-- HGSE professor Martin West (Schools Wait to See What Becomes of No Child Left Behind Law)
On one side, you have a group of reformers who say that getting rid of federal mandates for annual testing would be apocalyptic, and that’s crazy.... On the other side, you have people who think that getting rid of it would lead to utopia. I think both sides have lost their minds on this. -- Author and Emerson Fellow Amanda Ripley in the Washington Post (Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing)
Unable to repeal Common Core, foes try sabotage Politico: Conservative lawmakers in state after state are running into difficulty rounding up votes to revoke the academic standards outright.. See also NJEA launches ad campaign against PARCC.
White House Issues Veto Threat Against House GOP NCLB Rewrite PK12: Why doesn't the administration like this bill? For one thing, they're not happy about what they see as a big step on back on accountability, particularly for the poor and minority kids that NCLB was designed to help. See also AP, Obama threatens veto of House education bill; White House threatens veto of GOP bill to fix No Child Left Behind; No Child Reauthorization Has No Shot.
CPS in a bind over snub of state-mandated test, official says Tribune: Chicago school board President David Vitale said during Wednesday's board meeting that the district's effort to administer the exam to just 66 of its more than 600 schools has been "clear and consistent." But, he acknowledged, "The response we've gotten from other authorities is also clear." See also Sun-Times: Which CPS schools will be tested in 2 weeks still unknown.
De Blasio calls for permanent mayoral control of schools ChalkbeatNY: Before mayoral control, the city’s school system was balkanized,” de Blasio said. “School boards exerted great authority with little accountability and we saw far too many instances of mismanagement, waste and corruption.” See also The Atlantic: NYC's Tale of Two Pre-Ks.
Rift escalates between Los Angeles teachers, district AP: Teachers in the nation's second-largest school district are in an escalating rift with Los Angeles Unified officials over higher wages. See also LATimes: Charter school group is political force in L.A. Unified board election, LA Weekly Charter Schools Take on Charter-Hating LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Former Montgomery schools chief Joshua Starr sets up business to open way for consulting Washington Post: Montgomery County’s former superintendent, Joshua P. Starr, has established a new consulting business, according to Maryland state records and a statement relayed through the school district.The limited liability company, called Education Solutions LLC, was registered with the state Feb. 17, a day after Starr’s resignation took effect, according to online records from the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation.
'Call Out Cuomo' teachers' rally at Massena High Saturday urging residents to ... North Country Now: Carlisto said the “Call Out Cuomo” events are expected to feature American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, NYSUT President Karen E. Magee and others
Arne Duncan talks early childhood education at Alexandria school Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday got a first-hand glimpse of early childhood education in a busy Alexandria preschool classroom, where he got down on the rug with youngsters playing with blocks, chatted up students building a “neighborhood” with sand and talked to a young girl about her writing.
5 Lessons Education Research Taught Us In 2014 NPR: Lessons from a handful of the most viewed papers from the American Education Research Association last year.
Dissecting A Frog: A Middle School Rite Of Passage NPR: In science classrooms across the country, middle-schoolers will take part in an iconic activity this year: frog dissection.
Teachers complain about revised CPS discipline policy Tribune: A CPS spokesman said the district makes training available to all schools on subjects including restorative practices and classroom management. Roughly 100 (of 600) schools have "restorative practices coaches" in the building weekly, and behavioral health teams work at 66 schools. Those resources are allocated to schools based on behavioral data, the district said.
Controversial Schools Tech Contract Wins NYC Approval WNYC: A contract to expand internet access in New York City schools as well as proposals for sharing school space moved forward despite concerns. Oh, and the cell phone ban was lifted.
Employee sues LAUSD superintendent third time alleging sexual harassment KPCC: The latest suit alleges Cortines made sexual advances to Graham in 2000 soon after Cortines helped Graham get a job with the school district’s real estate leasing operations. Cortines left the school district that same year and Graham didn’t report what allegedly happened, according to the suit.
The rise of Chicago's Casimir Pulaski Day WBEZ: The story behind this most “Illinois” of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it’s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.
One District Will Have Saturday School to Make Up for Missed Days ABC News: A North Carolina school district will be in session on Saturday and parents aren't too happy. The Gaston County school district made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and on its web site.
The Shanker Institute's Matt DiCarlo, in The Debate and Evidence on the Impact of NCLB, issues a typically nuanced, precise and (I'd say overly) cautious summary of what quantitative researchers may have proved about the meager positive effects of NCLB, as he overlooks the extreme "mis-naepery" of non-educators who support test-driven accountability.
DiCarlo correctly asserts that it is invalid to "use simple, unadjusted NAEP changes to prove or disprove any policy argument." But, he ignores a more meaningful and relevant reality. It is possible to use NAEP scores to disprove disingenuous claims that NAEP shows that NCLB worked.
DiCarlo concludes that "(test-based) school accountability in general" (emphasis in the original) "tends to have moderate positive estimated effects on short-term testing outcomes in math, and typically smaller (and sometimes nil) effects in reading. (emphasis mine)
The quantitative researcher then concludes, "There is scarce evidence that test-based accountability policies have a negative impact on short-term student testing outcomes." Such a narrowly worded statement is not false.
But, DiCarlo then states that "the vast majority of evaluations of test-based accountability policies suffer from an unavoidable but nonetheless important limitation: It is very difficult to isolate, and there is mixed evidence regarding, the policies and practices that led to the outcomes." That conclusion ignores the vast body of qualitative evidence by journalists and scholars who do not limit themselves to regression studies.
More Conflict Over Cutting Federal Role in Education NYT: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday produced data that he said showed that poorer districts would suffer under a Republican plan expected to clear the House of Representatives this week.
As House Prepares to Vote on NCLB, Advocates Push for Preschool Funding U.S. News & World Report: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, noted the first bill, passed in 1965, was a bipartisan effort, as was its reauthorization in 1994. "It would be a very good signal to America if something that has bipartisan support ...
How Would the House NCLB Rewrite Affect Funding for Minority Students? PK12: The White House report, released Tuesday, warns of cuts of more than $1.3 billion over 6 years to more than ten districts that serve high concentrations of African-American students. But, these top-line estimates, while powerful, are essentially a worst-case scenario that's highly unlikely to play out in real life, especially if you consider them over six years. There are a number of reasons why.
Schools using new tools to make teachers better Seattle Times: How to help teachers improve? A new system of in-depth observation by trained evaluators and principals, soon to be required in schools across Washington, shows what can help. See also: Seattle ranks high in suspending elementary-school students with special needs.
Suspended students lose millions of days of instruction while out of school Washington Post: Suspension rates dropped for many of the nation’s school districts — including some in the Washington region — but U.S. students still lost about 18 million days of instruction to out-of-school punishments in the 2011-2012 school year, according to research released Monday.
Suspensions at city charter schools far outpace those at district schools, data show ChalkbeatNY: One-third of charter schools reported suspending fewer than 5 percent of their students, and many schools said they did not give out any out-of-school suspensions. But 11 charter schools suspended more than 30 percent of their students — a figure likely to draw added scrutiny amid a nationwide push to reduce suspensions and a debate over allowing more charter schools to open statewide.
Chicago sets early voting record in last weekend before mayoral election WBEZ: About 90,000 Chicago voters cast their ballots during early voting, including more than 21,500 votes on Saturday, which set a single-day record for a municipal election.
Christie’s Truce With Teachers Could Pay Dividends in ’16 NYT: Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey Education Association are cooperating to grapple with the state’s crippling pension costs, and that may help the governor’s presidential ambitions.
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These pretty charts from Third Way (Did No Child Left Behind Work) will change no one's mind, if we've learned anything about minds being changed, but I will share them anyway (with permission), and recommend you read their writeup of the reality behind NCLB's bad rap.
Five children at Chicago-area day care diagnosed with measles WBEZ: Public health officials say students, staff and faculty at the facility have been notified and anyone who hasn't been vaccinated for measles has been instructed to stay away from unvaccinated individuals for the next three weeks.
See also Texas Tribune: See Vaccine Exemptions by School District, AP: A Look at Some Vaccine-Related Legislation in Several States, HuffPost: These States Don't Require Vaccinations For Home-School Students, FiveThirtyEight: Much Of The World Is Better At Giving Their Kids Measles Vaccines Than The U.S., The Atlantic: Schools May Solve The Anti-Vaccine Parenting Deadlock.
House Democrats discuss updates to ‘No Child Left Behind’ law PBS NewsHour: They crowded into a small Capitol Hill hearing room Thursday for their own forum on changing the law in protest of Republicans’ handling of the issue. Votes on a GOP bill are anticipated soon. See also PK12: House Democrats Hold Their Own Session on Rewriting the NCLB Law.
U.S. Department of Education Remakes School Improvement Grant Program PK12: Under the regs, states that want to cook up their own turnaround interventions for low-performing schools using federal SIG dollars and submit them to the U.S. Secretary of Education for approval will need at least one rigorous study to back up their approach.
Fewer Top Graduates Want to Join Teach for America NYT: The group has warned school districts and charter school chains that the size of its corps of teachers this fall could be down by as much as a quarter.
The Education of Jeb Bush National Journal: GOP presidential hopeful has question for post-industrial America: "Can we shed a skin and renew ourselves?"
LAUSD school board candidates face off in debate KPCC: In a debate Thursday night featuring candidates for the Los Angeles Unified's school board District 5 seat, differences emerged on issues such as charter schools, testing and the problem-plagued student data system known as MiSiS. See also LA School Report: AFT president Weingarten visits town to give LA teachers a boost.
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Not a lot of comity on the House education panel, members split on how to rewrite law Washington Post: Scott and other committee Democrats announced they are holding their own hearing on Thursday, calling it a “forum,” with witnesses. It is unclear if they are going to file dueling legislation, Levin said.
Education secretary visits Maryland for town hall meeting WBAL Baltimore:Secretary Arne Duncan said the meeting, in part, was organized to give parents, teachers and administrators a chance to share their concerns about the current education law, No Child Left Behind.
California Seeks NCLB Waiver From Feds Over Use of Test Scores PK12: State officials are essentially arguing that because the Smarter Balanced exam is new, AYP can't be calculated by comparing Smarter Balanced exams to student scores on prior tests.
'No Illusions' For Starr As He Prepares To Leave Montgomery County Schools WAMU: The Maryland county's superintendent is leaving his job under public uncertainty about what conflicts led to the decision. See also Washington Post: Schools chief’s exit leaves many in Montgomery with questions.
Bush offers impassioned defense of his education record The Hill: Jeb Bush deviated from his prepared remarks at the Detroit Economic Club on Wednesday to give an impassioned defense of his education reform record.
Ed. Commissioner Gist Set to Leave R.I. to Lead Tulsa Schools State EdWatch: Deborah Gist has been Rhode Island's chief state school officer since 2009, and has overseen several significant changes to K-12 policy during her tenure.
Classroom coaches critical as teachers shift to Common Core EdSource Today: To break down the isolation that many teachers experience in their classrooms, California schools are using instructional coaches as a key tool to help teachers adapt their instruction to implement the Common Core standards in math and English language arts.
Opt-out advocates get attention from city’s most powerful couple ChalkbeatNY: De Blasio and his schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña have stopped short of encouraging parents to opt their students out of the tests, and Fariña told state lawmakers on Tuesday that she supports the tests and their role as a challenge for students.
Karen Lewis: New CTU contract will cost city, but members willing to strike for itChicago Sun-Times: With less than a month before the mayoral election, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewismade two things clear Monday: The new teachers contract being negotiated is going to cost money, and her 30,000 members who went on strike in 2012 for ...
2 Students Hurt in Shooting Outside Maryland High School ABC News: Shooting outside Maryland high school basketball game wounds 2, sends people running for cover.
Enough with these high-minded policy debates over annual testing and teacher evaluations and vaccinations (!). Let's talk about the Senate bill's formula "portability" provisions determining which states and districts get more or less funding than under current law. According to CAP, the Alexander bill would be a big loser for large districts and high-poverty states. Click the link to get all the details. No response yet (that I know of) from the Alexander office. Image used with permission.
Here's the letter from the USDE to Illinois about Chicago's refusal to administer the Common Core assessment this spring, dug up just yesterday by Crain's Chicago's Greg Hinz.
According to Hinz, "Politically, the problem is that, given national wrangling over school standards, Duncan cannot be seen as being easy on Chicago, said one source close to the center of the flap. That doesn't mean Illinois would lose all of the money, but a sizable hit is likely."
I'm not sure that's how it's going to happen but it' certainly interesting to see what the USDE is saying and how ISBE is playing things.
There was a Board meeting for CPS yesterday but I haven't seen any indication that the district is backing off its decision not to give the tests.
There's a mayoral election in a few weeks, which is likely heading for a runoff, according to the latest polls. Yes, a runoff for Rahm. Chicago schools are in an estimated $1 billion hole, budget-wise -- not counting pension obligations.
Full letter below, via Crain's.
States Are Losing Power Over Classroom Materials, and Districts Are Gaining It State EdWatch: The number of states that exert direct control over districts' choice of instructional materials through state funding has dipped from roughly 25 to 18 in recent years.
White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break NPR: All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans. Critics had called the proposal to limit them a tax hike on the middle class. See also WSJ, NYT.
Senate Ed. Panel Unlikely to Require Teacher Evaluations in NCLB Overhaul PK12: The lack of teacher-evaluation language in the reauthorization will likely stop in its tracks the Obama administration's efforts to push states to adopt evaluation systems based in part on student test scores and performance-based compensation systems, both of which were at the heart of U.S. Department of Education's NCLB waivers.
As numbers of homeless kids rise, resources fall short Marketplace: The number of students experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has increased 85 percent since before the recession, according to Department of Education data. But the resources available to help them have remained flat.
States Move to Make Citizenship Exams a Classroom Aid NYT: Arizona became the first state to require its high school students to pass the test that is given to immigrants who want to become United States citizens.
Football As A Tool In The Hands Of A Master Craftsman NPR: Our 50 Great Teachers series profiles a football coach who's made academics ... and a sense of family ... part of his winning strategy.
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Let’s be clear: 90% or more of the “testing” that occurs in schools is under the control of the teacher and the school district. -- NH State Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather in testimony before Senate HELP Committe (as prepared)
Taxpayers provide about $600 billion each year to fund public education in America. They have a right to know if the system is working. And if we want the public to spend more money on education, we need to show them [test] results.
-- Ed Post's Peter Cunningham (Fewer, Better, Fairer Tests)
PBS’s John Merrow, in What’s Ahead in 2015?, starts with an astute observation about the watch dog who didn’t bark. Outcomes-loving Arne Duncan had just said that his predictions for the upcoming year were more, more, more and more increases in non-controversial supports and squishy targets.
Such input-driven goals were once seen as Low Expectations!, and they supposedly made tough-minded data-driven accountability necessary. Merrow notes that Duncan skipped an opportunity to address quality, not just quantity, or to take a stand as to whether students will have better classroom experiences in 2015 due to Common Core.
Rather than make predictions for the next 12 months, Merrow offered “a wish/hope list for 2015.”
Merrow wishes we could “make it harder to become a teacher but easier to be one. Right now a lot of our policies and rhetoric are making it downright unpleasant to be a teacher.”
He wishes Duncan would back away from value-added teacher evaluations, "but that’s not likely to happen. … Mr. Duncan is doubling down, not seeking common ground.”
I agree with Merrow’s next wish, although I'd emphasize a different part of his aspiration. He wishes that “the critics of testing and ‘test-based accountability’ would get together with their opponents and agree on some fair, effective and efficient ways of evaluating teachers.” Since unions have long advocated for practical policies such as peer review and the New Haven plan, the key words are “get together.” Those who seek better means of dismissing bad teachers mostly need to take “Yes” for an answer.
The more freaked out the “education-reform crowd” is about annual testing, and the more singularly they stay focused on “annual testing” to the exclusion of what are equally important issues, the easier it is for Kline and Alexander to take everything else off the table. - December blog post from DFER's Charles Barone (Annual Testing in ESEA Reauthorization: A Red Herring?)
Democrats and Republicans Agree: It's Time To Rewrite No Child Left Behind HuffPost: Murray articulated a similar position on testing in an interview Tuesday. "We have to fix the redundant and unnecessary testing within the system broadly," she told The Huffington Post. But, she said in her speech, "That doesn't mean we should roll back standards or accountability." She further defended the need for some degree of standardized testing by invoking a reason more often used on the right: taxpayer money.
Senators set stage for debate about federal education law Washington Post: Top Republican and Democratic negotiators over federal education law each took to the Senate floor Tuesday to lay out their sometimes conflicting visions for rewriting No Child Left Behind.Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chair of the Senate education panel, emphasized that he wants to shrink the federal footprint in local education, saying the Obama administration has acted as a “national school board” and that Congress ought to cede power back to states to decide how best to educate K-12 students.
Why Google Didn't Sign Obama-Backed Student Privacy Pledge Wall Street Journal: Other Google student-privacy policies are more nuanced than the pledge Obama endorsed Monday. The company says it doesn't sell Google Apps for Education data to third parties and it only shares personal information with third parties in “exceptional ...
The Most Controversial Woman in School Reform NY Magazine: Even in school reform’s new lawsuit era, hand-to-hand combat is still the preferred mode of resolving—or not resolving—conflict. Brown has become the latest vilified figure in a decades-long PR battle—between the teachers union, one of the last powerful unions in the U.S., and “reformers”—to rival the ugliest type of corporate warfare.
Teacher survey: Change tenure, layoff laws EdSource Today: Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he's open to changing tenure and other teacher employment laws at issue in the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit, and most teachers in a new survey say they want to change them, too.
Speak & Spell: A History Hacked Education: The Speak & Spell – one of the most iconic toys of the 1980s – is a teaching machine. By that, I don’t mean simply that it’s an electronic, educational device. It is that, sure. The Speak & Spell is a teaching machine specifically in the tradition of B. F. Skinner, reflecting some of both Skinner’s design principles and his theories of learning, decades older than the popular Texas Instruments device. Rather than selecting the correctly-spelled word in a multiple choice quiz, for the example, the Speak & Spell prompts the user to construct the response. It praises; it corrects.
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Administration Doubling Down on K-12 Priorities, Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan Declares PK12: Duncan is making it clear he doesn't think that Republicans in Congress—who could introduce draft proposals that make significant changes to federal testing mandates as early as this week—are on the right track.
Arne Duncan Wants To Drop 'No Child Left Behind' — But Keep Its Tests NPR: The secretary of education calls the law "tired," asserting that much of it ought to be scrapped. But he still wants to keep the annual exams that serve as the law's centerpiece.
Duncan lays out priorities for education law: Testing, preschool funding, teacher evals Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out his priorities for a new federal education law Monday, calling on Congress to build in funding for preschool, add $1 billion annually in federal aid for schools with the neediest students, and maintain the federal mandate that says states must test students every year in math and reading. See also: Education groups, leaders weigh in on Duncan’s speech.
White House Still Backs Annual Testing in Schools NYT: Arne Duncan outlined the administration’s priorities for a revision of No Child Left Behind, indicating that testing was important to measuring achievement.
Obama to Call for New Laws on Data Hacking, Student Privacy NPR: The Obama Administration wants to create some new regulations that would alert consumers to the potentially unavoidable dangers facing them in the era of Sony's hacks. See also Daily Caller.
NYC DOE reveals elusive data for 13 charter schools: How many students leave each year ChalkbeatNY: The limited student mobility data challenges that [Farina] argument, to a degree. The schools with the highest average mobility rates over the past four years are also the ones that are performing the worst academically.
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Arne Duncan to call for No Child Left Behind revamp Politico: In a speech Monday, Duncan will lay out his principles for rewriting the education law, sources familiar with the event confirmed. But he is not expected to back down from his insistence that a rewritten law retain the federal mandate that all students be tested in math and reading every year from third through eighth grade.
Governors Laud 'Higher Standards,' Plead for NCLB Renewal in NGA Speeches State EdWatch: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the chairman of the National Governors Association, said more rigorous expectations for students were important, but not the only consideration for stronger schools.
Obama In Tennessee To Promote Free Community College NPR: President Obama is on the road as part of his effort to jump-start his 2015 agenda. Today he's in Tennessee, talking about higher education. See also NYT, Washington Post, PK12.
A 'Sizable Decrease' In Those Passing The GED NPR: The new GED is more expensive, computer-based and tougher. As a result some states are embracing alternative tests, and the number of GEDs awarded last year fell.
Study Questions Stock Teacher-Turnover Stat Teacher Beat: In contrast to the conventional wisdom, an estimated 70 percent of teachers stay in the profession after five years, an analysis of federal data shows.
Could push to improve teacher training start by taking a cue from flight schools? PBS: Just like pilots aren’t allowed to fly solo until they are capable, Deborah Ball, dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Education, thinks teaching programs should follow the same principle. That’s the analogy Ball drew last summer when speaking about teacher preparation to a group of higher education leaders at a forum in Aspen, Colorado.
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I'm still not quite as convinced as others seem to be that an NCLB rewrite is going to make it through the House and Senate anytime soon --what a mess for Team Duncan and all the waiver states, plus 2016 politics -- but this helpful chart from Fordham gives a sense of what might be left out and what might be retained. Image used with permission.
Storm warning prompts school closures EdSource Today: More than half a dozen school districts across California will close Thursday in anticipation of a major storm that is damaging the state’s collective calm.
New York State Education Commissioner to Leave for Federal Post NYT: John B. King Jr. said he would take the No. 2 job at the United States Education Department. See also WNYC, ChalkbeatNY.
From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules NPR: The giant federal spending bill that's expected to go to a vote Thursday will give schools some flexibility in implementing nutrition standards. Also a winner: the potato lobby. See also PBS.
Spending Bill Would Fund Preschool Grants, But Not Race to Top PK12: A few education programs would take a notable whack, including Race to the Top, one of the Obama administration's signature competitive grants, which appropriators sought to scrap completely.
Obama’s Race to the Top loses all funding in 2015 omnibus spending bill Washington Post: President Obama and firstlLady Michelle Obama both would see key initiatives whacked if the $1.01 trillion spending bill unveiled by congressional leaders this week passes without changes in these areas.
Leading Public Education Organizations Lack Diversity at Top, Report Finds District Dossier: The report does not name which groups participated in the survey but does highlight a few education nonprofits that have made building diverse leadership teams a top priority. TNTP and College Track are two that are featured.
Texas to Close 14 Charter School Operators Texas Tribune: Texas will shut down 14 charter school operators that failed to meet heightened financial and academic performance rules this year, state education officials announced Tuesday.
Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue NYT: For graffiti on a Georgia school’s walls, two girls were suspended. Then one of them ended up in the criminal justice system.
Joel Klein, Controversial as Chancellor of NYC Department of Education, Offers Lessons on Fixing Education WNYC: Klein writes about his eight-year mission of improvement: demanding accountability, eliminating political favoritism, and battling a powerful teachers union that seemed determined to protect a status quo that didn’t work for kids.
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Obama’s Immigration Plan Mostly Covers Parents FiveThirtyEight: According to numbers calculated by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan think tank, the bulk of that five million — about 3.7 million — will consist of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years. Obama’s plan would also expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), making another 300,000 undocumented immigrants eligible for the program.
Arne Duncan not taking sides on CPS' seeking delay on PARCC test Chicago Sun-Times: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Thursday he's staying out of a tussle between the Illinois State Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools over whether CPS students will take a new Common Core-aligned standardized test this spring.
Bush Seeks Common Ground With Common Core Critics AP: "For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher, be bolder, raise standards and ask more of our students and the system," Bush said. See also Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR.
Teachers Union Showcases Community Schools Model in Manhattan WNYC: There's been intense debate lately about whether struggling schools benefit more from additional services or by studying their data. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration closed down low-performing schools to get rid of ineffective teachers and supervisors. But Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña have embraced more professional development and the community schools model, while reserving their right to close schools as a last resort.
Charter CEO: Fariña has ‘obligation’ to release enrollment data after push-out claims ChalkbeatNY: “The NYC DOE has access to enrollment and discharge data and now has an obligation to release such data not just for every charter school but for every district school as well,” he said. “I call on the Chancellor to instruct the DOE to do so promptly.”
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Ed. Dept. Directs States to Improve Teacher Distribution - Politics K-12 - Education Week http://ow.ly/E4SVt
Dana Goldstein's The Teacher Wars is now in its 5th hardcover printing and the author will be in DC on 11/17 http://ow.ly/E4r56
In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools in a Bind NYT: The state refuses to base teacher evaluations on student scores, which triggers an outdated standard: that every student be proficient in reading and math.
New TV ad from UFT presents rosier view of public schools ChalkbeatNY: After a week where charter school advocates highlighted the public school system’s failures, the United Federation of Teachers is taking a rosier view in a new television ad.
California, other states to set test cutoff scores EdSource Today: During the next few weeks California educators will play a pivotal role in a crucial phase of work for the new Smarter Balanced assessments California students will take this spring: setting the cutoff scores that will indicate how well a student is performing.
The Education Battle of 2014 On The Media: Conservatives in Colorado and elsewhere are alarmed by the College Board’s new Advanced Placement US history test, which the Republican National Committee has called a “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history.” See also PBS NewsHour
Chicago District Puts Hold on Approving New Charter Schools This Fall District Dossier: Some speculate the decision to put off new proposals this fall is related to next year's mayoral election.
Tuck, Torlakson debate union power, lawsuit EdSource Today: Marshall Tuck and Tom Torlakson, the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction, disagreed on the condition of education in California, the influence of teachers unions and who is best qualified for the job during a recent debate.
L.A. Unified reports big rise in its graduation rate LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday reported a huge rise in its graduation rate, but left out the students most at risk of not making it to commencement ceremonies.
Philadelphia schools crippled by budget crisis PBS NewsHour It’s a tough time to be a student, a teacher or a parent in the Philadelphia public schools. The nation’s eighth largest school system is experiencing a severe budget crisis. Special correspondent for education John Tulenko of Learning Matters looks at the impact hitting the classroom and what’s being done about it.
Change in Admissions Rules Muddles NYC Middle School Search WNYC: There are 48 competitive middle schools and programs that used test scores as the main criteria in their admissions. But they are among the best neighborhood schools in the city, and competition is fierce.
Abuse Cases at 2 Schools, With Technology at the Root NYT: Recent cases in New Jersey and Brooklyn highlight how online communications have blurred boundaries between students and teachers. See also SchoolBook
Tony Bennett Talks Lady Gaga, Arts in the Schools, Secret to His Success ABC EdNews: Tony Bennett, who made history this week by becoming the oldest artist with a No. 1 album, said he has a secret to his success. One, he said, most may not believe.
Miller on Common Core, Teacher Evaluation, and NCLB Renewal PoliticsK12: Miller's comments pack a special punch because he is one of the most hawkish members of Congress when it comes to accountability. Miller, an architect of the No Child Left Behind Act, said that tying test-scores to Common Core exams before teachers are ready would be repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the NCLB era.
George Miller: 'Students are Enthusiastic' About Meeting Common-Core Challenge State EdWatch: The retiring U.S. representative also says that politicians are attacking the standards largely to position themselves better for the 2016 presidential elections.
Karen Lewis and Corey Brooks duke it out over Twitter Chicago Sun-Times: A Twitter exchange between Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis grew heated today as the two traded digs on the governor's race.
Teens who crossed US border alone enter schools AP: The group of mostly Spanish-speaking teenage boys with styled spiky hair and high-top sneakers enthusiastically pecks away on hand-held tablets at the G.W. Carver Education Center, pausing to alert the teacher when stumped. See also PBS: Wave of child migrants pose challenges for Florida schools, Backlog of children’s immigration cases challenges judges, lawyers and schools.
The campaign to keep Karen Lewis out of the mayoral race Chicago Tribune: Out of nowhere nearly two weeks ago, Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter schools organization backing Mayor Rahm Emanuel's re-election, issued a news release demanding that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis step down.
Trial To Begin In Atlanta Public Schools' Cheating Scandal NPR: On Monday, opening statements begin in the trial of 12 educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy. Originally, 35 were indicted but more than half took plea deals. See also WSJ.
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New Study: Adequate Yearly Progress Not So Bad PK12: Some of AYP's sanctions actually proved beneficial. Leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring— one of the most onerous sanctions for schools that chronically failed to meet AYP— yielded the most positive impact from schools.
New report reveals surprising facts about Hispanic children and teens WPost: Hispanic children, the largest minority group in public schools as well as the fastest growing, are increasingly showing up in preschool programs, have made significant gains on national math tests, and are posting record high school graduation rates, according to a new study released Wednesday. But they still lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement and were more likely to live in poverty and not finish college.
Camden Public School Activists Up in Arms WNYC: The bill, backed by the Christie Administration and passed 32-1 by the Democratic-controlled State Senate, loosens the restrictions on so-called "Renaissance Schools" in Camden, as well as in Newark and Trenton. Camden already has three "Renaissance Schools," charter schools which work more closely with the district on enrollment and receive more funding than traditional charters.
Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level NYT: A new study indicates that the higher the income level of a student’s family, the more adept the student will be on how to use the web.
Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams WAMU: Kojo sits down with Eric Williams, Loudoun County's new superintendent, to talk about about the issues facing one of the area's fastest-growing school systems.
Arne Duncan says Ray Rice, NFL send 'terrible message' Chicago Sun-Times: Education Secretary Arne Duncan has one message for Ray Rice and the NFL. And it's that they're both sending a "terrible message" to America's youth. “These folks are so interested in making money, they've lost a sense of values."
We’ve begun, I think, to pay more attention now to interim assessments and formative assessments (which help teachers adjust in the middle of a school year to target student needs). We’re beginning to have just enough information where we can string some things together. - Oregon Deputy State Superintendent Rob Saxton (How a decade of testing made education ‘significantly’ better Washington Post).
NCLB waiver extended for seven districts EdSource: After months of negotiations, seven California school districts have received a one-year extension of the waivers from the federal government exempting them from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in return for meeting a slew of new requirements. See also PK12.
Charter school enrollments increased by 13 percent nationally Washington Post: Nationwide, about 2.5 million public school students were enrolled in charter schools last school year, up from 789,000 a decade earlier, according to the most recent enrollment estimates from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
David Boies, eyeing education through a civil rights lens Washington Post: David Boies, the superlawyer who chairs a group that is trying to overturn teacher tenure laws in New York and elsewhere, said Monday that his organization is not looking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not in the short run.
What the Chicago mayor's race says about the future of education politics Vox: Political observers say Lewis and her confrontational style had an immediate effect on the Chicago Teachers Union's umbrella group, the American Federation of Teachers. While Emanuel is a supporter of charter schools who's generally seen as being a reform-friendly, reformers don't hurry to claim Chicago as a hotbed of change, which could blunt the election's symbolic weight.
California school district rewrites menu for student lunches PBS NewsHour: Finally tonight: With the new school year now in full swing, one urban district in California [Oakland] is implementing an ambitious plan to transform their lunch program to provide healthier, locally sourced food.
The Case for Having Class Discussions on Twitter Atlantic: Lively debate and direct quotes continue to fill the threads four hours after school has ended. Students upload pictures of their annotated texts and ask their classmates to help them understand the nuances of iambic pentameter.
New Rochelle Struggles Amid Rice’s Unraveling NYT: Now that Ray Rice, a hometown football hero, has been dismissed from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League, the New Rochelle High School community is struggling to determine how to react.
Regents Weigh New Routes to a High School Diploma WNYC: If approved by the Regents next month, high school students could substitute one of the two social studies exams with a test in career and technical education, the arts or humanities. They would still have to take Regents exams in English, math and science to meet federal requirements. See also ChalkbeatNY
Chicago Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not 'as smooth as we would like' WBEZ: CPS employs 825 custodian positions that are covered by SEIU Local 73 and none of those positions are being cut, according to district officials. However, many of those board-funded janitors have been reassigned to cover other schools as a result of the layoffs.
Last night's PBS NewsHour takes us back to 2005 when the charter push really began in New Orleans, and brings us up to the present, when non-charters are all but eliminated (for better or worse). The evolution sort of reminds me of what happened at Locke High School in LA, where the school improves somewhat for the kids but there is lots of collateral damage experienced by teachers and staff. John Merrow and Sarah Carr are guests.
The annual education writers conference is still going strong in Nashville today -- watch along (and interact with folks) here: Tweets about "#ewa14"
California gets waiver for Common Core field tests without penalties EdSource Today: California will not face penalties or multimillion-dollar fines from the federal government for giving all students a preliminary test on the new Common Core standards, instead of on the old state standards that California has abandoned.
Teach for America tests out more training WPost: Teach for America, which places thousands of freshly minted college graduates in teaching jobs in some of the toughest schools in the country, is rethinking its training program in light of complaints from its own members that they need more preparation for the classroom.
Shaking Up the Classroom Wall Street Journal: Instead, in the “Content Level 7″ room at Washington Elementary, 10 students, ages 11 to 14, gather around teacher Nelly Lopez for help in writing essays. Eight sit at computers, plowing through a lesson on sentence structure, while a dozen advanced ...
AFT Says It Will No Longer Accept Gates Funding TeacherBeat: AFT will no longer take money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the union says.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
At the risk of making a mountain out of a molehill, here's what I've been able to dig up since yesterday on the topic of parents' rights to opt children out of standardized testing, which I'd thought was pretty well-established (like field trips and sex ed) but is apparently not at all.
Officially, at least, states are required to test everyone who's at school on testing days (for civil rights reasons) and most states don't formally allow parents to opt out. That seems to be the basis upon which Illinois state officials have been telling Chicago parents that they can't just sign a form.
However, parents in most places seem to have figured out other ways -- religious exemptions and/or keeping kids out of school -- to avoid having their children tested if that is their wish.
Districts and administrators sometimes urge parents to reconsider or even in a handful of cases suggest scary effects if parents opt out, but they're bluffing. "We have yet to see a public school attempt to stop opt out when parents push back," notes United Opt Out's Peggy Robertson. "The school district always back down." Testing opponents sometimes try and pressure parents to join them, too (see previous post).
See below for very helpful details from Fairtest, NCSL, United Opt Out, and ECS. Tell CCSSO and USDOE to get over their Mardi Gras hangovers and email me back.
Parents are considered something close to the ultimate authority in most school situations, and can opt their children out of all sorts of things including sex ed, recess, and immunizations. They can take their kids out of school (within limits).
It hasn't always been the case, but in many states, they can now opt their children out of public education entirely, and homeschool.
But apparently the parental prerogative is not universal when it comes to standardized testing in Illinois, where the latest wrinkle in the opt out efforts of a relative handful of Chicago parents is the determination that they can't just sign a note or fill out a form.
Read on for more details -- and some questions.
States Look to Curb Standardized Testing WSJ: In recent months, officials in Missouri have cut back on allocated testing time while New York capped it. Connecticut agreed to let districts delay, for a year, linking teacher evaluations to state test scores. Tennessee officials rescinded a plan to deny teacher licenses based, in part, on their students' growth on state tests. Meanwhile, 179 bills related to K-12 testing—a number of them seeking to curb it—have been introduced in statehouses nationwide this legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which hadn't tracked such bills so comprehensively until this year.
Revamped Teacher-Dismissal Bill Introduced In Calif. TeacherBeat: California lawmakers have, for a third time, introduced a measure to streamline teacher dismissal for malfeasance.
D.C. mulling Common Core test switch Washington Post: The District is slated to begin administering new tests next year that aim to gauge students’ performance on the Common Core State Standards, new national academic guidelines that are designed to promote critical thinking instead of rote memorization.
Snow days are adding up at Washington area schools this winter Washington Post: With a series of storms and cold snaps during the winter of 2013-2014, snow days at the region’s schools have been piling up. The snowstorm that began early Monday morning has led the region’s school systems to cancel school again, and school closures are approaching -- or in some cases passing -- the closures during the 2009-2010 winter, when the area was hit with “Snowmageddon.”
Teaching students how to combat traumas of poverty on the yoga mat PBS NewsHour: At Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto, Calif., 7th graders are learning yoga as a way to cope with the stress of life in a community rife with homelessness, shootings and gang war trauma. By teaching these children to pay close attention to their breathing and movements, Stanford University researchers are hoping they will focus better in school and beyond. Jeffrey Brown reports.
More news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee seeks to keep waiver from No Child Left Behind law The Oregonian: Jay Inslee says he had a productive meeting with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Sunday to discuss options to preserve the state's waiver from provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
When Grownups Take the SAT The New Yorker: Since Kaplan set up shop, test-prep tutoring has come out of the basement. It’s now a billion-dollar industry whose primary product is heartache: college admission is, after all, a zero-sum game.
As High Schoolers Wait For College Notices, D.C. Fights To Get Students To Apply WAMU: Thousands of high school seniors across our region are waiting to hear if they've gotten into the colleges of their choice, but in the District, D.C. public schools are making a big push to get students — especially those from low-income backgrounds — ready for higher education.
Charters' desire for closed schools will be a difficult sell for CPS and city Chicago Tribune: The growing charter movement is one logical use for the 43 recently vacated CPS school buildings, but the district promised during the painful process of closing schools last year that it would not allow privately run charters into the buildings. CPS said it had nothing to do with Legacy's proposal.
After years of talk, MPS takes decisive action on the achievement gap MinnPost: When the announcement was made at the Minneapolis School Board’s February meeting that an office was being created to focus specifically on the welfare of black boys there was polite applause and a palpable wave of Minnesota Nice discomfort.
Public schools recruiting international high schoolers USA Today: Newcomb is one of a number of school districts -- both public and private -- quietly taking advantage of a growing interest in an American education by cash-ready international students. Federal statistics show that the number of international high schoolers arriving in the USA on F-1 visas has jumped from about 6,500 in 2007 to 65,000 in 2012.
More news below (and throughout the day via @alexanderrusso).
I plead guilty to not being militant enough in resisting NCLB-type testing. Had teachers put up a real fight, including "sick-outs" on testing day, they could not have fired us all, and our students would not have had to endure more than a decade of bubble-in malpractice.
The Tulsa World's Kim Archer, in Parents Opting Kids Out of State Testing Could Put Schools in a Bind, points to a way for teachers to atone for our timidity. The state of Oklahoma has joined Chicago, New York City (under Mike Bloomberg), and others in attempting to intimidate parents into dropping their protests against high-stakes testing. Archer explains the reason, "If test participation dips below 90 percent, the district receives an automatic F, according to the A-F school grade law."
School systems often make herculean efforts to test 95% of students, which is the required minimum for each test. If only one or two students per class were to boycott bubble-in testing, the entire system would collapse. They can't give every school an "F," can they?
Of course, we would have to be strategic and we would have to put student welfare first. We could not expect many parents to opt their 3rd graders out of tests required to pass to 4th grade. Neither could we ask high school students to boycott End of Instruction tests, until they passed the minimum number required to graduate. Except in the inner city, most students pass the prerequisite four tests by their junior year. If they boycott the rest, the A-F Report Card scheme would crater.
Teachers, of course, need to be more than fans, cheering on students and parents who opt out. I would start a legal defense fund to challenge high-stakes testing abuses. Whenever a student is denied a high school diploma due to failing Common Core or "Common Core-type" graduation exams, for instance, if he has not had an appropriate amount of Common Core or Common Core-type instruction, we should litigate for that student.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.
My new column for Scholastic Administrator proposes that the Obama administration undertake an audit and establish some testing guidelines for states and district to work with -- not a mandate, just some parameters.
Why bother? Earlier this year, I noted that for all the hullabaloo surrounding overtesting we didn't really know all that much about test proliferation beyond anecdotal reports and isolated (and sometimes hyperbolic) media accounts. There is no national data that I've found. FairTest doesn't track this information comprehensively.
Some parents and teachers seemed to feel like there was way more testing than in the past. Some were just objecting to new, harder tests or to new, controversial uses of the test results (to rate teachers not just schools or kids).
Last week, Teach Plus took a stab at answering some of the questions about test proliferation and variations among districts and states. Even with findings revised to reflect changes in Chicago, there were clearly large differences among districts in terms of how much testing and time were involved -- and large differences between official time for administration and teachers' accounts even before test prep time was included.
Of course, the USDE has its hands full with test-related issues over which it has more direct control than whatever add-ons states and districts have layered onto federal requirements. The Secretary has given out 5 "double-test" waivers (CT, MS, MT, SD, VT) and has another 10 under review (CA, IA, IL, IA, KS, MD, MA, NV, OR, WA). Three states (ID, MT, and SD) are going to use their new field test assessments. Connecticut is going to use the field test assessments for 90 percent of districts. California is going to use them for elementary school accountability.
But I still think that it'd be a good idea for someone to take a national snapshot of where we are on the testing burden front. Right now, the whole discussion is happening in the absence of consistent and reliable data. Image via @scholasticadms *Fixed link - thanks, KL
EdSource’s Kathryn Baron, in NCLB Co-author Says He Never Anticipated Federal Law Would Force Testing Obsession, reports that Rep. George Miller, an architect of No Child Left Behind, says that he did not intend to create “what some have charged is a simplistic ‘drill and kill’ approach that subverts real instruction.”
Miller claims that the most important part of the law was reporting data on the outcomes of each demographic group. This “turned out to be a firestorm.”
No! The reporting of disaggregated test score data was a win-win policy welcomed by all types of stakeholders. It was the high-stakes testing that educators oppose.
Miller undercuts his professions of innocence to dumbing down teaching and learning. He says that “there were people who believed that drill and kill could lead to learning. And there were people who were drilling and killing and saying ‘This is absolutely wrong. But that was the policy’.”
Miller still seems oblivious to the damage done by creating the utopian goal of 100% proficiency for all students by 2014. And, again, he blames school systems for responding in ways that he should have known were predictable.
So far, at least, I've come up with a measly handful of things that President Obama could propose and implement without Congressional approval -- neither of which is likely to get mentioned tonight or done anytime soon.
But they're good ideas -- take a look, White House speechwriters! -- and others have lots of ideas. They're not going to happen, either -- and hey, it's possible that something could come out of tonight's speech. Unlikely, but possible.
Herewith, 4 Russo recommendations (none of them really my ideas) for actions Obama could take on the education front in his speech tonight, related to high-intensity tutoring, charter school diversity, an audit of testing, and a renewed call for equitable teacher distribution (Vergara!).
Image: The Dialectic, via Wired
Philadelphia Principals Fired Over Cheating NYT: Three principals were fired last week after an investigation into test cheating that has implicated about 140 teachers and administrators, a spokesman for the Philadelphia school district said.
Cheating Probe Roils Philadelphia School System WSJ: Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation's largest cheating scandals.
Chicago Public Schools approves seven new charter schools WBEZ: Despite protests and less than a year after closing 50 traditional public schools due to declining enrollment, Chicago’s Board of Education voted Wednesday afternoon to approve seven new charter schools.
Obama's State of the Union Speeches and Education: A Scorecard PK12: President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union speech next week, on Jan. 28. So that means a week from now, we'll all be mulling over the education portion. Is Obama usually able to get what he wants from Congress? Short answer: Not so much. For the longer answer, check out these past State of the Union speeches.
School Was Open, But No One Went WNYC: The city's daily attendance data show that only 47 percent of students attended school Wednesday, the lowest attendance rate by far this school year. The year's previous low was 73 percent on Jan. 7. Typically, citywide attendance in January hovers around 90 percent.
Some Parents Bemoan Icy Treks as de Blasio Stands by Choice to Keep Schools Open NYT: Across New York City on Wednesday, schools grappled with anemic attendance and complaints that Mayor Bill de Blasio had erred by holding class on a day of subzero winds and frozen streets.
More news below (and throughout the day via @alexanderrusso).
Seriously, after 12 years, it is time to address some issues in addition to the law's failed, top-down approach to schooling. Was it a good idea to forsake "incrementalism" and demand rapid "transformative" change across the entire nation? It is also time to reflect upon the political strategy of blowing up the educational "status quo" to pave the way for "disruptive innovation."
We should inventory the ways that NCLB-type reform weakened progressive coalitions, undermining state efforts to promote justice, or at least slow the increase of economic inequities.
It also has been a decade since New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann, in The Controller, persuaded Karl Rove to reveal that NCLB was a component of his three-part plan for destroying the Democratic Party. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court declared corporations to be people, the "Billionaires Boys Club" is the new Rove.
Not all of the new elites seek complete domination of the party that once represented working people, but corporate reformers are rarely reluctant to bulldoze institutions that used to provide some balance of power.
As we begin another spring testing season, educators will further highlight the educational malpractice being imposed on our students by bubble-in accountability. This year, we will also showcase the countdown to the failure of NCLB to meet its accountability targets.
Surprisingly, true believers in high-stakes testing aren't ignoring the law's anniversary and its target of 100% proficiency. The Democrats for Education Reform Statement Marks the Twelfth Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act press release brags that "NCLB’s policies are now a permanent part of the education policy landscape."
DFER's Charlie Barone was an architect of NCLB and yet he proclaims the truth that reformers usually prefer to duck. He compares "current reform efforts on issues like standards, assessments, choice, teacher evaluation, and tenure" to NCLB.
If you liked NCLB, you will love DFER's, Arne Duncan's, and the Billionaires Boys Club's versions of NCLB-type testing on steroids. I'm curious, however, about the data that DFER cites to celebrate the output-driven mandates of the last twelve years. It links to data produced by "its inexorable march forward" to top-down micromanaging of our diverse nation's schools. It shows the $1000 per low-income student, per year increase in Title I, input-driven spending. DFER remains silent about any supposed increases in student performance.
The noneducators who gave us NCLB and the even worse policies of the Duncan administration remain preoccupied with their political fights. Their lesson from NCLB is focused on "those pushing back," i.e. their adult nemeses. Once again, reformers show themselves oblivious to real-world outputs, the effects of their handiwork on poor students of color.-JT(@drjohnthompson)Image via.
Are NCLB Waiver States Intervening in the Right Schools? Politics K12: After Nevada got an NCLB waiver, by the 2012-13 school year, 75 of those 86 schools got relief from the toughest interventions. These are schools that hadn't made adequate yearly progress for six years in a row.
When Taxpayer Money and Private Firms Intersect in Schools Texas Tribune: On a recently approved Texas charter school application, blacked-out paragraphs appear on almost 100 of its 393 pages. A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said redactions appeared on the application because the information was copyrighted.
Offensive student tweets target Montgomery schools chief Starr Washington Post: A number of messages to Superintendent Joshua P. Starr did more to offend than persuade. Some used racial epithets. Some used curse words. One threatened to slash Starr’s tires. A few messages mentioned Starr’s family in inappropriate ways, he said.
How to stop the revolving door of teachers, principals at charter schools Hechinger Report: Nationally, many charter school networks have higher rates of teacher and administrator turnover than their traditional school counterparts. In New Orleans, where nearly 90 percent of the public school children attend charters, the problem is particularly acute as young schools struggle to keep their teachers and leaders for the long-haul.
Parents Sue City Over Students Sent to Emergency Rooms WNYC: The woman, Ms. H, does not want to be identified except by her initials in court papers. She is one of six New York City parents of children with disabilities who are suing the city for unspecified damages. The suit claims the children were wrongly sent to emergency rooms and that the schools could have resorted to other methods for solving behavioral problems - methods that should have been included in their special education plans.
To Make Science Real, Kids Want More Fun And Fewer Facts NPR: In a new poll, many parents said they're worried that schools aren't adequately preparing students for a changing workforce. And too much emphasis on memorizing facts in the classroom, both parents and kids say, is keeping young people from getting excited about science and technology careers.
School Named For Klu Klux Klan Leader Nathan Bedford Forrest To Be Rebranded Reuters: A Florida high school whose name commemorates a leader of a white supremacist group known for lynchings and other violent acts against blacks is to be renamed, officials said on Monday.
‘What Is Good Teaching?’ NYT (Joe Nocera) As the country continues to struggle with education reform, it seems obvious that education schools need to change, so that prospective teachers walk into their first classroom knowing how to teach. Maybe “The New Public” can help bring about that change.
U.S. Department of Education to Redo SIG Analysis Due to Contractor Error PoliticsK12: The analysis, which was released just a couple of weeks ago, excluded about half of the schools that entered the newly revamped SIG program in its first year (the 2010-11 school year) and about a third of the schools that started in the second year (the 2011-12 school year.) It's unclear if the do-over will significantly change those conclusions.
Head Start funding partially restored in federal budget deal EdSource Today: Head Start lost about 57,000 slots for children, including more than 5,600 in California, because of cuts under federal sequestration, a program of automatically triggered, across-the-board spending cuts. These cuts have continued to ripple through Head Start operations month by month as they cycle through their federal grant processes.
Arrest Leads to Shake-Up of Alexander's Leadership Team PoliticsK12: Longtime Capitol Hill staffer and edu-nerd extraordinaire David Cleary, the GOP staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has become the chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education, currently serves as the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate education committee.
Mike Huckabee's "Common Core is Dead" Line Not What He Told State Chiefs State EdWatch:The former Arkansas governor said he is dissatisfied with the implementation of the common core and how it has become "hijacked" by other interests.
Charter Leader Denies Insider's Advantage WNYC: “I’m not suggesting that I don’t know anyone at Tweed, I do,” she said, referring to the D.O.E.'s headquarters. “So if you’re saying can I pick up the phone and call folks, yes, I can. But does that mean from a policy perspective I’ve gotten any advantages? Absolutely not.”
Lots more news below.
My latest Scholastic Administrator column is out, focusing on how the NCLB implementation and pushback history compares to the Common Core process we're going through now (Whither CCSS?).
"At the time, a number of states considered opting out. Several states (including Connecticut, Arizona, Utah, and Nebraska) and districts filed lawsuits against NCLB. So did the NEA and 11 districts scattered around the nation. Others sought accommodations, proposed legislation, or reported on the costs of complying with the new law. Three wealthy Connecticut districts opted out of the program entirely in 2003, followed by two districts near Chicago."
Back to the present: A few more states have slowed down their CCSS participation since the piece was written -- I think we're up to seven now, right? -- but the basic argument remains the same.
"If the history of NCLB is any guide, the vast majority of the current efforts to reconsider or roll back the Common Core will lose steam or result in some relatively minor accommodation well short of opting out. Whether that is a good thing or not depends on where you stand."
15 States Seek Waivers to Reduce Double-Testing PoliticsK12: The double-testing allows states to suspend some of their current tests and give only the field tests from the common-testing consortia—to avoid double testing students. See also Politico
Pulling a More Diverse Group of Achievers Into the Advanced Placement Pool NYT: As A.P. classes across the country have opened to a more diverse group of students, some teachers and parents worry that instructors will be forced to water down the curriculum, while some educational experts say there is little conclusive evidence that students who take such courses perform better in college.
Common Core State Standards Focus On Critical Thinking Amid Political Debate AP: Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson's fifth-grade classroom.
Md. says it will include more special ed students in national test Baltimore Sun: Acknowledging that scores on a national reading test may have been inflated, Maryland education officials changed course this week.
Austin Journal: Closing a Fear Gap So Children Can Achieve NYT: Montserrat Garibay, a teacher, is hoping to shrink the stark achievement gap in schools disproportionately populated by the children of immigrants by addressing fears of deportation.
Mixed reaction to iPad rollout from L.A. teachers and administrators LA Times: Just 36% of teachers strongly favored continuing the tablet effort; 90% of administrators felt the same.
Details Emerge on de Blasio's Education Agenda WNYC: We play excerpts from an education forum at which Mayor-elect de Blasio spoke and discuss the latest transition news with Wall Street Journal political reporter Michael Howard Saul.
N.C. elementary schools promise arts education but access is far from equal PBS:Most public schools in the United States offer some sort of music instruction, but according to a federal government report, about four million elementary school students do not get instruction in the visual arts.
Teacher learns a lesson after teaching students about Internet safety TODAY: When a Tennessee teacher put a photo online to teach her elementary school students what can happen when a personal photo goes public, even she was surprised at a lesson we can all learn from.
State and district news below
The 50-state strategy [to ensure equitable distribution of effective teachers] should have been started 12 years ago. [The new waiver renewal guidance is] disappointing, and it sends a message that it's not at the top of their agenda. -- EdTrust's Kate Tromble in EdWeek (Civil Rights Groups Wary on Waiver-Renewal Guidelines
California agrees to administer both math and English tests this spring KPCC: This is not the plan Torlakson, state legislators, and Governor Jerry Brown endorsed in Assembly Bill 484 earlier this year. That bill stipulated that California would only give students one field test this spring, to ease students into the new tests and the computer technology on which they'll take them.
Torlakson retreats from conflict with feds over testing EdSource: Faced with potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines, the state Department of Education has backed down from its confrontation with the federal government over standardized testing.Torlakson’s carefully worded news release makes no mention of the conflict with the federal government or a concern over districts’ capacity to administer computer tests in both subjects next spring.
State expands field tests of Common Core-aligned assessments LA Daily News: The field test of California's new computer-based assessments will be expanded so that nearly every student will take exams next spring in both math and English, rather than being limited to one or the other, officials said Thursday. High school juniors, students in grades three through eight, plus a small sampling of ninth- and 10th-graders will participate in field tests of the Smarter Balanced assessments.
Federal analysis of school grants shows mixed results Washington Post: A federal program that pumped a record $5 billion into failing schools is showing mixed results, with students at more than one-third of the targeted schools doing the same or worse after the schools received the funding, according to government data released Thursday.
New High School Program Latest Example of Duncan Efforts to Get Around Congress PoliticsK12: When it became clear that Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization wasn't happening, the administration put in place a system of waivers based largely on its blueprint for revising the law. It's even given a waiver to a group of California districts, over the objections of Republicans in Congress.
District and state news below