The Read To Achieve Debacle

Kristin Blair at Carolina Journal has an article up this morning that points out the issues that have come along with Sen. Berger’s Read To Achieve law.  There has been mass confusion on the new law, it’s roll out (which DPI was partly responsible for by the way) and complaints from educators that the reading passages contained in it are not appropriate for 3rd graders.

Read to Achieve’s implementation has been an unmitigated debacle. On minitest reading passages, “the readability is way beyond third grade,” says Mark Edwards, superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District. Edwards says requirements essentially had “students testing every single week throughout the remainder of the year in what I call a high-stakes, extremely stressful environment for teachers and students.” Superintendents in conversations with teachers, principals, and parents “were getting wave after wave of concern,” notes Edwards.

Online opposition to Read to Achieve has been fast and furious, spawning at least two Facebook pages since January; one accumulated 2,200-plus “likes” in two weeks. Parents are chronicling tears, tension, and tummy aches. A petition demanding an end to Read to Achieve has garnered almost 500 signatures.

Some relief is on the way. The State Board of Education, responding to petitions from 30 school districts, voted in February to allow school systems to use alternative reading assessments to determine proficiency. Tests must be reliable, valid, and approved by local school boards.

The article goes on and mentions the miserable EOC (End of Course) scores and Common Core. So there’s also “relief” or rather, covering of rears, in the form of lowering passing rates for EOC tests.

Common Core in and of itself has multiple assessments built into weekly work, but if you ask supporters they will tell you there are no tests in Common Core.  Semantics and personal slights are the ally of the Common Core supporters because they can’t defend the actual standards and they know it.

Blair also suggests something is wrong overall with the way the education system is working here in North Carolina.

“Our prevailing paradigm — implement now, think later — is an exercise in folly. Feckless, heedless decision-making requires constant fixes and begets confusion for parents. Jennifer Strickland is channeling her frustration into a run for school board, saying of school officials’ approach to testing, “They [change] the rules every week. … We can’t keep up.””

I agree. There is an utter lack of transparency and a great degree of agenda driven coalition building going on. Much of it outside the realm of debate and circumventing parents. None of it has to do with serving our children, all of it has to do with jockeying for positioning and with money.

Just ask the NC State Superintendent the President of the CCSSO?

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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1 Response to The Read To Achieve Debacle

  1. geek49203 says:

    This is all about money and power.

    In most states, there are 2 piles ‘o money that the state actually controls — corrections and education. The rest tends to come from the Feds, or have tons of Fed strings attached, or both. So if a local/state politician wants to get cash, they go after education and/or corrections. Since we all love children a lot more than we fear criminals (at least that is usually the case) the education thing comes up most often.

    Teachers will tell you what the problem is if you listen. Education outcome is based on the values and actions of the local community. If they get kids who are not ready and motivated to learn, if the local community is happy hiring idiots, if the buildings are in disrepair due to either economic conditions or lack of interest, then nothing good happens. Oh yeah, you might get the odd “Stand and Deliver” teacher (who was pushed out of the LA schools as I recall?) or the odd student who escapes their world, but in general, this is an iron clad law.

    So nothing that fails to change the values of the local culture will work. Nothing. Not more exams, not tenure / killing tenure, not more money, not new buildings, not open concept schools, not Common Core…. nothing.


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