DR. SUE ATKINSON EXPERTLY FLAGS SCHOOL FLAWS & FIXES
Greetings, IA State Education Committee Legislators and all—
By: Superior Educator Dr. Sue Atkinson
Dr. Sue expertly flags:
Collective bargaining; damage schools do to students; Iowa’s disastrous fall in 4th NAEP national reading ranking; using high speed internet classes; and eliminating the flawed Iowa Assessments tests.
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LAW CHANGES ARE NOT THE CULPRIT
The hoopla educators are making over collective bargaining rights illustrates why Iowa public education is falling on NAEP. Iowa’s 4th NAEP reading rank was 5th in the nation in 1992, fell to 11th in 2003 and to 24th in 2015—as laws forced an end to excluding low test scores and hiding students in Special Ed. to avoid testing. AND IOWA STUDENTS ARE NOT TO BLAME, contrary to the false assertions by senior and tenured educators for decades (who fail to understand and won’t admit what they have been doing wrong, as follows).
STUDY REPORTS DAMAGE SCHOOLS DO TO STUDENTS
The Dyslexia and Teacher Prep Dysfunction study released 9 September 2016: http://www.nctq.org/commentary/article.do?id=290 and The Dyslexia Dilemma: A History of Ignorance, Complacency and Resistance in Colleges of Education http://childhood-developmental-disorders.imedpub.com/the-dyslexia-dilemma-a-history-of-ignorance-complacency-and-resistance-in-colleges-of-education.pdf released in 2016.
According to this study, about 20 percent of children experience difficulty learning to read. The system of memorization labeled these children "dyslexic," medicalizing an education failure into a neurological syndrome. The authors of this study, led by David Hurford, assert that these children are simply not being properly taught, due to the failure of teacher preparation programs to teach the science of reading to aspiring teachers.
“In spite of decades of research and legislation going back to the 1980s' A Nation at Risk, the 1990's America's Schools Act, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the 2001 National Reading Panel Report, the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, and the Common Core State Standards initiative, reading achievement in the United States remains stagnant. By NAEP measures, reading achievement remains at 1992 levels. Well over 50 percent of children in grades 4, 8, and 12 do not read at a proficient level. Even the attempted "end run" of a couple decades of teaching to the test has not caused the scores to budge.” Iowa’s 4th-graders in 1992 were 5th on NAEP. Today they rank 24th because teacher training programs are stuck on stupid.
IOWA EDUCATION CONTINUES TO STALL AND FALL BEHIND IMPROVED NATION’S SCHOOLS
Fifteen years after the passage of NCLB attempted to get education up to the national grade level standard of 65th National Percentile Rank (NPR), Iowa continues to stall and fall and fails to meet its lowest in the Midwest 40th NPR Proficiency Standard:
“Basic” is entry level and equates with Iowa’s low standards; “proficient” equates with national grade level standards; “advanced” equates with international standards.
USE HIGH SPEED INTERNET CLASSES TO GET KIDS OUT OF FAILED SCHOOL CLASSES
Using the Internet to get kids out of failed school classes will raise average student achievement by at least 30% in 10 years, for less than .1% cost increase. Anyone claiming to have better numbers is asked to provide them.
THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE IOWA EDUCATION is to improve internet speed in rural areas so students can use open enrollment for online K-12 schools, where they are taught by teachers who know how to effectively teach, AND there is access to effective remediation (something Iowa teachers lack the ability to provide). According to Deborah Reed, Director of Iowa Research Center, summer school does not remediate – which begs the question of why have the expense. Neither does Special Ed remediate – which also begs the question of why have the expense when the largest share of students in Special Ed have no medical disability but have been failed by the education system.
ELIMINATE IOWA ASSESSMENTS
Eliminating Iowa Assessments and replacing them with something better, will raise average student achievement by at least 5% in 5 years, for less than .01% cost increase. Anyone claiming to have better numbers is asked to provide them.
Iowa Assessments must be eliminated because of the inability of Iowa educators to design assessments that will use student learning style to probe for understanding of concepts and ability to apply them. This inability is A TESTAMENT TO WHY IOWA STUDENTS ARE FALLNIG IN RANKING ON NAEP. Proper assessment tests must be purchased from out of state, where educators have learned the changes necessary to effectively teach for grade level results. Allowing years in education and tenured professors to continue to hold back progress in Iowa will further reduce the quality of education as well as the available workforce with high quality skills.
Sue Atkinson, PhD
P. O. Box 301
Baxter IA 50028
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