About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Afternoon Video: Reconciling Due Process & Students' Rights At Aspen 2014

 

Here's a new video from the Aspen Ideas Festival in which it is discussed whether tenure reforms and students' rights can be reconciled -- and if so, how. Feat. Weingarten, Deasy, and hosted by Ray Suarez. Read blog post about here.

Five Best Blogs [& Tweets]: Teaching Is The New Equity

Access to Effective Teaching is the New Measure of Equity | Center for American Progress http://ht.ly/yBryT  @amprog

A 'Death Knell' For Public Sector Unions? Not Yet : NPR Ed http://ht.ly/yCkwG 

Narrow Supreme Court Ruling Has Public Unions' Nonmember Fees on Thin Ice - http://ht.ly/yC69X 

LAUSD Abandons One-Device-Fits-All iPad Strategy, Offers Laptops, Convertibles http://ht.ly/yCkUR 

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play - Tim Walker - The Atlantic ht.ly/yCzcV

The inevitable attack on character/motives that follows a difference of views with Ravitch et al ht.ly/yCzqO

In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, shouldn't we demand it in our schools? buff.ly/1wGILTC... @newamerica

Four ed conferences in the same week - anyone speaking at (or going to all of them)? @iste @qualitycharters @ECS [Plus NEA]

Yes it's true -- you can *still* get This Week In Education via free daily email - just sign up here: ht.ly/yCrj9

Morning Video: Do Learning Games Really Work?

Here's a new PBS NewsHour segment on learning games. Find out more here.

AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers

Big unions could take big SCOTUS hit Politico: But a 1977 decision allows states to require workers to pay partial dues, or “agency fees,” to cover the union’s cost of negotiating their contracts and representing them in grievances. Illinois is among the states to require just that.

Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling NYT: Across the country, parents who once conceded that their homework expertise petered out by high school trigonometry are now feeling helpless when confronted with first-grade work sheets.

Teacher-Prep Ranking System in Higher Ed. Proposal Irks Teachers' Unions PK12: Teachers' unions applauded the increased emphasis of on-the-job training for teachers and principals in preparation programs that's included in Senate Democrats' proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. But they're much less enthusiastic about a new grant included in the bill for ranking those prep programs. AFT president Randi Weingarten, in a letter to Harkin dated June 24, blasted the proposal.

Teacher evaluation system is latest education battleground Baltimore Sun: This past school year, Maryland's 60,000 teachers were evaluated for the first time according to a formula that required half of their final rating to be based on how much their students learned.

Newark Schools Superintendent Signs New 3-Year Contract District Dossier: Under the "hybrid" contract, Anderson and the state must agree to an extension each year. Anderson has come under fire recently for her "One Newark" school reform plan.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers" »

Five Best Blogs [Of The Day]: Monday Could Be A Big Day For Unions

The Supreme Court could cut union membership in half on Monday -[if it allows member opt-outs] Vox http://ht.ly/yxhtj  @mattyglesias

Fordham's @brickm writes about possible edu implications of Supreme Court decision coming Monday http://t.co/NrEqqzXVMR 

Also:

New poll shows more than two-thirds of CA voters want to abolish LIFO and 61 pct want to end tenure via @Morning_Edu #vergara @campbell_brown

Unions not getting enough credit for changes to job protections, says @rweingarten in today's @Morning_Edu

Most Americans Think Racial Discrimination Doesn't Matter Much Anymore | Mother Jones http://ht.ly/ywVFS 

Vergara ruling could spark collaboration, not just confrontation @greendot @calcharters @calteachers http://ht.ly/yx6uO 

New ed-school grads are unprepared to teach—and we seem fine with that | @educationgadfly @rpondiscio http://ht.ly/ywuWA 

Tweets and links throughout the day (and some evenings, too) via @alexanderrusso.

 

Charts: Mainstream Republicans Dislike Common Core Just As Much As Conservatives

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.comThis chart from Vox's Libby Nelson shows that recent Pew survey results reveal there isn't really as much debate within the Republican party over Common Core standards as we may have imagined.  Support among Democratic groups including "solid liberals" appears relatively strong and uniform, which may also be another surprise for some. 

Thompson: Another "Chief for Change" Is Dumped

Barresi

Of course I’m celebrating the overwhelming defeat of Chief for Change Janet Barresi in the Republican primary. Oklahoma State Superintendent Barresi embodies the brass-knuckled, scorched earth corporate reform that has driven young children to cry and vomit, and older students to drop out of school.

Her opponent, Joy Hofmeister, condemned both the “toxic” environment created by high-stakes testing and the politics of destruction that Barresi exemplifies. Barresi  lost by a margin of nearly three to one.

As reported by the Tulsa World's Andrea Eger, a video has now been released showing Barresi's tirade at a Department of Education “Summer Convening” event. Barresi told teachers: 

Anybody that has any question what we’re doing, read Nehemiah. Open up your Bibles and read Nehemiah. I want you to put on your breast plate and I want you to fight off the enemy at the same time you’re rebuilding the wall. Because there’s a lot of people, a lot of enemies are going to try to creep up the back of your neck and say you can’t do it, it can’t be done. Do me a favor and tell ‘em to go to hell.

Honestly, though, I’m saddened that education policy disputes sank to this level. Fifteen years ago, I served with Barresi in a bipartisan reform coalition, known as MAPS for Kids. Before it was derailed by NCLB, MAPS was significantly improving our city's schools. 

Barresi started an excellent charter school just a block from my house. It is NOT a high-challenge school like the school it replaced. But, by bringing in high-performing students from outlying areas, it sure raised property values in our neighborhood.

Continue reading "Thompson: Another "Chief for Change" Is Dumped" »

Morning Video: Campbell Brown Previews NY Version Of Vergara Lawsuit

Local Fox News segment on NY version of Vergara that's being planned, featuring Mayor de Blasio and Campbell Brown.

AM News: Chicago Lays Off Another 1,000 School Staff

News2

More than a thousand teachers teachers and other staff laid off in Chicago WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools officials told 550 teachers and 600 more school staff Thursday that they’re out of a job. The number is significantly smaller than last year’s nearly 3,000 layoffs, which were due mostly to the Board of Education’s decision to close 50 schools.

Oklahoma: Suit Challenges Repeal of Core Curriculum Standards NYT: A group has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed law that repealed Common Core education standards in the state.

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity KPLU: Approximately 150 teachers took those concerns to the foundation's front door Thursday evening for a rally and a march through Seattle's downtown streets. 

New York Schools Chief Advocates More ‘Balanced Literacy’ NYT: Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants schools to adopt aspects of a method that the Education Department turned away from several years ago.

Tracking the de Blasio administration’s education promises Chalkbeat: Six months ago, Bill de Blasio took control of the largest school district in the country. At the end of his first semester, here’s a recap of what he said he was going to do with it—and what he and Chancellor Fariña have done so far.

Poll finds Common Core opposition rising EdSource Today: An annual poll of Californians’ views on education contains bad news for teachers unions and for advocates of the Common Core standards, good news for backers of charter schools, mixed news for preschool supporters and a warning for State Superintendent Tom Torlakson in his re-election campaign against Marshall Tuck.

Bill simplifying teacher firings now law EdSource Today: Gov. Brown ended three years of high-decibel battles in the Legislature on Wednesday by signing a bill he helped shape that should make it quicker and easier to fire teachers accused of the most abhorrent forms of misconduct.

Move Over Books: Libraries Let Patrons Check Out The Internet NPR: Libraries in Chicago and New York will soon let people check out Wi-Fi hot spots, but will that actually help bridge the digital divide?

A black man with a college degree is as likely to be working as a white college dropout Box: It's clear that more education tends to lead to better employment outcomes. Bachelor's degree holders have a lower unemployment rate than high school graduates, who have a lower unemployment rate than high school dropouts.

More news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

 

Five Best Tweets: Charter Financial Ratings & EdTech Investments Decline

Standard & Poor’s rates outlook for charter school sector as ‘negative’ - @valeriestrauss @napcs Post http://ht.ly/yurpi 

Investments Decline As Education Technology Grows Up | TechCrunch http://ht.ly/yuaDq 

Did Pando fire @davidsirota over investor complaints? Poynter. http://ht.ly/yuoHR 

Reuters: California Just Made It Easier To Fire Bad Teachers http://ht.ly/yumRx 

Tying Federal Aid to College Ratings - http://NYTimes.com  http://ht.ly/yumxL 

Here's How Not to Teach First-Grade Math - @bechang8 Pacific Standard http://ht.ly/yulYz 

You say you want your kids to be good people, but they know you care more about grades http://ht.ly/yrm5K  @jesslahey

Rick Hess considers the mixed #CommonCore signals coming from state chiefs, foundations, and the USDE? http://ht.ly/ytYX8  @rhess99

Media: "Tell Me More"'s Education Coverage Will Be Missed

The most recent episode of NPR's "On The Media" ponders the meaning of The End of "Tell Me More", the daily national show whose demise has recently been announced (the same week as NPR_ED was launched, as EdWeek's Mark Walsh noted).

image from media.npr.org

"On The Media"'s focus was mostly on the issue of the diversity of the hosts and producers who were on the show (pictured).  But the segment got me thinking about the education segments and topics that the show covered.  

Though I didn't always note all the education segments the show was putting out -- Google shows 117 references to host Michel Martin -- there was a fairly regular segment on parenting that often got to education-related issues. The show held a big 2012 #npredchat on Twitter (check it out  #npredchat aggregate page). EWA's public editor Emily Richmond was a guest on the show (listen to the audio here). There were some great education-related commentaries from host Martin including one about education coverage that I recently linked to (Do You Want The Truth, Or Do You Just Like Your Story Better?)

The show ends August.  You can keep following its host @MichelMcQMartin.

Charts: How US Teachers Feel Compared To Other Countries

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 2.05.46 PMCheck out the OECD report on teachers that came out earlier this week -- including US information for the first time  (PDF) -- for all sorts of interesting information. Called TALIS, the report indicates high levels of job satisfaction and self-confidence for lower secondary teachers in the US, but two out of three don't believe their work is valued by society. You'll feel both reassured and troubled at the same time.

Quotes: Smarick Rails Against Anti-Democratic Attitudes & Elites

Quotes2In too many other cases, our field has succumbed to the derision of politics, giving the impression that technocracy is preferable to democracy... I worry that too often education reform is falling on the wrong side of the democratic-technocratic divide. -- Andy Smarick (Has America Lost Democracy to Technocracc?)

Video: Common Core Through 9-Year-Old Eyes

 

ICYMI: Here's the video that went along with last week's NYT story (Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes).

AM News: John White Blasts Bobby Jindal Over Common Core

News2

Common Core: Jindal ally blasts move as illegal Politico: On Wednesday, he ramped up his rhetoric considerably, telling POLITICO in an interview that Jindal is breaking the law, trampling the state constitution — and crushing the dreams of low-income minority students.

Meet the Groups Fighting Against Limits on Restraining School Kids ProPublica:  Teachers, high school principals and the U.S. Department of Education have all endorsed the idea of limiting the use of restraints to emergencies. But lobbies representing school district leaders and boards have combined with congressional Republicans to stymie such legislation.

Education Sec. Arne Duncan on The Future of Learning WNYC: This initiative, called Early Childhood Nation, would be the first to incorporate the latest brain science into actual pre-school programs. This program is also aims to help public schools prepare kids to start kindergarten, and it addresses the need for day care. Early Childhood Nation is funded by the Bezos Family Foundation, which is already funding  actual programs for schools and home called Vroom.

Classroom Confusion: What Is the Common Core? NBC News: The Common Core has been at the center of controversy at many school districts. But what exactly does this new academic standard mean for students? (NBCNews.com)

Ed Dept. Expected to Release Draft Criteria for State Tests This Summer PK12: A top official from the U.S. Department of Education is spreading the word here at a student-assessment conference: A draft of the criteria that will shape the way the department approves states' tests will be issued this summer.

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

Continue reading "AM News: John White Blasts Bobby Jindal Over Common Core" »

Five Best Tweets [Of The Day]: Teachers Report High Job Satisfaction, Low Societal Value

OECD: Teachers love their jobs / feel undervalued ht.ly/yrJFH - US stats via @Morning_Edu 90 pct / 34 pct

Republicans -- & school boards -- block nat'l limits on#restrainingstudents, notes @ProPublica's @hvogell ht.ly/yrXzK

Several high-performing Shelby County tenured teachers face unemployment as deadline nears | @ChalkbeatTN ht.ly/yrxUB

White school district sends black kids back to failed schools | MSNBC's @trymainelee ht.ly/yra3c

#CommonCore for Young Learners: Educators tackle challenges in the early grades ht.ly/yrXSM @Harvard_Ed_Pub @KelleherMaureen

Converting Catholic Schools to Charters Draws Scrutiny - Education Week ht.ly/yrSac

Vergara supporters "cleverly positioned themselves as part of a campaign for civil rights," notes Ravitch blog post ht.ly/ys5uv

Former Village Voice writer Wayne Barrett describes de Blasio/UFT as "an unholy alliance" - NY Daily News ht.ly/yr9oo

Ban reading tests (replace them with subject specific exams), says @robertpondiscio because: background knowledge

 

Afternoon Audio: Google Search & Students' Academic Records

An adult job seeker whose Google search highlights his long-ago participation in a special education program is one of the examples cited in a new WNYC story about efforts to force Google and others to delete information from search results:

It's a variant on the student data privacy debate that's going on in education, which includes not only what data is collected but how it's safeguarded and what happens to it after a student's education is over.  

Google and others believe that transparency and avoiding censorship are reasons not to allow deletion requests.  European nations and privacy advocates believe that deletion requests are not nearly as problematic as has been suggested.

Morning Video: Pushy Pediatricians Stick Noses Into Early Reading

 

Here's last night's PBS NewsHour segment on the AAP's new recommendations for pediatricians to encourage parents to read to children and to give books to young parents. You may recall hearing about pediatricians handing books out during immunization visits.

AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny

News2A 'Major Shift' In Oversight Of Special Education NPR: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces new measures for ensuring that students with disabilities are making progress.

Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses NYT: The Education Department said that it would evaluate growth in students with disabilities over time and will compare their test scores with those of students not designated with special needs.

MPS lacks capacity to provide basics to special-ed students, external audit finds MinnPost: At its Tuesday night meeting, the Minneapolis board of education will get harsh news about an external audit that found the district lacks the capacity to effectively provide even basic programming to its special-education students.

States' special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama ... Washington Post: The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more- stringent criteria that drop the number of jurisdictions in compliance..

We're off to the reauthorization races Vox: The Senate proposal focuses on easing the burden of student loan debt, plus holding for-profits accountable. The House proposal adopts some of the recommendations that outside groups have urged to help students complete college, mostly the less controversial ones, and calls for rolling back most of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda on higher education.

House Republicans to Begin Work on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act PK12: Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee plan to introduce a series of bills this week as part of their efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a sweeping piece of federal legislation that includes the entire student loan system.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny" »

Five Best Blogs: New Advocacy Organization Aims To Bring Vergara To New York

Obama alumni Robert Gibbs joins @campbell_brown's#Vergara-inspired campaign, reports @StephanieSimon_ ht.ly/yp0gE

32 States Are Failing To Follow Disability Law, U.S. Says - HuffPost ht.ly/yoEuy @Joy_Resmovits

CommonCore opposition isn't widespread but that doesn't mean it's not in trouble, says @ConorPWilliamsin TPM ht.ly/yoFvE

Showdown for state chief in Oklahoma, South Carolina - @Morning_Edu ht.ly/yoLpF

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end? | Hechinger Report ht.ly/ypb3i @parentrev #parenttrigger

The best and worst education news of 2014 — so far - @Larryferlazzo in the Washington Post

New Approaches To Discipline Strive to Keep Kids Out of Jail : @npr_ed : NPR ht.ly/ypdxr

5 Thoughts on @rweingarten's AEI Remarks by @rhess99 ht.ly/ypePz #vergara

The Twitter handle for @Marketplace's newish edtech site is @LearningCurveEd 

Charts: School Violence Trends, Revisited

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.comThis latest estimate includes "all violent deaths that occurred on school grounds, or during travel to or from school or a school-sponsored event." (More details at Vox)

Rebuttal: Don't Use Chicago As A Deseg Model

Ecastro flickr office of the principalIn response to yesterday's NYT oped from Rick Kahlenberg touting the Chicago model of income-based diversity enhancement, longtime Chicago special education advocate Rod Estvan wrote the following rebuttal suggesting that Chicago's results from the Kahlenberg plan haven't been all that good: 

"Unfortunately Dr. Kahlenberg does not discuss the fact that Payton’s admission system which is in part based on census tracts is being advantaged by the middle class and even wealthier families who live in enclaves within overall poorer community census tracts. In 2013, only 31.4% of Payton students were from low income families regardless of race whereas back in 2002 the school had about 37% low income students when there was no social economic admissions process but only a race based process."

See the full response below the fold.

Continue reading "Rebuttal: Don't Use Chicago As A Deseg Model" »

Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)

430890004_98639b3bb7_nSince the Vergara decision was handed down in California reactions have been predictably partisan and extreme. Reformers are ecstatic over what they believe if a "huge win" and their critics are equally confident that the decision was "anti-teacher" and "exactly backwards".

It's not really surprising that the reactions would shake out this way. Education debates are often highly-polarized, and there are political reasons for activists to exaggerate the stakes.

In reality, the most reasonable position to take about the consequences of Vergara is agnosticism. Even if the decision survives appeal it will be many years before schools feel its effects, and then it is likely that the overall impact will be quite modest.

This case may still spend years winding its way through the legal system, and its ultimate fate in the judiciary is not at all obvious. If the ruling eventually remains intact, the California legislature could potentially satisfy its requirements without making major changes to the statutes in question.

More than that,  it's not clear why we should be confident that changing the rules governing teacher tenure or seniority privileges will have major, easily-predictable consequences.

On the contrary, the effects of those rules are complex and often cut in opposite directions. Below the fold, I'll consider the trade-offs involved in tenure reform specifically and try to show why it's hard to know whether the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Continue reading "Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)" »

Morning Video: Why's College So Expensive? ("Ivory Tower")

Here's the PBS NewsHour segment from last night about the new Participant documentary about college costs and outcomes.

AM News: NY Might Be First Site Of Vergara-Style Lawsuit

News2

New York State Challenge Planned on Teacher Tenure Law WSJ: Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who has been a critic of job protections for teachers, launched the group, Partnership for Educational Justice, in December. She said six students have agreed to serve as plaintiffs, arguing they suffered from laws making it too expensive, time-consuming and burdensome to fire bad teachers.

Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth NYT: With the increased recognition that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important skills, the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking its members to become advocates.

With Common Core as Backdrop, Legislators Seek Power Over Standards State EdWatch: Ten states have adopted laws in the last 18 months that place new restrictions or other requirements on state school boards as they consider adopting standards

A few text messages can help students go to college Vox: Each year, students who seem like they should be going to college — their transcripts look college-ready, they've applied and been accepted and even applied for financial aid — don't show up for class in the fall. In some communities, the attrition rate over the summer can be as  high as 40 percent; nationally, it's estimated to be between 10 and 20 percent.

LA Unified teachers, on average, rank fifth nationally in salary LA School Report: The top four districts for paying teachers with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience are Chicago ($62,046), New York ( $52,278), Hawaii ($50,728) and Houston ($47,273), with LA Unified next, at $46,794, according to the NCTQ data.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NY Might Be First Site Of Vergara-Style Lawsuit" »

Events: Poynter Institute's "Covering Common Core" Event

Because there's always more to learn, Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.46 PMI'm headed off to Chicago to attend the Covering Common Core journalists' training session being hosted by Poynter, EWA, and Northwestern over the next couple of days.

What's your favorite Common Core story so far? 

What's a Common Core story you haven't seen, or a bit of knowledge that hasn't been surfaced yet?

Mine include Cory Turner's "taking the Common Core" approach, and my own peek inside the field test help desk, but I'm sure there are other better options.

 

 

Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"

WaitAlexander Russo's How Waiting for Superman (almost) Changed the World explains how Davis Guggenheim's film created a zeitgeist.

But, did it produce "measurable impact?"

Participant, the film's production company, sought to "ignite social changes." Participant was founded by eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, and it specializes in "star-laden, carefully crafted, politically colored fims."

Whether Participant knew it or not, in its attempt to claim success, it borrowed from a common school reform meme. Test-driven reformers often claim that increases in student performances in the 1990s were the result of the NCLB Act of 2001. Similarly, Participant claims credit for closing New York City's so-called "Rubber Room," and the Washington D.C. teachers' contract. Both took place before the movie came out.

Michelle Rhee also credits Waiting for Superman for persuading top donors to contribute to StudentsFirst. But, she also claims that her organization is good, not destructive, for public schools.

An objective study, funded by the Ford Foundation, determined that the general public gave good reviews to the film, awarding four out of five stars. Education professionals gave it two stars, concluding that its "depiction of teachers and unions was simplistic."

Russo's account of the making of  Guggenheim's film and of its effects is balanced. If he has a bias, it is towards skepticism, even cynicism. Russo indicates that do-gooders must anticipate that their efforts will be "misunderstood or mischaracterized." When that happened, the filmmaker's team responded with "genuine or feigned" surprise.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"" »

Morning Video: "Homework Diner" Idea Spreading In New Mexico

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"The Homework Diner has become so successful that it’s spawning other branches in New Mexico." (Nightly News: Homework Diner Serves Up Education With a Side of Food)

AM News: San Jose Attempts To Delay Tenure Until 3rd Year (Again)

News2

San Jose district, teachers file bill seeking exception to tenure law EdSource Today:  In their contract reached last year, San Jose and its teachers union had agreed to extending teachers’ probation to three years when a panel of teachers and administrators overseeing the evaluation of probationary teachers made that recommendation.

The Politics Of The Common Core NPR: Jindal's attempt to drop the Core comes amid a backlash in many states against the academic standards. The move is likely to boost his profile among conservative voters and Tea Party supporters if he mounts a 2016 presidential bid.

To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music And Gym NPR: After years of cutbacks, Milwaukee Public Schools are re-hiring teachers for classes beyond the basic . They are hoping to retain students as well as boost attendance and test scores.

New Contract for Teachers Is Altering Schools’ Hours NYT: Because of changes in the new teachers’ contract, a number of schools are moving up the start of the school day, and more than a few parents are not happy about it.

Homework Diner Serves Up Education With a Side of Food NBC News: The Homework Diner has become so successful that it’s spawning other branches in New Mexico. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: San Jose Attempts To Delay Tenure Until 3rd Year (Again)" »

Movie Trailers: Racial Conflict On Campus

The movie's called "Dear White People" and it's about racial politics on a college campus. Watch the trailer, then read a Variety review here. It's for work!

Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength

image from www.educationnews.orgFormer New Yotk Times Magazine reporter Matt Bai has a fascinating and highly controversial (5,000-comment) story you might want to read about how the ultra-liberal Democracy Alliance ended up naming NEA executive director John Stocks (pictured) as board chairman (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it).

"So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders. You want to free the capital from the grip of powerful interest groups...Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course!"

Originally conceived as a venture fund for progressive think tanks and thinkers (CAP, MMA), the liberal group has funneled $500 million + to liberal groups over the past decade, according to Bai. But it didn't stay innovative very long, in terms of its backers and who got funding. Silicon Valley and Wall Street funders faded away.  Think tanks like the New Democrat Network and Third Way were cut off.

Now Stocks is at the helm, a move that "tells you something about the direction of Democratic politics right now," according to Bai, because of Stocks' role as the power behind the throne at the NEA (top of Bai's list of "political powerhouses that have been intransigent and blindly doctrinaire in the face of change").

Continue reading "Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength" »

Morning Video: DC Chancellor Kaya Henderson

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 9.18.04 AM

Chancellor Kaya faces questions from Andy Rotherham and Emmeline Zhao (who's clearly not wearing a seatbelt, FWIW).

Quotes: Rich Liberals Hire Union Head To Run Progressive PAC

Quotes2So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders... Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course! - Former New York Times Sunday Magazine reporter Matt Bai (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it)

AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)

News2

DCPS Hits Pause On Using Test Scores For Teacher Evaluations WAMU: For one year, D.C. Public Schools won't factor student test scores into teacher evaluations.

D.C. will wait a year to rate teachers with Common Core tests PBS: A Thursday announcement from current D.C. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s predecessor and former deputy, could make waves across the country. 

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations AP: The District of Columbia public school system, one of the first in the country to evaluate teachers using student test scores, announced Thursday that it would suspend the practice while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Changes to Teacher Evaluation System NYT: For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, teachers with poor ratings of either “ineffective” or “developing” would have state test scores removed from their evaluations. If the test scores alone led to a poor rating, then teachers would get a temporary pass.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praises Cuomo's teacher-evaluation bill Politics on the Hudson: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday praised a New York bill that would hold teachers harmless for poor Common Core-based test scores through next school year.

‘Safety net’ deal on teacher evaluations protects against negative consequences Chalkbeat: Teachers won’t face negative consequences for the next two years if they flunk their annual evaluations because of Common Core-aligned state tests, according to a tentative deal reached today between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)" »

Five Best Blogs: CTA Pushes For Tenure Expansion As Gov. Brown Ponders Vergara Appeal

As Gov Brown ponders Vergara appeal, California teachers union pushing for expansion of tenure - Reuters ht.ly/yeMTy

Why Do Other Parents Care Where I Send My Kid to School? - City Desk ht.ly/yeLLN @ConorPWilliams

Doomsday Scenario: A Court Order to Increase Taxes for K-12 - State EdWatch - Education Week ht.ly/yeMOO

Arizona Schools Chief Under Fire for Anonymous Blog Comments - State EdWatch - Education Week ht.ly/yeMKW

How the District’s education politics remain fundamentally driven by privilege, class, and race. ht.ly/yeLQV @ConorPWilliams

What happens to test scores & other teachers when you cluster TFA teachers at high-need schools? AIR ht.ly/yeKSz

Get to know @mikehtrujillo, one of the best/worst campaign guys who's ever worked on an ed campaign ht.ly/yegFP @hillelaron

Politico rounds up education issues playing out in governors' races ht.ly/ydXC7

Events: Fixing Poverty Without Fixing K-12 Education?

120914_$BOX_PovertyEX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeThe Hamilton Project (@hamiltonproj via Brookings) is having a big event today and tomorrow -- check it out -- but you may be pleased or disconcerted to note that their proposed efforts at #AddressingPoverty.  --  14 new policy proposals -- don't really involve K-12 education.

Early childhood education? Sure.  

After-school and summer learning? But of course.

A smattering of education types -- NYU's Amy Schwartz, Harvard's Bridget Terry Long. OK.

Whether this means that poverty isn't really an issue that K-12 can be expected to help address, or that the current mess of K-12 (for poor kids, at least) is more daunting than poverty, I'll leave the interpretation up to you.

Personally, I feel a little left out.

Previous posts: Reduced Poverty Or Teacher Quality? "Both," Says RheeWho Told Us The Education Fights Poverty, Anyway? (Bruno); What Next For Poverty/Inequality 2014?More Poverty In Suburbs Than In Cities;  Poverty Hurts US Students More Than In Other Nations Let's Not Talk About 43M Poor PeoplePoverty Increases Cut Both Ways In Reform Debate.

 

#WorldCupED: The Long-Forgotten AFT-Rotherham Head Butt Of 2006

image from photos1.blogger.com

#tbt

Only the old-timers will recognize either the French soccer player head-butting his Italian opponent in the 2006 World Cup or the relationship to the AFT and Education Sector that I was trying to establish in this blog post from July 2006 (before you were probably born).

The caption was this:  "Unable to restrain himself against the steady stream of insults and elbows, Zidane AFT John turns and viciouslyhead-butts Materazzi the Ed Sector. Was it justified? Public opinion is sharply divided."

Truth be told, I remember the image but don't remember the circumstances. AFT John is long gone, as is the AFT blog that used to be so much fun/frustration (there's not even a cached copy of it that I can find).  

Rotherham is still around, but long gone from Education Sector and public spats with the AFT that have or haven't served him well. 

Previous posts: Winners & Losers 2008 (According To Me)The Successful Failure Of ED In '08Duncan Only Has Himself To Blame, Says Rotherham.

Maps: ProPublica Shows Most States Allow Adults To Pin Kids Down

ScreenHunter_05 Jun. 19 11.54From ProPublica's Heather Vogell: "Public schoolchildren across the country were physically restrained or isolated in rooms they couldn’t leave at least 267,000 times in the 2011-2012 school year, despite a near-consensus that such practices are dangerous and have no therapeutic benefit. Many states have little regulation or oversight of such practices." (Can Schools in Your State Pin Kids Down? Probably.., Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will)

Morning Audio: Vergara Roundtable On SoCal Public Radio

ScreenHunter_03 Jun. 19 11.14Check out this half-hour segment featuring the Broad Foundation's Bruce Reed, Politico's Stephanie Simon, and the Century Foundation's Rick Kahlenberg.  You might be surprised to hear Simon's analysis of the situation -- calling out the unions for hypocrisy on the issue of political spending, for example.  h/t Dr. John Thompson. Reed discusses the possibility that other states will have Vergara-like lawsuits. 

 

AM News: LA Governor Can't Exit Common Core On His Own

News2

Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost:  But Jindal's own state education superintendent, John White, is incensed. "It is outside the bounds of both our state's laws and our state's aspirations for its children to think that we would turn back now," White said in a statement.  A lack of cooperation from White, who is in charge of implementing the state's education policies, could complicate Jindal's plan. 

Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost: Jindal issued a series of executive orders calling for the state to come up with "Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test" in place of the "one size fits all" Common Core standards. 

Bobby Jindal announces plans to get Louisiana out of Common Core NOLA: The governor did acknowledge he can't scrap Common Core by himself entirely. Jindal may have the ability to block a Common Core standardized test the state had planned to use next year, but he can't ditch the academic standards totally without the support of the Louisiana Legislature or the state school board.
 
Bobby Jindal can't quit the Common Core on his own Vox: Jindal can't actually get rid of the standards on his own. That requires cooperation from the state's top education official, among others — and that official says the state will stick with Common Core.

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal Declares State Dumping Common Core, PARCC Tests State EdWatch: Louisiana's governor wants the state to "develop our own standards and our own tests," but he will likely have a fight on his hands with the state schools' chief and board still backing the common core.

Governor Plans to Cut Ties to Common Core in Louisiana NYT: Louisiana’s governor said on Wednesday that his state would end its enactment of the educational guidelines, but other officials immediately said that he had overstepped his authority.

Common Core opponents say states' repeal boosts momentum Wyoming Tribune: Since March, governors in three states have signed legislation to repeal the Common Core.

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA Governor Can't Exit Common Core On His Own" »

Five Best Blogs: Teacher Prep, Vergara, & Everything Else

TEACHER PREP

Possible Silver Lining in Grim Teacher Prep Review | EdCentral ht.ly/yc2Bo @mdjtooley @NCTQ

Top-ranked teacher ed program - Western Governors -- doesn't have classes - Vox ht.ly/yc23f @libbyanelson

VERGARA

SoCal public radio roundtable on #Vergara feat. @StephanieSimon_ @BroadFoundation Bruce Reed, @RickKahlenberg ht.ly/ycm0X

About Those Vergara Naysayers... | @ericlerumht.ly/ybXca

How California under-performs on NAEP and overpays, too -- Profit of Education ht.ly/yc2gG #Vergara

MISC

Jay Mathews: How not to blow $100 million on schools wapo.st/1qdKDAx

Vox: US Educational gains have been steady and long-standing via @voxdotcom ht.ly/yciW0

Behind the recent TFA/CPS renewal/contract extension @PassTheChalk ht.ly/yc9cK

 

Charts: Philanthropy Rebounds Past Pre-Recession Levels

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 18 15.25

"Americans donated a record $52.07 billion to education in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, this figure marks a 7.4 percent increase over 2012. (Charitable giving to higher education restored to pre-recession levels, report indicates Inside HigherEd via Marketplace) Some of you would like philanthropic giving to education to go away, it often seems, but most folks actually in schools probably feel otherwise.  Thirty to 40 percent of giving goes to K-12. 

Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*

Jetsons robot teacher via smithsonian pandodailyOne of the big stories out of yesterday's NCTQ report was the weakness of alternative certification programs, as noted by Teacher Beat (Alternative Certification Deemed Weak). "For the most part, the 85 alternative programs analyzed weren't sufficiently selective, didn't ensure that applicants knew their content, and did far too little to supervise the new teachers in the classroom, the NCTQ concludes."

As this AEI paper from 2012 describes, one structural reason for the lack of quality behind alt cert programs is that their graduates are deemed highly qualified under NCLB and allowed to be hired without any negative consequences -- a provision created for TFA and staunchly defended by it in the intervening years.  The paper also notes that TFA is the brand name for alt cert but its members are very much the minority in terms of overall alt cert teachers. 

 UPDATE: "All eight TFA regions received the highest rating for how we admit talented individuals into teaching," notes TFA's response to the NCTQ report. "Additionally all eight regions received high ratings in supervised practice." See full statement below.

Continue reading "Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*" »

Magazines: The Innovation/Disruption "Myth" (New Yorker Vs. Slate)

image from www.newyorker.comThe big think piece of the week so far has to be Jill Lepore's New Yorker cover story attempting to debunk (or at least contextualize) the current fancy for things labeled "innovative" and/or "disruptive."

Basically, Lepore is saying that "innovation" is today's version of the word progress, that the Clay Christensen book that has promoted much of the furor is based on some shaky anecdotes, that innovator/disruptor types tend to rely on circular logic (innovations that fail weren't disruptive enough), and that disruptors' insights aren't much good at predicting future successes and may be particularly inappropriate to public efforts (and journalism). 

In several places, the piece notes that schools and other public endeavors have been touched by the innovation craze: 

"If your city’s public-school district has adopted an Innovation Agenda, which has disrupted the education of every kid in the city, you live in the shadow of “The Innovator’s Dilemma.”

And also: "Christensen has co-written books urging disruptive innovation in higher education (“The Innovative University”), public schools (“Disrupting Class”), and health care (“The Innovator’s Prescription”). 

There's also a funny description of the MOOC panic of 2012-2013.

Over at Slate, Will Oremus thinks that the case against innovation/disruption is being overstated and that the New Yorker writer just wants folks to stop trying to disrupt her industry.

There are lots of angles related to education here.  Are things as bad as we're being told by reformers -- bad enough to warrant attempts at "blowing up" the current system? What happens to the legacy system when inno-disruption efforts fail to make much improvement (MOOCs), or (as in charters) succeed only partially?

 

Morning Video: Homeless Unit Helps LA Kids Graduate

Here's the mildly uplifting segment from last night's PBS.  Or watch Arne Duncan take a few Common Core questions on Today.

AM News: CT Teachers Endorse Malloy Over Ed Reform Critic

News2

A labor embrace for Malloy, with a jab over education CT Mirror: The Connecticut AFL-CIO’s biennial political convention was a two-day infomercial promoting the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, with one carefully choreographed note of discord: A rebuke to the Democratic governor’s choice of Stefan Pryor as commissioner of education.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Gets A Mention New Haven Independent: AFT head Randi Weingarten praised a “dear friend” and third-party candidate who was barred from addressing a labor convention—then made a case for why delegates should instead support a governor who has angered teachers.

U.S. Warning New York State on Teacher Evaluations WSJ: A federal education official warned Tuesday that if New York delays using student test scores as part of teacher evaluations this year, the state risks losing up to $292 million of its Race to the Top grant.

Burglaries in summer, school assaults in fall: here's when crimes happen Vox: The beginning of the school year is the most dangerous time for teens. Simple assault is the only type of crime that's more common in fall than any other time of year. The reason for this isn't that it's somehow an autumnal sort of crime; it's that teens are disproportionately the victims of simple assault, and teen crime patterns are different from adults.

From Skid Row to high school graduation, Los Angeles supports homeless students’ academic success PBS NewsHour: Nora Perez just graduated from Roybal learning center, a high school in Los Angeles. Those four years can be an uphill battle for many students. However, Nora faced a mountain of challenges. This is what she called home during high school, the back of a car, parked on a city street. It’s where Nora spent part of the night and studied after school.

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

Continue reading "AM News: CT Teachers Endorse Malloy Over Ed Reform Critic" »

Five Best Blogs: Duncan Moonwalks Vergara Comments Back (Sort Of)

Despite @arneduncan's NEA- and AFT-inspired#Vergara "moonwalk," unions still on defensive, says EIA ht.ly/y8PCE

Former @insidehighered reporter @alliegrasgreen is covering higher ed for Politico @Morning_Edu now ht.ly/y8LH7

THE DISRUPTION MACHINE: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong -The New Yorker ht.ly/y8KcC#edtech

Schoolyard brawls are declining -- is lead abatement the cause? @KevinDrum Mother Jones ht.ly/y8GN8

How desperate Michigan Universities and Businesses teamed up to try and save the state - NatJournal's @fawnjohnson ht.ly/y8ZJh

Just 11 of 86 Denver teachers placed on unpaid leave were rehired once mutual consent was implemented, reports EIA ht.ly/y8Qcx

 

Thompson: Lessons From "Superman"

DavisGuggenheimJI1

Before he started Waiting for Superman, non-educator Davis Guggenheim read and reread the definitive but tedious Organizing Schools for Improvement, and went on to study the entire body of work of the Chicago Consortium for School Research. Guggenheim became an expert in economic regression studies so that he could parse the language in papers for and against value-added models. Starting with the work of Larry Cuban, he became an expert on education history.

I kid Guggenheim, of course.

Alexander Russo’s How Waiting For Superman (almost) Changed the World, published by American Enterprise Institute, tells the real story about a pro-union, pro-teacher award-winning filmmaker making a documentary that Jay Mathews described as “one of the most anti-union I had ever seen.”

Russo’s narrative on the making of the film that so deeply offended so many is consistent with my experience. Guggenheim had a lot compassion and he made some political inquiries, but he seemed to have the same disinterest in social science that has long been shown by outsiders seeking to reform schools. It is a testament to the disrespect bestowed on teachers by non-educators that they are consistently uncurious about academic education research. Surely the sponsors of An Inconvenient Truth would not have endorsed that film if Guggenheim was similarly uninformed about global warming.

Worse, Guggenheim and other reformers show even less interest in studying more than one side of the story before pontificating about the cure for inner city educational underperformance.

Continue reading "Thompson: Lessons From "Superman" " »

Update: Low-Skill Parents Need Better Educating, Too

Skylab learningThere are an estimated 36 million low-skill adults in the US - not counting undocumented immigrants or incarcerated adults.  

Only about 5 percent of them are getting anything by way of help with their numeracy, literacy, or English language skills.  

Sometimes it's nothing more than a weekly course taught by a volunteeer in the library. 

No surprise, then, that adult ed waiting lists are long, and persistence/retention is low. 

Rather than thinking about them as a separate population, howver, think about them as your students' parents -- the folks your kids go home to each day, who could help out with schoolwork or not, depending.

That's not the only connection, however.

Read about recent efforts to reboot adult education nationally and locally in my first article for EdSurge (New Urgency Around Adult Education) and you'll see lots that mirrors what's going on in K-12 education -- from the trends (flipped, mobile, gamified, etc.) to the struggle to maintain funding to the widely varying results.

 

Previous posts:  The Story Behind 2010's "Waiting For 'Superman'"Common Core: A Peek Inside A "Field Test" Help Desk. Image via Skylab Learning.

 

Lists: Why American Teachers Feel So Poor

Teachers earn a bit more than the average American and they are perceived as prestigious according to public opinion polls, notes Vox's Matt Yglesias in his list of 11 things we should know about American schools. And their absolute salaries are high, too.   So what are they complaining about?  

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.comIt's prett simple: Their relative salaries are low, compared to other college graduates.  So their earnings might seem solid from the perspective of the average parent or member of the public, but their earnings compared to their educational peers doesn't match up. It doesn't in other OECD countries, either, but it's particularly bad in the US. 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.