Watch Bridget Mckinney, third-year principal of Miami's Allapattah Middle School, explain "her trepidations, as well as her support, for the common core itself." (Common Core Spurs Hope, Fear for a Miami Principal via State EdWatch).
The inevitable comparison between Uber and school choice - James Courtovich in the WSJ http://ow.ly/C6T4y
Wave of undocumented students challenges schools, costs extra $2K per kid | PBS NewsHour Extra ow.ly/C7oOb
Nearly 5 years in, NYC is "nowhere close to delivering" on Race to the Top promises, writes Steve Brill ow.ly/C82tI
Confessions Of A Six-Figure Father: Why I'd Never Send My Kids To Private School ow.ly/C7oxf
The Marshall Tuck campaign gets a few celebrity endorsements for his CA superintendent race -- plus some hilariously awful suggestions.
When I first read Mass Insight's The Turnaround Challenge, I was thrilled by its holistic explanation of what it takes to turnaround the most challenging schools. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the document was his Bible, but then he violated most of its principles when establishing School Improvement Grants, dooming his SIG to failure.
In 2007, Mass Insight showed that instruction-driven, curriculum-driven policies could not transform the schools with the greatest challenges, and that the mass dismissal of teachers was a bad idea. It emphasized the "Readiness Triangle," drawing upon the best social science to explain how and why a proper foundation must be laid for school improvement. Now, Mass Insight explains why today's accountability regimes are undermining school improvement.
Let's hope that reformers listen to Mass Insight's Changing the Metrics of Turnaround to Encourage Early Learning Strategies, by Elliot Regenstein, Rio Romero-Jurado, Justin Cohen, and Alison Segal. It criticizes accountability metrics that “have not set the right goals for educators.” For instance, the normative SIG approach undermines capacity-building because “current metrics effectively eliminate the viability of early learning as a potential long-term improvement strategy.”
Mass Insight notes that Arne Duncan often says he wants to be"tight on goals, loose on means," but his prescriptive school turnaround policies "have largely been just the opposite." Even better, this reform organization does something that is very rare in reform circles; it draws upon the Consortium on Chicago School Research, evidence-based systems developed for early education, and science-based accountability systems in England and the Netherlands. As it says in a previous study, Rethinking State Accountability and Support, Mass Insight is proposing "the reverse" of the Duncan value-added accountability regime.
Mass Insight proposes "metrics that address professional practice, including the quality of instruction and leadership." That is a scholarly way of stating the common sense principle that educators, like everyone else, should be evaluated on what we actually do - not some not-ready-for-prime-time statistical proxy for what we do. Once we move beyond the misuse of data for accountability, hopefully Mass Insight's latest research, along with an objective reading of The Turnaround Challenge, will inform a new science-based, holistic, and humane era of school improvement. -JT(drjohnthompson) Image via.
The Think Tank Watch has a recent blog post (Think Tanks Doing Journalism) that highlights this trend:
"Many Washington think tanks have been hiring well-known journalists in recent years in an effort to beef up their efforts to get good writers, network with media-types, and better disseminate information and policy proposals to a wider audience. "
A recent Economist article (Think-tanks and journalism: Making the headlines) points out that it's not just opeds, papers and conferences anymore.
Indeed. we've seen bits and pieces of that from education think tanks like Education Sector, Fordham, Carnegie, Brookings, and New America all come to mind. Perhaps the best example of this is AIR taking over Education Sector (and its blog), or Bellwether helping launch RealClearEducation. ThinkProgress -- a division of CAP -- is another example (they were looking for an education reporter not too long ago).
Of course, some news outlets are blurring the line the other way, becoming more wonkish and policy-oriented and less, well, newsy. Part of this is by necessity. With their own writers and social media campaigns, think tanks need journalists less. They've already got academic credibility (of a sort), they already validate ideas for politicians and policymakers. Now they're distributing their own ideas directly.
Related posts: AIR Taking Over Education Sector; Carnegie Is The New Ed Sector; [Why] Are Washington Think Tanks So Powerful?, Meet Conor Williams, New America's New(ish) Education Guy; Google Now Funding Lots Of Think Tanks & Policy Conferences; Expert-Less Think Tanks -- Whose Fault?
It's not quite as moving as last summer's version -- and the one I saw last night during the news featured a kid who wanted to be a doctor -- but here's the new Families For Educational Justice video that's airing in NYC, focusing on 143,000 kids in low-performing schools, using the hashtag #donttstealpossible. "In vast areas of NYC [Brooklyn & the Bronx, mostly], children have little choice but to attend a failing school." There's also a map of 371 failing schools in NYC. There's a rally on Thursday.
Superintendents Support Common-Assessment Consortia EdWeek: About two-thirds of district superintendents say states should stick with their common-core testing consortia, while 16 percent remain on the fence over the issue, according to results from a new survey.
AFT Set To Spend More In 2014 Than Any Other Election Cycle Huffington Post: An AFT official told The Huffington Post that the union is on track to spend more than $20 million this cycle to "try to dial back some of the damage done by the cuts to public education and public services and elect people who will fight for kids, families and communities."
NEA Sues New Mexico Schools Chief Over Teacher Evaluations TeacherBeat: NEA officials say that the state has violated local districts' purview in dictating aspects of the evaluation systems, particularly by requiring a certain portion to be based on growth in students' standardized-test scores.
De Blasio stays mum on plans for struggling schools ChalkbeatNY: Mayor Bill de Blasio needs another extension. Four weeks into the school year, de Blasio said he wasn’t yet ready to detail his vision for improving with the city’s worst-performing schools, saying those plans would be released soon for the second time this month.
Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static NPR: One Los Angeles school is working technology into the learning process, while avoiding the traditional screen-time pitfalls.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Education key topic in PA, KS, AR, TX campaign debates | MSNBC ow.ly/C3Sgn
The states versus Secretary Duncan — Mediumow.ly/C1h5r Why Mary Fallin has a case but Bobby Jindal doesn’t
Colleges are doing diversity all wrong - Vox ow.ly/C2U6E
With the Right Technology, Can Children Teach Themselves? | MindShift ow.ly/C2WG0
The new issue of The Nation (Saving Public Schools) includes a feature package of education stories that may pique your interest whatever your position or views. Some highlights include:
The Tough Lessons of the 1968 Teacher Strikes (Goldstein)
What It Takes to Unite Teachers Unions and Communities of Color (Fine and Fabricant)
It's interesting to note that, despite all the firepower that reform advocates have behind them, they rely almost entirely on occasional efforts in traditional mainstream journalistic outlets like Slate, The New Republic, NYT Sunday Magazine and the daily papers but lack moderate or centrist versions of the liberal-leaning outlets like Mother Jones, Jacobin, The Nation, The Washington Monthly, City Paper (DC), and The American Prospect to pump out sympathetic stories like these "on the regular."
This advantage in access to a slew of magazines -- combined with the social media influence advantage that reform critics have over reform advocates and the liberal leanings of many journalists, somewhat offset by the influence of journalism grants from funders like Gates and Broad -- makes for an interesting interplay of efforts.
Related posts: Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?; Think Tanker Tells Reporters To Stop Scapegoating TFA; 3 Newish Places To Get Public Radio Stories (Plus NPR Controversy)
Image via The Nation.
"The state of Florida recently mandated the 300 lowest-performing elementary schools add an extra hour of reading instruction each day, the first in the country to do so. But while supporters are convinced the extra time will improve kids' reading, not everyone is convinced it's the right solution." PBS NewsHour
Miller on Common Core, Teacher Evaluation, and NCLB Renewal PoliticsK12: Miller's comments pack a special punch because he is one of the most hawkish members of Congress when it comes to accountability. Miller, an architect of the No Child Left Behind Act, said that tying test-scores to Common Core exams before teachers are ready would be repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the NCLB era.
George Miller: 'Students are Enthusiastic' About Meeting Common-Core Challenge State EdWatch: The retiring U.S. representative also says that politicians are attacking the standards largely to position themselves better for the 2016 presidential elections.
Karen Lewis and Corey Brooks duke it out over Twitter Chicago Sun-Times: A Twitter exchange between Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis grew heated today as the two traded digs on the governor's race.
Teens who crossed US border alone enter schools AP: The group of mostly Spanish-speaking teenage boys with styled spiky hair and high-top sneakers enthusiastically pecks away on hand-held tablets at the G.W. Carver Education Center, pausing to alert the teacher when stumped. See also PBS: Wave of child migrants pose challenges for Florida schools, Backlog of children’s immigration cases challenges judges, lawyers and schools.
The campaign to keep Karen Lewis out of the mayoral race Chicago Tribune: Out of nowhere nearly two weeks ago, Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter schools organization backing Mayor Rahm Emanuel's re-election, issued a news release demanding that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis step down.
Trial To Begin In Atlanta Public Schools' Cheating Scandal NPR: On Monday, opening statements begin in the trial of 12 educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy. Originally, 35 were indicted but more than half took plea deals. See also WSJ.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
As originally noted in Politico's Morning Education, the national Urban League is apparently backing the "equitable implementation" of the Common Core and thus putting at least a bit of pressure on critics to consider the issue from a minority parent perspective. I mean, check out the fierce expressionon the little girl's face:
Anyone seen a racial or SES breakdown of Common Core support among the public or parents? What other efforts has the Urban League been involved in, and to what effect (if any)?
Teacher Resignations in the Miami-Dade Public Schools (by voting district)
"In 2004-05, close to half of all public school teacher turnover happened in just one quarter of all public schools." (Education Next: Teacher Retention Varies [Wildly] Within Districts)
Progressives should be part of the solution. We can't succumb to simplistic defenses of the distorted teacher protection schemes. We must confront the demonstrable effects of these laws. The future of public education and of the teaching profession can be brighter only when we place students' rights first and foremost on our list of priorities.-- Laurence H. Tribe in USA Today (Students before teachers)
There's lots of disagreement between TFA's Aaron French and EduShyster's Jennifer Berkshire, who used to work for the state union, but we're promised "no yelling." Here's a link in case it doesn't load for you.
Charter schools help poor kids hit 50% pass rate, says report by pro-charter group NY Daily News: A survey by Families for Excellent Schools found that only 46 of 925 high-poverty city schools surveyed reached 50% pass rates — and half of those were charter schools.
Attorney General Holder to Step Down, Promoted Changes in School Discipline EdWeek: In the education world, he is perhaps best known for his efforts to address disproportionately high discipline rates for students from certain racial and ethnic groups. Alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Holder also encouraged schools to step back from zero-tolerance policies that the two said could sometimes lead to heavy-handed punishments for minor rule violations.
Winners of Federal Teacher-Prep Grants Include Many Familiar Names Teacher Beat: Two-thirds of grantees have been funded in the past, but the results of their efforts aren't clear.
With Climbing Graduation Rates Come Renewed Doubts Texas Tribune: In a decade, Texas has gone from an example of the nation’s dropout crisis to the second-highest graduation rate in the country. But that climb has not been matched by success in measures of college and career readiness.
D.C. Says It Now Knows Why Forty Percent Of Students Don't Graduate WAMU: Forty percent of ninth graders in D.C. public schools don't graduate on time, and now city officials say they have identified some of the characteristics and challenges faced by those students. See also Washington Post
The Challenges of a Youth Complicated by Poverty WNYC: Daniel Cardinali is president of Communities in Schools, a federated network of nonprofits that are locally controlled, locally financed, and aim to bring case workers and resources to at-risk students and communities that need it most. And he argues that to help students like Jairo, education policy makers need to change some of their assumptions about how school works.
School board takes on cleanliness controversy WBEZ: The parent who read the comment, Jennie Biggs, has three children at Sheridan Elementary in Bridgeport and is also part of a parent group called Raise Your Hand. That group released the results of an informal survey they did over the last week, which got 162 responses across 60 schools.
A couple of weeks ago PBS NewsHour education correspondent John Merrow rightly pointed out that the moratorium on high-stakes use of testing to judge teachers was a start of sorts at addressing the overtesting that seems to have creeped into some American schools -- but still lacked a plan for any future action (So There’s A Moratorium. Now What?).
"This very limited moratorium means that scores on the new Common Core standardized tests won’t be used to evaluate teachers in many places. That’s what some might call a necessary but hardly sufficient action This moratorium doesn’t mean that a truce has been called between the warring sides in the battle over teacher job protection and evaluation. That war is ongoing, sadly. And this moratorium doesn’t mean that school districts are now going to examine the role or amount of standardized bubble testing."
Towards further examination of overtesting -- the numbers and definitions out there so far are thin and uneven -- Merrow proposes a quick fill-in-the-blank questionnaire for superintendents around the country and suggests the National State Teachers of the Year to popularize the effort:
Yes, it's another test :-) But something like this is probably going to have to happen, eventually. We need more information about what's going on out there -- and it's not students who will have to take this one.
Last winter, I urged EdSec Duncan to get out in front of this and do some sort of audit (Unsolicited Suggestions). A former Hill insider clued me in that the Senate ESEA proposal included something along those lines (National Audit Of Testing Proposed By Senate). Still no word on whether the USDE would endorse or even implement such a thing.
The FBI's new report on the rise in mass shootings in recent years show the disturbing reality that many of them -- just under 25 percent -- take place at schools. Over all, there were 39 such shootings in education settings, second only to places of business like malls and offices. Story via The Wire. Image via the FBI.
"Judy Woodruff gets debate from Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Partnership for Inner-City Education and Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho." (PBS NewsHour)
For a third year in a row, pro-charter groups plan large political rally ChalkbeatNY: Calling itself the “Coalition for Education Equality,” a group led by the pro-charter Families for Excellent Schools announced they will stage a large education rally on Oct. 2 at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.
Is there too much testing in the public schools? PBS NewsHour: Alberto Carvalho is the superintendent of Miami-Dade County School District, who’s calling for changes. His district is dealing with dozens of mandated tests throughout the year. And Kathleen Porter-Magee is with the Partnership for Inner-City Education. She’s also a fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
When the digital classroom meets the parents Marketplace APM: On a recent night at High Tech Los Angeles, a charter high school in Van Nuys, California, a group of parents got a lesson in just what that means. One of them was Nooneh Kradjain, who has two sons at the high school, and was busy scribbling notes. She said she was struck by how much things have changed since she was in school.
Emanuel says he 'made a mistake' in naming school after Obama Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he “made a mistake” in his “rush to honor” President Barack Obama — which is why he dropped plans to name a new, $60 million selective-enrollment high school on the Near North Side after his former boss.
White high school dropouts are wealthier than black or Latino college graduates Vox: When it comes to building wealth, whites have a vast advantage over their black and Hispanic peers. Writing at Demos, Matt Bruenig dug into the Federal Reserve's latest Survey on Consumer Finances and found a huge wealth gap by race and ethnicity.
Center for Union Facts says Randi Weingarten is ruining nation’s schools Washington Post: The 11-page mailing, on expensive paper stock, was sent first class to 125,000 households across the country this week.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
KS Teacher of the Year: The Common Core Is Working in My Classroom - Education Week http://ow.ly/BS0Ei
Three R's For The Digital Age: Rockets, Robots and Remote Control : NPR Ed : NPR http://ow.ly/BSspX
Is the Providence mayoral campaign behind the teachers union contract rejection? | Rhode Island Public Radio http://ow.ly/BRKgR
NB: I'm looking for (unpaid) interns and contributors for Fall 2014 -- pass it along or ping me directly at alexanderrusso at gmail if you're interested in helping out.
There's lots to love in Conor Williams' Daily Beast story (Stop Scapegoating Teach for America), at least some of which I feel like I and others have written several times in the past -- though perhaps with less stylishness.
In essence, Williams is taking on TFA's critics for exaggerating the case against TFA and ignoring larger issues surrounding teacher preparation, diversity, and professionalism. More importantly, he's also taking on the reporters who keep citing these
In particular, Williams cites stories penned by NPR's Anya Kamenetz and former New America Foundation colleague Dana Goldstein in Vox, noting that TFA's diversity has long eclipsed that of the overall teaching corps nationally and that is has been evolving internally for several years now. (He ignores last year's Politico story, which is just a well.)
"Both [stories] present alt cert in general—and TFA in particular—as a problem, as a project that urgently needs fixing. Read them, and you’re called to consider whether alt cert programs are worth having, and to wonder whether they can be saved."
This level of concern and urgency is senseless given the small size of the teacher corps TFA has in classrooms at any single time. "TFA is neither a lever for dramatically improving or ruining U.S. public education," notes Williams. "Dramatic reforms to TFA’s teacher training aren’t going to substantially shift the trajectory of American public education."
Over all, the debatre over TFA is a sideshow, notes Williams, distracting our attention from the reality that little-trained TFA recruits come near to doing as well as fully-trained traditional candidates.
Related posts:Teach for America Not Directly Displacing Veterans In Chicago; Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel; 12 Problems With Politico's TFA Story (+1 With TFA); Goldstein Puts TFA Under The Microscope. Vox image used with permission.
Conventional wisdom has it that the current reform movement started in 1983 with the release of the Nation At Risk report, but EdWeek makes a pretty good case with this piece (Historic Summit Fueled Push for K-12 Standards - Education Week) that a better starting point would be 25 years ago (1989) in Charlottesville, Va.
Penned by Alyson Klein, the EdWeek piece reaches back to some of the folks involved in the 1989 summit and some of those who're working on national standards today. In a few cases - Achieve's Mike Cohen, for example -- they are still working at it.
My old boss, Jeff Bingaman, was a committed member of the National Education Goals Panel, which was one of the entities that came out of the standards movement of that time, and was a strong advocate for the voluntary national assessment that President Clinton proposed funding in his second administration in order to provide cross-state comparisons beyond NAEP and give the national standards that were being developed some extra emphasis in schools and districts.
Check it out. It seems so long ago, it's almost a dream. But it wasn't that long ago -- and many of the same issues are part of Common Core and whatever happens next. Image used with permission. Image used with permission from the Bush Presidential Library.
- UCLA's Gary Orfield in FiveThirtyEight (The Most Important Award In Public Education Struggles To Find Winners)
Debate aside, Core a reality in classrooms The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). Click the link for the transcript and if the video doesn't load properly.
New Study: Adequate Yearly Progress Not So Bad PK12: Some of AYP's sanctions actually proved beneficial. Leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring— one of the most onerous sanctions for schools that chronically failed to meet AYP— yielded the most positive impact from schools.
New report reveals surprising facts about Hispanic children and teens WPost: Hispanic children, the largest minority group in public schools as well as the fastest growing, are increasingly showing up in preschool programs, have made significant gains on national math tests, and are posting record high school graduation rates, according to a new study released Wednesday. But they still lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement and were more likely to live in poverty and not finish college.
Camden Public School Activists Up in Arms WNYC: The bill, backed by the Christie Administration and passed 32-1 by the Democratic-controlled State Senate, loosens the restrictions on so-called "Renaissance Schools" in Camden, as well as in Newark and Trenton. Camden already has three "Renaissance Schools," charter schools which work more closely with the district on enrollment and receive more funding than traditional charters.
Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level NYT: A new study indicates that the higher the income level of a student’s family, the more adept the student will be on how to use the web.
Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams WAMU: Kojo sits down with Eric Williams, Loudoun County's new superintendent, to talk about about the issues facing one of the area's fastest-growing school systems.
Arne Duncan says Ray Rice, NFL send 'terrible message' Chicago Sun-Times: Education Secretary Arne Duncan has one message for Ray Rice and the NFL. And it's that they're both sending a "terrible message" to America's youth. “These folks are so interested in making money, they've lost a sense of values."
Providence RI Teachers Want Contract To Retain "No Layoff" Provision | Rhode Island Public Radio http://ow.ly/BOEXQ