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:
- In Marfa, Texas, a 14-year-old who's been home-schooled all his life is about to enter a classroom for the first time. (Tom Michael, KRTS)
- Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School is celebrating its opening day in downtown Brooklyn. (Beth Fertig, WNYC)
- The Newcomer School is a school for kids who are on their first or second year in the U.S. (Devin Katayama, WFPL)
- At Noble Street-Rauner College Prep, a 22-year-old is preparing to teach his very first class. (Becky Vevea, WBEZ)
- Students at the Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy in Austin, Texas, are learning how to tie their own ties. (Kate McGee, KUT)
- Students at Bailey STEM Magnet School in Nashville prepare to launch their own hot air balloons. (Emily Siner, WPLN)
- A kindergarten class at Hazel Valley Elementary in the Seattle suburb of Burien starts the first day of school the way you might expect: with the ABCs. (Ann Dornfeld, KUOW)
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)
Via FairTest and Diane Ravitch. Is this really the first time this has ever happened?
25 High Schools "Doing the Most With the Least" - includes Noble Street - The Daily Beast ow.ly/ANgzm
Most of Chicago's Little League Champs attend magnet or charter schools, reports ABC News http://ow.ly/AMc2L
As was apparent at last week's discussion of the Vergara case between Fordham's Mike Petrilli and AEI's Mike McShane, the current generation of school reformers is generally dismissive of legal cases in search of school improvements.
Lawsuits don't work, or are at best crude measures compared to policies and statutes.Or, theyre good for quantity-related issues (like funding) but not for quality-related issues (like access to effective teaching). Check out Petrilli and McShane's responses to my Twitter query at the 30 minute mark.
They may be right. I'm no legal scholar, and it's certainly conventional wisdom that the wave of equity and adequacy cases of the 1970s and 1980s didn't result in any wholesale improvements in American education. Some would say the same about civil rights cases.
But the Vergara case, its successors, and a whole host of non-education advocacy (same-sex marriage, for example), suggest that the conventional wisdom might be worth reconsidering, or at least examining.
Historically, it seems to me that legal cases have played an important role in shaping education -- perhaps as much or more so than laws that have been passed. I don't see any big advantage of one forum over the other.
The choice debate often gets boiled down to district vs. charter schools, with district advocates claiming that they're being disadvantaged and charter schools claiming much the same.
But if you click "play" on this very recent Chicago Public Radio story you'll learn it's not quite as simple as all that. Neighborhood schools in Chicago are losing local kids not just to charter schools (and to dwindling enrollment in the district over all) but to other neighborhood programs.
According to the Linda Lutton piece, "52,963 grammar school kids choose neighborhood schools that are not their own. That’s almost as many kids as attend charters, gifted schools and magnets combined." (More Chicago kids say 'no' to their neighborhood grammar school)
What happens when Democratic education advocates on opposite sides of many policy issues attend the same campaign training events? Things get awkward. That's apparently what happend at a recent New Organizing Institute event when members of the AFT and Parent Revolution both showed up and -- I'm speculating here -- didn't much want to be put at the same table brainstorming ideas together.
The NOI is a relatively new outfit, and its work was written up earlier this week in the Post (Inside the Democratic party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry):
"With the real midterms fast approaching, Democrats areager to put more people in the field who've been trained in the latest campaigning techniques... Boot campers have gone on to some of the most prominent left-leaning organizations in the country — such as AFL-CIO, Greenpeace and Planned Parenthood, not to mention the White House and political firms like Blue State Digital."
It makes sense that both groups would be there, given how hard everyone's trying to figure out/get better at campaign and mobilization work these past couple of years in particular. I've heard that similar things have happened at the Marshall Ganz boot camp, too.
Just because - let's say a fifth-grade teacher in Louisville, like we just heard, decides Minecraft is a great way to get his kids using grids. Well, that doesn't mean that teachers everywhere else are doing the exact same thing. -- NPR's Cory Turner (Debunking Common Myths About The Common Core)
Some celebrities shy away from taking a position that's going to bring them so much heat as well as some measure of admiration, and others simply don't agree that tenure is an issue, but Whoopi Goldberg seems to be up for the controversy. If only she'd been somewhat funny about it.... that always helps, right?
Here's Campbell Brown and David Boies on MSNBC's Morning Joe yesterday morning, with mention of a Weingarten appearance later in the week.
Riffing off last week's Campbell Brown appearance on Colbert, TIME's Haley Edwards has an interesting article about the differences between the Comedy Central comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stwart (The Celebrity Death Match Over School Reform).
If there's any doubt about Colbert's leanings, you only have to go so far as the Brown booking last week (and the protests that accompanied it), the Ravitch appearances on Stewart (but not Colbert), and Stewart's grilling of Michelle Rhee. Colbert's critique of the Common Core test questions was a slam on testing and those specific questions, in my opinion (see Colbert Attacks Then Endorses Common Core).
The influence of the two comedians is well known (though hard to measure). One of them -- reform wins! -- is about to switch from basic cable to broacast TV. No word yet on whether Colbert's booker, Emily Lazar, is heading to the new show with him (The Most Important Media Insider You've Never Heard Of), or how much education-related bits we'll get to see in the future.
Previous posts: Colbert To Broadcast Move Probably Bad News For Education (2014); Colbert / Stewart Divide On School Reform (2011); Fear-Mongering Educators Dominate Colbert/Stewart Rally (2010).
Out-of-state group touting charter schools expands to Boston Boston Globe: Families for Excellent Schools , a nonprofit that has been mobilizing parents in New York City to push for more charter schools is expanding to Boston, a potential boost for local charter school supporters seeking to rebound after a crushing defeat last month.
Celebrated Trial Lawyer to Head Group Challenging Teacher Tenure NYT: Mr. Boies, the son of two public schoolteachers, is a lifelong liberal who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and prosecuted Microsoft in the Clinton Administration’s antitrust suit. In aligning himself with a cause that is bitterly opposed by teachers’ unions, he is emblematic of an increasingly fractured relationship between the Democrats and the teachers’ unions.
Amid Criticism, States Gear Up For Common Core NPR: Delaware Gov. Jack Markell co-chaired the Common Core State Standards Initiative. He speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about the set of standards, and responds to its critics.
Legislatures taking state education into their own hands Washington Post: The backlash against the Common Core has prompted lawmakers in at least 12 states to get more involved in setting their own K-12 academic standards, injecting politics into a process usually conducted in obscurity by bureaucrats.
Debunking Common Myths About The Common Core NPR: Many people don't realize it's a set of standards, not a curriculum. NPR's Eric Westervelt talks with education reporter Cory Turner about other misconceptions about the Common Core standards.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Vox's Libby Nelson has a good starter list of 12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free but I think she might have missed and/or gotten a few wrong.
No problem -- that's what I'm here for.
It recommends Kate Boo's story about the attempt to revamp Denver's Manual Arts (Expectations) but leaves out her amazing (2006 - I'm cheating) story about early childhood interventions (Swamp Nurse).
Steve Brill's The Rubber Room was an artful rehash of reporting done by others. Rachel Aviv's Wrong Answer is a fascinating look at how some teachers decided they had to cheat that loses out in the end with its lazy reliance on NCLB as the main reason.
Stories mysterious left out include the New Yorker's take on executive function (Delayed Gratification = 210 SAT Points) and Jill Lepore's fascinating revelation that liberal Icon Elizabeth Warren hates neighborhood-based school assignment (Your Favorite Liberal Lawmaker Supports Universal Vouchers*). Nick Lemann's 2010 turning point piece is left out, too (The overblown crisis in American education).
All that being said, kudos to Nelson for getting things started and including some ed-related stories like this summer's Jill Lepore takedown of "innovation" (The Disruption Machine), which I blogged about last month (The Innovation/Disruption "Myth"). Lots more examples from Gawande, Gladwell, etc. to be found. The Hit Man's Tale!?
Previous TWIE posts about the New Yorker: Learning From The Gay Rights Movement; Last Week's Problematic New Yorker Parent Opt-Out Story; The New Yorker Takes Another Look At Coaching; Delayed Gratification = 210 SAT Points; Lessons From Earth Day 1970; If Doctors Can Do It, So Can Teachers, Coaching: Even Veterans & Star Teachers Could Benefit, Checklists: The Simple Solution No One Wants To Try.
"Here's somebody whose influence on ed policy is in no way related to their hotness, unlike that bimbo Campbell Brown," quipped NY Mag journo Jonathan Chait, linking to Matt Damon's appearances at various anti-reform events a few years back.
ICYMI, Ravitch questioned Brown's credibility on education issues about which the two people happen to disagree and in the process made several comments about Brown's looks.
Damon has appeared at various anti-reform events in recent years, based in large part on his good looks and celebrity (and views on education with which Ravitch happens to agree).
This week's PBS Frontline focuses on school de-integration, and it well worth a watch.
The impulse to want a neighborhood school for your children is understandable... [But advocates for neighborhood schools] are part of the problem not part of the solution. -- Warren Simmons, executive director of The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (The Uncomfortable Reality of Community Schools).
In case you missed it during last week's shortened workweek. Click here if the video doesn't load properly.