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Charts: Time To Rethink [Teacher] Licensing?

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"Today, more than a quarter of American workers need a license to do their job, representing a fivefold increase relative to the 1950s," according to this recent Vox article. That's no surprise to anyone in education. We take licensing for granted. This chart has it coming in 3rd, after only health care and law, at about 60 percent of workers participating. However, licensing isn't all good. According to a new White House report, licensing can lead to higher prices for services & reduced opportunity for individuals (in the form of barriers to entry into a profession and the threat of license revocations based on student loan defaults in some states). Vox recommends state-level license review agencies and -- hah! -- bipartisan work at the federal level.  

Related posts:  19 States Adopting Tougher Licensing (2010); Helping New Teachers With The First Days Of School (Bruno).

Quotes: Defiance Or ADHD? Depends What Color The Kid Is

Quotes2White kids tend to get viewed as having ADHD, or having some sort of behavioral problem. Black kids are viewed as being unruly and unwilling to learn.

-- David Ramey, an assistant professor of sociology and criminology at Penn State, quoted in Daily Beast via Vox (How schools push black students to the criminal justice system)

Morning Video: "TeacherCenter" Isn't Even Key & Peele's Best Education Sketch

TeacherCenter, the Key & Peele parody in which teachers are the subject of a SportsCenter-style show makes the obvious point that our society treats pro athletes much better than it does classroom teachers, delightfully imagining what it'd be like if things were very, very different. But it might not even be their best work on this topic. Some other favorite school-related Key & Peele segments on school bullying, substitute teachers (1 & 2), and inspirational speakers can be found here, here, here, and here. I think substitute teacher 1 (above) is my favorite. OK, now you can go. 

AM News: State Test Score Results, Teachers vs. Nurses, College Board Cave

Minn. student test scores show little change despite vow to improve Star Tribune: In reading, nearly 60 percent of students mastered state standards, compared with 59 percent in 2014. In math, 60 percent of students met math standards, down from nearly 62 percent in 2014. White students continued to outperform students of color by more than 20 percentage points on average.

Maury students excel in reading Columbia Daily Herald: For the state overall, students have shown significant gains in all areas of testing except English/Language Arts. This growth continues a five-year trend in student proficiency in math and biology across the state.

Ark. Common-Core Review Recommends a Smartphone App ... And Another Review State EdWatch: The latest state to complete a review of the standards is Arkansas. But its review has led to a somewhat unusual, if not unique, recommendation.

Hillary Clintons multi-step strategy to woo labor Politico: The first to make its own endorsement was the 1.6-million member American Federation of Teachers, which endorsed Clinton in July and whose president,Randi Weingarten, is among the most senior and influential members of the AFL-CIO's executive...

Labor debates Hillary versus Bernie Washington Post: Two women epitomize the divide inside labor: Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, defended her group’s early endorsement of Clinton. RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the 185,000-member National Nurses United, hinted that her group may endorse Sanders sometime in the next month. 

Conference Process to Rewrite ESEA Gets Underway PK12: All the expected characters were at the table: Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va.

College Board bows to critics, revises AP U.S. History course WP: Conservatives had blasted the 2014 AP U.S. History course framework as essentially being unpatriotic and presenting American history in a negatively biased light. After a year of defending the framework, the College Board just changed it. See also HuffPost.

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

Continue reading "AM News: State Test Score Results, Teachers vs. Nurses, College Board Cave" »

Charts: Together, AIR & Pearson Have 27 State Testing Contracts

GfshfsVia RealClear Education. Click here for interactive version.

Morning Video: Let's Talk About Segregated Housing & Segregated Schools

Click "play" on this recent panel featuring TCF fellows Stefanie DeLuca and Halley Potter and L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy of CUNY discussing the nexus of race, housing, and education in America. 

According to TCF's Potter, "segregation in housing and schools are intimately linked, and that we need to consider strategies that address both problems." She also notes that integrating schools doesn't really go far enough if classrooms aren't integrated, too, and choice alone isn't probably enough without equitable access to information and other supports. 

AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course

In a county that tried to amend US history course, a lesson in politics Washington Post: Voters in Jefferson County, Colo., are petitioning to recall three conservative members of the local school board who caused a national stir last fall after criticizing the Advanced Placement U.S. History course for being insufficiently patriotic.

Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism HuffPost: The company behind Advanced Placement courses for U.S. high school students will release a revision to the standards for AP U.S. history on Thursday morning, after significant pushback from conservatives who claimed the redesigned course framework, released last year, painted American history in too negative a light.

Pell Grants For Prisoners: An Old Argument Revisited NPR: The Obama administration is expected to announce a new program Friday that would once again allow some prisoners access to federal Pell grants.

The AFL-CIO has a perfect champion in Bernie Sanders. Is that enough for an endorsement? Vox: The AFL-CIO’s executive council meeting is this week, which means visits from presidential candidates: Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, and, of course, Hillary Clinton, who has a 1 pm with the union federation tomorrow. There's also a sole Republican visitor: Mike Huckabee.

Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow ProPublica: Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Track the Ebb and Flow of Public School Spending in 50 States State EdWatch: EdSource highlights both per-student spending figures per year and how much spending rose and fell during a single student's 13 years in a K-12 system.

Rep. Fattah Charged With Illegally Funneling Money Through His Ed Nonprofit PK12: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., who was previously a member of the House education committee, has pushed for legislation that would require states to equalize educational resources.

OC teachers union president, other officers relieved of duty WESH Orlando: "The AFT and the Florida Education Association have exhausted every possible effort to help the union operate by its own bylaws,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course" »

AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course

In a county that tried to amend US history course, a lesson in politics Washington Post: Voters in Jefferson County, Colo., are petitioning to recall three conservative members of the local school board who caused a national stir last fall after criticizing the Advanced Placement U.S. History course for being insufficiently patriotic.

Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism HuffPost: The company behind Advanced Placement courses for U.S. high school students will release a revision to the standards for AP U.S. history on Thursday morning, after significant pushback from conservatives who claimed the redesigned course framework, released last year, painted American history in too negative a light.

Pell Grants For Prisoners: An Old Argument Revisited NPR: The Obama administration is expected to announce a new program Friday that would once again allow some prisoners access to federal Pell grants.

The AFL-CIO has a perfect champion in Bernie Sanders. Is that enough for an endorsement? Vox: The AFL-CIO’s executive council meeting is this week, which means visits from presidential candidates: Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, and, of course, Hillary Clinton, who has a 1 pm with the union federation tomorrow. There's also a sole Republican visitor: Mike Huckabee.

Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow ProPublica: Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Track the Ebb and Flow of Public School Spending in 50 States State EdWatch: EdSource highlights both per-student spending figures per year and how much spending rose and fell during a single student's 13 years in a K-12 system.

Rep. Fattah Charged With Illegally Funneling Money Through His Ed Nonprofit PK12: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., who was previously a member of the House education committee, has pushed for legislation that would require states to equalize educational resources.

OC teachers union president, other officers relieved of duty WESH Orlando: "The AFT and the Florida Education Association have exhausted every possible effort to help the union operate by its own bylaws,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Renewed Controversy Over AP US History Course" »

Quotes: In NYC, Reformers Oppose Mayoral Control

Quotes2When a group professing to support education reform opposes mayoral control of schools, it calls into question what exactly it stands for.

--Wiley Norvell in NYT (Groups That Back Bloomberg’s Education Agenda Enjoy Success in Albany)

Maps: Handful Of States Like Indiana & Missouri Where Common Core/Testing Is Hotly Debated

Sdfgdfsgdfsgdfs"The landscape hasn’t changed drastically since the winter, as most of the Common Core climate has shifted more politically than legislatively. That, however, could change we enter election season and are faced with possible new implications in an NCLB rewrite, and as states reassess testing contracts and consider new legislation." (Where the Standards Stand- RealClear Education). Click the link for the interactive version (couldn't get it to embed properly).

Morning Video: Black Students More Likely to Receive "Stigmatizing" SPED Labels

"The data shows that black students are often times two or three times more likely than white students to be identified, especially in the most stigmatizing categories such as emotional disturbance, mental retardation or intellectual disabilities and some other categories," said Daniel Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies. "They are underrepresented in categories like autism, and perhaps other categories like speech and language." (The Complicated Problem Of Race And Special Education.)

AM News: ESEA Next Steps, Effective Teachers, Clinton Vs. Sanders

Senate’s ESEA rewrite would do away with supplanting rule SI&A Cabinet Report: A compromise revision of the nation’s primary education law would essentially eliminate long-standing federal prohibitions on using Title I dollars to replace or supplant state and local funds, a top education policy expert said Tuesday.

To get support for education bill, senators conjure lost art: Compromise  Washington Post: Alexander, 75, and Murray, 64, had never worked closely but they were suited to the task. Murray had a growing reputation as a dealmaker after negotiating a budget with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2013; Alexander had stepped down from Republican leadership in 2011, saying he wanted to focus on bridging divides rather than scoring political points.

Schools are able to hire stronger teachers when economy is weak, study finds Washington Post: Teachers who entered the profession during recessions were roughly one-tenth of a standard deviation more effective in raising students’ math test scores than teachers who entered the profession during better economic times. The recession effect was smaller in reading — about half as large. Other factors — such as teachers’ age and race, and the characteristics of the schools they worked in — could not explain the differences that researchers found between teachers hired during recession vs. non-recession periods.

The Complicated Problem Of Race And Special Education HuffPost: A group of experts who spoke with HuffPost Live last week said that while minorities may be underrepresented in some categories of special education, they're overrepresented in the most "stigmatizing" groups.

Education officials say PARCC tests saved $2.5M compared to previous assessment Baltimore Sun: Statewide, 1.3 million tests were completed during the school year. More than 80 percent of students took the assessments online.

Teacher-Turned-Congressman: Rep. Mark Takano's Take on ESEA Rewrite PK12: Takano favors grade-span testing, supports the federal mandate that states and schools test 95 percent of students, and thinks accountability should be entirely left up to states.

Labor Wrestles Over Choice Of Clinton Or Sanders AJAM: “I don’t quite know where this is coming from, because it’s rare for AFL to endorse in the primaries,” said AFT head Randi Weingarten, whose union has already endorsed Clinton. “And AFL always waits for what its affiliates are doing. What would have been surprising is if AFL did any kind of endorsement now instead of waiting." 

Why schools are rushing to hire more bilingual teachers Fusion: Some districts are sending officials to Mexico or Puerto Rico to find qualified bilingual Spanish teachers. For many districts, however, it’s languages other than Spanish that are most in demand. Facing growing numbers of refugees from places like Iraq and Myanmar, the Lincoln, Neb. school district budgeted $1.2 million this month to hire more English Language Learner teachers, as well as bilingual liaisons to help families keep in touch with their schools. Most of the new students are young, in kindergarten and first grade, officials said.

The struggle to breathe life back into empty schools WBEZ Chicago: It's the same story across the country in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, where district leaders are facing the big question — what to do with all of those empty schools?

School Funding Fight Back in Hands of Washington State's Supreme Court State EdWatch: One of the most contentious K-12 spending battles in the nation could be close to a conclusion after over three years of legal and legislative wrangling.

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The SAT And ACT? NPR: George Washington University is the latest and one of the largest private universities to drop its admissions testing requirement.

How Squeezed Are the Schools? We May Get a Better Picture WNYC: Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration had convened a working group to examine the Blue Book, and six months ago, they submitted recommendations to the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Charts: How Gerrymandered Attendance Zones Reinforce Segregation

37boundary-c1Here's a chart comparing actual Loudoun County (VA) attendance zones to model zones that balance student demographics as much as possible and aren't "gerrymandered" in ways that exclude certain groups. Via EdWeek (New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones). Used with permission. Credit Teachers College Record.

Thompson: Chris Barbic's Resignation & the Failure of School "Reform"

In 2009 and 2010, the contemporary school reform movement became the dog that caught the bus it was chasing. The Obama administration funded the entire corporate reform agenda. The wish list of market-driven reformers, test-driven reformers, and even the most ideological anti-union, teacher-bashers, became the law (in part or in totality) in 3/4ths of the states. Due to the Race to the Top, School Improvement Grants, and other innovations, competition-driven reformers, and corporate reform think tanks were granted the contracts that they claimed would reverse the effects of poverty. 

Now, ideology-driven reformers are supposed to be announcing the increases in student performance that their gold-plated reforms promised. Instead, across the nation, outcome-driven reformers are delivering excuses about their experiments’ disappointing results. Some are completely contradicting themselves, as they announce gains in graduation rates that are attributable to more counselors and student supports. Accountability hawks conveniently forget that they previously derided those old-fashioned, input-driven programs as artifacts of the education “status quo,” and its “low expectations.”

Some defeated reformers, like Michelle Rhee and Cami Anderson, remain blunt in blaming teachers and persons who disagree with them for the failure of schools that accept every student who walks in the door to produce significant gains. Others, like Kaya Henderson and the true believers in the New Orleans portfolio model, predict that early education and wraparound services will turn the toughest schools around. In doing so, these reformers forget how they previously condemned advocates of those policies as the problem.

Perhaps the most interesting spin was issued by Chris Barbic  when he resigned as the superintendent of the Tennessee Achievement School District (ASD). Chalkbeat Tennessee’s Daarel Burnette, in Chris Barbic, Founding Superintendent of State-Run Achievement School District, to Exit, explains that “Tennessee used more than 10 percent of its $500 million windfall in federal education funds to launch the ASD. Those funds, which arrived through the Race to the Top competition to spur education policy changes, have now disappeared.” Moreover, the legislature has made a number of efforts to shift gears away from Barbic’s and the ASD’s approach to school improvement.

Continue reading "Thompson: Chris Barbic's Resignation & the Failure of School "Reform"" »

Quotes: Your School Attendance Boundaries Are Gerrymandered

Quotes2Everybody’s concerned about political gerrymandering, but nobody really blinks an eye at gerrymandered school districts.

-- SMU Professor Meredith Richards, quoted in Edweek (New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones)

Morning Video: Teachers As Free Agents, Paid Based On Test Scores

Here's a Key & Peele sendup of SportsCenter in which teachers are highly-paid free agents who are wooed from one school to another based on salaries partly based on test scores. Includes a horrifyingly realistic in-video ad promoting BMWs for teachers.  Via Toppo

AM News: Columbia University-Affiliated School Reels Over Cheating Scandal & Principal's Suicide

Principal's Suicide, Forged Tests Rock Promising NYC School AP: The scandal has stirred sorrow and uncertainty after a promising start for Teachers College Community School and clouded the career of a Wall Street worker-turned-educator who'd earned praise for her approach. Meanwhile, Teachers College Community School seemed poised to prosper in its first round of Common Core tests, which factor in teacher and principal evaluations. See also NYTChalkbeatNY Post.

Colorado State Board of Education at Crossroads After Contentious Run Denver Post:  The item was not even on the agenda. The Colorado State Board of Education was supposed to spend the morning recognizing award-winning teachers and digesting a routine school-finance update.On that January day, Colorado Springs Republican Steve Durham sprung the first of many surprises that would shake the state's education establishment, prevailing in a vote to allow school districts to skip a portion of new state tests required by federal law.
 
Education Secretary Signals Push to Make Colleges More Accountable WSJ: One month after backing away from their plan to rate colleges, the Obama administration signaled it would take a harder line on issues of accountability in higher education over the homestretch of the president’s second term. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he wants to switch the nation’s focus from getting more students into college to getting more students out—with degrees.
 
The Effort To Stop Campus Rape Is Finally Starting To Focus On High Schools HuffPost: A provision in the Senate’s proposed rewrite of the nation's main education law governing K-12 schools would push for more sex education that focuses on dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Beyond the headlines: NCLB reform's lesser-known provisions MinnPost: If you followed the congressional votes, you no doubt know a few things: that the overhaul is almost a decade overdue, that the differing versions passed by the House of Representatives and Senate tackle hot-button policies concerning equity in funding, school accountability and student testing.

The Toughest Job In Education? Maybe Not NPR: It's been a theory of mine that the assistant principal has the toughest job in education. I got that idea a long time ago, when I was a student teacher at a middle school. 

Quality of Teacher Hires Improved During the Recession, Analysis Finds Teacher Beat: The paper was written by Markus Nagler of the University of Munich; Marc Piopiunik, of the ifo Institute for Economic Research (also in Munich); and Martin R. West of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Fact Checking Donald Trump on Gov. Scott Walker's Education Record PK12: The developer and GOP presidential hopeful has hit rival candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on common core and education cuts. Are his criticisms valid?

Expect Education To Be Big Issue In 2016 Presidential Campaign, Survey Shows Forbes: The foundation’s recent Schooling in America Survey found that 17% of respondents said education was the most important issue facing the nation. That compares with 31% who put economy and jobs at the top of their list of concerns. Healthcare was the most important issue for 13% of those surveyed.

Watts riots, 50 years later: What has L.A. learned, and done? LA Times: Locke High School is now Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy and is run by charter school operator Green Dot rather than by the school district. Jordan Downs is in the midst of a remake, with its residents part of the planning process.

‘Parent trigger’ campaigns can continue despite lack of new test scores EdSource: Anaheim City School District officials argued in the Orange County Superior Court case that parents were ineligible to use the “parent trigger law” because no test scores were available from 2014 – the year when parents started collecting signatures for the transformation of Palm Lane Elementary School. Both sides filed legal complaints in April.

The Struggle To Breathe Life Back Into Empty Schools NPR: As urban schools across the country continue to lose students, the question districts like St. Louis face is: What to do with all of those empty buildings?

Transgender Teen Fights to Use the Boys' Restroom WNYC: Gavin is transgender. His family decided to sue the school after the school board prohibited Gavin from using the boys' restrooms at Gloucester High School. On Monday, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia argued in federal court for an injunction that would permit Gavin to use the male restroom facilities at his school during the pending legal proceedings.

Maps: All But 8 States Have NCLB Waivers Now

image from s3.amazonaws.com

In a piece titled Why No Child Left Behind must be fixed, in one map, the Washington Examiner (I know) notes that the waiver system we're operating under currently (thanks, Arne Duncan) has more strings than NCLB or its likely successor. 

Morning Videos: Teacher Heroes, White People, Bluetooth Teacher Coaching

Gov. Jindal praises heroic teachers - via Washington Post. Or, here's a new MTV documentary called "White People" by (undocumented) documentary filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas in which young folks talk about what it's like being white. Read about it here in NY Mag:

 

Are folks doing this with white educators, I hope? Please fill me in. 

Or, watch KIPP's Dave Levin talk about the now-controversial program in which teachers are given instructions/ideas via earbud to help improve classroom teaching:

Via Washington Post / Valerie Strauss

AM News: Teachers Probably Saved Lives In Louisiana Shooting

After Lafayette theater shooting, union chief praises teachers NOLA.com: About 20 minutes into The Grand 16's showing of the film "Trainwreck" on Thursday night (July 24), gunman John Russell Houser stood up and began firing into the crowd, wounding Martin, Meaux and seven others and killing two more, authorities said. But one teacher jumped up to cover the other, and managed to pull the fire alarm to alert emergency responders, Weingarten said.See also Atlantic/EWAWashington PostPhilly.com.

Some Common Core tests are getting shorter. What are they losing? Hechinger Report: After a rough spring testing season, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two state consortia tapped by the federal government to develop tests tied to the Common Core educational standards, is making big changes to its tests, which were administered to over five million students across 11 states and the District of Columbia this year.

Missouri Law Can’t Block Scholarships for Undocumented Immigrant Students Kansas City-Star:  In a memo sent Thursday to college presidents, chancellors and directors, Missouri Department of Higher Education Commissioner David Russell said language in the title or preamble of a recently passed higher education appropriations bill “has no legal authority to withhold scholarship awards from otherwise eligible students.” 

Carnegie Mellon project revives failed inBloom dream to store and analyze student data Hechinger Report: LearnSphere, a new $5 million federally-funded project at Carnegie Mellon University, aims to become “the biggest open repository of education data” in the world, according to the project leader, Ken Koedinger.

Why a Fight in Massachusetts Over Kindergarten Funding Is Getting Ugly Slate: While Massachusetts has a long way to go, access to early childhood education is indeed slowly expanding in many nearby areas. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for universal pre-kindergarten continues with the announcement that preschool teachers at community-based early childhood centers, including day cares—who generally earn less than teachers

New GAO Report: Teacher Prep Programs Lack Performance Data PK12: Seven states ignored the federal higher education law's requirement to identify "at risk" and "low performing" teacher programs, some of them blatantly.

City Invalidates Test Scores of Third Graders at Harlem School NYT: The Education Department invalidated the results of the state exam taken by third graders amid allegations of testing improprieties by the principal of the Teachers College Community School. See also WNYC, NY Post.

What Do We Value More: Young Kids Or Fast Food? NPR: New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It's the fruit of a three-year labor campaign. But there's another group of workers out there that hasn't had a real wage increase in decades. Right now, at preschool programs around the country, teachers are tapping infinite reserves of patience to keep the peace among children at various stages of development and need. They're also providing meals, wiping noses and delivering a curriculum in math and reading that will get the kids ready for school. And there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

Quotes: Does State Trooper Encinia Remind You Of Anyone?

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"Replace Sandra Bland with a twelve-year-old girl. Replace the lit cigarette with chewing gum. Replace the car with a desk. Replace the state trooper with a teacher."
 

- The Synapse (White Educators: Do You Recognize State Trooper Encinia?)

Morning Video: In South Carolina, Clinton Addresses "Black Lives Matter"

Watch the NBC News clip above, or read more about the speeches here from AP. Or, watch acclaimed rapper (and college graduate) J. Cole talk about the importance of education and his issues with it (from March on Tavis Smiley).

AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders

Who Will the NEA Endorse for President, Clinton or Sanders -- & When? TeacherBeat: Hillary Clinton, obviously, is the odds-on favorite for NEA pick. But consider this: At the NEA meeting this summer, by far the loudest delegate cheer went to Bernie Sanders, when the names of the three Democratic candidates interviewed by NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia were announced. And officially, the NEA has been utterly silent about its endorsement plans. In a way, though, the "who" question is the wrong one to ask. The right question is whether the union can even get a primary endorsement together at all while it still matters.

In New White House Bid, Clinton Embraces Race as a Top Issue AP: At multiple stops in South Carolina, Clinton on Thursday bemoaned "mass incarceration," an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools and poisoned relations between law enforcement and the black community.

Judges Revive Claim that AT&T Overcharged Schools for Internet Service ProPublica: The little-noticed June 23 ruling concluded that the complaint by Todd Heath was properly filed under the U.S. False Claims Act – a decision that could lead to the disclosure of AT&T’s internal records about the federal program known as E-Rate. AT&T said then, and reaffirmed in a recent email to ProPublica, that it complies with the requirement that it charge such customers what is known as the “lowest corresponding price.”

Pool for Unassigned Teachers Swells in Newark Wall Street Journal: The pool swelled recently due to the cyclical flux between school years; many teachers are expected to find jobs in the fall. Many teachers, however, are there because they balked at longer hours in schools slated for overhauls. Under a union-district agreement, teachers joined the pool if they didn’t agree to a stipend, typically $3,000, for working about an hour more daily, several Saturdays and two weeks in the summer. A union spokesman said some who kept to contract hours and left at 3:05 p.m. were derided by other staffers as “Three-oh-fivers.”

Seven States Get NCLB Waiver Renewals, Including Opt-Out Friendly Oregon PK12: Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah can keep their flexibility from mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, no matter what happens with a pending rewrite of the law.

Pearson’s Fallon Seen Turning to Education Deals After FT Sale Bloomberg Business: Pearson Plc’s sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. clears the way for the U.K. company to pursue acquisitions in educational publishing.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders" »

Charts: Who's Running All Those Charter Schools?

Presentation1

I don't know if it's been vetted by NAPCS or NACSA or anyone else yet, but Bruce Baker's maps and charts showing Who’s actually running America’s charter schools are pretty interesting to look at, and give a good sense of how narrow the conversation about charters can get given the distribution of providers/operators out there. 

Books: Hey, Leave Those Low-Scoring High Schools Alone!

 
It tells the story of Mission High, which has apparently enjoyed great success despite challenging circumstances -- including the possibility of being closed thanks (indirectly) to federal education law focused narrowly on test scores rather than other metrics:


"Based on four years of reporting with unprecedented access, the unforgettable, intimate stories in these pages throw open the doors to America’s most talked about—and arguably least understood—public school classrooms where the largely invisible voices of our smart, resilient students and their committed educators can offer a clear and hopeful blueprint for what it takes to help all students succeed."

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven't read the book yet, but longtime readers may recall that I critiqued the Mother Jones article Rizga wrote and the accompanying KQED feature that ran in 2012.
 
At that time, I wrote a post titled Everything You Read In That Mother Jones Article Is Wrong that praised Rizga for her writing but not for her fairness in terms of characterizing federal efforts to encourage districts to revamp schools that didn't appear to be doing well by students. I also suggested that Mission High might be something of an outlier, in terms of the apparent mismatch between test scores and other measures.
 
For the new book, there are blurbs from Dave Eggers, Jeff Chang, Dana Goldstein, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and LynNell Hancock. The book officially launches August 15.

Morning Video: New Teachers, Job Prospects, Minority Retention

Here's last night's PBS NewsHour segment on teacher supply and demand, which describes how 200,000 newly-minted teacher education graduates might fare in the job marketplace. (The piece quotes the 40 percent/5 year departure statistic we've long seen for new teachers, though I thought that new research suggested that number might not be as high as we've been told.)

"If and when they do get hired, chances are at least 40 percent of them will leave teaching in the first five years. "

According to Ingersoll, the profession has become even more female-dominated, and minority teachers have doubled but have higher quit rates (largely due to the kinds of schools and districts into which they are hired).

AM News: White House School Discipline Summit, Plus Free Online AP Lessons

White House Hosts School Discipline Summit PK12: The department's civil rights data collection shows that more than 3 million students are suspended or expelled each year (including 4-year-olds). See also Washington PostHuffPost.

Education Groups to Leaders in Congress: Get ESEA Rewrite Over Finish Line PK12: Begin conferencing the House and Senate ESEA bills now, said 10 major education groups in a letter sent Wednesday.

As states drop out of PARCC’s Common Core test, faithful carry on Washington Post: The tests from PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — has come under fire for its length, for its technical glitches and for efforts by its test publisher, Pearson, to crack down on cheating via social media.

Teachers' union gets schooled for violating campaign law Philly.com: The union was flagged for giving a $11,500 donation to its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers - Pennsylvania Chapter, whose political committee on March 9 wrote a check for that amount to Gym's campaign.

The new frontier for Advanced Placement: Online AP lessons, for free Washington Post: First came MOOCs, or massive open online courses. Now there are MOOLs -- massive open online lessons -- to help high schools teach some of the toughest AP topics.

Issue of collective bargaining threatens California evaluation reform EdSource Today: Democratic leaders’ efforts to rewrite the state’s teacher evaluation law have stalled over the same disagreement that upended the last big push in the Legislature three years ago: stark differences in who gets to decide what goes into an evaluation.

From an ‘Undocumented’ Boyhood to a Doctorate NYT: A new memoir hopes to further the debate on immigration policy.

A Geek Speaks Out Against Tech WNYC: Computer scientist Kentaro Toyama used to use tech to help the poor around he world. But slowly, he started believing it wasn't the answer. He explains why tech isn't doing much to educate the underprivileged or spur social change.

74 percent of high school students failed Algebra 1 final in a Md. district Washington Post: The exam results were better than they were last year, but failure rates remain steep for Montgomery Co.

Parent petition results in Prescott School new principal LA School Report: A wave of angry complaints by parents of students at a small elementary school has succeeded in convincing LA Unified to replace a principal whom the parents described as unfit for the job.

Report: Mass. Schools Bans On Junk Food Are Working Boston Learning Lab: The Northeastern study compared thousands of food and beverage options available in about 75 middle schools and high schools over a one-year period, before and after the standards took effect.

Calendar: Which States' Test Score Results Come Out When

Calendar
When are those Common Core test results coming back?  

Some have already come out, at least preliminarily. Think Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Others according to this **unofficial & unverified** cheat sheet are:

7/15 MT

7/31 WI

August VT, ID, WA, SD, NV, DE, ME, CA

September HI, ND, OR, NH

Oct-Nov MO & MI

Note that PARCC states will all come out at about the same time in October or November, based on cut scores that are being set over the summer.

Note also/again that these dates are unverified by me, so you should confirm them if it's really important to you.

Thompson: Rick Hess's (& My) Lessons from Race to the Top

Some academics persist in a strange ritual - gauging greatness by the effects that government office holders have on the political process, as opposed to the results of their policies for flesh and blood human beings. Andrew Jackson and Teddy "the Big Stick" Roosevelt have been categorized as "great" because they were so effective in stealing Indians' land and leaping into imperialism. Ronald "the Great Communicator" Reagan gets high marks for the transformative nature of his politics, as the Central American death squads he supported and the destruction of blue collar jobs are forgotten.

Now, some proclaim Arne Duncan as a great transformer because he completely changed the nature of education policy. Those who celebrate Duncan's political victories, like William Howell and Joanne Weiss, remain curiously silent about the possible benefits and the costs of his school improvement experiments.

Fortunately, conservative Rick Hess's contribution to the discussion in Education Next, Lofty Promises but Little Change for America's Schools, offers a real world critique of Duncan's gambles. Hess recounts the results that matter, concluding "the breakthrough wins touted so avidly by Race to the Top enthusiasts in 2010 and 2011 now look much more like pyrrhic victories—shot through with design flaws, tainted by federal compulsion, and compromised by half-hearted follow-through." 

Continue reading "Thompson: Rick Hess's (& My) Lessons from Race to the Top " »

Update: Goldstein Compares Current Teacher Fears To 1980s' Welfare Fears

As some of you may recall, I was surprised to find out that Dana Goldstein used the powerful idea of a "moral panic" to describe concerns over ineffective teachers in her book.  

In the following days, Goldstein explained to me via Twitter that moral panic was indeed what's been happening, and that "this anxiety has consistently overlooked the profession's structure, child poverty, & other factors that matter."

In the fascinating excerpt she shares (above), Goldstein writes that "the ineffective tenured teachers has emerged as a feared character, a vampiric type who sucks tax dollars into her bloated pension and health care plans, without much regard for the children under her care." 

Hmm. My experience, for what it's worth, is that "teacher bashing" or the so-called "war on teachers" has been the authentic experience of some teachers, and has been the part of some Republican lawmakers' efforts (as in Wisconsin). 

But it hasn't been my experience that teachers have been singled out by reform advocates -- most of them Democrats -- in the way that welfare queens were the targeted by Republican lawmakers (a comparison Goldstein raises in the excerpt above). 

Instead, the idea of teacher bashing and the war on teachers has been part of the case made by advocates for teachers to fight against efforts to change the way schools and teaching work that they did not think were reasonable (or likely to be effective).

Claiming that reformers are conducting a war on teachers has worked really well at putting reformers on the defensive -- as have accusations against reformers for being elite, racist, etc. And for all I know this may be how moral panics of the past have emerged: an idea expressed by one segment of society is amplified by its intended victims as a means of self-defense.

But it's not the same as what comes to mind when I think of moral panic, which is to describe a broader, society-wide fear of a certain category of person based on profession, race, or appearance. I'm curious what scholars who have developed the idea of a moral panic would say about Goldstein's use of the term here, or how 2015-ish concerns about ineffective teachers map against 1980's concerns about welfare queens.

**Also: The paperback version of Goldstein's book, The Teacher Wars, comes out next month!**

Related posts: At AFT Conference, Goldstein Compares Reform Efforts To "Moral Panic"Goldstein Puts TFA Under The MicroscopeGoldstein & Carey Debate Test Proliferation.

AM News: Nearly 40 Percent Of Black Kids Growing Up In Poverty, Says New Report

The U.S. Is Letting Poor Kids Fall Further and Further Behind in Reading Slate: Break this figure into subgroups and the picture looks even grimmer, with 39 percent of black kids and 33 percent of Hispanic kids in poverty.

See also Bloomberg News: Brain Scans Reveal How Poverty Hurts Children's Brains, AP More U.S. Children Are Living In Poverty Than During The Great Recession, HuffPost The Heartbreaking Physical Toll Of High Achievement Among Disadvantaged Teens.

Teachers May Be Staying In The Classroom Longer Than Expected, Says Study HuffPost: A recent federal study found that a much smaller percentage of beginning teachers leave the field in their first five years on the job than the widely quoted figure of 50 percent. It’s 17 percent, according to the new research.

The declining D.C. school system hired political strategists. It seems to have worked. Washington Post: Last year, consultants trained principals of traditional schools to knock on doors in a direct appeal to families, an effort that continues this summer. Now they are refining their pitch with messages based on the new market research, which included the parent survey, focus groups and polling data, a package that cost the school system $95,000.

The K-12 Record of New GOP Candidate Gov. Kasich PK12: Gov. John Kasich doesn't have the kind of high-profile and polarizing history with public schools that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can claim. But he has an extensive record. See also ThinkProgress.

How The Big New Education Law Could Cut Testing Time NPR: Marla Kilfoyle is a teacher on Long Island, New York, a center of the opt-out movement, and the general manager of the Badass Teachers Association, a national group that opposes standardized testing. Hundreds of its members will be on Capitol Hill this week lobbying Senators and the Department of Education to halt standardized testing, among other ideas aiming to empower teachers.

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

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Charts: How Much Did That Free Excellent Neighborhood School Cost You?

Screen shot 2015-07-21 at 3.10.01 PM

This Matt Yglesias article and accompanying chart are going around today. In the piece, the Vox honcho makes the case -- too simplistically, according to some like Chalkbeat's Maura Walz -- that the housings costs of homes near high-performing public schools (top right quadrant) make them inaccessible to many middle- and low-income families, and that there are strong disincentives to letting more people live in those areas or dis-connecting school assignment and housing. Chart by Ginger Moored via Vox.

Quotes: Unions, Conservatives Making Belated Alliance Over Local Control

Quotes2The unions and the Republicans have spent so many years thinking of each other as enemies that they have been slow to recognize their alliance, and some of them have flinched uncomfortably from it. But the logic of the alliance has made itself increasingly evident. 

- NY Mag's Jonathtan Chait (The Principle That United GOP, Teachers Unions)

Morning Video: In LinkedIn Debut, Duncan Promos Lehigh High School Teachers

Check it out. Here's the accompanying text. With Duncan's debut, that makes ... two folks I know about using LinkedIn. The other is Deschryver.  Are there others?

AM News: At 22 Percent, Child Poverty Rate Still Higher Than Before Recession

More children are in poverty today than before the Great Recession PBS NewsHour: Today, 22 percent of children live in poverty, up from 18 percent in 2008. Minnesota led the United States in children’s overall well-being, followed by New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It’s the first time in nearly a decade that a state outside of New England has ranked first nationwide.

ESEA Rewrite: What to Expect From House-Senate Conference PK12: Representatives from both parties and both chambers will attempt to find common ground between their dueling reauthorization bills, which contain some stark policy differences. See also Washington Post.

ESEA Rewrite and Waiver Issue: When Should ELLs Count for Accountability? PK12: The House and Senate bills to write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act go in different directions when it comes to testing English-language learners.

Pat Toomey background check amendment: Why the No Child Left Behind rewrite won't include it. Slate: Among the more unfortunate casualties was Sen. Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act, which proposed extending federal protections against bullying to LGBT students. Other amendments were adopted in extremely watered-down form.

Judge Rules Against Miss. Districts in K-12 Money Lawsuit as Ballot Duel Looms State EdWatch: A lawsuit and two opposing ballot initiatives over school spending in Mississippi promise to create a complicated picture for K-12 spending in the state.

Chicago Public Schools Propose Selling $1.16 Billion In Bonds Reuters via HuffPost: Proceeds would be used to improve school facilities, refund outstanding bonds, and pay banks to terminate swaps used to hedge interest-rate risk on variable-rate debt, according to documents posted on the CPS website.

'Breaking Bad' Actor Runs for Albuquerque Seat AP: Actor Steven Michael Quezada (keh-ZAH'-dah) is jumping in a heated race for county commissioner in Albuquerque. Quezada is a member of the Albuquerque school board.

The Test That Can Look Into A Child's (Reading) Future NPR: Researchers say they've come up with a 30-minute test that can predict a child's language skill and diagnose learning disabilities.

NYC Parents, Teachers and Students Give Their Schools High Marks WNYC: Consistent with last year's survey results, 95 percent of parents who responded to the survey were at least "somewhat satisfied" with their child's education and with the school's response to their questions.  [But no class size question?!] See also:  ChalkbeatSchoolBook.

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

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Update: Baltimore Students Get Ta-Nehesi Coates Talk

The New York Times reported that, on Wednesday, Atlantic magazine writer Ta-Nehesi Coates spoke with some Baltimore high school students.

Turns out it was Renaissance Academy in the Booker T. Washington HS building.

Check it out on Twitter, or click this link to watch Coates speak at the book launch event just afterwards (among other things about the privilege of having two parents when he was growing up).

Morning Video: Packnett & Mckesson Win TFA Social Justice Activism Award

Here's the promo video for Brittany Packnett and Deray McKesson, two TFA alumni who have been extremely involved in social justice activism since last year's Ferguson protests. They received TFA's Peter Jennings award for their leadership at a TFA event last week. Video provided by TFA. They were also on WNYC and NPR's On The Media last week.

All of a sudden, the reform movement doesn't seem so left behind on social justice issues as it did a year or two ago (though it still has a long way to go).

Related posts: McKesson Invited To Clinton Campaign EventConservatives Critique/Elevate AFT Alum/Activist.

AM News: Labor Dispute Over AFT's "Early" Clinton Endorsement

Unions seethe over early Clinton endorsement Politico: Labor leaders said there was a clear understanding that no national unions would make an endorsement before July 30. But the American Federation of Teachers jumped the gun. See also NY Post, WSJ.

Democratic 2016 Candidates Like Senate ESEA Bill, GOP Not So Much PK12: GOP lawmakers running for president don't think the bipsartisan Senate bill to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act goes far enough in restoring power to parents. See also LA Times, Atlantic Education.

President Obama Takes On the Prison Crisis New York Times: He talked about community investment, especially in early-childhood education and in lower-income minority communities, as the best way to stop crime before it starts. And he spoke of the importance of removing barriers to employment, housing and ...

Memphis students to meet Michelle Obama as part of higher education initiative WREG: 
The summit is part of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, which aims to inspire students continue theireducation after high school. 

Oakland educators say their success in school discipline relies on shared goals Seattle Times: Since 2012, the Oakland Unified School District has decreased suspensions by 47 percent — a dramatic drop that has drawn attention from those who wonder whether Seattle Public Schools can do the same. On Friday, four leaders of Oakland’s efforts came to Seattle to explain what they’ve done, and why.

Kansas’s Teacher Exodus EWA:  Frustrated and stymied by massive budget cuts that have trimmed salaries and classroom funding, Kansas teachers are “fleeing across the border” to neighboring states that offer better benefits and a friendlier climate for public education, NPR’s Sam Zeff reported. But it’s hardly an outlier.  And it doesn’t take much to find stories of teacher shortages in Arizona and Indiana, among many others.

USA tops International Math Olympiad for first time in 21 years Washington Post: If winning a youth math competition seems less important than vanquishing the Soviets back in 1980, consider this: the last time America won the IMO was 1994. Back then, Bill Clinton was president and Ace of Base was top of the pop charts. See also NPR.

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

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Thompson: Why Did the TNTP Fail to Turn Around a High-Profile Tulsa School?

The Tulsa World’s Andrea Eger, in McClure Elementary School’s “Faculty Restart” Flopped, Educators Say, writes, “Last summer’s ‘faculty restart’ at one of the city’s toughest inner-city schools wasn’t the extraordinary new beginning it was hailed as. Educators and parents say it was a disaster.”

At the beginning of the school year, after replacing 3/4th of the school’s faculty, McClure School Principal Katy Jimenez said, “I have never experienced a vibe and energy like we have right now.” Jimenez said, “The team has come together in an amazing way. My returning teachers gave up their summer to build a team they wanted to be a part of. Their investment is very deep. We are exhausted but so excited.”

The principal borrowed a line from the corporate reform spin-meisters known as the TNTP and praised a second-grade teacher, Paige Schreckengast, as “an irreplaceable.” Ms. Schreckengast was featured the story’s photograph.

The Tulsa Public Schools had partnered with TNTP to help recruit teachers. It should be no surprise to educators familiar with its blood-in-the-eye assaults on veteran teachers that the hiring process was called “very strenuous, focused” and resulted in a staff where 88% had less than three years of experience.

Eger reports that even in this high-profile restart, “two vacancies went unfilled for much of the year because of a lack of applicants.” I’m not surprised by that, however, because many or most of the best teachers have heard the jargon before and many refuse to participate in such restarts because they know that the ideology-driven playbook is likely to fail. Neither am I surprised that “seven teachers bugged out mid-year; and then another seven left at the end of 2014-15.”

The irreplaceable also left.

Now, Tulsa says that the district officials learned from mistakes made in McClure’s faculty restart. The principal, Jimenez, says that she will no longer accept Teach for America candidates. According to Eger, Jimenez is balancing her remaining optimism with “a brutal, unrelenting reality.” The principal says:

I’m not hopeful for any more support this year. I say that because I’ve been in TPS for 13 years, … I don’t think people know what to do for a site like us. If you ask them at the district level, they think they’re giving us plenty of extra help. I don’t have enough students to qualify for an assistant principal, but I have one. I receive two discretionary (teacher) allocations. I have Reading Partners, a full-time therapist from Family and Children’s Services — but it’s still not enough for the day-to-day needs.

-JT (@drjohnthompson)

 

 

Quotes: Your Individual Racism Isn't Really The Problem

Quotes2In [Coates'] estimation, racism is neither an individual act of hatred nor some natural outside force; racism is a series of systems operating exactly as they were planned.

- In the New Yorker (Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up)

Numbers: Uptick In Violent Deaths & Threatened Teacher Reports At School

"According to new federal crime statistics, there were 32 violent deaths at elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. from July 2010 to June 2011 – the smallest number in almost two decades," notes SI&A Cabinet report (Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools). "But the following year ending in June 2012 – the most recent year for which data is available – a total of 45 deaths were recorded."

The report also notes that "the percentage of teachers who said they had been threatened with attack – or actually attacked – by a student  has been slowly increasing since 2003 when less than 4 percent reported being physically attacked and about 6 percent reported being threatened."

I'm sure we'll see other numbers and interpretations of this information over the next few days.

 

Morning Video: Charlie Rose Interviews Ta-Nehesi Coates

 

Here's the full interview from earlier this week, in which Coates talks about growing up and going to school in West Baltimore, and eventually getting to Howard University. I haven't seen or read him talk about in-school experiences (or teachers) who helped or hindered him along the way, but maybe it's out there. Thanks LF for pointing this out to me. 

Or, listen to this Philadelphia piece How a Philly school in a free-fire zone went from lockdown to hopes up. via AnnenbergInst.

AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?

Senate Votes Overwhelmingly For Bipartisan No Child Left Behind Rewrite HuffPost: However, the bill’s next steps are unclear, since even its supporters concede President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign it in its current form. See also NYT, HuffPost.

Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue PK12: Here's a look at the Senate and House bills to rewrite the NCLB law, and how they compare to each other, current law, and the Obama administration's waivers. See also AP, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour.

Senate tweaks formula for Title 1 funds to educate children from poor families Washington Post: Burr rewrote the amendment so that the formula changes would not take effect until Congress funds Title 1 at $17 billion annually. It is unclear when that would happen; the program is currently funded at $14.5 billion, an amount that has been steady since 2012. In addition, the change in formula would affect only dollars spent by Congress in excess of the $17 billion benchmark.

Testing Revolt In Washington State Brings Feds Into Uncharted Waters NPR: As Congress debates the future of No Child Left Behind, one state falls short of federal testing requirements.

Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools SI&A Cabinet Report: A general decline in serious crime on K-12 school campuses nationwide appears to be reversing, perhaps reflecting an upswing in violence in some of the nation’s largest cities.

Some schools are still testing students for drug use APM Marketplace: Many schools are still testing students for drug use, despite the end of federal funding and mixed evidence on whether it's worth the expense. Some are expanding their testing.Research shows that while drug testing is associated with a very modest decline in marijuana use, surveys sometimes find an increase in the use of other drugs. How? For one thing, drug tests aren’t always accurate. Case in point, Goldberg says, the athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. 

Lawsuit says SoCal schools among those breaking law in teacher evaluations KPCC: A lawsuit filed Thursday in Contra Costa County alleges that 13 school districts are violating state law because they aren't using student achievement data when evaluating instructors. The suit was filed by four parents and two teachers. It's backed by Students Matter, a nonprofit founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. See also EdSource Today.

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

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Thompson: The Good, Bad, & Ugly of Chicago Grad Rate Improvements

The Atlantic's Kate Grossman, in What Schools Will Do to Keep Students on Track, asks the right questions, draws on some of the world's best social science research, reports on all sides of the key questions, and gives insights into whether Chicago's increase in graduation rates will be sustainable.

Even if I hadn't personally witnessed the benefits of my school's Freshman Team, I would still perk up and listen when a Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) scholar endorses efforts to help students transition into high school, saying “I’ve been arguing against silver bullets my whole career—but this is one.”

Even better, the CCSR has found more evidence of "a direct link between improved freshmen pass rates and dramatically improved graduation rates." Best of all, it studied "20 schools that had early success improving their on-track rates [and] did not find widespread gaming by principals eager to make their schools look good."

If data is used for diagnostic purposes, and real interventions by caring mentors are offered each step of the way in helping students to overcome failure, perhaps the single best approach to school improvement is helping students progress through school. Teachers should be able to "turn to the school’s 'care team,' which finds ways to get kids more intensive help." The team should help students "make up assignments they blew off or didn’t understand," and as long as extensions on deadline aren't "endless," everyone can benefit.

But, what happens when promoting power metrics and graduation rates are incorporated into formal or informal accountability systems?

Continue reading "Thompson: The Good, Bad, & Ugly of Chicago Grad Rate Improvements" »

Movies: New Montclair Documentary Avoids Simplistic Hero/Villain Approach

Got away
If and when you get the chance, be sure to check out a new documentary, "The One That Got Away," which explores the challenges facing low-income families, schools that serve them, and social services systems -- in a more balanced and thoughtful way than many other films of this kind.
 
There's no trailer yet, not even a website or social media, but the flyer for the documentary, screened earlier this year at the Montclair Film Fest (where it's based) and last night at Scholastic in Manhattan (thanks, Tyler!), promises a pretty dramatic story: "Once president of his middle school; now behind bars. The One That Got Away tells the true story of Tourrie Moses, a once-highly promising New Jersey student from a troubled background who is now in prison for murder, and a profoundly devoted team of teachers who tried to help him thrive." 
 
And indeed the film tells an intense, vivid tale. The interviews with Tourrie's mother, who's struggled with heroin addiction, and his strict but loving father, who says he spent roughly 20 years in and out of prison, are particularly challenging to watch. 

But the most interesting and helpful aspect to the film is how it describes a situation in which there are no black-and-white heroes or villains, and no bright or artificial line between parents, school, and social services agencies tasked with supporting families and children in tough circumstances.  

 
It's not the school, or the teacher, or the kid, or society. It's all of them. 
 
As depicted in the film, the educators at Glenfield Middle School are incredibly concerned and dedicated but are using an ad hoc warning system of supports and interventions. Ditto for the high school educators who try and fail to get Moses through a delicate transition from middle school despite his social services case having been formally closed. The parents are both flawed but by no means unloving or entirely absent. Tourrie (known to his family as Ray Ray) is intensely charismatic and eager to learn but unable to hold onto his connections to his teachers and his father over the reliable if limited lure of the streets.
 
In capturing these overlapping roles and dynamics, the film raises both structural societal issues (racism, inequality) and issues of personal and individual effort. But neither society nor the individual is given responsibility for the outcome in this film. It's shared. 
 
(And, blessedly, there's nothing in the film about Common Core, standardized testing, teacher evaluation, charter schools, the Gates Foundation, or any of the other obsessions of the current era. )
 
There are some issues I had with the documentary, including some heavy-handed interviewing (especially in a scene about drug addiction), and a front porch group interview with former classmates that's not as useful or enlightening as intended.
 
And, while the educators and social services agency staffers who are interviewed express deep regret and renewed vigilance against a repeat of systemic failures, it's not entirely clear to me that they've given up their ad hoc approach (based on personal relationships) and replaced it with a more reliable warning and intervention system. 
 
This film will raise awareness of the problems facing schools serving kids like Tourrie but I'm not as confident as I'd like to be that a similar tragedy couldn't be happening again right now.
 

AM News: Senate Nears Finish To NCLB Rewrite

Senate Votes to End Debate on ESEA Rewrite; Final Vote Expected Thursday PK12: Senators also rejected a high-profile amendment from Democrats to beef up accountability measures in the underlying bill overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. See also AP.

Civil Rights Groups, Teachers' Union Spar Over Accountability PK12: The National Education Association sent a letter Tuesday to senators urging them to oppose a Democratic amendment that would beef up accountability in the Senate's ESEA rewrite.

Emanuel taps Claypool to take over at CPS, sources say Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to soon appoint longtime City Hall troubleshooter Forrest Claypool to head up the embattled Chicago Public Schools, two sources told the Chicago Tribune late Wednesday.

Why are Latinos teachers such a minority in Chicago? WBEZ:  That slow increase of Hispanic teachers comes at a time when Hispanic students make up the largest ethnic group in CPS, at 46 percent.

'Mr. Spider' Says Goodbye: An Art Teacher's Final Day At School NPR: For nearly a quarter century, Mathias Schergen taught in one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods. Now, he's moving on.

Gov. Cuomo continues to bring in money from donors with education ties ChalkbeatNY: he contribution is part of $2.4 million in donations Cuomo’s campaign reported receiving over the last six months — a slice of which again came from a cadre of money managers, executives, philanthropists, and lawyers who support charter schools, tougher accountability rules, or weaker job protections for teachers.

What was the Mark Twain quote that landed a teacher in jail? LA School Report: It apparently started when a technology coordinator who was in his Hobart Elementary School classroom on March 19 thought that what he said may have been a bit too much for his fifth graders, according to a chronology of events in the letter. She told the principal, Jonathan Paek. When he confronted Esquith, the teacher said the quote should be taken in the literary context that it was made.

Teachers back in school to master Common Core standards EdSource Today: Interviews with officials in six large California school districts and a major charter school system have found that several hundred of their teachers have signed up for – and in many cases by now already completed – summertime professional development programs provided at their schools to help them transition to the new standards.

Court Hands Major Victory to PARCC, Pearson in Challenge by Vendor EdWeek: Because the AIR lacks legal standing, the judge ruled, the other substantive complaints it made about the contract award—specifically, that it was biased in favor of Pearson—were effectively thrown out, too.

Safety: At Least 28 Students Seriously Injured By School Police Since 2010

image from www.motherjones.com

"Over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers—sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses," reports Mother Jones' Jaeah Lee (Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad)

 

Quotes: Endorsements (& Campaign Speeches) May Not Matter

Quotes2In 2008, Clinton and Barack Obama both kept their positions on education reform as vague as possible throughout, to the point where neither the reformers or their opponents had any idea which camp would prevail until Obama named his Education Secretary.

- NY Mag's Jonathan Chait (Will Hillary Clinton Continue Education Reform?)

Morning Video: AT AFT Conference, Goldstein Compares Reform Efforts To "Moral Panic"

 

Not everyone will go so far as writer Dana Goldstein does here, comparing the current school reform era to a "moral panic," in a talk given at the AFT's TEACH15, but it's still a useful and interesting talk from earlier this week. You can also watch segments featuring Jose Vilson, Wes Moore, David Kirp, and WAMU's Kavitha Cardoza.

AM News: Pushback Against Early AFT Clinton Endorsement

CAMPAIGN 2016

The American Federation of Teachers Endorsed Hillary Clinton—and Not Everyone’s Happy About It Slate: The timing of the endorsement has attracted as much attention as its content. The obvious answer is that the Clinton camp choreographed the AFT endorsement as a safeguard against the unexpected threat posed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

See also: Clinton gets key union endorsement as Sanders enjoys a groundswell of support (Phil. Enquirer); Teachers union irks rank and file with Clinton endorsement (Watchdog); Will Hillary Clinton Continue Education Reform? (NYMag); Teachers’ union endorses Hillary Clinton over weekend. Backlash begins (AJ-C).

What Do Democratic Presidential Candidates Think of the Senate ESEA Bill? PK12: Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., take note: Hillary Clinton had nice things to say about your bill to revamp the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

CONGRESS

Senate Rejects Amendments on Portability, Opt-Outs, LGBT Protections PK12: As debate continues on the bill to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, senators turned down proposals on three contentious issues. See also Washington Post: Senate votes down federal protections for K-12 LGBT students.

In the Senate, another defeat for school vouchers Washington Post: The amendment, written by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was defeated on a 45-to-51 vote. No Democrat supported the measure and several Republicans, including Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in their opposition. Senate rules required 60 votes for passage.

RACE & INEQUALITY

Why are there fewer black teachers in Chicago? WBEZ: Just 15 years go, 40 percent teachers in CPS schools were black. Today, it’s 23 percent. Many black students are segregated into majority black schools -- like National Teachers Academy in the South Loop, where Porter teaches. Meanwhile, most of the students in Chicago’s public schools are Hispanic and African American. Black enrollment has gone down, but black students still make up 39 percent of the district.

Black Children in U.S. Are Much More Likely to Live in Poverty, Study Finds NYT: About 38.3 percent lived in poverty in 2013, nearly four times the rate for white children, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

PEOPLE & PLACES

Former N.Y. K-12 Official Ken Wagner Picked to Be Rhode Island Chief EdWeek: As a deputy commissioner in New York state, Wagner played a key role in overseeing how the state shifted to the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments.

After Testing Problems, Nevada Set to Hire New Assessment Vendor EdWeek: The state of Nevada, plagued by online testing woes earlier this year, is poised to award its next contract to oversee a suite of state assessments in a $51 million deal.

New York City Schools Ask Students to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ WNYC:  The Department of Education now encourages schools to leverage students’ devices — such as smartphones, laptops and tablets — as instructional tools by asking students to “Bring Your Own Devices,” a program referred to as “BYOD.” It’s part of a national trend of bringing student devices into classrooms.

Two major school districts eliminating some final exams Washington Post: The Montgomery County school board backed a plan to end final exams in middle-school- level courses Tuesday and is looking closely at a proposal to scrap high school finals, a shift that comes as officials in Loudoun County pursue a major change in how it will assess its students.

Few School Districts Have Anti-Bullying Policies Protecting LGBT Students HuffPost: Of the 70 percent of school districts that do have anti-bullying policies, fewer than half explicitly outline protections for students who get bullied because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Only about 14 percent of districts have protections based on gender identity or expression.

Beyond bake sales: New National PTA president wants to make organization more inclusive Seattle Times:  Poulsbo resident Laura Bay was installed as president of the National PTA earlier this month. She says early learning, health and safety, and family engagement are top priorities for her two-year tenure.

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