About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Morning Video: New Efforts To Engage Emotional Support For Common Core

 

Here's an example of how Common Core supporters are going to try and engage the public with outrage over the current inequalities and inadequacies of the education system  - and inspiration about what the new standards can do. From NCLR via Politico. #whimsical

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Philanthropy Is Everywhere

The Expanding Role of Philanthropy in Education Politics http://ow.ly/zvgb6  @sreckhow and Jeff Snyder via @dianeravitch

Why Do Americans Stink at Math? - http://NYTimes.com  http://ow.ly/zuZMK  @elizabeth_green @elizwgreen

Apple Claims 85% of U.S. Education Market for Tablets http://ow.ly/zuqy8  [Even as iPad consumer sales flatline]

Setting the record straight on tenure  - NY Daily News http://ow.ly/zvMHG  #vergara @campbell_brown

Both @anniegilbertson & @mrpabruno think @libbyanelson's map http://bit.ly/1tBboQk  should be adjusted for COL etc 

This Aspiring Astronaut Might Be The World's Most Amazing Teen : Goats and Soda : NPR http://ow.ly/zvGZe 

Cato's Andrew Coulson slams Slate's Sweden School Choice article in @EducationNext http://ow.ly/zvn37 

High schools worse than colleges handling rape, reports Al Jazeera America http://ow.ly/zviOv  Harrowing story re Seatle's Garfield HS

 

Morning Video: District & Charter Schools Sharing Classrooms, Teachers, & Even Test Scores

From last night's PBS NewsHour: "In Houston, Texas, the superintendent of one school district [Spring Branch] has invited competing charter schools to set up shop alongside a regular middle school. Special correspondent John Merrow reports on their evolving partnership." (Transcript here.)

Morning Video: Help Reporter Finish Cincinnati School Documentary

Marketplace reporter Amy Scott has launched a Kickstarter to finish out a documentary about a Cincinnati school that's transformed itself into a K-12 community center (OYLER). Watch the trailer above and click the link to contribute (@oylerdoc)


 

Morning Video: Nonprofit Crowdfunding A New Preschool

VOCEL – a small education non-profit for children from under-resourced communities – is behind one of the first initiatives to use crowdfunding to open a preschool, the AFP reports. (TIME via Annenberg Institute)

Journalism: Virginian-Pilot Wins Common Core Grant

Among several news outlets awarded a Knight Foundation "prototype" grant is the Viginian-Pilot:

image from www.pbs.org

Pilot for School by The Virginian-Pilot (Project lead: Shawn Day):

Building a targeted digital system that will allow Virginia teachers to search newspaper content and use it to complement class curricula; content will align with Virginia’s Standards of Learning and help students apply academic concepts to what’s happening in their community.

When Storytelling Meets Civic Action (via PBS)

Does it make sense for newspapers to try and guide teachers and parents on Common Core materials, or is there a danger it's going to be misleading or overkill?

 

Hot Vs. Hot: Campbell Brown Vs. Matt Damon

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 1.22.47 PM"Here's somebody whose influence on ed policy is in no way related to their hotness, unlike that bimbo Campbell Brown," quipped NY Mag journo Jonathan Chait, linking to Matt Damon's appearances at various anti-reform events a few years back.  

ICYMI, Ravitch questioned Brown's credibility on education issues about which the two people happen to disagree and in the process made several comments about Brown's looks.  

Damon has appeared at various anti-reform events in recent years, based in large part on his good looks and celebrity (and views on education with which Ravitch happens to agree).

Quotes: Union "Cannot Go On Denying Responsibility For School Quality"

Quotes2The fact is, that while NEA does not control curriculum, set funding levels, or hire and fire, we cannot go on denying responsibility for school quality. - Former NEA President Bob Chase (in 1997) via DFER's Charlie Barone

 

Power Couples: The Wonk & The Journo*

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 3.03.43 PM
She (Robin Chait) is an education wonk at ostensibly left-leaning CAP, and he (Jonathan) is a writer at sharp-elbowed New York magazine. They both write about a education a lot these days.  Image via Facebook.

*Correction: She's no longer at CAP and is now at a charter school network (via LinkedIn)

Previous posts: Two New(ish) Power Couples For 2014It's A Small, Small World [For Power Couples]Jane & Brian WilliamsNYC DOE & DFER Couple WedsEmily & David SirotaHuffman Vs. Huffman.

I need more non-reform couples, obviously.  Nominations?

Quotes: Neighborhood Schools "Part Of The Problem," Says Simmons

Quotes2The impulse to want a neighborhood school for your children is understandable... [But advocates for neighborhood schools] are part of the problem not part of the solution. -- Warren Simmons, executive director of The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (The Uncomfortable Reality of Community Schools). 

Morning Video: How Poor Latino High School Kids Beat MIT [In Robotics]

 

This documentary trailer (h/t AJAM) tells the story of "how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build an underwater robot from Home Depot parts. And defeat engineering powerhouse MIT in the process." #underwaterdreams

Media: Politico Brings Up The Rear On StudentsFirst Reboot Story

Money_1The Minnesota Star Tribune posted the story last week that SF was pulling out of the state (StudentsFirst pulls up stakes), and reported that the group was getting out of FLA, too.

EdWeek added to the story (StudentsFirst Powers Down Five State Affiliates) by listing the 5 states that were being shuttered (Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, and Minnesota), explaining the the reasons for closing up shop differ by state, and noting that Travis Pillow at RedefinED got to the FLA part of story first.

Politico led with the story in its morning roundup today (Rhee’s group retrenches) but provided little by way of new information and (old habits die hard) failed to credit EdWeek or the Minnesota Star Tribune or anyone else for unearthing the news.

Sure, it's embarrassing having other folks break a story that probably should be yours.  But it only makes it worse when they pretend you dug it up themselves or assume their readers don't know/don't care where the story idea came from. Plus, it makes their hard-working counterparts really hate them.

Previous posts: StudentsFirst 14-State 2012 Candidate SpendingStudentsFirst 2012 Spending On Local Board RacesNEA & State Political Spending 5X Higher Than StudentsFirstWhy's Politico So Stingy With Crediting Others?

 

Magazines: New Yorker Delves Into Atlanta Cheating School

I'm not sure there's anything entirely new or shocking in it, but image from www.newyorker.comThe New Yorker goes deep with its latest education story (A Struggling School Made a Shocking Choice), by contributor Rachel Aviv.

"Struggling to meet data-driven district targets, as well as progress measurements outlined in No Child Left Behind, administrators and teachers at Parks first began systematically fixing students’ incorrect answers on standardized tests in 2006.

"The resulting scores significantly raised the school’s percentage of eighth graders who met the state’s standards.

"The success created an ongoing cycle that fostered continuous cheating—by 2008, the practices had become what Christopher Waller, the school’s former principal, calls a “well-oiled machine.”

The same pressures and incentives still exist, reports Aviv.  

Could it happen again soon? The story seems to suggest it's likely.

Previous New Yorker stories by Aviv here.

Previous New Yorker posts: The Innovation/Disruption "Myth"New Yorker Digs Into Newark Reform BacklashWhat The New Yorker's Parent/Reporter Should Write About Next.

Articles: Adult Ed's Secret Buzzwords & Lingo

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 14 10.07So you think that edtech (and school reform in general) are full of buzzwords and hot new trends? Well, that may be true. But edtech’s got nothing on adult education, which freely adopts jargon and innovation from the K-12 and postsecondary worlds and then adds its own particular set of terms and approaches.

Some of the developments – flipped, blended, gamified, mobile learning – are familiar trends generally mirroring those taking place in other sectors. Others trends and concepts – contextualization, “braided” funding, and “bridge” programs – are more specific to the needs of low-skill adults and adult education programs who serve them.

That's the opening from my latest EdSurge article, which came out a couple of days ago (So You Think You Can Educate Adults?). The first article is here. Image via EdSurge.

Media: Errant Diversity Tweet Creates NPR Mini-Controversy

Alarm-silence FLATTOP341 flickrIn case you missed it last week, NPR education blogger Anya Kamenetz sent out a frustrated tweet last week about the struggle to get diverse voices into a story that generated a bit of a controversy.  

The errant tweet -- "I reach out to diverse sources on deadline. Only the white guys get back to me :( " -- went out under @NPR-Ed, making matters somewhat worse.  

Kamenetz apologized pretty quickly, took responsibility and nobody took the tweet down. I passed it along and assumed it was all over.  

However, more recently EWAer Dakarai Aarons posted about the situation on Facebook, linking to a blog post summarizing the situation, the online reactoins, and noting NPR's struggles with newsroom diversity and programming diversity, and its hiring of Juana Summers as part of the education team. 

The Blaze also picked up the story, referencing Juan Williams but also noting that "the initial tweet expressed a desire to hear from minority sources (in addition to the offending phrasing)... [and that Kamenetz] "was engaged and apologetic throughout the process, yet many continued to harangue her."

Also: NPR reporter apologizes after being called out for ‘diversity’ gaffe (Twitchy).

Previous posts: "Tell Me More"'s Education Coverage Will Be MissedNPR Ed Team Adds StaffWhere Does That Public Radio Coverage Come From, Anyway?.

Media: NOLA's The Lens Pares Down Charter Coverage, Loses Star Reporter

Flickr-sashalaA recent CJR article tells the story of how New Orleans' nonprofit outlet is going to have to cut its near-comprehensive coverage of charter school board meetings and is going to lose its star reporter Jessica Williams (In New Orleans, a comprehensive schools coverage hiatus).  

The news could be cause for alarm, but Williams isn't going far, and The Lens' comprehensive approach of the past four years is being replaced by a more targeted one (which sounds more sensible, anyway).

The events remind us that nonprofit news is a relatively new and untried model when it comes to local education coverage.  There are a bunch of other outlets out there trying to avoid The Lens' current predicament.  

Image via Flickr.

Politics: Teachers Unions Spent $191M To StudentFirst's $62M*

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 1.33.41 PM
Earlier today, Politico reported that StudentsFirst has raised a whopping $62 million in campaign contributions in the past two years. However, EdWeek reports that national and state teachers unions spent a combined $191 million in 2012 alone (see chart alone). However imperfect, the comparison serves as a useful reminder that reform money, however new and on the rise it may be currently, remains substantially less than teacher union money. 

Correction: The initial headline said StudentsFirst spent "462M" since I neglected to hit the shift button at the right moment. 

Media: NYT's Javier Hernandez Can't Be Nice AND Good, Can He?

image from graphics8.nytimes.comI was really sort of hoping that  Javier Hernandez (no, not the one who plays for Mexico) would be an arrogant jerk or something like that, just so I would have a reason to dislike the NYT education reporter and could ignore the envy that comes from his having written some great education stories recently.
 
But alas, he was humble and patient and forthcoming during his recent interview in front of education journalists at a Poynter workshop last week in Chicago, telling us all how he got the "Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes" story -- including the lucky parts and mistakes he may have made.
 
Twitter here.

Quotes: EdTech Hubris Undermines School Improvement

Quotes2Either this is a co-operative project, funded by experience, evidence and expertise, as well as the mutual passion for integrity, education and innovation (and yes, venture capital). Or it’s a series of expensive and limiting failures where working-stiff educators have to pick up the pieces.(A Distemperate Response to Silicon Valley’s ‘Edtech Revolution’

Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation

Menya PhotoFrom time to time, Educators 4 Excellence puts together teams of teachers to research and make recommendations on various aspects of education policy.

This month, the Los Angeles chapter released reports from two such teams, including one about how to revamp the way we compensate teachers, which you can find summarized here

The report - authored by thirteen current classroom teachers - suggests attracting  teachers with additional compensation for hard-to-staff placements and recommends selectively retaining teachers by offering incentives for teacher and school impacts on student growth.

It also argues that rather than paying teachers bonuses for graduate credits and degrees, we should offer teachers rewards for 'mastery-based' professional development of specific skills or for taking on well-defined leadership roles.

Since many of these proposals are controversial among educators, I wanted to hear more from actual teachers who support them.

Last week, I sat down with one of the report's authors: sixth grade English and Social Studies teacher Menya Cole (pictured).

Menya taught in Detroit through Teach for America and now teaches at a charter school in Los Angeles. It was another TfA alumnus who connected her to Educators 4 Excellence.

A transcript of a portion of our conversation, edited for clarity, is below the fold.

Continue reading "Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation" »

Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance

ScreenHunter_08 Jul. 01 11.38

 

 

 

 

Here's something I've been thinking might happen for a while now -- a new national network of diverse charter schools has been announced.

Included among the founding members are several of the schools I profiled in Education Next a couple of years ago (Brooklyn Prospect, Bricolage (NOLA), Community Roots, DSST (Denver), and yes, Success Academy.

See the full press release below, and tune into (attend) the panel on diverse charters at 4pm local time in Las Vegas.

Previous posts: Diverse Charters Spread Nationally (Education Next); Diverse NOLA Charter OpensDiverse Charters Balance Learning & Accountability; and Change Could Help Promote Charter Diversity.

Continue reading "Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance" »

Morning Video: Campbell Brown Previews NY Version Of Vergara Lawsuit

Local Fox News segment on NY version of Vergara that's being planned, featuring Mayor de Blasio and Campbell Brown.

Media: "Tell Me More"'s Education Coverage Will Be Missed

The most recent episode of NPR's "On The Media" ponders the meaning of The End of "Tell Me More", the daily national show whose demise has recently been announced (the same week as NPR_ED was launched, as EdWeek's Mark Walsh noted).

image from media.npr.org

"On The Media"'s focus was mostly on the issue of the diversity of the hosts and producers who were on the show (pictured).  But the segment got me thinking about the education segments and topics that the show covered.  

Though I didn't always note all the education segments the show was putting out -- Google shows 117 references to host Michel Martin -- there was a fairly regular segment on parenting that often got to education-related issues. The show held a big 2012 #npredchat on Twitter (check it out  #npredchat aggregate page). EWA's public editor Emily Richmond was a guest on the show (listen to the audio here). There were some great education-related commentaries from host Martin including one about education coverage that I recently linked to (Do You Want The Truth, Or Do You Just Like Your Story Better?)

The show ends August.  You can keep following its host @MichelMcQMartin.

Five Best Blogs: New Advocacy Organization Aims To Bring Vergara To New York

Obama alumni Robert Gibbs joins @campbell_brown's#Vergara-inspired campaign, reports @StephanieSimon_ ht.ly/yp0gE

32 States Are Failing To Follow Disability Law, U.S. Says - HuffPost ht.ly/yoEuy @Joy_Resmovits

CommonCore opposition isn't widespread but that doesn't mean it's not in trouble, says @ConorPWilliamsin TPM ht.ly/yoFvE

Showdown for state chief in Oklahoma, South Carolina - @Morning_Edu ht.ly/yoLpF

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end? | Hechinger Report ht.ly/ypb3i @parentrev #parenttrigger

The best and worst education news of 2014 — so far - @Larryferlazzo in the Washington Post

New Approaches To Discipline Strive to Keep Kids Out of Jail : @npr_ed : NPR ht.ly/ypdxr

5 Thoughts on @rweingarten's AEI Remarks by @rhess99 ht.ly/ypePz #vergara

The Twitter handle for @Marketplace's newish edtech site is @LearningCurveEd 

Morning Video: Why's College So Expensive? ("Ivory Tower")

Here's the PBS NewsHour segment from last night about the new Participant documentary about college costs and outcomes.

Events: Poynter Institute's "Covering Common Core" Event

Because there's always more to learn, Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.46 PMI'm headed off to Chicago to attend the Covering Common Core journalists' training session being hosted by Poynter, EWA, and Northwestern over the next couple of days.

What's your favorite Common Core story so far? 

What's a Common Core story you haven't seen, or a bit of knowledge that hasn't been surfaced yet?

Mine include Cory Turner's "taking the Common Core" approach, and my own peek inside the field test help desk, but I'm sure there are other better options.

 

 

Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"

WaitAlexander Russo's How Waiting for Superman (almost) Changed the World explains how Davis Guggenheim's film created a zeitgeist.

But, did it produce "measurable impact?"

Participant, the film's production company, sought to "ignite social changes." Participant was founded by eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, and it specializes in "star-laden, carefully crafted, politically colored fims."

Whether Participant knew it or not, in its attempt to claim success, it borrowed from a common school reform meme. Test-driven reformers often claim that increases in student performances in the 1990s were the result of the NCLB Act of 2001. Similarly, Participant claims credit for closing New York City's so-called "Rubber Room," and the Washington D.C. teachers' contract. Both took place before the movie came out.

Michelle Rhee also credits Waiting for Superman for persuading top donors to contribute to StudentsFirst. But, she also claims that her organization is good, not destructive, for public schools.

An objective study, funded by the Ford Foundation, determined that the general public gave good reviews to the film, awarding four out of five stars. Education professionals gave it two stars, concluding that its "depiction of teachers and unions was simplistic."

Russo's account of the making of  Guggenheim's film and of its effects is balanced. If he has a bias, it is towards skepticism, even cynicism. Russo indicates that do-gooders must anticipate that their efforts will be "misunderstood or mischaracterized." When that happened, the filmmaker's team responded with "genuine or feigned" surprise.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"" »

Quotes: Rich Liberals Hire Union Head To Run Progressive PAC

Quotes2So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders... Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course! - Former New York Times Sunday Magazine reporter Matt Bai (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it)

Events: Fixing Poverty Without Fixing K-12 Education?

120914_$BOX_PovertyEX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeThe Hamilton Project (@hamiltonproj via Brookings) is having a big event today and tomorrow -- check it out -- but you may be pleased or disconcerted to note that their proposed efforts at #AddressingPoverty.  --  14 new policy proposals -- don't really involve K-12 education.

Early childhood education? Sure.  

After-school and summer learning? But of course.

A smattering of education types -- NYU's Amy Schwartz, Harvard's Bridget Terry Long. OK.

Whether this means that poverty isn't really an issue that K-12 can be expected to help address, or that the current mess of K-12 (for poor kids, at least) is more daunting than poverty, I'll leave the interpretation up to you.

Personally, I feel a little left out.

Previous posts: Reduced Poverty Or Teacher Quality? "Both," Says RheeWho Told Us The Education Fights Poverty, Anyway? (Bruno); What Next For Poverty/Inequality 2014?More Poverty In Suburbs Than In Cities;  Poverty Hurts US Students More Than In Other Nations Let's Not Talk About 43M Poor PeoplePoverty Increases Cut Both Ways In Reform Debate.

 

Maps: ProPublica Shows Most States Allow Adults To Pin Kids Down

ScreenHunter_05 Jun. 19 11.54From ProPublica's Heather Vogell: "Public schoolchildren across the country were physically restrained or isolated in rooms they couldn’t leave at least 267,000 times in the 2011-2012 school year, despite a near-consensus that such practices are dangerous and have no therapeutic benefit. Many states have little regulation or oversight of such practices." (Can Schools in Your State Pin Kids Down? Probably.., Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will)

Charts: Philanthropy Rebounds Past Pre-Recession Levels

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 18 15.25

"Americans donated a record $52.07 billion to education in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, this figure marks a 7.4 percent increase over 2012. (Charitable giving to higher education restored to pre-recession levels, report indicates Inside HigherEd via Marketplace) Some of you would like philanthropic giving to education to go away, it often seems, but most folks actually in schools probably feel otherwise.  Thirty to 40 percent of giving goes to K-12. 

Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*

Jetsons robot teacher via smithsonian pandodailyOne of the big stories out of yesterday's NCTQ report was the weakness of alternative certification programs, as noted by Teacher Beat (Alternative Certification Deemed Weak). "For the most part, the 85 alternative programs analyzed weren't sufficiently selective, didn't ensure that applicants knew their content, and did far too little to supervise the new teachers in the classroom, the NCTQ concludes."

As this AEI paper from 2012 describes, one structural reason for the lack of quality behind alt cert programs is that their graduates are deemed highly qualified under NCLB and allowed to be hired without any negative consequences -- a provision created for TFA and staunchly defended by it in the intervening years.  The paper also notes that TFA is the brand name for alt cert but its members are very much the minority in terms of overall alt cert teachers. 

 UPDATE: "All eight TFA regions received the highest rating for how we admit talented individuals into teaching," notes TFA's response to the NCTQ report. "Additionally all eight regions received high ratings in supervised practice." See full statement below.

Continue reading "Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*" »

Quotes: No Obama Administration Over-Reach.... On Standards, At Least

Quotes2You can argue that some of the OTHER things the Obama administration has done constitute something of an over-reach, but not on standards. -- Achieve's Mike Cohen speaking at #EWA154 (at roughly the 8:33 mark)

Update: The Story Behind 2010's "Waiting For 'Superman'"

Superman-shieldSome tidbits from my latest oeuvre (How 'Waiting for Superman' (almost) changed the world), which is out today:
 
- the hit-and-miss history of "message" movies (and why they're still so irresistable);
 
- Guggenheim's ill-fated (half-assed?) efforts to include a LAUSD magnet lottery in the movie;
 
- the "two-story" format that helped (or hindered) the movie's message (plus Guggenheim as narrator);
 
- conflicting accounts over whether the film-makers knew ahead of time that they were making such a pro-charter, anti-union film;
 
- the film-makers' refusal to reveal the whereabouts of the kids they profiled (though some updates are known); and 
 
- new efforts to quantify the impact of movie-based advocacy (and ongoing efforts to measure Superman's impact).
 
Participant's latest education-themed documentary, "Ivory Tower," premiers on Friday.

Five Best Blogs: #Vergara Decision Triggers #CommonCoreDelay

The Vergara decision came down -- largely in favor of the student plaintiffs -- but then the Gates Foundation came out with a statement in support of a Common Core delay (in terms of high-stakes implications), seeming to catch everyone by surprise:

Did @gatesed @drvickip et al not realize that #Vergara was coming down today, or not care, or not believe that they could wait?

"A blanket delay is not appropriate for all states," says @CCSSO's @minnichc in response to @gatesed call for #commoncoredelay.

Still no word from @ArneDuncan on #commoncoredelay statement from @gatesed, pro or con, or what would be required to implement.

#Vergara judge: "“The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." via @StephanieSimon_ http://ht.ly/xQNWK 

College presidents express support for Common Core - Newsday http://ht.ly/xQJqY

How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost - @valeriestrauss http://ht.ly/xQlwu 

A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool - Education Week http://ht.ly/xF2s5 

@AP: BREAKING: Police: Shooter used rifle in fatal attack at Oregon high school; teacher injured.

Coming Soon: What Did "Superman" Accomplish, Anyway?

Waiting-for-superman-movie_post

Why did the film come out the particular way it did?

What effects, direct and indirect, did the film have on funding, events, and public perception? (How do you measure a "social impact" film, anyway?)

Where are the 5 kids profiled in the film now -- whatever happened to them?

These are some of the topics my long-awaited, much-anticipated re-examination of 2010's controversial documentary, Waiting for Superman, will attempt to address when it's published -- perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

Long curious about whether the film was as big a success (or failure) as commonly presented, I pitched the idea of a look back at the Gates-funded Davis Guggenheim documentary to AEI and they kindly commissioned the piece (without any clear sense of what I'd end up having to say). I've written two other case studies published by AEI -- the first about the 2008 campaign to make education a big issue in the Presidential campaign, and the second about TFA's near-death experience being disqualified under NCLB.

Previous posts: Varied Responses To "The Successful Failure Of ED In '08"Teach For America & The Alternative Certification Loophole.

Thompson: The Gates Foundation's "Other" Big Overreach

GatesIn How Bill Gates Pulled Off the Swift Common Core Revolution, The Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton explains that two men met with Bill Gates in 2008 and asked for his support of rigorous national standards.

After a brief discussion within the Gates Foundation, a full court press in favor of Common Core was launched. This was done in spite the social science research questioning whether better standards were likely to improve schools. 

The foundation funded “almost every consequential education group,” as Diane Ravitch aptly put it, in their efforts to promote the standards.  The standard step of conducting pilot studies before such a major innovation was skipped. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used the Race to the Top grant process as leverage to advance Common Core. Within two years, Gates’s preferred policy was adopted by almost every state in the nation.

Where have we seen this story before?

Steve Brill’s Class Warfare explains that Gates met with two men in 2007. They pushed their pet theory about value-added teacher evaluations.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Gates Foundation's "Other" Big Overreach" »

Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)

 Yau Hoong Tang FlickrThere's a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read -- but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that's cobbled together in the piece isn't entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).

Basically, the Post's piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core's rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates "pulled off" the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift. 

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes." Both left and right -- Diane Ravitch and NRO's Stanley Kurtz  -- are already calling for Congressional hearings.

Gates' support is clear, and no doubt played a role.  There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece.  But let's be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn't merely a function of Gates' enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that. 

Continue reading "Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)" »

Quotes: Union Resources & Organizing Will Dominate 2016 Campaign

Quotes2"The DFER PAC donated $43,000 to parties, committees, and federal candidates in the 2008 cycle and $17,500 in 2012. And reform-friendly Students First gave just $10,000 in 2012—to a single congressional candidate. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers combined to give over $5.5 million in 2008 and nearly $20 million in 2012." - Conor Williams in TNR (Hillary Clinton's Education Policy: Other Implications for 2016)

Morning Video: Zuckerbergs Roll Out $120M Bay Area Grant

News came out on Friday that Zuckerberg and Chan were going to give another big gift to education -- this time to the Bay Area.  Will it be any different -- or more effective -- than the Newark gift?

Advocacy: 5 New Orgs Bring PIE To 49 Members

Puzzle_pieces1025 The PIE Network is adding 5 new members to its group of reform-oriented advocacy groups, I'm told, bringing them up to 49 education advocacy organizations working in 31 state capitols and Washington D.C.

The newbies include Children's Education Alliance of Missouri  BEST NC, StudentsFirstNYNevada Succeeds, and JerseyCAN.

Previous posts: PIE Annual Summit (Boston September 19-20)Quotes: Talk About "Love" (Not "Rights")Reform Celebration In SeattleState Advocacy Groups Talk Policy - Not Tactics.

 

 

Media: CQ Roll Call Reporter Joining EdWeek's Politics K-12 Team

image from spencerfellows.orgNews is out that CQ Roll Call reporter (and current Spencer Education Journalism Fellow) Lauren Smith Camera is going to join Alyson Klein at @PoliticsK12, EdWeek's blog covering the USDE and Congress.  

No longer will Camera's work be hidden behind CQ's paywall.  She'll be out front, doing daily battle with all the new upstarts that have appeared in basically the same space (RealClear, Politico, etc.).

Camera will be replacing Michele McNeil, the blog's co-founder, who left recently to join the College Board.

Camera's Spencer year has been spent looking into whether federal funding in the form of competitive grants is a good investment (compared to dedicated funding streams).

Previous posts: New Spencer Fellows, New Research TopicsRecollections, Controversy, & Advice From Departing PK-12 BloggerDo Journalists Make Good Program Officers?Two Journos Win Nieman Fellowships, Another Heads To College Board. Image via SpencerFellows.org

AM News: Zuckerberg Donates $120M To SF Bay Area Schools

News2

Zuckerberg, Wife Gift $120M to CA Schools AP: The first $5 million will go to school districts in San Francisco, Ravenswood and Redwood City and will focus on principal training, classroom technology and helping students transition from the 8th to the 9th grade. The couple and their foundation, called Startup: Education, determined the issues of most urgent need based on discussions with school administrators and local leaders.

At a Glance: Biggest Tech Donors in 2013 AP: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, topped the list of the most generous American philanthropists in 2013 with a donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock that are now worth more than $1 billion. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it was the largest charitable gift on the public record in 2013. On Friday, they announced a $120 million gift to the San Francisco Bay Area public school system.

Common Core School Standards Face a New Wave of Opposition NYT: The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina are considering signing bills to replace the Common Core standards with locally written versions, and Missouri is considering a related measure.

California's CORE Districts Faltering On Key Tenets of Waiver, Ed. Dept. Says District Dossier: Education Department officials flagged problem areas for the seven districts participating in the No Child Left Behind Act waiver, including delays and changes to strategies aimed at the lowest-achieving schools.

ACLU Sues California For 'Equal Learning Time' WNYC: The lawsuit names students including Briana Lamb as members of the class. In the fall of 2012, when Lamb showed up for her junior year at Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles, she says her schedule was full of holes. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Zuckerberg Donates $120M To SF Bay Area Schools" »

Books: In The Future, All Student Data Will Be Shared, Everywhere

167903960011362_10151969002425030

Worried about data privacy and social media?  Then don't read Dave Eggers' ‘The Circle, in which a post-Facebook company decides that sharing is not just optional and that knowing where kids are and what they're up to at all times is a good thing.

Eggers couldn't have known when he was writing the book that 2013-2014 would be such a big year for student data privacy (and the larger issue of surveillance), but then again Gary Shtyngart made some pretty good guesses about the near future in his dystopian novel, Super Sad True Love Story. Nearly everything but Staten Island becoming cool has come true. 

But I digress. It's not a great book - pretty obvious stuff -- and it's not really focused on education, writ small.  But there are obvious education implications and a bit of direct address, and that's all it takes, apparently. 

Previous posts about novels, dystopias, etc: (Where Are) The Best Novels About Education?A Dystopian Education Thriller!;A Perfect Test, A Secret List... A Murder; A TFA Refugee's Interesting-Sounding NovelThe Rise Of The "Cell Phone Novel"How NCLB Is Like A Russian Novel;

Thompson: Marc Prensky, Digital Wisdom, & Zuckerberg's Newark Folly

ZuckerbergI never want to bet against our digital future, and I’m predisposed to agree with most of Marc Prensky’s hopefulness, as proclaimed in Brain Gain. But, Prensky seems too dismissive of the reports by teachers and others about the shortterm damage being caused by our rapid adoption of digital technology.

I don’t think that we have gotten to the point where all of the reports about unintended negative effects of this technology could be due to a mass hallucination, perhaps recorded in some secret space in the Cloud.

So, while I will enjoy and gain energy from the predictions of futurologists, I’ll stick to my knitting and just pontificate on the field I know – inner city schools.

I got a kick out of Prensky’s overly rational anticipation of a key issue related to Mark Zuckerberg’s donation of $100 million to Newark schools. He wrote that “potentially, it is a very good thing … if it is used in a digitally wise way.” Prensky thus seemed to anticipate that Zuckerberg would contribute in ways that he was qualified to contribute. He also hoped that Zuckerberg would “imagine and plan for at least a year (and maybe more) before any technology gets ordered.”

In other words, Prensky didn’t seem to consider the possibility that someone as smart as Zuckerberg would jump into a field he knew nothing about, and finance a transformational reform of it, without even looking into the basic evidence about what works in school improvement. Zuckerberg, the technology expert, illogically invested in a mayor, Cory Booker, who made a virtually evidence-free bet on incentives and disincentives that had a long history of failure!?!?  

What would have happened, however, if Zuckerberg had stuck to his knitting and invested his money in something he knew about?

Continue reading "Thompson: Marc Prensky, Digital Wisdom, & Zuckerberg's Newark Folly" »

Media: Marketplace Ed Tech Site Debuts Today

ScreenHunter_02 May. 28 11.55Another week, another education site launches.  

You already knew this one was coming -- and that Adriene Hill was going to be the lead reporter along with editory Betsy Streisand.  

But you probably didn't know that the effort was going to be dubbed Learning Curve.

"The most ambitious and expansive education project in Marketplace’s 25-year history, LearningCurve will engage a national audience in an ongoing conversation on multiple platforms. Coverage will include on air segments across the Marketplace portfolio of public radio programs, a dedicated website, infographics and interactive quizzes, videos, dedicated Twitter and Tumblr accounts and, starting later in June, a regular podcast hosted by Adriene Hill and Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson."

Read the full press release below. Crossed fingers.

Continue reading "Media: Marketplace Ed Tech Site Debuts Today" »

Morning Video: TFA Founder: There Are No Silver Bullets (Incl. TFA)

This is from SXSW earlier this spring -- what do you think? The other option was Phil Collins singing "In The Air Tonight" at his sons' middle school talent show.

Quotes: "This Hole Was Not Dug Overnight"

Quotes2We've had terrible superintendents we allowed to stay on for several years. We've had poor management and nepotism. This hole was not dug overnight. -- Barbara Coscarello, a member of the district's advisory board (For Camden students, give charter schools a shot) via RP

Afternoon Audio: New Yorker Reporter Talks Newark

Check out this podcast in which Dale Russakoff talks about her Newark story, and also be sure to read her post about the mayoral election that just happenedL Ras Baraka's Newark Victory

 
In her post about the election, Russakoff notes that Jeffries was rising quickly in the polls, thanks to reform money (no figure is given for union money behind Baraka - has anyone seen how much they spent?) and notes that the mayor-elect's position on charters has recently evolved. NB: I think she was also on WBUR's On Point earlier today. 

Charts: The (Partial) Re-Segregation Of American Schools Over Time

image from i.huffpost.com"At the very least, things are not as bad as they were before the court ruled to desegregate U.S. schools," notes HuffPost entry on UCLA study released today. Over all, at least.  Segregation in the NE is higher than it was in 1968, and the segregation rates are up across the board since 1989 for all regions. 

Advertisement

Advertisement

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.