Op-Ed: School Districts Need More Clearly Defined Metrics to Measure Student Success

The “Strength in Numbers” motto adopted by the Golden State Warriors beautifully represents the organization at multiple levels. The most obvious manifestation of this motto can be found immediately upon opening their app or visiting their website where they proudly post their current win-loss record along with an abundance of other team stats. Wouldn’t it be great if our educational districts, schools, and charters in Santa Clara County proudly pronounced their own strength in numbers by posting comprehensive win-loss records as evidenced by the percentage of students who meet or exceed on standardized tests?

Sadly, when we visit our school district, county, or state websites, we often do not see how the children are performing academically. I have had the opportunity to work with school districts across the country for over 45 years. Most recently, I have engaged in conducting surveys and focus group meetings with students to find out what is important to them as we initiate strategic planning processes in school districts in the states of Washington and New York. For the most part, students want their teachers to treat them well and to respect them. Most importantly, though, they want their teachers to prepare them for their future college and career goals. As we subsequently engage with parents and community members, we find great concordance with the student aspirations.

It is my belief that students, parents, community members, teachers, and administrators should be able to access and interpret comprehensive and complete data visualizations of student academic performance. The interpretation of these data visualizations should help develop student goals for the district and schools that will ultimately support most students in achieving their dreams of being successful in college and career.

To this end, I have begun to build data visualizations of student academic performance for English and mathematics at sipbigpicture.com. This will be a herculean task but hopefully not a Sisyphean one. Please visit the site, get some data, and cheer me on!

At this site, you will find a math data visualization for San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD), among others. You will find two heat mapped tables for student performance. The first table provides a comprehensive view of student performance on the state math test for three years. The table is organized by grade and by year. The color continuum goes from red (low performance) to green (high performance). The state math test is aligned with the Common Core state standards in math, which identify what students should know and be able to do in math in order to be on track for college and career. Viewing the table, you can begin to answer the following fundamental questions:

  • Is there overall improvement in grade-level student performance over time?
  • Is there subgroup improvement in grade level student performance over time?

The colored heat maps make it easy to see patterns and to develop findings for these key questions. Overall, student performance is low (yellow) with most grades consistently scoring under 50 percent meeting or exceeding math standards. There has been some modest improvement at each grade level over three years. (with the exception of 11th grade) The Asian subgroup demonstrates consistent high (green) performance over time while the English learner subgroup demonstrates low (red) performance over time.

The table on the second page shows student performance by year by grade level. Viewing this table, you can begin to answer the following questions.

  • Is there overall grade-level improvement in student performance within a given year?
  • Is there subgroup grade level improvement in student performance within a given year?

Within any year, there is no improvement in math performance as you go from third to 11th grade in any given year. In fact, there is a drop in performance every year between student math performance in third grade compared with student math performance in 11th grade. (Yellow to Red). The Asian subgroup demonstrates consistently high performance (green) across grade levels within any of the three years while students with disabilities show consistently low (red) performance across grades within a given year.

You can see that using the colored heat maps. it is easy to discover patterns and findings of student performance. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to access data visualizations of this kind for your school district and school? Regrettably, neither the county nor the state offer any real help in producing easy to interpret data visualizations. In fact, the state has been complicit in obfuscating student performance by developing an Academic Indicator Dashboard that contributes to the fog of education.

The state system works like this. If the low end of the scale score band for Level 3 (meeting standards) is say 100 scale score points and student A scores 90 scale score points on the math state test for their grade level, and student B scores 110 scale score points, and student C scores 115 scale score points, the system subtracts each student scale score from 100 arriving at derived values of -10, +10, and +15. Tallying these values gives you +15 and then dividing by 3 students gives you +5. This value is slightly positive but would receive a green color or a high performance on the academic indicator.

This is a flawed process because it is merely a redistribution of excess scale score points and does not give you a true reflection of actual student performance. It masks the fact that Student A is not scoring within the proficient band by redistributing scale score points from students B and C to student A. Unfortunately, students B and C will probably not be able to follow student A to college to help remediate issues he may be having with college level math. This would be like the NBA allowing teams to take extra points from their wins and then distributing them to their losing scores to bolster win-loss records!

Interestingly, the state does not include 11th grade students in this process and builds a second indicator for 11th graders called college and career. Could it be that there is not enough extra scale score points to spread around for 11th graders?

SJUSD reported the positive picture that they were a green school district for the state academic performance indicator on their state mandated Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). From the previous data visualizations and interpretations, you can see that SJUSD is not yet a highly proficient district as it relates to student math performance.

So rather than helping school districts visualize a comprehensive, open, and transparent performance on state tests as an academic accountability indicator, the state obfuscates performance using a spreading-the-scale-score-points gambit. Of course, the districts and schools love this system because of its simplicity and ability to mask actual poor performance. The state loves it because it artificially supports their LCAP system as "getting" student results. The adults are saved with this system while the students, parents, and community wait for a true picture of student performance

If you are interested in viewing a comprehensive and easily interpretable data visualization of your school or district’s student academic performance in math, please visit my web site at sipbigpicture.com. If you do not see your school or district data visualization, please send me a note and I will hasten the development of your report.

We need to support our school districts in becoming more like sports teams such as the amazing Golden State Warriors, which has well-defined goals, metrics to gauge success, and a theory of action to achieve those results. Let’s help our school districts follow a similar path to success. A little competition is a good idea!

Dr. Bill Conrad is an educator who has provided several decades of teaching, administrative, and consulting support to school districts and schools within Santa Clara County and throughout the nation. He specializes in strategic planning and implementation, accountability, assessment, and science education.

37 Comments

  1. The schools are jammed with minorities and illegals and the new schools have to have high fences built around them to keep these kids off the street and out of our houses as well as cops working undercover. Soon we will be able to vote on measures that prohibit taxpayers from paying yearly property taxes if they do no use the Unified Schools or don’t have school aged children. That will be the end of Santa Clara County Schools and send a lot of people back where they came from. Next we cut off the welfare and emergency rooms and driver’s licenses. Next we raid and arrest dope shop owners and Ice will pickup the illegals. Grab America Back!

  2. The measure is HOW MANY GRADUATE without the non credentialed teachers teaching the Graduating test answers all year long. You are educating almost no one.

  3. Dr. Conrad:

    Your proposed solutions to education underperformance are, as far as I know, rational and elegant.

    However, the problem with public education is NOT a lack of rational and elegant ideas, it is the muscular, snarling, and vicious attack dogs of the status quo:

    the teachers unions
    the education establishment (administrators and bureaucrats)
    the Democratic Party

    ANYTHING that hints at changing THEIR status quo will be torn to shreds like pit bulls snacking on a toy poodle.

    Hope and change? Not for you peasants.

    The first hint of real change has to come from parents, and as long as parents keep repeating the mindless mantras of “progressive educators” (education is good and WE are the experts in education) nothing is going to change.

    What will put the fear of God in educrats is a wide open school voucher program. Vouchers have to be available to ALL parents with NO bias in favor of government schools.

    One hopeful sign is the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

    “complete data visualizations of student academic performance” is useful ONLY if people can make meaningful choices based on the data.

  4. Hello SJOUtsidetheBubble,

    I appreciate your kind words and I also appreciate your admonitions concerning my quixotic approach to changing the educational status quo. I can always count on you to keep me grounded.
    I have always found the book, Reframing Organizations by Bolman and Deal helpful in thinking about the frames in which organizations operate. I approach the work from the structural frame but I recognize that a potent political frame drives organizations especially in Santa Clara County but across the country as well. I worked with a school district in Washington State where we convened stakeholders frome inside and outside the school district. While creating the strategic plan, one action item revolved around the idea of having teachers meet formally with parents two times a year which I thought was unbelievably light. However, the teacher union president pulled me aside and reported to me that the twice a year meeting would never happen as the Teacher Union contract only required one formal meeting per year. You can guess how that played out!
    I am sending each data visualization specific to a district to the superintendent of the school district. So far, I have not gotten many responses and those that do state that they do not require any help at this time. Once I complete the data visualizations for all districts and charters, I hope to engage community and business leaders in possibly hosting an Academy Awards event to celebrate the top 5 performers and the top 5 improvers for ELA and Math for key transition grades. I also plan on offering my services to PTAs and English Learner parent groups to help them get the big picture of student performance for the purpose of working with the Districts to improve practices. It is a marathon not a sprint! Thanks again for your real world insights as they are right on except possibly for the DeVos part! : < )

    • > Thanks again for your real world insights as they are right on except possibly for the DeVos part! : < )

      Say more.

      Why is Betsy DeVos NOT a hopeful sign?

  5. Great article! And the website is very helpful! I was able to find data for the school district in my area by simply clicking the data visualizations tab. Thanks!

  6. For the first several years of my daughter’s education, my ex-wife and I were able to afford tuition at one of the South Bay’s more successful private schools. Even early on, the education was challenging, diverse, comprehensive: in a word, exceptional. Due to some changes in financial circumstances, by grade 5, we had to place my daughter in a STEAM school. STEAM advocates would have parents believe that STEAM programs provide a quality alternative to private education, but we have found that this is very far from the case. By every metric I can think of, the education my daughter receives and the performance of the educators and staff has been of significantly lower quality than that of the private school. Obviously, there are differences in terms of monies available to facilitate and enhance these educational opportunities, but the fact of the matter is that there is simply no comparison between the two schools wherein the STEAM school does not fall abjectly short. It is an even more sad commentary to have to acknowledge that the quality of education at the STEAM school probably exceeds it’s more conventional public school counterparts in the district.

    One of the best things that could be done for parents, students and education alike is to implement some kind of voucher system whereby parents have the ability to more freely choose the school to which they send their children. Competition is always good in terms of strengthening systems and institutions. Why should we believe education would be any different?

    • Hello Officer Anonymous,

      Thank you for sharing your efforts to find a great school for your daughter!

      I understand your frustrations with being able to find a quality school for her. Many parents who may not be satisfied with the quality of their public schools seek alternatives. In my view, the problem is that there is no system that helps parents make this critical decision for their children. Some principals are all hat and no cattle. They can often convince parents of the quality of their schools when the reality is quite different. We need a system that parents can use to get good information about student outcomes in easy to read and interpret reports. It would also be very helpful for parents to be able to evaluate the quality of the professional practices of the educators in the system. Additionally, it would be great if parents could read a short synopsis of the school improvement plan that clearly links student outcomes with teaching practices, educational strategies, professional development and collaboration, and metrics. Additionally parents should e able to review clearly developed curriculum maps by subject and grade level. Additionally, it would help to know how the school assesses the students and how it monitors professional practices. I propose developing a “Big Picture” for school improvement that results in a few pages of key information that is aligned and tells a comprehensible story – not the massive disconnected, bureaucratic, mega-page compliance LCAP documents. Who has the time to read LCAP? You can visit my site at http://sipbigpicture.com.

      Again! Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  7. Well one thing positive I would say about Betsy DeVos is that she rejected the state of California ESSA application. Even this Department of Education could at least through the state of California accountability scam of “Spreading the Scale Score Points Around” and rejected the whole application! Hurrah!

    We need a strong wind to clear the fog of education that currently envelops the state board of education.

    My main problem with Betsy is that she advocates for a charter and voucher system that may leave many parents in the lurch. Unfortunately, there is no consistency in service from charter schools so parents really have a hard time finding quality. Freedom to choose does not mean you are going to get quality for your child.

    I reviewed many of the charter school applications that came through SCCOE and they were really very poorly done and I rejected most of the ones that I reviewed. (Most were approved by the chuckleheads of the SCCOE Board) They tended to reproduce the same vague educational jargon that permeates most of education; they did not link student outcomes to specific teaching practices; principal practices; and district practices. There generally were no good measures of student performance or professional practices. No real accountability system etc. etc. So advocating for choice through vouchers and charters is probably not the solution. We need a rigorous system to evaluate the quality of both the plan and its implementation for public school districts and charters. Possibly using the Baldrige Award process might be a place to start. If school districts and charters could meet these rigorous standards, they might well be on the path to success. I worked for a high performing district in Illinois called District 15 where we were the first ever educational organization to win the coveted Baldrige BUSINESS award!

    • > Freedom to choose does not mean you are going to get quality for your child.
      . . . .
      > We need a rigorous system to evaluate the quality of both the plan and its implementation for public school districts and charters.

      Bill:

      Sounds to me like you are against freedom and are simply advocating another authoritarian system with different (“rigorous”} authoritarians in charge.

      I have no doubt that if I interviewed public school bureaucrats on the matter, they would give themselves A-plus for “quality of their plans” and “plan implementation”.

      It’s not clear why the A-plus you would give to your solution would be any different than the A-plus the incumbent bureaucrats give their solution.

      • Hi SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE,
        Your assessment of the situation is correct for the most part. Principals and District Administrators definitely have the gift of gab and are very articulate in describing the benefits of their school or school district to parents. Leaders within Charter schools also have this capacity. That is why it is so important to carefully review comprehensive and complete student data before going in to speak with the educational bureaucrats. Schools and school districts ultimately will always reap what they sow! The data will not lie. If the school is good, it will have good student performance data. There is no way around that even if the bureaucrats want to rage against the thermometers, the data is there for everyone to see and discuss. Would you send your kid to a school where fewer than 1/2 of the students at any given grade level meet standards? Or where only about 1/3 of 11th graders meet standards in Math? No amount of shmoozing can get around this student performance! It would be great if parents could be able to identify truly quality schools. Education is not quite a profession yet at least not like medicine or law. For the most part,doctors and lawyers adhere to common high quality professional practices. This is not the case in education yet. Schools and classrooms are still pretty much independent contractors who basically pick and choose from the Christmas Tree of Educational practices to conduct their work. It is more like alchemy than chemistry unfortunately and parents can sometimes think that they are getting gold when they are really getting fool’s gold. So it is a very big challenge given the very uneven educational playing field. It probably would not be a bad idea for parents to be able to see valid ratings of key teaching, principal, and district administrator practices similar to the Baldrige criteria along with student data in order to make an informed decision.

        • DR. BILL:

          I think that if the data (which you get from the school system) showed anything that couldn’t be explained away as a consequence of “underfunding”, the public education would simply stop collecting the data.

          I learned that a number of years ago when I discovered that school districts where supposed to collect data on crime on campuses. They simply explained “we don’t have that data because the legislature never gave us the money to collect it.”.

          I’ve been through a Baldridge process. It’s not trivial. There aren’t enough people in public education with the smarts to execute the process with integrity. I’m sure that the educators would JUMP at the opportunity to have another “mandate” and then immediately ask “where’s the money to do all of this, and, by the way, it’s going to cost ten times as much as you were told.”

          At the end of the day, I’m skeptical that more “analytics” about a bad and dysfunctional process is going to change much.

          • Hello SJOutside the Bubble,

            I agree with you that my chances are slim to none in getting any traction with the school district administrative teams. I have been sending the data visualizations to superintendents with offers of support but have gotten little response so far. The momentum for data-informed accountability is definitely not on my side at the present time. The school districts are more than happy to use colors derived from bogus statistical manipulations by the state to support their LCAP processes. So easy but at the same time so wrong! The state and the county are complicit with the school districts in making data access a real challenge. I have to go through extraordinary efforts to accurately program data reports that are very visual and easy to interpret. After I complete the reports for each school district, I will build a Top 5 districts list for key transition grades like 5th, 8th, and 11th. I will highlight the top overall performers as well as the top improvers. I will attend board meetings and share posters of the data. I will engage businesses in hosting an Academy Awards for top performers and top improvers. I will also reach out to PTAs, DELACS, and ELACs to share data visualizations, conduct root cause analyses, and help them make recommendations for improvement of ALIGNED teaching, principal, and district practices that will get improved student outcomes. Most current LCAPs are an eclectic grouping of actions that are generally disconnected with no real theory of action and of course no real monitoring, evaluation, or accountability. Things might change as we get more and more creative!

        • > Leaders within Charter schools also have this capacity.

          By the way, I look at Charter schools as simply a public education establishment “fall back position” to stave off school vouchers. “Charter schools” are just “public education lite” where the unions and public school educrats had to give up a little ground to save the public education from the voucher barbarians.

          I have no doubt that Charter schools will be overtaken by creeping bureaucracy and end up being EVERYTHING a public school is.

          Charter schools start out with high hopes, but eventually the public school stooges start coming out of the woodwork and demanding that their Charter school be more like the public schools. “The public schools have this or that program. Why can’t we have it?”

          I’ve seen this happen in PRIVATE schools.

          • Good Points.

            I conducted an extensive evaluation of the Small Schools in Oakland. We were one of the first to use student growth data aligned to specific teachers to gauge Small School success. We found no consistent ability of teachers to promote student academic growth from year to year. We also interviewed staff at the schools as to what was their theory of action for the small schools and most did not know – Met West did though! The Board did not like the findings and shot the messenger (ME!). They hired a “luminary” in education – Linda Darling Hammond from Stanford – who did the Board bidding and wrote a beautiful glitzy report that supported the Board’s bias that small schools were the answer!

            I did present the evaluation process at an American Education Research Association meeting to much acclaim!

            And so it goes!

  8. Bill Conrad, thank you for putting a spotlight, and doing your part to solve for, the issues you raised in this article. I echo your sentiment that the data that could help lead to meaningful, and likely successful, small-to-significant interventions, is obfuscated for communities internal and external to our schools and districts. Defining the questions to ask, creating the systems to collect and report on relevant metrics, and holding important stakeholders accountable to the use of data to guide effective practice, are all steps towards more positive outcomes. For who? The students. Sometimes they get forgotten in the conversation though, so I’m glad you reminded us :)

    And I’m as disappointed as you must be that some of the response to this article has not focused on them, the students. And All students, because supporting all youth regardless their circumstance is the necessary (and yes I’ll say it, the right) thing to do.

  9. The student focus groups that I facilitated in Washington State and New York were simply amazing! Out of the mouths of babes came the truth! Many of the children just wanted some of the basic services. Several Hispanic students pigeon-holed me at the end of a focus group meeting in Kansas City, Missouri pleading with me to intervene with the administration to help make sure that the busses stopped at their stops and not just drive by out of meanneness! One Black child in an open meeting at a school district reported to the whole group that one of his teachers told him directly and in front of the class that the school worked a lot better when we had White students! Several students would participate on the main strategic planning team and provided ideas and insights well beyond their years. In the end, they were resilient enough to handle all of the meanness, overt racism, and platitudes if they could only get teachers who really knew their content and could teach them, Not too much to ask. Teachers and administrators are often shrouded in the fog of educational jargon like personalized learning, blended learning, etc ec. The students got us back to the reality of teaching and learning. In addition to student outcomes, we also need good data on how well teachers, principals, and administrative staff actually implement practices that are actually shown to result in improved student outcomes. Once we get that data, we will know why the student outcomes are the way that they are. Let’s start demanding data on professional practices and then begin improving those practices which are sure to result in improved student outcomes. Is that asking too much?

        • True enough. You look at the caliber of Board leadership at the County and district level in many cases and you will see the root cause of the problem. Smash mouth politics with the veneer of niceties so requisite for leaders in Silicon Valley!

        • No, I’m talking about a naive belief that data, slickly and colorfully compiled, can magically reveal the correct solutions to our public education problems.

          • Hey John, Can you cut a semi-retired educator a little slack? I never claimed that my data visualizations gave any hint at solutions! However, you do have to know where you are at relative to student achievement in math before you can begin to seek out some solutions and get better! If over 1/2 of your grade 3-8 students are not proficient in math and only about 1/3 of 11th graders, you have a big problem. In fact I would say you should be in intensive care as it relates to your student math performance. If you look at what the state says about SJUSD math performance, they get a green color meaning high achievement. They get this wonderful color by redistributing scale score points from their high performing Asian students to their lower performing Black and African American students. So first things first. SJUSD sucks at teaching math currently. Once you come to this conclusion, you can then set some student goals such as maybe we can get 1/2 of our 11th graders proficient in math next year – a big goal but hey students are in a dire situation as it relates to math performance! Next thing you need to do is to think about improving curriculum, professional practices, and assessments. These would be the means to that end goal. At SJUSD, though the administration sets the means as the ends. They identify curriculum as a goal for the district. If the administrative staff at the school district cannot differentiate ends from means, you have a very big problem which is one of the reasons why you are getting the student outcomes that we see. SJUSD actually has a parent goal! WOW. This would be like going into an emergency room with a knife in your back and the doctors setting a goal to make sure that your family understands the severity of your situation. We have a long way to go John!

  10. BILL:

    > The Board did not like the findings and shot the messenger (ME!). They hired a “luminary” in education – Linda Darling Hammond from Stanford – who did the Board bidding and wrote a beautiful glitzy report that supported the Board’s bias that small schools were the answer!

    We’ve seen this movie before. MANY, MANY TIMES!!!

    That’s why many of us are irredeemably cynical about public education.

    I’ve also heard from teachers that, even though the educrats whine about the lack of parental involvement, they are really quite happy when the clueless and ignorant parents leave them alone and never question their “professional” judgements.

  11. Yes! It is groundhog day every day in Education World!

    Educrats as you call them have a penchant for blaming the victims. Parents have the responsibility of making sure that their children get enough to eat, have a quiet place to study, get a good night’s sleep, and that they get to school on time. That’s basically it. It is the responsibility of the educators to educate the children in the key academic and non-academic areas. That is their job. And they signed up for that responsibility even if some parents may fall short of their basic responsibilities due to a variety of reasons. A doctor does not blame the parents if a child comes to him with a bacterial disease. The doctor has the professional expertise to treat the illness and cure the patient regardless of the circumstances of the parents. What we lack in education is the willingness to use what we already knows works in educating our children and instead engage in a blame game, denial game, promote special case instead of system improvement game, a blame the thermometer game, a let’s hire our friends and relatives for key professional responsibilities game, and a this too will pass mentality game. So sad.

    I have spent over 40 years in education and I am still amazed at all of the shenanigans that contribute to the fog of education. I am moving to the mode of directly supporting students and parents in educating their children. Save thyself! Maybe, we can turn schools into social clubs where students can socialize and engage in community service projects where they get to apply their knowledge and skills. We can then hire camp counsellors and hire professional tutors for our children. The current zeitgeist of Me First Educators is not going to change any time soon as you suggest. It is too easy to do nothing and collect a big salary then it is to do the right things in educating our children.

    • > The current zeitgeist of Me First Educators is not going to change any time soon as you suggest. It is too easy to do nothing and collect a big salary then it is to do the right things in educating our children.

      I suggested that? I must be brilliant!

      But you agreed with me. You must be brilliant, too.

      I think we’re both brilliant.

  12. DR. BILL:

    > This would be like going into an emergency room with a knife in your back and the doctors setting a goal to make sure that your family understands the severity of your situation.

    Excellent, and apt, metaphor.

    > If you look at what the state says about SJUSD math performance, they get a green color meaning high achievement.

    Also, I recall a leak from somewhere in the public education universe that algebra would no longer be required for graduation.

    Is this what is going on in SCC schools?

  13. Hi SJ,
    I still think that Algebra I is a graduation requirement in California though I wouldn’t be surprised with the de-emphasis on academics in California that this idea could be gaining traction. The Cal State System has recently abandoned its remedial course requirement for those students who do not meet even basic math and ELA requirements. Now they will just admit students in need of remediation to regular classes and expect the college professors who teach these courses to engage in remediation. Give me a break.
    I collaborated in writing a successful high schools science grant called NASA Lift Off designed to improve high school science teaching ability. As a part of the project, we wanted to improve student writing so I asked Jeff Seitz, the geology professor at Cal State East Bay if he could provide some examples of high quality writing from one or more of his geology classes. He told me that he did not have students write in his class due to their poor writing skills. He just gave them multiple choice questions! And that is what is going to happen once we start channeling students in need of remediation into college classes. Professors will just dumb down the requirements. Problem solved and Cal State continues to reap $$$$$$!

    • > The Cal State System has recently abandoned its remedial course requirement for those students who do not meet even basic math and ELA requirements. Now they will just admit students in need of remediation to regular classes and expect the college professors who teach these courses to engage in remediation. Give me a break.

      So, how does the Cal State System handle professors that give tests that are “too hard” or fail too many students?

  14. The Cal State system would send those professors to “Re-Education” School where they would learn to correctly follow the system or else! The system is about ensuring cash flow for the Bureaucrats in the system.

    This problem is magnified 10x in the College of Education where the colleges gets a D grade for preparation of teachers. Everybody graduates from these colleges. Got pulse?

    A federal audit revealed that the state of California has engaged in inflating its graduation rate by excluding students who should have been included in the 2013-14 cohort, There is no end to the shenanigans.

    More Manifestations of Campbell’s Law:The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.

    • DR. BILL:

      > More Manifestations of Campbell’s Law:The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.

      Very interesting! It has a name! Educators have to know about it.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell's_law

      Also, the “cobra effect”.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

      It’s about surprising to me that in this age of litigation, that the public school system and academia hasn’t been bombarded with lawsuits claiming education malpractice and conspiracy.

      It is IMMORAL and CRIMINAL how parents are gulled into taking out huge loans and spending money on worthless and absurd “education” on things like “gender studies” and “ethnic studies” and other forms of social activism.

      Campbell’s Law shows that the education establishment KNOWS that their “product” is full of hokum false promises.

  15. Hi SJ,

    Actually a major lawsuit has been filed called Vergara vs the State of California where lawyers on behalf of 9 high school students filed a lawsuit arguing that their right to a quality education has been subverted by the State of California. It should be noted that all of the brave superintendents who signed on to the lawsuit as friends of the plaintiffs were ultimately fired from their positions. That is how crazy it is currently in California. It is up to the children to sue for an education that will prepare them for college and career! Power does not relinquish power without a fight. And we are in a big fight situation right now in California.

    Yes there are many nasty artifacts that are manifestations of Campbell’s law. Educators have really created a fog of education where they relentlessly focus on the latest fad; personalized education, blended learning, differentiated instruction, student grit and on and on and on. Meanwhile the system is not organized for doing the basics of education like securing a curriculum that will prepare students for college and career; implementing professional practices at a high level; and quality assessments to monitor both student outcomes as well as Professional practices.

    Basta! I for one will do my part to burst this bubble. As Pink Floyd once sang we all have become comfortably numb!

    • > That is how crazy it is currently in California. It is up to the children to sue for an education that will prepare them for college and career!

      “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”

      — Lily Tomlin

  16. It truly boggles the mind!

    The Mercury News just reported that the Jerry Brown will continue to support the LCFF and the LCAP systems even though Districts are not demonstrating results for ELs, Blacks, Hispanics, Economically Disadvantaged, or Foster Youth. Go Figure. Well it’s not their money. This theory of action will not work. Districts will spend the money on technology or Dual Language Bilingual Program where less than 10% of ELs are proficient in MATH across grades and across years!

    I worked in Santa Clara Unified where the District actually withheld dollars that were by law supposed to go to the Local Schools to support the English Learners. The District kept the money and used it to fund whatever – mostly technology. The wacky Santa Clara Unified School Board though went after a principal at a Middle School who they claimed mis-allocated $30 in a school fund while the district was not allocating over $3 Million to its schools as required by law. Fortunately, the school principal was exonerated after hours of research by the District Budget Director. (Nice use of taxpayer money!) The state let the District readjust its books to accommodate the discrepancy in the $3 Million snafu. Must be nice. You cannot even make this stuff up. Lilly Tomlin is right on!

  17. Dear Bill,
    This has been the best artical I’ve read in SJI, very informative and well written. Hopefully the powers that be will listen and learn and not pull the Google maneuver on you.

    I know several former teachers that were fired for not passing failing students and have given up on teaching. Unfortunately this does a disservice to our children that can’t read write or speak the language very well,
    The system has failed and little Johnny doesn’t get hired because Google doesn’t hire stupid American kids that got an easy pass here in the valley.

    Best of luck to you and thanks.

  18. > Actually a major lawsuit has been filed called Vergara vs the State of California where lawyers on behalf of 9 high school students filed a lawsuit arguing that their right to a quality education has been subverted by the State of California.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-ca-supreme-court-lets-teacher-tenure-survive-20160819-snap-story.html

    “In a major win for teachers unions, California Supreme Court lets teacher tenure ruling stand”
    . . . .
    “Unfortunately, on one side, we had the California Teachers Assn. that is satisfied with the status quo,”

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