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Foundations: The 2015 MacArthur "Genius" Everybody Overlooked

Little noticed in the annual flurry of attention given to MacArthur genius grant recipients -- including by me -- was that the Chicago nonprofit head who won is deeply involved in immigrant education and heads an organization that started a charter school a few years ago.

A day or so after the fact, the Charter Alliance made note of the event -- perhaps the first person involved with charter schools to win the award:

"In 2010, Mr. Salgado founded, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy,a charter school located on the Instituto del Progreso Latino campus in Chicago for grades 9-12. The academy prepares students for success in competitive colleges and universities while simultaneously providing job readiness certifications in entry-level positions with higher wages at the healthcare sector."

Truth be told, there wasn't much interesting in the grants from the people I follow on Twitter this year, even though some awardees are super strong on race and inequality issues. The NYT's Amy Virshup noted that one of the 2015 awardees -- also involved in education indirectly -- named Alex Truesdell had been profiled in the paper the year before. 

If and when someone solidly from the reform camp or its critics win the award, all hell will break loose.  But most of the folks who seem to win these things aren't ideological combatants but rather maker/creators who work from the middle. 

Related posts: Roland Fryer Wins MacArthur "Genius" Award (2011);   Deborah Bial: An Education "Genius" (2007); Educator Wins MacArthur "Genius (2010); Will An Educator Win A 2012 MacArthur Grant?The Genius Behind Teach For America (2007).

Charts: How Charters Ended Up Being Predominantly Urban

"According to the Bellwether report, 56 percent of charter-school students live in cities, versus just 29 percent of all U.S. children. (The remaining charter-school students are about evenly split between rural areas and the suburbs.) Relatedly, nearly two-thirds of the charter-school population is nonwhite, compared to about half of its regular public-school counterpart... Just a small percentage of Colorado’s charter-school population is identified as low-income, versus a solid majority of the students attending charters in D.C." Laura McKenna in The Atlantic (Why There’s Little Demand for Charter Schools in the Suburbs)

Quotes: Ohio Lawmaker Questions $32M Grant For Ohio Charters

Quotes2The charter school system in Ohio is broken and dysfunctional... The last thing we need is a black eye because the money went to a dysfunctional program that we knew was dysfunctional.

-- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in Washington Post (Ohio Congressman questions Arne Duncan’s $32 million charter grant)


Morning Audio: Home Visits & Racial Inequalities At Even The Best Schools

Check out this NPR segment I missed the first time around about home visits being done in some places:


Or, check out this WGN Radio segment about a new book by Amanda Lewis called "Despite the Best Of Intentions" (How does racial inequality thrive in good schools?)  that sounds pretty interesting.

From the promo copy: "On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high-achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latina/o students continue to lag behind their peers?"

AM News: NEA PAC Endorses Clinton, But Not All Teachers Agree

National Education Association PAC likes Clinton for 2016 Washington Post: The recommendation now goes to the NEA’s 174-member Board of Directors, which is meeting on Friday and Saturday. To win the endorsement, Clinton needs at least 58 percent of the board to vote for her, and most observers believe she’ll clear that hurdle. But that doesn’t mean there is unanimous support for Clinton among teachers. See also Teacher Beat, Politico, LA Times.

A look at deadliest shootings on or near US college campuses AP:  A shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday left 10 people dead and seven wounded, authorities said....

Chicago lowers graduation rate after errors found WBEZ: One school, Curie Metropolitan High School, labeled more than 100 dropouts every year as leaving to be homeschooled. Another 1,300 of the so-called transfers had no explanation of what school they were supposedly transferring to or were vaguely listed as going to different states or countries.

Head of DC schools addresses teacher and principal turnover in annual event Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson focused on signs of progress during her third­ annual State of the Schools event Wednesday night, including a recently released uptick in graduation rates, new investments in electives and college-level classes in the city’s high schools, and more engaging courses systemwide.

Following Charter Schools' Lead, One D.C. Public School Adopts Longer Year WAMU: Raymond Education Campus in Petworth is the first D.C. public school to try an extended school year, keeping students in school for 200 days instead of the traditional 180 days.

Bengali Students Need Teachers Who Speak Their Language WNYC: Most Bangladeshi immigrant students in New York City do not have a teacher like Chowdhury to help ease their way. While the Bangladeshi population has exploded — the city’s schools now enroll more than 6,500 Bangladeshi students — the number of Bengali-speaking teachers and bilingual programs has not kept pace. There are only three Bengali bilingual programs in the New York City schools. By contrast, there are more than 40 Chinese programs and upwards of 400 Spanish ones.

Closures, Charter Conversions and New Schools Proposed in Philadelphia District Dossier: Two school closures, two new schools, three charter conversions, and up to three district-led turnaround schools. Those were among the proposals announced Thursday in Philadelphia as Superintendent William Hite presented updated plans for the school district's future, one shaped by diminishing resources and the urgent need to improve school options for more students.

Newark Teachers Express Frustration With Current Merit Pay System HuffPost: But three years later, the contract has expired, and the new president of the local union says that it hasn't worked and that it's not a sure thing the teachers union will agree to keep the provision in its current form. Several Newark teachers said that they had real problems with the contract and that the merit pay hasn't worked, though none were willing to speak on the record for fear of reprisals.Talks for a deal to replace it haven't started, and the contract with the merit pay remains in place.

Thompson: Jennings's Call for Education Policy Worthy of Our Democracy

Jack Jennings's Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools is a must-read for anyone seeking to improve our public schools. Drawing upon a half century of political and education research, Jennings writes a history of federal involvement in school reform and makes sensible suggestions for the next era of school improvement.

Jennings chronicled the first generation of federal education reforms and their results. The ESEA Act of 1965 had big goals and it was well-funded.  From the mid-1960s to the 1980s, often fragmented federally funded efforts only produced modest improvements and they did not bring equity.  But, those gains now look pretty impressive in comparison to post-NCLB outcomes, especially since their funding did not increase in order to meet the ambitious goal of closing the Achievement Gap. To produce equity for the most disadvantaged students, who disproportionately were concentrated in high-challenge schools, a far greater investment into their entire learning environments would have been necessary.

Jennings then documents how and why NCLB accountability failed. He bluntly reminds us that "Tests do not a good education make.”  Moreover, “When it came to measuring student progress in school, NCLB got it wrong.” Pulling it all together, Jennings’s analysis of NAEP testing results shows:

It is ironic that from the 1970s to the early 2000s. achievement generally rose and achievement gaps generally narrowed, which would seem to refute the Title I evaluation results used to support the shift to test-driven reform.

He also concludes:

The long-term NAEP results showed gains, especially for Black and Hispanic students, until 2008. A disturbing finding, though, is that since 2008, achievement has not increased for students except for 13-year-olds, nor have achievement gaps narrowed between racial/ethnic groups.

Jennings is judicious in summarizing the evidence about the effectiveness of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, telling Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post  “The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement. ... They also did considerable harm.”

Then Jennings turns to solutions. First, he calls for a vigorous debate regarding the new direction that federal education policy should take. While I applaud that invitation, teaching in an era of failed test-driven reforms has made me more risk-adverse. But, Jennings’s closing paragraph has finally convinced me:

The biggest lesson I have learned over a half century of involvement in education politics and policy is that if you are not working to implement your own agenda, then you are working off someone else’s agenda. It is time public school advocates established their own ambitious agenda and set out to achieve it.

Continue reading "Thompson: Jennings's Call for Education Policy Worthy of Our Democracy" »

Charts: Poor Districts Funded Differently Based On Student Race

"On the surface, poor districts do receive more state funding than rich schools. But when he delved deeper into the data, sorting by race, what he found was disturbing." via The Atlantic (The Troubling Link Between School Funding and Race) "Black dots represent districts with no white students and white represents districts with 100 percent white students."

Morning Video: First Lady Drops The Mic (Plus "He Named Me Malala" Premiere)

Here's a roundup of the First Lady's Apollo Theater appearance earlier this week talking about #62milliongirls, via The Root: ‘There Is No Boy Cute Enough or Interesting Enough to Stop You From Getting Your Education’. See more at HuffPost.

Or, check out the LA Times' coverage of West Coast premier of Davis Guggenheim's latest documentary, and read more about it here.

7,000 high school girls attend West Coast premiere of 'He Named Me Malala'

High school girls from across L.A. County attended the West Coast premiere of director Davis Guggenheim’s ‘He Named Me Malala.’




AM News: Duncan Presses On ESEA; NEA Ponders Clinton Endorsement

Arne Duncan challenges the country to deal with educational inequity Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan thinks the chances that Congress will replace No Child Left Behind, the main K-12 federal education law now eight years overdue for revision, took a nosedive with House Speaker John Boehner's decision to retire.

Rank and file revolt? NEA's expected backing of Clinton has members fuming Fox News:  "Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members and is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a July press release. See also American Prospect: Hillary's Relationship Status with Labor: It's Complicated, also LA Times.

Suit to limit use of teacher union dues for political purposes is tossed Los Angeles Times: A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a lawsuit that, if successful, would have hindered the ability of teachers unions to raise money. 

Three quarters of traditional public schools in D.C. now require uniforms Washington Post: Most of the city’s affluent students don’t have to wear uniforms, following a national trend.

Three Urban Districts Lauded for Strong Governance, Strategic Vision District Dossier: The school boards in Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Lincoln, Neb., were awarded the 2015 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

With D.C. Schools No Longer 'Broken,' Next Step Is More Relevancy, Chancellor Says WAMU: Graduation rates are up, truancy is down, enrollment is up, and now DCPS must start focusing on doing even more for students, Chancellor Kaya Henderson said in her "state of the schools" remarks and in earlier comments to reporters.

American Graduate Day 2015 celebrates efforts to build student success PBS NewsHour: Those efforts will be celebrated Saturday, October 3 on PBS with American Graduate Day, a seven-hour event featuring celebrities, public figures and journalists like PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan exploring innovative solutions to the challenges that millions of students face every day.

A Tale of Two Schools WNYC: The Department of Education just released its new plan to rezone two schools in Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Presses On ESEA; NEA Ponders Clinton Endorsement" »

Charts: Asians Projected To Replace Hispanics As Top Immigrants

Asians -- not Hispanics -- will emerge as the largest immigrant group in the future, according to this Pew chart via Travis Pillow. Meantime: The white population is growing in many U.S. cities for the first time in years (Washington Post).

Maps: Most Suburbs Out-Graduate City Districts - Except Perhaps El Paso

image from p6cdn4static.sharpschool.com

From the Hechinger Report's Sarah Butrymowicz, who's been diving into graduation data from around the country: "I would love to find a major city school district graduating more students than its suburban counterparts because of academic excellence. For now the only city I can find outperforming its suburbs is El Paso, Texas, and there it’s because the suburbs are performing poorly."

AM News: Weather Delays NYC Charter Rally; Chicago Principals Protest Special Ed Cuts

After weather postpones education rally, debate on the ground likely to continue ChalkbeatNY: The rallies, which Families for Excellent Schools has staged since 2013, have become a potent weapon in the larger political battle the group is waging with the teachers union to influence education policy in the city and state. That battle has intensified as charter-school enrollment has grown to nearly 100,000 students and the city government under Mayor Bill de Blasio has cooled to the charter movement, which grew rapidly under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Special education cuts get focus at CPS board meeting WBEZ: Principals found out over the weekend that more special needs staff would be eliminated. CPS has never before cut special education staff after the first day of school. Officials said it was due to enrollment, but there was no correlation between enrollment declines and special education staffing cuts. Those cuts came in addition to 500 positions that were eliminated over the summer. See also Tribune.

Math content in schools adding to achievement gap, new study finds Washington Post: A peer-reviewed study published in the journal of the American Educational Research Association estimated that nearly 40 percent of the gap in U.S. student performance in math can be traced to that unequal access; the researchers attributed the remaining 60 percent to family and community background.

Graduation Rates Surge for D.C. Public Schools, Reaching 64 Percent in 2015 Washington Post: The percentage of high school students who graduated from D.C. Public Schools in four years increased by six points for the Class of 2015, reaching 64 percent, a significant boost after several years of incremental growth. A closely watched statistic in the District — and one that city leaders have vowed to improve — the graduation rate still rests well below the national average of 81 percent.

New York May Implement 'Total Reboot' On Common Core Daily Caller: Some of the names on the panel are national education figures: Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country's second-largest teachers union, and Geoffrey Canada is president of the Harlem Children's Zone

Shift $15 Billion in Prison Spending to Teacher Raises, Arne Duncan Urges PK12: The education secretary says that much could be saved by redirecting some non-violent offenders away from prison, and the money used to boost salaries at high-poverty schools. See also Washington Post.

In Houston's Gifted Program, Critics Say Blacks And Latinos Are Overlooked NPR: Houston school leaders asked Ford to take a close look at their enrollment in the program, and she gave it a failing grade. "Racial bias has to be operating, inequities are rampant. Discrimination does exist whether intentional or unintentional," she told the school board in May of this year.

History Repeats Itself in Brooklyn School Rezoning WNYC: There are indeed strong parallels between the situation with P.S. 307 now, and how P.S. 8 was viewed in the community, said David Goldsmith, president of the Community Education Council for District 13.  

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Weather Delays NYC Charter Rally; Chicago Principals Protest Special Ed Cuts" »

Books: An Anthropological Look At School Fundraising

image from www.tinyspark.orgI don't know much of anything about this, but a new book called A Good Investment? is coming out and it's written up at Tiny Spark (When a School Markets Students as Charity Cases):

"Amy Brown’s forthcoming book examines how a NYC public high school managed its image to donors and critiques big philanthropy’s role in public education. A Good Investment? Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School is based on her two years at the pseudonymous “College Prep Academy.”

According to LinkedIn, Brown is a "Critical Writing Fellow at University of Pennsylvania Critical Writing Program."

Magazines: Why You Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic Magazine Cover Story

There are lots of reasons not to read the latest Atlantic Magazine cover story, penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates: It's not about education. It's super-depressing. It's long. 

But there are some really good reasons to read it, anyway: It's at least partly about education. You'll learn some things you didn't know, probably.

First and foremost, Coates reminds us that so many of the people who end up incarcerated have been failed not only by society but also by schools:

"They just passed him on and passed him on." 

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 "I don’t know, it just didn’t look like a person of his age should be writing like that.”
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You'll also learned that the prison industry is now $80 billion a year, that it employs large numbers of mostly white workers to incarcerate large numbers of mostly black or brown prisoners, and that one of the people who predicted this period -- former US Senator Patrick Moynihan -- believed even way back then that service programs like Head Start wouldn't be enough to balance out the decades of mistreatment inflicted on black families. 

It -- along with The Case For Reparations and Coates' recent book, Between The World...., might well be the most-read and -remembered pieces of nonfiction writing of the last couple of years. 

Continue reading "Magazines: Why You Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic Magazine Cover Story" »

Quotes: Current Reform "Missing Pieces," Needs Mid-Course Corrections

Quotes2The approach to school reform starting with “A Nation at Risk” has run its course, and left us with this yawning gap that endangers America’s future, let alone that of these kids. It let officials at all levels talk tough about educational improvement, but without pursuing evidenced-based strategies and making mid-course corrections as required.

-- Chris Edley in EdSource (‘Several missing pieces to the current batch of reforms’)

Events: Reflections On Last Night's Newark Panel

While we're waiting for the event to be discussed on WNYC's Brian Lehrer later this morning, let me tell you what a strange, interesting time it was to my eyes in Newark yesterday evening at the WNYC-hosted panel to discuss the past and future of the Newark schools.

As has already been reported, the news out of the event was that while there's no clear timeline for returning the district to local control -- and no clear legal mechanism for doing so -- Cerf says that there will be no attempt to increase the percentage of kids being served by charter schools, either.

That's probably reassuring to charter critics and those who are focused on the district schools that still serve two thirds of the Newark kids but tremendously disappointing to charter advocates who point to Newark charters' academic success and long waiting lists of parents.  It may also have come as something of a surprise. At least one charter insider in the audience thought that Cerf was going to charterize the district. 

Beyond that news, there were all sorts of moments and dynamics that felt "off" to me (though they may not have had the same effect on other audience members).

First and foremost, there was the visual of Newark mayor Ras Baraka sitting next to grey-haired Chris Cerf, the appointed head of Newark schools. How and why Chris Christie chose an awkward preppy white guy to replace Cami Anderson is unclear to me and can't have been welcome news to Baraka and his supporters. Contrast the move with what happened in DC, where Kaya Henderson succeeded Michelle Rhee.

Part of the tension is structural. The two men are both deeply concerned about Newark schools, but neither is wholly in charge of Newark's mixed school system. The state oversees the school district, but the district doesn't really oversee the charter schools -- an ongoing governance problem raised several times in Russakoff's book. And of course, Cerf is pro-charter, an outsider, and all the rest. 

Unsettling matters further, Baraka and Cerf couldn't seem to decide last night whether they were going rehash and continue past battles that were the subject of Dale Russakoff's book, The Prize, or focus on trying to create the impression of a unified front looking to the future and working together.  They did a bit of both, but seemed like they were veering back towards old beefs as the night went on (and the audience's preference became clear).

Throughout, both men seemed to be resorting to sound bites and talking points rather than candor and honest reflection, though Baraka came off as a much better speaker in this context (and certainly had more of the audience members behind him). His mandate and responsibilities are much more focused. Cerf had the awkward task of defending the past, apologizing for it (including throwing some shade at Booker and Christie), and reassuring the public about future changes. (Cerf: "I suspect there were more than a few cases when now-Sen. Booker and Gov Christie overstated their case.")

By and large, Russakoff was woefully under-used during the 90-minute session, limited to a few initial observations and then left to the sidelines. It would have been especially interesting if Floyd had asked her to confirm or raise questions with the claims that Baraka and Cerf were making (several of which seemed possibly misleading or incomplete to me) or if she had just jumped in and said, "hey, wait a minute -- that's not right." But neither of those things happened. 

Wearing a cropped white jacket and fun glasses, Floyd was an enthusiastic and engaged moderator but seemed to struggle to keep panelist's answers short (especially Cerf) and to deal with audience members who wanted to ask more than one questions or refute panelist's answers to their questions.  Though she's spent a fair amount of time in Newark on this topic in the past few weeks, she also lacked the background information to question Baraka and Cerf's claims herself. (She also apparently had a panelist bow out at the last minute, and was unable to convince the head of the teacher's union to appear at the event though he did sit down for an interview earlier this year.)

She called Cerf out when he tried to glide past some of the past failures, but that was about it. Baraka admitted "of course there's bloating in the district" but that was about it. His answer to why more resources don't get into schools was incomprehensible (to me, at least). His sound bites were awesome, though. ("We can't fight inequality by creating more inequality," for example.)

So neither the moderate nor the journalist panelist was able or willing to do any live fact-checking against the claims being made onstage.

For me personally, it was fascinating to see some of the folks I'd been reading about and listening to in person up on stage, and to see a slew of familiar folks. My Spencer classmate Nancy Solomon was there -- she's currently heading the New Jersey bureau for WNYC. (I also got to meet Sarah Gonzalez, the NJ-based reporter who sometimes covers education for the station.) Former WSJ education reporter Barbara Martinez was in the audience.  Jennifer (Edushyster) Berkshire was somewhere in the audience, too.  

Morning Video: African Education Entrepreneur Wins "Genius" Grant


"Patrick Awuah is an educator and entrepreneur building a new model for higher education in Ghana. Read more here.

Related posts: Roland Fryer Wins MacArthur "Genius" Award (2011);   Deborah Bial: An Education "Genius" (2007); Educator Wins MacArthur "Genius (2010); Will An Educator Win A 2012 MacArthur Grant?The Genius Behind Teach For America (2007).

AM News: NEA To Endorse (Hillary), Apple (But Not Pearson) To Pay LAUSD

National Education Association Could Be Close to Endorsing Hillary Clinton PK12: Sources say that the National Education Association, the country's largest union, could endorse the Democratic candidate in a presidential primary battle as early as Friday.

LAUSD board to vote on $6.4M settlement proposal with Apple over iPad software KPCC: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told board members this week he’s negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with Apple Inc. and tech company Lenovo to resolve a dispute over faulty software on the tablets they sold to the district.

Arne Duncan to Charter Schools: Here's Millions in Grants, Be More Responsible PK12: The U.S. Department of Education is awarding millions under the Charter School Program to fund new charters and expand high-performing networks. See also Washington Post.

School Choice Fan Rep. Kevin McCarthy Could Be Next Speaker PK12: The California Republican, elected in 2006, doesn't have nearly as long a resume on K-12 as did current Speaker John Boehner going into the job.

New numbers show teacher prep numbers still falling SI&A Cabinet Report: Despite school districts statewide complaining about a shortage of credentialed applicants, a new report shows enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California continues to decline.

Teachers Union Criticizes Charter Perk WSJ: The new ability of New York charter schools to set aside seats for employees’ children drew fire Monday from the United Federation of Teachers, which said such “nepotism” defied charters’ stated goals of serving the neediest children. 

Michelle Obama highlights education with #62milliongirls CNN: On Saturday, first lady Michelle Obama announced a new campaign during the star-studded Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park to raise awareness of the issue. 

As Worries Rise and Players Flee, a Missouri School Board Cuts Football NYT: With safety concerns growing and more students choosing to play soccer and other sports, the football team at a suburban St. Louis high school was disbanded.

Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education NYT: Expeditions, a field-trip simulation program, will be offered free to schools as Google works to further develop virtual-reality technology.

Why wealthy Loudoun County does not have universal full-day kindergarten Washington Monthly: The superintendent of Loudoun County schools wants to expand full-day kindergarten, but it will be costly.

Chicago principals blindsided by more cuts to special needs WBEZ: In an unprecedented move, Chicago Public Schools plans to cut another $12 million from special education based on official enrollment numbers released late last week. Typically, special education staffing is left alone once the school year begins.

3 years later, results of LAUSD's arts experiment are mixed KPCC: In 2012, Los Angeles Unified school board members made arts instruction a core subject, designating it as important as subjects like math and English.  A KPCC analysis of the most recent district data found that at about 100 elementary schools, the vast majority of students get no arts instruction.

Aurora Bridge Crash: International Students Far From Family, But Not Alone Seattle Public Radio: Seattle-area community college students are planning a vigil this week to remember the five international students who lost their lives on the Aurora Bridge. That’s just one example of how students here help each other. Foreign students are thousands of miles away from their families, but they’re not alone.

Teaching: MasterClass Features Household Names Teaching What They Know


Watch out, Khan Academy, TED Talks, Coursera, and all the others who are trying to educate America via video. According to the NYT, here comes MasterClass, in which folks like Serena Williams, James Patterson, Usher, and Dustin Hoffman share their knowledge for $90 a course.

Campaign 2016: No, Sanders Doesn't Oppose Universal Education

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 1.42.57 PM

"A chart on the Internet said that Sanders does not support "requiring all children to have a K-12 education."

"However, it bases this claim on writings and campaigns from more than 40 years ago, and more recent legislative evidence indicates that Sanders supports a traditional view of K-12 education.

"We rate the claim False."

PolitiFact: Web graphic says Bernie Sanders doesn't support compulsory K-12 education

Maps: Where The 21 "Agency Fee" States Are -- For Now

image from educationnext.org
"Twenty-one states [in green] currently allow unions to collect agency fees to cover collective bargaining costs, and the unions in those states would have to reorganize if the plaintiffs win the Friedrichs case." New article via Education Next.

Quotes: Noguero On Why Obama Picked/Kept Duncan (& If Duncan Really Cares)

Quotes2Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.

- Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).

Quotes: Noguero On Why Obama Picked/Kept Duncan (& If Duncan Really Cares)

Quotes2Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.

- Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).

Pictures: Drop-Off Time At Two Adjacent Schools

The juxtaposed pictures of two schools during drop-off time accompanied last week's New York Times story about a proposed zoning change that would send students from one school to the other.

Morning Video: Pro-Charter Ad Slams NYC's De Blasio Gets Criticized As Racist

Politico New York's Eliza Shapiro posted this video from Families For Excellent Schools and wrote about it last week (New charter ad hits de Blasio on race). Then came the followup story in which some folks denounced the ad as being overly divisive (Critics call new charter school ad 'racist'). 

While it makes some uneasy, descriptions and accusations related to race and racism are all over the place in the past few years, including recent comments from Derrell Bradford, Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book, #educolor, and the This American Life series related to school integration. Just last week, white affluent Brooklyn parents were being accused of racism in response to a proposed school zoning stage (and affluent white parents in Chicago were being praised for their open-mindedness).  Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech related to #BlackLivesMatter.

On the substance of the matter, the NYT editorial page recently suggested that the DOE needed to move further, faster on failing schools. ProPublic recently slammed the universal preschool program for not adding enough low-income (minority) students. But he's also launched a big new initiative related to economic equality.

Related posts: Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling)Your Individual Racism Isn't Really The ProblemWorst Schools = The "New" Plantation.

AM News: Boehner Resignation Could Hinder ESEA Reauthorization

House Speaker Boehner, Key Architect of NCLB, to Resign From Congress PK12:&nbsdivp;Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce committee when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, and played a key role in shepherding NCLB through the legislative process. See also Washington Post.

LAUSD board to vote on $6.4 million settlement proposal with Apple over iPad software KPCC: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told board members this week he’s negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with Apple Inc. and tech company Lenovo to resolve a dispute over faulty software on the tablets they sold to the district. Most of the settlement money will come from Apple.

Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, and Malala Yousafzai Unite to Push for Girls' Education
TIME: Women and girls took center stage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City on Saturday night, with Beyoncé, Michelle Obama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai rallying more than 60,000 fans in support of girls' education. See also USNWR.

Study: Principals Satisfied with TFA Teachers Atlanta Journal Constitution: Most principals are satisfied with the Teach for America teachers in their buildings, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation. 

Black math scores lag the most in segregated schools Hechinger: More than half of the achievement gap could be attributed to factors inside the school.  Only about 15 percent of the achievement gap could be attributed to inequities in funding and resources between schools. The remainder of the achievement gap is an unexplained mystery. See also Washington Post.

Test scores complicate the debate over expanding L.A. charter schools LA Times: As the battle to greatly expand charter schools in Los Angeles begins, both sides are touting statistics they claim make their case.

White House honors teenager who inspires girls to do computer coding Washington Post: Swetha Prabakaran, 15, runs a nonprofit to teach elementary schoolers about computer coding.

Education Department Restarts Peer-Review of Tests PK12: States that have adopted new tests, or made significant changes to their old ones, will have to undergo peer review by the U.S. Department of Education within the next four to eight months, according to department officials.

How One Principal is Trying to Get More Black Men Into the Classroom Washington Post: One Philadelphia principal is trying to do his part by launching a new organization that aims to bring together Philly’s black male educators and provide them with professional support to thrive in their jobs.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

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Thompson: Jack Jennings & the Insider's View of School Reform

One reason why I loved Jack Jennings's Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools is that it helped me grasp something that always perplexed me. NCLB, unlike Arne Duncan's test and punish agenda, had very little in terms of real sanctions for individuals.  Why didn't the normative education culture of compliance respond in the obvious manner - pocket the extra money and pretend to comply with the law? Why did systems actually impose test-driven accountability and juke the stats, rather than just play the numbers games and claim that they had really taken a pound of flesh out of educators?
Similarly, Jennings helps explain a phrase that became ubiquitous in my world. Our poor district desperately needed federal money, but it didn't dare spend it in the ways that would most benefit poor students. During years before and shortly after NCLB, I'd often hear the statement about Title I money: "Oh, that's just federal money." In other words, individual administrators wouldn't take risks in order to spend those modest funds more effectively; they’d stick with programs that were completely safe.
To his credit, Duncan subsequently spoke about flexibility in spending Title I. I'd cite his promises and suggest approaches focusing on the socio-emotional aspect of learning and invariably hear words of agreement from administrators. After all, our district was 90% low-income, so there was little chance that those researched-based approaches would unfairly benefit affluent kids. Then would come a statement like this: "But, what if some 25-year-old accountant disallowed it?" Often, the other administrators would offer the same few anecdotes about other districts that were burned by federal bureaucrats.
Jennings account of Title I is especially incisive. The ultimate insider with a half century of experience in edu-politics explains how Congress thought it was passing a general aid program with few strings attached. Reports of abuses prompted federal administrators in the 1970s to turn it into a categorical aid program, which led to regulations that could be burdensome. State and local administrators pushed back and gained some relief from the micromanaging. In return, the program became more focused on student achievement, as opposed to investing in the broader welfare of poor children.  
As Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools unfolded, my big question was addressed. I had been unaware of the long complicated story of how Title I had become more focused on academic accountability.  On the ground in inner city schools, we would have had to have our heads firmly in the sand to miss the justified pressure from the civil rights community to produce concrete metrics of academic growth for poor children of color but I, at least, had missed the parts of the story that Jennings recounts. Systems had been fighting multi-faceted battles over accountability and I’d just been aware of the disputes over test scores. So, even though NCLB’s test score targets seemed so utopian that it appeared unlikely that systems would go to illogical extremes to meet them, an overall foundation had been laid for a serious commitment to test-driven accountability.

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Parents: Didn't Take Long For Common Core Homework Debate To Flare Up Again

This Dad Wrote A Check To His Kid's School Using Common Core Math
, says BuzzFeed about an image going around social media this week. But The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using “Common Core” Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About, says blogger Hemant Mehta at Patheos. The parent has since recanted - sort of. 

Charts: Should Education Advocates Work On Voting Issues? (Yes.)

The notion that people interested in making schools work better for kids should get involved in voter registration/equity issues will probably make some (on the reform side, mostly) howl and tear their hair out of their heads (except perhaps those Democracy Prep folks).

But social justice activists and organized labor have long been involved in these kinds of things (most notably in Chicago, where the CTU registered voters along with running candidates against City Hall).

There's a sliver of reform-side history on voter registration in the form of Steve Barr (and others?) being involved with Rock The Vote, which was a musician-focused effort to encourage people to register whose heyday was in the 1990's on MTV.

This forthcoming study on responses to poor AYP ratings suggests increases in voter turnout 5-8 percent (varying by income) -- almost as much effect as door knocking.

Plus which: schools are often used as polling places, so it's right there in front of your faces.

Parent engagement & mobilization is now recognized as a key aspect of efforts to make schools work better. Why not throw some voter registration/advocacy in the mix while you're at it?

Related posts: Harvard Students Fail 1964 Louisiana Voting Literacy Test Children's Academic Success Vs. Minority Voting RightsComputerized Voting To Change A ContractTurning Students Into Voters.

Morning Video: Can Catholic Schools Bounce Back?

"Since the 1960s, enrollment at Catholic schools in the United States has fallen by more than 50 percent. Today, only about two million students attend Catholic school, and that’s due to a variety of reasons, including falling birth rates among Catholics, the rise of charter schools in urban areas, and more Catholics moving to the suburbs. But the one Pope Francis will visit and some others like it have found ways to keep their doors open." 

From the PBS NewsHour: Struggling Catholic schools seek ways to set themselves apart.



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