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Afternoon Video: Moving A School From Crisis To Calm

"If you wonder how such a change could be brought about, take a look at this video (26 min long), and see what you think about the ways in which its educators transformed the teaching and learning climate at their school." (This is how you move a school from crisis to calm via Sam Chaltain).
 

Quotes: White America's "Broken Heart"

Quotes2The current urgency about inequality as an issue is really about how some white Americans are coming to live an experience that many minorities in this country have long lived — structural inequity has leapt the racial barrier — and that the legacy to which they fully assumed they were heirs is increasingly beyond their grasp.

- NYT columnist Charles Blow (White America’s ‘Broken Heart’)

 

Morning Video: School Yoga, Everywhere?

"Students at the Montesorri School pratice yoga to help clear their minds of the violence that surrounds their lives," reports Al Jazeera America (Yoga To Help Kids Cope With Violence in Chicago).

See also: Why Schools Are Embracing Yoga (featuring NYC, Detroit, Litchfield, Minn, and Encenitas, CA).

Morning Listen: That Time When Nearly 500K Kids Protested NYC School Segregation

"To force the issue, they staged a one-day school boycott on Feb. 3, when approximately 460,000 students refused to go to school -- the school boycott was the largest civil rights protest in U.S. history.... Yet, little came of the boycott, and the activists' demands resonate still." From WNYC (Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City)

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

It's finally here: New Progressive Education Podcast launches, hosted by Jennifer Berkshire and Aaron French. First up is a look at African-American parents in Philadelphia who oppose standardized testing. Or, check out the fundraising site. Agree or disagree with the perspective being explored, you've got to admire the sound quality.

Today: New CAP Report/Briefing On Testing Better (#TestBetter)

Watch the event from this morning above. Featured are CAP's Catherine Brown, NY State's Mary Ellen Elia, CCSSO's Chris Minnich, Achieve's Mike Coehn, and DCPS teacher Chris Bergfalk, Ruidoso NM Supierntendent George Bickert, and NAACP LDEF's Janel George. 

Read more here: Toward a Coherent, Aligned Assessment System | Center for American Progress. Read the Twitterstream #testbetter here.

 

Morning Video: Pros & Cons Of Neighborhood-Based School Assignment

A Here's a new Reason.com video segment about the perils of residential assignment of kids to schools. (Brownstone Brooklyn's Racial Divide).

Charts: White People Least Sure Government Should Help Diversify Schools

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"Some 61 percent of black Americans and 55 percent of Hispanic Americans said they think the government should take steps to increase school diversity. Only 28 percent of white Americans said the same." Via HuffPost (Surprise! White People Don't Really Care About School Diversity)

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

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

Or, on a much more serious topic, listen to this new Macklemore & Ryan song, White Privilege II, which includes the repeated line:"We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for Black lives?" 

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

Update: Lessons From The Hartford Selfie Flap

 

Television: Bravo Series Revolves Around Posh LA Private School

Bravo's scripted dramedy, Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce, centers to a surprisingly large extent around the never-ending duties of parents who send their children to a posh progressive LA private school called the "Center for Expanding Horizons" that might be loosely based on Crossroads (?).

In the above gif, two of the main characters are on dropoff duty (helping kids get out of cars and keeping the flow of traffic moving before and after school).

The set is apparently the Old Nokia building in Burnaby’s Glenlyon Business Park (in Vancouver). Here's a little bit about the branding and visual strategy behind the school design. You can find show transcripts that mention the school here and here. More pics from around the Internet are below the break. 

Continue reading "Television: Bravo Series Revolves Around Posh LA Private School" »

Update: Rethinking The NYT Ethicist's "Breezy" Public School Cop-Out

As you may have seen, the NYT's ethicist recently told some Bay Area parents that they were not ethically obliged to send their little kid to the local school that seemed safe but had low test scores:

"There’s no recognizably human world where parents treat their own children the same as everyone else’s. This doesn’t license lack of concern for those other kids, and you’re right to worry that your dysfunctional neighborhood school is failing those it serves. But you can do something about that — through involvement in local and state politics, for example — without sacrificing your son. And what you owe is not heroic commitment, ‘‘turning the school around’’ by your own efforts. You owe only your fair share of the duties of an engaged local citizen."

But, over at The Billfold, a Hartford public defender named Josh Michtom took issue with that advice, suggesting that the NYT ethicist had blown the answer. His piece, If You Don’t At Least Try Your Local School, You May Be Part Of The Problem, says that, "To say, simply, “Don’t worry about it” is the wrong answer, and it is a pernicious wrong answer. It is the answer that tells people with both the resources and (theoretically) the philosophical disposition to fight segregation on a voluntary basis that they needn’t bother. It’s a cop-out, and if this topic is to be resolved with a cop-out, it deserves a soul-searching, garment-rending, morosely guilty cop-out."

 

 

Numbers: Major Resurgence Of Unaccompanied Minors Arriving In US

Quotes: What To Do When The Kids Don't Match The Neighborhood

Quotes2We do have housing segregation in New York City, and it’s quite serious. [But] we need to rethink the notion that we can’t do anything about integration until we integrate the neighborhoods.

-- Inside Schools' Clara Hemphill in in NYT (School Segregation Persists in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Maps Suggest)

Maps: When The Neighborhood Gentrifies But The Neighborhood School Doesn't

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"At 124 of [the city's 734 neighborhood elementary] schools they found the median household income was at least 20 percent lower than the income of the surrounding school zone... At 59 elementary schools in neighborhoods that were at least somewhat racially mixed, student populations were more than 90 percent black and Hispanic." NYT story on New School report (School Segregation Persists in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Maps Suggest).

 

Campaign 2016: K-12 Education Way Down List Of Public Concerns

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"Only 4 percent of Americans consider education the nation’s most important problem, according to Gallup’s monthly polling, which may explain why we haven’t heard much about specific education policy from the presidential candidates." via FiveThirtyEight (The Big Issues Of The 2016 Campaign)

 

Quotes: Apple Head Says He Won't Make The "Test Machines"

Quotes2Assessments don’t create learning... We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no... We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.

-- Apple's Tim Cook in BuzzFeed (Apple Won't Make The "Test Machines")

Morning Listen: A Problematic Attempt At "Colorblind" Education

Listen to this WNYC segment about a relatively diverse suburban charter school where an attempt at "colorblind" education didn't work out so well (A Case Study of "Colorblind" Schooling).  

Or, listen to this hilarious Chicago WBEZ segment about kids' never-ending efforts to get out of swim class:

Books: Best Titles To Help White Teachers, Parents, Reporters Understand Race

image from img.huffingtonpost.com

There's no shortage of education-related titles in this list of 16 Books About Race That Every White Person Should Read, but this Beverly Tatum book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria" is perhaps the most direct.

"Through research and case studies psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum confronts the subtle ways in which racism dictates the ways both white and non-white people navigate the world.  

Picked by Zeba Blay, Huffington Post Voices Culture Writer, the list also includes Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin, and many other familiar titles. 

The only obvious omission that comes to mind is "Some of my Best Friends Are Black." There was also a great documentary a few years ago called "Prep School Negro."

But I'm sure you can think of others.

Related posts: Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling)White Teachers, Black Students: An "Awkward Disconnect"Mugshots Help Combat Racial StereotypesWhite Reporters & Students Of Color.

 
 

Morning Video: WV Teacher Asks Clinton About Community Schools

"AFT member Greg Cruey of McDowell County, W.V. submitted his question for Hillary Clinton on community schools through the AFT eActivist network contest and was selected to join 25 AFT members for a conversation with Hillary Clinton." (Via AFT)

Charts: Better Educated But No Less Poor

According to Vox's Matt Yglesias, "American poor people are getting better-educated, but the poverty rate isn't falling." Read more about it here.

Update: School-Level PISA Goes Online

As you may recall, the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] Test for Schools has been around a few years now, giving schools that sign up for the assessment a snapshot of how their kids are doing compared to nations and regions that also take the PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment].

In the spring 2014 Harvard Education Letter, I wrote a story about the effort (Quietly, a New Test Gains Advocates) that had been piloted at 105 schools in the 2012-2013 school year and nearly 300 schools last year.  

The latest news is that NWEA is going to administer the 2016 version, which will also be available online. According to EdWeek (OECD Chooses NWEA for Testing Contract, Platform), the test costs $5,000 per school and NWEA is taking over from CTB/McGraw-Hill. According to a press release, more than 400 schools have participated in recent years.

Via email, America Achieve's Peter Kannam says that the new online version wil cost only about half of the previous version, and that 153 U.S. schools took the assessment this past spring (65 were repeat participants) along with 92 schools across England and Wales.

See also THE Journal: Northwest Evaluation Association Selected To Deliver 2016 OECD Test for Schools; NWEA:  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Selects NWEA.

Related posts: Ripley "Less Certain" Of PISA Towards End Of BookThe "PISA Myth" Everyone LovesNightly News PISA Coverage (Rigor Vs. Poverty)Don't Blame Students' Poverty For Academic Achievement.

Morning Video: NEA's Lily Eskelsen García Regrets Inadvertent Comments


Here's an on-camera version of the apology you may remember from earlier this week from the head of the NEA over inadvertent comments she made at a recent speech. More background here.

Charts: The Most and Least Kid-Filled Cities (Milwaukee, Philly)

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"As of 2014, children occupied 32 percent of American households, a figure that's slowly declined over the past decade. Of the 100 most populated cities, the only jurisdictions where children resided in more than half of households were Laredo, Texas, and Santa Ana, Calif. Nearly all cities where they're most prevalent are found in California, Texas and Arizona." (The Most and Least Kid-Filled Cities)

Cartoons: Parent Teacher's-Parents Conference

“Your son is teaching third grade at a second-grade level.”

Maps: How A Wealthy Dallas District Keeps Itself Segregated

This Slate article describes how Highland Park keeps itself separate from the surrounding Dallas schools. Plus map from EdBuild.

Morning Video: Kids Debate Whether Hillary Clinton Could Be President

Watch kids talk about whether a woman could be President -- and then meet Hillary Clinton.

Or (it's Friday!), watch this amazing video of two "jetmen" flying alongside a massive jetliner:

Morning Video: "I Thought I Knew How To Listen To People"

Watch this UC Memphis panel on #BlackLivesMatter and education, featuring among others  Brittany Packnett. (Skip to 14:00 to hear her "I thought I knew how to listen people... I thought that I was not being paternalistic in my practice...")

Morning Listen: Parents' Nuanced Views About School Choice

From WBEZ Chicago: A small tale about a new school, market-based education reforms and Home Depot.

Morning Video: Charter Principal Apologizes For Targeting Disruptive Kids

“As an educator I fell short of my commitment to all children and families at my school and for that I am deeply sorry,” said Success Academy Fort Greene principal Candido Brown, speaking through tears. (via Chalkbeat: Success Academy principal gives emotional apology for list of ‘Got-to-Go’ students)

Morning Video: School Police Officers Under The Spotlight

PBS: What's the role of a school resource officer? In my school, I'm part of the fabric.

AP: Experts Discuss How to Handle Defiant High School Students

Hechinger Report: Filmed classroom arrest of South Carolina schoolgirl spotlights police brutality, prison pipeline

AM News: NYC Schools Face Rising Integration Pressures (Plus Success Press Conference At Noon)

On Upper West Side, Fariña says school integration can’t be forced on parents Chalkbeat: Fariña displayed little sympathy for parents seeking to keep hold of their 199 seats at all costs, saying that overcrowding will only be solved through “hard decisions,” not “fairy dust.” But she also declined to get behind alternative zoning proposals floated by parents, which they say would alleviate overcrowding while also doing more to integrate both schools. See also DNA Info: NYC Schools Boss Touts Pen Pal System as Substitute for Racial Integration [seriously]

How a Legal Footnote Stymied Efforts to Desegregate New York City Schools WNYC: Because of a confluence of trends any New Yorker would recognize — overcrowding, rapid development, the choice of whiter, wealthier families to raise their children in the city — parents and school leaders have become increasingly concerned about segregation. 

At a Success Academy Charter School, Singling Out Pupils Who Have ‘Got to Go’ NYT: Sixteen children at the Brooklyn school appeared on a list with that title; nine later left. Current and former employees say the network puts pressure on some parents to withdraw.

Moskowitz to face tough questions after reports of schools pushing out kids Chalkbeat: By the afternoon, the union-allied Alliance for Quality Education had started a social media campaign highlighting aspects of the story, including pictures of Moskowitz with facts from the story and #GotToGo. Two people from AQE attended the Success event on Thursday, one carrying a large poster showing the Times story.

Obama Backs Transgender Teen In School Restroom Dispute HuffPost: The administration's position in Grimm's case represents its clearest statement to date on a modern civil rights issue that has roiled some communities as more children identify as transgender at younger ages.

Pennsylvania Schools Short On Funds As Budget Stalemate Continues NPR: The governor and legislators can't agree how to fix the deficit or how much money schools should get. Meanwhile, districts are taking out loans and racking up interest costs to keep the lights on.

CAP Report: Congress Shouldn't Forget 'Subgroup' Students in ESEA Renewal PK12: Some of the biggest achievement gaps are found in schools that are performing well otherwise, a CAP analysis finds.

For At-Risk Kids, Mentors Provide Far More Than Just Homework Help NPR: At Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School, mentors help students cope with the trauma in their daily lives. The principal says the aim is not just to keep boys in school, but to keep them alive.

2 LAUSD students awarded $3 million each in Telfair molestation case LA Daily News: A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a day before reaching its verdict. The district previously admitted liability for the actions of ex-Telfair Avenue Elementary School third-grade teacher Paul Chapel III.

Most applicants for school-choice program are from wealthy neighborhoods Las Vegas Review Journal: Overall, half of the nearly 3,100 applications submitted as of Oct. 28 list an address in a ZIP Code among the top 40 percent of median households in Nevada. That's in contrast to just 10.7 percent of applications from households with median incomes in the bottom 40 percent.

Most Illinois high schools leave grads unprepared for college Chicago Tribune: •At 482 of 666 Illinois high schools with ACT scores, more than half of graduates were unable to score at least 21, the national average. That score is one method the state uses to determine if students are ready for college classes.

Charts: School Police Officers Associated With Higher Arrest Rates

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"A report by the Justice Policy Institute found that, even controlling for a school district's poverty level, schools with officers had five times as many arrests for 'disorderly conduct' as schools without them." Vox's Libby Nelson (The school-to-prison pipeline, explained)

Quotes: Data-Heavy [Rezoning] Proposals Don't Address Parents' Priorities

Quotes2Parents don’t really care about enrollment projections... What they care about is whether their child’s going to be safe and happy.

- InsideSchools' Clara Hemphill in the NYT (Manhattan Rezoning Fight Involves a School Called ‘Persistently Dangerous’)

Morning Video: On CNN, Classmate Describes Columbia HS Takedown

"One of the students who recorded the now-infamous video of a South Carolina officer confronting and grabbing another student was arrested and charged with disturbing schools, and she spoke out on CNN tonight about what she witnessed and that particular officer’s reputation." Medialite ("Classmate of SC Student Speaks Out: Officer Has ‘Dangerous’ Reputation).

Or, watch Fox News: Mark Fuhrman Defends The Actions Of School Officer via Media Matters.

Charts: Top-Scoring NAEP States Not Nearly As Good After Demographic Adjustment

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.06.10 AM"The new analysis suggests that [white, affluent states] have better reputations than they deserve. They enroll a lot of students who come to school well prepared and thus excel on tests. But the schools themselves are not doing as good a job as their test scores suggest."

Urban Institute report featured in NYT (Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores)

Morning Video: Inside A School Lockdown Drill

We've heard and read a lot about these drills, including the powerful post in the Washington Post earlier this week Rehearsing for death, but this is the first time I know of that we've seen one of these drills on video -- a short segment from a forthcoming film called Lockdown. Via The Atlantic.

Morning Video: James Baldwin Explains Institutional Racism (1968)

"I don't know what most white people [unions, boards of education, churches, etc.] in this country feel, but I can only include what they feel from the state of their institutions."(James Baldwin Brakes Down Institutional Racism)

Books: When [White] Parents Are An Obstacle To Making Schools More Equitable

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 6.11.32 PMIf you haven’t checked out the new book Despite The Best Intentions by Amanda Lewis, you really should do so – at least, based on a fascinating phone call I had with her earlier this week.

As you may recall, there's a long interview from WGN Chicago here: How does racial inequality thrive in good schools?. There's also mention of the book in this EdWeek piece How Does an Equity Audit Work?.

It’s not so much that the general topic of the book is so new or different. We all know about implicit racial bias at this point, and there are several much-discussed efforts underway to reduce suspensions and other practices that give some kids a much tougher time in school than they may already have.

But Lewis and her co-author bring some additional attention to the problematic role that white, privileged parents (and others) sometimes bring to making changes in schools that would help make them fairer or work better for other students.

“People don’t talk about this as much, how much white parents play a role in maintaining things as they are,” says Lewis.

They understandably behave towards the school in ways that benefit them and their kids, even if they originally started out with the goal of providing a diverse, equitable experience for their children.  Perhaps they want that on one hand, “but on the other hand -- even more than that -- they wanted their kids to have an advantaged experience.” As a result, they’re “worried about any changes that could affect their children’s protected experience of being in what is essentially a school within a school.”

Like others involved in making schools the way they are, these parents aren’t explicitly or consciously behaving in ways that exhibit racial bias or malice. And they’re not the sole culprit here – teachers, administrators, district policies all play a role -- and of course the larger society.  But their function in protecting or preserving advantages for their children are highlighted in ways that I don’t often see discussed.

What’s clear to Lewis and others is that Black and Latino kids aren't breaking the rules more often, “they're just getting punished more often.” They also may not be getting as much time as other kids to try and answer a question, or the same reaction from a teacher when they get a “B” on a test, or the same exceptions or accommodations as other kids if they fall short or break a rule.

These observations remind me of several similar remarks made over the years by folks as diverse as Bill and Melinda Gates and Dale Russakoff. The Gates funders have talked about the pushback their grantees have gotten from parents within schools, especially privileged enclaves. In her book about Newark, Russakoff noted that reformers who expected help from parents sometimes found that the parents best positioned were focused on finding or maintaining advantages in terms of teacher assignment and other things for their own children, not the school as a whole. (In this case, the parents were African-American, but the dynamic seems to be roughly parallel.)

“There’s this perception that having a desegregated space is going to benefit all kids,” says Lewis. But that’s not what often happens in practice. Paraphrasing an educator she worked with, Lewis says “The white kids always have to be understood and the black kids have to be disciplined.” And the exemptions and accommodations for the white kids mean that there’s little pressure to change an overly strict or unworkable rule. Just as white, college-educated parents disadvantage neighborhood schools by finding other options, white college-educated parents undercut diverse schools by seeking special treatment.

So far, at least, Lewis says that the school has responded positively to being portrayed in the book, and that at a recent talk at the Minority Student Achievement Network several superintendents said they thought Riverview sounded like it might be one of theirs. (I can imagine that the folks at the Consortium of Large Countywide and Suburban Districts would be interested in this, research, too.)

What can be done? Lewis and her co-author are working on a book trying to pull examples of changes that schools are trying that seem to have gotten some traction. For example, making sure to hire teachers who believe in a growth mindset, tracking informal disciplinary referrals that aren’t captured in official data, creating “earned” honors programs rather than standalone programs.

“There has to be some entity who's looking out for the larger common good,” says Lewis. “Our general societal commitment to the common good is not where it should be.” And it seems like parents’ commitment to the good of other children might not be there, either, she says.

“Parents aren't going to be the force for equity in our schools.” 

Quotes: Regrets For Common Core-Teacher Evaluation Combo From NY Regent

Quotes2The work that we did struck a nerve... So maybe what we didn’t do was deliver enough anesthetic before we struck the nerve. - Merryl Tisch in the Washington Post (The next education secretary)

Quotes: Schools Tend To Have Dis-Equalizing Effects, Say Studies

Quotes2One of the things we know about high-achieving schools is they have an equalizing culture... All kids have access to the same content, more language [arts], challenging math. What you see is less difference in the kind of expectations, learning experiences, and opportunities for the students throughout the school. - Education Trust's Sonja Santelises quoted in EdWeek (Schools Help Widen Academic Gaps, Studies Find)

Charts: Numbers Of Homeless Students On The Rise (Partly Due To Better Tracking)

Munguia-datalab-homelessstudents

"There were about 1.4 million homeless students nationwide in the 2013-14 school year, according to the Department of Education, twice as many as there were in the 2006-07 school year, when roughly 680,000 students were homeless." via FiveThirtyEight (There Are Way More Homeless Students Than There Used To Be)

Quotes: Suburban Parents Don't Want/Need Charter Schools

Quotes2The middle class doesn’t want charter schools—they don’t need them. The demand is in the city.

- UC Berkeley's Bruce Fuller in The Atlantic on the lack of suburban charters (Why There’s Little Demand for Charter Schools in the Suburbs)

Morning Audio: Home Visits & Racial Inequalities At Even The Best Schools

Check out this NPR segment I missed the first time around about home visits being done in some places:

 

Or, check out this WGN Radio segment about a new book by Amanda Lewis called "Despite the Best Of Intentions" (How does racial inequality thrive in good schools?)  that sounds pretty interesting.

From the promo copy: "On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high-achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latina/o students continue to lag behind their peers?"

Magazines: Why You Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic Magazine Cover Story

There are lots of reasons not to read the latest Atlantic Magazine cover story, penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates: It's not about education. It's super-depressing. It's long. 

But there are some really good reasons to read it, anyway: It's at least partly about education. You'll learn some things you didn't know, probably.

First and foremost, Coates reminds us that so many of the people who end up incarcerated have been failed not only by society but also by schools:

"They just passed him on and passed him on." 

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 "I don’t know, it just didn’t look like a person of his age should be writing like that.”
 
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You'll also learned that the prison industry is now $80 billion a year, that it employs large numbers of mostly white workers to incarcerate large numbers of mostly black or brown prisoners, and that one of the people who predicted this period -- former US Senator Patrick Moynihan -- believed even way back then that service programs like Head Start wouldn't be enough to balance out the decades of mistreatment inflicted on black families. 

It -- along with The Case For Reparations and Coates' recent book, Between The World...., might well be the most-read and -remembered pieces of nonfiction writing of the last couple of years. 

Continue reading "Magazines: Why You Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic Magazine Cover Story" »

Pictures: Drop-Off Time At Two Adjacent Schools

The juxtaposed pictures of two schools during drop-off time accompanied last week's New York Times story about a proposed zoning change that would send students from one school to the other.

Morning Video: Pro-Charter Ad Slams NYC's De Blasio Gets Criticized As Racist

Politico New York's Eliza Shapiro posted this video from Families For Excellent Schools and wrote about it last week (New charter ad hits de Blasio on race). Then came the followup story in which some folks denounced the ad as being overly divisive (Critics call new charter school ad 'racist'). 

While it makes some uneasy, descriptions and accusations related to race and racism are all over the place in the past few years, including recent comments from Derrell Bradford, Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book, #educolor, and the This American Life series related to school integration. Just last week, white affluent Brooklyn parents were being accused of racism in response to a proposed school zoning stage (and affluent white parents in Chicago were being praised for their open-mindedness).  Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech related to #BlackLivesMatter.

On the substance of the matter, the NYT editorial page recently suggested that the DOE needed to move further, faster on failing schools. ProPublic recently slammed the universal preschool program for not adding enough low-income (minority) students. But he's also launched a big new initiative related to economic equality.

Related posts: Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling)Your Individual Racism Isn't Really The ProblemWorst Schools = The "New" Plantation.

Parents: Didn't Take Long For Common Core Homework Debate To Flare Up Again

2hTCotS
This Dad Wrote A Check To His Kid's School Using Common Core Math
, says BuzzFeed about an image going around social media this week. But The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using “Common Core” Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About, says blogger Hemant Mehta at Patheos. The parent has since recanted - sort of. 

Charts: Should Education Advocates Work On Voting Issues? (Yes.)

The notion that people interested in making schools work better for kids should get involved in voter registration/equity issues will probably make some (on the reform side, mostly) howl and tear their hair out of their heads (except perhaps those Democracy Prep folks).

But social justice activists and organized labor have long been involved in these kinds of things (most notably in Chicago, where the CTU registered voters along with running candidates against City Hall).

There's a sliver of reform-side history on voter registration in the form of Steve Barr (and others?) being involved with Rock The Vote, which was a musician-focused effort to encourage people to register whose heyday was in the 1990's on MTV.

This forthcoming study on responses to poor AYP ratings suggests increases in voter turnout 5-8 percent (varying by income) -- almost as much effect as door knocking.

Plus which: schools are often used as polling places, so it's right there in front of your faces.

Parent engagement & mobilization is now recognized as a key aspect of efforts to make schools work better. Why not throw some voter registration/advocacy in the mix while you're at it?

Related posts: Harvard Students Fail 1964 Louisiana Voting Literacy Test Children's Academic Success Vs. Minority Voting RightsComputerized Voting To Change A ContractTurning Students Into Voters.

Morning Video: Can Catholic Schools Bounce Back?

"Since the 1960s, enrollment at Catholic schools in the United States has fallen by more than 50 percent. Today, only about two million students attend Catholic school, and that’s due to a variety of reasons, including falling birth rates among Catholics, the rise of charter schools in urban areas, and more Catholics moving to the suburbs. But the one Pope Francis will visit and some others like it have found ways to keep their doors open." 

From the PBS NewsHour: Struggling Catholic schools seek ways to set themselves apart.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.