From “Tales of an Educated Debutante” -NC Public Schools Are In Danger

From Adrian Harrold Wood – posted on her blog Tales of an Educated Debutante:


NC Public Schools Are in Danger

Attorney Mark Johnson, also NC’s Superintendent, has once again made a decision that directly contrasts with what expert committees recommended to him.

His announcement to replace mCLASS/Amplify with Istation leaves districts gravely concerned. One superintendent shared, “No one asked us. How are we supposed to train teachers who won’t be back until mid August? What about the thousands of dollars we spent last year on mCLASS materials?”

Amplify has been used successfully to evaluate NC’s children as readers. Part of that is Dibels, the strongest research based measurement to determine risks in all areas of reading.

In short, teachers assess children by listening to them read. They listen for first sound fluency, ask children to retell the story and examine nonsense word fluency- this means a child reads a combination of letters that aren’t actually words.

In kindergarten, this process led to my oldest son being diagnosed with dyslexia when we realized he could not read words that he had not memorized.

Istation does not measure ANY expressive language components. Young children, like my Amos, will be expected to listen to sounds via a computer and click. Computer adaptive technology can not assess early literacy skills like a real person.

In the last year, two committees of NC educators were formed to assess literacy and related assessments. The committees, which included educators as well as DPI folks, made singular recommendations to Mr. Johnson, but he disregarded their recommendations.

According to one team member, “Mark Johnson’s decision went against the recommendations of the committee. He did not listen to the team that stated our schools need a tool that accurately determines risk in all domains of reading and serve as a screening for dyslexia (as required).

Instead, NC Superintendent Mark Johnson waited until the last day of the school year to surprise districts with his decision that students would have more screen time and more assessment time beginning in 2019-2020.

What happened to his listening tour? 
What happened to allowing districts to make decisions? 
What happened to research based practice?

Perhaps it suits Johnson’s political platform of “personalized learning.”

Rather than read to a teacher, a computer will churn out a score based on how many words a child can read per minute.

My Amos who is just five and has special needs is a gifted reader, yet it was his teacher that discovered his talent, not a computer.

Speak up, North Carolina. ❤️

Email State Board of Education members:

Email your legislators: