We've got to say to our children, 'Yes, if you're African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher, yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that somebody in a wealthy suburb does not have to face. But that's not a reason to get bad grades, that's not a reason to cut class, that's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands -- you cannot forget that.'
- President Obama speaking to the NAACP via ABC News (President Obama to NAACP: "No Excuses")
"Meant to promote the first lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative, 'This Is For My Girls' grabbed headlines when it was first released but hasn’t quite stuck in the public consciousness since then."
"While prison spending has risen three times as quickly as school spending nationally, in some states the disparities are far greater. In Colorado, prison spending rose five times faster than school spending. Prison spending grew six times more quickly in South Dakota and seven times in Wyoming. In Texas, where the disparity is greatest, prison spending grew at nearly eight times the rate as school spending."
From the Washington Post (The states that spend more money on prisoners than college students)
Detroit leads major districts in absences - AP pllqt.it/HoRdtb
NYC Schools Punished Teenagers for Being Victims of Sexual Assault, Complaints Say - NYT ow.ly/YwJp3016gjJ
Michigan legislature approves $617 million bailout package for Detroit schools - The Washington Postow.ly/xqN23017NYU
When the Doors to A Dual Language School Don't Feel Open to Everyone - WNYC ow.ly/QqmQ3017Qkd
Common, Yo-Yo Ma, Arne Duncan promote 'reimagining high school' | Chicago Sun-Times ow.ly/O2En3017QIh
Emergency meeting set as incoming Pittsburgh schools superintendent's future uncertain | TribLIVE ow.ly/rXI53017L33
Malia Obama graduates from high school this week | PBS NewsHour ow.ly/6mqm3017QKh
Former EdSec Arne Duncan Joins Board Of Pluralsight | Fast Company | Business + Innovation pllqt.it/QiMQgN
The emerging alliance between teachers unions and Republicans runs against decades of built-up cultural distrust. But the interests of the two partners are closely aligned...[And it's] not the first instance of this alliance in action.
- NY Mag's Jonathan Chait (Who’s Blocking Obama From Helping Poor Schools?)
Battle Raging Over Implementation of Every Student Succeeds Act | US News ow.ly/7EIh300mAYa
LAUSD administrative staff jumps 22 percent even as enrollment drops - LA School Report ow.ly/MEXY300mLSv
Wisconsin Supreme Court Affirms Power of State Superintendent - State EdWatch - Education Week ow.ly/Aua5300mAIF
Online School Enriches Affiliated Companies if Not Its Students - The New York Times ow.ly/MwXc300mAtj
Curious about the ESSA funding debate but not sure where to start or why to care? Let me see if I can help sort the substantive, political, and other aspects of the story out for you -- and point you towards and even more obscure part of ESSA that may make the current debate moot.
As you may already know, Senator Alexander and several education groups (including the teachers unions) are strongly opposed to an ESSA rule that the Obama education department has developed. No doubt, requiring districts to document equitable funding outcomes for Title I schools would require a series of changes for states and districts.
In extremely simplified terms, the Obama rule would require that states and districts show that they weren't spending more money on poorer schools* than less poor ones. Complying with the requirement could result in large-scale transfers of teachers, cutting of programs at middle-poverty schools, and other unwanted outcomes.
In establishing this requirement, the Obama rule goes against the flow of play these days, which under ESSA generally limits the USDE's role in overseeing the states and districts and how they use roughly $15 billion a year in federal education funding. According to ESSA, districts are relieved of having to identify specific services as supplemental and the USDE is specifically prohibited from requiring a “specific methodology” for distributing state and local funds.
Ed Week has covered this a number of times, including these two pieces (Education Secretary Advocates Robust ESSA Rules Amid GOP Backlash, Report to Congress: Proposed Spending Rules Appear to Exceed ESSA Language). An NPR story this morning (The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money) adds that Senator Alexander has told states to resist this regulation if it isn't changed or stopped through other means. A NYT piece by New America's Kevin Carey (Why There’s an Uproar Over Trying to Increase Funding for Poor Schools) tells the backstory and makes the case in favor of the Obama position.
During a phone interview earlier this morning, Carey explained that the crafty folks at the USDE decided that the new law didn’t block them from requiring states to document comparable outcomes, as long as they didn’t meddle in the methods. “It’s a new and very different interpretation of the ‘supplement, not supplant’ rule,” according to Carey – but not an unjustifiable one. (On Twitter, economist Bruce Baker took issue with Carey's analysis, and the original headline of the piece [Why Poor Districts Receive Less Government School Funding Than Rich Ones] was quickly changed.)
It comes down to semantics, really. If ESSA bans the USDE from establishing any specific method of allocating funding, does that also mean that it can’t require the resulting amounts to be equitable?
Nine Democratic Senators (including Senator Sanders and Senator Warren) are supporting the Obama position. A group of civil rights organizations is also supportive.
We still don't know where Senator Murray and Hillary Clinton stand on the issue -- I've asked the Clinton campaign and will let you know when they respond.
It’s worth adding that the Obama administration has made regular use of whatever flexibility it can find in federal law in the past. The 2009 Race to the Top initiative, the SIG program, and the NCLB waiver program all stretched – or perhaps broke – the limits of the USDE’s statutory and regulatory powers.
In pushing ahead with this ESSA rule the Obama administration could be seen as creating problems for the Clinton campaign. It certainly isn't taking a backseat and giving the presumptive nominee as much maneuvering room as possible.
Even if the USDE blinks first, funding expert Marguerite Roza argues in the Brookings blog that a transparency provision put into the law by Senator Bennet is going to end up having much the same effect (More equitable spending on its way regardless of rulemaking).
Roza argues that, when differentials between schools are finally published, it will become difficult for lawmakers to continue doing what they've done for so long:
"When the spending data are daylighted, the evidence will be clear that many districts have hardwired systematic spending inequities in their operations.... School boards will have no choice but to do the hard work of rethinking longstanding policies that contributed to the uneven spending."
*Correction: The original version stated poorer districts, not schools.
Normally, teachers unions and school advocates support Democratic politicians and are the mortal enemies of conservative Republicans. Yet this time, they found an enthusiastic supporter in Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
-- Kevin Carey in the NYT (Why Poor Districts Receive Less Government School Funding Than Rich Ones)
U.S. Directs Public Schools to Allow Transgender Access to Restrooms nyti.ms/1WtMvrd
See also: Reaction To White House Directive On Transgender Bathrooms : NPR ow.ly/6cM2300a7Jc
USDE says it's trying to protect poor children. A senator says they’re trying to break the law. - WashPost ow.ly/Q78T300a7BL
Report: California’s charter schools lag behind traditional schools in graduating students | EdSource ow.ly/b3ar300a8br
CA schools will soon be on the hook for things like suspensions, attendance and graduation rates - LA Times ow.ly/eHlY3008Sc3
Va. governor moves to upend traditional high school - The Washington Post ow.ly/29mq300a7ww
DC School Chief's Plea for Contractor Cash Draws Complaint - ABC News ow.ly/Kl5l300a7Py
Principals bracing to lose 20 percent in school budgets | Chicago Sun-Times ow.ly/qo8L300a8i5
More Chicago kids live in 'affluence bubble' than in most U.S. cities - Crain's Chicago Business ow.ly/XBsq300a7xo
Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods more likely to see local schools close. | USAPP pllqt.it/0eRQ4i
NAACP in St. Petersburg calls for Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego to resign | Tampa Bay Times ow.ly/kJWs3008SeE
Watch the video above and read this story from The Seventy Four about the looming fight over Title I funding under ESSA.
Yesterday was the 6th and final Science day at the Obama White House. This is from the first. The demonstration already seems a little quaint, but the President's reaction is pretty timeless.
Education Secretary John King: It's Time To Stop Ignoring The Arts And Sciences ow.ly/10EBxt
Teacher Tenure Is Challenged Again in a Minnesota Lawsuit - The New York Times ow.ly/10EAmN
In San Juan, San Jose and Poway, districts & unions innovate to evaluate teachers | EdSource ow.ly/10EBFr
New York considering using scores on AP exams and SAT subject tests in evaluations | Chalkbeat ow.ly/10EByM
These 3 California school districts allow staff to pack guns to work - LA Times ow.ly/10EBB9
The Trump Effect': Hatred, Fear And Bullying On The Rise In Schools ow.ly/10EBDC
Broadway's 'Hamilton' Makes Its Way Into NYC's High School Curriculum : NPR ow.ly/10EAor
Balloon ‘spacecraft,’ prosthetic limbs and subway vacuums thrill White House science fair wpo.st/ZCKU1
In case you missed it (like I did), here's a picture of President Obama greeting newly-official EdSec John King in the Oval Office last week.
Senate Confirms John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: King had been serving as acting secretary since the start of this year after taking over for former Secretary Arne Duncan. The vote in the Senate was 49-40. See also LA Times, Washington Post, AP.
NYC Charters Retain Students Better Than Traditional Schools WNYC: New York City charter schools retain more of their students, on average, than traditional public schools, according to Department of Education data obtained and analyzed by WNYC. Kipp and Icahn had the lowest comparable rates for middle school grades, too, among the big networks. We found most of Success's 18 schools in the 2013-14 school year had attrition rates that were lower than those of their local districts.
LAUSD turns down 'parent trigger' bid at southeast LA elementary school KPCC: District leaders rejected the petition from parents at 20th Street Elementary School because, according to a letter officials sent the group on Saturday, the school is not subject to the California law that lets parents force changes at a low-performing school where their children attend — if they can gather enough signatures. See also LA School Report.
Failing grade? Trial over Florida's schools finally starts AP: A showdown over Florida's public schools that began Monday in a Tallahassee courtroom is expected to delve into whether the changes pushed by Republican governors and a GOP-controlled Legislature over the last two decades helped or hurt the state's school children....
Alaska’s Schools Face Cuts at Every Level Over Oil Collapse NYT: Educators and state officials said a reckoning over policies and promises made in a different era, under different circumstances, has arrived.
Seven Schools Meet Higher Diversity Goals in Fall Acceptances WNYC: The seven New York City elementary schools participating in a pilot program to diversify their student bodies met their goals for next year’s kindergarten admissions in all but one case, education officials told WNYC, meaning their youngest students will be substantially more diverse than the year before.
Study: States Leave Out College Readiness Factors That Matter Most EdWeek: An Achieve study finds that states' accountability systems leave out factors that best indicate whether students are ready for college.
Senate Education Committee Votes to Advance Education Secretary Nominee PK12: Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. is one step closer to being a full-fledged cabinet official with Wednesday's 16-6 vote by the Senate education committee. See also Washington Post.
Merryl Tisch, Board of Regents Chief Who Set Off Testing Backlash, Reflects on Her Tenure NYT: Dr. Tisch, who is stepping down this month, said she tried to do too much, too fast during her time as chancellor, but justified her sense of urgency.
Educators on front line of desegregation debate say city must take the lead Chalkbeat: "The segregation wasn’t organic, and the integration is not going to be organic either,” said Jill Bloomberg, the principal of Park Slope Collegiate, a grade 6-12 school in a gentrifying part of Brooklyn where many schools remain racially isolated.
2 Baltimore School Officers Arrested in Assault on Teenager NYT: A video shows one of the officers slapping and kicking a young man at a school as the other officer stands by.
L.A. County report on special education sees 'crisis' LA Times: Some students with disabilities in Los Angeles County are getting shortchanged by the bureaucracy that is supposed to ensure they receive a good education, according to a consultant’s report discussed on Tuesday.
Arizona Set to Provide Districts a 'Menu' of Standardized Tests State EdWatch: The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to provide all students in grades 3-8 just the same exam.
Lead fear forces water ban in 30 New Jersey school buildings AP: Elevated levels of lead caused officials in New Jersey's largest school district on Wednesday to shut off water fountains at 30 school buildings until more tests are conducted, but officials said they don't believe the contamination poses any serious health risks....
This Kansas high school student must pay back $3,000 after smugglers helped him leave Guatemala WNYC: This sophomore in Kansas from Guatemala juggles algebra — and the reality that he must soon pay the smuggling fee he owes from coming to the United States.
The marshmallow gun demonstration from 2012 is still my favorite -- along with the one of him raising his hand in class to ask a question (which is inexplicably left out of this compilation).
"Michelle Obama casually jaunted into a classroom at John Burroughs Elementary School in Northeast Washington wearing a three-quarters sleeved baseball-style blouse." (She also learns that modern-day kids in some schools are taught to snap when they approve of something.)
"Boston is one of the first 10 cities to launch the initiative, along with Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Miami; New York City; Philadelphia; Providence, Rhode Island; San Antonio; and Seattle." (White House Sets Out to Fight Chronic Absenteeism - US News). See also Washington Post.
From last night's PBS NewsHour/EdWeek: "New changes to an FCC program could help schools by offering to fund fiber networks of their own." (How schools with the slowest Internet could get re-wired)
Obama to Officially Nominate John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee, has been urging the White House to officially nominate someone to succeed former Secretary Arne Duncan, since back in December. See also AP, Washington Post.
D.C. accidentally uploads private data of 12,000 students Washington Post: According to the memo, someone in the office uploaded the data to a public D.C. Council Dropbox account ahead of a council hearing on the Individual Education Program, which provides tailored education plans for students with special needs. All 12,000 students, who attend public and charter schools in kindergarten through 12th grades, have such individual education plans.
Science Teachers’ Grasp of Climate Change Is Found Lacking NYT: A survey of 1,500 teachers in the United States found that on average they spend just one to two hours on average over the course of an academic year.
As The Water Crisis Continues, Flint's Superintendent Looks Forward NPR: While the damage from lead in Flint's water is not yet known, even low levels can be harmful to children. The Michigan city's superintendent of schools says he's bracing for an uncertain future.
ACT essay scores are inexplicably low, causing uproar among college-bound students Washington Post: Some students earn great marks overall -- at or near the top score of 36 -- but are graded in the low 20s for writing.
On Video, a First Grader, a Stumble in Math and a Teacher’s Anger NYT: At Success Academy, the charter school network in New York City, current and former educators say the quest for high scores drives some of them over the line.
Two years in, Carmen Fariña measures her progress by grad rates & grateful emails Chalkbeat: Many educators and parents praise Fariña’s school-by-school approach, saying they feel respected and reassured by her intimate knowledge of the system. But her critics often scoff at it. Those who identify as education reformers (a label Fariña also applies to herself) say her theory of change is too incremental and founded on experience over research, while some principals complain about micromanaging.
Fresh off the heels of news that the public supports them more than City Hall, Chicago teachers rallied downtown. From WTTW Chicago Public Television.
See also WGN TV interview of former EdSec Arne Duncan interviewed about Chicago, unfinished business, and what he might do next.
Or, watch this PBS NewsHour segment on the Oklahoma universal preschool program.
Six years ago yesterday, Arne Duncan made what is arguably the biggest gaffe of his entire tenure, talking about Hurricane Katrina. It was a big one, no doubt, and might have represented something of a turning point in media coverage of Duncan and educators' perceptions of him. But it was also one of very few mistakes like these that I can recall him making. The only other that comes to mind is the time he came out in favor of same-sex marriage before President Obama.
Six years ago, Arne Duncan was getting the New Yorker treatment. Seven years ago, he was going through an unusually easy confirmation process.
The confirmation hearing was so boring I spent most of the time making screengrabs and lame comments about folks sitting behind Duncan in the hearing room:
"Sneaking a peak at the ole Blackberry while Senator Alexander is talking." [
As you may recall from Duncan Gets The New Yorker Treatment that came out a year later, I didn't think much of the New Yorker piece: "By and large, it's the Spellings treatment all over again. Homey details, celebrity name-dropping, and lots of backstory about Duncan's childhood. There's also the familiar effort to puff Duncan up over his "unprecedented" budget and his buddy-buddy status with the POTUS, as well as the (to my mind) overheated notion that we're on the verge of some great age of education reform."
Around that time, I was also touting this Slate article about Obama's detached relationships with people and institutions and a 2008 piece I'd written about Obama's elusive support for local control in Chicago schools.
A discussion that began with shared interests and shared values – the importance of learning and growth for all our children – ended up with a lot of teachers feeling attacked and blamed... And when [teachers] disagreed with evaluation systems, it appeared to pit them against those who they cherished most – their students... That was no one's desire.
-- Acting EdSec John King in US News (King Apologizes for Politicized Education Atmosphere)
Most of Detroit's Public Schools Close Amid Teacher Sick-Out AP: Most of Detroit's public schools are closed Wednesday due to teacher absences, as disgruntled educators step up efforts to protest the governor's plans for the district, its ramshackle finances and dilapidated buildings.
U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh Obama Deferred-Action Immigration PolicyEdWeek: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would take up the Obama administration's policy offering relief for undocumented immigrant parents of children who are U.S. citizens. The case may also affect a related policy regarding undocumented children, and is connected to a larger debate over immigration policies that has drawn in students, educators, and schools in multiple ways.
Obama Proposes Expansion of Pell Grants to Spur College Completion Washington Post: The Obama administration proposed Tuesday to expand the Pell grant program for college students in financial need, giving them new incentives to take a full schedule of courses year-round in an effort to boost graduation rates.
The President Wants Every Student To Learn Computer Science. How Would That Work? NPR: Adding a new, complex, technical subject to the curriculum won't be easy. We hear from students, teachers, entrepreneurs and educators about the challenges.
Here's the long-awaited four-minute StoryCorps audio from that conversation between Arne Duncan and former mentee Lawanda Crayton (Former U.S. Education Secretary Says Mentoring Kids Matters).
You can also watch outgoing LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines in a recent interview.
School funding efforts don't get much (enough) media attention, but they're out there and the National Education Access Network at Teachers College Columbia has a map that can get you started figuring out where the action is, plus a newsletter and state updates.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently reported that education funding hasn't recovered since the recession, and the new and expected federal funding levels don't seem likely to change things dramatically.
Here's an AP segment with highlights of the Obama speech before the actual signing of the bill into law.
Or, click the link to watch EdWeek's Alyson Klein explain what the law does and doesn't change on the PBS NewsHour.
But really you owe it to yourself to watch this CollegeHumor video urging kids to go to college featuring Pharoah and some rapping from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Obama signs education law rewrite shifting power to states AP: Calling it a "Christmas miracle," President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law on Thursday, ushering in a new approach to accountability, teacher evaluations and the way the most poorly performing schools are pushed to improve. See also Washington Post, NYT, NPR, EdWeek, NPR.
State Chiefs' ESSA Accountability Pledge: 'There Will Be No Backpedaling' PK12: So what do state superintendents plan to do with the new power they'll have under the Every Student Succeeds Act? And how much do they see accountability changing?
Some States' Share of Federal Teacher Funds Will Shrink Under ESSA TeacherBeat: The change to the Title II program will benefit Southern states, while Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, among others, will see their allocations shrink.
Cuomo Panel Calls for Further Retreat From Common Core Standards NYT: The panel, in recommendations released on Thursday, is calling for changes in what New York State students learn and how they are assessed. See also WNYC, The Seventy Four.
Divided On Arrival: Even In Diverse Schools, New Immigrants Face Bullying WAMU: Immigrant students face a number of challenges coming to the U.S., and as some Montgomery County schools are finding, young people face bullying, fights and attempts to "otherize" them.
Achievement gap in D.C. starts in infancy, report shows Washington Post: New report shows stark disparities in the health and well-being of infants and toddlers in the city's richest and poorest neighborhoods.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Kudos to Shree for pointing out the ironic juxtaposition of today's signing of the new NCLB into law and the release of a CBPP report showing state and local education funding cuts in recent years.
As the new CBPP report shows, states and districts have struggled mightily to bring education funding levels back since the Stimulus expired.
Meantime, federal funding for education programs has decreased 10 percent.
These realities are problematic enough.'
The lack of requirements or incentives for states to increase education in the new version of the federal education law is one of the least-noted concerns out there.
In addition, the vague and complicated relationship between the law and state education efforts in the new version of the law creates little political incentive for lawmakers to support education funding at the federal level.
The idea that we would pass a major piece of legislation about education and, in effect, shovel money into states and say 'Do with it what you want', and not have some accountability for how that money is spent, I think, is appalling.
-- MA Senator Elizabeth Warren in NPR (Goodbye, No Child Left Behind)
[The conference version of the NCLB overhaul] puts [President Obama] in a difficult position to be signing onto something that clearly empowers states to be less aggressive in addressing inequity.
-- Peter Cunningham, former assistant secretary at the Education Department and a past adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan (quoted in Politico (Growing anxiety on left over NCLB deal)
Or, listen to this WAMU segment on Kaya Henderson's five-year tenure as head of DC Public Schools.
Or, check out this WHYY Philadelphia story about a magnet school dropping its admissions criteria as part of a school consolidation plan.
"While not everybody was thrilled at the public invitation via Twitter, the President made good on his promise, hosting Mohamed and 300 other students for the White House’s second “Astronomy Night” on Monday. (Mediaite). See Twitter for images of the POTUS and the Texas student.
Most states show increase in high school graduation rates AP: High school graduation rates for most states continue to improve, according to preliminary data released Monday by the Obama administration.... See also Washington Post.
White House hosts Texas student arrested for homemade clock Washington Post: The president and Ahmed did not have a formal meeting at the White House Monday, but they spoke briefly during the Astronomy Night event, according to the Associated Press.
Graduation Rate Gap Between Black And White Students Is Closing In Most States HuffPost: Thirty-six states experienced an increase in graduation rates, while six saw decreases, according to a press release from the Education Department. Twenty-eight states saw decreases in the graduation rate gap between black and white students, as shown in the graph below.
Michelle Obama announces new education push WBEZ Chicago: Michelle Obama is continuing her push to get every young person to pursue some form of higher education. At the White House Monday, the First Lady is expected to launch a new public awareness campaign geared toward students aged 14 to 19. See also Tubefilter.
Arne Duncan, John King Talk Higher Graduation Rates, ESEA, and Testing PK12: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a piece of good news to announce on his way out the door: High school graduation rates appear to be on track to rise for the third year in a row.
How one Chicago high school built a college culture WBEZ: To catch up, Gallick started making college part of the conversation at Washington. The school staged a phonathon, reaching out to parents to answer their questions about applications and financial aid.
Seattle School Board races: Transparency, funding issues loom large Seattle Times: At least three and possibly four of the Seattle School Board’s seven members will be newcomers after the November election.
State labor panel to file injunction in charter school unionization push LA Times: Leaders of United Teachers Los Angeles had asked the Public Employment Relations Board to seek the injunction, accusing Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter organization, of intimidating employees, denying organizers access to school buildings and blocking emails. In its request, the union said there would be irreparable harm if the courts did not intervene.
Noble maps out massive charter school expansion, feds support it WBEZ Chicago: Despite a financial crisis in Chicago Public Schools and increasingly organized opposition to the prospect of more charter schools, Chicago’s largest charter network has plans for a massive expansion in the city, according to a successful grant application it submitted to the federal government.
New York City Seeks Teacher Evaluation Waiver WNYC: "We want to make sure that our teacher development and evaluation system is high quality and works best for students, teachers and school communities as a whole," said Devora Kaye, spokeswoman for the Department of Education. "Learning to implement a brand new system of teacher development and evaluation at this time would not be best for students and school communities."
Nevada Fights Against ACLU Suit Over Voucher-Like Program AP: The program, which is considered the broadest school choice program in the country because it's not limited by factors such as family income, allows parents to claim most of their child's per-pupil state education funding and use it toward private school tuition or other qualified education expenses.
As Campus Fears Rise, So Do Efforts to Enact School Gun Laws NYT: While California passed a ban on concealed weapons at schools, other states considered bills to ease restrictions on concealed firearms on campus.
Brooklyn Mother Fights for Changes After Disabled Son Misses Graduation by One Point NYT: New York State students who come within three points of passing a Regents exam can appeal in certain cases, but that option isn’t available to some disabled students.
How a diverse yet divided school blended ‘segregated’ classes Seattle Times: After experiencing a striking racial imbalance, Leschi Elementary altered a popular program that had drawn white families to a traditionally black school.
Keeping Black Men In Front Of The Class NPR: Studies show high rates of teacher turnover — especially among minorities. One researcher is trying to figure out why and how schools can reverse the trend.
LAUSD holds first community forum on superintendent search KPCC: As about two dozen more people trickled into the auditorium, Hank Gmitro, president of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the company helping to search for the next superintendent, talked about the search process. Then he asked those present what kind of superintendent they would like to see selected.
The charter school system in Ohio is broken and dysfunctional... The last thing we need is a black eye because the money went to a dysfunctional program that we knew was dysfunctional.
-- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in Washington Post (Ohio Congressman questions Arne Duncan’s $32 million charter grant)
Jack Jennings's Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools is a must-read for anyone seeking to improve our public schools. Drawing upon a half century of political and education research, Jennings writes a history of federal involvement in school reform and makes sensible suggestions for the next era of school improvement.
Jennings chronicled the first generation of federal education reforms and their results. The ESEA Act of 1965 had big goals and it was well-funded. From the mid-1960s to the 1980s, often fragmented federally funded efforts only produced modest improvements and they did not bring equity. But, those gains now look pretty impressive in comparison to post-NCLB outcomes, especially since their funding did not increase in order to meet the ambitious goal of closing the Achievement Gap. To produce equity for the most disadvantaged students, who disproportionately were concentrated in high-challenge schools, a far greater investment into their entire learning environments would have been necessary.
Jennings then documents how and why NCLB accountability failed. He bluntly reminds us that "Tests do not a good education make.” Moreover, “When it came to measuring student progress in school, NCLB got it wrong.” Pulling it all together, Jennings’s analysis of NAEP testing results shows:
It is ironic that from the 1970s to the early 2000s. achievement generally rose and achievement gaps generally narrowed, which would seem to refute the Title I evaluation results used to support the shift to test-driven reform.
He also concludes:
The long-term NAEP results showed gains, especially for Black and Hispanic students, until 2008. A disturbing finding, though, is that since 2008, achievement has not increased for students except for 13-year-olds, nor have achievement gaps narrowed between racial/ethnic groups.
Jennings is judicious in summarizing the evidence about the effectiveness of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, telling Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post “The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement. ... They also did considerable harm.”
Then Jennings turns to solutions. First, he calls for a vigorous debate regarding the new direction that federal education policy should take. While I applaud that invitation, teaching in an era of failed test-driven reforms has made me more risk-adverse. But, Jennings’s closing paragraph has finally convinced me:
The biggest lesson I have learned over a half century of involvement in education politics and policy is that if you are not working to implement your own agenda, then you are working off someone else’s agenda. It is time public school advocates established their own ambitious agenda and set out to achieve it.
Here's a roundup of the First Lady's Apollo Theater appearance earlier this week talking about #62milliongirls, via The Root: ‘There Is No Boy Cute Enough or Interesting Enough to Stop You From Getting Your Education’. See more at HuffPost.
Or, check out the LA Times' coverage of West Coast premier of Davis Guggenheim's latest documentary, and read more about it here.
Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.
- Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).
Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.
- Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).
We spent a year and a half two years trying to finish No Child Left Behind in 2009 and '10 and '11... We let schools, we let kids suffer for another year. So, in hindsight, we should have done waivers earlier... I think [overall] waivers have gone pretty darn well. You guys don't cover it much. But we have 44 pretty happy customers across the political spectrum.
-- EdSec Arne Duncan in EdWeek (Duncan's Big Mistake?)
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
So a school suspended a kid for bringing a homemade clock to school, and got this comment from President Obama: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."
The whole idea of Common Core was to bring students and schools under a common definition of what success is... And Common Core is not going to have that. One of its fundamental arguments has been knocked out from under it. - Brookings' Tom Loveless in AP (As Common Core results trickle in, initial goals unfulfilled)