It's finally here: New Progressive Education Podcast launches, hosted by Jennifer Berkshire and Aaron French. First up is a look at African-American parents in Philadelphia who oppose standardized testing. Or, check out the fundraising site. Agree or disagree with the perspective being explored, you've got to admire the sound quality.
He wrote a big profile of Diane Ravitch four years ago.
Now, the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss has this excerpt from his new book, ‘Lit Up.’
It's the account of his return to English class, following up (20 years later) on a similar tale about returning to college.
In the introduction, he explains the motivation behind the project:
"Teenagers may be reading more words than ever, but many of those words are scraps, messages, fragments of books and articles, information from everywhere and nowhere. What about reading serious books? The best way to find out, I reasoned, was not to scan education research and statistical surveys but to “embed” in a single tenth-grade English class all year long and to see what happened as a good teacher worked with 15-year-olds. I would read everything the kids read, sit on the side of the room, keep my mouth shut, and interview the kids when they had some free time."
Denby chose Beacon School, which he describes as a magnet school "with a multi-ethnic and multi-class population of New York kids." From this Wikipedia entry, you can see it's not your typical NYC high school. And the teacher whose classroom Denby observed was not just a teacher, according to Denby, he was "a maker of souls as well as a maker of readers."
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 http://ow.ly/XB7aA.
There's some great TFA memorabilia floating around on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, including this 1992 poster:
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]
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 Panel; 7 Things I Learned From The LA Times' TFA Article; TFA20: A Premature (Or Even Unwarranted) Celebration?; Looking Ahead To #TFA25; Stop Talking About Education's "Egypt Moment"; Five Ideas For TFA's *Next* 20 Years.
Six years ago, Arne Duncan was getting the New Yorker treatment. Seven years ago, he was going through an unusually easy confirmation process.
The confirmation hearing was so boring I spent most of the time making screengrabs and lame comments about folks sitting behind Duncan in the hearing room:
"Sneaking a peak at the ole Blackberry while Senator Alexander is talking." [
As you may recall from Duncan Gets The New Yorker Treatment that came out a year later, I didn't think much of the New Yorker piece: "By and large, it's the Spellings treatment all over again. Homey details, celebrity name-dropping, and lots of backstory about Duncan's childhood. There's also the familiar effort to puff Duncan up over his "unprecedented" budget and his buddy-buddy status with the POTUS, as well as the (to my mind) overheated notion that we're on the verge of some great age of education reform."
Around that time, I was also touting this Slate article about Obama's detached relationships with people and institutions and a 2008 piece I'd written about Obama's elusive support for local control in Chicago schools.
Or, on a much more serious topic, listen to this new Macklemore & Ryan song, White Privilege II, which includes the repeated line:"We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for Black lives?"
Check out this video short (School of Hip-Hop) about the "hip-hop therapy" program at New Visions Charter High School that accompanies Winnie Hu's feature (Bronx School Embraces a New Tool in Counseling: Hip-Hop). The white hipster counselor is unfortunate, and I'm not sure using hip hop this way can be considered "new," but I'll let it go this time.
As the snowstorm Jonas approaches the East Coast and all other action seems to slow down, this seems like a good a time to remind you that there are other places where you can read/follow my posts: my Facebook page (which features blog posts and Tweets), the media-focused The Grade at the WashMonthly (
@thegrade_), and of course my Tumblr page, Hot For Education, which includes lots about pop culture in education, human interest stories, and Tumblr-like stuff.
There's also a daily This Week In Education email you can sign up for, and a weekly email version of "Best Education Journalism Of The Week" that at this point you have to email me (at email@example.com) to get on. Please do!
No Instagram or SnapChat yet, but it could happen. Yes, that's the bar at the old Riccardo's in Chicago -- one of my dad's gang's favorite watering holes.
Concerns about insufficient numbers of speakers and panelists of color at conferences, the need to talk more directly about racism, and "handing over the microphone" in general have been big issues this past year in education circles, media newsrooms, and the broader society.
Both Arne Duncan and Randi Weingarten participated in #BlackLivesMatter events (Duncan Wasn't The Only One At Last Weekend's Protests).
I wrote about the BLM-education connection in Scholastic earlier this year (#BlackLivesMatter, Deray McKesson, & Education Reform).
And we all remember last year's Yale Education Summit where an all-white, all-male panel followed a Bruce Fuller speech on race in education? (6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel).
And so it was a feel-good moment a few days ago when Stephen Colbert had Deray McKesson on his show, talked about white privilege and structural racism, and even switched seats momentarily with the #BlackLivesMatter leader. (Click this link if the video doesn't render properly.)
Historically, Colbert has arguably done better than others booking guests of color in the past, including a memorable 2008 segment with Roland Fryer. And he even wore a BLM wristband on the air at one point.
What didn't get addressed in the segment with Deray-- baby steps, right? -- are Colbert (and other late-night hosts') guest lists and staffing patterns. Women and persons of color are notoriously ill-represented in comedy writing rooms. It's not clear that Colbert's is any different -- and Deray missed the chance (or was holding back) when he didn't bring that issue up in response to Colbert's invitation to help him unpack white privilege.
For Twitter commentary on the appearance start here.
Related posts: 6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel (ie, "Pass The Mic")*; Whatever Happened To Roland Fryer (& Cash Incentives For School)?; Where #BlackLivesMatter Meets Education (Reform); "I Thought I Knew How To Listen To People".
A new survey from Esquire and NBC shows that there's lots of upset folks out there, about a lot of different things, but educational opportunities is not a big priority. About all that anyone agrees about are school shootings.
By far the most interesting of Forbes' 2016 30 Under 30: Education list is WteiLab's Matthew Remirez, who not only thinks that 90 percent of feedback kids need to learn writing can be automated but also has time to do some ballroom dancing (and showed off some moves on camera). Thanks to the folks at Forbes for digging out this embeddable video.
Longtime educator Paul Cummins has a memoir out ('Confessions Of A Headmaster') that's gotten some much-deserved attention, especially because his background ("privileged kid and ivory-tower scholar") mirrors that of so many other folks trying to improve education (for better and worse). He's credited with helping launch several LA schools, including Crossroads School, New Roads School, Camino Nuevo Charter School, and New Village Charter School. I got to know him nearly 30 years ago when I was looking for a teaching job out of college, and have interviewed and socialized with him occasionally over the years. For more, read here: Paul Cummins, Education Warrior, and Renowned Educator Dishes Lessons From A Life Spent Empowering Youth (WNYC).
Over at NPR, they got Claudio Sanchez to say a couple of things that I'm not sure I think are correct.
In 6 Education Stories To Watch In 2016, Sanchez says:
"The controversy over the much-maligned Common Core State Standards will diminish. States will continue their efforts to re-brand or rename the standards, while for the most part following them. Despite the political controversy, the push for high academic standards will continue, and we'll see little of the "race to the bottom" that happened under NCLB."
First and foremost, predictions are worth what you pay for them, which is basically nothing. They're wishful thinking and confirmation bias as much as astute analysis, whether they come from advocates, practitioners, or veteran journalists.
I don't think anyone knows for sure whether the controversy over Common Core will diminish in 2016. They could just as easily flare up again, or potentially even get even stronger than in 2015.
Just as important, reporters as smart and knowledgeable as Sanchez shouldn't repeat the "race to the bottom" line about NCLB that even Arne Duncan stopped using so casually after being called out on it repeatedly.
Some states did lower standards and cut scores in response to NCLB, sure -- 20 states according to Duncan in early 2015 -- but many didn't and a few even raised them.
And some states have already tried to begin to water down expectations for students within Common Core assessments. Watering things down is what states do, to some extent, regardless of statutory framework.
Previous posts: Duncan Cherry Picks NCLB History To Sell Waivers (2012).
At least two education books have made some of the annual year-end roundups that are going around right now:
First up is Dale Russakoff's "The Prize," which gets a nice writeup in The New Yorker (The Books We Loved in 2015).
Greg Toppo's "The Game Believes In You" made the list in the Kansas City Star (Best nonfiction of 2015).
Any other examples? Let us know.
Here's a roundup of the Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2015 from Education Next, a magazine I've written for a few times over the years. Topics addressed include poverty, Success Academy, Common Core, AltSchools (of course!), Detroit, English Language Learners.
In a perfect world, other education outlets -- Education Week, Chalkbeat, Hechinger Report, the Atlantic Education Page, Vox -- would do the same with their best or top-read pieces. But I don't think most do -- at least not yet.
Listen to this WNYC segment about a relatively diverse suburban charter school where an attempt at "colorblind" education didn't work out so well (A Case Study of "Colorblind" Schooling).
Or, listen to this hilarious Chicago WBEZ segment about kids' never-ending efforts to get out of swim class:
Here's an AP segment with highlights of the Obama speech before the actual signing of the bill into law.
Or, click the link to watch EdWeek's Alyson Klein explain what the law does and doesn't change on the PBS NewsHour.
But really you owe it to yourself to watch this CollegeHumor video urging kids to go to college featuring Pharoah and some rapping from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Here's another good roundup of books and articles you should check out, from @NYCLeadership, which describes itself as "An independent, national nonprofit organization that prepares and supports school leaders who create equity in education and foster student success."
The list (Top Education Equity Reads of 2015) includes many of the usual suspects (Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pedro Noguera, etc), along with a few unfamiliar (to me) or less well-known titles that look intriguing:
Race, Equity and Lessons at St. Paul’s Como Elementary is a MinnPost article by Beth Hawkins that examines the strategies used to increase racial equity in schools in St. Paul, Minnesota. It serves as an important example of an entire school using an equity lens for every decision and observation — big and small.
Lead With Love [Spring Valley High Is Your School Too] is an article by New York City teacher, writer and EduColor co-founder Jose Vilson, who challenges educators to recognize their role in protecting children and standing up against racism.
White America’s Racial Illiteracy: Why Our National Conversation is Poisoned from the Start is an article by Dr.Robin DiAngelo, the author of “What Does It Mean to Be White?” This book and article list examples of challenges that trigger racial stress for white people and why it is worth working through the discomfort these challenges present.
The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education report commissioned by AFT’s Albert Shanker Institute provides data and insights into the role educators play in reducing implicit bias. In The Shanker Blog, Burnie Bond puts the findings in perspective.
And, unlike many other such things, this list includes both 2015 and previous years -- as well as speeches, films, and other forms of media -- and has its own hashtag (#equityreads).
This livestream of AtlanticLIVE's Unfinished Business conference features the AFT's Randi Weingarten, among others.Full agenda and speaker list here. Hashtag #AtlanticLGBT.
This PBS NewsHour segment focuses on reactions to Common Core test results that are coming back in states like New Jersey.
Comedy Central's Larry Wilmore Skewers Textbook 'Whitewash' (featuring a made-up children's book called "Good Night, Slavery.") Warning: NSFW ("Good night to wrongs done in this nation. Good night Native American decimation.) I'm not sure how I feel about Wilmore reading this story aloud to real kids. Via EdWeek.
Looking for a new education book to look forward to? You might consider Ed Boland's forthcoming The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School.
"In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a twenty-year career as a non-profit executive to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students' lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them: Jay runs a drug ring for his incarcerated brother; Nee-cole is homeschooled on the subway by her brilliant homeless mother; and Byron's Ivy League dream is dashed because he is undocumented.
"In the end, Boland isn't hoisted on his students' shoulders and no one passes AP anything. This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero, but a searing indictment of reform-minded schools that claim to be progressive but still fail their students.Told with compassion, humor, and a keen eye, Boland's story will resonate deeply with anyone who cares about the future of education."
The book's slated to come out in February.
I've met Boland and his candor and fearlessness talking about the experience are pretty eye-opening.
It'll be interesting to see how the book has turned out.
Other than Dale Russakoff's Newark book and Greg Toppo's education learning book, it seems like it's been a relatively slow year for much-discussed education books. Or perhaps we've just gotten greedy, or can't tolerate anything but the most simplistic kinds of narratives.
Good thing that there are some intriguing-sounding books in the works, and more that I'm sure I'm not yet aware of.
"Today, school secretary Lisa Sutherland (above) is given 15 names to enter. Each click of her mouse is followed by an excruciating delay. The system times out. Sutherland grits her teeth and starts over. Nearly half an hour after it begins, a process that should take seconds is finally complete." (EdWeek: The Slowest Internet in Mississippi)
There's way too much interesting stuff to put it all in one place -- especially pictures and videos and off-beat human interest stories related to education.
That's why I created a side project called Hot For Education.
If you like videos, GIFs, and all the rest, you should definitely check it out.
Children learn to love or hate at an early age.I think it's time we actively work towards teaching love and acceptance.Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Sunday, November 15, 2015
Some people like this -- it makes others cringe. Which are you? via HuffPost: Special Ed Teacher Compliments Every Single Student Each Day. Or, watch the EWA Livestream at #EWAelection
Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too.
One thing I'd add is that it's not just kids who need more and better racial awareness programs but also educators and advocates. Teachers -- predominantly white and middle class -- need space and time to talk about and understand not only their students' backgrounds but also their own. And advocates -- reformers and critics alike, also predominantly white and college-educated -- would do well with more of the same.
Reflections On Last Night's Newark Panel.
First and foremost, there was the visual of Newark mayor Ras Baraka sitting next to grey-haired Chris Cerf, the appointed head of Newark schools. How and why Chris Christie chose an awkward preppy white guy to replace Cami Anderson is unclear to me and can't have been welcome news to Baraka and his supporters. Contrast the move with what happened in DC, where Kaya Henderson succeeded Michelle Rhee.
HBO's John Oliver Swings (& Misses) Against Standardized Testing.
It's no easy job being smart and funny at the same time, and especially so when the topic is something as boring and controversial as standardized testing. But last night's John Oliver segment didn't seem to succeed at either task, and came off somewhat blinkered with its focus on the concerns of (mostly) white teachers and (mostly) white parents and students. Watch for yourself and let me know what you think:
Is Reform Really Stalemated -- And Is Early Childhood Really That Easy?.
Let's all take a look at both those things before packing up and pivoting (or thinking that others are going to). I am sad to report that I'm not so sure that the stalemate or the consensus are as clear as Kristof and others might wish them to be.
2 Things About The NYT's "Hillary Being Squeezed" Piece.
I can't imagine folks as smart and experienced as Team Clinton are feeling any real pressure to do something "crazy" (like coming out hard for the Common Core or even annual testing) anytime soon. (Coming out in favor of vaccinations was already a bit of a surprise.) So if anything, the Clinton folks might not like the public display that DFER et al are trying to put on here, and Team DFER could get some cold shoulder. For a little while. Nobody can hate nice-guy Joe Williams for long.
New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media.
For the last few years, claims of success by reform supporters -- a high-poverty school where students are learning at high levels, say -- have regularly been met with detailed takedowns from the likes of Diane Ravitch or Gary Rubinstein, followed by a swarm of followups from reform critics and allies. But over the weekend things took a somewhat different turn (at least on Sunday, when I last checked in), and it was the mostly white, mostly male reform critics like Rubinstein and Cody who were on the hotseat for expressing a "belief gap" from a handful of Chris Stewart kicked things off (and storified the exchange below).
The Hype Cycle Created By Innovators & Journalists.
Of particular interest, the piece describes the Hype Cycle, which "begins with a Technology Trigger, climbs quickly to a Peak of Inflated Expectations, falls into the Trough of Disillusionment, and, as practical uses are found, gradually ascends to the Plateau of Productivity."
"Moore, indeed, has fun in France, where even at a school on the low end of the socioeconomic pole, students enjoy healthy, restaurant quality-meals, with not a soda or snack vending machine to be found." (New Michael Moore Film Looks to Europe for Education Policy Ideas) Or, watch a pro-charter ad from Washington State (via Morning EDU).
Just the description of the picture might make you think a bit more about it than you did when you first saw it online:
"Beneath the jacket is a fleece-lined hoodie, also black, and in his hand the boy holds a black plastic bag, stretched by the weight of what might be groceries. The sidewalk behind him is cracked and dotted with litter. Dull-brown public-housing towers—as much a part of the quintessential visual New York as the bodega bag—form a jagged horizon."
The critique of HONY -- and TED Talks, and The Moth -- might make you bristle:
"A story has lately become a glossier, less thrilling thing: a burst of pathos, a revelation without a veil to pull away. “Storytelling,” in this parlance, is best employed in the service of illuminating business principles, or selling tickets to non-profit galas, or winning contests."
The New Yorker piece urges us to do the impossible and forget the story, focusing back on the image:
"Forget, for a moment, the factual details that we have gathered in the course of knowing-but-not-really-knowing him... Consider, instead, the ease of the boy’s sneakers against the sidewalk; his shy, smirking confidence; the preternatural calm with which he occupies the space within the frame. Viewed like this—as, yes, irrefutably real, but also as a readable image—he is reminiscent of Gordon Parks’s squinting Harlem newsboy. Both convey something almost spiritual: something about the delicate string that hangs between youth and resilience, about the miraculous talent of children, however voiceless, to stand unswallowed by the city."
Whether you agree or disagree with the point -- and the rest of the essay's reflection on images in politics and society -- it's helpful I think to remember that stories and images can overtake us if we let them, and that sometimes we need to step back from the narrative we're constructing and look at the individual parts.
For example: The Teacher (Maya Angelou) and the Students (Dave Chapelle, Common); A Teacher Abuses His Power Over a Drummer in ‘Whiplash’; What ‘Dangerous Minds’ and Other Movies Get Right and Wrong About Teachers.
That last one, by Shea Serrano, is particularly about pop culture and K-12 education.
There were occasional references to the site here: Neighborhood Segregation The Central Issue In New HBO Show; "Breaking Bad" Will Solve All Our STEM Problems; Homey The Substitute Teacher.
And a few more on Twitter.
After a slow start, #eduween15 is off and running. Check out some recent entries, and feel free to toss in your own: #eduween15 Tweets
On Friday night, the PBS NewsHour ran this interview with Dale Russakoff about her Newark school reform book. Transcript here.
There is a dearth of research on how segregation impacts Latino students specifically, although there is plentiful data on how racial isolation impacts African-Americans. As efforts to address African-American segregation have faltered, public discourse on growing Latino segregation remains elusive.
- HuffPost's Rebecca Klein (The Big Education Problem That No One Is Talking About)
Another day, another EWA seminar. This one titled (Ready for Day 1? Covering the Education of Teachers) includes appearances from Dan Goldhaber, Ross Brenneman, Steve Drummond, Shaina Cavazos, Susan Asiyanbi, Ulrich Boser, Alexandria Neason, Stephanie Banchero, and Louise Kiernan.
Catch up on yesterday's proceedings by looking back at the hashtag #EWApoverty.
We've heard and read a lot about these drills, including the powerful post in the Washington Post earlier this week Rehearsing for death, but this is the first time I know of that we've seen one of these drills on video -- a short segment from a forthcoming film called Lockdown. Via The Atlantic.
This week's big education conference that I know of is Grantmakers For Education, which is meeting in SF and has a speaking appearance from Arne Duncan. The Twitter handle is @, the hashtag is
#edfunders15. EdSource's John Fensterwald is slated to do an interview with Duncan/King.
But it's not the only one.
Later this week, EWA is hosting two Chicago-based seminar/conferences for education reporters, one on covering poverty (Covering Poverty’s Influence on Education). Highlights from the agenda include an appearance from Alex Kotlowitz.
The second EWA event is called Ready for Day 1? Covering the Education of Teachers, which is being hosted by Northwestern University and "will examine the teacher pipeline, with a focus on how states can build a better route that attracts the best candidates, the extent to which states are — or aren't — taking adequate steps to ensure high quality preparation programs, and look more broadly at best practices to make sure new teachers are ready for Day One in the classroom."
You can see the updated online agenda for highlights including a session with Dan Goldhaber and some advice from NPR's Steve Drummond about covering teacher shortages.
Any other events going on that we should know about? Anyone see or write a great summary of the Great Cities event last week?
Former Mass Insight head Justin Cohen is writing a book "about the broken U.S. education system" and was recently named a fellow at the Carey Institute (which supports nonfiction writers).
According to the writeup, Cohen "aims to reinvigorate the debate about reform, and change the old arguments that perpetuate the brokenness."
If he achieves this end, it would be greatly welcomed. However, he's not alone in making the effort. Others working on books that might sound similar ideas include Kevin Huffman and journalist Sara Mosle.
Cohen was a 2008 Obama campaign adviser and DC schools advisor. He's on Twitter at @juscohen and his blog is Justin C. Cohen. He also co-hosts The Beard Brothers Dope Show, "a muscular and witty podcast covering the public education wars" that I must admit has made me laugh a couple of times though I have only listened to a few minutes.
Cohen has been mentioned before on this blog, including this quote: "The big problem here is that somehow we have arrived at a point wherein placing value on student achievement results ismutually exclusive to respecting the voting rights of African-American communities... That is a fight that neither side can win, nor should want to fight."
"Cohen’s work focuses on the intersection of race, class, social justice and education in a country that is once again wrestling with the original sins of racism and white supremacy," notes the Carey Institute writeup.
Above, watch TFA alum Deray McKesson being interviewed by TFA alum Kelly Amis about how his work as a teacher connects with his work as a #BlackLivesMatter activist.
Or, here's that PBS NewsHour interview with longtime education reporter John Merrow, including highlights from his past reporting such as when he followed a bunch of new teachers through the year and when he filmed Michelle Rhee firing someone.
Or, click here to listen to a Marketplace audio segment on how freshmen academies are helping Chicago kids graduate -- with higher ACT scores.
In case you hadn't seen it already, NPR's education team has launched a new themed series, dubbed Ideas.
Its motto: "There's nothing new under the sun in education. Except when there is. We'll explore how innovation happens, who drives it and what works."
So far, Ideas item include "An EdTech Buzzword Bingo Card, Higher Ed's Moneyball?, and (my favorite so far) The Mind-Reading Robo Tutor In The Sky.
The previous series, 50 Great Teachers, was apparently a big hit.
Check it out. Tell me what you think -- or what you hope they do or don't cover (drones! hoverboards!).
Here's a roundup of the First Lady's Apollo Theater appearance earlier this week talking about #62milliongirls, via The Root: ‘There Is No Boy Cute Enough or Interesting Enough to Stop You From Getting Your Education’. See more at HuffPost.
Or, check out the LA Times' coverage of West Coast premier of Davis Guggenheim's latest documentary, and read more about it here.
The juxtaposed pictures of two schools during drop-off time accompanied last week's New York Times story about a proposed zoning change that would send students from one school to the other.
This SF Chronicle video -- part of a larger package of stories Twitter buddy Tania de Sa Campos (@taniadsc) reminded me of last night -- is a great reminder of the hope and the many many challenges to mixing kids in schools in ways that their parents likely don't live or mix in real life.
There's also a helpful "Behind The Headlines" roundup from Education Next about school integration and diversification efforts (including diverse charter schools) you might want to check out.
The contrasting narratives taking shape in Chicago and Brooklyn are fascinating to watch, and such a welcome relief from all the other education issues that tend to get talked about all the time. I'm really hoping that things work out reasonably well in both situations, and that the NYC and Chicago media do a steady, careful job sharing out the developments as they take place. Crossed fingers.
One of the things that Michael Grunwald gives Team Duncan credit for in Politico's long feature about the not-yet-lameduck Education Secretary is seeing the anti-testing momentum building earlier than many (think 2011) and figuring out how to help his boss avoid unnecessary criticism:
“The union needed a target for its anger, and he was happy to take a bullet for the president.”
That's raised some eyebrows, including from EIA's Mike Antonucci.
Writes the observant union watchdog: "If true – and I would expect vigorous denials if anyone bothered to inquire – I might actually have to adjust my cynicism meter into the red zone. This is manipulation of the union’s most devoted activists on a grand scale."
Well, not so fast there.
What's not mentioned about the anecdote -- which I have not confirmed independently (Dorie? Justin? Massie? Daren?) is that the NEA isn't necessarily as dumb as it might look from this move. Its challenge was to express members' frustrations with the direction with the administration was taking without hurting the chances of the Democratic President they still wanted in the White House.
This strategy has been noted several times in the past -- Jonathan Chait from New York Magazine comes to mind. So however smart Duncan's staff was getting him involved in his own roasting, the union was arguably just as smart aiming its fire at Duncan not Obama.
Still reading? Here's the 13 things.
As Chicago's public housing has been dismantled and gentrification has taken hold, white and college-educated parents have moved into neighborhoods with legacy neighborhood schools that are all-black and nearly all poor students. A proposal to merge one of these schools (200-student Jenner) with a nearby high-performing (and overcroweded) school (Ogden) with just 20 percent poor students raised some parental concerns.
WBEZ's Linda Lutton attended a meeting to air parents' concerns -- and optimism -- about a possible attendance zone change that would merge the schools into a racially and economically school. Both schools' principals are in favor. The proposal isn't endorsed by the central office, and hasn't yet been voted on by the Local School Councils that oversee the principals and budgets at each school.
Above, listen to Lutton talk about the possibility, which she calls precedent-setting, and click the link below to read and listen to more of the parent meeting.
You can also listen to the recent episode of This American Life in which school integration was proposed -- and opposed -- in Missouri last year.
Note To Self (WNYC) Half the teachers in America use one app (Class Dojo) to track kids