CRCT scores: What’s up Kathy Cox?

Fyt35's picture

Once again the reports are out that the students of this state have failed miserably the CRCT. After spending days teaching the test instead of learning the material this is what we get, more failure. Our education ranks near the bottom, the situation has not improved since Kathy Cox took office, what exactly is her job? What are the teachers teaching in the classroom? Who is monitoring progress? What are the parents doing about or is school just a babysitting service? How ridicolulous it is to blame it on the test; if you teach the material you should pass it, it’s not brain surgery.

The United States continues to lag in the number of students interested in math and science, we continue to fall behind in these disciplines while other countries make great strides in technology and education. This “dumbing down” trend will continue unless we wake up folks; or are we happy with sticking our head in the sand?

CRCT failure

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Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 12:24pm.

You just don't understand how bad they would have been by now if our leaders hadn't intervened! As goes the war (much progress) so goes our schools! (much progress).

Progress is measured against how bad it COULD have been.

Submitted by wheeljc on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 12:03pm.

Submitted by daymt on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:14am.

Say what you want, but it seems this new standard has ambushed the schools and the parents. It doesn't appear that the teachers were given enough time to implement the new curriculum and there have been many posts on this and other sites that students weren't taught some skills that were tested. As a parent of an 8th grader that failed, I obviously didn't understand the significant changes that were implemented this year either, but I can say that the FCBOE needs to allow the students to bring their Math textbooks home so that the parents can help more. I don't know if this is all Middle Schools or just WMS, but I struggled to remember some things my child was having problems with. In hindsight we should have purchased a textbook to have at home, lesson learned.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:55am.

We only have a soft-bound math 'workbook' and not a textbook. We were surprised that our first-year middle-schooler did not have a textbook that would allow us to go back and review simple formulas with our child in prepartion for tests.

Why don't our kids have math textbooks?

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 11:31am.

I was talking with a high school math teacher just a couple of weeks ago when this subject came up in the discussion and the soft bound workbook is the text book. This man is happy about the new way of teaching but did not think it would last since the curriculum is decided politically and the politico's change over time.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by thenatural on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 10:57am.

It is a bit late in the process, but did you ever try
It is one of several sites which provide problems, definitions, explanations for everything from basic math to geometry and it is free.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 12:28pm.

You want parents to look up stuff themselves?

What do you think they are, "teachers?"

They can't even read the books and help the kid----much less use "google."

We don't seriously try to solve our teaching and parenting problems!

It might cost even more money.

cogitoergofay's picture
Submitted by cogitoergofay on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:58am.

For Mrs. Cox, the only honorable course of action would be to resign her commission. She had several years to implement the necessary radical change but she has proven herself to be just another inconsequential, get-along, go-along politician.

She has had 5 FULL YEARS plus and our state still has the worst schools in the country. While Georgia schools continue to decline and students with them, developing countries around the world are graduating highly motivated students with keen intellects. For a very frightening exposition of horrors that await the current attendees of Georgia public schools, read the book "The World is Flat".

There is nothing but bipartisan shame on this issue. On one of the very most central roles of government, Governor Perdue and Mrs. Cox have failed miserably.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 11:59am.

with putting the words 'honorable' and 'politican' in the same sentence.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 8:14am.

Your comment about Ms. Cox could also apply equally to Gov. Perdue.

Never-the-less, Ms. Cox will probably come out of it with a promotion in Cor[porations, or in the government just for being there and causing no trouble.
The good Governor has seriously been mentioned as a VP candidate for McCain for the same reasons! He has also done wonders for increasing our water supply, keeping rats out of our warehouse food supply, and voting for gun carrying for everyone (I bought my wife one)! A vote getter here. A typical thudball GA Governor.

Allowing all those students to crash through grade school and can't compose a sentence, middle school and can't spell or write, and high school without being able to do Algebra or write a book report without
many errors, is inexcusable it seems to me.
They don't want to tackle it!
Even the private schools have reduced their expectations due to the public schools laxity.

Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 11:26am.

You and others are so right about our current public education system in this country. The sad reality is - so many parents have no idea what good parenting looks like. The elements of good parenting should be taught in high school. Curriculum should be aligned to the learning expectation of the student (the test). I shuddered when I read that a straight A student found the 'new' CRCT hard because it asked questions that had not been introduced in her classes. Compared to the expectations of student achievement in other countries, the United States is behind. I remember when Russia introduced 'Sputnik' to the world - our educators did everything possible to make sure that American students could compete in the area of math and science. That mission was accomplished. . . but we didn't keep up. Those who excelled were paid top dollar as engineers - not teachers. We need motivated, knowledgeable teachers and parents to change this picture of low achieving students. Public education is the foundation of our democracy. It will take focused leadership to accomplish outstanding public education. Georgia has the money. Does it have the commitment for excellence?

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 11:49am.

Teach kids parenting in school? Who are they to parent?
Parents need to be taught parenting! Starting at Pre-school.

And, just to say- pay teachers top dollar; "focused leadership," (a common saying, meaning nothing); motivated parents (means nothing); "align curriculum to the learning expectation," (? does that mean teach the tests, or make it easier?). Of course, much of the problem is parenting--many kids do not have but one parent or grandmother, and they aren't intelligent enough either to parent these kids. Blaming them accomplishes nothing. Paying "top dollar" for the same unqualified teachers accomplishes nothing; never firing a teacher accomplishes nothing.
And most of all: passing students who DO NOT pass is doing them a great disservice.
Pull them out to special industrial arts or barber school! Anything to have them be able to teach their own kids better. Teach marrying and living together!

I've always said we should award degrees in "Football." That is: five years on the team, being taught survival.

We can't continue to blame minorities for the entire problem with GA education. Minorities do not run the school system.

Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 1:15pm.

Parenting starts long before Pre-School. Individuals who may have a child need to be aware of the responsibility that comes with raising a child – from the moment it is born. A child needs a nurturing environment which includes not only food and a roof over the childs' head, but also a young child must be read to; exposed to music and art, embraced, taught right from wrong, etc.

We should have paid engineers top dollar for sharing their passion with students instead of paying them to sit behind a desk. We should have paid scientists top dollar to share their love for exploration and discovery with students. We would have had the best of both worlds. There are scientists and engineers who would have loved the classroom – as well as those who would prefer to utilize their gift in a different way. In a society where one is valued by what they ‘earn’, we have denigrated the teaching profession.

Focusing on improving the American public education system benefits all Americans.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 1:59pm.

First, by having low standards. The qualifications to become a teacher aren't rigorous at all. This creates a whole lot of people who are "qualified" to teach, many more than actual jobs exist for. This in turn drives wages downward.

As long as the supply of teachers is dramatically higher than jobs available, teacher pay will always suck. That is real simple economics. It's no wonder that GA students are terrible in math when a lot of their teachers don't understand this simple concept.

Couple parent apathy with a broken system and is it any wonder US students lag behind and have been dropping further back for about three decades?

Some form of privatization is about the only solution to fixing the mess that is public education on the whole in America. No Child Left Behind had a noble goal, but it doesn't work as intended. It's also another excuse for the public school system to use as to why they keep turning out illiterates.

The American public school system cannot work without parental involvement, so either it's time to radically overhaul the public school system itself or find a way to force the slacker parent or parents to become remotely involved. I have no confidence on the latter happening.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 6:46pm.

you are right. I have a nephew back home who has his doctorate. He taught in a small school in our hometown when he got out. I asked him why, he said he wanted to do something for the kids back home. That unless he taught at a Univ, which he has a genius IQ and the credentials, he would never make the right money. He went further to say that it is most schools systems dirty little secret that they lower the requirements, thereby driving down the salaries for the teachers. Sure enough, I looked, I didn't find anyone in Fayette county with his background.

All this being said, I do feel our teachers are underpaid. It is wrong and they should be paid more, doctorate or not. You don't have to have a docotrate to be a good teacher, the point is, they won't pay you what your worth even if you do, reason, more at the bottem, means less at the top.

Submitted by wildcat on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 6:26pm.

You're both right. DM, you're right when you state that the more money a position offers, the more value it holds in society. Teachers are nothing (hence the pay). Nuk, you're right when you state that the qualifications aren't rigorous at all. In my field, a bachelor's degree, in any area, is all you need (coaching abilities are a huge plus). Would we go to a doctor that had only a bachelor's degree in "some area?" Whatever. The whole thing is going to fall in on itself one day. The decay has already set in.

I have to agree with the privatization. Pick and choose, and get rid of the absenteeism laws. If they don't want to be there, don't make them. If they're bad, send them home. Let the kids that want to learn have the opportunity to learn. A bonus to this scenario is that having a classroom of kids that truly want to learn will weed out the teachers that don't really want to teach. Don't you think?

Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:46pm.

Can a person in Georgia remain in the classroom with only a BA degree? If so, this must change. Other states will not award the teaching credential until a person has completed a fifth year (usually obtaining a Masters). Now many teachers are passing the National Teachers Exam - which is not a mediocre achievement. The pay for teachers is unbelievably low - but the cost of living here is much lower than say a state like California. However, when compared to other professions throughout the nation - teachers are underpaid.

What do you mean by privatization?

Submitted by wildcat on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 5:32am.

Privatization-to go from public control to private

I believe the only field, in Georgia, that requires a Master's degree is speech. A BA/BS degree and passing the appropriate GACE (used to be TCT and then later changed to Praxis) will land you a provisional certificate. For full certification one has to have the appropriate ed classes as well.

Because Georgia was promoting an alternate route to teaching (soldiers to teachers, etc) I assumed there was a shortage of teachers. At this time, however, there is a surplus of special ed teachers in this county. Go figure. I have a BS in my subject area and two post graduate degrees in my field. I find it rather insulting when the county continues to hire teachers that are NOT fully certified when there is no need to do so.

My mother is a teacher and she told me that in NJ (at that time -1970s) only certified teachers were able to sub. In Georgia, a high school diploma gives you the credentials to sub. Why is that so? What are the real differences between high performing states and Georgia? Do you think we will actually see a change in our lifetime?

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 7:31am.

Under NCLB, school districts were supposed to have 'credentialed' teachers in the classroom. Emergency credentialed teachers were to be 'demoted' to sub status if they didn't have the appropriate credential. Is that happening in Georgia? I’m amazed that teachers and students were unprepared for the CRCT because of non-alignment of curriculum. The State Board of Education and the Superintendent were aware of the content of the new CRCT. Georgia has the money. Why wasn't material developed and training for teachers made available to meet the change? How unfair for students to take a test on material that had not been taught! I read Kathy Cox's explanation in the AJC this morning. Where is the money for education going? We researched school districts before we decided to settle in Fayette County. The schools here are commendable - because of high expectation from parents and teachers. I agree with you, why continue to hire teachers who are not credentialed when there is no shortage? As I'm learning more about Georgia, I feel the educational ranking may sink even lower (if possible) unless something is done to upgrade teacher training. I've had the opportunity to visit private and public classrooms in Fayette and other counties. There are some OUTSTANDING and dedicated teachers in Fayette County - putting in many more hours in preparation than they are being paid for. True professionals.

I have some reservations about 'privatization'. There was a cluster of schools in California that were under the control of a private educational corporation. Why do you think privatization would improve student achievement?

Submitted by too bad on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 8:24am.

cause he made 90 plus on math and science test CRCT so they couldn't have been that hard. This is a kid that thinks my car is where he is suppose to leave his books when he gets out of school and pick them up the next day before he walks in the school door.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 8:15am.

There are a lot of functions that the private sector is more suited to perform than the public sector. An argument could be made that about ANY function is better performed by the private sector, but that's a real broad issue and another subject.

The private sector is bottom-line results above all else for the stakeholders. In education, not only are the parents and students stakeholders, but overall society is too. When kids graduate without basic math and English skills, everyone suffers. Public education gets all kinds of mixed direction from politicians, parents, and people in academia on what is a well-educated student and the results are not surprisingly substandard. Is proficiency in math and science paramount? Is learning about world history vitally important? Is studying other cultures real important? Foreign language? Music and arts? Recess? It all depends on when or who you ask. Public schools have been forced to be all things to all people(and agendas), and it's foolish to think that it's all possible to achieve.

Private schools are not subject to the whims, trends or political pull near the extent that public schools are. A private school also isn't required to educate anyone because it's the law. These are huge advantages for private schools. They are measured on what kind of graduates they produce and they cease to exist if they graduate students ill-prepared for further education or the pursuit of knowledge in general. Private schools set their own reason for being in existence and what their mission is and how it is accomplished. They don't try to "do it all."

Tax dollars are not given to public school systems by decree of God. That is taxpayer money, and the taxpayer can decide that this sure isn't working and other alternatives need to be explored, even if that means subsidizing private school tuition or a public-private hybrid. There have been some notable success and big failures in the short time that charter schools and combinations of public-private partnerships have been attempted. It won't be easy to figure out the exact "formula" of how to make privatization work. The transition from all public to a mix of public and private will at times be rocky. Still, it is time for a solution and looking at where education is strong(private schools) is a better guideline than where it is lacking(public schools). Get results=get money. Poor results=lose money.

None of this is as relevant to Fayette as the state of GA as a whole and the US overall. In Fayette, there are very dedicated teachers and staff supported by active parents. Unless someone knows a way to replicate affluent and involved communities all over America with a wave of a magic wand, something else needs to be tried.

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 12:44pm.

There have been some notable success and big failures in the short time that charter schools and combinations of public-private partnerships have been attempted. It won't be easy to figure out the exact "formula" of how to make privatization work.

I agree with all of the above. However, there is NOT a formula - because this is a situation where one size will never fit all. There are success stories in the midst of failure throughout this country. Some effort needs to be made to look at the demographics of the success stories - especially in poor areas, and see just what were the elements that made that school successful. In my experience, it has been knowledgeable local leadership (a principal who knows how to work with staff, parents and community); a teaching staff that works together to insist on excellence and motivates the students to achieve at their highest level; a staff that is willing to go the extra mile to make learning exciting and relevant - and encourage students and parents to become life-long learners. You are so right about Fayette County. Believe me - there are public success stories in poor areas - mainly at the elementary level. Many of those parents take advantage of the ABC program (A Better Chance) and send their children to private boarding schools rather than the public middle and high school systems. Maybe 'someone' will take the time to allow educators, public officials, and the private sector to get together in order to develop a program for a public school that will produce achieving students.

Submitted by wildcat on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 5:45pm.

I still think that getting rid of the attendance laws will make schools much better. If you don't want to be there; then don't go. It's a start. It will alleviate a lot of the day to day problems faced in the classroom. Of course, that opens up a whole new can of worms for those of us that work and leave our homes vacant each day......

But...that could open the door for more law enforcement positions? Or schools? What did drop-outs do in the 50s, 60s and 70s? They didn't all turn into criminals, did they?

I like the new math curriculum (because I love math) but I see it as something that will really takes its toll on the public schools. Too many parents will cry that they can't "do math" and therefore the kids won't have help at home and the failure rates will go up and the pressure will come down on the teachers get the picture? It's not pretty, is it?

Submitted by surferdude on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 1:02pm.

i think the successes in the poor areas are from kids having both a mother and a father as an influence in there lives

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 2:17pm.

I'm sure that is an important element in a child’s success. But many kids from single family homes have also achieved in some public schools that are in poor areas. We need to see what elements helped them to achieve - sometimes against all odds

Submitted by Davids mom on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 7:31am.

Oops! Posted twice. Sorry.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 6:37pm.

It is already being run like the big corporations. The CEO's [Decotis] get to divide the pie, and since they have the knife in their hand, guess who gets the biggest piece. The people who do all work [teachers], as well as the share holders, [us and our kids], are left with the crumbs.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 6:49pm.

I respect the job you do with our kids. thanks for doing it.

Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 4:02pm.

Three decades is right - and pathetic. And you're absolutely right about the need for parental involvement. . . but that reality has to be carefully 'taught'. We differ in the belief that it can't happen. If America has the will, it can accomplish anything. If we don't make the education of our children (our future) a top priority - we will eventually lose our place in the world as a 'leader'. Military might is important for peacekeeping - not for acquiring respect. I am not familiar with the requirement for obtaining a teaching credential in Georgia - but not all who have achieved a teaching credential are 'unqualified'. And I believe that teaching is 60% preparation and 40% talent. Not everyone can 'teach'. In other countries, the community respects a teacher. I observe that respect here in Fayette County. Am I wrong?

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:38am.

Were always the easiest thing I ever took. Until parents stop freaking out about them, the kids will struggle.

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:26am.

Until the parents take education seriously here, the kids never will. As long as after school sports and socializing are more important than homework nothing will change here.

The teachers have done all they can do. I'm shocked that they actually have to "teach" the test, and the kids here still can't perform well?!

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 8:26am.

That is exactly the problem and that is why school systems with the most active parents are also producing graduates that exceed the national average, not just the pathetic state average. The educrats in this state aren't helping with the solution either. Passing students along and giving them a diploma when they lack basic reading and writing skills is definitely something that the school systems can control and aren't doing. Whining about money spent per student is a non-starter also when GA doesn't lag in the spending category and there are plenty of other states spending less and getting much better results.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:09am.

where the ultimate responsibility for a child's education rests. A frequent dialog between parent and teacher(s), backed up by parental involvement in daily requirements, and then serious "sit downs" for evaluation.

The state of Georgia ranks in the top ten nationally in per capita spent on education, but remains pitifully close to the bottom nationally in student performance standards. We continue to build new schools, redistrict within school boards, and hire more and more "experts" to fix our underperforming schools. More and more I am convinced that the solution to our state's education woes rests not with government, but with the private sector.

The private sector of course includes parents who take the responsibility of educating their offspring seriously.

Just my two cents worth.

secret squirrel's picture
Submitted by secret squirrel on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:10am.

If you read the AJC article you link, you'll find an answer to your question. Failing that, the state BOE meets at the Floyd building downtown. You can probably find the schedule on their website and ask them directly.

Also, I'll wager that Kathy Cox can spell "ridicolulous."

Fyt35's picture
Submitted by Fyt35 on Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:27am.

Sorry squirrel, I missed your point.
I'm sure Kathy can spell "ridicolulous", the problem is that the students can't, (and I missed that one as well!). Lets continue to hide the problem and blame it on hard tests, that will fix it!

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