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Teacher Blames SPS System for Student Entrapment; Mom Says Not So Fast, If SPS Told the Teacher to Stick My Son's Head in the Toilet, Would She Do It?

Another item in the news you
will read nowhere else.


Second Such Incident At Same Location In
Last 10 Months; Similar Occurrences in Los
Angeles, New York, Atlanta.


Chicago, Illinois-- Many teachers rely on them
to get the kids where they need to be, but when
it comes to Student Positioning Satellites
(SPS) how much trust is too much?

On Tuesday morning, paramedics had to use the
jaws of life to rescue a six-year-old when a
pile of 63,418 DIBELS practice sheets fell on
him. His condition is listed as "stable" at a
local hospital.

The teacher, who asked that her name be
withheld, acknowledges that the incident was
unfortunate but that she was just following SPS
orders. She observed that the SPS device "Keeps
us on our toes. Anybody who doesn't remain 100%
time on task easily falls behind. And we are
determined to leave no child behind."

Informed sources said that a similar incident
occurred in a third grade classroom at the
school in February, during intensive test prep
for Illinois Standards Achievement Test ISAT).
A spokesman for PEM Solutions (Pearson
Educational Measurement Solutions), stated that
the company which is used in Illinois and
elsewhere to "create, deliver, score, report,
and analyze summative, formative, and
alternative assessments, and provides many
other custom online and paper-based testing and
reporting services," said the company has "no
comment" on the jaws of life extraction
situation.

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings'
office pointed out that this tragic accident
should not detract from the fact that the SPS
curriculum directional unit is the tool that
has become indispensable to the modern
practitioner. "SPS literally tells a teacher
what to do next in her classroom."

M. P. Z. Jefferson, SPS Coordinator for the
Chicago Public Schools, acknowledged that the
teacher's over dependence on SPS might have
contributed to the unfortunate incident. "The
teacher is an enthusiastic and dedicated
graduate of the highly lauded Teach for
America program. With experience, she will be
able to more carefully tune the device."

Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn
Stewart pointed out that the union is
cooperating with the district in using part of
its $28 million federal grant to offer teacher
training and staff bonuses for training on the
use of the SPS devices, part of a national
initiative that encourages schools to try
different pay structures for teachers working
in at-risk schools who get those test scores
up.

The program, Supporting Teachers Using
Procuracy in Direction (STUPID), is part of a
national initiative funded by the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation and the Broad
Education Foundation.

The child's mother, whose name is being
withheld to respect her and her son's privacy,
wants an explanation. "Last week, a child in
this classroom started screaming and banging
his head on the desk because the SPS directive
made him sick. Today the teacher, following SPS
directions, gives my son 63,418 worksheets to
complete before he can go to the restroom. I
want to know: If SPS told the teacher to stick
my son's head in the toilet, would she do it? "

Teachers report student-injury-by-worksheet in
the other SPS test sites--New York, Atlanta,
and Los Angeles. A spokesman for the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation offered the
suggestion, "Projects can ask for a grant
addendum to buy jaws of life so they are
readily available on the premises."

— Susan Ohanian
The Eggplant

2008-10-01


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