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Site News: It All Began Here Eight Years Ago

AsdfasdfScholastic Administr@tor Enters the Blogosphere: Executive Editor Kevin Hogan on Adding a Popular Blogger to His Team Via Publishing Executive, November 30 2008. Yep, I used to be a popular blogger :-) Thanks, Kevin Hogan, Dana Truby, and Wayne D'Orio (among others). 

Update: NEA President Explains Inadvertent Comments In Recent Speech

There was momentary concern and outrage (in some quarters) at the possibility that the president of the NEA had said something offensive and disparaging about kids with disabilities. Watch the video above if you want. 

But it turned out pretty quickly that she had simply mis-spoken. She meant "chronically tardy."

Others may be disappointed, but not I. My initial worry was that education had crossed over into the "doctored video" zone. That may still happen. But not so far, at least not as far as I know.

Quotes: Where's The Debate?

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"More than two out of three respondents said that K-12 education ranks among their top policy concerns, beating out controversial issues such as immigration, Social Security and Obamacare. But only about one in three voters could remember hearing any of the presidential candidates talk about public education on the campaign trail. In fact, the issue ranked dead last in terms of the attention it’s receiving from the candidates."

Education — Where’s the Debate? — Medium 

Morning Video: High-Intensity Tutoring In NYC & Chicago

Watch the Match Corps Chicago Recruitment Video above or check out The University of Chicago Magazine's current Fall issue featuring Match Education (a tutoring program now in Chicago and NYC). Via Urban Labs.

AM News: The Teacher With $410K In Federal Education Laons

Student Debt in America NYT: How a teacher ended up $410,000 in debt reveals the deep contradictions in the federal government’s approach to student loans.

To build a better teacher, Harvard launches program aimed at quality  Washington Post: As the country debates the best way to improve the quality of teachers in struggling public schools, Harvard University is launching a training program it hopes will serve as a national model.

Rising Enrollment In Northern Virginia Schools Outpaces Neighboring Districts WAMU: Student enrollment is on the rise across the D.C. region, but not uniformly so — putting more stress on school districts in places like Loudoun County.

In Indiana, Raising The Bar Raises Questions About Special Education WNYC: In Indiana, Nash must meet the same learning standards as other students and the same graduation requirements if he wants a diploma. He's currently working toward the state's General Diploma, which requires two years of math, including Algebra 1. But Nash's dad, Jeff, says his son isn't ready to take that class, so he's in another, remedial math class to help him prepare.

StopESEA? Conservative Blogger Who May Have Helped Derail ESEA Has New Qualms PK12: Last time, a conservative blogger was unhappy with the policy. This time, she's miffed about the process.

When A 4-Day School Week Might Cost More Than It Saves NPR: An Arizona school district slimmed down its budget by dropping class on Fridays. But parents say they're having to stretch their wallets to find something for their kids to do on that fifth day.

University of Chicago Cancels Classes After Online Threat NYT: The university president said that F.B.I. officials warned that “an unknown individual” had threatened gun violence on the main campus on Monday.

Peyton’s Awesome Virtual Self, a robot that allows girl with cancer to attend school Washington Post: Advanced robot gives 10-year-old a chance to be a part of daily elementary school classes, remotely.

Student Stabbed Inside Baltimore High School AP: The department wrote on its official Twitter page that a student was stabbed inside Renaissance Academy High School. Baltimore police and city school police were on the scene. The student's condition was not known, and no other details were immediately available.

Malia Obama scoping out colleges, preparing for future Detroit Free Press: She also doesn't have to worry about how to pay for her college education, unlike many of the students President Barack Obama and his wife regularly encourage to pursue post-high school education.

Gentrification: All Eyes On Bed-Stuy

 
Proving yet again that pretty much all stories are education stories, there are at least two school-related elements to the fascinating New York magazine gentrification cover story Meet the Residents of MacDonough Street (in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy).
 
There is a charter school at one end of the block (Excellence Boys Uncommon Charter School) and a district school on the other (PS/MS 262 El Hajj Malik El Shabazz School.
 
One of the renters who's profiled says she moved to the neighborhood to be closer to the charter school her son attends. 
 
Another part of the story features Brooke Vermillion and husband Ben Chapman (education reporter at the NY Daily News) - both above.
 
No word yet on where they're planning to send their child when it gets to school age. 

Maps: Collective Bargaining, State By State

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Education Next has a state-by-state breakdown on duty-to-bargain laws, total earnings loss as a result of those laws, "and additional details about teacher unionization + political contributions." (How teacher collective bargaining affects students’ employment and earnings later in life). Click the link for the interactive version -- let me know if there's anything inaccurate or notable that you come across. 

Quotes: Sen. Warren Voices Concerns About NCLB Rewrite

Quotes2The idea that we would pass a major piece of legislation about education and, in effect, shovel money into states and say 'Do with it what you want', and not have some accountability for how that money is spent, I think, is appalling.

-- MA Senator Elizabeth Warren in NPR (Goodbye, No Child Left Behind)

Morning Video: Baltimore High School Faces Influx Of Refugee Students

AM News: US Fares Poorly On New International Comparison

US falls behind other nations in the global knowledge economy, says 46-country report Hechinger Report: The United States continues to fall behind internationally in producing a college-educated workforce as other nations send more of their citizens to university. And in the very early years, many countries are now sending a much higher percentage of their kids to preschool than the United States. See also US News, AP.

Chicago Teachers Union  chief tells rallying teachers: 'When we must, we will withhold our labor' Sun-Times: In front of a screaming crowd of thousands who braved a frigid night to show their strength, and joined by legislators, pastors and other labor leaders, Lewis said, “It is time for us to act.”

More Proof That American Teachers Are Underpaid HuffPost: Elementary school teachers in the U.S. make 67 percent of what college-educated workers in other professions earn. High school teachers earn 71 percent of what other college-educated workers make.  Outside of the U.S., the picture is better -- but only slightly. On average, across OECD countries, elementary school teachers earn 80 percent of what college-educated non-teachers make. 

Admissions Quota Proposed in Brooklyn School Rezoning NYT: The Education Department said that students receiving subsidized lunches would be given admissions priority for half the seats at a Brooklyn school that is the subject of a contested rezoning proposal. See also WNYC: Decision to Rezone Two Brooklyn Schools Now Rests with Parent Council.

Sen. Murray: Revised No Child Left Behind law ‘great step forward’ Seattle Times: One day after House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement about a revised No Child Left Behind law, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray spoke about the law and its effect on Washington schools.

One year after launch, Fariña offers few new details about $400M Renewal program Chalkbeat:  After one year and millions of dollars, the de Blasio administration’s high-profile effort to revitalize its struggling schools has reduced the percentage of frequently absent students by three points, the schools chief told city lawmakers Monday.

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

NB: This Week In Education will be on Thanksgiving break from Wednesday through Friday.

Continue reading "AM News: US Fares Poorly On New International Comparison" »

#EDgif Of The Day: A Baltimore High School Full Of Immigrant/Refugee Students

Here's the intriguing 45-second trailer that let readers know about the Baltimore Sun series on immigrant and refugee high school students at Patterson High School. To hear the video with sound, go here.
 

Charts: Report Shows Big California Districts Reducing Out Of School (OSS) Suspensions

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A new report from UCLA shows declines in suspensions statewide and in many big districts -- but large racial gaps remaining. Check it all out here.  Or read an EdSource writeup here.

Quotes: Latest Version Of NCLB Puts Obama In Tight Spot

Quotes2[The conference version of the NCLB overhaul] puts [President Obama] in a difficult position to be signing onto something that clearly empowers states to be less aggressive in addressing inequity.

-- Peter Cunningham, former assistant secretary at the Education Department and a past adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan (quoted in Politico (Growing anxiety on left over NCLB deal)

Books: The Battle for Room 314 (Forthcoming)

51aqvyi-7tLLooking for a new education book to look forward to? You might consider Ed Boland's forthcoming The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School.

"In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a twenty-year career as a non-profit executive to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students' lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them: Jay runs a drug ring for his incarcerated brother; Nee-cole is homeschooled on the subway by her brilliant homeless mother; and Byron's Ivy League dream is dashed because he is undocumented.

"In the end, Boland isn't hoisted on his students' shoulders and no one passes AP anything. This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero, but a searing indictment of reform-minded schools that claim to be progressive but still fail their students.Told with compassion, humor, and a keen eye, Boland's story will resonate deeply with anyone who cares about the future of education."

The book's slated to come out in February.

I've met Boland and his candor and fearlessness talking about the experience are pretty eye-opening.  

It'll be interesting to see how the book has turned out.

Other than Dale Russakoff's Newark book and Greg Toppo's education learning book, it seems like it's been a relatively slow year for much-discussed education books. Or perhaps we've just gotten greedy, or can't tolerate anything but the most simplistic kinds of narratives.

Good thing that there are some intriguing-sounding books in the works, and more that I'm sure I'm not yet aware of.

Related posts: Cohen Joins Huffman ...The Rise of AVIDAn Anthropological Look At School FundraisingWhen [White] Parents Are An Obstacle To Making Schools More Equitable.

Morning Video: More About MA's Common Core Testing Decision

On the PBS NewsHour, the NYT's Kate Zernike expands on her Massachusetts Common Core testing decision story.

Or, listen to this WAMU segment on Kaya Henderson's five-year tenure as head of DC Public Schools.

Or, check out this WHYY Philadelphia story about a magnet school dropping its admissions criteria as part of a school consolidation plan.

AM News: NCLB Overhaul & MA Testing Decision

The fight over K-12 education appears headed back to the states Washington Post: A new education law would shift fight over teacher evaluations, testing from federal government to 50 state capitals.

Accountability and the ESEA Reauthorization Deal: Your Cheat Sheet PK12: The compromise agreed to by a congressional conference committee is, in many key ways, a U-turn from the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act.

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S. NYT: As states have rejected tests tied to the Common Core standards, no about-face has resonated more than that of Massachusetts, known as a leader in education reform.

Chicago Teachers Union to flex muscle with downtown rally Chicago Tribune: CTU President Karen Lewis is scheduled to address the crowd during the afternoon rush hour "Winter Labor Solidarity Rally & Community Tailgate." The union has distributed leaflets urging members to "be a part of this striking scene." Buses will shuttle people downtown from some two dozen city schools.

Nevada releases Common Core test results after partial testing Mohave Daily News: Nevada was confident enough in the partial student results from its Common Core-aligned state test that it released them this week, even though 7 of 10 students weren’t tested because of computer glitches.

Five Years On, Henderson Keeps Up Pace Of Reforms In D.C. Schools WAMU: It was 5 years ago this month that Michelle Rhee stepped down as chancellor of D.C. public schools after a tempestuous three-year tenure. Her deputy, Kaya Henderson, took over as chancellor and continued many of her reforms. We explore how well schools are doing now.

Teen dead after shooting at suburban Las Vegas high school AP: Authorities are investigating a shooting at a high school in suburban Las Vegas that has left a 16-year-old boy dead....

Starting A High School From Scratch Hechinger Report: At 43, she is the founding principal of a charter high school that opened this fall in Brownsville, an impoverished Brooklyn neighborhood adjacent to where she grew up in East New York. Of all the educators in all the cities trying to get school right for students at risk, she brings the rare vantage point of someone who has learned not only from professional mistakes but tragic personal ones as well.

Teachers can make $15,000 more just by moving to the district next door Washington Post: A D.C.-area report shows that those in the top-paid district earn $20,000 more than those in the lowest.

#EDgif Of The Day: Internet So Slow They Can't Even Take Attendance Online

"Today, school secretary Lisa Sutherland (above) is given 15 names to enter. Each click of her mouse is followed by an excruciating delay. The system times out. Sutherland grits her teeth and starts over. Nearly half an hour after it begins, a process that should take seconds is finally complete." (EdWeek: The Slowest Internet in Mississippi)

Update: Other Places To Find Great Education Stuff

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There's way too much interesting stuff to put it all in one place -- especially pictures and videos and off-beat human interest stories related to education.

That's why I created a side project called Hot For Education.  

If you like videos, GIFs, and all the rest, you should definitely check it out.

There's no Facebook page (yet), but you can follow it, or get it via RSS (Feedly, Digg), or track it via Twitter (@hotfored). 

Update: Network For Public Education & STAND Claim November Victories

Unnamed (14)The Network for Public Education has put out a list of electoral victories from earlier this month, including Helen Gym (Philadelphia, Suzie Abijian (South Pasadena), and several others.

The email acknowledges losses in Louisiana, blaming the defeat on lack of money. (There's no mention of labor or progressive backing of their candidates.) Click the link above for the full email. 

Meanwhile, there's an email from Stand for Children's Jonah Edelman touting recent election victories. As you can see, the focus is on Louisiana and Denver, where Stand and its allies generally prevailed.

There's no mention of races where things didn't work out so well -- I've asked for some additional information and will let you know what I get back. The full email is below. 

I'm still looking for a DFER brag sheet, and haven't seen a roundup from NEA or AFT now that I think of it. Tell them I'm looking, will you?

Related posts: States Where StudentsFirst Claims Victories - & What Comes NextWhere's Michelle Rhee (& What's StudentsFirst Up To Now)?Effective Advocacy Doesn't Stop With Policy Wins.

Continue reading "Update: Network For Public Education & STAND Claim November Victories" »

AM News: Conference Committee Approves NCLB Rewrite

House, Senate ESEA Compromise Sails Through Conference Committee PK12: The compromise gives states acres of new running room on accountabililty, while holding firm on NCLB's requirement for annual testing, and data that shows how at-risk kids are performing compared to their peers. See also Washington PostAPNYT.

Study: Closing Low-Performing New York City High Schools Helped Students WNYC: According to the Research Alliance at New York University, most of the middle schoolers ended up going to smaller high schools that performed better both in terms of the achievement and attendance of incoming students. In turn, their overall graduation rate rose to about 55 percent compared to a 40 percent rate for the now-closed schools.

Rural schools pay more than double for slow internet Marketplace: The largest telecoms don't bother with these rural areas, leaving smaller companies to come in and fill the gaps. These providers find themselves with steep overhead but little or no competition.

Top 50 Local Education Foundations Ranked in New National Study EdWeek: A new study of the top 50 local foundations that support K-12 districts found that Florida and Texas are home to some of the top-performing nonprofits that support students and teachers in districts. It also shows that the Pinellas Education Foundation in Florida has, for the second year, taken the number-one spot among foundations with $2 million or more in revenues.

Congress blasts U.S. Education Department for vulnerabilities in data bases Washington Post: Department Inspector General Kathleen Tighe says her investigators were able to penetrate the department's data systems without being detected.

School Will Start Later For Many Seattle Teens Seattle Times: A lot of Seattle teens can hit the snooze button next school year. The school board voted 6-1 Wednesday night to push back start times for middle and high schools.

Charter-school ruling stands, except for one footnote Seattle Times: Charter-school supporters had asked the court to rethink its decision, hoping to preserve the publicly funded but privately run schools.

Utah school apologizes for terrorism poster assignment AP: A Utah school apologized Thursday for a classroom assignment in which students were asked to create a propaganda poster for a group such as Islamic State to understand the goals and methods of terror groups....

Campaign 2016: How Clintons Win Back Supporters

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This Washington Post story (Inside the Clinton donor network) tells a fascinating about how the Clintons have broken with the teachers unions and others over the years (back in Arkansas and during Bill's two administrations) but have managed to bring many such organizations back into the fold.

"Today, the two major national teachers’ unions rank among the Clintons’ biggest supporters. The National Education Association has contributed at least $1.3 million to bolster their races, while the American Federation of Teachers has given more than $756,000 to support them politically and at least $1 million to their foundation. In July, AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid — the first national union to do so."

Quotes: NNSTOY Report On Common Core Assessments

Quotes2Despite the negative press and the misinformation shrouding the tests, it's important to keep in mind that many teachers really do believe they are of higher quality than the former state assessments. - National Network of State Teachers of the Year report via Politico

 
 

Morning Video: Special Ed Teacher Compliments Every Kid, Every Day

 

Children learn to love or hate at an early age.I think it's time we actively work towards teaching love and acceptance.

Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Sunday, November 15, 2015

Some people like this -- it makes others cringe.  Which are you? via HuffPost: Special Ed Teacher Compliments Every Single Student Each Day. Or, watch the EWA Livestream at #EWAelection

 

AM News: Congress Begins Final NCLB Revamp Stage

ESEA Conference Committee Kicks Off, NCLB One Step Closer to Extinction PK12: School districts and state officials have begged Congress to update the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, and it looks like they're on the verge of getting their wish. See also: MinnPostSlate.

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask. Washington Post: HUD estimates there are 127,000 homeless children in the country. The Education Department says there are 1.3 million.

At least 500,000 students in 7 states sat out standardized tests this past spring Washington Post: A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education could not confirm those numbers, saying that states are not expected to report opt-out data to the federal government until December, and some have indicated they may not do so until February.

Here's what parents have to say about union efforts at Alliance charter schools LA Times: At a news conference Wednesday, a small group of parents, community organizers and United Teachers Los Angeles members complained that they felt pressured by Alliance College-Ready Public...

Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000? NPR: A growing number of districts are looking to change that pay structure. The goal: Give teachers, even younger teachers, the chance to earn more. Reward them not for seniority or advanced degrees, but for how well they teach.

Texas Rejects Letting Academics Vet Public School Textbooks AP: Texas has rejected allowing university experts to fact-check its public-school textbooks in the wake of a 9th grade world geography book mistakenly calling African slaves "workers." It defeated 8-7 on Wednesday a proposal that would have included scrutiny from academic experts as part of its vetting process.

Dumbo School Rezoning Talks Didn’t Include Us, Say Some Parents WNYC: Families in Dumbo said they wanted to talk about school quality; the quickness of the rezoning proposal; how the city would help blend two communities with vast differences in wealth; and continued funding of P.S. 307 after the school's magnet grant for math and science ran out and if the school lost its Title I status.

Bloomberg’s early school closures benefitted future students, new study finds Chalkbeat: The new study did not examine how the years-long closure process affected educators, local communities that lost historic institutions, or surrounding schools that absorbed many challenging students. Over the years, the strategy became increasingly unpopular among parents and educators, eventually prompting lawsuits, rancorous public hearings, and scathing criticism by the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has largely rejected that approach.

Charter school supporters raise concerns about impact on LAUSD KPCC: “As part of the analysis of the Broad proposal, careful consideration should also be given to the effect of such alternative school expansion on the LAUSD. School initiatives in other cities have demonstrated that the intended reforms often fall short if they are done to communities rather than with communities,” the letter said.

Dave Isay On StoryCorps And The Great Thanksgiving Listen NPR: Since its inception 12 years ago, StoryCorps has recorded the conversations of 100,000 Americans. This Thanksgiving the oral history project hopes to double that number with the help of a new app. StoryCorps founder Dave Isay on "The Great Thanksgivig Listen" and the transformative power of the interview.

Charter group calls for closure of two of its own SI&A Cabinet Report: The state’s preeminent arbiter of charter school performance is calling this week for the closure of two campuses deemed to be falling short of meeting even minimum academic standards.

Year In Review: 7 Best Blog Posts Of 2015?

Enhanced-32477-1432058058-15 (1)I had the chance to look back over my blog posts the other day and came up with these 7 that struck me as notable or interesting:

Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too.
One thing I'd add is that it's not just kids who need more and better racial awareness programs but also educators and advocates.  Teachers -- predominantly white and middle class -- need space and time to talk about and understand not only their students' backgrounds but also their own.  And advocates -- reformers and critics alike, also predominantly white and college-educated -- would do well with more of the same.

Reflections On Last Night's Newark Panel.
First and foremost, there was the visual of Newark mayor Ras Baraka sitting next to grey-haired Chris Cerf, the appointed head of Newark schools. How and why Chris Christie chose an awkward preppy white guy to replace Cami Anderson is unclear to me and can't have been welcome news to Baraka and his supporters. Contrast the move with what happened in DC, where Kaya Henderson succeeded Michelle Rhee.

HBO's John Oliver Swings (& Misses) Against Standardized Testing.
It's no easy job being smart and funny at the same time, and especially so when the topic is something as boring and controversial as standardized testing.  But last night's John Oliver segment didn't seem to succeed at either task, and came off somewhat blinkered with its focus on the concerns of (mostly) white teachers and (mostly) white parents and students. Watch for yourself and let me know what you think:

Is Reform Really Stalemated -- And Is Early Childhood Really That Easy?.
Let's all take a look at both those things before packing up and pivoting (or thinking that others are going to). I am sad to report that I'm not so sure that the stalemate or the consensus are as clear as Kristof and others might wish them to be.

2 Things About The NYT's "Hillary Being Squeezed" Piece.
I can't imagine folks as smart and experienced as Team Clinton are feeling any real pressure to do something "crazy" (like coming out hard for the Common Core or even annual testing) anytime soon.  (Coming out in favor of vaccinations was already a bit of a surprise.) So if anything, the Clinton folks might not like the public display that DFER et al are trying to put on here, and Team DFER could get some cold shoulder. For a little while. Nobody can hate nice-guy Joe Williams for long.

New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media.
For the last few years, claims of success by reform supporters -- a high-poverty school where students are learning at high levels, say -- have regularly been met with detailed takedowns from the likes of Diane Ravitch or Gary Rubinstein, followed by a swarm of followups from reform critics and allies. But over the weekend things took a somewhat different turn (at least on Sunday, when I last checked in), and it was the mostly white, mostly male reform critics like Rubinstein and Cody who were on the hotseat for expressing a "belief gap" from a handful of Chris Stewart kicked things off (and storified the exchange below).

The Hype Cycle Created By Innovators & Journalists.
Of particular interest, the piece describes the Hype Cycle, which "begins with a Technology Trigger, climbs quickly to a Peak of Inflated Expectations, falls into the Trough of Disillusionment, and, as practical uses are found, gradually ascends to the Plateau of Productivity."

Charts: Study Suggest Impact Of Collective Bargaining $196B/Year

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"This individual effect translates into a large overall loss of earnings for the nation as a whole. In particular, our results suggest a total loss of $196 billion per year accruing to those who were educated in the 34 states with bargaining laws."

Morning Video: Michael Moore Invades Finland

"Moore, indeed, has fun in France, where even at a school on the low end of the socioeconomic pole, students enjoy healthy, restaurant quality-meals, with not a soda or snack vending machine to be found." (New Michael Moore Film Looks to Europe for Education Policy Ideas) Or, watch a pro-charter ad from Washington State (via Morning EDU).

AM News: LA Unified Explores Becoming "Charter District"

L.A. Unified explores possibility of becoming an all-charter district LA Times:  On Tuesday, a board committee reviewed a report that outlines the process for becoming an entirely charter school district. Board members said the goal was primarily to identify how the district could benefit from the same flexibility currently provided to charters. See also LA Daily News.

Massachusetts Board Approves Hybrid PARCC, State Test State EdWatch: By an 8-3 vote, the state school board approved creation of a new English and mathematics test to be administered by all of the state's schools by 2017. See also WNYC, Boston Learning Lab.

Schools postpone D.C. field trips amid increased concerns about terrorism Washington Post: Schools in S.C., Conn., and Md. scrapped field trips to the nation’s capital after online threat of attack.

New York State Accuses Utica School District of Bias Against Refugees NYT: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a lawsuit that the city diverted immigrants over 16 and unsteady in English into alternative programs in which they could not earn diplomas.

Calls mount to remove metal detectors from NYC schools AP: A student has not been shot in a New York City school in 13 years, a heartening statistic in an era of commonplace school massacres. But there is a growing cry to rid the city's schools of metal detectors, the very tool some observers credit with keeping them safe....

Mark Zuckerberg on Philanthropy: Move Slow and Build Things AP: Last year, Zuckerberg and Chan announced they would give $120 million to public and charter schools closer to home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead of attempting to overhaul an entire school district, they are doling the money out to smaller programs that provide teacher training, classroom technology and attempts to develop more personalized instruction for individual students.

St. Paul becomes latest district to study doing away with school buses MinnPost: This year, St. Paul Public Schools launched a pilot program to study how feasible it may be to send their high school students to and from school via city bus. And if the program proves successful, St. Paul may soon be joining Minneapolis in doing away with most yellow buses for their public high schools. The district estimates the cost of providing the passes to be about the same as operating yellow buses.

Will Seattle schools start later? Vote gets national spotlight Seattle Times: Seattle Public Schools could become one of the largest districts in the country to push back start times for teens, thanks to parents, sleep scientists and a school board willing to make it a priority.

Nonprofit is formed to advance charter-school plan in Los Angeles area LA Times:  Great Public Schools Now will be run by two executives from ExED, a local company that specializes in helping charter schools manage their business operations. Eli Broad or a designee, however, is expected to occupy one seat on an 11-member board of trustees.

Maps: Which States Have Reported Common Core Scores

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Here EdWeek rounds up which states have reported Common Core scores -- though some data are already outdated. Read the whole story here. Image used with permission.

Quotes: "No Evidence. No Evidence."

Quotes2I have for a very long time also been against the idea that you tie teacher evaluation and even teacher pay to test outcomes... There’s no evidence. There’s no evidence. Now, there is some evidence that it can help with school performance. If everybody is on the same team, and they’re all working together, that’s a different issue, but that’s not the way it’s been presented…

-- Hillary Clinton at a November 9 New Hampshire AFT meeting (partial transcript)

Maps: States Where StudentsFirst Claims Victories - & What Comes Next

3456hAs you can see from the above map, StudentsFirst may not have been involved in electoral campaigns but it's been active on the legislative and policy fronts -- quite successfully, it claims.
 
According to StudentsFirst's Tim Melton, it's been the organizations "most successful year legislatively." He tallies reform coalition victories in all of SF's states but Missouri and Pennsylvania. 

 

Click  here for a PDF version of the map, and here for an explainer. Take a look and let us know if you see anything that catches your eye. 
 
There will be a return to electoral politics in 2016, according to Melton. Nevada is a showdown state thanks to recently-passed reforms and tax increases to pay for them. There will be contested races in Michigan (where he's a former state legislator) as well.
 

Morning Video: Chicago Tries To Keep Its Principals

Here's a recent video from Chicago Public Television about efforts to keep effective principals on the job. Click the link for additional charts and information. 

AM News: Schools Struggle To Talk About #ParisAttacks

Schools grapple with how to teach about Paris attacks Washington Post: Schools face a tough balancing act: Teaching about a scary event without scaring children. See also LA Times.

How Is the Big Year for Common-Core Tests Shaking Out? PK12: n some cases, those previous results were also from common-core tests, since some states began giving common-core aligned exams before 2014-15. And in some cases, we had to go back further than the 2013-14 scores to find the most recent relevant test scores before 2014-15. 

Early results of New York’s Common Core survey are mostly positive ChalkbeatNY: So far, more than 71 percent of responses have been positive, Elia told the Board of Regents — results she presented as an indication that there is more consensus around the standards than many realize.

Clinton says ‘no evidence’ that teachers can be judged by student test scores Washington Post: She slams a key tenet of Obama administration education policies during closed-door chat with teachers. See also US NewsVox.

Weingarten Defends Hillary Clinton on Charter Schools NYT: Ms. Weingarten declined to answer a question about whether she hoped Mrs. Clinton, if elected president, would stem the growth of the charter school movement.

Four Ways Hillary Clinton Might Differ From Obama on K-12 Policy PK12: The roundtable also offered an opportunity for Clinton to raise issues where she might depart from President Barack Obama's policies, as well as such issues that didn't come up (at least directly) in her discussion with teachers

How Is the Big Year for Common-Core Tests Shaking Out? PK12: In addition to the scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Smarter Balanced, and other common-core tests from the past school year, the interactive presentation includes scores from previous state tests.

Hey, New Teacher, Don't Quit. It Will Get Better NPR: One new teacher in 10 will quit by the end of the first year. One teacher coined a phrase that explains why: Dark, Evil Vortex Of Late September, October and November, or DEVOLSON.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Schools Struggle To Talk About #ParisAttacks" »

Cartoons: Parent Teacher's-Parents Conference

“Your son is teaching third grade at a second-grade level.”

Quotes: "Make Sure To Make Them Feel Safe"

From PDK's Joshua Starr: "Educators: tomorrow, please be especially mindful of Muslim children in your schools and be sure to make them feel safe."

Morning Video: Remembering CA Student Killed In Paris

NBC News: Friends, Relatives Recall Student Killed in Paris

AM News: Educators Respond To Paris Attacks (Plus NCLB Rewrite Agreement)

The California student killed in Paris saw herself as a driven, independent Mexican American LA Times: Gonzalez, a 23-year-old design student at Cal State Long Beach, had arrived in the city in September. She had never been out of the country and was looking forward to the semester abroad. See also TODAY and Joshua Starr tweet reminding educators to be aware of issues that may come up in American classrooms this week.

Paris Teachers Prepare To Discuss Attacks With Worried Students HuffPost: On Jan. 7, 2015, there was suffocating alarm, horror and fear in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The next day, wounds still fresh, it was necessary to keep going. It was a difficult day for schoolteachers in France, faced with students and their questions, and at times their anger.

Lawmakers Announce Preliminary Agreement On ESEA Rewrite PK12: Congressional negotiators announced they have a way forward to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with a conference committee to start working on a compromise soon. See also Washington Post.

Pell Grants, Sandy Hook Highlight Brief Nods to Education in Democratic Debate PK12: In keeping with the previous Republican and Democratic debates, there weren't any direct questions on K-12.

Four Chicago charter schools push back against sudden closings WBEZ: The school board passed a new policy 15 days ago, outlining which charter schools it deemed poor performing. A week later, district officials announced a list of four schools it wants to close at the end of this school year.

More than 11,000 school staff members are 'missing' from Virginia schools Washington Post: Study says that during the recession, school enrollment boomed but school districts didn't hire teachers and staff to keep up.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Educators Respond To Paris Attacks (Plus NCLB Rewrite Agreement)" »

Update: Re-Imaging The Stories Behind "Humans Of New York"

Last week's New Yorker had a thought-provoking article about how we produce and consume media including media about kids and schools. Titled Humans of New York and the Cavalier Consumption of Others, the article focuses on the well-known photo from HONY (now a book as well as a website, etc.) of a boy named Vidal, who attends Mott Hall Bridges Academy, in Brownsville, run by Nadia Lopez, and whose appearance on Facebook led to a White House visit, a crowdfunding campaign. 

Just the description of the picture might make you think a bit more about it than you did when you first saw it online:

"Beneath the jacket is a fleece-lined hoodie, also black, and in his hand the boy holds a black plastic bag, stretched by the weight of what might be groceries. The sidewalk behind him is cracked and dotted with litter. Dull-brown public-housing towers—as much a part of the quintessential visual New York as the bodega bag—form a jagged horizon."

The critique of HONY -- and TED Talks, and The Moth -- might make you bristle:

"A story has lately become a glossier, less thrilling thing: a burst of pathos, a revelation without a veil to pull away. “Storytelling,” in this parlance, is best employed in the service of illuminating business principles, or selling tickets to non-profit galas, or winning contests."

The New Yorker piece urges us to do the impossible and forget the story, focusing back on the image:

"Forget, for a moment, the factual details that we have gathered in the course of knowing-but-not-really-knowing him... Consider, instead, the ease of the boy’s sneakers against the sidewalk; his shy, smirking confidence; the preternatural calm with which he occupies the space within the frame. Viewed like this—as, yes, irrefutably real, but also as a readable image—he is reminiscent of Gordon Parks’s squinting Harlem newsboy. Both convey something almost spiritual: something about the delicate string that hangs between youth and resilience, about the miraculous talent of children, however voiceless, to stand unswallowed by the city."

Whether you agree or disagree with the point -- and the rest of the essay's reflection on images in politics and society -- it's helpful I think to remember that stories and images can overtake us if we let them, and that sometimes we need to step back from the narrative we're constructing and look at the individual parts. 

Related posts: "Humans Of New York" Comes To The White HouseUnemployed Photographer & Bronx Middle School"Humans Of New York" Principal Was Thinking Of Quitting.

People: Students, Fans Rally Behind Emotional Math Teacher

Maybe you missed it (as I did), but a 42-year-old eighth grade math teacher from Queens (aka #WillFromQueens) made news last month when he cried during a sports radio call-in show and -- after being mocked initially -- was celebrated by his students and sports fans.

Charts: Effective Advocacy Doesn't Stop With Policy Wins

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So 50CAN's newly updated advocacy handbook -- think of it as open-source advocacy advice -- notes something that many have found the hard way: getting a law passed is only the beginning of the process. But there's lots more, including case studies from Minnesota, Connecticut, and Maryland and it's available in all sorts of portable formats: onlineiBookKindlePDF.

 

Philanthropy: Funding Public Charters (Broad) Vs. Funding Private Schools (Geffen)

"And Eli Broad is the bad guy? Whatever you think of Broad strategy, he is trying to help kids who need it the most." Neerav Kingsland responding to news of David Geffen's $100 million donation to create a new private school at UCLA.

Morning Video: Struggling Schools Tries "Self-Organized" Learning

"A public elementary school in Harlem, New York, is adopting a radical idea that threatens the education industry as we know it, SOLEs, Self-Organized Learning Environments." From the PBS NewsHour -- includes reactions from teachers and a union rep. 

AM News: Friday News Roundup

Sanders-scores-postal-union-endorsement CNN: The American Postal Workers Union announced their endorsement of Sanders Thursday, giving the insurgent Democratic candidate a small boost at a critical moment as his campaign tries to find its way. See also Bloomberg News.

Massachusetts Chief Recommends Hybrid State/PARCC Testing Approach State EdWatch: Massachusetts' education commissioner is recommending that students take a hybrid test in 2017 that would include material from both the state's own test and the PARCC common-core-aligned assessment. See also Boston Learning LabAP.

PARCC switches to a Chinese menu of standardized testing options Washington Post: Next year, states will be able to buy the entire Common Core test, or parts, or even just a few questions. See also EdWeek.

Education researchers caution against using students’ test scores to evaluate teachers Washington Post: Many states are now evaluating teachers using a method that researchers are calling questionable.

Sources: House and Senate Negotiators Have Reached Preliminary ESEA Deal PK12: Christmas seems to have came early this year for education advocates. After weeks of long and hard negotiations, House and Senate lawmakers have reached preliminary agreement on a bill to reauthorize the very long-stalled No Child Left Behind Act, multiple sources say.

Broad Foundation defends charter plan after concerns about public school impact KPCC: “We’ve got over 50,000 students on wait lists in charters. Why is that? It’s because parents want different choices, they want something different,” Broad's Gregory McGinity said, speaking publicly on the plan for the first time since it was leaked in September. See also LA Times.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Friday News Roundup " »

AM News: Unions Members For Sanders, Testing A La Carte, MA Hybrid Approach

Sanders-scores-postal-union-endorsement CNN: The American Postal Workers Union announced their endorsement of Sanders Thursday, giving the insurgent Democratic candidate a small boost at a critical moment as his campaign tries to find its way. See also Bloomberg News.

Massachusetts Chief Recommends Hybrid State/PARCC Testing Approach State EdWatch: Massachusetts' education commissioner is recommending that students take a hybrid test in 2017 that would include material from both the state's own test and the PARCC common-core-aligned assessment. See also Boston Learning LabAP.

PARCC switches to a Chinese menu of standardized testing options Washington Post: Next year, states will be able to buy the entire Common Core test, or parts, or even just a few questions. See also EdWeek.

Education researchers caution against using students’ test scores to evaluate teachers Washington Post: Many states are now evaluating teachers using a method that researchers are calling questionable.

Sources: House and Senate Negotiators Have Reached Preliminary ESEA Deal PK12: Christmas seems to have came early this year for education advocates. After weeks of long and hard negotiations, House and Senate lawmakers have reached preliminary agreement on a bill to reauthorize the very long-stalled No Child Left Behind Act, multiple sources say.

Broad Foundation defends charter plan after concerns about public school impact KPCC: “We’ve got over 50,000 students on wait lists in charters. Why is that? It’s because parents want different choices, they want something different,” Broad's Gregory McGinity said, speaking publicly on the plan for the first time since it was leaked in September. See also LA Times.

 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Unions Members For Sanders, Testing A La Carte, MA Hybrid Approach" »

People: Ted Dintersmith = A Mashup Of Bill Gates, Ken Robinson, & Bob Compton

So there's this guy, a former venture capitalist, named Ted Dintersmith, and apparently everyone else but me (and possibly you) has heard of him already.

But not to worry -- we can catch up quick. The latest thing I've seen (by which I mean the first) is this Answer Sheet oped penned by him (A venture capitalist searches for the purpose of school) but bylined by Valerie Strauss, in which we learn that he helped bankroll the documentary “Most Likely To Succeed” and get his world view of education (trailer above).

But Dintersmith's been everywhere, media-wise, in recent weeks and months, including a previous Valerie Strauss pieceHuff PostBoston Globe (oped), NYTimes (Brooks review of the movie), a Politico mention, a Journal-Sentinel Q&A.

There's more, but you get the idea.

Get your own impression, but to me Dintersmith comes off like an unholy mashup of Bill Gates/WhitneyTilson/Sir Ken Robinson -- with maybe a bit of Bob (2 million minutes) Compton thrown in.

Truth is, I first came across his blog 3 years ago, when he was coming off a big trip with his family and spending time in NYC. Among the more memorable things he wrote at the time was his impression that of Michelle Rhee-run StudentsFirst organization, which described as "an angry dog barking up the wrong tree."

So that explains the appearances in the Answer Sheet.

To my credit (if not to the credit of my memory), I did apparently share out something about the documentary this spring:

The website for the film is here. Here's a review of the book

#EDgif Of The Day: FL School Police Officer Charged With Felony Abuse

From WFTV: FL school resource officer on tape slamming boy to ground, charged with felony abuse.

Morning Video: Eleven Minutes With Marco Rubio

From The Seventy Four: Rubio Says Clinton 'Owned' By Unions, Decries System Where Only Rich Can Choose Schools

AM News: DC's Henderson Reaches Five-Yeark Mark At Helm

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson celebrates 5 years at helm Washington Post: Most urban superintendents leave after three years; many credit stability at the top for D.C.’s improvement. See also Washington Post.

Ahead of Departure, Arne Duncan Reflects on Signature Education Programs US News: On Thursday, speaking at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, Duncan plans to reflect on his work thus far in conjunction with the department's release of two comprehensive assessments of its most significant programs, the Race to the Top competition and the School Improvement Grant.

New SIG Data Serves Up Same Old Conclusion: Mixed Results PK12: The latest Education Department report on the federal School Improvement Grant program paints an uneven picture of SIG's impact, just as Congress is about to decide its fate. See also Washington Post.

What the Ed. Dept.'s New Race to the Top Report Reveals, and What It Avoids PK12: The Education Department says all states in the competitive-grant program made progress toward their goals, but makes little mention of areas where they stumbled or backtracked.

How N.J. school distirct is making enrollment much easier NJ.com: Replacing a "patchwork" system of 17 different applications, the Camden City School District on Tuesday rolled out a better way of getting kids into school.

Montgomery County Schools Recognize Muslim Holiday of Eid Slate: Some districts in New Jersey have closed for Muslim holidays for years, while others, like Jersey City, recently voted against closing for Eid this year. And this spring, the New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the country, where an estimated 10 percent of students are Muslim, announced that schools would close for Eid al-Adha.

Common Core testing showdown in Massachusetts Hechinger Report: The Massachusetts Board of Education is deciding whether to use a multi-state test, the Partnership for Assessing College and Career Readiness, known as PARCC, or to stick with its own test.

Research Group Latest to Caution Use of 'Value Added' for Teachers TeacherBeat: The American Educational Research Association lists eight principles that it says must be considered before using VAM to judge teachers or teaching programs.

Want To Make A School Better? Get Kids To Show Up NPR: Students who miss 15 or 20 days of school a year may never catch up. The Department of Education is looking for prevention ideas, and one Baltimore school could provide some.

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

Continue reading "AM News: DC's Henderson Reaches Five-Yeark Mark At Helm" »

Charts: Impact Of Personalized Learning On Student Achievement

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“The longer students experiences personalized learning practices, the greater their growth in achievement,” asserts a new report from the Gates Foundation (
Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning#inacol15
 

 

Campaign 2016: Jeb Bush Jumps On Clinton Charter Comments

"Distorting the role charter schools play in transforming lives in order to placate the teachers unions is beyond the pale," tweeted Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- even as she tried to distance herself (split the difference) from her weekend remarks criticizing charters.

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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.