Home > Uncategorized > “Typical” Remediation

“Typical” Remediation

November 25, 2013

Last week, Oklahoma school districts received their allocation notices for two major reform programs: the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) and Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE). The RSA money is based on counts of current K-3 students reading below grade level, as assessed by one or more benchmarks. The ACE money is based on the number of students who scored below proficient on the Spring 2013 assessments for seventh and eighth grade math and reading, and any End of Instruction (EOI) exam.

The per pupil allocation for RSA is about $76. For ACE, it is about $66 for each student with an unsatisfactory score and about $50 for each student scoring limited knowledge. If a “typical” district has a going rate for tutoring of $15-20 per hour, and schools decide to use their money this way, there would be enough funds for three to five sessions per student. This, of course, would leave nothing for materials, software, summer programs, or professional development – which is how the SDE recommends districts spend 25 percent of their RSA funds.

The “typical” district has to decide how to manage this. Is it better to invest resources for students in need of the greatest assistance now (third graders, and high school students needing help before re-testing on an EOI) or in those in danger of being harmed by the current laws later (K-2 students, and eighth and ninth graders)? Should we focus on tutoring now, including time away from music, art, and PE, or just plan on having RSA summer school? Should we keep middle school and high school students out of elective courses or provide last-minute cram sessions before the winter and spring re-testing windows?

Complicating this decision-making process is the fact that districts don’t know until November how much funding to plan for. The quantity is finite, and the state splits it up among all participants. In the case of RSA, the SDE has to wait for all districts to report the number of students reading below grade level to slice the pie (in spite of statutory reporting deadlines). In the case of ACE, as they pointed out last week, we know that there are 30,806 more students needing remediation than there were a year ago. We also know that Biology was the only EOI in which the state average pass rate decreased in 2013.

Every district in Oklahoma has to make these choices. Each has to make them differently. See, in Oklahoma, there is no such thing as a “typical” district. The sizes vary – from fewer than 100 students to over 40,000. Some are remote, some are densely populated, and some have both rural and urban characteristics. Poverty levels are different, as are the levels of support from home and community.

The one constant among all districts is the lack of support from the state.

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  1. November 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Please post the distributions for each district? I’ve long questioned the “a day late and a dollar short” philosophy of this system given that in the best case scenario students would be pulled from core instruction or give up important elective instruction for remediation for extremely late and limited “remediation” or “test prep.” What’s the pass rate after the remediation? What if instead we seriously invested in improving core instruction and targeted intervention/acceleration for all students as part of a redesigned school day/year that better meets and matches the expectations for a post-industrial, post-agrarian global economy. Teachers and students both need more and better time for learning.

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    • November 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Great questions and concerns, Lisa….The OSDE cares SOOOO much about our kids. $76 per kid…but not really…to support remediation. But a request for a 300% increase in funding for charter school incentives.

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      • November 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm

        You’re absolutely right. While the SDE is asking for huge increases to both RSA and ACE funding, the proposed increase for charter school incentives far outpaces either.

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    • November 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      I would love to have allocation information – both for RSA and ACE. If I can get it, I promise to post.

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  2. November 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Based on “actions speak louder than words”, Oklahoma leaders would prefer to incarcerate those who fail our underfunded education systm.

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  3. Kirby Lehman
    November 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I do not miss any of your posts. Thank you for your effort, your accuracy, and for the use of your valuable time.

    Your perception of what is happening in/with/to public education in Oklahoma is, unfortunately, 20-20. It is amazing to me that every educator and the parents/guardians of all public education students in Oklahoma are not routinely bombarding their local legislators with detailed information similar to what you have shared in the posting below.

    Until legislators understand there is a broad level of dissatisfaction with the lack of support for public education in this state, little will change. Of course, the previous statement includes the supposition that there IS general dissatisfaction among educators and parents. Sadly, the limited “action” on the part of those two groups suggests I am mistaken. Too bad . . . for the future of our children and for the future of Oklahoma.

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