About Mercedes Schneider

I am first and foremost a teacher.  I have been formally teaching in some capacity for the past 22 years.  However, my first “student” was my younger sister, Anna, whom I taught to read when she was four years old and I was seven.  That was in 1974.

I am a product of the St. Bernard Parish Public Schools (1972-85). I attended P.G.T. Beauregard High School, where I graduated salutatorian.  In 1983, at fifteen years old, I tried to drop out of high school.  I’m glad I stayed.

I attended Louisiana State University from 1985 to 1991 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, English and German.  I taught for two years in St. Bernard, my home; then, I moved to Georgia and taught German (1993-94) and English (1994-98) for Rome City Schools.  While teaching full time, I earned my masters degree in guidance and counseling from the State University of West Georgia (1996-98).

While working on my masters degree, I became interested in counselor education.  I applied to the Ph.D. program in counselor education at Auburn University and was rejected because I “did not compare favorably to other applicants.”  I framed that letter and kept it in my office at Ball State; years later, I was able to use it as an encouragement for my students who came to me in tears at receiving doctoral program rejection letters.  It hurts, but press on.

I was accepted to the counselor education program at the University of Northern Colorado in 1998, and they gave me money to attend. (The Auburn rejection didn’t hurt so much then.)  I began my Ph.D. in counselor education but decided I liked all of those stats courses well enough to ask to transfer to the Department of Applied Statistics and Research Methods two years in, in February 2000.  I graduated with my Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods, with a counselor education concentration, in August 2002.

Following my time in Colorado, I moved to Muncie, Indiana, to teach in the Department of Educational Psychology, Teachers College, at Ball State University.  I taught graduate-level statistics and research courses, except for one undergraduate course I taught, Tests and Measurement.  It was in this course that I had to address issues related to No Child Left Behind.  It was in this course that I taught students how bad an idea it was to attempt to measure teacher performance using student standardized test scores.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, New Orleans.  My mother chose not to evacuate and had to axe her way out of my sister’s attic.  She was missing for a week and ended up in Houston.  It was a while before she knew that she would not have to have her right arm amputated.

Even though there was no home to go to, I wanted to go home to New Orleans.  It took me two years to plan and reorganize my life for my return to southern Louisiana.

In July 2007, I returned home and began a new job teaching high school English in St. Tammany Parish.  I was told at the university that to “go back” to public school teaching was frowned upon and that I would not likely be able to resume a careeer teaching at the university level if I chose to replace it with a public school position.

I had to reckon with that idea.

But I love to teach.  High school, I decided, would be fine with me.

And it has been fine for the past seven years.  I love my kids.

I dedicate this blog to my St. Tammany students and to the thousands of students I have taught over the years, students of all ages, chiefly from grade seven to graduate-level,

beginning with my little sister, Anna.

Comments

  1. poohcornerpens says:

    Hi Mercedes,

    I posted on your latest topic regarding Everyday Math but wanted to ask you a couple of questions, or at least get some input from you. I believe my post gives enough specifics for you to see where I’m coming from as a teacher (albeit retired). I understand you to be a Christian so your input is relevant to me.

    I’ve been a Christian for almost 40 years, and consider myself conservative in most views, but I don’t align with any political party. I suppose I’m not even “independent”. I really don’t like the “conservative” tag either. I’m a Bible believing American who believes in the rule of law (usually) and the Constitution.

    I also believe that our government doesn’t really speak for the people of this Country, or is it any longer concerned about our interests. Our lawmakers ignore their constituents and it’s becoming more of rule by tyranny. Thomas Jefferson warned us of our government becoming no better than those the Colonists and immigrants ran from in Europe. He said that government should be afraid of its citizens, not the other way around. He also said many other things but he believed that in the course of a Republic that the blood of both patriots and tyrants must sometimes be spilled.

    Recently I spared a bit with some posters on Diane’s blog and discovered that perhaps I’m all wet, or, my frequency and wave length don’t align, even when I’m in agreement with others on the same topic. The discussion has been around CCS, and I’m for the most part on-board with the comments and general frustrations.

    What surprised me was when I revealed I was a “conservative” and was labeled like most all conservatives, as a liberal basher who stirs up the moderates to further bash liberals. I was given a history lesson as to what a true liberal is, and was pointed to the founders of our country, who believed that a liberal Republic was one that believed and promoted equality and liberty. Any mention I made of world powers working to unify religion, education and government under one hat was termed pure conspiracy.

    My response was our founding fathers and mothers did not foresee the move toward liberal socialism, which was ushered in with force by President Wilson, and was furthered by Roosevelt, Truman and most every Democratic President since. Barrack Obama seems to be very much a socialist first, democratic-socialist second and I’m not sure what else he really stands for. He appears to be trying on the mantle of a Muslim, a Christian, and any other coat that suits his purpose.

    So, in general, I believe that the term “liberal” no longer means what it once did.

    As far as the Republicans go, most of the moderate and progressive parts of the GOP seem to be going against the GOP platform from 2012 that rejected CCS. The Governor’s Association strongly supports CCS, and as you so well showed with your YouTube video, the spider’s web of CCS is fueled by big hitters and players from every side of the line and the middle.

    I argue further that the liberal socialist agenda has taken liberty and equality to an all time low. Equal has become defined similar to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

    When dissenting views arise, those who don’t follow the agenda are termed as “intolerant”. The liberals (today’s liberals) seem to not see the writing on the wall that they are undermining the very liberty and freedom that they seem to believe they’re carrying forward from our Founders.

    I mentioned that privatizing the public schools, increasing privately funded charters, and other parts of the agenda are in line with the EU and UN initiatives toward a one world religion and social system, including education. A conspiracy is a purposely hidden agenda or motive. What we have here is not a conspiracy. It’s in plain view for all to see. It’s just a matter of the interpretation.

    I haven’t really asked a question as yet I suppose. Maybe I’m just venting and looking for some feedback. I appreciate your blog and find these discussions refreshing. Blogs like this give educators an opportunity to vent their frustrations, receive feedback and provide some views that may at times irritate a few. I do though sincerely strive to understand others points of view, and seek to understand first, and then be understood.

    Thanks for standing in the gap Mercedes.
    Bless ya
    Jim
    (poohcornerpens@hotmail.com)

    • Hi, Jim. Sorry that my reply was delayed.

      Just a couple of things by way of feedback:

      I don’t believe I can argue another person out of his/her position on any issue. So I don’t try. What I do is offer my experience. What readers decide to do with it is their decision.

      When commenters attempt to bait me into an argument, I turn off. The only reason I will respond is if I think doing so will help other readers.

      I do see the reformer push in education as leading into a “new world order” arrangement. I do not allow my mind to ruminate on that. Instead, I ask God to help me do my part and do it well. His joy is my strength. The mind is the battlefield, and what I place my mind upon is my responsibility. Christ tells me to guard my mind, my heart, and my peace. I can only do so if I depend wholeheartedly upon Him. Otherwise, this ed reform situation would overwhelm me.

      If I choose to rest in Christ even as I work, I remain steady, calm and level-headed when others disappoint me (and when I disappoint myself). I can choose to not be offended, learn from the situation, and move forward with a good attitude.

      These are the secrets to my success. :) I hope you find encouragement in these words.

      Regards–

      –M

  2. Mercedes is there another way to follow you (Twitter)?

  3. and that verification is so important because in my state the commissioner has split the state in two…she has pitted the education world against the business, corporate world with her derailment of public education …Her RacettTop $75 million is decimating the world of the working teacher, not to mention the vilifying of teachers in the newspaper….

  4. thank you…I am new at this…I have the opportunity to expose Gist as one of the spokes of Jeb Bush;s hub and I wantr to make sure what I print does not come back to haunt me…The woman is a menance to RI. Her contract ends June 7th. Any info on her owuld be greatly appreciated…Diane introduced you and your blog to me…I now have it in my favorites and will spread to my fellow teachers, both working and retired what is going on..Since the governor changed recently to become a democrat, (Chafee) one would think Gist would gravitate that way…but she is not She is polarizing here….needs to go…

  5. Is this true? I would like to use this information for a RI blog to expose this …

    http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/like-spokes-to-a-hub-chiefs-for-change-in-bushs-service/

    from Mercedes Schneider’s Edublog
    thank you
    jo ann

    • All of my posts include links to the information upon which I base what I write. No need to ask me if my posts are true.

      • I thank you for what you are doing…Being retired my sources of info in my state are limited. When I see your blogs and that of others like you, I try to spread them here in little Rhody…because the politicians here are enamored by Gist….

        • deutsch29: you not only made your original case well on your own blog, but the above “defense” of Ms. McGriff rfeieorcns your assertions. Don’t change your tone or your approach to presenting the facts as you see them; it’s obviously making the charteritesprivatizers squirm. Linda: I share your rejection of such a dismissive attitude towards teachers. I could adopt a similar stance in response but I won’t sink that low. Most of the teachers and aides I worked for and with would regard that as behaving in a manner unworthy of someone who works in a classroom. We can do better than that. And we do. My regards to you both. Please keep posting.

      • Happy to help, Jo Ann. Social media (blogs) are a great source of reformer information. Not many include links to support what is written, but mine do so that readers can verify what I write.

  6. Mercedes…

    New subscriber. Great blog. I’m interested in the June 4 webinar that I learned about thru NPE website ( or newsletter.) I tried to sign-up but not sure I succeeded. Registration link from NPE newsletter is to something called Survey Monkey. And there’s no confirmation email.

    Can you or someone else confirm that I’m registered?

    (Can’t find a private email link for you here or to *anyone* on the NPE site. So excuse the intrusion.)

    Regards,

    Paul V Hogan

  7. HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 1
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    (ASK TO SPEAK WITH PERSON ON QUOTA SHEET. ONLY THIS PERSON IS ELIGIBLE TO BE INTERVIEWED.) Hello. My name is ________. I’m calling from Hart Research Associates. We are conducting a public opinion survey and I would like to ask you some questions. We are not selling anything, and I won’t ask you for a contribution or donation. May I please speak with (NAME ON LIST)?
    (DO NOT ACCEPT SUBSTITUTES. IF NOT AVAILABLE, SCHEDULE CALL BACK TIME OR TERMINATE. REPEAT INTRODUCTION AS NECESSARY.)
    (IF RESPONDENT MENTIONS THE “DO NOT CALL” LIST, SAY:) The Do Not Call List does not apply to survey research. While we certainly respect your right NOT to participate, I assure you that this interview is being conducted for research purposes only, and we hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to express your opinions. We guarantee that your individual responses will be kept completely confidential, and that no one will try to sell you anything as a result of your participation.
    Gender (DO NOT ASK.) Record respondent’s gender.
    Male …………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
    Female …………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    QS1 I’d like to start by asking you a few questions about your job situation. First, do you currently work in a public school that serves students anywhere from pre-K to grade twelve?
    Yes, currently employed in public school ……………………………………….. 1
    No, not currently employed in public school …………………………………… 2 TERMINATE
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………… 3 TERMINATE
    QS2 Are you a teacher, or do you have another job at your school? (DO NOT READ LIST.)
    Teacher ……………………………………………………………………………………. 1
    All other responses …………………………………………………………………….. 2 TERMINATE
    Not sure/refused ………………………………………………………………………. 3 TERMINATE
    QS3 What kind of school do you work in? (READ LIST IF NECESSARY.)
    Pre-school/nursery school …………………………………………………………… 1 TERMINATE
    Elementary school ……………………………………………………………………… 2
    K-through-eight school ……………………………………………………………….. 3
    Junior high/middle school ……………………………………………………………. 4
    Senior high school ……………………………………………………………………… 5
    Other school ……………………………………………………………………………… 6
    Not sure/refused ………………………………………………………………………. 7 TERMINATE
    QS4 For statistical purposes only, would you please tell me how old you are? (IF “REFUSED,” ASK:) Well, would you tell me which age group you belong to? (READ LIST.)
    18-24 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
    25-29 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    30-34 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    35-39 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    40-44 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    45-49 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
    50-54 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
    55-59 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
    60-64 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 9
    65-69 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 0
    70-74 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
    75 and over …………………………………………………………………………… 2
    Refused ……………………………………………………………………………… 3
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 2
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    Q1a How good a job would you say the schools in your school district are doing in terms of meeting the educational needs of students–excellent, good, fair, not so good, or poor?
    Excellent …………………………………………………………………………………. 1
    Good ………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
    Fair ………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
    Not so good …………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Poor ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………… 6
    Q1b Generally speaking, how satisfied are you overall with conditions facing teachers in your school district these days–very satisfied, fairly satisfied, just somewhat satisfied, or not that satisfied?
    Very satisfied …………………………………………………………………………… 1
    Fairly satisfied ………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    Just somewhat satisfied ……………………………………………………………. 3
    Not that satisfied ………………………………………………………………………. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………… 5
    I would like to ask you a few questions about the Common Core State Standards, a set of academic standards in English language arts and math for students in grades K through twelve that have been adopted in most states.
    Q2 How familiar are you with the Common Core State Standards–very familiar, fairly familiar, just somewhat familiar, or not familiar?
    Very familiar ………………………………………………………………………………. 1
    Fairly familiar …………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    Just somewhat familiar ……………………………………………………………….. 3
    Not familiar ……………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    Q3 Based on what you know about these standards and the expectations they set for children, do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of your state’s decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards?
    Strongly approve ……………………………………………………………………….. 1
    Somewhat approve …………………………………………………………………….. 2
    Somewhat disapprove ………………………………………………………………… 3
    Strongly disapprove ……………………………………………………………………. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 3
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    Q4 How would you rate the rigor of the new standards, relative to your state’s standards prior to adopting the Common Core–would you say that the Common Core standards are more rigorous than your state’s prior standards, about as rigorous as your state’s prior standards, or less rigorous than your state’s prior standards?
    More rigorous ……………………………………………………………………………. 1
    About as rigorous ………………………………………………………………………. 2
    Less rigorous …………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Q5 How closely have you been following the implementation (“im-pleh-men-TAY-shun”) of Common Core Standards by your school district–very closely, fairly closely, just somewhat closely, or not closely?
    Been following very closely ………………………………………………………….. 1
    Been following fairly closely …………………………………………………………. 2
    Been following just somewhat closely …………………………………………… 3
    Have not been following closely …………………………………………………… 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    Q6 Based on anything you may have read or heard about the Common Core standards, how much of an impact do you expect these standards to have on your curriculum (“cur-RICK-yoo-lum”), your class preparation, and the way you teach–a great deal, a fair amount, just some, or very little?
    A great deal of impact …………………………………………………………………. 1
    A fair amount of impact ……………………………………………………………….. 2
    Just some impact ……………………………………………………………………….. 3
    Very little impact ………………………………………………………………………… 4
    No impact at all (VOL) ………………………………………………………………. 5
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
    Q7a Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “In general, the Common Core standards will help me improve my own instruction and teaching practice”?
    Agree ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
    Disagree …………………………………………………………………………………… 2
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 (Skip to Q7c)
    (ASK ONLY OF RESPONDENTS WHO SAY AGREE/DISAGREE IN Q7a.)
    Q7b Do you strongly (AGREE/DISAGREE) or just somewhat?
    Strongly ……………………………………………………………………………………. 1
    Just somewhat …………………………………………………………………………… 2
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    (ASK EVERYONE.)
    Q7c Which of these two statements about the Common Core standards do you agree with more? (READ LIST. ACCEPT ONLY ONE RESPONSE.)
    The Common Core standards will help kids from all backgrounds to achieve by setting clear and high expectations ……………………………………………………………………….. 1
    The Common Core standards will label more kids and schools as failures, causing disadvantaged kids to fall further behind …………………………………………………………….. 2
    Both (VOL) ………………………………………………………………………………. 3
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 4
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    (DO NOT ASK IN NEW YORK.)
    Q8a Most states will start using new assessments based on the Common Core standards in the fall of 2014. Before I mentioned it, were you aware that new assessments will begin that year?
    Yes, aware ………………………………………………………………………………… 1 (Skip to Q8c)
    No, not aware ……………………………………………………………………………. 2 (Skip to Q8c)
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 (Skip to Q8c)
    (ASK ONLY IN NEW YORK.)
    Q8b New York state will start using new assessments based on the Common Core standards this spring. Before I mentioned it, were you aware that new assessments will begin this year?
    Yes, aware ………………………………………………………………………………… 1
    No, not aware ……………………………………………………………………………. 2
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    (ASK EVERYONE.)
    Q8c From what you know, how well prepared is your district to successfully implement the Common Core standards–very prepared, fairly prepared, just somewhat prepared, or not prepared?
    Very prepared to implement ………………………………………………………… 1
    Fairly prepared to implement ……………………………………………………….. 2
    Just somewhat prepared to implement ………………………………………….. 3
    Not prepared to implement ………………………………………………………….. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    Q8d What do you feel are your district and school’s most pressing needs for successfully implementing the Common Core standards? What would help prepare you and other teachers to teach to the standards?
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Q9a Have you received any professional development or training related to the Common Core standards? (EdWeek Teacher Survey–Q14)
    Yes, have received professional development/training …………………….. 1
    No, have not received professional development/training ………………… 2 (Skip to Q10)
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 (Skip to Q10)
    (ASK ONLY OF RESPONDENTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OR TRAINING IN Q9a.)
    Q9b About how many hours of professional development or training related to the Common Core standards have you received? (IF “NOT SURE,” RECORD AS “DK.”)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Numeric Range
    Don’t Know ……………………………………………………………………………….. Y
    Permitted Range
    0 TO 1000
    (ASK ONLY OF THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OR TRAINING IN Q9a.)
    Q9c Would you say that the professional development or training that you have received related to the Common Core standards was adequate (“AD-ih-kwit”) or not adequate in terms of preparing you to teach to the standards?
    Adequate ………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
    Not adequate …………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    Not sure …………………………………………………………………………………. 3
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 5
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    (ASK EVERYONE.)
    Q10 Would you say that your district has provided you with all of the resources and tools that you need to successfully teach the Common Core standards, most, just some, or very few of the resources and tools you need in order to teach the Common Core standards?
    All of the resources and tools ………………………………………………………. 1
    Most of the resources and tools ……………………………………………………. 2
    Just some of the resources and tools ……………………………………………. 3
    Very few of the resources and tools ……………………………………………… 4
    None (VOL) …………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
    Q11 I am going to mention a few steps that some districts have taken to prepare teachers, students, and parents to put the Common Core standards into practice. For each one, please tell me whether you feel that your school district has done enough in this area or has not done enough in this area to be ready to implement the Common Core standards.
    (READ ITEM)–(IF RESPONDENT SAYS “NOT DONE ENOUGH,” ASK:) Has your district fallen somewhat short or far short of what is needed in this area?
    Provided professional development or training in the Common Core standards that includes specific attention to the instructional shifts in mathematics or English Language Arts.
    Provided strategies and coaching to help teachers teach content (“KAHN-tent”) more deeply.
    Adopted assessments aligned to the standards that indicate mastery of concepts.
    Developed tools to track individual student progress on key standards.
    Provided opportunities for teachers to practice with students to ensure they are learning key concepts and principles.
    Ensured that textbooks and other curricula (“cur-RIK-yoo-lah”) materials are aligned with the standards.
    Provided opportunities for teachers to observe how colleagues are implementing the standards in their classrooms.
    Provided teachers additional planning time dedicated to understanding the standards, putting them into practice, and sharing strategies with colleagues (“KAH-leegz”).
    Provided teachers with model lesson plans aligned to the standards.
    Adopted fully developed curricula (“cur-RIK-yoo-lah”) aligned to the standards and made them available to teachers.
    Communicated with parents about how standards are changing and what will be expected of students.
    Acquired the equipment and bandwidth needed to administer the new computer-based assessments.
    District has done enough …………………………………………………………….. 1
    District has NOT done enough–fallen somewhat short ……………………. 2
    District has NOT done enough–fallen far short ………………………………. 3
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Q12a Have you read the Common Core standards for mathematics and English Language Arts, or have you not had an opportunity to read the standards?
    Have read the standards …………………………………………………………….. 1
    Have not had an opportunity to read the standards ………………………… 2
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 6
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    Q12b Have you received a hard copy of the Common Core standards, or have you not received a hard copy?
    Have received a hard copy ………………………………………………………….. 1
    Have not received a hard copy ……………………………………………………. 2
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    Q13 To what extent have you incorporated the Common Core standards into your teaching practice–are the standards fully incorporated into all aspects of your teaching, incorporated into some areas of your teaching but not others, or not yet incorporated at all into your teaching? (EdWeek Teacher Survey-Q28)
    Fully incorporated into all aspects of teaching ………………………………… 1
    Incorporated into some areas but not others ………………………………….. 2
    Not yet incorporated at all into teaching ………………………………………… 3
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Q14 Which ONE or TWO of the following have been the most valuable sources of information for you about the Common Core standards? (READ LIST. ACCEPT UP TO TWO RESPONSES. IF MORE THAN TWO, SAY:) Well, if you could choose just two, which would you choose?
    Other teachers at your school ………………………………………………………. 1
    Administrators at your school ………………………………………………………. 2
    Resources from your district ………………………………………………………… 3
    Education-focused media ……………………………………………………………. 4
    Resources from a professional association or a union …………………….. 5
    None (VOL) …………………………………………………………………………….. 6
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
    Q15 Overall, how satisfied are you with the amount of input and voice that teachers have had in developing your school district’s plans for implementing the Common Core standards–very satisfied, fairly satisfied, just somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied?
    Very satisfied …………………………………………………………………………….. 1
    Fairly satisfied ……………………………………………………………………………. 2
    Just somewhat satisfied ……………………………………………………………… 3
    Not satisfied ………………………………………………………………………………. 4
    Not sure …………………………………………………………………………………. 5
    Q16a Has your principal or your district required any changes in the way that you do your work because of Common Core standards?
    Yes, principal/district have required changes …………………………………. 1
    No, principal/district have not required changes ……………………………… 2
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
    Q16b In your opinion, will the Common Core standards lead to more emphasis on testing and teaching to the test, less emphasis on testing and teaching to the test, or will the Common Core standards not change the current emphasis on testing and teaching to the test?
    More emphasis on testing …………………………………………………………… 1
    Less emphasis on testing ……………………………………………………………. 2
    No change in current emphasis ……………………………………………………. 3
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    As I mentioned earlier, states will be using assessments based on the Common Core State Standards by the fall of 2014.
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 7
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    Q17 How worried are you that the new assessments will begin–and students, teachers, and schools will be held accountable for the results–before everyone involved understands the new standards, and before instructional practice has been fully aligned with the standards? Are you very worried, fairly worried, just a little worried, or not worried that this will happen?
    Very worried ……………………………………………………………………………… 1
    Fairly worried …………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    Just a little worried ……………………………………………………………………… 3
    Not worried ……………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    Q18 In the first year of these new assessments tied to the Common Core standards, do you expect that the proportion of students reaching proficiency (“pro-FISH-en-see”) in your school will increase, will go down, or will stay about the same as in the past?
    Will increase ……………………………………………………………………………… 1
    Will go down ……………………………………………………………………………… 2
    Will stay about the same …………………………………………………………….. 3
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Q19 Following are some concerns that teachers have raised about plans to implement the Common Core standards and new assessments. For each one I read, please tell me based on your own experience and knowledge how worried you are that this will happen–very worried, fairly worried, just a little worried, or not worried.
    Standards keep changing, and these standards won’t last any longer than the others. These shifting standards make teachers’ jobs harder without improving education
    The assessments will not be aligned with the new curriculum you are asked to teach.
    For at least a few years, new assessments tied to higher standards will produce low scores for many students, undermining confidence in our schools.
    Aligning assessments to the Common Core standards before they are fully implemented means teachers and schools will be held accountable before they are given the tools and training they need to meet the new standards.
    Millions of dollars will be spent for new assessments, but very little support will be provided for additional professional development aligned to the standards.
    Rushing into new assessments aligned with the Common Core standards means that testing and test preparation, rather than teaching and learning, will be the focus of implementation.
    The full curriculum (“cur-RIK-yoo-lum”) aligned to the standards will not be available until after new assessments are implemented, so teachers will be teaching to one set of standards while students are being tested on another.
    Too many children will be held back a year or kept from graduating because of low scores on the new assessments.
    New standards and new assessments will force teachers to spend more time on test preparation and leave less time for teaching critical skills and subjects not covered by the tests.
    New standards and new assessments will label more kids and schools as failures, causing disadvantaged kids to fall further behind.
    Very worried ……………………………………………………………………………… 1
    Fairly worried …………………………………………………………………………….. 2
    Just a little worried ……………………………………………………………………… 3
    Not worried ……………………………………………………………………………….. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
    HART RESEARCH ASSOCIATES Study #10882–page 8
    March/April 2013 AFT CCSS Survey
    Q20 Now I am going to mention to you a few proposals related to the Common Core standards and aligned assessments. Please tell me whether you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose each proposal.
    Require school districts to reach an agreement with the union representing teachers on a plan for implementation of the Common Core standards.
    Establish a moratorium (“more-eh-TORE-ee-um”) on high-stakes consequences (“KAHN-she-kwen-sez”) for students, teachers, and schools until the Common Core standards and related assessments are fully in use for one year.
    Hold school districts accountable for preparing teachers with the resources they need to effectively teach the new standards.
    Require that teachers receive a set amount of professional development and training in the new standards before scores from the new assessments are incorporated into their performance evaluations.
    Strongly favor ……………………………………………………………………………. 1
    Somewhat favor …………………………………………………………………………. 2
    Somewhat oppose ……………………………………………………………………… 3
    Strongly oppose …………………………………………………………………………. 4
    Not sure ………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

  8. Do you have any comments about what has happened to us in Wisconsin in the past 2 years
    L

  9. polly anglin says:

    I have been forwarding your blog posts to a member of the AL State board if Ed. Would it be possible for her to contact you? Perhaps this comment section would serve that purpose. Her name is Betty Peters. I will have her get a message to you via this method. Thanks for all your work. NCTQ work is printed and highlighted and saved to computer file. Invaluable. Thanks Polly

  10. I run a grilling blog where I share my recipes and secrets that I know coming from my numerous years of creating meals.
    I try actually hard to update my blog more than thrice
    a week. I have had the blog for around 3 months, which I
    suppose is a pretty good amount of time. Yet, my blog doesn’t get lots of visitors . When I look for my posts on Google, it’s really hard
    for me to locate them. I found your blog on the very first page of
    DuckDuckGo while i looked for About Mercedes Schneider | deutsch29, for this reason i think you must be a professional, care to share some suggestion with me?

    • Hi, Max. Find others who have established blogs in your topic (food; cooking) and who are willing to link to your blog. This can help advertise your blog and draw readers to it.

  11. I just found your blog. I will try to read as many posts as I can this weekend. I’m from New Orleans and want to return home with my two young kids. Currently, my daughter attends a wonderful school in Dallas. I miss my family in New Orleans and so do the kids but I’m not sure putting them in the New Orleans area school system is the right thing to do.

    • Dee, read my blog on RSD. In it I include school stats. This could help you make a decision. Plus, you could always move to a suburb. I teach in St. Tammany Parish– excellent school system.

  12. I just found your blog also. I will be reading more as soon as I get the mountain of papers graded in front of me. I teach 6th grade English. I agree with your suspicions of the AFT claim that 75% of teachers favor the Common Core. I applaud your analysis. You wouldn’t find 75% of my colleagues favoring it.

  13. Mercedes, I would like to invite you and your blog followers to our Day of Dialogue on Institutional Racism in Public Education on April 18th in Baton Rouge. The goal of this event is to engage the community in a dialogue on how public education in Baton Rouge has been shaped by institutional racism. The dialogue will focus on three aspects of this relationship: the history, the current situation and possibilities for the future. Each of these topics will be viewed through the lens of institutional racism.

    For the historical segment, we are seeking to explore how the public education system was formed/designed, how it developed as a segregated system, the history of the desegregation case, and the impact the case had on public schools. The current segment will focus on the state of public education now, major issues that plague the system (funding for different schools, biases in curriculum, standardized testing, the race of schools’ hierarchy/hiring system –boards, teachers, principals, redistricting as a way to segregate, and the overarching issue of white privilege), and the movements/philosophies that have emerged to “fix” these issues (charter schools, voucher systems, etc). The future component will focus on how to approach/resolve these issues and movements philosophies.

    Our day is free and open to the public (8:30am – 4pm Catholic Life Center). We will also offer 6 free social work ceu’s. To register, please follow the link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GZCC836. Or visit us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Louisiana-Delta-Service-Corps/138916186170549?ref=hl.

    Thanks for all you do Mercedes!

  14. I concur, Mercedes

  15. David Lentini says:

    “However, statistical analyses, like Least Squares, can stull be run because the stats package doesn’t know it is producing nonsense results. Input numbers, even bad ones, and stats programs will often yield an output. And it is this bogus output that hits the media and that self-appointed reformers call Truth.”

    Exactly what I’m driving at. Thanks, and I look forward to reading more.

  16. David Lentini says:

    Dear Mercedes,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your comments through Diane Ravitch’s ‘blog. Since you are real statistician, perhaps you can help me with a general question that I have regarding statistical measures of school and student performance.

    I have degrees in chemistry from the University of Chicago and Harvard, and I studied at lot of mathematics classes at both schools. I’m also married to a teacher and a member of my local school board, and I’ve read many of Diane’s books and pay close attention to her ‘blog; so I have been following the discussions about school quality for some time now. I’ve been a patent attorney for over 20 years, and I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing critically the arguments and evidence in scientific publications.

    As a scientist, I often used least-squares techniques to fit measurement data to a curve (usually a line) and determine the significance of that fit. I’ve understood that the idea behind these techniques is based on the collection of measurements of a system in response to some external input (e.g., the length of a metal bar in response to controlled changes in temperature). The measured values are plotted as ordered pairs (input,result) and some indication of the error in measurement is also recorded. The question is whether the points will define a line that is theoretically postulated to exist. The appropriate formula is applied and the results are examined to demonstrate a significant “fit” or not. I think Wikipedia’s entry summarizes my understanding well.

    Now, I understand there is a lot a statistician can do with data (more on that in a moment) beyond what most scientists are taught or will ever need. But I can’t help but be troubled by what I see is a wanton misuse of these techniques throughout the social sciences and economics, and especially in education. Here are my concerns on which I ask for your comment:

    1. Least squares was developed to handle conditions of multiple measurements of defined physical objects. The “measurements” thus are statements of some physical property of a defined physical body that under a given set of conditions should be repeatable by anyone at any time. (The system being measure may have to be recreated in the case of time-varying properties like nuclear decay, but you get the idea.)

    I don’t see how student test scores can be a measurement. There is no physical property under examination. A test doesn’t actually measure anything; it’s just a statement of the ability of a student to answer a given set of questions at a certain time and place. It’s been well documented that test scores can vary widely for a variety of testing conditions. Since a test can really be taken only once, given the changes in the student’s underlying condition between tests, how do you determine “error” for the test’s “measurement”, at least in a way that’s meaningful to the concepts that underlie least squares fitting?

    And how can anyone use a least squares to define a line based on statistical aggregates of student test scores? The problems mentioned above are only compounded when we start taking various averages.

    2. The point of least squares is to determine whether the recorded data fall sufficiently close to a theoretical line that the data can be said to confirm the theory. Thus, you need a theoretical line as well as sound experimental measurements. Yet, most publications I see simply produce a scatterplot of points, and then draw the line which is the result of simply applying the least squares formula to the x and y values of the points. In other words, the method is used backwards to create the line that was supposed to be standard against which the points are compared. Such an approach just begs the question, since the line itself is defined by the points. The correlation coefficient is meaningless, since you don’t really correlate the points with anything independently of the points.

    3. I’ve become vary chary of words like “data” and “information”. If you check the dictionary, both words are defined in way that suggests they refer to true or confirmed statements. In fact, I’ve started using “statement” when I can’t be sure of its truth or accuracy. Given my comments above, I can’t find much, if anything, that really “data-driven” or “information-based”. In fact, much of the arguments around education policy remind me of Prof. Harry G. Frankfort’s excellent definition of “bullsh’t”.

    4. I think these problems become even worse when comparing schools systems and the education policies of countries, such as done by Harvard’s Kennedy School. Notice the graphs (e.g., Figure 3) try to show a “correlation” among the scores of different states. How can the average test scores of different state school systems provide the uniformity and regularity that underlie the lest squares method. Sure, you can draw a line calculated using the least squares formula applied to series of points, but I would argue that that line is meaningless! We’re not measuring anything! There is no physical system that can be measured. There is no “error”, since there is no “measurement”. The scores only represent a one-time event; so there’s no way for anyone to repeat the observation. There’s no theoretical line to compare against the points. How can least squares provide any useful information in this case?

    Sorry for the long post. I look forward to reading your comments. Keep up the good fight!

    • Hi, David. I will answer in greater detail soon, but let me write here briefly that the issues you raise have more to do with the quality and usage of the measurement instruments than with subsequent statistical analyses, though the analyses and their “interpretation” is also problematic.

      I must start any study with sound instruments, appropriately utilized. Corporate reform is notoriously bad in this area. Thus, any resulting “study” becomes nonsense. However, statistical analyses, like Least Squares, can stull be run because the stats package doesn’t know it is producing nonsense results. Input numbers, even bad ones, and stats programs will often yield an output. And it is this bogus output that hits the media and that self-appointed reformers call Truth.

      More to come.

      Thanks for reading and writing.

      –Mercedes

    • David, let me see if I can specifically address your concerns.

      1) It is possible for an established test to measure a construct, such as intelligence. Even an established standardized test can measure constructs, such as mathematical aptitude. Having written thus, these tests are likely not designed to measure constructs but are instead comprised of sets of items supposedly associated with some curriculum or even some legislative mandate. So, you are correct that the tests are not measuring a specific “thing.” But I want you to know that there are tests designed to measure intangible constructs.

      The Least Squares estimation determines the line of best fit, and it is in this determination that the estimation process itself positions the line to “best fit” and minimize the sums of squared distances from the line of points not exactly on the line. So it is the Least Squares process that determines the errors.

      Scores should not be aggregated in the calculation of Least Squares estimation. This will yield statistical output, but it will be nonsense output.

      2) If the line of best fit always follows the data, nothing meaningful is accomplished. I asked our state superintendent John White to give me the name of the person who actually calculated our 2012 school performance scores because I suspected no one qualified had performed the calculations. White produced no name.

      Drawing data-specific lines as you have described makes me suspicious, but also the ability for DOE to arbitrarily set a line using a computer program in order to produce a specific outcome (i.e., “failing” a certain percentage of teachers) makes me suspicious. Oue DOE never provides the full story behind its numbers. John White and his foemer-TFA cronies have no idea what rh are doing with the data, so the produce official-looking nonsense.

      3) Nothing produced by our DOE is trustworthy. Period.

      4) Trying to compare scores from different states is meaningless if the conditions influencing the outcome are not uniform across states (which they are not). Thus, any comparison is useless.

      It is possible to measure uniformly nationwide using an established measure (like NAEP), but even then, one must consider non-uniform influences to scores of different groups and account for such differences in the interpretation of the scores.

      I don’t necessarily need to repeat a measure in order to utilize (interpret) the line produced via Least Squares. However, the process has been incredibly misused and corrupted, so any outcome interpretation by corporate reform is almost guaranteed to be completely useless.

      Let me know if I missed anything you wanted me to address.

      Regards–

      –Mercedes

      • David Lentini says:

        Thanks, Mercedes. I appreciate you thoughtful reply.

        I find much of what you wrote confirms my own conclusions and suspicions. But I have a few questions I’d like to follow up.

        1. I appreciate your point about constructs, but I still think that one should accept even those results with a “lump” of salt. Perhaps I’m biased by Stephen J. Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man”, but “measuring” some construct like IQ still looks to me to be a very risky business at best. And I’m curious as to how one compares different measurements (I prefer the term “scores”)? Is there really a demonstrable difference between someone with an IQ of 100, another with and IQ of 101, and a third with an IQ of 99? And are those differences of the same magnitude as three people with IQs of 69, 70 and 71, or 158, 159, and 160?

        But I do agree completely that what we’re discussing here doesn’t even rise to the level of “construct”: it’s just a very arbitrary survey of knowledge and technique.

        2. I’m not sure I understand your comment that “the Least Squares process … determines the errors.” As I understand the original proof, the starting point was to assume that all measurements have inherent error; the process determines that particular line that minimizes the inherent measurement errors. My point is that if you have test scores that don’t really rise to the level of “measurements” as that term is used in the proof (see 1. above), then you’ll always get nonsensical results that are mathematically correct (as they must be), but will lead to nonsensical inferences about reality.

        3. I’m not sure that I fully grasp your comment “[i]f the line of best fit always follows the data, nothing meaningful is accomplished.” I’m not arguing your point, which intuitively makes sense to me, but could you elaborate more on the phrase “follows the data”. Obviously we want the fitted line to “follow” the data points in some way; so you must have something more specific in mind that I just don’t quite see yet.

        Again, I agree wholeheartedly with you other comments. Education seems to be one superfund site of statistical toxic waste! My own school board will be tackling the question of teacher and school performance “measurement” soon, and I want to be sure my own ideas about the use and abuse of statistics are well founded; your comments have been a big help.

        Thanks again,
        David

        • Hi, David. Te measurement of constructs requires measurement prowess, time and care in order to establish that one istruly measuring the anticipated construct. As for single-point differences, these are dependent upon the amount of error present in the measurement instrument. Even the “tightest” instruments could have standard error of a couple of points + or – the observed score.

          As for the line determining the error in Least Squares, what I mean is that the positioning of the line occurs once the measurement points are set; if the line is positioned “on” a point, there is no error observed for that point; however, if the line is positioned “away from” a point, then there is error from the line to the point.

          The line of best fit must be established using one data set then utilized as a standard for subsequent data sets/ measurement times. To keep resetting the line for every subsequent data set makes no sense.

          –Mercedes

  17. Samantha Anderson says:

    I subscribe to your blog posts and always look forward to reading them all! I, too, found you through Diane Ravitch’s blog and have been learning so much this past year about why all these changes are occurring in education. Although at first I was shocked and disheartened, I am now completely motivated to do something to get the word out and to educate others about what I have learned (and I continue to be shocked!). Like you, I am also a St. Tammany Parish Public Schools teacher and have begun a group of concerned teachers at my school. Our school is a Title 1 school and these policy makers are leaving our students out of the equation and not addressing their needs. They TRULY do not understand what it takes to educate children! I brought a colleague with me to hear Diane speak in Baton Rouge a few days ago, and we are going to work on educating others because most citizens, including many educators, do not have any idea what is really taking place. Real change will begin to happen when people are truly informed of the issues. I want to THANK YOU for all your research and dedication to educating us. I am truly amazed that you able to write such quality and lengthy work while teaching full time. I am sharing your blog with everyone I know. Thank you for helping to give me a voice.

    • Samantha, thank you for reading my work, and thank you for letting me know what it means to you. I am happy to offer a voice to my colleagues.

      As for my writing while teaching full time: It is not unusual for me to get only 4 hours of sleep. I try not to do too many sleep-deprived days in a row. :)

  18. DiaryofaSaneBlackWoman says:

    I attended Southern while you were at LSU. I’ve contemplated coming back home to teach but I remain in the midwest traveling back once a month to work with community groups hoping that what I do makes a difference as folk try to fight back against this hijacking of public education. I appreciate your work here. Very valuable. Very important. Kudos.

  19. I also found you through Diane’s blog, during the course of some research prior to the launch of my own little bit of interwebz weirdness.

    I am frankly in awe of the Herculean effort you’ve put into this project, and while I am no longer in the classroom I’d like to give you a cyber-hug on behalf of all those who devote their lives to making kids’ lives better in classrooms across America every day.

    Two things, though:
    1) You must know what a TREMENDOUS time-suck it is reading all of this stuff. When am I supposed to practice my guitar or work on my book?
    2) When I read that crack about E.D. Hirsch being “socially promoted,” I laughed. Hard. Sadly, I had just taken a sip of coffee, which was then rerouted through my nose. Perhaps you should consider posting some sort of warning label, to avoid potential civil liability, eh?

    Annuit coeptis…

    Shu

    • Shu, thank you for reading my work. I have no new post for tomorrow, so practice your guitar and write your book at that time. You have one day. :)

      As for the coffee, I have done it myself, my friend, with cornflakes and pizza.

      I appreciate your reading and your kindness in writing.

      My best–

      –Mercedes

  20. I found you through Diane Ravitch’s blog. I had heard of deutsch29, but I had only added it to a increasingly long list of blogs and sites that I must get to. I just wanted to express my gratitude for your superior investigations and research that you have made available. I am even more grateful that you are a high school teacher. I am a retired teacher who also worked at a university and finished up my employment as a teacher in a grades 7-12 setting. I now contract to teach the teachers. It’s getting harder to swerve around the increasingly difficult barriers brought about by those very players you discuss. I have great concern for the future of public education. A school system that, while always in need of improvement, accepts all people and provides for a free education. You are an inspiration for so many of us as you dig out the hidden players, connections, motivations, and their agendas. And then connect all the dots. Thank you so much.

    • Kuhio, thank you for reading my work. I am happy to expose the fraud and help readers make the connections between the so-called reformers and the money and power backing them.

      My best to you as you teach the teachers–

      –Mercedes

Trackbacks

  1. […] to run our educational institutions from the inside. I and everyone I’ve spoken to, such as Dr. Mercedes Schneider, Dr. Charles Hatfield, Dr Barbara Ferguson, Noel Hammatt, Herb Bassett, Karran Harper Royal, tried […]

  2. […] Schneider, a <;;a href="http://“&gt;;;blogger who is fearless in skewering the powerful. She has a Ph.D. In statistics but chooses to teach high school in her […]

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