DES MOINES REGISTER BLATANTLY HIDES POOR SCHOOL PERFORMANCE

8-28-17

Greetings Des Moines Register Editors, Reporter Mackenzie Ryan and all—

  1. The 08-26-17 Mackenzie Ryan Register article touting improved student proficiencies in reading – FOR THE 2015-16 SCHOOL YEAR – failed to include the important fact that Iowa uses a 38% lower proficiency standard than the national grade level standard.
    1. Iowa deviously uses the 40th National Percentile Rank (NPR), the lowest in the Midwest, rather than the 65th  pushed by the Feds and used by most schools.  

http://www.iowalive.net/howandwhyiowagotalowproficiencystandard.htm

    1. This 40th NPR means the Register bogusly reports Iowa students are Proficient (Expert) without admitting schools are only scoring at or above the lowest 40% of students in the nation.

                                              i.     The Register also hides it means Iowa 4th grade readers are falsely claimed Expert  4th grade readers when actually reading at the 3.2 national grade level—which is barely above the 3rd grade level!  The 2015 NAEP scores for 4th grade reading confirm the low proficiencies, as Iowa dropped in national ranking.

                                             ii.     And Mackenzie and Register hide the truth about Iowa education and more, obediently and shamelessly bowing to poorly-trained Iowa educators (according to the National Council on Teacher Quality reports).  

  1. The 08-26-17 Register article touting improved student proficiencies in reading also failed to include the latest findings of the National Council on Teacher Quality – which the Register has stopped covering – and which found in an examination of the individual classes for the teacher training programs that all but one failed at reading, and most failed at classroom content BECAUSE THEY WERE USING THE WRONG MATERIAL, THUS FAILING TO PROPERLY TRAIN TEACHERS TO EFFECTIVELY TEACH.  In spite of the fact this report was released in December, 2016, the Register has failed to tell the public the truth.
  2. The 08-26-17 Register article touting improved student proficiencies in reading for the 2015-16 school year, also failed to include the NAEP data for 2015 – showing that Iowa 4th-graders fell in national ranking from 12th in 2002 (when NCLB was enacted to bring up proficiencies) to 24th in 2015 (13 years later – the length of a k-12 education).  Teachers not properly trained to effectively teach concepts, coupled with the low proficiency standard and continued false belief that it is the students who are defective, account for this drop.  Iowa educators refuse to take responsibility for what they are doing, which means the ESSA plan for accountability is nothing but excuses for poor performance (and false claims that it will succeed).
  3. The 08-26-17 Register article touting improved student proficiencies in reading for the 2015-16 school year failed to mention that the state has developed alternative assessments for all the students educators have failed because they were not trained to effectively teach – AND THE STUDENTS HAVE TO PAY THE PRICE.  Iowa educators’ false rationalizations for these can be found in the following: https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/K-6%20Early%20Literacy%20Alternate%20Assessment%20Manual.pdf 

Iowa Code section 279.68  and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 require that all students in kindergarten through third grade participate in universal screening in reading to determine their level of reading or reading readiness. This requirement includes students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who will or are likely to participate in alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards in third grade. Because this group of students present a broad range of intensive and diverse needs, an alternate approach to assessment is required. For example, approximately 50% of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities cannot use speech well enough to read aloud, many others cannot hold pencils or use standard keyboards, and all experience a combination of cognitive and linguistic impairments that make it inappropriate for them to participate in standard assessments even with accommodations.

Unfortunately, there is no valid or reliable reading screener for students with significant cognitive disabilities. As such, the Iowa Department of Education issued Guidance on May 30, 2014 [Iowa Citation Code, 256B; Iowa Administrative Code citation – IAC 28162.3 (6)] that allows a district to, “Permit a student with a disability who has been determined to require an alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards in reading to take an alternate reading assessment[1] that includes progress monitoring. 

Nothing in the alternative assessment considers ineffective teaching.

evidence-based research: 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.

  1. Iowalive estimates the improvements claimed were at least 35% manipulated by teachers helping students with the tests, teaching to the tests, exclusion of low test scores, dumbed tests and who knows what all since there are no stringently enforced policies or penalties to prevent such cheating.
    1. And school officials who set Iowa’s lowest student Proficiencies in the Midwest would have no qualms about cheating to try to meet them—nor would the Register investigate or report them if caught.
    2. Has the Register ever found or reported any school cheating that was done to make Iowa schools look better than they are??
    3. Iowa’s precipitous fall in 4th grade national NAEP ranking, cited above, further substantiates the improvement gains the Register erported are bogus.
  2.  Just as Iowa educators fail to understand they are violating the civil rights of students by considering THEM the defective ones, so does the Register.  Clearly a class action lawsuit is needed against the Iowa education system for it to stop the discrimination against students who are not learning due to ineffective teaching and educator's lack of responsibility to recognize the problem and take action.

http://www.iowalive.net/

Sincerely,

Iowalive    A growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa