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Reform: High-Contrast Responses To TIME & The Nation Stories**

image from www.thenation.com**See update at bottom.

In case you happened to miss it, The Nation came out with a big 5,000-word story about TFA this week -- it's second piece about the alternative certification program now in its 25th year.  

This one, written by a Columbia University undergraduate who's obviously done a lot of work researching his story, focuses on TFA's efforts to deal with critical reporting about its work (This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach for America), describing the research and responses from TFA as "obsessive" and part of a cover up fueled with $3.5 million a year in advertising and promotion -- and tip-offs from the USDE when its work is being FOIAd.

There are a few facts and figures that you may not have seen before, but most of the article is a laborious rehash of familiar complaints about the weakness of the TFA model, the money and talent it's attracted, and the uncertainties of the efforts it and its alumni have undertaken in places like DC, New Orlans, and Newark. Yep, thanks, we've got it.  

My first complaint about the piece was that it noted on-campus resistance to TFA recruiting without disclosing that one of the groups organizing students is a pro-union AFT-funded organization, ASUS.  Just a few weeks ago, In These Times corrected its story about the Harvard controversy noting that ASUS received AFT funding. Writer George Joseph dismissed the AFT funding as obvious and unnecessary, since ASUS's views are already so widely known:

Seriously?  Funding sources and connections are such a big issue in education when it comes to reform funders and advocates, but somehow journalists think that reporting who's behind the effort isn't an issue when its parents, teachers, or the unions.

My second complaint about the piece was that it's framed as an attempt to scare readers about TFA's communications acumen -- they'll slash your tires, or something like that -- when the reality is that they like many other reform groups have struggled to respond effectively (much less prevent) critical-minded stories in The Nation/Hechinger*, In These Times, NPR, Vox, etc.  

It's not that TFA is so amazing at PR, but the opposite.  The memo that is the focus of the latest article -- so much for TFA's ability to keep a secret! -- indicates a remarkably wonky, slow, and conflict-aversive approach to dealing with critics, advocates, and the teachers unions.  

My real criticism, however, is that both TFA and its reform-minded allies continue to allow this kind of thing happen again and again without any really vigorous or coordinated response.  

Publish a story raising concerns about teacher tenure, as TIME recently did, and the response is strong, immediate, and action-oriented -- 100,000 signatures on a petition, a press event, and a Twitterstorm of criticism against the cover, the story, and the reporter who wrote it.

Slam a reform organization or its leaders -- repeatedly, and somewhat unfairly -- and the response is slow, timid, defensive -- and likely to be limited to the individual or organization most directly affected, and in the case of TFA limited to blog posts and letters to the editor.  

If reformers had a real media response strategy -- no, Education Post doesn't count (yet) -- they'd critique The Nation's story for its flawed reporting. They'd stand up for each other, not just defending their efforts but raising questions about those who are criticizing them. They'd overcome their student government president egos, truly minor policy differences, and deep underestimation of social media and its effect on media coverage.

Sure, most folks don't care for the bickering and it's only a small group of folks who are paying attention. But that small group includes include journalists and thought leaders, funders, and staff, and I just don't think it's working very well for reformers to let their leaders/lead organizations get slammed repeatedly and let claims against them go unanswered. Coordinated action is why the political parties hang together despite policy differences, and unions and union members hang together despite differences.  

Related posts: Think Tanker Tells Reporters To Stop Scapegoating TFA Funding Disclosure Should Apply To Reform Critics, Too12 Problems With Politico's TFA Story (+1 With TFA)Reporters Should Identify Union Employees.

*That's right. The usually play-it-straight Hechinger Report ran the first Nation story about TFA and executive editor Sarah Garland wrote about the second story (The two sides of TFA), claiming that it revealed just how much TFA didn't like the story, defending the piece that was published as factually correct, and noting that Hechinger Report regularly publishes pieces focuses on problems as well as successes in education. [NB there are at least a couple of journalistic questions about the Nation/Hechinger piece]

**UPDATED: New America's Conor Williams notes some of the same ridiculousness in The Nation's storyline, and adds that USDE notifying a grantee of a FOIA request is standard protocol rather than part of TFA's inside influence -- both an example of flaws in The Nation's journalism and useful points of criticism against the piece that reform advocates might highlight in a loosely coordinated but not lockstep (ie, morning memo) kind of way.

Thompson: Teachers Need to Unite in Defeating Reform & Improving Schools

Like many of my friends, I have often worried that my American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is too moderate. But, I have participated in a variety of civil rights, children’s rights, Pro-Choice, and environmentalism coalitions. While I didn’t always agree with my local and national AFT office holders, I’ve never known more astute or more honorable leaders. I feel the same about the NEA.

That is why I was reassured when reading Teachers Unions to Spend More than Ever, by Education Week’s Lauren Camera. She explains how unions are investing $60 million dollars to roll back the GOP onslaught of 2010 that has damaged schools and communities.

We must remind all stakeholders that it is unions, not corporate powers, who have proven themselves as the real champions for social justice. If the billionaires defeat unions, who will stand for fair wages, health care, and equal rights? 

I’m no longer a union member, so I’m out of the loop, but the strategy makes sense on several levels. Teachers need to beat back Vergara and its spawn. We should praise education beat reporters for their depth of knowledge and objectivity, while raising the consciousness of mainstream journalists and commentators are too willing to uncritically accept the corporate reform spin.

If Vergara was about real evidence-based policy, we would have won that fight months ago. However, teachers cannot allow reformers to paint our unions as protecting adult interests over families. We can't let them sell the slander that its about unions protecting bad teachers. We must defeat individual Vergara supporters like John Deasy and Marshall Turk, as we join Randi Weingarten in calling for collaborative efforts to improve schools. 

As Jeff Bryant writes, it is entirely possible that education will save the Democrats this year. We also need to help elect a Democrat as president in 2016, while making it clear that we won’t accept another four to eight years of Arne Duncan-style, anti-teacher policies. Democrats must understand that if they place the Billionaires Boys Club over teachers and students, we will fight them with the same intensity as we are resisting the bubble-in accountability hawks.

In Union there is Strength. We must avoid divisiveness in both our shortterm and longterm battles for education and justice. – JT(@drjohnthompson)

AM News: Torlakson/Tuck Spending Surpasses Governor's Race X3

Schools chief race most expensive statewide race EdSource Today: The battle for California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction race is now the most expensive statewide race this year, surpassing spending in even the Governor's race by three times, and it is also the most expensive State Superintendent race in at least 12 years.

Boston Mayor Menino, Who Helped Transform City's Schools, Dies at 71 District Dossier: Thomas M. Menino, the popular mayor of Boston who had authority over the city's schools throughout his 20-year tenure, died Oct. 30 of cancer. He was 71.

Parents, Teachers Deliver Over 100,000 Signatures To Time Magazine Demanding Apology HuffPost: Teachers, parents and union leaders gathered in front of Time magazine headquarters on Thursday to protest the publication’s latest cover. According to a press release from the American Federation of Teachers, the cover (pictured below) depicts teachers as "'rotten apples’ needing to be smashed by Silicon Valley millionaires with no experience in education.”

Cheating concerns force delay in SAT scores for South Koreans and Chinese Washington Post: The nature and extent of the alleged security breach were unclear Thursday because the College Board and its contractor, the Educational Testing Service, revealed few details about the unfolding investigation. But the score-reporting delay could affect thousands of students seeking admission to U.S. colleges as November deadlines loom for early applications.

Indianapolis Cancels Teacher-Led School Turnaround Contract TeacherBeat: A turnaround strategy using cohorts of teacher-leaders won't be used in Indianapolis.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Torlakson/Tuck Spending Surpasses Governor's Race X3" »

Charts: Teachers = Teamsters?

image from educationnext.orgThere's lots to learn from Mike Antonucci's new Education Next piece on the rise and (projected) fall of teacher union membership and influence in America -- Antonucci manages to be both critical and sympathetic-seeming at the same time -- but this chart is a good place to start. Used with permission.

"Even if their current difficulties continue, the NEA and the AFT will never disappear. But their days of dominating the education environment are on the wane. In the future, we will look upon them as we now do the Teamsters, as remnants of an earlier age."

Some of the same issues and dynamics can be found in Stephanie Simon's latest piece on union advocacy and influence in the 2014 midterms.  Whether the trends are good for American schoolkids, or bad, or a mixed bag, I'll leave for another day or others to say -- but I wrote a book about a neighborhood charter school with a "thin" union contract if that gives you a clue.

Morning Video: TIME Story, Necessary Outrage, & NEA Gets Out The Vote

 

Watch TIME's Haley Sweetland Edwards discuss her controversial cover story on C-SPAN. Click here if the video doesn't display properly. Or, take a look at Mike Antonucci's new article on teachers unions (Teachers Unions and the War Within). Still surfing the outrage Antonucci describes in his piece, the AFT is delivering a 90,000-signature petition demanding an apology from TIME for the cover image this afternoon in NYC and the new NEA president is embarking on a six-state get out the vote tour.

AM News: Minneapolis School Board Showdown Attracts $500K In Campaign Donations

The sea of cash in the Minneapolis school-board race just became a tsunami MinnPost: Along with six-figure spending by state and local unions, the eye-popping donations bring the total amount of cash going to influence the race to easily twice what many candidates for state office spend on competitive races. 

Large Suburban Districts Call for More Testing Flexibility District Dossier: The Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium is made up of 16 school districts across the country. Earlier this year, the group also called for reduced emphasis on testing. See also PK12

SAT Cheating Inquiry Delays Scores for South Korea and China NYT: The Educational Testing Service said it had reliable information that tests had been compromised for thousands of South Korean and Chinese students applying to American colleges and universities. See also TIME.

Taylor Swift to Donate 'Welcome to New York' Proceeds to NYC Public Schools AP: The singer announced on "The View" today that she's donating the proceeds from the sale of her single, "Welcome to New York," to New York City Public Schools. See also ChalkbeatNY

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

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5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: New Reform Groups Pop Up In Boston & NY

TIME reports allegations of mass cheating on SAT http://ow.ly/DxjNF  Students demand apology [no, not really]

Boston failing thousands of students, says reform group - CommonWealth Magazine http://ow.ly/DwXKm  - FFES lands in Boston

Pro-Common Core group "High Achievement New York" says repeal would cost NY $280M http://ow.ly/DwSdh 

Fascinating new @EducationNext look at what's going on inside teachers unions and where they're going http://ow.ly/Dxc4T 

This Is What Happens When You Criticize TFA | The Nation http://ow.ly/DwWtM 

Cuomo calls public school system a ‘monopoly’ he wants to bust http://ow.ly/DwhRm  [But NYSUT still won't officially oppose him]

With $100M pledge, Apple hops on board Obama program to wire up schools - Chicago Tribune http://ow.ly/Dw2LQ 

Quotes: You Think *Charter* Schools Are The Real Problem? Think Again.

Quotes2The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights currently has 40 open investigations prompted by concerns that districts had shortchanged minority students...  In addition, the department is monitoring compliance agreements with 18 other districts that have adopted plans to redress inequities. - NYT editorial board in response to Office of Civil Rights announcemnt (The Department of Education Offers States Guidance on Equality

AM News: Unions Weigh In On CA & NOLA Races, NY Tenure Lawsuit

UFT asks court to toss lawsuit challenging teacher tenure ChalkbeatNY: The union also claims that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the lawsuit. Only one of the parents participating in the suit says her child has had an ineffective teacher, and the suit does not argue that the state’s laws protected that teacher, the union notes.

Union power on the ballot Politico: Interest groups have poured nearly $25 million into the race for California schools superintendent. The California Teachers Association alone has put more than $7 million behind Torlakson.

National teachers union pours $450,000 into Jefferson Parish School Board election NOLA.com: The American Federation of Teachers has spent almost $450,000 on the Jefferson Parish School Board elections, recent campaign finance reports show. That's more than all individual candidate contributions combined. It had no such presence in Jefferson Parish in 2010, when a business-backed slate of candidates ousted four union-friendly incumbents and took control of the School Board.

Sharp policy divide in schools chief race Politico: The candidates for California superintendent of public instruction are both Democrats. But they have plenty of substantive policy differences. 

Cuomo’s vow on teacher evals prompts flip-flop charge ChalkbeatNY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent statements that he wants to toughen up the state’s teacher evaluation system prompted confusion and anger from his critics on Tuesday.

New Jersey schools promise to correct racial disparities Washington Post: A school district serving two suburban communities in New Jersey has agreed to expand access to Advanced Placement classes and other higher learning opportunities to African American students, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.

Teachers on the Common Core: Familiarity Breeds Approval Teacher Beat: Teachers are about evenly split on whether they approve or disapprove of the common core; elementary teachers and those with the most experience implementing them view them the most favorably.

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

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5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Even The President Has to Go To Parent-Teacher Conferences

White House pool reports President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama are at Sidwell Friends School 4 parent-teacher confs. 'Tis the season. via @juliehdavis 

Oklahoma Teacher Will Have To Quarantine Herself After Trip To Ebola-Free Rwanda http://ow.ly/Du6Qw 

Why Marshall Tuck Should Not Be Elected State Superintendent | Diane Ravitch's blog http://ow.ly/DtQla 

7 in 10 Young Americans Too Fat, Uneducated, or Criminal to Join Army - Newsweek http://ow.ly/DtPSW 

Arne Duncan Talks K-12 Policy in Tennessee, Where It's Somewhat Stalled - Politics K-12 - Education Week http://ow.ly/DtOUU 

Civil Rights Groups Want Resources for Students to Factor in Accountability - @politicsk12 Education Week http://ow.ly/DtOMa 

Here's The Average SAT Score For Every College Major - Business Insider http://ow.ly/DtOfo  Education Majors = 1438 combined

 

 

Quotes: Cuomo Tacks Back Reform-Ward In NY Daily News Meeting

Quotes2The teachers don’t want to do the evaluations and they don’t want to do rigorous evaluations — I get it. I feel exactly opposite. -- NY Governor Cuomo in NYDN (via Ravitch blog)

Charts: Guess What? 34 States Are Still Doing Smarter Balanced Or PARCC

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 28 10.48You'd think from all the press attention that the Common Core assessments were all but abandoned, but if this new RealClear Education graphic is accurate that's not the case at all.  Thirty-four states are stlll working with one of the two main testing consortia. Just eight states have pulled out. More could do so in the near future, but it's also possible that some of the current midterm-generated Common Core fury will abate after next week. Image used with permission. See all the graphs and interactives at Mapping the Common Core

Morning Video: Union Head Complaining About TIME Magazine Tenure Cover

Here's AFT head Randi Weingarten on MSNBC's Morning Joe talking about that TIME Magazine cover. Still not much heat or light coming from the pro-reform side -- here George Miller chides both sides.  Meanwhile on the teacher tenure front, I hear that there will be some sort of decision on the NY version of Vergara later on today.

Quotes: Teachers Union Leaders' Dilemma

Quotes2Do [union] leaders appease their militant factions by amping up attacks on school choice and accountability while defending archaic teacher-tenure laws? Or do they maintain political influence among Democrats and moderates by accepting decreases in market share through the expansion of non-traditional public school models like charters? - Laura Waters in NJ Spotlight (NJTU: Implosion, Irrelevance, or Evolution?).

Books: Let's See The Unredacted Klein-Ravitch Emails

image from 645e533e2058e72657e9-f9758a43fb7c33cc8adda0fd36101899.r45.cf2.rackcdn.comAn apparent leak of former NYC chancellor Joel Klein's new book Lessons of Hope reignited the long-running debate over when and why Diane Ravitch turned against NYC's accountability-focused school reform efforts and gave reform critics a second thing (besides the TIME cover story) to rail against over the weekend.

I still haven't seen the book -- Newsweek'sAlexander Nazaryan tweeted about it first (as far as I am aware) -- but Klein and others have repeatedly suggested that Ravitch's turn against reform efforts like those in New York City was motivated at least partly in response to perceived poor treatment of her partner.

See the Twitter thread here.

Or, for a more traditional view of the issue, New America's Kevin Carey wrote about redacted emails in a 2011 magazine feature about Ravitch:

"Over the next two months, Klein and Ravitch exchanged a series of e-mails. Their contents were almost entirely redacted by the department when it responded to the FOIA request. But several people who worked for the department at the time, including one who saw the e-mails personally, say Ravitch aggressively lobbied Klein to hire Butz to lead the new program—and reacted with anger when he didn’t.

"Ravitch disputes this, saying she did not ask for Butz to be put in charge of the program, was not angry, and only urged Klein to call upon Butz for her deep knowledge and experience. She also told me she was glad Butz was no longer at the New York City DOE, because it had constrained her own ability to criticize the department." 

Steve Brill also went after Ravitch in his 2011 book, claiming that the fees she took in for speaking to teachers should have been disclosed, among other things.

Ravitch and others claim that this is merely an attempt to smear and discredit her, that her partner's departure from NYC's DOE came well before Ravitch's "conversion?" and that it had nothing to do with personal issues.

Who cares what two folks who aren't in charge of any schools have to say about each other? Well, the education debate is all about credibility, for better or worse, so questions about Klein and Ravitch's credibility are noteworthy.  There's also the ongoing tension within the reform movement about whether to attack critics or make nice with them, and the issue for both sides of whether attacks are powerful or alienating.

All that being said, I'd love to see the Klein book, and even the unredacted emails.  Klein or Ravitch could provide them.

Related posts:  Smearing Ravitch Could Blow Up In Reformers' FacesInsult-Hurling Coming Mostly From Reform Critics; Diane Ravitch's Reform Vilification Industry

AM News: Union Vs. Reformer CA Superintendent's Race Reaches $23 Million

App details state superintendent race spending EdSource Today: With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the race for California state superintendent of public instruction has been fueled by a combined $23 million in total campaign spending for incumbent Tom Torlakson and candidate Marshall Tuck.

Teacher Is Praised for Her Intervention in Washington School Shooting NYT: Details have begun to emerge about the attack, especially on the role of a young teacher many students are calling a hero. See also NBC News: Shooting Eyewitness: '3 or 4 People Fell at the Same Table'; WBEZ: 2 dead, including gunman, in high school shooting.

The Ad Campaign: Cuomo, With a Daughter’s Help, Tweaks His Education Image NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Education” television ad appears to be a response to criticism from his opponent, Rob Astorino, of his support for the Common Core standards.

L.A. Unified students could take iPads home soon LA Times: Los Angeles Unified students could take school-issued iPads home as soon as next month under a new plan that officials say has dealt with security concerns.

In D.C.’s erratic schools landscape, families debate how hands-on next mayor should be Washington Post: Carla Ferris can name the moment that local elections in the District changed from background noise on the radio to something personal: the day she enrolled her daughter in school. Before that, she said, “I really couldn’t have told you much, if anything, about politics in D.C.”

The Secret Lives Of Teachers: Mei-Ling Uliasz NPR: The second installation of our Secret Lives series continues with a profile of a second-grade teacher with a passion for making "upcycled" jewelry.

A New Orleans Family's Lives Changed In An Instant NPR: A stray bullet took 5-year-old Kyle Romain's sight. His mother fears the violence in her neighborhood will continue: "There's no hope. These little boys are just trigger-happy and gun-crazy."

An American School Immerses Itself in All Things Chinese NYT: At Yinghua Academy in Minneapolis, most classes are taught in Mandarin, and students are near fluency by eighth grade.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Klein Vs. Ravitch, Part 157

New @JoelIKlein book reiterates his claim that @DianeRavitch reform reversal was personally motivated, says Newsweek's @alexnazaryan

@DianeRavitch: @JoelIKlein @alexnazaryan Silly. My "reversal" occurred five years after my partner retired from NYC DOE.

The internecine conflict within NJ teachers union (& across the nation) - NJ Spotlight http://ow.ly/DigSL  @NJLeftbehind

Your local schools probably aren't nearly as good as you think they are - @BrookingsEd http://ow.ly/Dik3O 

Public Schools... for the rich — Joanne Jacobs http://ow.ly/Dip4x 

Rethinking vocational high school as a path to college | http://Marketplace.org  @ehanford http://ow.ly/Dijhi 

Just 8 states - AL, KY, NE, MT, ND, SD, VT, WV - still don't allow charters, and AL could be next to fall http://ow.ly/DijMU 

NPR's 50 great teachers premiers on Tuesday WFSU http://ow.ly/Di9l7  @npr_ed

 

 

Media: TIME Cover/Story Generates Angry (Symbolic) Union Response

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 10.09.28 AM
It lacks some of the visceral feel of the 2008 Michelle Rhee holding a broom in her hands cover (left).  Perhaps Campbell Brown was unavailable to wield the hammer.  But the new TIME Magazine cover (right, and story) is proving controversial enough to have activated the national teachers unions and others who see (and benefit from) the "war on teachers" narrative.  Rally the base!  Scare the members! Scare off anyone else who might be thinking about writing about teacher tenure and school reform. Why not?

Continue reading "Media: TIME Cover/Story Generates Angry (Symbolic) Union Response" »

Quotes: "*They* [Locals] Know What The Kids Need."

Quotes2I want local parents, teachers, and school boards to make the decisions about curriculum and assessment. They know what the kids need. They’re the ones that care the most about those kids. - Green Party candidate for NY governor Howie Hawkins in In These Times (Nervous, Cuomo?)

AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards

Despite History, N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Says: 'I Have Nothing to Do With Common Core' State EdWatch: Although he's previously stressed the importance of the common core, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an Oct. 22 debate: "I have nothing to do with common core."

See also:  NY TimesBuffalo NewsThe Post-Standard.

NY State to Review Schools' Immigration Compliance AP: New York officials ordered a statewide review Thursday of public school compliance with enrollment policies for unaccompanied minors and immigrant children following reports that several dozen children who had recently arrived from Central America were not admitted to a Long Island high school.

Second immigration wave lifts diversity to record high USA Today: Small metro areas such as Lumberton, N.C., and Yakima, Wash., and even remote towns and counties — such as Finney County, Kan., or Buena Vista County, Iowa — have seen a stunning surge in immigrants, making those places far more diverse.

Ed. Department Teacher Prep Regulations Delayed (Again) PK12: Rumors have it that the U.S. Department of Education was set to release new proposed regulations this week requiring teacher-preparation programs to do a better job identifying weak programs. But they have yet to appear in the Federal Register. Earlier this year, the White House promised we'd see new regulations, which have been overdue since 2012, by summer. So what gives?

Common Core revolt goes local Politico: School districts from New Hampshire to Oregon are revolting against the coming Common Core tests.

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

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5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: NY Teachers Union Declines To Endorse Cuomo Challenger (Because: Albany)

NY state teachers union *still* won't endorse Cuomo or opponent, reports In These Times http://ow.ly/DeXeK 

Daily Kos: Fox News is suddenly concerned about election spending. Because teachers unions, of course. http://ow.ly/DcrSd 

New TIME cover http://ti.me/1ox35XT  prolly giving reformers PTSD flashbacks from '08 @MichelleRhee broom cover http://ow.ly/DeIuK  #tbt

Lopez: Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf? - LA Times http://ow.ly/DdE2h 

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution | The Hechinger Report http://ow.ly/DbVTr 

Teacher tenure: Wrong target  - NY Daily News via @RealClearEd http://ow.ly/DeKjT 

TAP program increases teacher retention at high-need schools, says TAP http://ow.ly/DfmGE  @janarausch

Charts: EdWeek Pyramid Of Spending Shows How Much More Unions Spend Than Reform Advocates

You might be forgiven for thinking that reform advocates (DFER, et al) outspend everyone else when it comes to campaign contributions, but this year as in other years that's generally not the case. Both sides are spending more this year than they did in 2012, but this EdWeek story/chart (image used with permission) shows the situation for 2014:

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 23 11.02
To be sure, the unions are supporting a broad set of candidates on a broader set of issues -- and trying to help the Democrats keep the Senate -- but the conventional media narrative of massive unopposed reform largesse isn't accurate. Still not enough?  See also Teachers' Unions, Others Put Cash on Line in Senate RacesEducation-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines.

Magazines: Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Expose Growing Reform Rift

Teacher.Cover[3][1][1]

The newly-resurgent TIME magazine has a lengthy, delightfully wonky cover story about teacher tenure written by former Columbia J-School classmate Haley Sweetland Edwards that you might want to check out (The War on Teacher Tenure).

Some of the new story (subscription only, alas) will be extremely familiar to education insiders like you, but there are some key additional details and aspects worth noting.

For example, Edwards reminds us that the Vergara decision (being appealed) is "the first time first time, in California or anywhere else, that a court had linked the quality of a teacher, as measured by student test scores, to a pupil’s right to an education."

She also reminds us that the current crop of billionaires interested in fixing education is not the first (think Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford).

The parts that may be new to you include background details about how David Welch got involved in the issue four years ago after consulting constitutional scholar Kathleen Sullivan.  Then came the hiring of the PR firm now called Rally, which launched StudentsMatter.  Recruiting and vetting plaintiffs -- no easy feat, I'm told -- came next.

Edwards also notes that some DC-based education reformers aren't entirely behind the Vergara approach, citing concerns from right-leaning wonks like Petrilli and McShane that you may recall from a few weeks ago (they don't like lawsuits and are hoping for a post-Rhee time of cooperation rather than ever-increasing conflict with the teachers unions).  

There aren't any left-leaning think tankers quoted in the piece, but my sense is that reform folks are sick of being beaten up, don't want to have to take more heat for another hard-charging evangelist (ie, Campbell Brown), and are worried about 2016.  

Edwards' previous forays into education writing include a piece about the Colbert/Stewart divide (Pro-Reform Colbert Leapfrogs Reform Critic Stewart) and something about unions' evolving positions on Common Core (Teachers Union Pulls Full-Throated Support for Common Core).

 

AM News: Record Campaign Spending Mixes Unions & Reform Advocates

Education-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines PK12: In Illinois, teachers' unions gave more than $775,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard, an ALEC member, ended up losing a close primary to Bruce Rauner, a businessman and newcomer to politics.

Early Voting Kicks Off In Maryland As Candidates Spar On Schools WAMU: As the statewide races build toward a climax, Marylanders looking to vote before Election Day can cast their ballots starting Thursday morning at locations throughout the state.

Obama Administration Clarifies Anti-Bullying Protections For Students With Disabilities HuffPost:   This week, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon sent a letter with new legal guidance to the nation's public schools in an effort to clarify that federal anti-bullying protections extend to about 750,000 more students than schools think.

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution Hechinger/Lens: As public school students settle into the school year, they can’t seem to shake off a bit of inaccurate national attention: The belief that New Orleans has the country’s first all-charter school system. That’s wrong on two counts. The city still has a handful of traditional public schools, and the array of more than 70 charter schools can hardly be called a system, though that’s beginning to change.

Immigrants’ School Cases Spur Enrollment Review in New York NYT: Officials will determine whether districts have discouraged undocumented immigrant children through rigid enrollment requirements.

On campus, fight Ebola panic with information PBS NewsHour: "Mr. Aguilar, we have students texting and saying that a student on campus has Ebola,” Nurse Belk told me after a student was sent home for an ear problem.

New Orleans public school teacher evaluation results, 2014 NOLA.com: The Louisiana Education Department released teacher evaluation results Wednesday. New Orleans results were below the state average. 7 percent of teachers were considered ineffective and 21 percent highly effective. 

Karen Lewis’ Replacement at the CTU Has a Message for Rahm Emanuel In These Times: Though Sharkey doesn’t yet have much of a relationship with Mayor Emanuel, if his gutsy 2012 debate with Emanuel ally, venture capitalist and current Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is any indication—in which Sharkey blasts Rauner’s anti-union, corporate education reform agenda—Rahm’s life is not about to get any easier when it comes to dealing with the new head of the CTU. 

How One District School Is Tackling English Language Learning WAMU: Teaching students for whom English is a second language can be a challenge, but a specialized program at Cardozo Education Campus is making it work.

From a Rwandan Dump to the Halls of Harvard NYT: Justus Uwayesu’s life was changed by a chance encounter in Rwanda with an American charity worker.

U.N.C. Investigation Reveals Athletes Took Fake Classes NYT: A report found that classes requiring no attendance and little work were common knowledge among academic counselors and football coaches.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Four Of Five NY Superintendents Support Common Core

NYS supes assoc survey finds 80%+ support for Common Core in E and Math among district admins - NYDN http://ow.ly/Db8xK  @via @rpondiscio

#California Rivals Clash on Vision for K-12 Leadership  http://ow.ly/DbBbM via  @educationweek @StateEdWatch (see also Teachers' Unions to Spend More Than Ever)

The Shock of the New | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute http://ow.ly/DbfdQ  @smarick

Warren Simmons on Ted Sizer's legacy 10/21/14 on Vimeo http://ow.ly/DaFD0 

First Generation College Students: The Go-Getter | RealClearEducation http://ow.ly/Da9o1 

Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds - http://NYTimes.com  http://ow.ly/Da7tT  @motokorich

Afternoon Video: Cuomo Pledges Five-Year Common Core Moratorium

Check out this new Cuomo video, in which the shoo-in Democratic candidate takes a perhaps unexpectedly soft (smart?) position on Common Core assessments (Andrew Cuomo Concedes Defeat in the Common Core Wars). "Among his education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready." Bloomberg via Breitbart.

 

Morning Listen: Cortines Promises Improvements In LAUSD

"On Monday, Ramon Cortines took over as the superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District. The 82-year-old is replacing John Deasy who resigned from the post last week. Cortines faces plenty of challenges as current head of the nation's second largest school district. But he's been in this seat before. Twice as a matter of fact. Ramon Cortines spoke with Take Two on Monday, his first day back on the job."

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 KPCC: New LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines talks top priorities for LA schools

AM News: In LA, Duncan Talks Early Childhood & Tech With Cortines

Education Secretary Duncan talks tech with L.A. Unified's Cortines LA Times: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a brief visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, met with newly installed L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines to talk about local technology problems and the state of local schools.

Education secretary says time to debate preschool is over KPCC: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a conference of preschool advocates in Los Angeles Tuesday that the value of early education to young children is undisputed and the effort should shift to expanding it to more kids.

Baker, Coakley to Face off in Gubernatorial Debate AP: GOP's Baker, Democrat Coakley face each other in debate in race for Massachusetts governor

Schools Face Fears of Ebola, Drop in Attendance Texas Tribune: Fear over possible exposure to Ebola has triggered campus closures in some Texas school districts and additional safety measures at many more in the almost three weeks since a Dallas hospital diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States.

Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds NYT: With funding formulas that cap or redirect local property tax revenues to state coffers, some places are looking for other ways to capture local money.

New York City Council to Look at School Segregation NYT: Though the Council has very limited power over public schools, the bill’s sponsors say they do have the ability to increase the volume of the conversation.

Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing Hechinger Report: Steve Jobs once called the personal computer “a bicycle for our minds,” a tool that helps us go farther with the same amount of energy. But for many teachers, it has been a bumpy ride. 

New York Schools Chancellor Replaces 8 Superintendents NYT: The major personnel reshuffling was the first since Chancellor Carmen Fariña took over in January.

Why Patrick Henry High is the perfect school to host Michelle Obama MinnPost: There are any number of reasons why Henry deserves the spotlight, including academic indicators that have earned it the state’s “reward” label — designating it as a school where students are able to achieve despite a 90 percent poverty rate. 

Journalism: But Are All The New Ed-Focused Outlets Really *Helping*?

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comFordham's Mike ("Kojak") Petrilli has a new piece online this morning (Online education coverage is on the rise) over at Education Next (which I sometimes write for), taking a look at the "new breed" of education journalism out there over the past year or so.

What's new, or missing, or wrong in the Petrilli piece?

Clearly someone with access to Politico Pro, Petrilli notes that in addition to Morning Education the outlet "pumps out loads of ministories, and at least a handful of meaty ones, almost every day."

Anyone else seen these pieces, and if they're so influential why aren't they getting passed around?

Petrilli describes Chalkbeat as "a geographically based Education Week," which I'm sure will irk both EdWeek and Chalkbeat for different reasons.

The big surprise for me here is the presence of The Daily Caller, which Petrilli says gets tons of pageviews but I never see passed around. Anyone else read it?

What about RealClear Education, where there is a smattering of original writing in addition to great morning and afternoon roundups, or NPR Education, where Drummond et al have been crushing us with so many education stories we can't keep up? 

What else can I add? 

Check out a few more tidbits and some bottom-line observations below the fold.

Continue reading "Journalism: But Are All The New Ed-Focused Outlets Really *Helping*?" »

Thompson: It's OK To Celebrate Deasy’s Departure, Teachers

The Los Angeles Times’ Too Many Maverick Moments Finally Led to Deasy’s Undoing at LAUSD, by Howard Blume and James Rainey, is probably the best account of how the LA School Board finally lost patience with the “uncommunicative, ungovernable, somewhat detached leader.”

Journalists and scholars rightly take a dispassionate stance and place John Deasy’s defeat in the overall context of systematic change, and why it is hard to improve large urban school systems. The best of that genre is Deasy's Exit Reflects Other School Battles Across the U.S., by Teresa Watanabe and Stephen Ceasar, who place Deasy's rejection in the context of the backlash against corporate reform. He is one of many advocates of high stakes testing who are falling like dominoes.  

Education policy and union leaders are correct in being gracious and not gloating over our victory in forcing the Broad-trained Deasy to resign.

I hope they all understand, however, why classroom teachers must celebrate the rejection of another teacher-bashing corporate reformer. People who haven’t been in the public school classroom can’t fully appreciate the humiliation of having to endure the venom of ideologues like Deasy, Michelle Rhee, and too many other accountability hawks.

Deasy, and others who say that data, leadership, and accountability can overcome the legacies of poverty by fostering High Expectations!, could in theory create such a culture by clearing out the deadwood and creating a lean and determined administrative culture. But, I would ask policymakers if they have ever heard of a punitive management system, in any sector of the economy, where top bureaucrats selflessly accepted all of charges placed on them, and they did not turn around and dump that toxicity on their subordinates.

Real world, the poison spewed by Deasy et. al always flows downhill. Teachers are denigrated. A test and punish culture invariably pollutes classrooms, and students are the prime victims. So, let’s take time to celebrate the defeat of Deasy, and use that energy to invigorate the counterattacks against Newark’s Cami Anderson, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, and Rahm Emanuel.

In doing so, we must also envision a time when the last test and punish reformer is not replaced by another blood-in-the-eye crusader. Then, we can celebrate and the turn all of our energy towards better, more humane schools for all.-JT (@drjohnthompson)

AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)

CA Schools chief race may be election's tightest AP: Tuck has nearly matched Torlakson in campaign fundraising, with $1.9 million, while a Southern California businessman who often supports Republican candidates, William Bloomfield Jr., has independently picked up the tab for at least $900,000 worth of slate mailers and ads on his behalf.

Deasy's exit reflects other school battles across the U.S. LA Times: Top leaders in some of the largest districts — in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Texas and elsewhere — have come under tremendous pressure: some lost their jobs, one faced a massive teachers strike, and lawsuits have been filed against them, among other things.

New LA schools superintendent won’t use district-paid Deasy as adviser KPCC:  New L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said his improvement plans for the school district’s most pressing problems won’t involve the man who arguably knows the district best: resigned Superintendent John Deasy. “Dr. Deasy did many things well, but I will not be using his services,” Cortines said in an interview with KPCC’s Take Two on Monday.

The Short Shelf Life Of Urban School Superintendents NPR: If you're a 12th grader right now in the Los Angeles schools, that means you probably started kindergarten back in 2001. It also means that, as of this week, you've seen four superintendents come and go.

Teacher who flew to Dallas for Common Core seminar put on leave out of Ebola fear The Answer Sheet: A Maine teacher flew to Dallas to attend an educational conference — miles away from the hospital where three cases have been diagnosed — and was told to stay away from the elementary school where she works for 21 days.

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

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Another Comedian Weighs In On Teachers (& Guidance Counselors)

Lewis Black Slams Guidance Counselors, Praises Teachers ow.ly/D3Auk

Karen Lewis Returns to Twitter After Brain Tumor Diagnosis | CSN Chicago ow.ly/D3ivF

It nearly all boils down to money/funding inequities, says @NewAmericaEd's @ConorPWilliams ow.ly/D3pfc

To Siri, with love - NYT ow.ly/D3Q7R Mother of autistic child writes about how the voice recognition program has helped

AFT & NEA weigh in on all-Dem CA supe race ow.ly/D3GUv

The role of the private sector in education: A convo w/ Chicago Community Trust's Terry Mazany — Chicago Business ow.ly/D3zt5

UMD's Journalism Center on Children and Families (home of Casey Medals) will shut down | Poynter. ow.ly/D3rnm

Quotes: Fed Reserve Head Reminds Us About Underlying Inequities

Quotes2A major reason the United States is different is that we are one of the few advanced nations that funds primary and secondary public education mainly through subnational taxation...Public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households. - Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen in Businessweek (Janet Yellen Speaks Out on Education and Inequality). Go here for the speech iteself.

AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]

Teachers Unions Are Putting Themselves On November’s Ballot TIME: The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers union, is on track to spend between $40 million and $60 million this election cycle, while the smaller American Federation of Teachers (AFT) plans to pony up an additional $20 million—more than the organization has spent on any other past cycle, including high-spending presidential election years.

GOP schooled on education politics Politico: Just this week, the NEA’s political action committee went on the air with two new attack ads: One accuses Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton of seeking to cut student loan programs. Another blames Hawaii gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona for budget cuts that closed K-12 schools on Fridays for months. And there’s more to come.

Marshall Tuck on mission to overhaul education Fresno Bee: "I wouldn't send my son to every single Partnership school today," he said. "But I can tell you, in '08, there's zero chance I would have sent my son to any of them ... and I'm confident that in three or four years, it will be all of them."

John Deasy, former LAUSD superintendent, might run for public office KPCC: In a conference call with reporters organized by the advocacy group Students Matter, Deasy said he had not decided what he would do after leaving the position, but he has three options in mind: working in youth corrections, supporting the development of future school board supervisors or making a run for political office.

Too many maverick moments finally led to Deasy's undoing at LAUSD LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District dumped a heap of trouble on its schools this fall when it rolled out a new student records system.

L.A. Unified says it believes Deasy acted ethically on iPads LA Times: As part of its settlement this week with former schools Supt. John Deasy, the Los Angeles Board of Education declared that it did not believe Deasy had done anything wrong in connection with the project to provide students with iPads.

School District on Long Island Is Told It Must Teach Immigrants NYT: The guidance came after complaints that children who are in the U.S. illegally had been barred from public school classes in Hempstead.

National school boards group ends tobacco partnership EdSource Today: The National School Boards Association ended its health curriculum partnership with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. last week, highlighting the longstanding efforts of tobacco companies to influence what students are taught about cigarette smoking. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]" »

Morning Video: Why Think Tankers Hate The Vergara Strategy

This video recently uploaded by AFT is mostly just a broadside against Campbell Brown but it also reveals something I've written about before -- that think tankers (Brookings, Fordham) don't seem to like the Vergara-style approach to school reform:

 Why not? Some of the concerns are substantive, but that's only a part of it.  Think tankers and others are feeling burned by the pushback against reforms of the recent era (the so-called "war on teachers"), they're not as nearly familiar with legal strategies (as opposed to policies, programs, and politics), and they probably think they're smarter than Campbell Brown, who's leading the charge.

Morning Video: New Report Highlights District-Based Testing/Test Prep Practices

Here's the video from CAP's event, during which you'll find out about CAP head sending her own kids to DCPS schools, plus link to the new report (Testing Overload in America’s Schools):

Basically, the report focusing on 14 districts in 7 states -- Colorado (Denver Public Schools and Jefferson Co. Schools),  Florida (Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Sarasota County Schools), Georgia (Atlanta Public Schools and Cobb County School District), Illinois (Chicago Public Schools and Elmwood Community Schools), Kentucky (Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville and Bullitt County Public Schools), Ohio (Columbus City Schools and South-Western City School District), Tennessee (Shelby County Schools and Knox Co. Schools) -- finds that there's lots of testing and too much test prep -- much of it district-mandated (not state or federal) -- but holds out hope that states and districts can streamline their testing and that Common Core assessments will make for fewer, fairer tests. #CAPedu

 

Morning Video: Update On Zuckerberg's $100M Newark Grant

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

Here's that NBC News segment about Newark I tweeted out yesterday, checking in on what the Zuckerberg gift has and hasn't done (Nightly News: Tracking Zuckerberg’s schools gift).  The gist of the story seemed to be that the changes have been small and slow-moving but potentially transformative. Click the link if the video doesn't display properly.

AM News: NEA Spending Big On 2014 State Races

NEA Spends Big on State Races PK12: The increased emphasis on state races continues a 2012 trend set in motion by the rise of new and influential education reform groups, like StudentsFirst, that often come down on the opposite of education policy debates from teachers' unions and whose main goal is to impact policy at the local and state level.

Decision expected Thursday on next charter schools  AP: Washington's statewide charter schools commission plans to vote Thursday on a group of schools that want to open in 2015. A team of independent evaluators gave their endorsement to two proposals and said two more were not ...

Waiverless Oklahoma Navigates Tough Transition Back to NCLB PK12: Back in August, Oklahoma became the second state to lose its waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act, and accountability in that state has been unsettled ever since.

Report finds wide disparities in local per-pupil spending; D.C. charters spend most Washington Post: Charter schools in the District spent $18,150 per student during the 2011-2012 school year, while  PG County public schools spent $10,408 on each child it served, a significant difference between the highest and lowest spenders in the Washington region, according to a study released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
 
What Happens When Teachers Are at the Helm of a School? WNYC There are about 70 teacher-led schools currently operating in the country. 

The decision-making process at Renaissance can get pretty messy. Principal Stacey Gauthier said it’s her job to facilitate that mess.

 

 

 

 

Torlakson, Tuck Talk Federal Power, Teachers' Unions, in Calif. Chief's Race State EdWatch:  Incumbent Tom Torlakson stresses his opposition to some federal policies, while challenger Marshall Tuck says despite union opposition to him, he agrees with many positions held by the California Teachers Association.
 
Philadelphia Teachers Hit by Latest Cuts NYT: The state-appointed board that oversees the district canceled the contract of teachers and required them to contribute to health care premiums.

Advocates pushing city on struggling schools choose an unlikely champion ChalkbeatNY: Gassaway criticized the Bloomberg administration even as Boys and Girls avoided closure in recent years as the school’s reputation and enrollment declined during his five-year tenure. 

Lawsuit alleges students' instruction lacking EdSource Today: Los Angeles Unified school board member Steve Zimmersaid he expected the practice to be more widespread in the district. 

Why Kids Sext The Atlantic: Between them, the accounts included about 100 pictures, many of girls from the local high school, Louisa County High, in central Virginia. S

Morning Video: Did Republican Gov. Cut $1 Billion From Michigan Schools?

"[Democratic challenger] Schauer also started capitalizing on education concerns in Michigan, mentioning frequently that he’s the son of a teacher....Fueling the biggest controversy of the race, Schauer says Governor Snyder has cut $1 billion from education."

AM News: Ailing Chicago Union Leader Decides Against Mayoral Run, May Have Brain Tumor

Karen Lewis has brain tumor, not running for mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who just pulled out of mayoral contention, is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor that was diagnosed shortly after she experienced a severe headache last week.

Union Leader Will Not Run for Chicago Mayor NYT: Karen Lewis, the Chicago union leader who had been considering a bid to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will not run as she continues treatment after surgery for an undisclosed medical condition, her exploratory committee said Monday.

Chicago Union Head Decides Against Mayoral Bid AP: Emanuel issued a statement after her announcement wishing her a quick recovery. "I have always respected and admired Karen's willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city's future," said Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff. 

Karen Lewis not running for mayor WBEZ: Emanuel already faces several declared challengers, including his vocal critic in the City Council, Ald. Bob Fioretti; Dr. Amara Enyia, an urban development consultant; former Chicago Ald. Robert Shaw; Chicago police officer Frederick Collins; and conservative activist William J. Kelly.

As Apprentices in Classroom, Teachers Learn What Works NYT: A charter school training program reflects the belief that teachers, like doctors, need to practice repeatedly with experienced supervisors before they can take the reins in classes of their own.

It's 2014. All Children Are Supposed To Be Proficient. What Happened? NPR:  No Child Left Behind law famously set this year as the date when, well, no children would be left behind. So now what?

Classes, homework and working with refugees USA TODAY: Typically, a college student's schedule is packed with classes, homework and maybe a job or two. For some, working with refugees is also on the list. There are nearly 300,000 refugees and 90,000 asylum-seekers currently residing in the U.S.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Ailing Chicago Union Leader Decides Against Mayoral Run, May Have Brain Tumor" »

AM News: Chicago Union Head Steps Down; Ed Trust Slams NCLB Waiver School Ratings

CTU President Karen Lewis 'not well,' but union mum on details Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is "not well" but under top-notch medical care, the union said Tuesday, refusing to detail the health crisis that has landed Lewis in the hospital. [Several more stories on this below the break]

Should a School Get an 'A' Even if Poor and Minority Students Underperform? PK12: In Florida, which rates schools on an A-F scale, the average proficiency rate for African-American students in "A" schools is lower than for white students who attend "C" schools.

NY State Commissioner Suggests a Way Around Charter Schools Limit WNYC: King said it was up to the governor and legislature to find a solution. But he added, "We have work to do to continue to grow high-quality seats, whether it's in charter schools or district schools." 

On Professional Development Days, D.C. Teachers Become Students WAMU: Today is the first of 10 professional development days for teachers at D.C. public schools, an opportunity for them to sharpen their skills as educators.

Video: SAT vs. ACT: What’s the Difference? NBC News: The ACT and the SAT are both standardized tests that help colleges evaluate students and are accepted by all schools. So what sets the exams apart? 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Chicago Union Head Steps Down; Ed Trust Slams NCLB Waiver School Ratings" »

Events: Reform Advocates Meet In Chicago

From deep inside a Chicago hotel, the day after StudentsFirst announced Jim Blew as Michelle Rhee's replacement and at roughly the same time as CTU is announcing that Karen Lewis has a serious illness and her duties are being taken over by her deputy:

Related posts: 5 New Orgs Bring PIE To 49 MembersTalk About "Love" (Not "Rights")PIE Annual Summit (2013)State Advocacy Groups Talk Policy - Not Tactics (2012); Reform Celebration In Seattle (2011).

AM News: Big Education Decisions For 11 States

Education Measures on Ballot in 11 States EdWeek: The initiatives could have a significant impact on school funding, class sizes, the use of technology, and teacher evaluation and tenure systems. Voters in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New York will see proposals that would increase funding for public schools paid for through a new tax or bond.

Ed. Dept. Churn Brings New Faces to Key Initiatives PK12: We're closing in on the twilight of the Obama administration and, at this point, many of the folks originally in charge of major initiatives, including Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind Act waivers, and School Improvement Grants, have left the building—literally.

Common Core tests now a ticket out of college remedial classes Seattle Times: A new agreement among the state's public colleges will raise the value of a couple of Washington's high-school exams.

Study: New York preschool push benefits wealthier families first WPost: The push to provide universal preschool to the city’s 4-year-olds has so far disproportionately benefited children from middle- and upper-income families, according to a report released Wednesday that the mayor’s office is disputing. See also WNYC.

Karen Lewis' health scare puts mayoral contest in flux Chicago Sun-Times: It would apply to women, too, of course, even strong-willed teachers union presidents gearing up for a campaign for mayor. CTU President Karen Lewis' hospitalization for as-yet unspecified health concerns continued to reverberate Tuesday. See also Chicago Tribune.

See more below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Big Education Decisions For 11 States" »

Afternoon Video: Rock The Vote 2014 "Turn Out For What?" Features Education

 

Here it is, via the NYT, featuring a shout-out from Darren Criss for education and a visual reference to student loan debt. #TURNOUTFORWHAT

AM News: Flat SAT Scores, Philly Contract SNAFU, Lewis Hospitalized

SAT scores for Class of 2014 show no improvement from previous marks Washington Post: High school graduates this year fared no better on the SAT college admission test than their predecessors in 2013, a stagnant result that exam overseers said should sound an alarm for the nation to get more students on track for college. See also HuffPost, Baltimore Sun, AP.

Pennsylvania: Health Costs Imposed on Teachers NYT: Philadelphia teachers vowed to fight a sudden move by the district Monday that cancels their union contract and requires them to start paying health premiums of $55 to $140 a month. See also District Dossier.

Chicago Teachers Union head Karen Lewis hospitalized WBEZ: Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis has been hospitalized after experiencing discomfort over the weekend. See also National teachers union contributes $30000 to Karen Lewis.

Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data NYT: The participating companies are publicly committing themselves not to sell information on kindergartners through 12th graders. See also Politico.

See the AP U.S. History course changes and take a sample exam Washington Post: Readers asked what specifically the College Board has changed in its Advanced Placement U.S. history course and what the questions on the exam are like.

Where Do We Stand on NCLB? A Progress Report for Congress Education Week: More than 40 states may have waivers from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Department of Education is off the hook when it comes to reporting on states' progress toward meeting the goals of the NCLB law.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Flat SAT Scores, Philly Contract SNAFU, Lewis Hospitalized" »

Quotes: Schools Can't Be Graded, Says NYC Chancellor

Quotes2Schools have unique qualities that cannot be captured in a letter grade... They are not restaurants. 

- NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina explaining end of school report card grades

Afternoon Video: Celebrities' Hilariously Bad Education Ideas

The Marshall Tuck campaign gets a few celebrity endorsements for his CA superintendent race -- plus some hilariously awful suggestions.

Morning Video: New Video Targets 371 "Failing" NYC Schools

It's not quite as moving as last summer's version -- and the one I saw last night during the news featured a kid who wanted to be a doctor -- but here's the new Families For Educational Justice video that's airing in NYC, focusing on 143,000 kids in low-performing schools, using the hashtag #donttstealpossible. "In vast areas of NYC [Brooklyn & the Bronx, mostly], children have little choice but to attend a failing school." There's also a map of 371 failing schools in NYC. There's a rally on Thursday.

AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments

Superintendents Support Common-Assessment Consortia EdWeek: About two-thirds of district superintendents say states should stick with their common-core testing consortia, while 16 percent remain on the fence over the issue, according to results from a new survey.

AFT Set To Spend More In 2014 Than Any Other Election Cycle Huffington Post: An AFT official told The Huffington Post that the union is on track to spend more than $20 million this cycle to "try to dial back some of the damage done by the cuts to public education and public services and elect people who will fight for kids, families and communities."

NEA Sues New Mexico Schools Chief Over Teacher Evaluations TeacherBeat: NEA officials say that the state has violated local districts' purview in dictating aspects of the evaluation systems, particularly by requiring a certain portion to be based on growth in students' standardized-test scores.

De Blasio stays mum on plans for struggling schools ChalkbeatNY: Mayor Bill de Blasio needs another extension. Four weeks into the school year, de Blasio said he wasn’t yet ready to detail his vision for improving with the city’s worst-performing schools, saying those plans would be released soon for the second time this month.

Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static NPR: One Los Angeles school is working technology into the learning process, while avoiding the traditional screen-time pitfalls.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments" »

Quotes: Progressive Dems Could Win With Education, Says Pollster

Quotes2The top testing turnout message overall emphasizes education, specifically Republicans' efforts to cut programs for students while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. - Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, quoted in TruthOut.

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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.