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The Churn: Teacher accused of CSAP help

Updated 12:30 p.m.Poudre district Superintendent Jerry Wilson is recommending the firing of a veteran middle school math teacher because she allegedly gave students inappropriate help on tests administered earlier this year.

Wilson told the school board last night that he had to invalidate the math scores of 23 students because of the actions of 21-year Webber Middle School teacher Julie Pfeifer.

A large crowd of Pfeifer supporters attended the board meeting and urged she not be fired. The case has to be heard by an administrative law judge before ultimately being decided by the board. Full story from Fort Collins Coloradan, via our partners at 9News.com

Good reads from elsewhere:

Results from the latest National Assessment of Education Progress history tests found that eighth graders scored better in 2010 than students did on the last test in 2006, while fourth and 12th grade scores showed no change.

Among other discouraging results, “only 9 percent of fourth graders could identify a photograph of Abraham Lincoln and state two reasons for his importance,” reports Joy Resmovits on Huffington Post.

The news is likely to bring on the usual rounds of handwringing by politicians, editorial writers and educators. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chimed in early, saying, “We need to return U.S. history to its rightful place in the classroom so that our children grow up learning what it means to be an American.”

The “rightful place” of history in the classroom has been a concern in Colorado. The State Board of Education, voting unanimously last December on the requirements for a new statewide testing system, agreed that social studies should join science as a test given at least once in elementary school, middle school and high school.

Social studies teachers lobbied hard for that. A witness at one hearing frankly argued that given the importance Colorado places on statewide tests, the only way to ensure social studies would continue to be taught is to make it a tested subject.

There hasn’t been much talk about the issue since the board vote. New tests to replace the CSAPs won’t roll out until 2013-14 at the earliest. And, adding a set of tests will have to swim against the tide of concern about the (unfunded) cost of a new testing system and about the amount of time state students already spend on standardized tests.

NAEP tests are administered periodically in a wide variety of subjects. Although the tests are taken only by representative samples of students across the country, all participating students take the same test. That’s why the organization bills its reports as “the nation’s report card.” Go here for full details on the latest history tests.

In case you’ve forgotten, the song “Wonderful World,” was recorded by Sam Cooke in 1958 and starts out:

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

Summer slide: A new study of both previous research and school district and other data confirms that students can lose as much as a month of academic progress over the summer, but that summer programs can help stem that loss. Rand Corporation

Charters under the microscope: New research by Stanford University on charter schools in Pennsylvania asserts that the state’s charters, on average, make smaller learning gains compared to traditional counterparts. The study did find examples of strong charters but was especially cautionary about the quality of online charters. Allentown Morning Call

The Churn is published periodically during the summer.

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