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Five Best Blogs: Better To Be "Low-Performing" Than "Achievement Gap"?

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Achievement Gap Schools by the Numbers Education Sector:  Persistently Low-Achieving sounds like the harsher label of the two. But not in reality. There is less guidance for how AG Schools will be improved and less time to make these improvements, with tougher consequences if improvement doesn’t happen.

Harkin ESEA Reauthorization Bill is Silent on Title I Funding Formulas New America:  States like Wyoming [currently] receive far more support per poor pupil than much more impoverished states like Arkansas and New Mexico. [ALSO:  Strides in Fixing Title I Teacher Comparability.]

NYC, Los Angeles school systems failing English language learners Valerie Strauss: The two largest public school systems in the country — New York City and Los Angeles — this week acknowledged that they had been failing to meet the needs of English language learners and promised to implement new programs to improve the situation. 

The Constituency for Change PIE Network: Organizing any constituency for change is hard, hard work, but it's being done all across the country by the network's 34 member organizations working to change state policies to improve education. 

NYT on Edu-software Reform Reform: It’s not just the hapless school district officials who’ve been misled by Carnegie’s marketing.  

MORE BLOG ITEMS INSIDE

ESEA—effective teachers and leaders are key StudentsFirst: The diverse group of organizations involved includes: Center for American Progress, National Council for La Raza, Educators 4 Excellence, Connecticut Parents' Union, Students for Education Reform, Teach Plus, California Business for Education Excellence and Democrats for Education Reform.

A Handy 2012 Rolodex Supplement for Edu-Reporters Rick Hess:   A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the ed press's disconcerting habit of relying almost entirely on professional Democrats or Democratic-leaning academics to provide commentary on Republican education proposals when it comes to the Presidential contestants. 

Checker Finn: Public (education) enemy #1 Education Gadfly: We take it as a compliment that the folks at UESF find Checker to be as influential in the policy sphere as Jeb Bush and as well-connected as Rupert Murdoch.  But we wonder why they didn’t single out Sal Khan (guru behind the Khan Academy videos) or Melinda Gates, both of whom are giving keynote speeches during the summit, along with Murdoch. Maybe Checker is just more photogenic. 

Results from Khan Academy Reform Reform: State-mandated test scores (the California Standards Tests) showed an increase from 23% to 41% of 7th-graders at “proficient” or above.

John White: Big Easy's School Revolution Whitney Tilson: I LOVE his willingness to say that lousy teachers are committing "a criminal act against kids" – how true!  I'm sure Randi and Ravitch, as they always do, will call this comment anti-teacher, but of course nothing could be further from the truth.  

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The ESEA reauthorization letter is amazingly totalitarian: the dream of the various signatory reform groups seems to be to use federal law to create a single, inescapable system of teacher evaluation which would control the behavior and the careers of all of the millions of teachers, in every subject and in every school, in the United States, irrespective of the diversity in circumstances and aims of all of those schools, classes, and teachers. This betokens a fanatic's confidence in the relatively untried methods advocated and in working definitions of teaching excellence that have not been agreed to. The congressional leaders will do well to ignore the letter and to cast a wary eye on its signers, the scope of whose ambitions have now been laid bare, regardless of any student- and teacher-friendly protestations that have been made heretofore.

The ESEA reauthorization letter is amazingly totalitarian: the dream of the various signatory reform groups seems to be to use federal law to create a single, inescapable system of teacher evaluation which would control the behavior and the careers of all of the millions of teachers, in every subject and in every school, in the United States, irrespective of the diversity in circumstances and aims of all of those schools, classes, and teachers. This betokens a fanatic's confidence in the relatively untried methods advocated and in working definitions of teaching excellence that have not been agreed to. The congressional leaders will do well to ignore the letter and to cast a wary eye on its signers, the scope of whose ambitions have now been laid bare, regardless of any student- and teacher-friendly protestations that have been made heretofore.

I'm with Bruce on this one; well said. But their desire to control teachers has nothing to do with "evaluation". They wish to install (at public expense) massive and arcane data tracking systems. They rely on themselves to control our every exhaled breath, to cement their domination of the public education funding stream at every level. This is naked power.

Reaction to the overreach revealed in this letter has been heartening. I know administrators who have put their careers on the line, with really no idea how they're going to meet their mortgages when the powers-behind-everything move against them. It's 1984 out here, kids.

Meanwhile, the drumbeat of totalitarian marketing accelerates. If you would like to see the E-Learning overreach story wrap around to the Pearson junket expose, here is the link.

https://zephyr2.bvdep.com/version-2011920/FullEditorialNews.serv?product=zephyrneo&databasecontext=Deals&newsid=10769

"Pearson takes on Connections Education"
Posted on Thursday, 15 September 2011 15:13
"UK publishing and education group Pearson is to further boost its learning offering by buying Connections Education, a US-based operator of virtual schools."

"The selling shareholder, Apollo Management, will receive USD 400.00 million in cash for the company."

"Maryland-based Connections Education runs the Connections Academy chain of online public schools, which serve 40,000 students this academic year in 21 states."

"The 10-year-old academy already uses Pearson's digital and print curriculum materials...."

...
"Connections Education has produced revenue growth of more than 30.0 per cent in each of the past three years and expects to generate revenues of approximately USD 190.00 million in 2011," Pearson noted.

"Earlier this year Pearson agreed to buy New York-based education software group SchoolNet for USD 230.00 million."

Frightening, Mary. If those companies being purchased were non-profits, they would be running afoul of confict-of-interest laws; but of course they can't be. But the Supreme Court outlawed this kind of vertical integration in the movie industry (my previous career) more than half a century ago, and there may still be grounds for some sort of regulatory investigation here.

The one hope for salvation may reside in the likelihood that tablets and laptops will probably take over the instructional materials market, and combined with free online resources like Khan Academy, will cut deeply into Pearson's textbook profits. If we could simultaneously cut them out of the third-rate test generation business, students around the English-speaking world would be better off.

Perhaps you need some technology to block spam like "Learn English Language", Alexander.

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