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#EDgif Of The Day: Vacationing EdReformers Sip Cold Brewed Coffee While Setbacks Mount

There have been three recent setbacks for edreform folks -- somewhat symbolic in nature but important nonetheless. The edereform response -- even with a recent effort to get opposing views out there -- has been slow, confused, and seemingly ineffective.

The first edreform setback was the addition of anti-charter amendments to the DNC platform last month. 

The second was the decision by the NAACP to include strong anti-charter legislation in its annual resolutions.

The third was the inclusion of several anti-charter provisions in the Black Lives Matter education agenda released last week (along with some provisions with which the edreform community would likely agree).

While symbolic in nature, these three instances are both critical of the edreform approach and -- even more important -- seem to expose the lack of engagement and reach of edreform advocates in the DNC, NAACP, and BlackLivesMatter.

 

Morning Videos: Dueling Massachusetts Charter Ads

Above find competing ads for and against lifting the MA charter schools cap. Via Boston Globe. See more here and here.

Explainer: #Vision4BlackLives Agenda Highlights School Reform Critics' Priorities (With Some Key Exceptions)

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Most of the attention on the Movement for Black Lives' agenda, released earlier this week, focused on the call for reparations and other agenda items.

However, a little-noted part of the comprehensive agenda was its education section, which calls for "An End to the Privatization of Education and Real Community Control by Parents, Students and Community Members of Schools Including Democratic School Boards and Community Control of Curriculum, Hiring/Firing, and Discipline Policies."

Some highlight quotes: 

*Privatization strips Black people of the right to self-determine the kind of education their children receive.

*Using mayoral control and state takeover, they impose their experimental, market-based approach to school reform.

*The education crises plaguing most of our public school districts are the result of corporate-controlled, state-sanctioned and federally-funded attacks to reverse Brown v. Board of Education, and create a desuetude discrimination and educational apartheid that must be challenged and overthrown.

*Their aims are to undermine Black democracy and self-determination, destroy organized labor, and decolor education curriculum, while they simultaneously  overemphasize  Standardized Testing, and use school closures to disproportionately disrupt access to education in Black communities.   

The authors of this section include Jonathan Stith (Alliance for Educational Justice), Hiram Rivera (Philadelphia Student Union), and Chinyere Tutashinda (Center for Media Justice). According to an Tweet from Stith, "A squad of Black education justice parent & youth organizers [was] present as well." The resources provided for this agenda include the Every Student Succeeds Act ExplainedAROS Demands Memo, and Journey For Justice.

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 In case it isn't clear, this call for elected school boards, an end to privatization, and a pullback from foundations like Gates and Broad is very much a reform critic's view of what needs to be done -- not at all a reformers' vision.

Or, as The American Prospect's Rachel Cohen put it, "There are some high-profile Teach for America alums in Black Lives Matter, but the platform calls for the program's end."

As such, this is the second time in recent weeks that we're reading about reform groups seeming to have been outflanked by their critics. The earlier instance was the development of the DNC party platform, which included amendments from Randi Weingarten and others that called for similar things.  (You could also include the release of stolen DNC emails in which campaign officials urge against mention of Common Core.) 

It's also an early indication of where the larger Black Lives Matter movement might be headed on education issues, which has been until now a murky thing to understand. There are several TFA alumni among the leaders of the movement, but the movement has also partnered with teachers unions in places like Chicago (where a BLM activist surprised union leaders by denouncing the police union). 

However, there are areas in which the movement's agenda would seem to go along with the priorities of many reform groups -- and put them in conflict with organized labor. Some quoted highlights:

*Put a moratorium on all out of school suspensions.

*Remove police from schools and replace them with positive alternatives to discipline and safety.

*Inequitable funding at the school district, local and state level leave most public schools — where poor communities of color are the majority — unable to provide adequate and high quality education for all students, criminalizing and targeting Black students through racist zero-tolerance discipline policies.

*Key stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, and students are left out of the decision making process.

*Create Community Schools that have wrap-around services for students and community members as a turnaround model instead of closing schools or charterization.

It's also well worth noting that this document, released by a group calling itself the Movement for Black Lives (aka ), may not represent the larger movement's education agenda, or the focal point of BLM efforts on education.

Morning Video: Update On XQ

Via The Seventy Four.

Events: DFER Events In Philly On Monday

There's still no official news about DFER and other education groups holding events during next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but I'm being told that there are going to be some early-week panels and a reception.

 The first panel might address what happens next for education and DFER. Another panel might address non-school issues that DFER has up until now been extremely reluctant to get involved in.

You'll be the first to know when some official details come out about panelists, access, and all the rest. As you may recall, DFER held its first big event in Denver in 2008 at the DNC, and held another event in 2012 at which union leaders appeared. My case study about the sudden rise and recent challenges facing DFER came out via AEI just a few days ago.

The last year especially has been an awkward one for the organization. A recent example: DFER appeared to have been caught unprepared a couple of weeks ago when the DNC platform committee accepted a handful of amendments from reform critics such as Troy Laravierre and Randi Weingarten. Platform positions may not matter, and the amendment may not make much sense, but it was a pretty startling turn of events for a group that has for so many years been on the inside, seeming to be able to press all the right levers.

Maybe the best way to think of Monday's events is as some sort of reboot/relaunch. 

 

Update: Whatever Happened To "Democrats For Education Reform"?

image from pbs.twimg.com
Here's the latest in a series of occasional case studies I've been doing the past few years, this one about an education-focused PAC called Democrats For Education Reform that was an early backer of Barack Obama and had lots of early success, but has struggled in recent years as its oponents (the teachers unions, mostly) have shifted tactics and politics have gotten more polarized. It came out late last week. Read it all here

Campaign 2016: Can DFER Recover From A Rough Patch?

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Most folks know the early history of DFER, the Democratic PAC that supports charters, choice, and accountability: the lucky pick of Barack Obama, the amazing timing on Race to the Top, etc.

This picture, via Whitney Tilson, encapsulates those early days.

However, a new case study out today from AEI (written by me) tells how those early successes were blunted, then turned into liabilities during the last four years: how critics began labeling DFER as part of "corporate" reform efforts, how the teachers unions turned Common Core concerns into a rallying cry, and -- most disappointingly, perhaps -- DFER generally stood by as social justice issues (immigration, integration, police violence) grew in importance. 

Meantime, DFER failed to create the Emily's List-style donor base that would broaden its support and free it up from charter advocates. 

With the Democratic platform amended by reform critics and the Democratic convention coming up later this month, there's no better time to look at what DFER's done, what it's become, and where it might go next.

New DFER head Shavar Jeffries says that he's going to make DFER a deep part of the Democratic Party. But there's not much sign so far that DFER has changed, and from recent events it seems like he's got his work cut out for him. 

Related posts: Meet DFER Head Shavar Jeffries.

 

 

Maps: Nearly 200 "Island" Districts Segregate School Communities

Reform critics like to talk about big social issues like poverty, or focus on reform challenges like racial segregation in charter schools, but downplay ignore structural issues in public education like school assignment policies and district boundaries.

It's not just attendance zones and school assignment policies within districts that contribute to segregation and school inequality. According to a new report from EdBuild, school district boundaries themselves play a dramatic role in "segregating communities and separating low-income kids from educational opportunity." The most vivid examples of this effect are "island" districts entirely surrounded by other school districts of vastly different means.

"The way we fund schools in the United States creates incentives for communities to segregate along socioeconomic lines in order to preserve local wealth. In so doing, communities create arbitrary borders that serve to lock students into, or out of, opportunity. This reality is especially glaring in the case of island school districts that are entirely surrounded by single districts of very different means."

While there are nearly 200 examples nationwide, the report highlights examples in Oakland, Freehold NJ, and Columbus OH.

 

Morning Video: At Aspen, Civil Rights In The 21st Century

There wasn't much education talk at the Aspen Ideas festival this year, compared to previous years, but here's a panel on civil rights from the festival held recently. See #AspenIdeas for more. 

Quotes: Charters For Everyone!

Quotes2There was a period of time where it was as if almost anyone who wanted to open a charter school could get a grant of $100,000 from the Waltons. It ran like that for a number of years, until eventually they looked at the results and decided this wasn’t working.

NACSA's Greg Richmond in The American Prospect (Education Reformers Reflect at 25)

Afternoon Video: Teaching Tolerance In The Segregated South

"Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks to Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center for insight into how Southern schools can move race relations forward."

Afternoon Video: Watch EduHam Kids Perform

Still buzzing over the Sunday Tony awards show? Me, too. Check out the show performances if you missed any here, or click the link above and watch some of the NYC high school kids who've been attending the show and performing for Lin Manuel-Miranda as part of what Scholastic's Wayne D'Orio dubbed "Hamilton 101." It's pretty cool to watch them. The video is about a half-hour long.

Livestream: #EquityMatters Gathers Academics & Education Journalists

Watch above, check out the details here. #equitymatters

 

Events: Equity Matters Symposium In NYC Friday

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There's a big Equity Matters Symposium being held tomorrow at the Ford Foundation offices in NYC, and while invitations are limited to journalists you can apparently watch via livestream here

Some of the speakers include Gloria Ladson-Billings, Sean Reardon, and Richard Rothstein. 

Some of the Equity Project journalists who will talk about their projects include Alejandra Lagos, Zaidee Stavely, Kristina Rizga, and Patrick Wall. Cara Fitzpatrick, will also be there. Spencer Fellowship head LynNell Hancock, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Keith Woods are also scheduled to attend.

You can find the full list of Speakers and the Schedule of events by clicking the links.

What's it all about? According to the promo materials, the Equity Matters event "will bring together the nation’s top experts and education journalists in examining the root causes and impact of our nation’s ever-widening “opportunity gap.”

Funded by the Ford Foundation (with whom I've discussed supporting THE GRADE), the Equity Project is part of a broader SF-based initiative called Renaissance Journalism, which sponsors "national initiatives that support journalists and their news organizations to produce ambitious, in-depth and compelling stories that reveal and illuminate social injustice and inequity."
 
In addition to Rizga and Wall, some of the Fellows who've had work sponsored by the Equity Project over the past two years include Charla Bear (KQED), Marquita Brown (News & Record in Greensboro, North Carolina), Kavitha Cardoza (WAMU), Dan Carsen (WBHM), Matt Collette (WNYC, formerly of The Teacher Project), Elisa Crouch (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Emily DeRuy (The Atlantic), Beth Hawkins (Education Post, formerly MinnPost), Laura Isensee (Houston Public Media), Alejandra Lagos (Univision), Celia Llopis-Jepsen (Topeka Capital-Journal), Rob Manning (Oregon Public Broadcasting), and Claudio Sanchez (NPR).

Some examples of work funded in part by the Renaissance Journalism project include the Detroit Journalism Collaborative's seven-part series on race and poverty. Click here for the full list.

This isn't the first such gathering. There was an event in San Francisco not too long ago featuring Rizga, Pirette McKamey and Robert Roth.

These aren't the only fellowships for education journalists. Others include the Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship (which I received in 2009), new EWA Fellowships, the Teacher Project fellowships (whose work appears in Slate).

Quotes: Re-balancing The Foundation-Education Relationship

Quotes2Philanthropists are not generally education experts, and even if they hire scholars and experts, public officials shouldn’t be allowing them to set the policy agenda for the nation’s public schools. The Gates experience teaches once again that educational silver bullets are in short supply and that some educational trends live only a little longer than mayflies.

- LA Times editorial page (Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda)

AM News: Big Spending In Local California Education Races

Spending by oil companies, education advocates, business groups and labor unions reaches record levels - LA Times ow.ly/FGQh300ISyS

‘Don’t force us to give up our school’: A Mississippi town is being told to integrate - The Washington Post ow.ly/9YVx300GhGu

20th Street Elementary parents protest potential change in school management - LA Times ow.ly/Wz47300KGok

Active-shooter drills help schools prepare for the worst: AP Article ow.ly/u2iW300KFX4

One Student Tries To Help Others Escape A 'Corridor Of Shame' : NPR Ed pllqt.it/NkB6Fx

What One District's Data Mining Did For Chronic Absence : NPR Ed : NPR ow.ly/KIyQ300KFF4

Harvard Graduate Student's Speech Resonates With Educators : NPR ow.ly/KEte300KFDo

School superintendent candidate proposes $14k raise for Washington teachers ow.ly/69C4300JOrp

 

Morning Video: Education (Or The Lack Thereof) In Campaign 2016

Left, Right, Kids in the Middle: Education in 2016 from NewSchools Venture Fund on Vimeo.

The most interesting moment might be the 55:00 minute mark, where Lisa Snell and Roland Martin discuss a failed NOLA mobilization effort. The Seventy Four contributor Cynthia Tucker Haynes is the moderator. Watch all NSVF Summit videos here. Which one should I watch/show next?

 

#EDgif Of The Day: "Immigrants - The Get The Job Done."

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That's Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of "Hamilton," speaking at the UPenn graduation ceremony last weekend. It's a line from the show, which a foundation is sending thousands of NYC high school kids to see this Spring. 

Quotes: Why Are Education Groups Aligned With Republicans?

Quotes2Normally, teachers unions and school advocates support Democratic politicians and are the mortal enemies of conservative Republicans. Yet this time, they found an enthusiastic supporter in Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Education Committee. 

-- Kevin Carey in the NYT (Why Poor Districts Receive Less Government School Funding Than Rich Ones)

Morning Video: Watch The Atlantic's 2nd Education Summit (Live)

Check out this DC event, or click here for more information.

Morning Video: Snippets From #NSVF (Including Standing Ovation For Duncan)

"Sit down before I start crying," says Duncan in response to standing ovation. Read more from PK12 here. See more snippets here. Full video?

 

Afternoon Video: Highlights From NSVF Summit

#nsvfsummit New Schools Venture Fund Summit 2016 Highlight: Dr. Manuel Pastor, Brittany Packnet, and Jose Patiño from NewSchools Venture Fund on Vimeo.

EdVents: NewSchools Venture Summit 2016

Quotes: A New Era In Education Philanthropy?

Quotes2Signs abound that this era of polarization is giving way to a different and more constructive phase in U.S. efforts to boost student achievement.... The dawn of a new era of K-12 philanthropy .... Funders [like Walton and Broad] are no longer the dominant drivers.

Inside Philanthropy's David Callahn (The New Era of K-12 Philanthropy)

Upcoming: NSVF 2016 All About Diversity & Authenticity

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There are all sorts of conferences going on in May, including the upcoming May 10-11 New Schools Venture Fund Summit 2016 in San Francisco.

In case you haven't heard, NewSchools Summit is "an annual invitation-only gathering for education leaders who bring important and diverse perspectives in K-12 education innovation." And it's big -- 1,000 attendees. Lots of VIP speakers (see above). 

NSVF was the first place I saw Google Glass (RIP), and I'm guessing that this year's event will be full of drone demos, holograms/VR, hoverboards, 3D printers, bots, and wearables.  AltSchool's Max Ventilla will be a mini-celebrity. Newly-hired Chan Zuckerberg honcho Jim Shelton will be a full-on celebrity.

No surprise -- everyone's doing it -- one of the big pushes at NSVF this year is trying to create an authentic, diverse movement. LEE's organizing guru Mark Fraley, is going to be speaking, along with #BlackLivesMatter's Brittany Packnett and DREAMer José Patiño. 

Sponsors of the $1,000 per ticket event include Carnegie Corporation, Walton, Startup:Education (aka Chan Zuckerberg), Gates, Peak , the College Board + Khan Academy, and the Schusterman Foundation.

Hasghtag: #nsvfsummit. Timeline of previous Summits here.

Related posts: NewSchools 2015 Summit Live Twitter FeedThey're Beaming NSVF Summit 2014 To BostonGoogle Glasses Live from NSVF Summit 2013Thoughts On NSVF 2012Rahm Emanuel And Arlene Laurene Powell Jobs At NSVF'12Reformy 2011 Summit Returns To Silicon ValleyFashion Hits & Misses At The 2010 NSVF SummitAnother Spring, Another Summit (2009)NSFV: Live Tweets From Pasadena '09Microblogging The 2008 NSVF Summit.

 

Events: Previewing Next Week's EWA National Conference In Boston

image from www.ewa.org

The 69th Education Writers Association National Seminar is taking place starting Sunday, and all your favorite education journalists are scheduled to be there: members of the NPR education team, the NYT's Peabody-winning Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Tampa Bay Times' Pulitzer-winning Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner, the the NYT's Kate Zernike, WSJ's Leslie Brody, etc. Plus there will be many big-name policy wonks and education leaders, such as Boston superintendent Tommy Chang, Stanford's Sean Reardon, UPenn's Angela Duckworth, the AFT's Randi Weingarten, MA's Mitch Chester, and EdSec John King.

The vast majority of the upcoming EWA annual conference in Boston starting this weekend is dedicated to helping journalists understand hot topics in education. There's an app. There's a print program. There are "lightning talks." There's a hashtag: #EWA16.

But there are also a slew of few panels and events focused on education journalism itself, including of course the annual EWA awards.  The first morning of the conference is focused on journalists describing how they reported a challenging topic, using data, adding audio, and getting access. The afternoon session includes journalists like Kristina Rizga and Dale Russakoff talking about their book-length projects. Some of the "Lightning Talks" -- 5 Mistakes Journos Make When Covering Ed Research, How to Really Talk with Boys from Diverse Backgrounds, Maximizing Digital Media for Reporting -- focus on the tools of the trade.

The only topics missing that I can see are writing for social media (Snapchat, Facebook Live) and using images and graphics.

Teachers and education reporters have lots in common, notes EWA head Caroline Hendrie in the program introduction: "In both education and journalism, interest in addressing inequality and injustice – social, economic, and institutional – is on the rise. Both educators and members of the news media face demands for greater fairness from the communities affected by their work. Concern about inculcating cultural competence in both educators and reporters is keen. How to diversify both fields’ workforces remains a stubborn problem. At the same time, the two sectors are struggling to meet ever-changing standards of quality. After all, both fields are traversing periods of transformation, as new technologies and standards of excellence continuously redefine success."

Indeed, as has been noted before, the overlap between education reporters and educators -- including lack of diversity -- raises some interesting issues.

The results of the EWA member survey will be released on Sunday. For more on #edJOC read Why Nikole Hannah-Jones Matters (To Education Journalism In Particular) or read some of the related posts at the bottom of the page. 

Another notable angle: For the first time in recent memory, the EWA award winners will be announced at this event -- after the Peabody and Pulitzer awards have already been named. For background on the finalists, read Hits, Misses, Snubs, & Mysteries.

Who funds all this? Well, the event is co-sponsored with BU's Communications and Education Schools, and the sponsor page includes the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Raikes, Wallace, Walton, Hewlett, Nellie Mae, American Federation of Teachers, Pearson, College Board, Edwin Gould, Gates, National Education Association, Secure Schools Alliance, American Institutes for Research, and Scholastic. Programming for new reporters comes from  Spencer and the W.T. Grant Foundation.

Related posts: Efforts To Recruit More Journalists Of Color (To Cover Education)Just How White Is Education Journalism — & How To Encourage More #edJOC?New Opportunities - & New Challenges - For 7 Education Journalism TeamsDelightful High School Swim Class Story Wins Murrow Journalism AwardSchool Segregation Coverage Wins 2 Pulitzers & A Peabody.

Campaign 2016: Democrats Fighting Over [& With] #BlackLivesMatter

Deray mckesson

If all goes as expected, Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson (above right) will lose the Baltimore mayoral primary today.
 
But that shouldn't obscure what may be the biggest development of the first half of 2016, which is the uncertain, awkward interactions between the social justice movement BLM and the partisan political systems and players that shape everything from how billions in education funding gets spent to how Congressional districts are created.  
 
Even assuming McKesson loses, this Mother Jones article notes that BLM has backed winning candidates in other races.

There's no doubt that BLM has burst onto the scene like a much-anticipated Beyonce album. Just the other day, President Obama -- sounding somewhat out of tune given the detailed proposals of Project Zero -- criticized BLM for too much yelling and not enough engagement. 

Everybody wants to ally with BLM -- from Sanders and Clinton to teachers and school reformers -- at least most of the time.

But it isn't at all clear where the fit is going to last and (so far at least) BLM leaders haven't fractured or joined forces with any particular stakeholder group -- labor, education reform, the Democratic Party establishment, or Bernie Sanders liberals. 

McKesson, with his school reform background, has raised suspicions among some labor activists and progressives who might otherwise be eager to join with the social justice leader.

But for union and other leaders it's hard to figure out how to be with and against BLM leaders at the same time, or to come up with any coherent approach.

In recent weeks, there have been some fascinating, seemingly illustrative run-ins between BLM and existing advocacy groups like the Chicago Teachers Union.

In case you missed it, the CTU invited BLM to join a rally a few weeks ago, then struggled to figure out what to do when BLM's Page May started denouncing the police -- a union local -- from the event podium.

"The CTU keeps acting like they are on our side, but then Karen Lewis refuses to say cops need to get out of schools," May said in the DNA Info story. "Until they come out explicitly opposed to cops in schools, I don't think we are fighting on the same side."

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Read more about that in this excellent Laura Moser piece from Slate (Chicago Teachers Union is going through an awkward radicalization).

According to this American Prospect story, local BLM activists were part of the one-day CTU walkout.  And indeed they were there. But obviously CTU and the local BLM weren't really on the same page -- creating a conflict with the union that represents police officers.

When called on to apologize to the police for the rally comments, one CTU ally defiantly Tweeted "CTU can apologize once the [police union] apologizes for supporting & fundraising 100k for [police officer] Van Dyke who killed our CPS student."

A top CTU official distanced the union from the comments.

At roughly the same time, McKesson was indicating his support in the form of a raised fist emoji: 

How this is going to resolve is anybody's guess. BLM could implode or fade, like so many previous groups. It could splinter, or it could find an ally with one or several of the existing combatants out there.

The conundrum is just as much a challenge to education reform groups and Democratic Party traditionalists as it is to the CTU or progressives.

And of course much of the outcome will be shaped by BLM itself.

    People: Don't Know Who Keron Blair Is? You Should.

     

    CREDIT: KERON BLAIR/FACEBOOK

     
    Meet Keron Blair, described as the Organizer Behind Education Protests Sweeping The Country in this ThinkProgress piece. I've been following him and the coalition he helps organize, AROS (Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools). AROS puts out the useful "This Week In Education Organizing" email. They were at NPE in North Carolina a couple of weekends ago. They're organization another round of Walk-Ins on 5/4 (next week). Details here.

     

    Morning Video: "EduShyster" Vs. EduShyster

    Last weekend in North Carolina, Jennifer Berkshire and Peter Cunningham talked education at the NPE conference. Watch it above. Note how close to the door Cunningham has arranged to sit. Read his reflections on the experience here

    Morning Video: King Takes On Desegregation

     

    Skip to the 32:00' mark to watch EdSec King talk at a recent Century Foundation event about encouraging districts to return to school desegregation. Seems like it might be too little too late to me, but it's certainly an interesting thing to have discussed.

    Or, watch Chicago teachers union head in a public TV segment on her fiery speech yesterday.

    Morning Video: Meet DFER Head Shavar Jeffries

    In case you didn't know, former Newark board member and mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries now heads DFER. He was the afternoon keynote at the Yale SOM education conference last week, and spoke to The Seventy Four.

    Or, watch Steve Harvey interview a 5 year old math genius.

    Campaign 2016: Sanders, Trump, & McKesson (Yes, McKesson)

    There are at least three big outsider campaigns going on right now, though most folks are only paying attention to Sanders and Trump. The third is BlackLivesMatter's Deray McKesson running for mayor of Baltimore, which like the others has implications (for BlackLivesMatter, most of all) regardless of whether he wins (seems unlikely) or loses.

    Events: See You At The Yale SOM Education Conference

    Most Likely to Succeed Trailer from One Potato Productions on Vimeo.

    Along with many others, I'm going to be at the Yale SOM Education Conference (which actually starts tonight and goes through tomorrow).

    The Friday morning keynotes are going to be Thrive Chicago's Sandra Abrevaya and Northside Achievement Zone's Sondra Samuels.

    The closing keynote is DFER head Shavar Jeffries.

    The panel on Common Core testing (which I'm moderating) features Chicago NBCT Sherisse A. Lucas, Dr. Ilene Tracey Director of Instruction and School Improvement, New Haven Public Schools, Ken Wagner Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner, Dianna Wentzell Commissioner, CT State Department of Education

    You can find the full event schedule here.

    There are also going to be screenings of the film, Most Likely To Succeed (see trailer above), which focuses among other things on the projects and presentations that are part of the model developed at High Tech High. 

    For those of you who'll be following along online, the official hashtag is #DefiningSuccess2016  and you can find more on Instagram at @yalesomelc2016.

    Update: The Teach For America Reboot (Goes Beyond Corps Member Diversity)

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    Here's my latest Scholastic Administrator column, about the Teach for America Reboot: "The controversy surrounding TFA may have been helpful, in the end. As Villanueva Beard told Politico, “'I’m grateful for when people make our shortcomings clear, because it enables us to get better.'” 

    Morning Video: That Group Michelle Rhee Started Is Merging With 50CAN

    In honor of the announcement from The Seventy Four that 50CAN and StudentsFirst were merging, which is either a totally understandable move or a strange and early April Fool's, here's the video of the original Michelle Rhee announcement.

    AM News: Staff Cuts At TFA, Plus New Pro Opt-Out NY Regent Head

    Teach for America to cut national staff by 15 percent Washington Post: The two shake-ups will leave Teach for America with approximately 930 national staff members in fiscal year 2017, 410 fewer than it employed in fiscal year 2015, according to the organization. It’s a staffing level that the organization expects will be sustainable even if there are fluctuations in the number of new corps members it is able to recruit. See also AtlanticTeacher Beat.

    Rosa, new head of New York education policy: As a parent, ‘I would opt out’ ChalkbeatNY: Rosa spoke about the need to retool the tests to rebuild trust with parents, and said that families have the right to choose what is best for their children. “If I was a parent and I was not on the Board of Regents, I would opt out at this time,” Rosa told reporters Monday, shortly after she was elected chancellor of the Board of Regents.

    Prospects for the Next President Keeping John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: On the Senate education committee, Sanders joined the rest of his Democratic colleagues by voting to advance King's nomination to the full Senate earlier this month. But he is listed as not voting in the full Senate on King's nomination. Generally speaking, if Sanders wins out, there's no reason to believe the unions would significantly alter their political strategy regarding King.

    Alternative education program still in danger after budget restoration Boston Globe: “I always hated school, to be honest . . . but I had men that I could look up to and get knowledge from,” Luis Aponte, now a student at Northeastern University, said of the Diploma Plus program in Charlestown.

    Kansas Campuses Prepare For Guns In Classrooms NPR: A Kansas law will allow students to carry concealed weapons into their college classrooms, and many teachers aren't happy about it.

    Pierre Omidyar helps fund education startup Tinkergarten BBJ: The startup specializes in outdoor early childhood education, helping educators lead activities for kids outside. The activities include "outsmart a leprechaun" and "celebrate the winter solstice." Tinkergarten said the company now has classes running across 14 states.

    Morning Video: What Should We Do When The Whole School Fails?

    This panel featuring among others Vanessa Rodriguez and Steve Zimmer, is highlighted in Gary Rubinstein's lengthy recap/review of the TFA25 summit earlier this year.

    Or, watch these New Orleans 7th graders' version of Beyonce's "Formation." (ABC News via Huffington Post)

    AM News: Duncan's New Gig, Legal Loophole For School Lead

    Arne Duncan to Focus on Disconnected Youth at the Emerson Collective PK12: Duncan's official title will be managing partner for the Palo Alto, Calif.,-based philanthropy and advocacy organization, which is led up by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. See also Washington Post, USA TodayWSJ.

    Newark Schools to Test Pupils for Lead as Officials Cite Longstanding Problem NYT: As many as 17,000 students may have been affected, but the immediate plan will be to offer testing to children who attend two early-childhood programs at schools where lead was detected in the water.

    A legal loophole might be exposing children to lead in the nation's schools Washington Post: Under federal law, the vast majority of schools don’t have to test the water flowing out of their taps and drinking fountains, and many states and districts also do not mandate water testing at schools. Even when districts do test their water, they don’t always tell parents about the problems they find.

    Early-Ed. Measures Percolate at State, Local Levels EdWeek: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 450 bills with some tie to early childhood are pending in 46 states. At this early stage, it's unclear how many of those proposals will be enacted into law. But if local and state lawmakers follow the trend of previous years, many places will see increased early-childhood investment.

    Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will help dropouts in violence-plagued Chicago find jobs LA Times: Since Arne Duncan left his job as U.S. secretary of Education in December, a problem has been nagging him: the high numbers of kids dropping out of school, joining gangs and getting killed in his city, Chicago. So he’s taken on a new job, he said Thursday, that will help him find opportunities...

    2 Breakfasts May Be Better Than None For School Kids NPR: A study looked at students who ate breakfast at school versus those who ate at home, at both places, or not at all. One of these groups had a higher risk of obesity, and it's not the one you'd think.

    Why Big-City School Systems Are Going Broke US News: Detroit's school system, already $515 million in debt, can't afford to pay its staff past April 8. In Chicago, the city school district – the third-largest in the country – is a whopping $1.1 billion in debt. In Philadelphia, despite the school system there ending the year with an $88 million surplus, the city has backed a lawsuit against the state by other school districts over inadequate funding. More than 2,000 public school students in Boston also walked out of their classrooms earlier this month in opposition to proposed budget cuts.

    High Schools Are Failing Girls Who Report Sexual Assault Huffington Post: Under Title IX, schools receiving federal funding must eliminate a hostile environment stemming from gender-based violence. And the Education Department has told schools since at least the Clinton administration that a single incident of severe sexual harassment -- such as an assault -- can constitute a hostile environment. So when a high school gets a report of a student-on-student assault, it's typically supposed to do its own investigation.

    Fariña talks changes to metal detector policy, defends classroom breakfast WNYC: Chancellor Carmen Fariña told City Council members Wednesday that the city’s classroom breakfast program has had a “rocky start,” and signaled that metal detector policies could shift by next fall.

    City Schools to See Some Money They're Owed — But Not All WNYC: Orlando said the mayor's preliminary budget includes more than $150 million to "raise the floor" from last year's minimum of 82 percent to a new minimum of 87 percent. This will affect 650 schools. However, Renewal Schools — which were already receiving extra funds — will receive 100 percent of what they were owed instead of last year's 92 percent.

    Qualified Providers, Space Hard To Find For Seattle Preschool Program Seattle Public Radio: The promise of the city of Seattle’s new subsidized preschool program to bring low- or no-cost preschool to three- and four-year-olds across the city is facing a challenge as the city struggles to find space and providers for the second year.

    Vaccination aversion has fueled measles and whooping cough outbreaks, study finds LA Times: A comprehensive new study of measles and pertussis outbreaks in the United States suggests that adults’ reluctance or refusal to vaccinate themselves and their children has played a key role in the resurgence of diseases that had been largely eradicated in this country.

    Philanthropy: Two Big Looks At Facebook Founder's Big Plans

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    There are two big pieces about the Chan-Zuckerberg philanthropy initiative that you should probably know about:

    The first is a package of stories and charts from EdWeek, including an exclusive interview with Zuckerberg himself (Examining Mark Zuckerberg's New K-12 Giving Strategy

    The second piece is a long look at How Mark Zuckerberg Should Give Away $45 Billion from Huffington Post, which includes a major section on education and some information about an international effort called Bridge International Academies.

    One particularly interesting line: "The history of philanthropy is littered with projects that helped the poor at a small scale, then made them worse off at a larger one." 

     
     

    Live Event: #SXSWedu Starting Today*

    *Corrected.

    Live Event: Ford Foundation #FundMovements Conference

    fordfound on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

    It's not too late to catch up with From Protest to Power, or at least to check out the topics and speakers. 

    Update: Ten Thousand Proposals For XQ Design Competition

     

    Laurene Powell Jobs aims to revolutionize education—and she has a plan to do it: http://vogue.cm/vDsCGBx

    Posted by Vogue on Monday, February 22, 2016

    Yep, that's Laurene Powell Jobs in the latest issue of Vogue, talking about how 10,000 proposal teams are trying to make it to the finalist list of about 400 and then 5 actual XQ awardees. Click the link if the Facebook embed doesn't render properly. #typepadsocreaky

    AM News: Annual Gates Letter Day

    Bill and Melinda Gates Ask Teens to Work on Global Clean Energy, Women’s LiberationWSJ: In annual letter, philanthropists look to tomorrow’s scientists to help fix development problems. Bill and Melinda Gates regularly challenge global leaders and policy makers to help them solve the world’s biggest development problems.

    Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind NYT: The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote soon on a plan that could add subsidies for broadband Internet services in low-income homes.

    Success Academy Plans Another Harlem Elementary School WSJ: The network is starting a program that lets parents rank their preferences among its 11 middle school sites in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, and fifth-graders expecting to attend the Harlem Central site next fall are being redirected to Harlem North West nearby.

    Louisiana voucher students did worse at new schools, study says NOLA: Louisiana's private school voucher program was billed as an exit hatch for students from bad public schools. But it was more like a trap door, according to a study released Monday (Feb. 22) by the University of Arkansas and the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University.

    Teaching Laquan McDonald WBEZ Chicago: In the wake of the several released videos of Chicago police-involved shooting deaths of African Americans after the Laquan McDonald video, some educators have been tasked with altering their daily lesson plans for frank discussions about police brutality. Walter Taylor, a professional development facilitator for the Chicago Teachers Union’s Quest Center, talks about “Teaching About Laquan McDonald.”

    Reality Check: Graduation Numbers Inflated At Nearly All CPS High Schools WBEZ Chicago: Indeed, the analysis done by WBEZ and the Better Government Association shows that compared to 2010, many schools graduation rates are up. Even after the revisions, 27 high schools saw double digit increases in their graduation rates between 2010 and 2015.

    Study In Your PJs? What A High School 'Work From Home Day' Looks Like NPR: No alarm. No school bus. No problem. Thanks to a school's laptop program, everyone takes a virtual lesson.

    Desegregation Proposal Depends on Parents' Choices WNYC: The vast majority of students in the district are Latino and black; at East Village Community School, more than half the students are white, about 20 percent are Hispanic and fewer than 10 percent are black. The school also has fewer low-income children than the district overall, just about 25 percent compared to almost 80 percent.

    Books: Review: In ‘The End of Average,’ Cheers for Individual Complexity NYT: The author Todd Rose warns against conclusions drawn from large populations, arguing that they rarely account for important personal variations.

    #TBT: What TFA Looked Like Five Years Ago

    Here are some pictures I took from some of the #TFA20 receptions 5 years ago. Or take a look at the official TFA20 photo album (remember Flickr?).

    Charts: Mass Deportation (Is The Threat Real?)

    The advocacy group known as FWD (forward) is pushing this message out on social media today: "Mass deportation would tear families apart + separate 4.5 million U.S. citizens from their parents."

    I'm not sure if the threat is considered to be real, or whether this is just a news hook to rally the base. No candidates are mentioned. Follow along on Twitter here.

    I've written about FWD a bit in the past -- see below.

    Related posts: 5 Ways The SF Protests Can Help You Understand Education (2014).

    Events: Here Comes Yale SOM 2016 (Crossed Fingers)

    There were at least two former organizers of the Yale SOM education summit at the TFA conference last week - Edna Novak and Graham Brown (pictured with me above) -- and Yale SOM 2016 is fast approaching.

    Keynote speakers include Shavar Jeffries, Sandra Abrevaya, and Sondra Samuels. As in the past, it's being held at the Omni in New Haven.

    There are scheduled to be panels on Common Core testing, blended learning, college attainment, parent advocacy, teachers of color, segregation of schools, community colleges, school readiness, federal policy after NCLB, revisiting "no excuses" approaches, effective philanthropy, and many others. 

    If you want to follow last year's social media, check out #backtowhy, or check out my livetweets from that day. There was some controversy about the lack of racial diversity on one or two of the panels -- even though the event was much more diverse than some of its predecessors.

    I wrote a blog post about it shortly after: 6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel (ie, "Pass The Mic")*. PIE's Suzanne Tacheny wrote more about the topic here: Notes to Self.

    What I don't see on the program so far is anything that focuses on the state and local education agencies who govern most public schools, or the unions whose locals represent many educators who work with them. But the panel list doesn't look final and there are no panelists listed so far. 

    It's on April 7th and 8th. The twitter is @YaleELC. The hashtag is#DefiningSuccess2016.

     Related posts: New Faces At This Week's Yale Education Conference (2105); Deray Does Colbert Show (Then Lets Him Off The Hook).

    Event Preview: My #TFA25 Playlist - What's Yours?

    DgfsdfgdsfgfThe livestream begins Saturday morning at 9, but the conference officially starts Friday and there's sure to be a ton of Tweeting going on the next few days as #TFA25 ramps up. (Nearly 200 speakers/moderators, all in one Twitter List .)

    There are 20 sessions Friday, and another 60 on Saturday -- not nearly enough for all the interest in presenting and speaking at the conference. The Frequently Asked Questions makes clear that TFA was expecting (or experiencing) more demand to present than it could handle using the format it decided.

    There's no opening plenary session -- the conference version of a outmoded home page -- or even keynotes. Topics covered at the 2011 summit are being avoided. As a result, "Even very senior/VIP speakers will be sharing a session with other speakers and panelists."

    Here's a bit more information about what I'm doing -- or hoping to do (depending on which sessions are full, etc.) -- along with some information about what's going to be livestreamed. Take a look and then let us know what you're going to do.

    What's on your #TFA25 wishlist? Or, even better, what are you already signed up for?

    Continue reading "Event Preview: My #TFA25 Playlist - What's Yours?" »

    Events: 52 regions. 40,000 Alumni. TFA At 25

    Watch out, world. A week from today starts TFA's 25th Anniversary Summit in DC.

    According to the event organizers, Friday includes "sessions focused on leadership development" (including one about social media that I'm going to be participating in), followed by Saturday's big day of panels (including a Denver case study panel I'm moderating) and an appearance from Janelle Monáe (above). 

    There are a bunch of social events, including charter networks (Democracy Prep, etc.), diverse charters (Brooklyn Prospect), and districts (Denver Public Schools).

    #TFA25 seems to be the event hashtag. 

    There's a big EdWeek deep dive.

    There's a BuzzFeed listicle: 19 Things To Do At The TFA 25th Anniversary Summit.

    There's an app.

    TFA Alumni Affairs (aka @onedayallkids) have put together a "TFA25 Twitter Track" for the conference .

    There's some great TFA memorabilia floating around on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, including this 1992 poster:

    CZ5v9BWWkAAxm_A

     

    If Deray McKesson isn't there, I think there might be a riot. [He's scheduled to be there on Saturday, I'm told.] 

    What about LAUSD Board Chairperson Steve Zimmer, or StudentsFirst co-founder Michelle Rhee (pictured at #TFA20)? Jesse Hagopian? Alex Caputo-Pearl? [No idea]

    image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

    The NYT's Nikole Hannah-Jones is going to be there, according to Twitter. (Not as a TFA alum but on a panel on school desegregation.)

    The last big gathering of TFA folks was in February 2011, which seems like 100 years ago. People were still talking about the Arab Spring back then. Michelle Rhee was sort of the rock star of the event. Questions about the organization's role and impact were coming up (including from founder Wendy Kopp herself) but hadn't gained real traction yet. There was no #BlackLivesMatter. Teachers in Chicago hadn't gone on strike for the first time in nearly 30 years. Yet.

    Related posts: Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel7 Things I Learned From The LA Times' TFA ArticleTFA20: A Premature (Or Even Unwarranted) Celebration?Looking Ahead To #TFA25Stop Talking About Education's "Egypt Moment"Five Ideas For TFA's *Next* 20 Years.

     

    Quotes: Education Philanthropy's Mysterious Devotion To Failed Strategies

    Quotes2Philanthropy’s quest to improve K-12 education feels stuck in a rut. Some of the biggest funders on the scene remain devoted to a reform strategy that has so far failed to yield transformative change, while a range of other funder-backed efforts aren’t yet operating at a scale likely to produce major breakthroughs.

    - David Callahan in Inside Philanthropy (Ed Funders Need to Think Bigger About Systemic Change. Here Are Some Ideas)

    Quotes: OECD Test Is Different (Optional, International, Public)

    Quotes2The truth of the matter is that in this global economy we talk about so much and so often, my students are competing with everyone... And so it was important to me to sort of find some sort of a tool where I could say, ‘I think these are the skill sets they’re getting that make them competitive.'

    -- Tiffany Huitt, the principal of a 415-student Dallas magnet school that has administered the exam multiple times via EWA (Exam Gives Glimpse of How Schools Stack Up Globally

     

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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.