Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lyin' Loome is at it again.

The release of the school accountability ratings last week drove the Parents' Campaign's Nancy Loome into a frenzy last week as she sent out several blast emails blasting everything.  Ms. Loome is the Executive Director and lobbyist for the non-profit organization funded by Jim Barksdale and Dick Molpus. She blasted the Mississippi Department of Education. She blasted legislators. She blasted her fellow lobbyists.  She blasted standardized tests.  It is not known yet if she blasted herself.  She sent out the first email early last week:

Dear xxxxxx

School district ratings for 2015 are coming later this week. And it just got a whole lot harder to make a good grade.

This is the first set of grades for schools under the new accountability model, with very different expectations, and the first using an online test (2015 PARCC). Both are likely to drive down district grades.

Fewer than one percent of districts are expected to make the "A" cut; fewer than 10 percent a "B."

And to say that PARCC online testing didn't go smoothly, well... among the thousands of problems reported, some of the most frequent were:

Tests "freezing" and repeatedly shutting down midstream, requiring students to restart many times
Online calculators not working and graphs missing from math questions
Unresponsive items and insufficient bandwidth

...you get the (very ugly) picture.

All the tech-snafus on this timed test left many questioning the validity of the assessment scores - and the resulting state ratings. Mississippi students are outpacing the rest of the nation in improvement on national tests. We know student achievement is improving. These ratings are not likely to reflect that.

The good news is that districts will be held harmless for the 2015 grades. But not for 2016 ratings, which are based on another new assessment and will be out in a few short months - with policy changes that punish below-B districts already on the books.

High expectations will yield better achievement for Mississippi students, and that is a very good thing. Unless the real agenda is to drive down ratings in order to justify privatizing public schools. The rhetoric and actions of the powers that be will be telling.

Watch for an email on Thursday to see your district's 2015 rating. I'll keep you posted.


"Outpacing the rest of the nation"? That indeed took place on the NAEP tests last year and that was because of the implementation of the third grade reading gate.  Funny how she left that little tidbit of info out of her screed.  What is interesting is how Ms. Loome misused confidential information. The media gets a copy of the school ratings a few days before they are released to the public.  However, MDE requires reporters and other parties to sign non-disclosure agreements that are valid until the start of the Board of Education meeting when MDE releases the results to the public. Such agreements and concerns for privacy did not stop Ms. Loome from using that information in her fear-mongering, did it? However, she sent another missive out to her groupies the next day just to make sure they got the point:

School ratings for 2015 are out. See district ratings here and school ratings here.

"Yep, just what we thought." That's the likely response to today's ratings from Mississippi parents and educators who feel their public schools have been set up to fail by a hostile legislature. While our national test scores are steadily rising, ratings governed by state officials are going the other direction.

Grades are based on a new curriculum, new test, and a new accountability model that changes the rules - a lot. Districts are "held harmless" for one year, so those with lower grades under the new model kept the higher prior-year grade as their official rating. That's almost everyone. (KF: No, Nancy, grades were only raised for 78 districts due to waivers.  There are 146 school district.  "Almost everyone" apparently means barely half.  Welcome to Nancy Loome Math.  Its a derivation of Million Man Math and doesn't require one to actually know how to count. Do you think things just don't seem right?...)

The 2015 "official" ratings include:

19 A districts
43 B districts
54 C districts
30 D districts
No F districts

Without the waiver, the count would be:

3 A districts
12 B districts
68 C districts
62 D districts
1 F district

A privatizer's dream.

Let's refocus. What's important is our students' success, and that is at an all-time high. We have a lot to celebrate! Which is hard to do when state leaders seem determined to define our schools as failures. And sell them out to profiteers.

The Good news...

Mississippians want public schools to thrive. Legislators say they do, but most vote like they don't. Let's give them a chance to prove where they really stand.

The plan...

Keep embracing higher expectations for our children and schools (teachers, keep on keepin' on)
Provide the strongest-ever support for our public schools (parents, ramp up the positive feedback)
Hold legislators to equally high expectations:

talk to legislators about how their votes hurt public school children
ask that they get input from public school educators and parents before voting on ed bills
support legislators who support strong public schools
find candidates for 2019 to replace those who don't
Spread the word (there's power in numbers)

Voucher lobbyists may have lots of money, but there are way more of us than there are of them. (KF note: A high-paid lobbyist complaining about lobbyists?)

Our teachers and kids are doing great work. They deserve a system that rewards great work. Let's make it happen.

Together, we've got this. Are you in?



Notice there is one concept that never appears in her emails or shrieks: Holding schools accountable.  That is probably what she calls defining "our schools as failures."  Funny how she never mentions JPS or shows up at any of the school board meetings.   Meanwhile, Representative/Don Jay Hughes (D-Oxford, U.K.) exploded in the comments section on the Clarion-Ledger's online story about the ratings:

The sad reality is that under the new, $122 Million late, questionable and unsicentific test results, only three districts actually made A's. THREE. Period. Only nine made Bs. NINE. Period. That means 130 districts fell to C, D or F ratings. So, next year, when the waivers no longer exist, the charter school bill passed by the supermajority will make 134 school districts lose students and tax dollars to charter schools, with absolutley no ability of the local school district to object or have any input. So much for wanting local control or improving public schools.
Hmm.... did Mr. Hughes complain when MDE weakened the ratings formula a few years ago and more A's were awarded as a result of the change?


Anonymous said...

Dick blasted after watching The Late Show with Jon Stewart...

Anonymous said...

If the children in Ms. knew what they were supposed to know the test results would improve. It wouldn't matter what test they were given. Either the kids are not being taught or they are not learning. Blaming the test is just another excuse.

Anonymous said...

Her statements look pretty accurate to me. MS has improved significantly on NAEP over last several years. Still a long ways to go, no doubt. Expect no one on here can state why the lower rankings were a product of a "better test" than the previous, higher rankings.

Anonymous said...

Wait, hold on.

I thought the legislature voted in 2015 to stop using PARCC. Or is that something that's supposed to happen next year?

And aren't the same people who like privatization the ones who drove the PARCC withdrawal (i.e., Republican legislators)?

Seriously, can somebody clear this up? I need to know who to be pissed off at.

Kingfish said...

It was either two or three years ago there was a big jump in A ratings.

Kingfish said...

We only had two A districts in 2012. MDE reconfigured the formula in 2014 and presto, we went from 2 to 19. Just like MDE changed the requirements for graduation and presto, the graduation rate increased 2%.

Kingfish said...

You clowns whining about so-called privatization, defend JPS. Please. Defend JPS. I dare ya.

See, that is the problem. You run around with your smear tactics and moral righteousness about public education but then when JPS is brought up, you get real quiet. Some of you admit to me in private nothing can be done with JPS.

Anonymous said...

Nancy and the $150,000 snapper. She must have pictures on someone to keep getting Barksdale's money. She is as phony as Chris McDaniel's selective outrage of (insert some dribble about the Republic, Liberty or Freedom). When has she ever been to JPS meeting and gone off about the teaching or lack of control the teachers have with the students today.

Nancy, go away, your days of freeloading and blatant lying are about to be over.


Mississippi Tax Payers

Anonymous said...

Another question- what has Loome said about the charter school lawsuit? She supposedly supports charter schools in failing districts and it doesn't get much more failing than JPS. All the groups that support charters rushed to get a statement out denouncing the lawsuit but haven't seen anything from her. Heck, Barksdale is a donor of Reimagine.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, nothing can be done about JPS because no one cares. Instead of teaching the kids so they will be better prepared for the future when they get out of school they are looking for scams to make things look better.
When no one cares little gets done.

Anonymous said...

KF - I don't defend JPS. Charters are the only realistic option there. 100% agree.

What I defend is, for example, Starkville. They're doing a solid if unspectacular job with a majority-minority, majority-poor district. And a charter school would probably kill that, because the white and Asian kids, the black kids with engaged parents, and probably some of the better teachers, would make a beeline for the door leaving the public school with nothing but poor kids and apathetic parents.

I'm not necessarily even saying that we shouldn't have charters in places like these. But local voters should have a say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patsy and Will. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Is there some rule on JJ that, in every thread, a person with no substantive point must always accuse someone else of being Donna Ladd or Nancy Loome?

Anonymous said...

Uhhhh, Kingfish... Might want to check your facts.

The legislature control the formula (the listened to Jeb Bush's group -- ask Tollison about that), the Feds granted a waiver for NCLB.

See: MISS. CODE ANN. 37-17-6 (1972).

Kingfish said...

MDE has tweaked the formula for determining school ratings from time to time.

I think you are referring to the A-F scale, not the methodology used by MDE.

Anonymous said...

Also, you're always saying 'prove it' -- how about this: prove the NAEP results are because of the 3rd grade gate. Show me that statistical evidence you're so cock strong about and I'll eat my shoe.

You, literally, have no idea what you're talking about. You're attributing a gain to a program that was only in place for a very short time and not a single child who took NAEP had been through the 'hate'.

What a load of horse shit. Schools lag? Their fault. Schools gain? Praise Feel.

...and before any of you readers try and white knight for Kingfish, save it. He's a big boy, he can answer the questions above all by himself - he's an expert on this stuff, remember?

Anonymous said...

MDE provides accountability standards in concert with state law. The law is very, very specific about how the model works.

If the legislature has a problem with it, both education chairs were in every meeting for this model... They brought in someone from Jeb's group who participated, actively. Literally, she ran the meetings. Probably 15 of them. She was smoking hot, too.

In the end, MDE was told adopt this model or we'll legislate what you don't.

This is their model. Just because MDE has to adjust cuts occasionally and solve technical issues that arise, these ratings are lock-stock-and-barrel property of the MS legislature. Warts and all.

The chaos in these ratings are due to the legislature forcing MDE to withdraw from PARCC. They've changed tests every year for the past two years. This creates serious validity and volitility. MDEs own 'Chief' told the state board now to use these results to compare schools because the linking between the test was invalid.

Anonymous said...

A final thought - not sure, Kunfong, but you might want to be careful about libeling Loome. Seems libel laws to apply to blogs. Again, just a thought.

Anonymous said...

What the hell difference does giving a different test matter. The kids are supposed to know it anyway. Just because they put a question in a different place should not make any difference. The answer is still the same.
Now if the teachers were only teaching how to take one certain test that never changed taking another test might matter. Such a teacher should be run out of the school.

Anonymous said...

A final thought - not sure ...

Therefore Dipwad DISREGARD your entire comment.

Anonymous said...

They didn't just change the test, they changed what was taught. Twice. In two years.

The content they had to know was several grade levels above what the state had in their curriculum before.

Also, the very nature of the content wasn't looking for an answer to a question... it teaches and asks more HOW you're coming about the answer and WHY.

It's trying to teach kids critical thinking skills.

So, yes, it does matter.

If you can't keep up the adults, it's probably best you don't chime in to begin with. You're out of your depth.

Anonymous said...

Mayor and City Council have now determined that people that send their children to JPS aren't qualified to serve on the JPS Board.
So they select someone who openly says she wants her children in a private Christian school rather than JPS. But she will set policy for JPS for the next 4 years.

Anonymous said...

3:00, sure, you are right. Ms. is in last place in education. Do you understand? Last in 50 states. Kids in the other 49 states seem to not have the problem kids in Ms. have taking a test. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

3:23, I am in agreement with the mayor and city council. Sending a child to school in Jackson should be considered child abuse.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those times where the bias of all parties shows. We went to PARCC because it had more rigor and we knew it was going to take a few years to adapt. We abandoned PARCC because we let politics get even more heavily involved in education. But, now all the PARCC naysayers are suddenly using the PARCC results to prove that education is failing even when nationally the state is making gains. So, in the spring students took MAP and if districts are lucky they will actually get those results in time to inform some curricular decisions for the upcoming year- but, at best they will be used to make changes for spring 2017. Complain all you want about public schools but the system is not set up in a way that allows teachers/schools/admins/districts the opportunity to respond to problems and/or successes in any kind of timely manner.

The major testing glitches came this year during MAP testing by Questar. It will be interesting to see how that is handled because there were widespread reports of serious testing irregularities and there was a real effort to squelch that information from both Questar and some at MDE. The good news is that both PARCC and MAP require higher order thinking and are more challenging than the old MCT. However, these higher standards coming at the same time the Legislature approved charters in C-F districts seems punitive. Clinton who has been nationally touted as an example of how to have a school district that is both integrated and successful went from an "A" to a "C". So, yes you can use JPS as the poster child for why charter schools should exist and you can use Clinton as the poster child for why the system is rigged against public schools. Both are true.

Try Again Idiot (He will say) said...

Many of us have had multiple comments censored or rather shit-canned because the Fish said he considered the libelous. He must not be wearing that personal hat this week.

Heddy-Dale Matthias, MD said...

I suspect the Barksdale crew is demoralized because their premise, that all the kids need is more money for reading classes, was a colossal failure. Visit REImagine Prep, or talk to Leland Speed, the elder. They CAN educate students.

Anonymous said...

You only have two choices. Either the school is not doing it's job or the kids are just dumb. Take your pick. Could be both.
Trying to blame something else is just wasting time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Matthais -- Barksdale gave money to Speed's school.

Wrong again.

Kingfish said...

Mr. Barksdale made a nice contribution to the charter school authorization board when it first started as it had received no state funding.

9:41 is correct.

Anonymous said...

Heddy, shame. Mr. Barksdale is a great contributor to many facets of education in Mississippi, financially, emotionally and with his time.

Anonymous said...

@Kingfish I can personally guarantee that MDE did not "tweak" the formula for determining school ratings in 2014. The issue that led to the increase in the number of A districts was due - in large part - to the US Department of Education's request that graduation rates be weighted higher in the accountability model. I can't remember the exact dates, but you can find information about that change in the board minutes. I say that I can personally guarantee that there were no "tweaks" because I was the person who had the responsibility of programming the system at that time and followed the publicly vetted and board approved business rules as literally as possible.

Anonymous said...

Aaaaand despite all this, congratulations to Cedrick Gray for being named "Superintendent of the Year." Unbelievable.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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