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Thompson: Kristina Rizga Describes a Real Violation of Teacher Ethics

As test-driven reformers face defeat at the hands of a grassroots Opt Out movement, they return to their tried and true tactic of challenging the integrity of their opponents. New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia exemplifies this scorched earth tactic by asserting that teachers who support test boycotts are unethical. But, as Mother Jones's Kristina Rizga explains in Sorry, I'm Not Taking This Test, testing has inflicted the most damage on the poor children of color who, theoretically, were supposed to be helped by it.

Besides, isn't it unethical for educators to pressure students and patrons to do something that they believe is wrong? 

Rizga describes a student, Kiana Hernandez, who on her own volition chose to follow in the path of Mahatma Gandhi and refuse to take the standardized test. In a seeming violation of ethics "one teacher told her: 'Please take [the test]. My paycheck depends on it.'"

Just as bad, an obviously decent and conscientious teacher advised her, "You should wait until you are done with high school before you try to change the world." 

At this point, I must stop and say forcefully that the criticism I make of these teachers' words is rhetorical.  Good, ethical people can utter some terrible statements when under duress. As horrible as those teachers' words were, I don't blame them. They were spoken in fear. And, they were a predictable result of reward- and punishment-driven reform. They merely reconfirm the truism, "Feed the teachers or they will eat the students." 

There is one overwhelmingly important issue today. Now that it is obvious that punitive and competition-driven reform (once known quaintly as "choice") has failed to improve the educations of poor children of color, why must stakes be attached to tests? If charters and reformers are about competition to help education outcomes - not to defeat neighborhood schools, why do they still need high-stakes test scores to be used as the ammunition that fuels this battle?

Continue reading "Thompson: Kristina Rizga Describes a Real Violation of Teacher Ethics" »

Quotes: A Glass Half-Empty View Of Common Core Progress

Quotes2The whole idea of Common Core was to bring students and schools under a common definition of what success is... And Common Core is not going to have that. One of its fundamental arguments has been knocked out from under it.  - Brookings' Tom Loveless in AP (As Common Core results trickle in, initial goals unfulfilled)

 

Charts: Extra Money "Meaningfully" Improves Student Outcomes

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"Our findings provide compelling evidence that money does matter, and that additional school resources can meaningfully improve long-run outcomes for students." (Education Next: Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings)

Morning Video: PBS NewsHour Returns To New Orleans (Plus "Teaching Teachers")

 

John Tulenko and the team (now with EdWeek) report on how much NOLA schools seem to have improved, and nagging concerns about problems with expulsions and special ed services. Or, listen to this hour-long American Public Radio documentary on teaching teachers

AM News: Obama, Bush Tout New Orleans School Accomplishments

Presidents Obama, Bush Praise New Orleans' Schools Education Week: U.S. presidents past and present are visiting New Orleans this week, marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and discussing the radical reshaping of public education in the city. See also NYT: George W. Bush, Visiting New Orleans, Praises School Progress Since Katrina 

Nearly Half of States Opted to Hit Accountability Snooze Button PK12: For those states, results from tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards won't have an effect on school ratings, at least for the school year that just ended.

As Common Core results trickle in, initial goals unfulfilled AP: Full or preliminary scores have been released for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Scores in four other states that developed their own exams tied to the standards have been released.

Indianapolis Pact Couples New Teacher Roles and Big Pay Boosts Teacher Beat: Effective teachers signing onto a newly created initiative to mentor other teachers and reach more students could see thousands of dollars in additional pay.

A timeline of Texas' 30 years of school finance legal fights AP: A lawsuit challenging how Texas pays for its public schools will soon reach the state Supreme Court - the sixth time since 1984. Here's a look at major milestones in 30-plus years of legal battles:...

Tools for Tailored Learning May Expose Students’ Personal Details NYT: Many technological tools used by schools are designed to customize learning, but concern is developing over the collection and use of data on individual students.

Teacher Was Late To School 111 Times Because Of Breakfast AP: "I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning and I lost track of time," 15-year veteran teacher Arnold Anderson told The Associated Press.

Art Show Captures the Wrenching Effects of Closing a School NYT: “reForm” is set in a model classroom from a Philadelphia school, with a blackboard, cubbies, books — and oral testimony about the school’s closure.

Maryland schools superintendent announces resignation Washington Post: Lillian Lowery, hired in 2012, will become president and CEO of an Ohio education nonprofit.

Little Saigon school to provide instruction in English and Vietnamese LA Times: A public school in Little Saigon is set to become the first in California to provide instruction in both English and Vietnamese.

Quotes: "If You Care About Kids, I Am With You."

Quotes2I don’t care if you are in Teach For America, were in Teach for America, like or don’t like Teach for America.  I don’t care if you’re a pin-covered-lanyard-wearing unionista or if you delete every union email on sight.  I don’t care if you teach in a charter or did or will teach in a charter, or if you send your kids to private school or public school. I don’t care if you’re traditionally licensed or alternatively licensed or unlicensed, and I don’t care if you are a normal person or someone who teaches Kindergarten. If you care about kids I am with you

- Tom Rademacher (No Enemies - Mr Rad's Neighborhood)

Maps: In Many States, Homeschool Advocates Succeed In Resisting Regulation

343According to ProPublica, "only two states require background checks for parents who choose to homeschool, and just 10 require parents to have a high school degree. Fewer than half require any kind of evaluation or testing of homeschooled children." (Homeschooling Regulations by State) Image used with permission.

Morning Video: Katrina Anniversary Gets Three-Part Education Documentary

Check out this segment from The Seventy Four, featuring New Orleans kids' escape from Katrina and eventual return. Click here for 2 other segments. Are there any other attempts to tell the story on video?

AM News: Alt Cert Extension, ACT Scores, ACLU Vs. Nevada

White House Seeks HQT Extension for Teachers in Training EdWeek: Critics consider this a major loophole in the law, although the U.S. Department of Education said earlier this year that there were not many such teachers (about 35,000 in all). This would impact an otherwise steady source of new teachers and the millions of students they serve, most of whom are in high-need schools and in high-need subjects, including math and science," the administration said.

Massachusetts Students Tie For Top Score On ACT Boston Learning Lab: The average score for public and private school graduates in Massachusetts and Connecticut was 24.4 out of 36, the highest in the nation and more than three points higher than the national average. See also Washington Post.

ACLU of Nevada Sues to Block State's New School Choice Law State EdWatch: The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says it's filing a lawsuit challenging the state's new school voucher-like program also known as education savings accounts. See also APLas Vegas Review Journal.

One in Four D.C. Public Schools Has a New Principal This Year Washington Post: Last summer, D.C. public schools announced 21 new principals for the school system’s 111 schools. By comparison, Montgomery County had 23 new principals in a system with 203 schools.

Getting ready for the Common Core-based test results KPCC LA: California education officials tentatively plan to release test results for the state, schools and districts based on the new Common Core learning standards on Sept. 9.

Hunger Strike Over Future Of Chicago School Enters Its 11th Day NPR: Parents, teachers and activists are fighting to defend a high school the school board voted to close several years ago. They say officials are ignoring their input over what kind of school to reopen.

Charter School Scored Own State Exams Chalkbeat: The New York City charter school that made the largest gains on state English tests also made an unprecedented decision to grade its own students’ exams.

Former Columbus Administrator to Serve 14 Days in Jail in Data-Scrubbing Case District Dossier: Michael Dodds is the fourth school administrator to be found guilty as part of a scheme to change student data to inflate district performance.

New Jersey teacher who was late for work 111 times keeps job Seattle Times: The arbitrator found that the district failed to provide Anderson with due process by providing him with a formal notice of inefficiency or by giving him 90 days to correct his failings before terminating his employment.

How Schools Are Handling An 'Overparenting' Crisis NPR: Two new books, The Gift of Failure and How To Raise An Adult, argue that too many children are being given too much.

One-Third Of Schools Are Using This App You've Never Heard Of NPR: Clever, a three-year-old startup, is used by 20 million students and teachers to manage all their other apps.

New Invention Targets School Germs NBC News: An East Texas man has designed special silver-based germ-killing strips, which can be attached to door handles and other high traffic areas and surfaces. KETK's Cara Prichard reports.

Deal between IPS and its union means big pay raises for teachers ChalkbeatIN: Every Indianapolis Public Schools teacher will make at least $40,000 — a 12 percent jump for those at the bottom of the scale — if the teachers and school board both vote to approve a contract to which the district and its union have tentatively agreed.

Charts: As Of 2010, DC Got More Foundation Funding Than Anyone Else (Per Pupil)

Eee"The [$31M] total represented an extra $705 per student — far more than any other school district in the country," notes this Washington Post story (D.C. schools attracted record amounts of philanthropy). Other districts with substantial private funding include(d) Nwark, Oakland, Seattle, & Boston. Image used with permission. Latest figures included are for 2010, and are presented on a per-pupil basis. 

Thompson: Greg Toppo Sees the Game's Future and It Works

image from images.macmillan.comI've always been confused by the seemingly absurd dichotomy. Brilliant computer geeks and digital geniuses create such potentially liberating technologies. But, they also became a driving force in corporate school reform and its efforts to turn schools back to the early 20th century.

Gosh, as Greg Toppo explains in The Game Believes in You, computer games were pioneered by a small group of mostly unconnected, visionaries, In the earliest days of the 1960s computer breakthroughs, some inventors were even influenced by LSD. So, why did such creative people commit to turning schools into a sped up Model T assembly line?

It would be too much to ask of Toppo, or any other single writer, to definitively answer this question but his excellent book helps us understand why so many architects of 21st century technological miracles helped impose test, sort, reward, and punish, bubble-in malpractice on our schools.

Toppo chose to study computer gaming after his still dynamic young daughter became disenchanted with reading, and after he tired of reporting on school reform wars.  The fundamental problem predates corporate school reform; for instance, 1/3rd of high school graduates never go on to read another book for the rest of their lives. And, as teacher and reading expert Kelly Gallagher says, the problem is both under- and over-teaching of reading. But, full-blown "readicide" has been made far worse by the test prep which was caused by output-driven, competition-driven reform. 

Toppo writes:

At exactly the same time that schools have taken the questionable path of implementing more high-stakes standardized tests keyed to the abilities of some imaginary bell-curved students, games have gone the opposite route, embedding sophisticated assessment into gameplay ... becoming complex learning tools that promise to deflate the tired 'teach to the test' narrative that weighs down so many great teachers and schools. 

The Game Believes in You does a great job explaining the cognitive science behind computer games (and in doing so he may foreshadow an explanation why corporate school reformers became so obsessed with competition that they helped impose nonstop worksheet-driven, basic skills instruction on so many schools.)

Continue reading "Thompson: Greg Toppo Sees the Game's Future and It Works" »

Quotes: Delay & High Stakes Are The Problems, Not Testing Itself

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comBy using data insightfully, we can understand where students are at any point in time. This is done through realistic and sensible formative assessment measures of growth, and we are able to personalize learning in ways not possible in high stakes testing environments where results are delayed by months.

-- Philip D. Lanoue is the superintendent of the 13,000-student Clarke County School District in Georgia - via Washington Post (High-stakes testing is the ‘fool’s gold’ of accountability)

Morning Videos: Back To School Apps, "Every Teacher, Ever," & Les Miz

Back to school apps from the NYT (I was really hoping for a classroom hoverboard). Or more humorous "Every Teacher Ever" via HuffPost. Or teachers flashmob One More Day from Les Mis via Washington Post. You should really be following HotForEd on Tumblr, BTW. All the cool videos are there. 

AM News: Vallas Calls Out Duncan & Daley For Chicago's Fiscal Mess

Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas blames successors [including Duncan] for $1B deficit ABC7 Chicago: "In 2001, the district had $1.2 billion in cash reserves," said Paul Vallas, former CPS CEO. "They had six years of structurally balanced budgets."

Dyett hunger-strikers vow to continue fight Chicago Sun-Times: Randi Weingarten, president of the Washington D.C.-based American Federation of Teachers — which boasts 1.6 million members — joined the hunger strikers Wednesday at a news conference outside of Dyett. See also Washington Post.

D.C. schools attracted record amounts of philanthropy in recent years Washington Post: D.C. public schools attracted more than $31 million from national foundations in 2010, far more than any other school district in the country.

State removes 15 years of test results before releasing new scores EdSource Today: Earlier this month, as the department got ready to send parents the initial student scores on the new tests sometime over the next few weeks, department officials deleted old test results going back more than 15 years from the most accessible part of the department’s website, impeding the public’s ability to make those comparisons.

This Company Just Started Offering Free, Customized Tutoring Online  BuzzFeed: The tech company, which has powered some of the largest education companies, breaks out on its own with a free online learning service, Knewton.com.

Embattled Albuquerque Schools Chief to Learn Fate AP: The embattled superintendent of New Mexico's largest school district is expected to learn Thursday if he'll stay on the job or be forced out just two months into his position. Board members are scheduled to vote on whether Luis Valentino will remain the head of Albuquerque Public Schools after he hired an administrator who faces child sex abuse charges.

Former Sen. Mary Landrieu: Charters Increased Equity In New Orleans Schools PK12: For the Louisiana Democrat, the most important story in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is the enhanced equity in the New Orleans' education system.

New Orleans' Teaching Force Today: Whiter, Less Experienced, Higher Turnover Teacher Beat: The city's teaching force is now 49 percent black, compared to 71 percent black in 2005. About 60 percent of teachers in 2005 were trained in New Orleans colleges; in 2014, fewer than 40 percent were. Teacher experience levels dropped notably since 2003; the percentage of teachers with five or fewer years of experience increased from 33 percent to 54 percent over that time period. 

Knock Knock, Teacher's Here: The Power Of Home Visits NPR: There was a time when a teacher showing up on a student's doorstep probably meant something bad. But increasingly, home visits are being used to spark parental involvement.

There Are Kids Fighting Fires In Washington State Seattle Public Radio: Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

'George' Wants You To Know: She's Really Melissa NPR: George is a transgender fourth-grader. She's the heroine of a new book intended for readers in grades 3 to 7 and published by Scholastic, one of the largest children's publishing companies in the world.

Maps: In 4 States, "College Teacher" Is Most Common Job For Immigrants

Most-common-job-held-by-immigrants-in-each-state-corrected-background

In 4 states, immigrants' most common job is college teacher - via Business Insider (Immigrant jobs state map). Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Maine (right?).

Thompson: Ta-Nehisi Coates & School Reform

image from ecx.images-amazon.comToni Morrison rightly compares Ta-Nehisi Coates to James Baldwin. I hope teachers and education policy makers will read Coates Between the World and Me, and consider its obvious implications for school improvement. I do not want to drag his beautiful book, a touching letter to his son, into our vicious school reform wars. Instead, I will review some of the key parts of Coates’s wisdom that can inform our practice and education policy, and mostly leave our education civil war to another day.

I would think that teachers would be thrilled to have a politically conscious student like Coates. Surely most of us would welcome the creative insubordination of a high school student who would quote Nas and challenge us with the idea “schools where I learned they should be burned, it is poison.”  After all, teachers and education policy-makers should all wrestle with Coates’s indictment of schools for “drugging us with false morality.”

At times, however, class discussions involving Coates could easily become uncomfortable. He “was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests.” Moreover, “if the streets shackled my right leg, the schools shackled my left. Fail to comprehend the streets and you gave up on your body now. But fail to comprehend the schools and you gave up your body later.” If that doesn’t hit too close to home, Coates adds that he resented school more than the streets.

Schools are supposed to be a “means of escape from death and penal warehousing.” But, too often, educators don’t understand what it takes for poor children of color to avail themselves of that escape hatch. For instance, he recalls that “each day, fully one-third of my brain was concerned with who I was walking to school with, our precise number, the manner of our walk, the number of times I smiled, who or what I smiled at, who offered a pound and who did not.”

Coates knew he was being robbed of that third of his consciousness, and that education should enrich his entire mind.  But, he felt that school “had no time for the childhoods of black boys and girls.” Coates found himself “unfit for the schools, and in good measure wanting to be unfit for them.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Ta-Nehisi Coates & School Reform" »

Quotes: Fixing "Someone Else's Schools"

Quotes2If people like their local schools, regardless of what they think about schools nationally, they’re not going to be very likely to vote based on that issue...They’re not going to vote for someone just because that candidate is going to fix a problem with someone else’s schools.

-- Urban Institute senior fellow Matt Chingos in the LA Times (The problem with making education a campaign issue)

Morning Video: Suprise! Discrimination Against LGBTQ Workers Still Legal

HBO's John Oliver picked up where others left off, pointing out how unprotected workers (ie, teachers, principals, parents, administrators) are against discrimination based on sexual preference in 31 states.

AM News: Schools Struggle To Help Latinos To Close ACT Gap

Latinos struggle to close gap with whites in California ACT scores LAT: Across the country, the class of 2015 stagnated, with 40% of the 1.9 million test takers showing what the organization calls "strong readiness," according to results released Wednesday. In California, 30% of the class of 2015 took the test. California students overall outperformed their peers nationally. While 28% of students across the country met all four ACT targets, intended to represent college success, 37% of California's test takers did so.

California study finds teachers aren't connecting students to what colleges expect KPCC LA: The good news, Venezia said, is that educators say the Common Core has injected more optimism and professionalism into the classroom.

Parents' Teacher Tenure Challenge Heads Back to Court WNYC: Judge Philip Minardo appeared to listen with skepticism. Referring to the legislature's changes, which took effect in April, he asked the defendants, "Did they really do something or are they just massaging this?"

Study Tracks Vast Racial Gap In School Discipline In 13 Southern States NPR: The researchers examined more than 3,000 school districts in those states. In 132 of those districts, they found, the suspension and expulsion rates of blacks were off the charts, with suspension rates far greater than their representation in the student body. See also Slate, PBS NewsHour.

Teacher ranks shrink, skew white and less experienced in report Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:  Over a five-year period that included the near-elimination of collective bargaining in Wisconsin’s public schools, the teacher workforce in metro Milwaukee is smaller, less experienced and still largely white, according to a new report.

Why Some in Education Believe Truancy Deserves Much More Attention Washington Post: "Education has long been seen as the means to prosperity, but that only happens if students attend school regularly,” says a report that CAP, a left-leaning think tank that is associated with the Obama administration, released Tuesday.

Newark Schools See Red Ink WSJ: Cerf disclosed the budget gap in his first appearance before the Newark Schools Advisory Board. His predecessor, Cami Anderson, stopped attending the group’s monthly meetings about a year and a half ago. Facing critics demanding her ouster, she said the often raucous board meetings had devolved into personal attacks.

Survey: Majority of Americans like the way school lunches have changed Seattle Times: A W.K. Kellogg Foundation survey found that most Americans support the three-year-old nutrition standards, while 67 percent said the nutritional quality of food served in school cafeterias is excellent or good.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Schools Struggle To Help Latinos To Close ACT Gap" »

Thompson: Tulsa Cuts Testing Time Fifty-Four Percent!

The Tulsa Public Schools has reduced the time that teachers and students must spend on testing by 54%, or by more than 72 hours. The Tulsa World’s Nour Habib, in Tulsa Public Schools Says District-Mandated Testing Time to be Reduced by 54%, reports that, “The decision to reduce district-mandated tests is based on recommendations from a task force of teachers that was put together last year to study the issue of overtesting in the district. Teacher representatives from all grades were selected based on recommendations by principals and from the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.”

Habib also quotes Shawna Mott-Wright, vice president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association who says, “We are just ecstatic, over the moon. … We really appreciate all of the work that the testing task force did, and we super appreciate and are very grateful for Dr. [Deborah] Gist listening.”

The reduction of testing is doubly important because it follows the testing cutbacks initiated by the state. The Oklahoma Department of Education was limited by law from making major reductions, but State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has been clear in explaining why we must "push the reset button" on testing.  

Fundamentally, the reconsideration of testing was prompted by a grassroots Opt Out movement of parents, as well as the superintendents of the state’s major school systems. The Tulsa task force was formed after two elementary school teachers made national headlines for refusing to administer “high-stakes student surveys and tests.” Sadly, those two heroes, Nikki Jones and Karen Hendren, are no longer with the TPS. Even more disappointing is the way that Jones tried to remain with the system but every time she would hear that the principal would like to hire her, but that “they had to ‘represent the district.’”

So, the cutback will not in itself stop the cycle of test, sort, reward, and punish. Tulsa doesn’t seem to have much to show from its multimillion dollar Gates Foundation “teacher quality” grant, and as long as it takes the foundation’s money, it will be pressured to continue to impose bubble-in accountability. And, Tulsa has seen 20% of its teachers "exit" in the last 14 months.

Continue reading "Thompson: Tulsa Cuts Testing Time Fifty-Four Percent!" »

Quotes: David Simon On Whites & Integration

Quotes2White people, by and large, are not very good at sharing physical space or power or many other kinds of social dynamics with significant numbers of people of color. It’s been documented time and time again.

- David Simon in ProPublica (Show Me a Hero)

Morning Video: Hunger Strike To Save Neighborhood School

 

Via HuffPost. Or, watch an MSNBC segment on The Seventy Four, which has been criticized by the HuffPost for being a softball interview (which it was).

AM News: High Opt-Out NY Won't Receive USDE Punishment

Department of Education Won't Punish N.Y. for High Opt-Outs, Report Says PK12: Federal law requires each school to test at least 95 percent of its students or else the district or state could face sanctions. See also NYT.

Two Polls Span Two Poles On Testing NPR: Does the public support or oppose federal standardized tests? Depends how you ask. See also LA Times: When Parents Are Asked Multiple-Choice Questions More white Americans dislike standardized testing than blacks and Latinos, according to a new poll. Also EdWeek.

Analysis Finds Higher Expulsion Rates for Black Students NYT: While black students represented just under a quarter of public school students in the 13 Southern states studied, they made up nearly half of all suspensions and expulsions.

Did Obama come through for New Orleans schools after Katrina? Hechinger Report: Overall, though, test scores, per pupil spending, and state rankings have all surpassed pre-Katrina levels. The Obama administration has doled out billions of dollars in federal funding to rebuild and repair Gulf coast schools... We rate Obama’s efforts in education as a Promise Kept.

Eight States Add Citizenship Test as Graduation Requirement EdWeek: Advocates have plans to push more state legislatures to pass laws requiring high schoolers to pass a citizenship test in order to graduate in coming years.

Tim Cook on Apple's Initiative to Change Lives in the Classroom ABC: Robin Roberts sat down with Apple CEO to discuss how the company is changing the way children learn in the classroom.

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

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Site News: Gone Fishing (In Boston) - Back Tuesday

Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 12.16.21 PMNo offense, but there's nothing much I like about Boston except that my mom and sister both live there, and it's my mom's birthday on Friday.

So that's where I am, and not here sharing the day's best news and commentary with you like I usually do.

But not to worry -- all things go as planned I'll be back on Tuesday, bright and early. 

Meantime, check out RealClear Education, Politico's Morning Education roundup, or Larry Ferlazzo's blog and tweets for lots of good stuff to keep you going.

Charts: Strong Public Support For Annual Testing - But Not Common Core

image from blogs.edweek.orgAccording to EdWeek, Education Next's latest poll Shows Strong Support for Annual Testing but "slipping public support for Common Core State Standards."

Quotes: How "Common Core" Got Poisoned

Quotes2The term ‘Common Core’ is so darned poisonous, I don’t even know what it means.

- Jeb Bush quoted in this Washington Post editorial (The right and left poison Common Core with inflammatory rhetoric)

 

Here's the first of a weeklong series "Rethinking College" that the PBS NewsHour is running, this one focusing on why first generation and low-income students tend to drop out even when tuition has been taken care of. Transcript is here.

AM News: Sanders Agrees To Meet With McKesson & Other Activists

Bernie Sanders Will Meet DeRay Mckesson & Other Black Lives Matter Activists Bustle: Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson tweeted at Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday, telling him that his racial justice platform had "promise" and asking whether he would be available to discuss it in more detail. In a brief reply just two hours later, Sanders agreed to meet with Mckesson and other civil rights activists. 

Machinists Union Members Outraged Over Hillary Clinton Endorsement In These Times: The IAM's justification of their endorsement this early in the presidential race mirrors the remarks made by AFT president Randi Weingarten shortly after her union's endorsement. “If you want to shape something, you get in before the primaries,” she said.

Opt-Out Movement Draws 'Little Public Sympathy' in New Poll District Dossier: A new poll from Education Next also revealed slipping public support for the Common Core State Standards, charter schools, and teacher tenure, but backers of those policies continue to outnumber opponents.

States Gaining a Say on School Accountability EdWeek: Whether a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act makes it over the finish line this year, the federally driven accountability system at the heart of the law seems destined to go the way of the Blockbuster video. 

L.A. Unified looks for smoother tech operations this school year LA Times: Getting students into the right classroom on the first day of school is a modest goal. But it's a huge improvement over last year, when thousands of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District were left without class assignments and teachers couldn't even take roll. Officials this week are trying to right two major technology debacles: a malfunctioning records system and a now-abandoned plan to provide iPads to all students. As schools opened Tuesday, officials are hopeful that they've turned the corner on their technology fiascoes. See also KPCC LA.

Five digital games finding a place in the classroom Miami Herald: The game's widespread popularity and success with K-12 students is described in “The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter,” a recent book on digital games by USA Today national education reporter Greg Toppo.

Study Finds Education Does Not Close Racial Wealth Gap NPR: New research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows education does not help black and Hispanic college graduates protect their wealth the same way it does for their white and Asian counterparts.

Letters: The Teacher Shortage NYT: Readers discuss why teachers have left the profession and fewer want to enter it.

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

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Quotes: Black Children Going To School For 12 Years

Quotes2Violence is Black children going to school for 12 years and receiving 6 years worth of education.

-- Julian Bond, former NAACP head who just passed away.

Thompson: A NOLA Middle Ground

John Merrow, in Deciphering Schooling in New Orleans, Post-Katrina, writes that he hasn’t seen enough people take the middle ground when discussing the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans's school reform. He also remembers the city's schools as so bad, pre-Katrini, that one had to "steal electricity from other buildings and utility poles because its own wiring was inadequate—probably rotted through.  And the schools, many of them, were violent and dangerous places."
 
I mostly see middle ground in reports on the New Orleans competition-driven reforms, with NPR Marketplace's series on the debate being the latest example. In fact, most of the panelists in the Education Research Alliance conference, where Douglas Harris released research on the test-driven, choice-driven outcomes, were squarely in the middle ground of the discussions. Harris's conclusions were seen as too rosy by many (or most?) of those moderate experts.
 
But, advocates for the New Orleans model of reform had to be upset by these findings and discussions. Harris, and others who are impressed by much of the New Orleans's outcomes, have hardly found evidence in support of other school systems trying to replicate its market-driven, outcomes-driven approach. 
 
I wish we could focus on what actually worked in New Orleans and what didn't work, what methods could be improved and what should be rejected, and discuss lessons for systemic improvements of schools and systems. Such a conversation must wait, however, until we educators who oppose corporate reform beat back the well-funded campaign to impose test, sort, reward, and punish across urban America. As long as teacher-bashing organizations like The 74 seek to break our unions and destroy the due process rights of educators, we must concentrate on exposing the falsehoods intertwined in the reformers' spin about the supposed glories of New Orlean's charters.
 
Teachers have other things to do rather than criticize reforms that help students. For instance, we welcome the extra counselors who helped raise graduation rates across the nation, and that are the likely reason why New Orleans's graduation rates and college-going rates increased. Educators oppose the hastily implemented silver bullets that have backfired, damaged public schools, undermined our profession and, above all, hurt a lot of students.

Continue reading "Thompson: A NOLA Middle Ground" »

Walcott & Bradford: Folks Who Resemble Each Other & Are Both In Education

11892058_10153387018910218_8606453158210258242_n (1)Folks that look somewhat alike (usually a civilian and a celebrity) aren't that hard to find or think up.

Folks who look alike and are both in education, that's fun.

For example, that's NY-CAN's Derrell Bradford on the left and Dennis Walcott on the right. 

Some other #edudopplegangers out there? Joel Klein and Louisiana schools consultant Bill Attea, according to Peter Cook. Conor Williams and Glee teacher Matthew Morrison, according to Williams' colleagues.

Not sure who your lookalike might be? Just ask! We might have some ideas.

Extra points if the pair come from opposite sides of the education spectrum. 

Or, if you don't care about whether it's in education or not, there's a doppleganger-finding app/website out there now.

Used with permission. #Edu-Dopplegangers15

Related posts: Education Dopplegangers (2010)

Charts: Preliminary Test Results From 4 States Better Than Expected

"All four of these states [Missouri, West Virginia, Oregon and Washington] did better than that field test on the English exam and all but West Virginia and Missouri’s eighth graders improved on the math exam... The drops in their scores from old state exams were much smaller than the 30-plus percentage points declines in New York and Kentucky." (The surprising initial results from a new Common Core exam).  Used with permission.

Morning Video: Florida Re-Segregation Story Gets PBS & NPR Treatment

"Last year 95 percent of the black children failed standardized reading and math tests, and 52 percent of teachers asked for a job transfer" in this not particularly poor district with kids who weren't particularly behind in terms of school readiness (PBS NewsHour Florida schools get failing grade due to re-segregation, investigation finds). See also NPR: Staggering Figures Behind Some Troubled Schools.

Or, if you feel like something different, check out this NBC News segment on the rise of the Chromebook and other lower-cost computing devices in schools and homes (Low-Cost Computing Promises Connectivity for All)

AM News: WA State's Inequitable Funding, NY State's Opt-Out Quandry

Washington state gets failing grade on school funding AP: Washington state is being fined $100,000 a day by the state Supreme Court because justices say lawmakers have failed to adequately pay to educate the state's 1 million school children.... See also PBS NewsHour.

Test-Refusal Movement’s Success Hampers Analysis of New York State Exam Results NYT: With 20 percent opting out this year, some statisticians say it is hard to determine whether students improved over all from last year. See also Politico NY.

LAUSD raises more allegations against Rafe Esquith after teacher files lawsuit KPCC LA: The Los Angeles Unified School District this week raised additional allegations against renowned teacher Rafe Esquith, stating it is investigating whether the educator inappropriately touched children, among other new issues. Esquith's attorney said the latest allegations are false.

Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says NYT: New research shakes the long-held belief that higher education clears a path to financial equality for blacks and Hispanics, and contends that the problem is deeply rooted and persistent.

When A Budget Motel Is 'Home,' There's Little Room For Childhood NPR: In San Bernardino County, nearly one-tenth of public school students are homeless. For many, that means living in rundown motels — and coping with troubling conditions long before they get to class.

Cops in schools: Way to rebuild community trust in law enforcement? CS Monitor: After growing steadily for decades, the trend accelerated in the wake of school shootings such as the one at Columbine High in Colorado. Today, more than 19,000 police officers are now employed full time in American schools.

New Orleans Schools, 10 Years After Katrina: Beacon Or Warning? NPR: The system has shown the largest, fastest improvement of any district in the nation, and yet it still ranks second from the bottom in the state.

Former Sen. Tom Harkin Endorses Hillary Clinton, Says She's a "Champion" For Kids PK12: The op-ed comes as Democratic presidential nominee contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., continues to draw tens of thousands of supporters to speeches across the country and is rising in the polls.

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

Continue reading "AM News: WA State's Inequitable Funding, NY State's Opt-Out Quandry" »

Charts: Just 17 Pct. Of White Kids Attend Majority-Minority School

Enrollment at Majority-Minority Schools

"Even while school-age children as a whole have become more diverse, most white students still attend largely white schools." Pew Center ("5 facts about America’s students) via BRIGHT

Update: Re-Segregation & Recovery In Pinellas County, Florida

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com
Earlier this week over at The Grade, I shared out an amazing set of graphics showing the dramatic impact of one Florida County's abandonment of integration efforts.

All by itself, the slides told a powerful, clear story about the resegregation of some racially isolated schools and the academic consequences that followed. My favorite -- the red lines showing a cluster of schools becoming more racially isolated over time -- is above.

Now there's a beautifully-rendered 5,200-word feature story to go along with the graphics, all from the Tampa Bay Times, including both the sad challenges that these schools and students have experienced and recent attempts to make things better.

Related posts: Steal This School Segregation Story

Morning Video: Summer Sitcom Features (Another) Reluctant Teacher

The August show, featuring Craig Robinson (from The Office) features wacky characters but maybe not the most uplifting of themes. Check out the promo above. Or if you want a more optimistic version of the same kind of story -- now streaming on Netflix, etc. -- watch the promo for "Teacher of The Year." Trailer and review are both here

AM News: Court Fines Washington State $100K/Day Over Inequitable Funding

Washington State Faces $100,000-a-Day Fine Until Schools Plan Is Reached NYT: The state’s highest court “encouraged” Gov. Jay Inslee to call the Legislature into a special session to find a way to close the gap in spending between rich and poor schools. See also  Seattle TimesState EdWatch, AP.

A look back in time at Washington's education lawsuit AP: The Washington Supreme Court has been involved in state education spending for many years. The 2012 McCleary decision started the newest round of discussion, but the debate in Washington goes back nearly 30 years. Here are highlights.... 

New York Schools With Many Opting Out of Tests May Be Penalized NYT: The state and federal education departments had warned that districts with high refusal rates risked losing funds. But it is far from certain such action will be taken.

Team From New York Education Dept. to Study Troubled East Ramapo Schools NYT:  The three-member group, which will offer recommendations to the school board and the state, will be led by Dennis M. Walcott, a former New York City schools chancellor. See also WNYC.

Test scores highlight the challenge ahead for city’s ‘Renewal’ turnaround program ChalkbeatNY: The average English pass rate for the 63 Renewal schools where students took the grades 3-8 state exams this year was 7.5 percent, compared to the city’s 30 percent average. In math, the Renewal pass rate was about 7 percent, compared to 35 percent for the city. 

Mass. Schools Get $14 Million To Extend Learning Time Boston Learning Lab: Schools in 11 Massachusetts school districts will receive $14 million in state grants to extend the time of the school day this year. In 2006, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to develop a specific grant program for extended days.

Causes, potential consequences of testing opt-out movement AP: New York is facing a growing rebellion against Common Core-aligned standardized tests. About 20 percent of the state's third- through eighth-graders refused to take the tests this spring, up from 5 percent a year earlier. As state education officials consider the possibility of sanctions against districts with large numbers of students opting out, they also promise a plan to boost participation.

More student diversity, less integration as school restarts KPCC LA: The percentage of white students is expected to continue to decline at least through 2024 with increasing enrollments of Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and students of two or more races.  But then consider this: despite 60 years of Supreme Court mandated desegregation in schools as established in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, a lack of classroom integration remains pervasive.

Detroit Union Head Ousted After Internal Trial District Dossier: DFT President Steve Conn was booted from his position Aug. 12 after the union found him guilty of failing to follow procedures for meetings, among other infractions.

Thompson: Why Teachers (& Bees) Are Disappearing

The explanation of why bees are disappearing is complex. The question why teachers are leaving the profession is not. 

Teaching is a tough job, especially in the inner city. But, especially in high-challenge classrooms, it would be hard to find a more wonderful career. If teaching in urban schools is the calling for you, only a fiasco as bad as the contemporary school reform movement could drive the joy out the job.

The latest discussion about the disappearance of teachers was prompted by the New York Times Motoko Rich. Rich, in Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional), explains that California has to fill 21,500 teaching slots, and the state is issuing fewer than 15,000 new teaching credentials a year. She also reported on efforts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I. to staff their classrooms. NPR's Diane Rehm adds that enrollment in teacher preparation programs across the U.S. fell by around 30% between 2010 and 2014.

I can't imagine what teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg feel when recalling their district's past integration efforts, and the loss of the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a real civil rights movement - where school desegregation promised kids and adults such rewarding and life-changing opportunities. Seeing their system move from a pioneer in social justice to being a showcase for "reform" must have been devastating.

But, I can comment on Oklahoma City where recruiters have traveled to Puerto Rico and Spain to fill classrooms. When I entered the inner city neighborhood school classroom in 1993, my John Marshall High School had more great teachers than I could have imagined. I had never encountered such teaching excellence. The faculty had stuck out the violence of 1970's bussing and the 1980's crack and gangs epidemic. But, soon, the reform mantra would be that these awesome educators' "low expectations" and their "excuses" were to blame for the low performance of high-challenge students.  So, teachers were told to all "get on the same page" in teaching the same tested material at the same rate, or get out of the inner city.  

Our school went through bouts of dysfunction when violence and disruptive behavior spun out of control, and we had funerals for far too many students, but we also produced an astounding amount of academic, artistic, musical, and athletic excellence.  It was test-driven, competition-driven reform, not the failures of our school's educators and students, that eventually transformed us into the lowest-performing high school in the state.   

It was not just NCLB and Arne Duncan's accountability-driven reforms that sucked the oxygen out of our school improvement efforts and drove out our best teachers. Top-down reform robbed us of our professional autonomy. Eventually, those of us who stood and fought for our kids' right to engaging instruction found ourselves losing battle after battle and most tearfully left for easier schools where they had more freedom to teach in a holistic manner. 

Continue reading "Thompson: Why Teachers (& Bees) Are Disappearing " »

Maps: Few States Protect LGBTQ Students

Lgbtq education protections

"Only 13 states have laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 schools, while Wisconsin protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity. So in a great majority of states, LGBTQ students have no explicit legal protections."

Books: New Franzen Novel Features Loan-Burdened Protagonist

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Good news, all of you concerned with crushing student loan debt (your own or the issue): According to this review in The Atlantic, Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Purity, features a main character who's faced with large loans and no obvious way to pay them off:

"Her mother broke off contact with her family before Pip was born, and Pip hasn’t been able to persuade her to reveal the truth about her past or the identity of Pip’s father. She’s burdened with $130,000 in student loans, lives in a squatter house in Oakland, and works for a company that fleeces energy consumers with misleading environmental rhetoric. Like her Dickensian original, she has the idea that if she were to discover her own backstory, something wonderful might happen—maybe even the zeroing-out of those student loans."

Author Franzen isn't particularly interested in education, but he and his work have come up several times here over the years. His 2010 book, Freedom, raised some issues related to Education, Parenting. There was the amazing speech he delivered at Kenyon in 2011 (Of Songbirds And Public Education) -- which prompted me to write perhaps the most sincere and least prickly thing I've ever published (Education Will Break Your Heart).

AM News: NY Reports Increased Test Scores, Surge Of Opt-Outs

About 20 percent of NY students refused to take spring tests AP: About 20 percent of New York's third- through eighth-graders refused to take the statewide English and math tests given in the spring, the state's education chief said, acknowledging the opt-outs affected assessment data released Wednesday, which otherwise showed a slight uptick in overall student achievement... See also WSJChalkbeatEdWeek, NYT, WNYC.

News Corp. Planning to Sell Off Money-Losing Education Unit NYT: Amplify, the education division of Rupert Murdoch’s company, is in an “advanced stage of negotiations” with a potential buyer. See also BuzzFeed.

Labor Leadership Is Pushing Hillary Clinton, But the Grassroots Wants Bernie In These Times: “If you want to shape something, you get in before the primaries,” AFT President Randi Weingartensaid in defense of the endorsement. Weingarten, a longtime Clinton ally, is currently sitting on the board of pro-Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA Action.

Brown signs bills letting nannies' kids go to local schools AP: The Democratic governor signed without comment SB 200 by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara, which permits the children of live-in workers such as nannies and maids to attend school in the districts where their parents work at least three days per week. An additional new law requires that schools have a set policy for investigating students' residency before hiring a private investigator to look into residency. It also prohibits students from being photographed or recorded by investigators and mandates an appeals process. See also District Dossier.

Charters transform New Orleans schools, and teachers Marketplace APM: One dominant symbol back then was a flag that read, "Class of 2014," the far off year these kids were expected to launch into college. To accomplish this with so many students so behind in their studies required teachers who could handle some very long school days. Bethaney, now 19, remembers teachers being at her charter deep into the evening. See also Part 2.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NY Reports Increased Test Scores, Surge Of Opt-Outs " »

Quotes: New Teachers "All So Rough"

Quotes2They come in and they are working so hard, but it's all so rough. There's no way you can prepare anybody for it, you just have to live it... They found a way to get rid of the union... They got rid of such a huge part of the black middle class, those female teachers, head of households, well-educated people. 

 -- Holley Bendtsen, a 10th grade teacher at Landry-Walker high school, quoted on Marketplace APM (Charters transform New Orleans schools, and teachers)

Movies: School-Based Comedy Raises Issues Spanning Charter-District Divide

There is much to like about the low-budget mockumentary called "Teacher of The Year (TOTY)" now available for streaming on Netflix and other VOD services. 

First and foremost, TOTY isn't really about education politics or specific approaches to improving schools. This is nothing like Waiting For Superman, Standardized, Bad Teacher, Won't Back Down, Race to Nowhere, and all the others you may have seen or heard about recently. 

Yes, it's set at a charter school, at which there is -- atypically - both union representation of the teachers and some form of tenure that allows veterans to speak their minds. But the charter status of the school and the union representation are mostly plot vehicles, not central aspects of the story. There's no Common Core, or standardized testing. Heaven. 

The plot centers around two main dramas. First is the decision that the aforementioned Teacher of the Year must make about what to do with his future. Like some real-life state teachers of the year (see here and here), he is frustrated with his work environment and is being tempted to do something else that's much more lucrative and perhaps less stressful. The second plot element is an accusation leveled against one of the other teachers by a student, which could result in the teacher being fired despite his long-standing reputation for being committed to the school and to his students.

But mostly @TOTYmovie is a comedy -- a conglomeration of all the schools you've ever been in before, full of eccentric characters and a mix of high and low humor. There's the handsomely bland  vest-wearing protagonist, Mitch Carter, who breaks up fights, shares his lunch with a hungry student and helps him understand what Shakespeare is all about. There's the perfectly awful Principal Ronald Douche, played by Keegan Michael Key (of Key & Peele), who wants to be superintendent but might not listen to his teachers enough. There's a robotics teacher who thinks that HE should have been Teacher of the Year (and might be right). There are two deliciously horrible guidance counselors (played by the comic Sklar brothers). The assistant principal is a hapless disciplinarian handing out detention slips to bemused students. 

The comparisons to TV comedies The Office or Parks & Recreation are understandable. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer called it a "sweet, gonzo comedy.")

The filmmakers -- Lainie Strouse (the producer) and writer/director Jason Strouse (who's also the principal of an orthodox Jewish school in LA) -- say that their goal was to make something like Spinal Tap or Best In Show -- set in a high school. Another comparison that they like is Ferris Bueller's Day Off (from the point of view of teachers).  Excited about the film's success at 18 festivals over the past year and now online on Netflix and Amazon, the gist of what they had to say during a phone interview last week is that they wanted to make a film about the what it's like teaching in a real school, to tell the story in a silly but realistic way, and to focus on the teachers' perspective rather than the kids'. 

They won't say what school the film was shot at, though part of the deal was giving students jobs as PAs and walk-ons. They told me shooting was done in just 11 days spread out over six months -- and that much of the film was captured in the last few days. The shooting schedule was so fragmented that some of the actors didn't even know that they were in the same film together. 

As for their concerns about education, the filmmakers' only "issues" are that teachers don't make much as other college graduates and sometimes leave for more lucrative careers, and that school and district bureaucracies are a cumbersome bother. The rules and norms of schools breed frustration and tamp down innovation, they feel -- which is why so many people they know used to be teachers but aren't any more (and why highly-qualified non-teachers can't easily become second-career teachers).

Maybe that's the real appeal of TOTY, which is that it's neither glorifying nor tearing teachers down, and raising issues that span charter and district environments alike rather than divide them. 

Related posts: New Documentary Avoids Simplistic Hero/Villain Approach"TeacherCenter" Isn't Even Key & Peele's Best Education Segment#MiddletownFilm Chronicles "Midpoint" Students, Blended Learning.

Don't Let Citizen Stewart Win #StraightOutta ("Where You From?")

EdPost's Chris Stewart leads the way with this contribution to the viral marketing campaign for the "Straight Out of Compton" biopic that comes out Friday.

Sure, he's got that sharp Twitter avatar -- maybe he even planned it.

But that doesn't mean he's going to win.

To join in, all you have to do is upload a picture and tell us "where you from?" 

It could be something about your school (Straightoutta Central High. #Straightoutta District 732) , or your hometown, or where you work now. Mine's a long-ago picture of the nine Russo brothers #straightoutta Chicago. 

Or have some fun at someone else's expense (#straightoutta Brooklyn Heights, Lab School come to mind). 

Then tag me @alexanderrusso and I'll pass it along.

Morning Video: Why Schools Like Ferguson Resegregated So Completely

From last night's PBS NewsHour: "Since 1988, American schools have grown more segregated. Jeffrey Brown talks to New York Times Magazine writer Nikole Hannah-Jones -- who recently wrote about school segregation in Ferguson, Missouri -- and Sheryll Cashin of Georgetown University Law Center."

AM News: Principals Critique Walker, Media Critiques Clinton Debt Relief Plan

Scott Walker's War on Big Government Isn't Helping Schools, Principals Say PK12: A group of 35 principals from the southern Wisconsin area wrote to Gov. Scott Walker arguing that in the current policy and political climate, districts simply don't have enough power. See also HuffPost, Washington Post.

Hillary Clinton’s student debt video misses the biggest problem with paying for college Vox: The people featured — who have unusually high levels of debt, sky-high interest rates, or both — are outliers, and they're not necessarily the people Clinton's plan would do the most to help. The video includes four young adults who mention specific numbers in connection with their own student debt. Their stories are scary. But, thankfully, they're not typical.

Bernie Sanders's Nurses' Union Endorsement Comes Despite Labor Concerns National Journal: "I think most people don't think Bernie is going to be president." AFT president Randi Weingarten, who sits on the board of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action, tweeted last month.  See also The Blaze, Bloomberg Politics.

Authorities accuse 5 GAO employees of school lunch fraud AP: Five employees of the U.S. Government Accountability Office have been indicted on charges of fraudulently securing reduced-price school lunches for their children in a Maryland county.

Some Districts Battle Shortage of Teachers as School Begins AP: Many schools — particularly in places with growing populations and difficult working conditions — are having an especially tough time getting enough teachers to fill all their jobs. Remote areas, and high-poverty districts like Detroit with uncertain budgets and difficult working conditions, also have trouble.

Lazy days of summer? Not for these students gunning for a make-or-break exam WNYC: In New York City, like in other parts of the US, some students spend their break digging into algebra equations, hoping to ace a test that will get them into a top public high school. But some question whether a single test unfairly leaves some students out.

City’s incoming Teach for America class hits five-year low ChalkbeatNY: All told, the city will have about 5,500 new hires this fall, 100 of which will come from TFA, according to education department spokesman Jason Fink.

For second year in a row, test scores soar at low-income Arlington school Washington Post: Some grades at Carlin Springs Elementary saw double-digit increases in their state test passage rates for the second year in a row, following a deliberate effort to prepare disadvantaged students for the exams and to closely track student performance on practice tests throughout the year. The repeat success suggests that the school’s efforts might be paying off, boosting scores among groups of students whose success has proved elusive on standardized tests.

Numbers: Nine of 15 Worst States For Kids Have Growing Numbers Of Kids

TwestrerFor all the attention going to teacher shortages right now, perhaps we should be paying more to student growth (and well-being):

"Of the 15 states that experienced the largest percentage increases in their youth populations, nine rank in the bottom 15 and just one is in its top 15," notes The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein (States Such as Texas and Arizona Have the Highest Youth-Population Growth Yet the Worst Outcomes for Kids). \

"Overall, nearly 37 million young people—representing 45 percent of Americans under 20—now live in the 15 states at the bottom of the Casey foundation list."

That's right.

Update: Contribute To "The Grade" or "This Week..." This Fall?

Screenshot 2015-08-11 14.28.33Education nerd? Journalism geek? Come help with This Week In Education and/or The Grade this fall. 

TWIE is my long-running blog about national education trends, politics, advocacy, and funding. The Grade is my relatively new blog taking a close look at how mainstream news reports on what's going on in schools. 

Past contributors have done all sorts of things including interviewing education leaders, editing the morning news, doing field reports (from events, conferences, schools), writing thoughtful essays, and helping out with the podcast (which may yet return -- just you wait).  Several have gone on to fame and fortune. (Well, fame at least.)

All you need is some time, some interest, and a willingness to be thoughtful and reflective in what you write. Grad students, newly-minted grads, teachers or parents or freelancers with time to burn the midnight oil are all welcome. 

Send your information (including a couple things you've written) and a description of what you'd like to do to thisweekineducation@gmail.com. Don't send links, however -- put it all in the body of the email and let me scroll. Bylines, experience, and (a small amount of) pay are all available. 

Thompson: 2nd "This American Life" Report on School Integration Just As Great

In the second This American Life report on segregation, The Problem We All Live With - Part Two, Chana Joffe-Walt reports that the Hartford, CT school system sought to convince white families it’s in their self-interest to go to integrated schools. Joffe-Walt concludes that “the results have been impressive. It used to be that 11% of Hartford students were in integrated schools. Now it’s nearly half.”

As is the norm with This American Life, the report is nuanced in explaining how tricky the issue is, and every twist of the plot was enlightening. Hartford demonstrates great marketing skills and savvy and persuades enough white parents to participate. It is unclear whether it will be able to continue to increase white participation rates enough to meet the policy’s metrics and thus survive. (This weird numbers game is worthy of Catch 22, but Hartford is not alone; Sarah Garland [whose work was cited by This American Life] documented a similarly bizarre situation that hindered a successful desegregation effort in Louisville, Ky.)

Also, at a key point in Joffe-Walt's report, where we are reminded that not all poor children are being admitted to integrated magnet schools, we are implicitly reminded of the need to do a much better job of improving the toughest schools that serve entire neighborhoods with intense concentrations of generational poverty and where so many children endure extreme trauma. And, that makes the lost opportunities of 2009, when Arne Duncan took over as US Secretary of Education, feel even more like a betrayal. Duncan’s test, sort, reward, and punish policies provided two types of opportunity costs. They shifted attention away from research-based, holistic methods for improving instruction in troubled schools and they were a lost opportunity for encouraging voluntary integration efforts.

At the end of The Problem We All Live With - Part Two, it was explained how the election of President Barack Obama could have assisted in promoting desegregation, and his Race to the Top could have been a vehicle for promoting voluntary integration. Civil rights attorney John Brittain said that when he realized that such efforts were left out of the RttT, it was “like a punch in the gut.”

Then, Joffe-Walt and Hannah-Jones had an opportunity to ask Arne Duncan the questions that so many of us have longed to ask.

Continue reading "Thompson: 2nd "This American Life" Report on School Integration Just As Great" »

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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.