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Reading Survey

BFT Members,

It is the position of the AFT CT and CEA, that teachers should NOT take this survey on their own time. This position was arrived at after extensive discussion with the SDE. Therefore, the BFT asks Bristol teachers to NOT take the survey until the district provides time. This time could be made by providing sub coverage (as is being done in some districts, such as Hartford and Ansonia) or using PD time (which many districts are doing, such as Middletown). There is also a second window to take the survey in the fall, which allows districts to utilize PD time just before the start of the school year (which is the plan for Meriden).

This survey is the result of legislation passed two years and teachers understand this was not a district initiative. But our time is valuable, and the district has the time and resources to implement the survey without it becoming a burden on teachers.

In Solidarity,

Dave Hayes

BFT President

 

A memo from the SDE detailing the requirements can be found here.

The following are some questions and answers that have come up about the reading survey for K-3 teachers. Information can also be accessed by going to the SDE Foundations of Reading Survey page: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&pm=1&Q=335450.

Why is the survey required?

Section 13 of Public Act 13-245 requires that commencing in the 2014-15 school year, and biennially thereafter, any teacher during the 2014-15 school year who holds an Elementary Education, or an Integrated Early Childhood N-3 certificate AND who is teaching in Grades K, 1, 2, and/or 3 under that certificate will be required to complete the survey.

How is the survey to be administered?

A district may choose to give the survey in a group setting, or to teachers individually – it’s a schedule and roll-out issue for districts. Groups can be large or small, staggered or participating at the same time. The survey system can accommodate thousands of teachers at the same time. Districts can be flexible about offering the survey in the winter or spring. However they choose to administer the survey, there must be no ‘cost’ to the teacher, which means it must be taken during the school day, or the teacher must somehow be compensated for the time required for completion, and the survey must be administered on school grounds.

What is a “controlled setting”? Does this mean teachers can be in their own classrooms?

It’s a decision the district has to make; the controlled setting refers to a school setting rather than a teacher’s home.

Who should be taking the survey?

Any teacher holding a certificate endorsed in one of the following areas and serving in a position requiring such an endorsement and teaching in Grades Kindergarten, 1, 2 or 3 must complete the survey during the 2014-15 school year: • Integrated ECE/Sped. Nursery–K and Elementary 1-3 (#113) • Elementary education (#001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 008, 013, or 305) • Bilingual elementary education (#009, 902) Any teacher who took and passed the Foundations of Reading Test will be exempt from taking the survey this year. Teachers who hold more than one certification endorsement in addition to the above but are not serving under the above endorsements will not be required to complete the survey. District liaisons will receive from the Connecticut Department of Education a list of teachers who are required to complete the survey based on holding the above certification endorsements and serving in an elementary K-3 teaching assignment and grade. If districts have questions about which teachers should be taking the survey, they can call Georgette or the hotline, or email the dedicated reading survey address.Those identified as having to take the survey are those who are assigned to an affected area THIS school year.

Are there any preparation materials specific to the survey?

There are no practice materials specific to the survey; only specific to the test. The multiple choice items will help prepare teachers for the survey. There are 85 items on the survey, 100 on the FoR Test. Questions are randomized in the survey.

How do I access the survey?

You must have an authorization code given to your by your district reading survey coordinator, who receives it from the SDE. Your code will be unique to you.

What if my name isn’t properly listed on the district reading survey coordinator’s list (due to a name change)? Will that affect my being able to take the survey?

Teacher names are going to be listed as whatever’s listed in the certification file. If a teacher wants to change his/her name in the system, s/he has to contact the SDE. However, a different name won’t affect the district’s ability to give you an authorization code, and for you to take the survey.

Does the survey need to be completed in one sitting?

Yes, the survey has to be completed in one sitting, but does not have to take the allotted 180 minutes. If, for some reason, you are unable to continue working and complete the survey during this sitting, you would have to obtain another authorization code from the district coordinator and begin the survey again from the start.

When can the survey be administered?

Survey can be administered during PD days, faculty meetings, or by providing a sub and teacher release time. This is a local decision.

Can teachers take these surveys on tablets?

The survey is not really recommended for a tablet–more for a PC running windows current version. A PROCTOR MANUAL with detailed information about the survey administration is posted on the SDE website (at the link above).

Does the survey need to have proctors?

Proctoring of the survey is a district decision. If there’s a large group, maybe there would be a proctor, but it’s the SCHOOL OR DISTRICT’s choice. Literacy Coaches may be assigned as proctors—district decision—but anyone serving as proctor should have a background in IT (and the local education association might want to negotiate a stipend).

When are results received?

Results are provided to the teacher upon completion of the survey, and results are put into the teacher’s account and the teacher can access the results report at any time. Each teacher is given a code, and each code is unique to one teacher; codes cannot be shared.

Are results of the survey subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or can they be used in summative evaluations?

Results are not subject to FOI, not to be included in summative ratings of evaluations, and not to impact certification. Results are meant to be used to determine PD needs—the district liaison will receive the survey results aggregated on the district, school, and grade level.

How are the survey results reported?

Results are reported to each teacher with the number and % of items correct in each of the 3 sub-areas of the survey. The State Department of Education (SDE) gets the individual data for teachers for the purpose of creating aggregate data for the school and the district and to keep “attendance” of who took the survey. The local district only gets aggregate data for the grade, the school, and the district.

How is the need for PD determined, based on the survey results?

Since this is survey, not a test, there is no set ‘threshold score’ for determining whether or not a teacher needs to strengthen knowledge or skills in any particular area of the survey. The criteria for the decisions regarding PD will be made at the local level; the following questions need to be discussed and used to guide those decisions: 1. Will we determine a threshold percentage of items correct in any particular area that we’ll use as guidance for determining whether or not a teacher needs PD? If so, who will make that decision? 2. What else will be used, if anything, in deciding if a teacher needs PD in reading? 3. How can the anonymity of the teacher be maintained? 4. What options will teachers have for deciding who will work with them to determine PD needs? How can we assure those are colleagues with whom teachers have a trusting relationship? 5. How can we offer PD options for teachers that keep the process simple and, whenever possible, part of the district’s PD plan? 6. How many teachers are in each of our school buildings that need PD in any given area? 7. How can we assure that no one person is overburdened with planning PD for teachers? 8. How can we assure that the processes we use recognize the professionalism of teachers?

What are the consequences for teachers who refuse to take the survey?

Currently there are NO SPECIFIC CONSEQUENCES FOR TEACHERS NOT TAKING THE SURVEY; however, there is the question of whether refusal to take the survey is tantamount to not fulfilling a professional responsibility (and professional responsibility is included in the CT Common Core of Teaching). A LIST OF THOSE TEACHERS NOT TAKING THE SURVEY WILL BE PROVIDED TO DISTRICTS. THE SDE WILL LOOK INTO WHETHER A DECISION IS NEEDED ABOUT WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE NOT TAKING THE SURVEY. CEA believes this is a local district area to determine.

Who can see who has taken the survey?

The SDE can track the teachers who have taken the survey. Districts will not have a way to track during the survey window. At districts’ requests, the SDE will be able to provide a list before the end of the survey window of who has completed the survey.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Enhancing Educational Leadership

On March 18 the CT Teacher of the Year Council will hold its annual Empowered to Lead Symposium at the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell. The Council has teamed up with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to offer a one-day event for Connecticut educators. The theme of this year’s symposium is Grow the Profession: Cultivating Collective Capacity, which is designed to provide an opportunity for teachers of the year, teacher-leaders, administrators, and other educators to engage in articulating and enhancing the power of educational leadership in our schools, districts, state, and nation. A symposium overview, schedule and session overview can be found a here.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

AFT CT Scholarships for Teachers and their Children

The AFT Connecticut will once again offer two scholarships. One is available only to AFT CT members, while the other is available to their children or dependents.

Both scholarships have a deadline of April 1, 2015, and forms can be accessed from here.

BFT members are strongly encouraged to apply, as the chance of receiving an award are very good.

Completed applications can be sent to the BFT office via interschool mail for a signature from the BFT president.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Opportunity for Teachers to Meet with State Legislators

AFT Connecticut has scheduled our annual regional legislative meeting with members and legislators on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at the Manor Inn in Milldale from 9:00-10:30am. This is an informal, sit-down breakfast meeting to discuss AFT Connecticut legislative issues together

Click here to register online — note that attendance is limited to dues-paying members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions.
Manor Inn Restaurant

1636 Meriden-Waterbury Tpke

Milldale, CT

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Is “No Child Left Behind” About to Get Worse?

ESEA Reauthorization: Robin Hood in Reverse

How ESEA Title I, Part A, ‘Portability’ Takes from the Poor and Gives to the Rest

Sen. Lamar Alexander

SOURCE: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is shown speaking during an interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 14, 2014.

In the first days of the 114th Congress, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)—chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions—placed K-12 education at the top of his agenda. His goal is to quickly reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA—currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act—and, ultimately, to dismantle what he calls the “national school board.” Chairman Alexander’s bill—the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act—largely cuts back on the federal role in public education and weakens state accountability to raise achievement and close achievement gaps.

Most egregiously, the bill proposed by Chairman Alexander eliminates the targeting of federal dollars to schools and districts with the highest concentrations of low-income students. This approach ignores the long-known fact that socioeconomic isolation has a devastating impact on student learning and achievement outcomes. Simply put, the challenges that low-income students face are significantly greater when the majority of their classmates are also low income.

To mitigate the negative impact of concentrated poverty, the federal government allocates billions of dollars to states per year through Title I, Part A, of ESEA based on the number and concentration of students living in poverty. The funds are then distributed to districts following the same process. The goal of Title I is to provide low-income students attending schools with high concentrations of other economically disadvantaged students with additional financial support.

Chairman Alexander’s bill takes a different and harmful tack and actually dismantles the targeting of Title I. His proposal provides states with the option of opting out of the current system of Title I funding for schools. Instead of following the current formulas, states would distribute to all districts the same amount per student simply based on the total number of children in low-income families. This approach is sometimes referred to as “portability.” It is unclear how many states would exercise this option. However, considering wealthier school districts receive less federal support but often have greater political capital, it is possible that some states may feel considerable pressure to use portability to distribute their Title I, Part A, funds.

Using the fiscal year 2014 allocations for school districts, the Center for American Progress analyzed the impact that portability would have had on students last year. We compared how much districts would have received under portability with how much they actually received under current policy. In our analysis, we made the following key findings:

  1. Portability actually drives resources away from high-poverty districts and into more affluent ones.
  2. Nationally, districts with high concentrations of poverty could lose an average of around $85 per student.
  3. On average, the most affluent districts could gain more than $290 per student.

If all states opted into this new system, school districts with a poverty rate of more than 30 percent would lose money, while districts with a poverty rate of under 15 percent would see dramatic increases in funding. This is illustrated in Figure 1 below. In total, the poorest school districts would lose more than $675 million, while the lowest-poverty districts would gain more than $440 million.

ESEAportability-webfig1

The nation’s largest districts could stand to lose tens of millions of dollars. For example, if Illinois opted for portable Title I dollars, Chicago could lose more than $64 million, while the much more affluent suburb of Naperville could see its allocations increase by more than $380,000. In California, students in the Los Angeles Unified School District could lose out on more than $75 million, while the Beverly Hills Unified School District could gain $140,000 dollars. These patterns are similar for every state. Portability would redistribute vast amounts of resources away from the students with the most needs to provide marginal new funding to other, more-well-off students. See the Appendix for figures that provide breakdowns for each state and for large urban districts.

The most affluent districts already receive substantially more resources than their less affluent peers, and they could afford to spend more on the most disadvantaged students. These low-poverty districts collect more than $1,500 more per student than high-poverty districts. See Figure 2 below.

ESEAportability-webfig2

On the other hand, it has been long recognized that low-income students need additional resources and support to have an equal opportunity for success in college and career. Moreover, low-income students attending school with high concentrations of similarly economically disadvantaged students need even more support to overcome the burdens and barriers erected by poverty. Title I is how the federal government attempts to meet its obligation to these students. This targeted approach has helped ensure that low-income students do in fact receive more resources and support and that their right to a high-quality education is protected. More targeting, not less, is the appropriate policy response to our country’s growing student poverty.

Under portability, each low-income student is provided with the same allocation of federal funds. As a result, the marginal increases in funding that current law provides to students as a district’s poverty level increases have been eliminated. Simply put, this funding system ignores the fact that concentrated poverty has a significant negative impact on students beyond their own economic circumstances. Ultimately, portability weakens the ability of Title I dollars to combat the adverse effects of poverty.

CAP is not the first organization to point out that portability hurts the most-disadvantaged students. Recently, the American Association of School Administrators argued that portability eliminates the flexibility that current law affords it to decide on which grades to focus Title I resources. Instead, as a consequence of portability, districts might need to spend Title I money across all grades even if that approach would not be most effective for their students. The National Coalition for Public Education—which includes 50 organizations, including the Children’s Defense Fund and the National Urban League—has also written that portability would expand the amount of students served through Title I and result in the poorest districts getting less of overall Title I dollars.

The Title I, Part A, funding formulas do need to be improved, but abandoning them altogether fails to serve the students that the law is meant to support. CAP has recently recommended a formula change that removes unfair factors in the current formulas. Not only does the bill proposed by Chairman Alexander not attend to these issues, but it also actually changes Title I allocation for the worse. In essence, the bill allows states to take from the poor to give to the rest.

We can all agree that draining funds from resource-starved school districts is poor policy. Yet portability betrays our national commitment to protect every student’s right: Regardless of class, race, disability, or country of origin, they have equitable access to a high-quality education. CAP strongly recommends that Congress eliminate the portability requirement from any reauthorization of ESEA.

ESEAportability-webtable1

ESEAportability-webtable2

ESEAportability-webtable3

Max Marchitello is a Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress. Robert Hanna is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women’s issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi (immigration, race and ethnicity)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

BOE Seeking Input for 2015-16 Budget

BOARD OF EDUCATION

 FINANCE COMMITTEE BUDGET WORKSHOPS

 6:30 P.M. – Board of Education – Room 36

The Bristol Board of Education Finance Committee will be holding budget workshops in preparation of the 2015-2016 Board of Education budget.

The workshop dates are as follows:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015 *

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

 * Also a Regularly Scheduled Meeting

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

2015 Legislative Issues Conference

2015 Legislative Issues Conference

Date:

Saturday 02/21/2015 – 8:30am2:00pm

Annual conference that features planning and discussion of key public policy issues AFT Connecticut and affiliated unions are pursuing in the General Assembly’s 2015 legislative session.
Registration begins at 8:30AM — conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00AM. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Agenda:
  • Labor’s Legislative Agenda: Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Connecticut AFL-CIO
  • Education Rundown: Co-Chairs of the Education Committee
  • Legislative Testimony 101: Learn about the public hearing process and how to write effective legislative testimony
  • Connecticut Budget Process: Sen. Beth Bye, Chair of the Appropriations Committee
  • Recruiting and Running Candidates to Serve on Town Committees
Invited speakers include Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and House and Senate Leadership.
Free parking available in the Legislative Office Building (LOB) parking garage.
Click here for a brief video on what to expect from the event that you can share with union colleagues.
Click here to register to attend — participation is limited to dues-paying members of AFT Connecticut affiliated unions.
Room 1D, Legislative Office Building

300 Capitol Ave.

Hartford, CT

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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