable validity, to evaluate teachers, administrators, schools and districts. Currently, performance on state assessments can result in retention, remediation and, possibly, failure to graduate with little or no input from classroom teachers.

The women at Accountabaloney are concerned that the resulting test focused system has led to a significant narrowing of curriculum with some schools feeling little more than test preparation factories. They fear this high stakes accountability system is leading to the destruction of the same public education system it was designed to monitor.

More information regarding the efforts of Accountabaloney can be found on their blog at accountabaloney.wordpress.com.

Click to download the pdf format of the press release.

Kit Contents:

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