I guessed this was coming and am so glad it happened. That's President Obama with the Bronx middle school student and principal who have been part of this amazing viral good-news story about strangers giving over $1 million to a poor school to help pay for class trips to Harvard.
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.
What happens when the Common Core becomes less ... common? Washington Post: Now only 12 states plus the District plan to give the PARCC exam to students, according to the Council of State School Officers, an organization of state education chiefs. Smarter Balanced has seen less attrition, but just 18 states plan to give that test this spring.
Kasich Calls Out Conservatives Who Oppose Common Core HuffPost: Kasich dismissed criticisms of the standards from those like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who argue that the guidelines will lead the federal government to have more control of the education system in the United States.
Biden touts community college proposal, healthcare during L.A. visit LA Times: Vice President Joe Biden visited several Los Angeles sites on Friday to tout and gather support for two of the White House's signature initiatives: a plan to make the first two years of community college free and the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. Once Had Universal Child Care, But Rebuilding It Won't Be Easy NPR: In his State of the Union address, President Obama referenced a little-remembered, WWII-era federal child care program, holding it up as an example he hopes to emulate with expanded federal subsidies.
To Improve School Discipline, Change Teacher Behavior Slate: Various programs have cropped up to support the effort. A local partnership called All-In! places therapists and special-education specialists in elementary classrooms, helping teachers identify and address trauma-induced behavior and emotional problems that they might otherwise dismiss as mere misbehavior. Seneca Family of Agencies, a California child welfare organization, is expanding the approach to five Oakland and two San Francisco schools using a $3 million grant from a U.S. Department of Education innovation fund.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Obama to propose new student privacy legislation Washington Post: President Obama is planning to propose new federal legislation to safeguard student privacy, a move that comes as new classroom technologies gather sensitive personal information about children in order to deliver personalized lessons,
Englewood boy who asked Santa for safety invited to attend State of the Union address WLS-TV: The seventh grader was one of about 8,500 Chicago Public Schools students who wrote letters to Santa.
How Will Education Play in the State of the Union Address? PK12:Proposals on both ends of the education spectrum—early and higher—were part of a big tax package unveiled by the White House this weekend, from which K-12 policy was (almost) absent. This seems to be a trend for the president, who has focused the education remarks in his last three addresses to college on either higher education (popular with young voters and their middle-aged parents) and early ed. (popular with just about everybody), while steering clear of K-12 (a politically stickier issue these days).
Do students take too many tests? Congress to weigh question PBS NewsHour/AP: Preliminary research by the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts, found that students take an average of 113 standardized tests between pre-K and 12th grade. It said testing time for 11th graders was as high as 27 days, or 15 percent of the school year, in one district and that didn’t count Advanced Placement, career and technical education course and college entrance exams.
Arizona civics group targets California after winning test for high school graduation KPCC LA: “We hope to get out to California maybe in the next year or two and start working with citizens, legislators, teachers there, and see if we can’t make this happen in California as well,” said Sam Stone, Civics Education Initiative executive director, on Friday.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
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.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
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.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
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.
This NBC Nightly News segment describes how quality early childhood education can be enormously beneficial, childcare costs as much or more than private college in many places, and President Obama rolled out a pared-down early childhood education expansion last week. But National Journal notes that the politics of early education are not nearly as straightforward as they may seem.
Way back in 2012, Congress called on the USDE to issue a report on the number and distribution of alternative certification teachers in US classrooms as a condition of extending the provision that makes alt cert teachers highly qualified under NCLB.
The HQT waiver is good through 2016, which is why there wasn't any need for a rider in the 2015 spending bill currently under consideration. (The union waiver, known as HOUSSE, is permanent and doesnt't require updating.)
But the report was supposed to come out in December 2013 -- a year ago. But it hasn't been heard of.
Related posts: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" About Highly Qualified Teachers; "Technical Amendments" In The Fiscal Cliff Deal?; Alt Cert: TFA "Interns" Allowed To Keep Teaching ELLs (For Now); Budget Deal Gives TFA Another Two Years.
Mary Landrieu supported Common Core and was soundly defeated — the voters have spoken... We hope Secretary Duncan is coming to Louisiana to see how real education reform is benefitting kids and families in the real world, and we hope he wants to work with us. - LA Governor Bobby Jindal in Politico (Jindal blasts Duncan ahead of NOLA visit)
I guess I'll never learn. After President Obama's wonderful appearance on the Colbert Report, I reverted back to the dream that the real Barack Obama would emerge. At this point in the second term, there doesn't seem to be a reason to keep up the teacher-bashing and union-bashing of the last six years.
The appointment of the divisive New York Education Commissioner John King to the USDOE can only be seen as a gratuitous attack on teachers. The title of Chalkbeat's recount of King's career, by Geoff Decker, Patrick Wall, and Sarah Darville, says it all: After a Turbulent Career, State Education Commissioner John King Stepping Down for a Federal Job Offer.
Surely, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan doesn't think there is a constructive education rationale for the appointment. He must be sending a message to reformers who revel in bitter political in-fighting. During the last two years, Duncan seems to be saying, he will be loyal to corporate reformers. Educators and schools won't be getting any relief from this devastating turmoil.
I have continually wondered whether we educators would be offered an olive branch. If it happened, I'd be thrilled to respond in kind. But, the administration continues to make its point; it is joined at the hip with the Billionaires' Boys' Club. This appointment is rubbing salt in our wounds.
We cannot allow Democrats to question our stick-to-it-ness. We can't endure another term with a Secretary of Education who will keep up this assault on our profession and our students. Now, more than ever, is time to release our anger. We can't just take these insults anymore.-JT(drjohnthompson)
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.
More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.
NPR’s Cory Turner, in Why These Kids Love Kale, reports on “kale-thusiasm.” It prompts one girl doing jumping jacks and cheering for kale, while others “shake their jazz hands.” As another student proclaims, "That kale is the bomb."
This kale-thusiasm is a product of “FoodPrints,” a part of the curriculum in five Washington D.C. schools. Students help tend their school’s garden, and it becomes the focal point for hands-on instruction. When Turner visited, elementary students were learning about decomposition and bacteria. The lesson includes a worm bin and “a writhing handful of worms from their dark clutch of compost."
I have long been as supportive of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” and her focus on healthy school food as I have been opposed to her husband’s test-driven education policy. I’m not surprised, however, that the First Lady’s efforts have faced pushback. To be successfully implemented, physical education and improved nutrition need to be integrated into the teaching and learning process. They can’t just be one more thing on schools' impossibly long “to do” lists, especially at a time of test-driven accountability.
I’ve experienced the joy of working with children as they learn from “worm dookie!” Locally, the Putnam City Elementary School embraces project based learning and field trips. The Daily Oklahoman’s Matt Patterson describes how high school students and cafeteria workers help provide holistic lessons about nutrition. But, Paterson concludes with pre-kindergarten students helping to prepare, not kale, but ambrosia!-JT (drjohnthompson)!
The White House Wants You To Know That Preschool Is Really Good For The Economy HuffPost: The president is set to announce which states and communities are receiving some $750 million in federal grants for the expansion and improvement of early childhood education programs. He's also expected to say that corporate, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders have committed over $330 million in support of the cause.
Obama announcing $1B for early childhood education AP: The president will join a daylong summit convening at the White House on Wednesday to announce the investment in early learning programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — especially those in lower-income communities. Nationwide, 28 percent of America's 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program last year.
Why math might be the secret to school success NPR: Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years. See also ABC News, The Hill,
A Battle Expected Over School Spending In Montgomery County WAMU: A budget battle is brewing between the Montgomery County school system and the county council.
On Verge Of Being Closed, D.C. Charter School Fights Back WAMU: A D.C. public charter school on the verge of being closed is asking for more time to prove that it can effectively educate its students — a request that's rarely granted in the fast-churning world of charter schools.
Losing students, neighborhood high schools caught in downward spiral Catalyst: As schools lose students, they receive less money and must cut back the very features that could help attract and keep students-- counselors, honors classes, elective courses and extracurricular programs--and become shells of what they once were.
State’s first charter school in disarray Seattle Times: Since it opened in September, the state’s first charter school has lost its special-education coordinator, principal, board president and half the rest of its board. By Wednesday, it must prove to a state board that it can solve problems in four major areas.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
There were probably at least 10 states last spring that had tough fights, and you’ll have tough fights again, with the biggest ones in the most conservative states and mostly in the south. But politicians respond to voters, and pro-Common Core politicians won midterm elections across party lines...At least two-thirds of states will stick with Common Core. That’s pretty remarkable for a country that’s been allergic to common standards. - Fordham's Mike Petrilli (Will Common Core Survive Past 2016? RealClear Education)
Earlier this year, the Post ran a front-page story by Strauss about allegations that Arne Duncan was trying to influence the choice of NYC chancellor under Mayor de Blasio. I and others had some questions about the reporting, editing, and decision to assign the story to Strauss.
Duncan is "losing" Ritsch after two years at the top communications spot within USDE. Duncan had the gall to praise TFA founder Wendy Kopp for highlighting the aspects of great teaching but ignored former NEA head Van Roekel. Duncan's first press secretary now works for Joel Klein at Amplify.
For some measure of balance, Strauss notes that Cunningham's accomplishments include getting Duncan on the Rolling Stone Agents of Change list. (She's wrong - getting Duncan on Colbert was Cunningham's biggest coup, or perhaps it was keeping Duncan away from the media after he jumped into the gay marriage debate ahead of the White House.) She also added Ritsch's "so, long" email after first publishing the post.
At TFA, Ritsch will be replacing Aimée Eubanks Davis as head of TFA’s Public Affairs and Engagement team. She's moving over to head Beyond Z, a new student leadership and 21st century skill building initiative she launched last year.
Related posts: Debating Valerie Strauss (& Education); Who Are Education's Biggest Trolls (Besides Me)?; About That Front-Page Washington Post Story; Education's Huffington Post; Parent Trigger: An "Easy" Button For Parents & Kids.
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.”
More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.
No surprise that President Obama is going to announce his big deportation relief plan at a Las Vegas high school, given that a whopping 18 percent of kids in Nevada schools have at least one parent without documentation. That's according to a Pew study that HuffPost's Rebecca Klein wrote about yesterday. Read all about it here. Image used with permission.
East Coast types might think that how things are playing out in New York is how they're playing out nationally, but these new poll results from California (USC via EdSource) show widespread (though declining) unfamiliarity among the public about the Common Core and a wide range of views on the standards. To see the poll data itself, click here, find the link, download a copy and find the charts you want on page 2. Images used with permission. Anyone seen state by state polling data comparing views from one place to another?
3 reasons Common Core is especially controversial in New York - Vox http://ow.ly/E7lXk
EdWeek bill tracker shows 2 Common Core rollback proposals have made it into law (so far) http://ow.ly/E7yIU They're MO & NC
Head of Tulane-affiliated think tank (& former Chicago charter guru) John Ayers quits after release of flawed study http://ow.ly/E7EWc
Salman Khan is changing the way kids learn - Portrait by Annie Leibovitz http://vnty.fr/11e1mfV
All this and more at @alexanderrusso.
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
Rhetoric aside, and excepting a couple of spots like Chicago, the national unions and most union locals have continued to work with states, districts, and Common Core developers to familiarize teachers with the new standards being rolled out in schools around the country.
That's the main finding from my new Education Next article just online today. Behind the hyperbolic headlines, and despite the efforts of critics within the unions and from the outside, much of the work with unions nationally and locally seems to have continued - much to the frustration of social justice advocates who wanted to de-fund these efforts.
The piece includes insights from advocates like Bob Rothman, developers like Sandra Alberti (of SAP), funders like Lynn Olson (Gates), and union officials like Marla Ucelli-Kayshup (AFT) and Donna Harris-Aikens (NEA) who have been working on the standards implementation process. One of the main points that came up repeatedly was that unions haven't generally joined with Republicans to oppose the Common Core process -- Chicago, New York, and Tennessee being exceptions.
“The biggest threat to the Common Core is not that states will pull out” under union pressures, argues Rothman. “The biggest threat is states that stay in but don’t do much to implement the standards.”
Education Secretary Duncan talks tech with L.A. Unified's Cortines LA Times: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a brief visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, met with newly installed L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines to talk about local technology problems and the state of local schools.
Education secretary says time to debate preschool is over KPCC: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a conference of preschool advocates in Los Angeles Tuesday that the value of early education to young children is undisputed and the effort should shift to expanding it to more kids.
Baker, Coakley to Face off in Gubernatorial Debate AP: GOP's Baker, Democrat Coakley face each other in debate in race for Massachusetts governor
Schools Face Fears of Ebola, Drop in Attendance Texas Tribune: Fear over possible exposure to Ebola has triggered campus closures in some Texas school districts and additional safety measures at many more in the almost three weeks since a Dallas hospital diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States.
Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds NYT: With funding formulas that cap or redirect local property tax revenues to state coffers, some places are looking for other ways to capture local money.
New York City Council to Look at School Segregation NYT: Though the Council has very limited power over public schools, the bill’s sponsors say they do have the ability to increase the volume of the conversation.
Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing Hechinger Report: Steve Jobs once called the personal computer “a bicycle for our minds,” a tool that helps us go farther with the same amount of energy. But for many teachers, it has been a bumpy ride.
New York Schools Chancellor Replaces 8 Superintendents NYT: The major personnel reshuffling was the first since Chancellor Carmen Fariña took over in January.
Why Patrick Henry High is the perfect school to host Michelle Obama MinnPost: There are any number of reasons why Henry deserves the spotlight, including academic indicators that have earned it the state’s “reward” label — designating it as a school where students are able to achieve despite a 90 percent poverty rate.
A couple of weeks ago PBS NewsHour education correspondent John Merrow rightly pointed out that the moratorium on high-stakes use of testing to judge teachers was a start of sorts at addressing the overtesting that seems to have creeped into some American schools -- but still lacked a plan for any future action (So There’s A Moratorium. Now What?).
"This very limited moratorium means that scores on the new Common Core standardized tests won’t be used to evaluate teachers in many places. That’s what some might call a necessary but hardly sufficient action This moratorium doesn’t mean that a truce has been called between the warring sides in the battle over teacher job protection and evaluation. That war is ongoing, sadly. And this moratorium doesn’t mean that school districts are now going to examine the role or amount of standardized bubble testing."
Towards further examination of overtesting -- the numbers and definitions out there so far are thin and uneven -- Merrow proposes a quick fill-in-the-blank questionnaire for superintendents around the country and suggests the National State Teachers of the Year to popularize the effort:
Yes, it's another test :-) But something like this is probably going to have to happen, eventually. We need more information about what's going on out there -- and it's not students who will have to take this one.
Last winter, I urged EdSec Duncan to get out in front of this and do some sort of audit (Unsolicited Suggestions). A former Hill insider clued me in that the Senate ESEA proposal included something along those lines (National Audit Of Testing Proposed By Senate). Still no word on whether the USDE would endorse or even implement such a thing.
Conventional wisdom has it that the current reform movement started in 1983 with the release of the Nation At Risk report, but EdWeek makes a pretty good case with this piece (Historic Summit Fueled Push for K-12 Standards - Education Week) that a better starting point would be 25 years ago (1989) in Charlottesville, Va.
Penned by Alyson Klein, the EdWeek piece reaches back to some of the folks involved in the 1989 summit and some of those who're working on national standards today. In a few cases - Achieve's Mike Cohen, for example -- they are still working at it.
My old boss, Jeff Bingaman, was a committed member of the National Education Goals Panel, which was one of the entities that came out of the standards movement of that time, and was a strong advocate for the voluntary national assessment that President Clinton proposed funding in his second administration in order to provide cross-state comparisons beyond NAEP and give the national standards that were being developed some extra emphasis in schools and districts.
Check it out. It seems so long ago, it's almost a dream. But it wasn't that long ago -- and many of the same issues are part of Common Core and whatever happens next. Image used with permission. Image used with permission from the Bush Presidential Library.
Watch Couric explain Common Core standards and then watch Arne Duncan take questions from Yahoo! News about the politics of it all (esp. Bobby Jindal).
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).
The students who brought this lawsuit are, unfortunately, just nine out of millions of young people in America who are disadvantaged by laws, practices and systems that fail to identify and support our best teachers. -- Arne Duncan responding to #Vergara decision as quoted in the WSJ (Teachers Unions Under Fire)
Wow! I agree with Mike Petrilli on two big issues in one week! The revocation of Oklahoma’s NCLB Waiver, based on our repeal of Common Core, is a “terrible decision.”
I mostly agree with Petrilli’s thoughtful address to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. In an effort to understand the anti-reform backlash, he asks where his movement went wrong.
Most schools aren’t failing; the bigger problem is mediocrity. Most “failing” schools have teachers who are probably as good as those in higher-performing schools.
I taught in “dropout factories, the dangerous schools …,” and my colleagues were far better teachers than those of my childhood. In the 1990s, our Curriculum Department and professional development were awesome.
But, Petrilli gets the second part of his diagnosis backwards. My schools responded to “wave after wave of reform.” Those half-baked reforms made them worse.
I share Petrilli’s doubt that districts can replicate the few successful high-performing charter schools. He might also be right; in ten or twenty years, high-poverty systems may be dominated by charter schools.
But, that would be the double nightmare scenario - bad for more kids in "No Excuses" charters and worse for students left behind in even more awful concentrations of poverty and trauma. High-performing charters have contributed to a “neo-Plessyism” which is bad for all constituencies.
The New Republic wonders if this is "the political photo of the year," which it probably isn't. But it's still a prettyeye-catching image. (Michelle Obama Tours Brown v. Board National Historic Site)
Percentage of U.S. public-school students/teachers who are racial or ethnic minorities : 42 percent /18 percent ow.ly/ySCj2
The National Education Association annual conference approved a national campaign for equity and against "Toxic Testing." It seeks to end the "test, blame and punish" system that began under President Bush and which has grown worse under the Obama administration. As outgoing NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says, "The testing fixation has reached the point of insanity," The delegates then called on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.
Hopefully the American Federation of Teachers national conference will do the same this month.
The AFT should help the press write its lede. It sould adopt the same language, word for word, in order to make the key point. Both unions are on the exact same page in terms of testing and Duncan.
Nuance is appropriate when teachers discuss issues like Common Core standards or how we should deal with edu-philanthropy. But, the jury is in on the damage done by high-stakes testing. And, dumping Duncan is a doable shortterm objective. Let's also unite in sharing the bows when we finally force President Obama, who we helped elect and reelect, to repudiate his appointee who personifies complete fidelity to corporate reform. - JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.
Collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped build America’s middle class. I’ve seen firsthand as Education Secretary that collaborating with unions and their state and local affiliates helps improve outcomes for students. The President and I remain committed to defending collective bargaining rights. - Arne Duncan (Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Harris v. Quinn Ruling)
Catherine Brown has been named to head the education policy team at the Democratic think tank Center on American Progress.
At CAP, Brown will report to Carmel Martin, who held the job until she was promoted to head of domestic policy.
Martin's previous job was as head of policy and planning at the USDE.
That's the job Brown's husband Robert Gordon has been named to take.
To recap: Brown replaces Martin. Brown's husband replaces Martin.
Plus: Does this mean Clinton's looking left for education advice in 2016?
Previous posts: Policy Wonk Named OMB Education PAD; Flashback To 2005 (How Much Has Changed?); On The Move: Miller Staffer Heads ...; NYT Covers Wedding of NYC DOE & DFER Couple; Power Couples: Emily & David Sirota.
NEA president blasts reformers Politico: Van Roekel referred to a full-page ad in USA Today that urged citizens to sue to “stop teachers unions from treating kids like garbage” and today's story inPOLITICO about the decline in union influence.
Duncan issues new statement with the ‘right lessons’ from Vergara trial Washington Post: In case you weren’t sure what to think about last week’s verdict in the “Vergara trial” — in which a Los Angeles court judge tossed out state statutes giving job protections to teachers — Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued a new statement on Sunday offering what he thinks are the “right lessons” from the case.
Home-Schooling Parents Rally Against Common Core AP: Home-schooling parents motivated in opposition to Common Core standards
L.A. school unions back separate candidates in Board of Education race LA Times: The two largest school employee unions in Los Angeles are on different sides of a key Board of Education race, as they maneuver for leverage over pay raises, job security and other matters.
Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes NYT: Chrispin Alcindor, a Brooklyn fourth grader, was once a top student. But rigorous new academic standards — and the exams that accompany them — have frayed his confidence.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso)
You can argue that some of the OTHER things the Obama administration has done constitute something of an over-reach, but not on standards. -- Achieve's Mike Cohen speaking at #EWA154 (at roughly the 8:33 mark)
There's a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read -- but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that's cobbled together in the piece isn't entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).
Basically, the Post's piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core's rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates "pulled off" the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift.
"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes." Both left and right -- Diane Ravitch and NRO's Stanley Kurtz -- are already calling for Congressional hearings.
Gates' support is clear, and no doubt played a role. There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece. But let's be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn't merely a function of Gates' enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that.
I love Michelle Obama as much as I remain loyal to her husband, despite his awful test and punish education policy. When the First Lady is attacked, I am angered almost as much as when the Obama administration assaults public education.
The issues underlying both Michelle Obama's Let's Move healthy schools campaign, and President Obama's corporate school reform are equally complicated.
Time Magazine's Jay Newton-Small, in Michelle Obama Bites Back at Critics of Her Healthy School Lunch Standards, reports that a million fewer students ate school lunches in the first year of the program. The bigger problem is anecdotes and twitter photo campaigns featuring students who want their junk food back.
In light of the House Republicans' assault on anti-obesity efforts, Burkhard Bilger's 2006 New Yorker article, The Lunch Room Rebellion, should now be reread. As the First Lady explains, the "stakes couldn't be higher" in the battle to improve children's health, so the fight is worth it. But, given the difficulty Bilger described in providing nutritious meals in the affluent Berkeley, California schools, we must prepare for a long, frustrating struggle.
Bilger told how a "haute cuisine chef," Ann Cooper, got schooled when she brought nutritious meals that were a hit in a progressive private school to a public system. Cooper's biggest problem was that children's food tastes (not unlike some of their learning habits) are established before they enter school. But, a seemingly absurd combination of political and institutional dynamics created unforeseen complications, even in a system where only 40% of students were eligible for free or reduced lunch.
Sec. Duncan amplifies [State Superintendent] King’s comments on segregation in city schools Chalkbeat: Duncan focused his remarks on the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and tied the continued push to implement tougher standards and increase accountability for teachers and schools to the need to address continued school segregation.
For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field NYT: The United States, which lags most other industrial nations in educational performance, also has a persistent gulf in the test results between the rich and the poor.
Arne Duncan: Closing education gaps 'moral imperative' Knoxville News Sentinel: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, right, looks on as fifth grade students work at the board during a visit to Brick Church College Prep on Tuesday in Nashville.
Delays Allowed on Healthier Lunches AP: The Agriculture Department will allow some schools to delay adding more whole-grain foods to meals this year, responding to criticism from school officials and Congress that the standards were too difficult to meet.
Bailout for teachers' pensions to cost California school districts LA Times: California's public school districts could face difficult cutbacks if state officials move forward with a plan to bail out the retirement fund for teachers, officials and educators say, but even those painful steps may fall short of curing the pension deficit if investments don't meet...
Why aren’t high school students graduating? New report sheds light PBS NewsHour: According to the report, 30 percent of participants said abuse was a major factor in their decision to leave high school–22 percent cited homelessness and 18 percent cited spending time in juvenile detention.
Video: Yearbook Devoted to Students With Children Sparks Outrage NBC News: Parents in Mesa, Ariz., upset over high school yearbook pages dedicated to students who have children, or who are expectant parents. KPNX reporter Krystle Henderson has the story. (NBC News)
Task Force Recommends Pushing Maryland Schools Start Date To After Labor Day WAMU: Comptroller Peter Franchot is praising a vote by a state task force to recommend a longer summer break for Maryland students.
D.C. approves three new charter schools Washington Post: The D.C. Public Charter School Board has approved three new charter schools: a residential school meant for children in foster care, a K-8 school targeted at students with special needs, and a middle school that emphasizes international education and foreign language.
University Of Phoenix Owner Buys Stake In South African For-Profit College BuzzFeed: Laureate Education, an under-the-radar-private company in the United States, is the biggest player in the international market, with more than 800,000 students in 30 different countries. And earlier this year, massively open online course provider Coursera hired a new CEO, Richard Levin, in hopes of raising their profile in China and elsewhere.
LA school board ousts iPad critic from oversight commitee KPCC: Stuart Magruder, an architect, had unsuccessfully attempted to halt the iPad program's growth last fall after the district purchased 31,000 tablets for its pilot.
Race for California school chief a referendum on change AP va LA School Report: The two agree the state spends too little on education, favor giving local districts more discretion about how to use their funding and share support for the Common Core State Standards, the national learning benchmarks that have generated a backlash over whether they undermine states’ rights.
More education news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.
"Missouri is on the verge of revoking its common-standards adoption...The newest addition to the "considering-unadoption" states is South Carolina." (EdWeek: Revoking the Common Standards: An Idea Under Consideration in Several States)
"In a report for the Hamilton Project, they propose allocating $400 million over five years to competitive program that would select forty cities, in each of which a local nonprofit would offer the program to 500 youths." (How Chicago is using psychotherapy to fight crime — and winning Vox)