Mill Valley teacher quits amid STAR investigation

A popular Mill Valley elementary school teacher resigned Friday after what officials concluded was "adult testing irregularity" on her students' standardized test results. Full Story
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Gordy Hall

Oakland, CA

#1 Feb 13, 2009
Any teacher worth anything at all knows that these tests are a farce, forced on schools nation-wide by a bunch of RW extremists and nuts who know nothing about education, but know quite a bit about manipulation and how to screw up the educational process.

Marin county schools should reject the 'Star Tests', and focus on real education.
Rational approach

San Anselmo, CA

#2 Feb 13, 2009
Thought one: A teacher is caught cheating on her student's tests, and she gets a half year off with pay and a hushed-up departure. Criminal.

Thought two: I've heard the criticism that teachers "teach to the STAR test". So what. At least they teach SOMETHING, which in many cases wasn't happening before. Only the truly lazy want to work in a field where their work product can't be measured in any fashion. That way they can slack off forever and nobody can prove it.
Gordy Hall

Oakland, CA

#3 Feb 13, 2009
'Rational approach' shows that they belong to the group that knows nothing of the educational process, nor what 'teaching' and 'learning' actually are.
looker

Newark, CA

#4 Feb 13, 2009
I don't know what kind of questions the STAR tests consists or. I took some kind of tests in grammar schoo after which the school officials had me skip some grades.
Rational approach

San Anselmo, CA

#5 Feb 13, 2009
Gordy, the word "they" is a plural pronoun. Who are you talking about?
How TheyDoIT

United States

#6 Feb 13, 2009
This teacher is held in the highest regard by the parents and students at her school. Funny, how bureacrats, on one hand don't listen to parents and taxpayers regarding reigning in their excesses...and when a relatively minor "maybe" irregularity occurs....:they" oversized management...five degrees of separation from being hands on in the classroom..once again listen to no one and negatively impact our schools again. Glad we are paying all the taxes for their "wisdom:". pathetic.
Van McCoy

San Francisco, CA

#7 Feb 13, 2009
Rational approach wrote:
Gordy, the word "they" is a plural pronoun. Who are you talking about?
Nice comeback.

And this is the proper outcome for this matter.
The parents and other teachers are just like cheating politicos wanting "just move on" and "put this behind them" ,meaning...get away with cheating.
Death N Taxes

Chino, CA

#9 Feb 13, 2009
Gordy Hall wrote:
'Rational approach' shows that they belong to the group that knows nothing of the educational process, nor what 'teaching' and 'learning' actually are.
.....she cheated, she got caught, she quit------she's pathetic! Her Union probably could have saved her job.....they're the ones that keep horrible teachers in the classroom. Keeping her on would have set a bad example.
Concerned parent

Illescas, Spain

#10 Feb 14, 2009
Won't someone think of the children!?!?!?
truth be told

San Francisco, CA

#11 Feb 14, 2009
How TheyDoIT wrote:
This teacher is held in the highest regard by the parents and students at her school. Funny, how bureacrats, on one hand don't listen to parents and taxpayers regarding reigning in their excesses...and when a relatively minor "maybe" irregularity occurs....:they" oversized management...five degrees of separation from being hands on in the classroom..once again listen to no one and negatively impact our schools again. Glad we are paying all the taxes for their "wisdom:". pathetic.
"minor" irregulatiry ???? Isn't a teacher supposed to be teaching students how to learn and not CHEAT ? She cheated for her students (and for herself)....she resigned (seems like an admission of guilt to me). If she didn't do it and she is this great teacher, she would have fought tooth and nail to keep her job. You are probably the same type of TYPE A Marin parent who would be okay with your kid cheating as long as it got then into their IVY League school of choice. And then they go on to be the next Bernie Madoff !!! Proud Parent !!
mcross

San Rafael, CA

#12 Feb 14, 2009
Whether or not testing students is appropriate is not the issue.
Whether or not Ms. Siskin is a nice person and an otherwise good teacher is also not the issue.
The issue is whether Ms. Siskin cheated or not. If she did, which seems highly likely based on the Superintendent's letters to us parents, she should not be teaching. Period.
Peninsula Mom

San Francisco, CA

#13 Feb 14, 2009
mcross wrote:
Whether or not testing students is appropriate is not the issue.
Whether or not Ms. Siskin is a nice person and an otherwise good teacher is also not the issue.
The issue is whether Ms. Siskin cheated or not. If she did, which seems highly likely based on the Superintendent's letters to us parents, she should not be teaching. Period.
I concur. The problem inherent with any resolution process is that, whatever the outcome, there are those who believe that the facts did not come out, and they will want the system to continue to look for it. For those who believe the facts have been uncovered, the matter is settled, and they do want to "move on" - because they believe that it is in the child's best interest to do so. Timing plays a part also here - the children are on break now, there is an opportunity here to give the current and/or next teacher some time to review what has happened to this classroom and work to repair and restore the learning process. I am not a parent in this class, but if I were, I would do my best to see that the teacher going forward is positioned to succeed with my child's learning and those of her classmates.
Mr RW

San Leandro, CA

#14 Feb 14, 2009
This is the expected outcome and the one that had to occur.
Figure Gore-dy had to attack the "RW" and not even address the issue: She is a cheater, unfit to be a role model to any child, and quite possibly a liar as well.
The Teachers Union had their 2 thugs with this disgraceful person, in order to ensure her "rights" were upheld. Typical Unions...forget about the children, who are the real victims.
You just have to love some of the responses on this message board from the apologists of the status quo: 1) Testing is bad, 2) It is not really showing what the kids are learning, 3) They're just "teaching to the test."
I certainly hope they are teaching to the test: That's the point.
mattoid66 of San Rafael

Pleasant Hill, CA

#15 Feb 14, 2009
Get the government out of education all together. Disband the teacher's union.

Privatization would promote competition which, in turn, would produce a better education system.

I went to Jameson Hall in San Rafael in the 70's. My folks paid a pretty penny for it so they took way more of an interest in my studies. The teachers and students instilled a sense of shame if you didn't show any effort. When I went to TLHS I was given the EXACT SAME TEXT BOOKS that I used in 7th grade!

Why is Calif. 48 out of 50? Because public schools have become not only a publicly funded baby sitting service but because of fear of litigation, teachers can't force any discipline.

A majority of kids I know have no knowledge of history or perspective. It's really pathetic.
Tara

United States

#16 Feb 15, 2009
Mattoid, the statistic that you give re: CA being 48th out of 50 relates to the amount of spending per pupil.

The reason CA public schools are struggling is because over the years, the state of CA has taken away more and more funding, and so more and more has been cut: no teacher aids, no music or art unless privately funded by PTAs ans Foundations, not enough yard duty helpers unless parents are willing to volunteer...I could go on and on. With the current CA budget crisis, they are looking to make even more cuts to public education which means potentially: bigger class sizes, am/pm kindergarten, laying off teachers, cutting middle school electives...

The teachers do the best they can, and given what they are paid and the State's lack of emphasis on education, they are doing a damn good job.
So who did it

United States

#17 Feb 15, 2009
There are different versions of the STAR test for each student in the classroom, are we to believe this teacher took the time to go back and retake 25 different tests for the students in her classroom? And I have a hard time understanding why she would be at all motivated to spend the huge amount of time required to do this, or how that time would even be available given the strict custody procedures that are usually in place with these tests (ie- pick up tests, give tests, give tests back to administrator). I'd like to know what the kids remember from the testing.
Judge and Jury

United States

#18 Feb 15, 2009
However you feel about it, it's sure a good thing we're all here to publicly pass judgment without having all the facts available.
mcross

San Rafael, CA

#19 Feb 16, 2009
(sigh): The superintendent of the MV school district has made all the facts available to the parents in the district. Someone changed SOME of the answers for tests in that class and in no other. Wrong answers (not all; some) were erased and changed to correct answers, thus boosting the scores.
Bottom line? The teacher changed the tests. She is by all reports a warm wonderful person who by every other measure is an excellent teacher. Unfortunately, she cheated and got caught. It is sad for her and even sadder for the children who had their teacher changed midyear. She did the right thing, finally, by resigning so the school can move forward.
whistle

Santa Clara, CA

#20 Feb 16, 2009
Is it likely that this teacher has been changing scores over the years, although to a lesser extent previously? The test people say it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
Rational approach

San Anselmo, CA

#21 Feb 16, 2009
Hey, "Judge and Jury", if it weren't for the union-enforced secrecy requirements here, we'd get to know "all the facts" as you call it. The teacher could waive all secrecy and have it all on the public record. She hasn't, so the secrecy must benefit her--as it does, because she can still claim to have "resigned". Alert cheater followers will make sure that all of the information on this incident follows her to her next job.

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