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Middletown Press: Connecticut SAT results called ‘good start’ — and ‘sobering’

In a statement bemoaning the achievement gap, Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said “these results aren’t good enough.”

“Connecticut can do so much better for its students. The SAT results highlight two major problems in our state: first, that we have made little improvement addressing our massive gaps in achievement — whether you’re comparing the performance of low-income students or students of color to their peers. Second, we have failed to make the systemic changes that are necessary to produce real, measurable improvement,” Villar said.

According to a release announcing the data, Commissioner Dianna Wentzel’s Commissioner’s Council on Mathematics, formed about a year ago in response to the state’s SBAC math results, is expected to release its final report and findings in fall.

Read the full story here.

New Haven Register: Connecticut SAT results called ‘good start’ — and ‘sobering’

In a statement bemoaning the achievement gap, Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said “these results aren’t good enough.”

“Connecticut can do so much better for its students. The SAT results highlight two major problems in our state: first, that we have made little improvement addressing our massive gaps in achievement — whether you’re comparing the performance of low-income students or students of color to their peers. Second, we have failed to make the systemic changes that are necessary to produce real, measurable improvement,” Villar said.

According to a release announcing the data, Commissioner Dianna Wentzel’s Commissioner’s Council on Mathematics, formed about a year ago in response to the state’s SBAC math results, is expected to release its final report and findings in fall.

Read the full story here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CT SAT Results Show Persistent Achievement Gaps

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: (203) 506-5799

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, August 3, 2016, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) released the results of the first administration of Connecticut SAT School Day, in which all 11th grade public school students took the newly redesigned SAT. This was part of a statewide effort to eliminate testing burden and increase equity by replacing the statewide assessment with the college entrance exam. In response to the release of the results, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), made the following statement:

“Simply put, these results aren’t good enough. But they are not surprising either. Connecticut can do so much better for its students. The SAT results highlight two major problems in our state: first, that we have made little improvement addressing our massive gaps in achievement—whether you’re comparing the performance of low-income students or students of color to their peers. Second, we have failed to make the systemic changes that are necessary to produce real, measurable improvement.

“For years now, Connecticut has had one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, as demonstrated by the National Assessment for Educational Progress. These SAT results are yet another dataset in a long stream of tests that continue to identify a serious problem with public education in our state. In fact, last year’s 2015 Smarter Balanced (SBAC) results showed similar trends across the state: wide gaps in achievement across economic and racial lines. It seems like, no matter which data you choose, these gaps jump out as a problem. Make no mistake: the failure to close these gaps is not reflective of these students’ abilities; rather, it is a systemic failure.

“The SAT results released today also indicate a worrisome trend about Connecticut’s math instruction, a trend that was mirrored by last year’s SBAC results. The development of math skills requires a strong foundation, rigorous instruction, and aligned curricula year-over-year. Right now, with 60% of our students not meeting expectations in math, it’s clear that something is seriously wrong with our system. It is not enough just to adopt standards. We must invest in the development and consistent implementation of a high-quality curriculum. We must provide teachers with the training and tools necessary to teach these skills. We must ensure that students have the time and support necessary to successfully master the curriculum. And, finally, we must prepare school leaders who can set the stage for these things to happen.

“When Connecticut students graduate high school, they should already be on a path to success, and these data show that they aren’t. As a state, we have to react to data points like these by seeking solutions. Our state has a lot of work to do.”

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CT Mirror: Does Connecticut need a think tank?

Connecticut is not bereft of policy research capacity; indeed there is a good amount of study going on here. It’s being done by:

Groups focusing on particular policy areas such as the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering,Connecticut Voices for Children, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, the Partnership for Strong Communities, the Connecticut Association for Human Services, the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, and several others.

Read the full story here.

CT Viewpoints: SBAC provides invaluable information about students — and their teachers

 

I had the privilege to work with talented educators who devoted their lives to reaching every child in their classrooms, literally spending day and night preparing lessons, correcting work or contemplating how to reach a struggling student.  These teachers took their role in their students’ lives very seriously, seeking feedback on ways to improve their craft.  For these teachers, evaluation was not a threat. They were doing their jobs proudly and effectively.  They had nothing to fear, but only information to gain that would help them improve.

In every profession, people are accountable for the work that they do. Is a surgeon a good surgeon because she comes to work each day and is friendly? Or do we look at the number of successful operations and her cure rate?   If a teacher’s job is to teach children, shouldn’t that teacher be accountable for whether or not the children learned that information?

Read the full story here.

CT Viewpoints: State Board of Education demands action on teacher evaluation

 

I applaud the SBE for pushing back on PEAC’s recommendation and drawing a real line in the sand.

Connecticut’s teacher evaluation model, which has never been fully implemented to date, calls for using measures of student growth as one of many components of a teacher’s evaluation. However, during the past two years, the use of state data on student learning has been “de-coupled” or excluded from evaluations.

It is highly unfortunate that Connecticut’s poor students do not have the resources to hire their own lobbyists to rebut the CEA’s proposals. Instead, these students are expected just to accept Connecticut’s education system as is —a system in which 44 percent of Connecticut graduates find themselves in need of remediation when they go to college. That seems like a raw deal to me.

Read the full story here.

New Haven Register: ‘Devil is always in the details’ for school improvement, says CCER director

Villar said CCER’s primary focus is closing the achievement gap between student subgroups in Connecticut.

“Connecticut continues to have the most consistent and largest achievement gap in the country,” he said. “We’re actually doing a very poor job, particularly of educating poor and minority students compared to other states.”

Villar said the organization works with school districts, including New Haven, to examine how they finance education and whether they are doing so equitably. How districts spend their money, however, should depend on their demographics.

“My thing always is: Is it purposeful spending?” Villar said. “New Haven spends more on transportation, because there’s a lot of school choice.”

Read the full story here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–PEAC Decision Delays Systemic Accountability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: (203) 506-5799

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, March 9, 2016, the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) voted to recommend to the State Board of Education to decouple teacher evaluations and the state’s standardized assessment for another year. This means that districts will still not be required to tie results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment to their teachers’ evaluation results in 2016-2017, although they will retain the option to do so. In response to PEAC’s decision, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), made the following statement:

“PEAC’s recommendation to delay the full implementation of Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system for a third consecutive year raises a great deal of concern. The teacher evaluation model that the state envisioned and developed in 2012 was designed to be balanced–including both objective and subjective measures of teacher performance. Because that system has never yet been fully implemented, we have been prevented from fully understanding how well it works and whether it needs to be refined. What we do know, however, is that our state must pursue a system that holds educators and administrators accountable for improved outcomes, and that provides meaningful and appropriate professional development for our hard-working educators.

“We fully understand that the members of PEAC are concerned about identifying a perfect metric by which to incorporate learning measures into evaluations. But we should not let ‘perfection’ become the enemy of ‘good.’ I urge PEAC to accelerate its pace.

“Let’s not forget that each child has only one opportunity for a quality education. We need to start implementing evaluations in a way that is meaningful, and making adjustments as we go. Our students deserve so much better than years and years of delay.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Coalition of Leading Education, Parents, Business, Community Organizations Oppose Efforts to Weaken State’s Education Evaluation System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:Byron McCauley
EMAIL: Byron.McCauley@conncan.org
PHONE: (513) 504-8915

 

Today, the Connecticut General Assembly Joint Committee on Education will hold a public hearing on SB 380, AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXCLUSION OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE RESULTS ON THE MASTERY EXAMINATION FROM TEACHER EVALUATIONS. The bill explicitly removes the Smarter Balanced assessment from evaluations starting in 2016-2017, saying that multiple indicators of student achievement growth shall not include the statewide mastery exam.

HARTFORD, Conn. – (March 7, 2016) – A coalition of education, community and business organizations encourages members of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Education Committee to oppose efforts to prematurely revise the teacher and principal evaluation system, as proposed by SB 380 that will be discussed in a public hearing today.

The coalition includes the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the Urban League of Southern Connecticut, Hartford Parent University, Radical Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

Ongoing and effective evaluations are an essential tool to help both teachers and principals to identify their strengths, areas of growth and professional development. We oppose the measure being considered in SB 380 for the following reasons:Read More »

CT Mirror: Education heavyweights draw line in the sand on teacher ratings

 

The coalition believes ongoing and effective evaluations are an essential tool to help both teachers and principals to identify their strengths, areas of growth and professional development. The coalition opposes efforts to prematurely revise the teacher and principal evaluation system,” the group wrote in a media advisory Friday.

The group includes the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Connecticut Business and Industry Assocation, the PTA, the Coalition for Achievement Now, the Council for Education Reform, the Association of Public School Superintendents and the Urban League of Southern Connecticut.

This announcement comes as state legislators and the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy face considerable lobbying efforts from the state’s two teachers’ unions to replace the state-mandated teacher evaluation system…

Read the full story here.

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