"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)
This Slate article describes how Highland Park keeps itself separate from the surrounding Dallas schools. Plus map from EdBuild.
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:
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...")
From WBEZ Chicago: A small tale about a new school, market-based education reforms and Home Depot.
“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)
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.
"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)
Parents 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’)
"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.
"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)
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.
"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)
If 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.”
The 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)
One 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)
"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)
The 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)
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?"
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Rights; Computerized Voting To Change A Contract; Turning Students Into Voters.
"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.
Still want more? Try #popeschools
via Jezebel (Fall Is the Worst Season)
This chart from the NYT last year (The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest) notes that poor and middle-class Americans used to be relatively better-off than those in other countries, but since 2000 have fallen behind their counterparts in other countries.
"After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans."
No wonder everyone's so fearful and stressed-out, right?
This SF Chronicle video -- part of a larger package of stories Twitter buddy Tania de Sa Campos (@taniadsc) reminded me of last night -- is a great reminder of the hope and the many many challenges to mixing kids in schools in ways that their parents likely don't live or mix in real life.
There's also a helpful "Behind The Headlines" roundup from Education Next about school integration and diversification efforts (including diverse charter schools) you might want to check out.
The contrasting narratives taking shape in Chicago and Brooklyn are fascinating to watch, and such a welcome relief from all the other education issues that tend to get talked about all the time. I'm really hoping that things work out reasonably well in both situations, and that the NYC and Chicago media do a steady, careful job sharing out the developments as they take place. Crossed fingers.
I could move to Oak Park and pay $25,000. I don’t want to do that. We could also go to British school or Latin school and I’d have to pay another $25,000. I don’t want to do that. So if you look at the numbers, it makes sense to make this work.
- Chicago parent on WBEZ Chicago (Possible merger of contrasting schools one step closer)
There are two contrasting stories going on around school integration right now -- one in Chicago where parents at an overcrowded high-achieving school are considering merging with a nearby low-achieving school and the other in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood where parents are apparently expressing concerns about changes in the attendance zone that would bring in more low-income kids.
Read about the Chicago story at WBEZ and DNA Chicago: "Jenner principal Croston told the crowd that Jenner teaches children to “be neighborly. It’s one of the golden rules of every single world religion,” he said. “I think we are not doing our children a service when we continue to perpetuate stereotypes; when we continue to perpetuate myths.”"
Read about the Brooklyn situation at Gothamist (among other places):"At last night's meeting, most of the parental indignation was directed at the DOE, which proposed the rezoning plan on September 2nd, and planned only two town-hall meetings—one at each school—before a revised plan is expected to be presented on September 30th. The rezoning could be finalized before the end of the year."
The dynamics are a good reminder of what David Simon said recently: "White people, by and large, are not very good at sharing physical space or power or many other kinds of social dynamics with significant numbers of people of color."
Or Ravi Gupta in a recent Conor Williams commentary: "‘Neighborhood school’ is almost an Orwellian term. It sounds great—and can be great in a perfect world. But its history is a history of using neighborhood boundaries to segregate."
But it can and does happen -- in unlikely places including Greenwich, Connecticut (Who Knew That Greenwich, Conn., Was a Model of Equality?)
News that Harvard economist Roland Fryer has been named to MA State Board of Ed (h/t Rotherham) is a great opportunity to play this memorable interview he did with Stephen Colbert, talking about the achievement gap and kids and parents' responses to financial incentives.
In the interview, Fryer puts a bill on the table as an incentive for Colbert to ask good questions.
Of course, the idea of financial incentives has lost much of whatever luster it held, based on both squeamishness about the idea and disappointing results.
But the cash payment idea hasn't gone away, domestically and elsewhere. The PBS NewsHour recently ran a segment about a cash payment program operating in Brazil. Other less direct ways of helping low-income parents help improve their kids' education chances include raising the minimum wage and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Related posts: Roland Fryer Wins MacArthur "Genius" Award; Fryer To Colbert: "You're Black Now, Aren't You?"; The Rise And Fall Of Cash For Grades; How Parental Fears Might Shade Views Of Roland Fryer;
As Chicago's public housing has been dismantled and gentrification has taken hold, white and college-educated parents have moved into neighborhoods with legacy neighborhood schools that are all-black and nearly all poor students. A proposal to merge one of these schools (200-student Jenner) with a nearby high-performing (and overcroweded) school (Ogden) with just 20 percent poor students raised some parental concerns.
WBEZ's Linda Lutton attended a meeting to air parents' concerns -- and optimism -- about a possible attendance zone change that would merge the schools into a racially and economically school. Both schools' principals are in favor. The proposal isn't endorsed by the central office, and hasn't yet been voted on by the Local School Councils that oversee the principals and budgets at each school.
Above, listen to Lutton talk about the possibility, which she calls precedent-setting, and click the link below to read and listen to more of the parent meeting.
You can also listen to the recent episode of This American Life in which school integration was proposed -- and opposed -- in Missouri last year.
Pretty much everyone thinks teachers aren't paid enough. Well, except Republicans. But not everybody thinks that teachers should get tenure, either according to the latest PDK/Gallup results: "59% of all Americans and 54% of public school parents oppose tenure. However, responses from black Americans differ: More blacks (47%) support rather than oppose tenure (32%)." (PDK/Gallup Poll - October highlights). How do these results compare to those found in other polls?
She moved to a public-housing property in a highly-segregated neighborhood, next to a cement-crushing plant. The ceiling leaks and trains rattle by all night, and the bathtub is caked with mildew. Her daughter, who is now 8, hates her new school, and said her teacher confessed that she only came to school for a paycheck. The same teacher told Smith that her daughter was the only second-grader in the class who knew how to read.
- Alana Samuels in The Atlantic (The Financial Toll of Mass Incarceration on American Families)
White hipsters sipping drinks on the roof of a closed (and beloved) Philly high school -- what could look more wrong? I posted about this on HotForEd last week when I came across a post in The Awl (The Hottest Bar in Philly Is on Top of a Shuttered Public School), and couldn't stop reading. There were think pieces, protest flyers. Then, yesterday, alumni of the school (Bok) showed up at the restaurant wearing alumni gear.
Follow #lebokfin for lots more. Follow @hotfored or subscribe to the Tumblr here.
‘Neighborhood school’ is almost an Orwellian term. It sounds great—and can be great in a perfect world. But its history is a history of using neighborhood boundaries to segregate.
In a new report, the Century Foundation calls for new efforts to integrate district, charter, and early childhood programs. Meantime, NYC's education chief says efforts to diversity schools there won't happen quickly, and New America's Conor Williams notes how strongly many liberal parents in DC seem to object to policy changes that affect their desires for their own children. Then again, selective schools just gave up some of their privilege in NOLA, so there's always hope.
People are often of two minds. They're putting their kids in charters but that means the district schools need to right-size by cutting jobs, and that affects their cousin. Everyone in Newark is affected by both trends.
- Dale Russakoff in Newark Star-Ledger (Author Dale Russakoff discusses new book on Newark School Reform)
via Reddit/BuzzFeed (Best "back-to-school" photo I've seen yet!)
"More than 8,000 students were stuck on a waiting list, with no idea whether they’ll go to class just weeks before the first day of school," according to WGBH (Boston's Back To School Debacle). "As of today, all students from 1st to 12th grade have a school but parents aren’t happy with their assignments or the last-minute process."
"Supporters of desegregation won the Yonkers battle—but the high cost of victory lost them the war," writes former NYT writer Lisa Belkin, whose book about a Yonkers NY housing fight is the subject of a new David Simon HBO miniseries, Show Me A Hero that's been written up by EdWeek's Mark Walsh. "Few in this country had the will to risk another divisive, ugly municipal bruising anytime soon."
This isn't the first time Simon has addressed school-related issues. The Wire included a whole season focused on a group of middle school boys. (No surprise given his writing partner's career as both a cop and a geography teacher). More recently (by which I mean 2010-211), the NOLA-based Treme series included a few biting references to post-Katrina school reform. (Remember "Four years at Radcliff is all you know..."?)
Meantime, someone should go to Yonkers and follow up on how the integration plan and kids are doing, right?
According to ProPublica, "only two states require background checks for parents who choose to homeschool, and just 10 require parents to have a high school degree. Fewer than half require any kind of evaluation or testing of homeschooled children." (Homeschooling Regulations by State) Image used with permission.
If people like their local schools, regardless of what they think about schools nationally, they’re not going to be very likely to vote based on that issue...They’re not going to vote for someone just because that candidate is going to fix a problem with someone else’s schools.
-- Urban Institute senior fellow Matt Chingos in the LA Times (The problem with making education a campaign issue)
HBO's John Oliver picked up where others left off, pointing out how unprotected workers (ie, teachers, principals, parents, administrators) are against discrimination based on sexual preference in 31 states.
Via HuffPost. Or, watch an MSNBC segment on The Seventy Four, which has been criticized by the HuffPost for being a softball interview (which it was).
"Even while school-age children as a whole have become more diverse, most white students still attend largely white schools." Pew Center ("5 facts about America’s students) via BRIGHT