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)
Presidents Obama, Bush Praise New Orleans' Schools Education Week: U.S. presidents past and present are visiting New Orleans this week, marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and discussing the radical reshaping of public education in the city. See also NYT: George W. Bush, Visiting New Orleans, Praises School Progress Since Katrina
Nearly Half of States Opted to Hit Accountability Snooze Button PK12: For those states, results from tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards won't have an effect on school ratings, at least for the school year that just ended.
As Common Core results trickle in, initial goals unfulfilled AP: Full or preliminary scores have been released for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Scores in four other states that developed their own exams tied to the standards have been released.
Indianapolis Pact Couples New Teacher Roles and Big Pay Boosts Teacher Beat: Effective teachers signing onto a newly created initiative to mentor other teachers and reach more students could see thousands of dollars in additional pay.
A timeline of Texas' 30 years of school finance legal fights AP: A lawsuit challenging how Texas pays for its public schools will soon reach the state Supreme Court - the sixth time since 1984. Here's a look at major milestones in 30-plus years of legal battles:...
Tools for Tailored Learning May Expose Students’ Personal Details NYT: Many technological tools used by schools are designed to customize learning, but concern is developing over the collection and use of data on individual students.
Teacher Was Late To School 111 Times Because Of Breakfast AP: "I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning and I lost track of time," 15-year veteran teacher Arnold Anderson told The Associated Press.
Art Show Captures the Wrenching Effects of Closing a School NYT: “reForm” is set in a model classroom from a Philadelphia school, with a blackboard, cubbies, books — and oral testimony about the school’s closure.
Maryland schools superintendent announces resignation Washington Post: Lillian Lowery, hired in 2012, will become president and CEO of an Ohio education nonprofit.
Little Saigon school to provide instruction in English and Vietnamese LA Times: A public school in Little Saigon is set to become the first in California to provide instruction in both English and Vietnamese.
In many ways, this bill represents a significant improvement in federal education policy, moving away from rigid standardized tests and respecting the vital work that our teachers do every day--and I strongly support those changes. But this bill is also about money, and it eliminates basic, fundamental safeguards to ensure that federal dollars are actually used to improve both schools and educational outcomes for those students who are often ignored. -- Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in CommonWealth Magazine (On No Child law, Warren carries Kennedy torch)
Via RealClear Education. Click here for interactive version.
White House Hosts School Discipline Summit PK12: The department's civil rights data collection shows that more than 3 million students are suspended or expelled each year (including 4-year-olds). See also Washington Post, HuffPost.
Education Groups to Leaders in Congress: Get ESEA Rewrite Over Finish Line PK12: Begin conferencing the House and Senate ESEA bills now, said 10 major education groups in a letter sent Wednesday.
As states drop out of PARCC’s Common Core test, faithful carry on Washington Post: The tests from PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — has come under fire for its length, for its technical glitches and for efforts by its test publisher, Pearson, to crack down on cheating via social media.
Teachers' union gets schooled for violating campaign law Philly.com: The union was flagged for giving a $11,500 donation to its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers - Pennsylvania Chapter, whose political committee on March 9 wrote a check for that amount to Gym's campaign.
The new frontier for Advanced Placement: Online AP lessons, for free Washington Post: First came MOOCs, or massive open online courses. Now there are MOOLs -- massive open online lessons -- to help high schools teach some of the toughest AP topics.
Issue of collective bargaining threatens California evaluation reform EdSource Today: Democratic leaders’ efforts to rewrite the state’s teacher evaluation law have stalled over the same disagreement that upended the last big push in the Legislature three years ago: stark differences in who gets to decide what goes into an evaluation.
From an ‘Undocumented’ Boyhood to a Doctorate NYT: A new memoir hopes to further the debate on immigration policy.
A Geek Speaks Out Against Tech WNYC: Computer scientist Kentaro Toyama used to use tech to help the poor around he world. But slowly, he started believing it wasn't the answer. He explains why tech isn't doing much to educate the underprivileged or spur social change.
74 percent of high school students failed Algebra 1 final in a Md. district Washington Post: The exam results were better than they were last year, but failure rates remain steep for Montgomery Co.
Parent petition results in Prescott School new principal LA School Report: A wave of angry complaints by parents of students at a small elementary school has succeeded in convincing LA Unified to replace a principal whom the parents described as unfit for the job.
Report: Mass. Schools Bans On Junk Food Are Working Boston Learning Lab: The Northeastern study compared thousands of food and beverage options available in about 75 middle schools and high schools over a one-year period, before and after the standards took effect.
Check it out. Here's the accompanying text. With Duncan's debut, that makes ... two folks I know about using LinkedIn. The other is Deschryver. Are there others?
Senate Votes Overwhelmingly For Bipartisan No Child Left Behind Rewrite HuffPost: However, the bill’s next steps are unclear, since even its supporters concede President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign it in its current form. See also NYT, HuffPost.
Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue PK12: Here's a look at the Senate and House bills to rewrite the NCLB law, and how they compare to each other, current law, and the Obama administration's waivers. See also AP, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour.
Senate tweaks formula for Title 1 funds to educate children from poor families Washington Post: Burr rewrote the amendment so that the formula changes would not take effect until Congress funds Title 1 at $17 billion annually. It is unclear when that would happen; the program is currently funded at $14.5 billion, an amount that has been steady since 2012. In addition, the change in formula would affect only dollars spent by Congress in excess of the $17 billion benchmark.
Testing Revolt In Washington State Brings Feds Into Uncharted Waters NPR: As Congress debates the future of No Child Left Behind, one state falls short of federal testing requirements.
Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools SI&A Cabinet Report: A general decline in serious crime on K-12 school campuses nationwide appears to be reversing, perhaps reflecting an upswing in violence in some of the nation’s largest cities.
Some schools are still testing students for drug use APM Marketplace: Many schools are still testing students for drug use, despite the end of federal funding and mixed evidence on whether it's worth the expense. Some are expanding their testing.Research shows that while drug testing is associated with a very modest decline in marijuana use, surveys sometimes find an increase in the use of other drugs. How? For one thing, drug tests aren’t always accurate. Case in point, Goldberg says, the athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong.
Lawsuit says SoCal schools among those breaking law in teacher evaluations KPCC: A lawsuit filed Thursday in Contra Costa County alleges that 13 school districts are violating state law because they aren't using student achievement data when evaluating instructors. The suit was filed by four parents and two teachers. It's backed by Students Matter, a nonprofit founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. See also EdSource Today.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Thompson: Will President Obama's Trip to the Choctaw Nation (& a Federal Prison) Help Move the Administration Toward Comprehensive Solutions?
The President who I still love will visit the Choctaw Nation this week and look into the Promise Zone initiative he launched last year. My first hope for the trip was that President Barack Obama would swing over to the far corner of “Little Dixie,” and visit Frogville.
But, President Obama has a better plan. The Daily Oklahoman’s Chris Casteel, in President Obama Heading to Oklahoma Next Week, reports that the President will visit the federal prison in El Reno, where inmate Jason Hernandez was housed until Obama commuted his life sentence on drug charges.
Until recently, President Obama has been especially reticent about hot-button issues such as race and the legacies of generational poverty and discrimination. The 2014 off-year election defeat and tragedies culminating in the Charleston massacre have liberated our President, however, and he has been speaking and singing the truths that previously he held back. It sounds like we can anticipate another honest conversation with an atypical journalist, this time with HBO’s VICE.
According to VICE Media, the visit will “give viewers a firsthand look into the president's thinking on criminal justice reform ‘from the policy level down to one-on-one conversations with the men and women living this reality.’”
Maybe President Obama will return to the Indian Nation and drop in on our family's homestead so we can discuss school reform and its cousin, the War on Drugs, and how these ill-conceived reward and punish policies backfired because they were dismissive of the realities that flesh-and-blood people live in. We could gaze upon the graves of whites, blacks, and Choctaws in the family cemetery, and muse about our long history of living together in peace and conflict, as well as both unity and divisiveness in victory and defeat at the hands of political and economic oppression.
As I explained recently, school reform and the War on Drugs were both deeply rooted in the Reaganism and the lowered horizons of the 1980s. Both were quick, simple, and seemingly cheap solutions to the complex social problems that the War on Poverty did not eradicate.
Some states would lose big money with proposed education funding changes Washington Post: Congress’s debate about rewriting the nation’s main education law has featured high-profile disagreements over testing, vouchers and school accountability, but there is another issue that has just as much potential to derail the legislation: Money. See also Hechinger Report.
Senate Rebuffs ESEA Amendment to Let States Opt Out of Federal Accountability EdWeek: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., slammed the A PLUS amendment, knowing that if adopted it would have sunk his chances of getting the ESEA reauthorization across the finish line. See also AP.
What should replace No Child Left Behind? PBS NewsHour: Hari Sreenivasan talks to Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and former Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Students' Reading And Math Skills Are Still All Over The Map NPR: A federal report out today reinforces that states have huge differences in their definition of "proficiency." See also Boston Learning Lab.
N.Y. Has 'No Current Plans' to Give PARCC EdWeek: The Arkansas state board voted to use the ACT Aspire test instead, concluding a public spat over which common-core exam the state would use next year. See also WNYC, NYT, Chalkbeat, BuzzFeed, WSJ.
Smarter Balanced Opt-Out Rates Top 25 Percent for Washington State 11th Graders EdWeek: Officially, 27.4 percent of eligible students were "confirmed refusals" for taking the Smarter Balanced English/language arts exam, and 28.1 percent of them were confirmed refusals for the math exam.
Duncan's Children to Attend Private School in Chicago EdWeek: Duncan's children will attend the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where he himself attended and where his wife will return to work. See also Washington Post, Politico.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement. They also did considerable harm. -- Jack Jennings in Washington Post profile of Arne Duncan (Even as Congress moves to strip his power, Arne Duncan holds his ground)
Even if you already knew that slain journalist Jim Foley had been a TFA alum you might have been surprised to read about TFA (and KIPP) involvement behind the scenes in the efforts to secure his release in this week's New Yorker story The Families Who Negotiated with ISIS. Among those mentioned are Wendy Kopp, Amy Rosen (Newark KIPP), and April Goble (Chicago KIPP), who is identified as Foley's former girlfriend:
"Bradley kept adding people to the team, paying their travel expenses, and often a salary as well. He installed two young researchers in cubicles in the Watergate office. He recruited a former Syrian diplomat, now known as Noor Azar, who had gone into exile after the revolution. Meanwhile, April Goble, Foley’s ex-girlfriend, worked with eleven volunteers from Teach for America, looking for inroads into the Syrian regime."
There may have been hints of this effort on social media, such as this 2013 tweet I sent out (but had forgotten): "Friends of kidnapped freelance photographer James Foley TFA '96 are organizing to secure his release from Syria." The link goes to the Free Jame Foley FB page.
The confusing and alienating behavior of the US government in support of the hostage families and their friends has been a big topic in the news recently, and the Obama administration recently announced changes in its policies that would give families more information and free them from threats of prosecution for arranging for their loved ones' release (including through payment of ransoms).
Day One of Senate ESEA Debate: Rift Over Accountability Grows PK12: Below the surface of pleasantries and backslapping, a policy split continues to grow over whether to beef up accountability provisions in the bill to overhaul the education law. See also HuffPost, AP, NPR, Washington Examiner, Washington Post.
Conservatives likely to lose education reform battle in Congress Washington Examiner: But the amendments aren't likely to make it into law, and the underlying House bill will likely be pushed to the left by House and Senate leaders eager to move the bill out of Congress and onto the president's desk for signature.
PARCC test pros and cons debated at Massachusetts Board of Education hearing Mass Live: More than 100 people, most of them educators, attended the public hearing at Springfield Technical Community College. Some shared overall concerns about excessive testing and others argued the PARCC test is needed to ensure children are prepared for the future. See also Modesto Bee.
Texas Textbooks And Teaching The Civil War And America's History Of Racial Segregation WAMU: This fall five million public school students in Texas will use textbooks that critics say misrepresent the Civil War and the nation's history of racial segregation. The battle over how the Civil War is taught in public schools. See also Slate
Ken Wagner, top state ed deputy, a finalist for Rhode Island ed chief job Chalkbeat: Wagner has effectively helmed the department alongside acting Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin over the first half of 2015 after John King’s departure last year. Wagner would be the latest in a string of state education officials to leave over the last year, which has been marked by tumult over education policies and the end of the state’s Race to the Top funding, as well as the choice of new Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who started Monday.
Rahm Emanuel on Budget Cuts and Teacher Layoffs The Atlantic: At an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday, Emanuel was defiant. “Everybody’s going to hate what they’ve got to do,” he said. But the budget arrangement is “what we call a grand bargain, or a fair deal.” Emanuel made it clear that he harbors no love for the education-reform movement. For example, he said, the common debate that pits public schools versus charters is “nuts.” “I am not an education reformer,” he said. “My job as mayor is to make sure you have quality.”
Marco Rubio’s Education Plans Echo Some Obama Ideas NYT: Many of the ideas on higher education outlined by Senator Marco Rubio in an economic speech on Tuesday sounded similar to policies that President Obama has called for during his time in office.
On Talking Race to Young Teens, Teachers Say It's Been a Tough Year WNYC: One morning in May, Stephanie Caruso had a question for her seventh graders at West Side Collaborative Middle School. She wanted to know if they’d ever been stopped by police when leaving the Upper West side campus for lunch.
Check out this video from yesterday's Brookings event, Getting education bills to the finish line, which among other things includes former education staffers' best guesses at the chances that Congress will act on ESEA reauthorization this year. (Or if you prefer, check out the twitterstream using the hashtag #EdBills.)
My favorite moment is when Bethany Little highlights the impact of waivers on Congressional momentum in 2011. What's yours? Featuring Chingos, DeLisle, Little, Flanagan, and West.
Next time, maybe they could include a leadership staff alumnus to give the larger, more political perspective. Committee staff are great and smart, but also sometimes in their silos.
Here's an impassioned Elizabeth Warren talking about infrastructure, student loan interest rates, NIH and NSF funding -- and the need to "wake up people all over America" against the interests of the rich and powerful in Washington who are doing fine the way things are.
Read more about Warren's political strategy and her policy positions from Vox's Ezra Klein. Do *not* watch this scary Vox video about long-term unemployment and the need for a major public works or job training effort.
Is there anyone like this in education (or talking about K-12 education) -- this mad, this urgent, this smart about influencing others? I can't think of anyone right off the bat.
The Obama Administration has managed to pit the teachers against the civil rights community on this issue and to put the teachers on the defensive.... The liberal press has bought this argument hook, line and sinker... Teachers are not opposed to annual accountability testing because they are enemies of their students' civil rights. They are opposed to annual accountability testing because it is being used to punish teachers in ways that are grossly unfair and singularly ineffective.
- Mark Tucker in EdWeek (Annual Accountability Testing: Time for the Civil Rights Community to Reconsider)
I mean, there’s some communities where I don’t know -- not only do I not know poor people, I don’t even know people who have trouble paying the bills at the end of the month. I just don’t know those people.
-- President Obama at recent event via Vox (Liberals are reducing one of the most fascinating speeches of Obama’s career to a Fox News joke)
Here's Duncan speaking yesterday at the Youth Violence Prevention Summit: "One idea that I threw out … is this idea of public boarding schools. That’s a little bit of a different idea, a controversial idea. But the question is—do we have some children where there’s not a mom, there’s not a dad, there’s not a grandma, there’s just nobody at home? There’s just certain kids we should have 24/7 to really create a safe environment and give them a chance to be successful.” CPSAN via Breitbart. Click the link if the video doesn't play correctly. Still looking for video of him roaring like a lion if you see it let me know.
"I didn’t mean to cut him off,” said Bennett Middle School student Osman Yahya, 12, in a telephone interview with POLITICO. "I was just nudging him to get on." (POLITICO)
[Compromise] doesn’t mean that you come in here and say, ‘Lamar, I’ll do whatever you say. I want a bill out of here and you write it and I compromised because I’m with you... That’s not compromise from either side.-- US Senator Patty Murray in TNR (Patty Murray's Negotiating Skill Has Made Her the Democratic Dealmaker)
New York Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch says that "it’s been well over a year since I’ve had someone talk to me about instruction and curriculum. Everyone has talked to me about evaluations."
We are in the middle of a wonderful democratic moment as the Opt Out movement is poised to kill the high stakes testing vampire. And, even Tisch ridicules the idea that the test, sort, and punish school of reform can be saved by punishing parents who are standing up for their children. She says, “I would say to everyone who wants to punish the school districts ... Really, are you kidding me?”
But, Arne Duncan has even surpassed his previous political blunder of dismissing the concerns of "white suburban moms" whose kids might not be as brilliant as they think. He again demonstrates political sensitivity comparable to that of Southpark's Eric Cartman. As Chalkbeat's Patrick Wall reports, in As Opt Out Numbers Grow, Arne Duncan Says Feds May Have to Step In, Duncan now threatens to punish low-income schools in states which fail to hit participation rate targets.
The Education Czar demands, "Respect My Authorit-iii!"
Even better, Duncan reveals his lack of education judgment by asserting that his children aren't being injured by punitive testing mandates. After all, testing hasn't sucked all of the oxygen out of elite schools. Whether Duncan knows it or not, its under-the-gun, high-challenge schools that face the most pressure to impose drill and kill. He remains clueless about the inevitable ways that the toxicity dumped on teachers and administrators flows down onto the kids.
Duncan, the white suburban father, knows best. He, not moms and students, should decide how much of the joy of learning should be sacrificed in the name of bubble-in accountability.
Duncan's gaff is the best news since the announcement that 185,000 New York students have already opted out. He has just thrown more gasoline on the irreversible fire that is spreading through states that first adopted his extreme version of test-driven accountability.
Last week, MSNBC's Chris Hayes tried valiantly to get past EdSec Duncan's talking points (Why is Common Core so controversial?) Curmudgucation tears it apart here. At least Duncan now limits his "race-to-the-bottom" claims about NCLB to 20 states.
Already seen it? Watch this Engadget blog post about a new video game, No Pineapple Left Behind. ("You're a principal lording over pineapples, making sure they do amazingly well on standardized tests because that's what begets more funding for your school...")
-- HGSE professor Martin West (Schools Wait to See What Becomes of No Child Left Behind Law)
OK, technically it's a Vine (with sound!) not a GIF, but who cares? The Chicago Tribune's Juan Perez saw fit to highlight a few seconds of Duncan's forced walk through anti-testing protesters in Chicago the other day. The moment took place because Duncan car ended up in a dead-end alley -- some poor driver or advance staffer got in trouble for this (or should have).
Read Sun-Times for additional coverage. The EdSec claims that the USDE didn't force Chicago to administer PARCC, and Mayor Rahm is saying that it was the state (not Washington). Hmm. Read more Tribune for how the rollout's going so far.
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)
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.