Friday, May 27, 2005

Indiana announces school construction guidelines

Facts:

Governor Daniels has recently issued executive order 05-19 which requires the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance to apply new guidelines to school construction in Indiana.

This executive order was based in part, on the following:

NEW CONSTRUCTION DATA:

Indiana's $126.40 per square foot cost for new construction projects was 3.4% higher than the national average of $122.25 per square foot.

Indiana's average size of 107,431 square feet per new building was 43.1% larger than the national average size of 75,055 square feet per new building.

Based in part, on these facts the following guidelines were issued:

GUIDELINES:

Indiana new school construction may not be approved unless it is less than 10% higher than the national average of $122.25 per square foot.

Indiana new school construction may not be approved unless consolidation and efficiency are considered. No small schools, only large efficient schools.

Based on this logic from the governor's advisers, here is the following satirical press release:

From the Alice and Wonderland World of Politics ...

Early this week, the governor's chief educational advisor David Shane, defended the governor's recent executive order that capped school construction costs.

"We can't believe that Indiana's school construction costs are about 3% over the national average," complained David Shane. "We must do something to stop this," he continued, "therefore we are directing the Department of No Local Government Financing to only permit school construction projects that are up to 10% over the national average. "

"We believe that this will be much more efficient, " he explained.

"And another thing," he continued, "we can't believe that Indiana's average new schools are approximately 100,000 square feet when the national average is 75,ooo. We must do something to stop this. Therefore, we will no longer consider any small schools that will not be efficient. From now on the Department of No Local Government Financing will only approve even larger buildings."

When asked if it was ironic to have a state agency called the Department of Local Government Financing directing how all local patrons spend their money, the governor's advisors said they had a new executive disorder coming out on this specific issue.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tagged by Joe Thomas

The Edusphere "tag you're it" game is still on. I have been "tagged" by Joe Thomas at "Shut up and Teach." I am therefore obliged to pick five from the following list and respond.

If I could be....

"If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure..."

Here are my five.

I would be...

a doctor. It would be nice to be in a profession that still enjoyed a general respect from the public. I love my work, but it can be wearisome being a political whipping boy from the powers that be. Doctors are starting to take their lumps, but by-and-large, they are still widely respected and compensated.

I would be...

a professor. I dream of creating a challenging and interactive post-graduate classroom preparing future school administrators who will be instructionally sound and put students first. My day will come.

I would be...

a psychologist. I have always enjoyed psychology, probably because I get to see so many unusual people at this level. By the time the angry parent gets to my desk, they have a variety of issues, many of them unsolvable.

I would be...

a llama-rider. No wait a minute, let me explain. I am an avid outdoorsman. Fishing, hunting, running, you name it. I haven't tried llama riding, but my wife wants an alpaca. Does that count?

I would be...

a modern-day Alaskan pioneer. I know Joe, it wasn't on the list, but I wouldn't mind trying it for a year. I would like to try an Alaskan lake cabin in the summer and fall, and a Colorado cabin in the winter and spring. Live off the land. Treat it with respect. And enjoy the magnificence of what our God has created.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Spring ISTEP Testing: It's Baaaack.

It's Back. Governor Daniels has announced that he intends to push for Spring ISTEP testing by going through the Indiana State Board of Education now that he couldn't get it done during the legislative session.

For the life of me, what is the big deal about switching the state ISTEP test back to spring, again! We have way more important fish to fry than to disrupt the entire accountability structure through another testing change.

For one thing, at least one-third of Indiana's schools are members of the North Central Association (NCA). NCA uses a variety of assessments, including ISTEP, as statistical measures for analyzing changes in student achievement. When a testing switch is made in the middle of a school improvement cycle, it disrupts the school's accountability measures.

I haven't heard one rational reason for the change other than the fact that David Shane, the Governor's education policy advisor wants to. Shane says it won't cost more and we can just move to online testing. That announcement was met with hysterical laughter from everyone in the industry who heard it. It clearly shows that David Shane has never followed the CORE 40 Online Assessment pilot program. Most Curriculum Directors with CORE 40 testing responsibilities are now bald from pulling their hair out trying to figure out how to schedule hundreds and hundreds of students through computer labs within a narrow testing window. Most schools continue to give the tests in paper and pencil versions due to technology snafus. Imagining this on a statewide basis with millions of students taking online assessments is really comical.

Won't cost any money huh David? How about the millions of dollars in technology upgrades which will raise the CPF tax rates for the local patrons?

You're right - it won't cost more.............just like the legislature didn't raise taxes either.

Too bad the Governor won't use his elected Republican State Superintendent of Instruction for some sage advice.

Clearly there must be something else going on, besides the fact that testing at the end just sounds better to someone.

So how's He doing?

Poll: 49% disapprove of Daniels’ performance

Quoted from the Sunday Fort Waye Journal Gazette On-line:

A new independent poll shows Hoosiers aren’t enamored with Gov. Mitch Daniels’ job performance so far.

According to a Survey USA poll taken over Mother’s Day weekend, only 42 percent of Hoosiers approve of Daniels’ job while 49 percent disapprove.

The polling firm conducted similar surveys on governors in all states.

The Indiana Democratic Party points out that Survey USA has been accurate in the past, such as when it predicted Daniels was ahead in the campaign with 53 percent of the vote, his eventual winning total.