I'm splitting hairs. They're all fine ... compared to what were the choices my whole life: mediocre public schools.
- New Orleans parent Carrie Fisher in EdWeek (Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands)
I'm splitting hairs. They're all fine ... compared to what were the choices my whole life: mediocre public schools.
- New Orleans parent Carrie Fisher in EdWeek (Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands)
According to a recent Grantland article, the miniseries -- called "Show Me A Hero" -- surrounds the reaction in Yonkers NY to a 1985 court decision that the city had "'illegally and intentionally’ fostered segregation in its schools and neighborhoods by concentrating all of its public housing in one section of the city.”
The series is based on a Lisa Belkin book by the same name (book cover to left). The former NYT writer has since moved to HuffPost and Yahoo. You can read an excerpt here. Something in Salon here. IMDB for the show is here.
What's this have to do with education? Well, residential segregation combined with neighborhood-based schooling is the main reason we have such inequitable & segregated schools and school systems (and charter networks, too). While everyone likes to talk about the joys of the neighborhood system, it's turned out to be class- and race-based in some pretty awful ways. See Nikole Hannah-Jones' work in ProPublica and The Atlantic if you don't think it's a current issue.
So this show will give us at least a glancing chance of revisiting the issues of race, class, and the neighborhood school.
Related posts: In Education, It's *Liberals* Who Oppose Choice; Watch School Segregation Grow Over 20 Years; Rethinking The Neighborhood School Ideal; Decline In Black-White Segregation (Sorta); The (Partial) Re-Segregation Of American Schools;
Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability, and validity. - National Review's Michelle Malkin (Choose to Refuse on PARCC/SBAC Testing)
This recent episode of NPR's new show "Invisibilia" focuses on the "force field" that parent and adult expectations -- however well-intended -- can have on lowering kids' abilities and performance in school and for years later. On a literal level, the show is about rats, blind kids and echo-location. On a symbolic level, it's about how many of us intervene a half-second too early and interrupt an uncomfortable but important learning moment. Don't worry, it's not all symbolic. There's some Carol Dweck in there, too -- and a snippet from a song my dad wrote at the 2:30 mark. Download and transcript here.
The neighborhood school might still be the best choice if this were a perfect world with ways to teach well each child wherever she or he might be. We don’t have that. -- Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews (The decline of neighborhood schools causes discomfort. Should it?)
Following up on Christine Armario's January 15 AP story about the growth of schools offering after-school meals as well as breakfast and lunch, here's a chart and file from the USDA showing which states are serving how many of these kinds of meals.
The program started in 2010 and served 104 million meals last year - much smaller than the breakfast and lunch programs.
They call them after-school meals or suppers (which seems quaint, no?).
All states now participate, according to USDA - though as you can see the participation levels vary widely.
I'd love to know how it's worked at some schools to have that available -- for the kids, teachers, and parents. Has it made a difference?
Here's the full list of states (PDF). At Risk Suppers FY2014
Here's last night's PBS NewHour segment featuring Anya Kamenetz's new book, The Test. (Is it a high of 113 tests K-12, or is 113 the average?) Not loading properly, or want to read the transcript? Click here.
The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood. I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.
-- Parent Danielle Meitiv in Slate (Maryland parents investigated by the police for letting their kids walk home alone)
With lunch after recess, fruits and veggies consumption increases by 54 percent PBS NewsHour: The study sampled seven schools containing grades 1 to 6 in a Utah school district. Three of the schools switched to putting recess before lunch, while the remaining four schools kept their original schedule of lunch before recess. In the schools that switch, the researchers observed — in addition to the 54 percent increase of fruit and vegetable consumption — a 45 percent increase in children eating at least one serving of the two. In the schools that didn’t switch, however, consumption of fruits and vegetables were observed to have decreased.
More schools serve students dinner as demand expands AP: Thirteen states and the District of Columbia began offering students dinner as part of a pilot program expanded to all states after the 2010 passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Schools where at least half the students are low-income and qualify for free or reduced-price lunch are reimbursed for each supper by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at a rate often significantly higher than the cost of the meal.
Majority of US public school students are in poverty Washington Post: For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.
AFT's Weingarten lays out new models for unions People's World: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten today laid out a framework for a renewed American labor movement. She was joined by U.S. labor secretary Thomas Perez and others at an Albert Shanker Institute conference.
Jeb Bush is running on his Florida education record. Here's what he actually did Vox: Bush's signature reform was testing students every year and grading schools based on the results of those tests. He also pushed to expand charter schools and supported voucher programs, as well as pioneering a program to hold students back who weren't reading in third grade. Some of these ideas are still well within the mainstream of the Republican party. But others, particularly mandatory annual standardized testing, have become much less politically popular in recent years.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
NPR's big podcast success, Serial, is long done now, but more news has been trickling out about some of the characters from the series (about the murder of a high school student). In this interview with one of the key witnesses (Witness from 'Serial' Tells His Story for First Time) there's the claim that tensions at Woodlawn high school were exacerbated by the creation of a magnet wing at the school:
When Woodlawn put in the magnet thing, they took out all the vocational classes. Before you would just go down there for drafting, shop, and everyone would co-mingle, and all the students interacted. But when they put the magnet wing in, it was kinda like ‘these people were different from us.’ And they didn’t have to interact with us anymore. They didn’t have to go by us, except to come to lunch, and that was it. But their gym, lockers, parking, was down in the magnet wing. And I found that to be a bit of a slap in the face. Because I knew football had paid for all of that, but there were few football players down there. Football paid for everything at the school.
Others know much more than I do about Woodlawn and about magnet programs being added to existing high schools -- but it seemed like an interesting claim to me and a fun way to bring up the show again.
Pegged to the court hearing taking place today in Staten Island, Vanessa Grigoriadis' profile of Campbell Brown in New York magazine (The Most Controversial Woman in School Reform) starts out with the somewhat expected description of what Brown looks like but manages to hit some interesting and useful points along the way. Read it all below. Image used with permission. Photo credit: Dina Litovsky.
This PBS NewsHour segment focused on KIPP Infinity features schools trying to teach grit. Clip and transcript here.
"Boyhood" was a big winner at last night's Golden Globes awards, which reminded me of the great scene in the movie when the protagonist's high school photo teacher gives him a pep talk/calling out. ("Who do you want to be Mason, what do you want to do?") I wrote about this last summer when the movie came out. There's a glimpse of it in the trailer, too -- along with a few other school-related scenes ("Welcome to The Suck.")
Here's a short video and writeup via The Atlantic about the 1974 Boston public school integration effort, and recent efforts to revisit segregation in public schools. Click here if the video doesn't load.
The thought that the Common Core, of all things, would somehow derail [Bush's] presidential campaign is a little odd. Federal education policy is a second-tier issue, and as Nate Silver has shown there's no clear partisan tilt on the Common Core issue among the mass public... If party leaders decide that a charge against the Common Core is their #1 goal for 2017, then obviously Jeb is out of luck. But that would be a very weird thing to decide. - Vox's Matt Yglesias (Jeb Bush's path to victory in 2016)
Don't be put off by the outfit (slim grey suit with pink pocket square), the TED-like bells and whistles, or even the point of view (pro-reform). This might be the best education video since Jonah Edelman's infamous 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival explainer. Or maybe it's just the best of the week, and there's not much else going on.
In this "how to make the case for education reform" video, the president of AEI tells his audience something that pretty much everyone in education advocacy has come to understand at this point, whatever side they're on: "You better make it moral, you better fight for people, and you better do it quick."
Watch it, tell us what you think (it's very much of the mind that reform ideas are fine they just haven't been communicated effectively), and extra points for calling out names from the audience reaction shots.
*Apologies for mis-spelling Jonah's name -- it's Edelman with an "E."
Any parent who opposes adoption of the [Common Core State Standards] is, in effect, saying, “I do not want my child prepared for life in the Twenty-First Century.”... What leads them astray is that they are not truly aware of how the huge shifts that have taken place in society over the last thirty years have impacted educational needs... and politicians frequently pander to the often woefully uninformed beliefs of voters. - NPR's "Math Guy" Keith Devlin via Laura Waters at Education Post
EdSec Arne Duncan may have marched for #blacklivesmatter last weekend, and his communications team may have posted a somber picture of him doing so, but AFT head Randi Weingarten gave a fiery speech to the crowd. Uploaded by AFT. Not in the mood? Morning Joe has a segment about a school taking a blind kid's cane away as punishment, replacing it with a swimming pool "noodle."
There are lots of ways for education reports to get fleeced by sources or to neglect to check things out thoroughly, but New York Magazine found a pretty obvious wayof embarassing itself when it posted a story about a NYC high school student who'd supposedly made millions trading before turning 18 (Mohammed Islam, Stock Trader).
The problem was that the student hasn't made anywhere near $72 million in the original story headline and the Chase bank statement that he provided to NY Magazine fact-checkers was fake.
After lots of questions about the story, editor Adam Moss wrote about the story and concluded with the obvious: "We were duped. Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better."
Black-white segregation is declining, notes the New Republic notes (Black-White Segregation Is Steadily Declining) but adults and school-age children are affected differently (see chart above) and schools remain something of a segregation holdout.
Obama’s Immigration Plan Mostly Covers Parents FiveThirtyEight: According to numbers calculated by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan think tank, the bulk of that five million — about 3.7 million — will consist of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years. Obama’s plan would also expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), making another 300,000 undocumented immigrants eligible for the program.
Arne Duncan not taking sides on CPS' seeking delay on PARCC test Chicago Sun-Times: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Thursday he's staying out of a tussle between the Illinois State Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools over whether CPS students will take a new Common Core-aligned standardized test this spring.
Bush Seeks Common Ground With Common Core Critics AP: "For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher, be bolder, raise standards and ask more of our students and the system," Bush said. See also Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR.
Teachers Union Showcases Community Schools Model in Manhattan WNYC: There's been intense debate lately about whether struggling schools benefit more from additional services or by studying their data. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration closed down low-performing schools to get rid of ineffective teachers and supervisors. But Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña have embraced more professional development and the community schools model, while reserving their right to close schools as a last resort.
Charter CEO: Fariña has ‘obligation’ to release enrollment data after push-out claims ChalkbeatNY: “The NYC DOE has access to enrollment and discharge data and now has an obligation to release such data not just for every charter school but for every district school as well,” he said. “I call on the Chancellor to instruct the DOE to do so promptly.”
More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.
No surprise that President Obama is going to announce his big deportation relief plan at a Las Vegas high school, given that a whopping 18 percent of kids in Nevada schools have at least one parent without documentation. That's according to a Pew study that HuffPost's Rebecca Klein wrote about yesterday. Read all about it here. Image used with permission.
Check out the startling statistics presented above (based on an AAUW study) and more at this Al Jazeera America story. Harassment and related issues aren't a standard education policy topic but they're an important and real part of too many students' lives.
Oftentimes in the community, the student who was out of the street, selling drugs or whatever, is one of the sole breadwinners of the family. And when you get in front of a family’s revenue stream and you make trouble for them ... To me, that’s not really positive.
-- Former Chicago truancy officer via WBEZ (State task force recommends Chicago Public Schools reinstate a new breed of truant officers)
Here's a map of states with early warning systems, described in this Marketplace story as the result of a "steady stream of student data, like GPA, attendance, demerits, and test scores" that allow administrators to "peer into the future and spot the 7th and 8th graders most at risk of dropping out of high school in the future." (Using data to predict students headed for trouble). Image used with permission.
Check out this week's New Yorker story (Whipping Boy), recounting the 44-year long hunt for the author's schoolboy tormenter:
"I was ten and he was twelve when for a few indelible months we roomed together in a British-style boarding school perched on an alpine meadow high above Geneva.”
His name—Cesar Augusto—“his size, his command of the school’s pseudo-military regulations, the accuracy he demonstrated when strafing enemies with ink from his Montblanc fountain pen, enabled him to transform our dorm into a theatre of baroque humiliation.”
Image used with permission.
Photo credit James Pomerantz
A quick glance at the red bars to the left of each graph shows that the public grades schools much more harshly nationally (left) than they grade them locally (right). Maybe part of the reason is that they live in wealthier areas that increasingly subsidize their children's education though outside foundations. Via Vox. Used with permission.
"In 2000, 12 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 hadn’t graduated high school, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data," notes FiveThirtyEight (U.S. High School Dropout Rates Fall, Especially Among Latinos). "By last year, that figure had fallen to 7 percent. Among Hispanics, the drop-out rate has fallen from 32 percent to 14 percent over the same period." Image used with permission.
This American Life takes on different efforts to revamp school and classroom discipline, from charter schools' silent hallways to racial disparities in suspension rates to the limits of restorative justice. Click here if the embed doesn't show or play. Thanks to LV for posting this on FB.
You should not have to be the grandchild of a president to get a good education, to get good healthcare... Let’s make sure we give every child in Pennsylvania the same chance that I’m determined to give my granddaughter. - Hillary Clinton (Hillary Clinton Finds Her Message)
Sure, over all childrearing costs 25 percent more than it used to (in constant dollars), notes Vox. But childcare and education costs have risen 800 percent. Two-parent families don't spend that much more than single-parent families. Rich families spend more. Click the link for all this and more. Image used with permission.
Here's the video from CAP's event, during which you'll find out about CAP head sending her own kids to DCPS schools, plus link to the new report (Testing Overload in America’s Schools):
Basically, the report focusing on 14 districts in 7 states -- Colorado (Denver Public Schools and Jefferson Co. Schools), Florida (Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Sarasota County Schools), Georgia (Atlanta Public Schools and Cobb County School District), Illinois (Chicago Public Schools and Elmwood Community Schools), Kentucky (Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville and Bullitt County Public Schools), Ohio (Columbus City Schools and South-Western City School District), Tennessee (Shelby County Schools and Knox Co. Schools) -- finds that there's lots of testing and too much test prep -- much of it district-mandated (not state or federal) -- but holds out hope that states and districts can streamline their testing and that Common Core assessments will make for fewer, fairer tests. #CAPedu
[Gym] went into attack mode, viewing everything as a privatization conspiracy. At the same time she would frequently call me to solicit money for her charter school. I found this to be odd and hypocritical. -- Jeremy Nowak in Philly Magazine (Gym denies this)
From deep inside a Chicago hotel, the day after StudentsFirst announced Jim Blew as Michelle Rhee's replacement and at roughly the same time as CTU is announcing that Karen Lewis has a serious illness and her duties are being taken over by her deputy: Tweets about "#PIESummit14 "
Related posts: 5 New Orgs Bring PIE To 49 Members; Talk About "Love" (Not "Rights"); PIE Annual Summit (2013); State Advocacy Groups Talk Policy - Not Tactics (2012); Reform Celebration In Seattle (2011).
Schools have unique qualities that cannot be captured in a letter grade... They are not restaurants.
- NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina explaining end of school report card grades
"In 2000, three Hispanic students had recently completed high school for every one who dropped out, according to Pew. Now nine times as many finish high school as drop out." (Vox: Latinos are driving a huge decline in the high school dropout rate) Image used with permission.
It's not quite as moving as last summer's version -- and the one I saw last night during the news featured a kid who wanted to be a doctor -- but here's the new Families For Educational Justice video that's airing in NYC, focusing on 143,000 kids in low-performing schools, using the hashtag #donttstealpossible. "In vast areas of NYC [Brooklyn & the Bronx, mostly], children have little choice but to attend a failing school." There's also a map of 371 failing schools in NYC. There's a rally on Thursday.
As originally noted in Politico's Morning Education, the national Urban League is apparently backing the "equitable implementation" of the Common Core and thus putting at least a bit of pressure on critics to consider the issue from a minority parent perspective. I mean, check out the fierce expressionon the little girl's face:
Anyone seen a racial or SES breakdown of Common Core support among the public or parents? What other efforts has the Urban League been involved in, and to what effect (if any)?
"There's also some good news in these new figures: while mental disabilities are on the rise, there has also been a 11 percent decline in physical disabilities among children over the past decade. Much of this is concentrated in declines among respiratory diseases, like asthma, which have fallen by nearly a quarter just in the course of 10 years." (Vox, with permission)
"Last February, Jon Stewart on the The Daily Show ripped a state legislator in Kansas, Rep. Gail Finney, who was pushing legislation to allow teachers and parents to whack kids hard enough to bruise." (19 states still allow corporal punishment in school) via the Washington Post.
*Yeah, that's Jon Stewart, not Stephen Colbert as I originally had it in the headline.
Veteran Chicago Public Schools teacher and blogger Ray Salazar -- who recently explained why he chose a charter school for one of his children -- now has an interesting take on yesterday's PDK/Gallup poll results on his blog (Three reasons people don’t trust teachers).
Public trust in teachers is down (along with support for test-based teacher evaluation), notes Salazar. But teachers aren't in charge of how they're perceived, or many of the factors that shape public opinion.
Who or what is?
Ineffective and incoherent leadership at the district level -- including union leadership -- is factor #1, according to Salazar. "Honestly, as I stood on the picket line in 2012, I struggled to articulate why we were striking for the first time in 27 years," remembers Salazar. (Another strike is possible soon.)
Factor #2 is "inflammatory" coverage of the schools, fueled by "mostly white activists, many of whom haven’t taught in our schools," who are quoted as authorities in the media and teachers -- especially minority teachers -- are ignored. Salazar blames the media for focusing on relatively minor flaws in the system -- a front page story about teacher certification -- rather than reporting large-scale successes like teachers helping students win millions in scholarships.
Last but not least, district mandates are overwhelming classroom teachers with requirements. "Today, a typical Chicago high school teacher has 150 students and must enter 300-450 grades a week (2-3 per student) on a highly public and scrutinized gradebook system. Our teacher evaluation, while no longer a checklist that mentions bulletin boards, is a time-absorbing exercise that will not help a teacher improve if the administrator lacks instructional expertise.
Yes, she has test anxiety. Yes, she has cried... I comfort her, but I tell her: ‘I make $14.42 an hour. What are you going to do to have a better life?.' - Success Academy parent Natasha Shannon in the NYT (The Battle for New York Schools)
What happens when orthodox Jews move into a suburban New York neighborhood with high property taxes and don't send their kids to private yeshivas -- or vote down school budgets-- as long as the district doesn't monitor the private schools and gives as much money as possible (up to $27,000 per kid)?
The deal doesn't last forever.
The result is a situation that's "Like nothing you have seen in any school district anywhere," according to Ira Glass. NSFW (curse words).
Politics, budgets, religion, regulation -- it's all in there. Image via This American Life.
We have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids. - Tech mogul Chris Anderson about tech parents limiting kids' exposure (NYT: Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent)
There were very few adults around me who’d been great students and were subsequently rewarded for their studiousness... I mostly thought of school as a place one goes so as not to be eventually killed, drugged, or jailed. - Ta-Nehesi Coates (‘I Did Not Have a Culture of Scholastic High Achievement Around Me’ Atlantic Magazine via Longreads)
With millions of children headed back to school, we asked reporters from member stations around the country to bring us the sounds of that first day:
Image Flickr CC via
There were very few adults around me who’d been great students and were subsequently rewarded for their studiousness. I mostly thought of school as a place one goes so as not to be eventually killed, drugged, or jailed. - The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates (Acting French)
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.