Chicago school rations bathroom visits

A Chicago elementary school, facing closure for low test scores, is rationing bathroom visits, reports Anthony Cody in his Ed Week Teacher blog. Here’s the memo sent to teachers:

Dear Faculty,

Welcome back and Happy New Year! In order to maximize student learning and reduce the loss of instructional time, we are implementing two new restroom policies.

1. Designated Restroom Times – Take your class to use the restroom only during your allotted time so that multiple groups of students are not competing to use the facilities. Also, the expectation is that the restroom break should last only five minutes. Before leaving for the restroom, clearly communicate the behavioral expectations and the time limit. Use your watch or stopwatch to time the students and praise them when they meet the behavior and time expectations. . . .

2. Restroom Passes – In addition to scheduled restroom breaks, students will be given restroom passes to use if they need to use the restroom outside of the scheduled time. Students will be given two restroom passes to use between now and the end of the quarter. They can choose to hold on to them and trade them in for a reward at the end of the quarter. 

. . . Have students fill in their names as soon as they receive them. Passes are invalid if names are crossed out for another name.

For the upper grades, students can use one teacher’s pass in another classroom, but they still only get the same number of passes per quarter.

Use a class roster to have student initial next to their name to indicate that they received the passes.

Have students fill in the “time out” and “time in” and then turn the pass in to the teacher when finished. This will help them practice the CCS of telling time with both digital and analog clocks.

This micromanagement shows “intense pressure to raise test scores,” writes Cody. He provides another memo with bulletin board guidelines.  

Bulletin Boards should reflect the academic rigor and the differentiated instruction of the Common Core State Standards that are taking place in the classroom and school.  Bulletin board work should . . . be attractive, stimulating learning stimuli — not mere decoration.  No worksheets are allowed and avoid commercial materials.  In addition, each bulletin board must have an “I Can” statement in student-friendly language, rubric, specific feedback, title, and a brief (2-3 sentences) description of the activity that took place to produce the work.  Classroom bulletin boards should have current work (nothing past 2 weeks).

One wonders: Why is there so much teacher turnover? (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

My very large high school locked most of the restrooms to prevent smoking. (Teachers had rebelled against restroom patrol duty.) I learned planning and self-control.

Spending skyrockets, scores don’t

While spending per-student has “taken off like a moonshot ,” SAT “scores have stayed the same or declined, reports Neal McCluskey at Cato @ Liberty. The fact that more students are taking the SAT doesn’t account for “the overwhelming lack of correlation between spending and scores,” especially as National Assessment of Education Progress scores also have flatlined.

Conservatives are incoherent on federal education policy, McCluskey adds, criticizing Rick Hess and Andrew Kelly of the American Enterprise Institute for their analysis of federal micromanaging. An addiction to spending federal money and a love of ”standards and accountability” leads to “a great big refuse heap of squandered money, red tape, educational stagnation, and political failure.” Yet Hess and Kelly don’t call for the feds to get out of education policy.