As a secondary ed. teacher in the Granite District, I can attest first-hand to
the extreme waste in technology funds--hundreds of thousands of dollars on
software and programs that are not used or that nobody wants to use.I wish the D-News would do some investigative reporting on where all the
technology appropriated funding goes. Case in point, "Canvas"--the
dopey brainchild of Superintendent Bates--basically a homework blog that no one
uses because it's so convoulted and un-user friendly--Granite already has
homework blogs that work perfectly, but Mr. Bates spent hundred of thousands of
dollars on this piece of software--without testing it first and without the
approval of the users (teachers, parents, and students).This is a
rampant problem in education with "technology money"--you've got a
bunch of slick salepeople making their pitches to administrators who feel they
need to spend the technology money on something--anything. I encounter software
program after software program that leaves me scratching my head because no one
has bothered to see if it actually works without a million glitches (My Access,
SRI, Accuity, etc.).
If this passes can we at least get a Utah company to write the software and
implement the testing program?I worked on writing some of the CRT
test that we now use and the state contracted with some company back east to
write the test. What did the company do? They came to Utah and hired us
teachers to write test questions at $100 a day (yes it was that pitiful). We
did the work, they collected the money. Then the company chose the most
obscure, hard to understand questions that were in the pool. The CRTs have been
a joke and pretty worthless. I'd be happy to see them go away but hope that we
get something much better to replace them.
The legislature continues to change tests, standards and criteria every year.
There is no scientific basis for what they have done and will continue to do.
The ever-changing shell game of testing is actually an expensive charade the
state plays with the feds over NCLB. Each testing change makes past data
unreliable in charting student's actual progress, and keeps reports of how well
our students are doing from being accurately reported. CAT is just the latest
Utah testing scheme to arrive. It is also the worst and most expensive scheme
simply because no other state has established its scientific reliability. Utah
should not be the guinea pig. Our kids have suffered enough! If
the legislature actually wants to HELP education, they should allow educators to
teach without the constant interference. Students, parents and teachers would
benefit if education was allowed to be consistent and routine. The state should
stop altering things without real cause AND scientific data supporting the
change. Neither of these things is in the cards for schools till people
actually vote politicians that are for public education.