Saturday, May 21, 2016

Castle Park Promise Neighborhood continues to conceal results of $60,000,000.00 grant

Voice of San Diego published a story about SDUSD board member Kevin Beiser urging parents to opt out of standardized testing (see below). But I don't think the real story is Kevin Beiser. I think it's Promise Neighborhood.

Promise Neighborhood Institute gave a $60 million grant to Castle Park neighborhood and schools in December 2012. So what do you get for $60,000.000.00? It's anyone's guess. Promise Neighborhoods conceals Castle Park results.

What improvements in student performance have been seen since the money started being spent in early 2013?  Strangely, Promise Neighborhoods took credit for improvements in the spring 2013 test scores at Castle Park Middle School though some think that the new principal, not Promise Neighborhood, deserved credit for the student progress.

But I'd be willing to give Promise Neighborhoods some of the credit if test scores had gone up again in spring 2014.  But strangely, Promise Neighborhoods is silent about those scores.

In fact, Promise Neighborhoods doesn't seem to want people to see its own June 2013 article by Samuel Sinyangwe announcing the spring 2013 scores.

Promise Institute took down its original website, but the article was concealed even before the website went dark, and it is also missing from the new website. Here's all the information that the new website is giving about Castle Park: vista_070615_b.pdf

If a $60 million grant isn't working, shouldn't Promise Neighborhoods be honest about it?  Who is gaining from their secrecy? Are they afraid that competent people might be brought in to replace the folks who are spending large sums of money?

Why are some schools so afraid of test results? Because they don't know how to improve them. For many, of not most, teachers, test preparation is just a bunch of boring worksheets, not fun lessons on logic and concepts.

Beiser Encouraged Castle Park Students Not to Take State Tests
By Mario Koran
Voice of San Diego
May 16, 2016

Kevin Beiser, who serves on the San Diego Unified School Board, sent a note to students and parents in his Castle Park Middle School class days before the class was set to take mandated state tests. In it, he encouraged students to opt out of the tests — something that’s forbidden by the state’s Education Code.

...Parents and educators oppose testing for a number of reasons, ranging from resistance to the possibility of sanctions imposed on teachers and schools to skepticism of profiteering by testing companies.

Yet, groups that want to preserve testing – including the NAACP, National Council of La Raza and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund – argue that standardized testing reveals disparities that exist between students.

Last year, civil rights groups wrote in a joint statement: “There are some legitimate concerns about testing in schools that must be addressed … But we cannot fix what we cannot measure. And abolishing the tests or sabotaging the validity of their results only makes it harder to identify and fix the deep-seated problems in our schools.”

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