Wednesday, June 10, 2015

CURMUDGUCATION: Pearson Wants To Check Your Glasses

CURMUDGUCATION: Pearson Wants To Check Your Glasses:

Pearson Wants To Check Your Glasses

You just can't make this stuff up.

Pearson VUE is the division of the massive corporation that actually delivers tests to a computer screen near you. They are, for instance, the folks who handle the actually administration of the GED, but they also handle nursing exams and many financial industry clients.

But you don't stay on top of that industry without being on top of things. So here's a new policy that came out in a February circular from Pearson VUE:

Pearson VUE upholds a high level of security for safeguarding the testing programs offered by our exam sponsors. To maintain this high level, we are continually evaluating our technology and processes to ensure that we are adequately addressing existing and emerging security threats. New technology advancements in eyewear, such as Google Glass, camera glasses and spy glasses,and the availability of this technology have been identified as security risks. 

As a result, we conducted a pilot to improve our processes to visually inspect candidate eyeglasses during the admissions process and created specific training on how to identify eyeglasses with built-
CURMUDGUCATION: Pearson Wants To Check Your Glasses:

Walker's Education Fairy Tale

Yesterday, Presidential Candidate and Occasional Governor Scott Walker took to the pages of the Des Moines Register to pat himself on the back. His arm was not the only thing getting twisted.

Walker opens with one of the standards of the anti-teacher movement-- the story of a fine young teacher who won a first-year-teacher-of-the-year award and was then furloughed at the end of the year.

Why would they get rid of a new teacher like Sampson — especially in Milwaukee, which was one of the most troubled urban school districts in the nation? Well, under the old union contracts, the last hired was first fired.

In 2011, we changed that broken system in Wisconsin. Today, the requirements for seniority and tenure are gone. Schools can hire based on merit and pay based on performance. That means they can keep the best and the brightest in the classroom 

Sigh. First of all, as the husband of an excellent teacher who has just been furloughed because she's the one of the least senior teachers at her district, I think I have a good grasp of just how much that royally sucks. (A lot, is the answer. It sucks with the suckage of a thousand black holes.) But there are three things wrong with Walker's "solution."

First, Sampson (and my wife) didn't lose her job because she was last hired. She lost her job because the state failed to adequately fund her school district, so they decided they'd solve the problem by cutting teaching staff. 

Second, the whole empty two-part premise of Walker's solution is the existence of an instrument for measuring which teachers are best and brightest-- and that administrators will use it. But we have no such instrument. VAM and its various forms have been debunked long after the cows came home, ate supper, and turned in for the night. Walker's tiny stack of lost-their-job youngsters is a molehill next to the mountain of tales about excellent teachers whose ratings were crappy.

But of course the efficacy of the measuring stick only matters if someone picks it up. In Walker's universe, teachers can be fired for any reason and paid whatever you feel like paying them. Which  
Walker's Education Fairy Tale

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