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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2/22/12 CN article Phil in the Blank - A Column by Phil Custodio - School Board "Free Speech"

Phil in the Blank - A column by Phil Custodio

MEAP mayhem  

(and school board "free speech")

February 22, 2012 - MEAP scores are in – check them out on page 5A.

Putting them together for the paper was a chore. This is not a back-to-basics endeavor. With all the different scales and percentages all over the place, you need a high score in the MEAP math test to figure out the results of the MEAP math test, along with all the others.

What an over-engineered mess.

Also confusing are the categories – Advanced, Proficient, Partially Proficient, and Not Proficient.

Based on my calculations, a third grader has to score 336 out of 427 points to be considered "Proficient" in math. If the score is between 322-335, the student is "Partially Proficient."

So to be proficient, one must get 78.7 percent of the answers correct, a high D or low C when I went to school. And this is with the new, tougher standards. Last year, a third-grade student just needed to get 300 out of 427 points, 70.3 percent, to be considered proficient.

Who in the adult, working world is considered "proficient" if they know less than 80 percent of their job?


I'm still working on the school board's free speech issue.

Their lawyer spoke to the board at their last meeting, schooling them on policies restricting what they can say in public. They're not supposed to say anything without an official disclaimer saying any and all things said are personal opinion, not reflecting the board, etc. etc.

Then I listened to board Treasurer Steve Hyer on WJR's podcast, broadcast live five days after that meeting. I didn't hear a disclaimer during the entire interview, even though the host twice specifically identified Hyer as a member of the school board.

During the school board meeting, board members argued the bylaws are not as restrictive as presented by the attorney. Hyer wasn't one of them, though. According to the Clarkston News story on the issue, he actually made the motion that each board member comply with the policy.

I'm still awaiting comment, but I can see the policy isn't as clear as school administrators or lawyers might think it is. District bylaws shouldn't trump the U.S. Constitution – that's clear.

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