There are so many issues being discussed this week, we thought we’d just clue our readers in to a few, in case you’ve been on vacation…
First, Kyle Wingfield of the AJC wrote a very revealing opinion piece in this Sunday’s paper, piggy-backing an AJC report, “Big share of Atlanta education money never reaches classroom” by Mark Niesse, (blogged about by Maureen Downey here) on the administrative costs associated with metro school districts.
‘Tis easier not to have spent at all
Some snippets include:
“But while APS spends more on administrative costs per student than any other school system in metro Atlanta, it’s not the region’s worst offender for “extra” non-teaching staff costs according to the Friedman Foundation’s methodology.
That, ahem, honor belongs to the school system in DeKalb County, where non-teaching staff grew more than twice as fast as student enrollment between 1994 and 2009. Using that modest estimate of $30,000 a head, DeKalb’s excessive administrative spending came out to $50.7 million in 2009. Next on the list in terms of “extra” dollars spent?
› Gwinnett, at $47.7 million;
› Cobb, at $38.4 million;
› Muscogee, at $24.8 million;
› Fulton, at $21.1 million.
APS comes in “only” in 12th place, overspending by $13.8 million. In each district, those dollars would have gone a long way toward avoiding furlough days, layoffs and shortened school years. And cutting that extra administrative spending wouldn’t have been so difficult if the growth hadn’t come so steadily during the good years.
Next, after many, many months of discussion. planning and hand-wringing worrying about implementation, the state board of education has decided that we just don’t have the money to participate in the 22 state consortium creating the Common Core standards.
This one is a free posting from the AJC! Read the whole thing and weep:
Georgia school chief explains Common Core test retreat: We couldn’t afford it. We will have similar test.
So, in another upheaval in state-mandated testing requirements, John Barge had this response to concerned community members —
While Georgia will be pursuing other options for developing its own state assessments in English language arts and math at the elementary, middle and high school levels, these tests will be very similar to what the PARCC tests will be like. The same level of difficulty and complexity will be reflected in our new tests as is seen in PARCC tests.
Our new tests will not look like our current Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) and End-of-Course Tests (EOCTs), where we know the level of expectations must be increased. Case in point, our new Coordinate Algebra EOCT results showed a much lower passage rate this year than we are accustomed to seeing on other EOCTs. That happened because what was expected of students to pass was increased to be more in line with what expectations will be on the new PARCC tests and, simply, the test was much more complex.
This is the beginning of the type of rigor that will come with all of our new tests, whether it is through PARCC or not. It will not be sufficient for students just to bubble in an answer sheet any longer. They will need to think critically, draw conclusions, comprehend more complex text and explain their work.
If anyone can translate that EduBabble, please do so in the comments.
In other DeKalb county news, our CEO, Burrell Ellis has been charged with 14 felonies … and replaced by Lee May by the Governor (who seems to be actually running DeKalb these days).
And now, after emphatically declaring Andrea Sneiderman guilty of murder during closing arguments at Hemy Neuman’s trial for murdering Sneiderman’s husband Rusty (Neuman was found guilty but mentally ill), the DA Robert James has dropped the murder charge, going after her full force for perjury, lying and concealing a fact.
And for the latest news on DeKalb school board activity:
NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION CALLED MEETING
The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting 5:00pm, Wednesday, July 31, 2013, in the Cabinet Room in the Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, DeKalb County School District, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain. The called meeting will adjourn to an executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel and legal matters.
The board’s next regular meeting day is Monday, August 5 with a work session at 2 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. business meeting, where the voting and public comment occurs.