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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.

Events: NYU "Politics Of Privatization" Summit [#PoPNonCon16] Going On Now

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In case you haven't seen it, there's a "Non-Conference" on Privatization in Education at NYU going on this week.

According to the website, discussants will include education historian and NYU Steinhardt research professor Diane Ravitch; and union leaders Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers.

The hashtag is #PoPNonCon16. The livestream is here.

Apparently, there's a Bernie Sanders rally going on across the street.

 

 

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.

Trailers: "All The Difference" Scheduled For POV In September

The new season of PBS's POV series "Seek Redemption, Justice, Peace" starts in May and features at least one segment "All The Difference" focused on the struggles of two South Side Chicago teens named Robert and Krishaun who are trying to graduate high school and go on to college. The piece "follows the young men through five years of hard work, sacrifice, setbacks and uncertainty." Watch the trailer above. Look for it in September. 

 

Morning Video: Detroit Schools Going Bankrupt

Watch the NYT's Kate Zernike describe the problem on this PBS NewsHour weekend segment. Or, watch this 2015 PSA about kids and violence featuring a kid who was hit by a stray bullet last weekend.

People: The High Schooler Who Could Have Been Rosa Parks

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"The NAACP considered using her case to challenge the segregation laws, but ultimately decided against it for several reasons:  1. They thought she was too young to be the face of their movement. 2. She got pregnant right around the time of her arrest and they thought it would attract too much negative attention." (The 15-Year-Old Schoolgirl Who Paved the Way for Rosa Parks)

Update: White Privilege-Erasing Glasses For Everyone

 

The world can look a whole lot different with these glasses on. (via Chicago Theological Seminary)

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, March 14, 2016

Here's a fun if super simplistic look at what it'd be like if there were glasses that would help white folks see the world as if they were someone who wasn't white.

Other favorites in this genre include Leave No Privilege Behind (2015), Vox's explainer video What Is Privilege?, Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too, and of course LL Bean's Invisible Backpack of White Privilege.

Charts: Exploding The Minnesota Myth

Check out the rest of this great MPR story package.

#TBT: Principal Joe Clark On The Cover Of TIME (1988)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

It was February, 1988 -- nearly 30 years ago now. 

Books: Remembering "Prince Of Tides" Author's 1972 Teaching Memoir

WaterIsWideHidden in the news that author Pat Conroy passed away recently was the reminder that the popular author started out as a one-room schoolhouse teacher and wrote "The Water Is Wide," a book about his experience that was turned into a feature film and then a TV special.

From thePost and Courier: "Conroy took work as a teacher in the Beaufort County School District, where he was assigned a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island. He soon came to realize he was expected to be nothing more than a baby sitter to an island full of underprivileged black children. He made it his mission to give them a good education. His unorthodox methods and ambitious plans led to his dismissal."

According to Wikipedia, The Water Is Wide came out in 1972 and "details Conroy's efforts to communicate with the islanders, who are nearly all directly descended from slaves and who have had little contact with the mainland or its people."

"A film adaptation, titled Conrack, was created in 1974, starring Jon Voight. A Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie titled The Water Is Wide, starring Jeff Hephner and Alfre Woodard, was made in 2006."

 

Morning Video: Clinton & Sanders Defend Teachers Against Anderson Cooper

On one hand, teachers have to be happy that Clinton and Sanders defended them so vigoriously in last night's Democratic debate. On the other hand, they might well be concerned that CNN moderator Anderson Cooper chose to have them talk about education in the context of sexual predators who need to be removed.

America Rising via Erika Sanzi. Check out her interpretation of events here. Or take a look at PK12's coverage here. The Guardian has some recaps and quotes here. Look back at Maggie Haberman's NYT story from last summer where Clinton also referenced the issue of teacher scapegoating.

Update: Where'd "Rip & Redo" Come From? Nobody Seems To Know.

As you may recall from just a few days ago, the New York Times obtained and published video of a Success Academy teacher dramatically ripping up a student's work and telling her to do it over. The video and accompanying story went viral.

But the Times wasn't just Internet shaming an individual teacher for her behavior. It was making the case that ripping up student's work was a common practice at Success Academy schools:

“Five of the teachers interviewed… described leaders at multiple Success schools and a Success supervisor in the teacher training program that the network runs with Touro College endorsing the practice of ripping up work if it was deemed not to reflect sufficient effort.  The purpose, they said, was to get students’ attention and demonstrate urgency.  At some schools, there was even a term for it.” “It was ‘rip and redo’…”

According to that interpretation, teacher Charlotte Dial wasn't just losing her cool at a moment that happened to be caught on video. She was doing what she'd been taught to do. In which case this GIF of teacher Charlotte Dial ripping up a student's work is an illustration of something that someone, somewhere, taught or told her to do:

But is that true? Spoiler alert: nobody knows.

The phrase "rip and redo" is dramatic and memorable. But there's nothing about rip and redo that's easily found on the web -- no course syllabus or materials endorsing the practice. Nobody seems to know, and everyone who might tell us seems not to be aware of or approve of the practice. 

At a now-infamous press conference, Success Academy's Eva Moskowitz disavowed rip and redo: "It is not our policy to rip up student work,'" she's quoted as saying. "It is our policy to insist that children re-do. We make no apologies for the need to re-do work when it's not done." 

Asked again about the practice a spokesperson from Success responded: “As we have repeatedly said, this practice is not and has never been part of our program.”

But in an email, the folks at Touro also disavowed the practice: "The practices discussed in the [NYT] article are absolutely not part of our curriculum, and Touro neither condones nor approves of them."

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The Times says that rip and redo was being taught by Success trainers, and it's not hard to imagine that kind of scenario. After all, school districts and big charter networks can exert tremendous influence over what's taught to its teachers and by whom. In some cases, teacher training providers can be asked to include specific materials or to hire specific instructors as adjuncts.

But Tauro says that's not the case: "Success Academy staff enroll at Touro College on a cohort basis and matriculate in our Graduate Education master’s program. Full time and adjunct Touro faculty deliver our programs.  We pay our faculty."

And NCTQ's Sandi Jacobs isn't so clear that Touro would necessarily know what is going on in each and every of its courses, even if it hired all its instructors. "It is generally our sense that it is up to the individual instructor to teach whatever they want," she said in a phone interview.

"I don't know how they would know" whether all its teachers were or weren't teaching rip and redo. "We don't generally see that programs are coordinated in such a way that anyone could say what is going on in an individual course."

So the mystery remains. Someone out there -- a rogue Touro instructor or Success supervisor -- has apparently been teaching "rip and redo" to Success teachers. But both Success and Touro disavow any knowledge of the practice, and the Times doesn't appear to have any concrete evidence that it is as widespread as has been claimed.  

A version of this post was originally published at The Grade.

Books: Ignoring Race Not The Solution For Schools

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Here's a review of a book that sounds really interesting and timely:

"Many saw the 2008 election of Barack Obama as a sign that America had moved past the issue of race, that a colorblind society was finally within reach.

"But as Marianne Modica reveals in Race Among Friends, attempts to be colorblind do not end racism—in fact, ignoring race increases the likelihood that racism will occur in our schools and in society.  

"Modica finds that even in an environment where students of all racial backgrounds work and play together harmoniously, race affects the daily experiences of students and teachers in profound but unexamined ways.

"In the end, the school’s friendly environment did not promote—and may have hindered—serious discussion of race and racial inequity.   The desire to ignore race in favor of a “colorblind society,” Modica writes, has become an entrenched part of American culture. But as Race Among Friends shows, when race becomes a taboo subject, it has serious ramifications for students and teachers of all ethnic origins."  

You can listen to an interview she did on WNYC in December.

Related posts: New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School EnglishTa-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling) In America 'Confessions Of A Headmaster'Teacher Perceptions Of Autonomy Vary By RaceEducators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too.

Morning Video: The Costs Of Special Ed Inclusion

From PBS: "The Los Angeles school system has come far in the last ten years, especially in terms of inclusivity. In 2003, only 54 percent of LA’s disabled students were taught alongside their nondisabled peers; today, it’s more than 90 percent. But some parents worry that general education schools won’t provide the specialized attention their children require." (LA schools grow more inclusive, but at what cost?)

Quotes: "I Did Everything You Suggested"

Quotes2I got my masters in education in advance of teaching, I did even more student teaching than was required, I sought out good mentors. This was not a silly whim. I may not have had the chops for the job, but if so I have plenty of company... I’m trying to call attention to the fact that we are expecting teachers in high poverty schools to do too much. We must end the myth of the hero teacher.

- Author Ed Boland on Diane Ravitch's blog (Ed Boland Responds to Critics)

Morning Video: Swamp Nurse, Middle School Exodus, Centennial High School

Here's a 12-minute documentary about a home visit nurse, which as you may recall was the subject of Kate Boo's 2006 feature story, Swamp Nurse. Go here if the video doesn't appear or you want more background.

Or, go listen to an WAMU story about how white parents' decisions not to send their kids to a local middle school affect its demographics and test scores.

Or, watch this new Viceland documentary about young African Americans in Compton, featuring a brief segment at Centennial High School, via Mark Walsh.

Quotes: Schools "Disengage" Teachers Of Color

Quotes2I think that the same way that our current school system is disengaging to our students of color, it's disengaging to our teachers of color as well. There are many teachers or potential teachers that take issue with the current system of micromanagement or the lack of respect for teacher expertise.

-- Pamela Lewis, author of Teaching While Black, in HuffPost (What It's Like To Teach While Black)

Morning Video: Anti-Bullying Commercial Wins Oscars2016

"The commercial has a "paper" student show up to school to face a group of mean-mugging "scissors" to find even the fellow "papers" have turned on him. It eventually takes a "scissors" and a "paper" — both sworn enemies according to the rules of the game — to befriend the lonely rock and break away from the schoolyard cruelty." via Mashable.

Trends: Using Video & Animation To Tell Broad, Detailed Stories

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USA Today's massive look at the inadequate national and state tracking system for teachers who have abused kids continues to make the rounds (and has already generated some renewed interest in closing the existing loopholes.

The main story package is here: Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts. There have been several updates and add-ons, including this one from Wisconsin: Educators do little time for sex crimes.

If you're interested, here are some other education-related examples of what's called "digital storytelling" that I can find, riffing off a recent piece about what makes some of these multimedia presentations work better than others:

From the Miami Herald: Higher-Ed Hustle

From the Tampa Bay Times: Failure Factories

From EdWeek: Rural Schools Still Struggle to Get Connected

There are a couple of examples that have education elements but are about other things (homelessness, gentrification):

From the New York Times: Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life

From NY Magazine: One Block

Some others that have been pointed out to me as great examples aren't about education but may still be worth looking at for the way they use maps, animations, videos, and text:

From The Guardian: NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations explained

From AP: 22 Years a Slave

From AP: Faded Grace

From the Washington Post: The perils at Great Falls

From the NYT: A Portrait of the Sandtown Neighborhood in Baltimore

If you're curious about what makes these examples work (and make some other examples seem like a giant waste of time), take a look at my attempt to dissect the USA Today story with the help of a few experts here.

 

Morning Video: LAUSD's Plan To Move Special Education Students Back To Neighborhood Schools

"Public schools in Los Angeles have experienced rapid change in the last decade, and graduation rates for the city’s 80,000 special needs students have nearly doubled since 2003. But greater transitions lie ahead: the district plans to transfer these students from special education centers to neighborhood schools." PBS NewsHour (Los Angeles’ bold move to reform special education)

Quotes: What Denby's New Yorker Column Gets Right

Quotes2I think he is correct to argue that reform movement, such as it is, ought to advance a coherent anti-poverty agenda, put more political capital towards raising teacher pay, improve teacher evaluation systems, and do more to cut back on unnecessary testing. Indeed, some of what Denby recommends — higher teacher salaries, greater efforts to address poverty — are not at odds with the reform agenda. They actually complement it, and many reformers recognize as much. 

- Matt Barnum in The Seventy Four (Don’t Humiliate Teachers… But Fire the Worst)

Afternoon Listen: The Premiere Episode Of "Have You Heard?"

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.

Books: New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School English

image from images.macmillan.comYou might know David Denby for his writing in the New Yorker about movies among other things, but he's also interested in education.

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."

It's got blurbs from Dave Eggers and Diane Ravitch, among others. Click the link above for the excerpt, or click here for some reviews. 

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:

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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.

 

TBT: Remembering The Duncan Confirmation Hearing & That New Yorker Profile

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:

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"Sneaking a peak at the ole Blackberry while Senator Alexander is talking." [

Remember Blackberries? 

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.

 

Morning Video: Elaborate Teacher Parody Turns Adele's "Hello" Into "Snow"

"Snow... it's me. I know we just got out for Christmas but I'm ready for some more... time to myself." via TIME, via Nuzzel. The original performance is pretty good, too. She's a third grade teacher.

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?" 

The Seattle-based duo credits a group of collaborators including local educator Georgia Roberts. Lyrics and explanations here.

Afternoon Video: "Hip-Hop Therapy" At A Bronx High School

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.

 

Site News: Find Me On Facebook (& Tumblr, & Twitter, & via Email)

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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 (), 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 thisweekineducation@gmail.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. 

Morning Video: Deray Does Colbert Show (Then Lets Him Off The Hook)

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".

 

Charts: Lots Of Anger Out There - But Education Not The Priority

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. 

Afternoon Video: WriteLab's Ballroom Dancing Matthew Ramirez

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.

Books: 'Confessions Of A Headmaster'

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).

Morning Video: Actually, Common Core Could Flare Up Again (& Get Watered Down)

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).

Quotes: NPR Reporter Predicts Increased Charter School Scrutiny

Quotes2You can expect these publicly funded, privately run schools to face new scrutiny, and new criticism.... Charters will also be one of the very few education issues to get any attention in the presidential campaign.

- NPR's Claudio Sanchez (6 Education Stories To Watch In 2016)

Best Of 2015: Two Education Books Make The List

 

4-Mead-Books-2015

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. 

Morning Video: LAUSD Defends Decision To Close Schools When NYC Didn't

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

While LA schools closed yesterday, NYC schools did not. That's caused a certain amount of concern about how districts react to threats. NYPD's Bratton didn't help things much by calling the threat a hoax.

Magazines: Top 20 Education Next Articles Of 2015 (Any Others?)

image from educationnext.orgHere'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. 

 

Morning Listen: A Problematic Attempt At "Colorblind" Education

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:

Morning Videos: Yesterday's Bill-Signing Ceremony, PBS Explainer, FLOTUS Raps

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

 

Best Of 2015: Top #EquityReads Features Vilson, Hawkins, Anderson, & Others

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).

 

Morning Video: LGBT Livestream

 

This livestream of AtlanticLIVE's Unfinished Business conference features the AFT's Randi Weingarten, among others.Full agenda and speaker list here. Hashtag #AtlanticLGBT.

Previous posts: Despite Progress, Many LGBT Educators Still Feel "Stuck In A Time Capsule"Gay Marriage: On Equality, Education Has A Long Way To Go*.

 

Morning Video: Unclear Path To Improvement After New Test Results

This PBS NewsHour segment focuses on reactions to Common Core test results that are coming back in states like New Jersey.

Morning Video: Comedy Central Takes On Texas Textbooks

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. 

Gentrification: All Eyes On Bed-Stuy

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

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

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

Books: The Battle for Room 314 (Forthcoming)

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

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

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

The book's slated to come out in February.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Other Places To Find Great Education Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Year In Review: 7 Best Blog Posts Of 2015?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.