#yearined13 Here's just one of the cartoons that the NEA says was most popular on its Facebook page this year. Check the others out here. Got any better ones to suggest? Send them to me @alexanderrusso.
The School Shootings You Didn’t Hear About—One Every Two Weeks Since Newtown Daily Beast: In the year since Newtown, at least 24 school shootings have claimed at least 17 lives, according to a Daily Beast investigation. Has anything really changed?
Newtown images tell a story of grieving AP: A line of frightened young children hang onto one another's shoulders as they're shepherded from their school building. A young woman wails and clutches her chest as she holds a phone to her ear, fearing the worst about her sister. A dusting of snow coats a pile of teddy bears placed on the ground....
LAPD teaches educators that 'Seconds Count' in school shooting scenario LA Daily News: During the daylong "Seconds Count" drill at New Community Jewish High in West Hills, about 50 private-school principals and leaders from Los Angeles' Jewish community learned methods for anticipating and preventing a crisis and training their staffs to respond should one occur.
Hidden Cameras Test School Security NBC News: On the first anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, NBC's Jeff Rossen investigates just how secure some schools are.
School in Chicago Suburb Leads the Way in Keeping Kids Safe NBC News: Jeff Rossen reports on an elementary school in Niles, Ill. that is using technology in a number of innovative ways to safeguard itself.
From Fast Company: Can Your Brain Really Be Retrained?
"In the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town celebrates a charismatic judge who is hell-bent on keeping kids in line...until one parent dares to question the motives behind his brand of justice."
Are Kids Sports Pricing Themselves Out of the Market? (Pacific Standard)
"A day at work doesn't look like this. What about a day at school?" [Also from Upworthy -- they're so good at the headlines! -- and possibly not new (but I don't remember).] PS -- It's in French.
"Grit" - the tendency of a person to persevere through the difficult process of attaining a long-term goal - has become popular among educators recently who view it as one of those "non-cognitive" skills that, if properly instilled, can help students succeed in school and in life.
Over the last few weeks Peter Meyer has written a couple of very good essays summarizing why the educational significance of "grit" is probably overstated. You should read them both, but the bottom line is that while grit is certainly good to have, persistence is helpful largely because it facilitates the development and utilization of conventional cognitive abilities.
In other words, educators excited about developing students' grit tend to underestimate how important it will be for those students to acquire large amounts of factual knowledge.
The average American school has about the same bandwidth as the average American home, even though obviously there are 200 times as many people at school as there are at home. -- President Barack Obama in a recent speech
The disputed 911 tapes from last year's Sandy Hook Elementary shooting were released yesterday after a year-long effort from AP (Newtown Dispatcher Urged Callers to Take Cover) Read about the dispute over covering the audio tape (Newtown's 9-1-1 Calls Released, If Anyone Really Wants to Hear Them Atlantic Wire, For News Media, a Mostly Cautious Approach to Newtown Tapes NYT).
Or read about the efforts of the Newtown parents (Moms Demand Action Releases Devastating Ad Timed To Anniversary Of Newtown Shooting HuffPost) or about the latest school schooting (Suspect in custody after Fla. school shooting AP). There have apparently been 26 school shootings since Sandy Hook.
Looking over New York Magazine's recent article on protests against testing (The Movement Against Testing in Schools), by Robert Kolker, I can find at least a half-dozen glaring journalistic mistakes.
However, there are also at least two big strengths in the piece -- areas that Kolker sheds new light on that I wish weren't overshadowed by the omissions and misdescriptions that mar the piece (in my opinion).
Take a look below, see what you think, and let me know what I got wrong or missed.
"In the past, public school standards varied state to state. With backing from the federal government, some governors and superintendents collaborated on a national "Common Core." But they define only the "what" -- what kids should know, not how they should be taught." (Defining What Public School Students Should Know) Rebroadcast from 08/2013
The Beastie Boys aren't happy about it (or maybe they're being gamed), but you'll probably like this viral video to promote Goldieblocks and girls' interest in making things.
While some educators and parents feel like things are moving too quickly on the education reform front, parents like the ones in Joy Resmovits's in-depth profile aren't so sure -- and the national picture isn't particularly encouraging either:
"While D.C.'s situation might be extreme, parents nationwide have seen little progress on the special education policies that dictate their children's schooling. As the word "accountability" has gripped education policy, students have been left behind by special education... But for students with disabilities, little changed. Schools have few incentives to improve education for them, because for the most part, schools aren't judged on these students' test scores.
"In fact, some advocates think that recent policy changes leave students in special education programs worse off. Even the Obama administration's post-No Child Left Behind school tracking system has allowed states -- as well as D.C. -- to set significantly lower performance goals for students in special education. "It's pathetic," says Margaret Spellings, who served as U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush. "We're witnessing a gut job on accountability for special education kids."
Huffington Post: One Family's Heartbreaking Fight For Their Son's Education.
I don't always see eye to eye with school reform critics (including parents who are urging others to opt out of standardized testing). It usually depends on whether I am writing pieces that seem to agree with them or seem to
All that to say that I have enjoyed talking with some of the parent opt out addvocates these past few days including Peggy Robertson, and in particular I found her blog post (A Quick Guide to Resisting from Within for Educators) thoughtful in ways that I don't always see these days and that might interest you whether you care or not about the opt-out movement (aka "the parent trigger of the left").
As youll see, Robertson urges teachers to stay in the classroom rather than quitting in despair and frustration. She urges them to "open the door" rather than hunkering down. She urges everyone to be humble. ("Activism can have an ego. Avoid it.") She also says teachers should advocate for themselves (“Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.”) All this in a fierce-but-soothing voice that's sort of like a mindfulness meditation (not that I would know what that is).
Perhaps my favorite bit of advice from Robertson is this one: "Analyze actions, not heart." It's not just that doing so is wise and fair, accordign to Robertson, it's also more effective. "Do not waste time trying to see what is in their hearts – spend your time analyzing their actions so that you can see patterns and red flags that will allow us to strategize and win this fight."
Previous posts: Either you’re against the Common Core or you've never heard of it (Slate); When Parents Yank Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests (The Atlantic). Image courtesy Robertson.
One reason the suburbs are complacent is that politicians, notable amongst them Duncan and the President, spent a lot of time telling suburban voters there that any law that said 40 percent of the nation’s schools needed improvement was obviously flawed. - Andy "Eduwonk" Rotherham on Common Core pushback
How to pick a good school -- from a parent's POV? Via Slate.
Thanks to Philip Elliott's AP writeup we now know that Obama spokesperson Jay Carney (blue tie above left) defended Arne Duncan (albeit vaguely) at Monday's press briefing, in response to questions form Politico's Jon Allen (gold tie above right). See transcript below or watch video here.) Duncan issued an apology later Monday afternoon but reiterated his point that nobody looks good on Common Core assessments ("every demographic group has room for improvement").
*Updated Tuesday 8:45: Roundup of news coverage begins below the fold (click below).
On The Daily Rundown, watch Chuck Todd talk to a Common Core opponent from South Carolina (who did not participate in the national non-attendance protest that was planned for today). Todd doesn't seem very impressed South Carolina State Sen. Lee Bright, who's challenging Senator Graham. What do you think?
Stay positive and relentlessly talk about how the new standards are rigorous and will help prepare our kids for college and career. No more talk about Tea Partiers, conspiracy theories, the D.C. bubble, the blogosphere or scared white suburban moms. Defend Common Core on its merits. - Andy Smarick giving advice to Arne Duncan and other Common Core supporters in Politico's story this morning.
It was an obvious gaffe, and those inclined to make hay out of it (the Strauss-Politico-Ravitch triumvirate) will do so.
The mainstream press will (I hope) write the stories they need to write without making CCSS protests look larger or broader than they really are.
But I think there's also an opportunity here for Duncan to relieve the pressure and even take the lead.
*Correction: A link below is for Education Next, not the Fordham Institute.
From The Atlantic: "Americans' attitudes on education split along racial lines, with minorities much more optimistic about the effects of further academic study or skills training on their own careers."
My new piece is just up over at the Atlantic education page, describing the spate of recent parent opt-outs.
Clearly, opt-outs and other forms of protest are on the rise to some extent, and have already had effects in a handful of places. But anecdotal reports don't mean that everybody hates testing (and even those who protest do so for very different reasons).
Teachers' concerns re tests being used for evaluations shouldn't be confused with parents' concerns about lost classroom time, for example.
My biggest frustration reporting the story is that while there are lots of anecdotal reports of what seems like test proliferation there's no one I could find who's tracking the number of tests that states and districts are requiring so that we can see if the trend is up and if so how widespread it is. A little help, someone?
Just as frustrating, there's no accurate count of the percentage of parents who opt-out that districts, states, or anyone else is reporting -- though The Nation reports that the New York protests last spring amounted to just 1 percent of all parents. Again, some reliable numbers would be useful.
Thanks to experts like Bob Schaeffer, Anya Kamenetz, Tom Loveless, Charlie Barone, Michael Lomax, and the folks at Achieve and USDE for talking to me about the trend dynamics, as well as parents and teachers like Jesse Hagopian, Peggy Robertson, Liz Dwyer, Chris Thiennes, Rebecca Labowitz, and Deedra Barnes for talking to me about their opt-out experiences and everyone else who helped or offered to -- as well as Eleanor Barkhan and Julia Ryan for the helpful edits. Apologies to folks I didn't get to talk to (or whose best lines got left on the cutting room floor).
Previous posts: Either you’re against the Common Core or you’ve never heard of it; The Moral Complexities of Opting Out (Thompson).
It's quite a shock to see Michelle Rhee on MSNBC (it may never happen again) but there she was a few days ago, talking about NAEP scores (and resisting the urge to give a flip response to the inevitable "what about teaching to the test?" question). Can't bear the thought? Watch Jennifer Garner talk about preschoolers here instead.
Much has been made of how liberal and progressive Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is on education, and how much he's going to change the Bloomberg education regime once he takes office.
Ending-colocations! Charging charters rent! Appointing Randi Weingarten (or Josh Starr) as Chancellor!
His education views have won him the endorsements of not only the UFT (after Thompson lost) but also Diane Ravitch.
Much less noted has been the fact that de Blasio basically supports mayoral control of the city's schools, rather than the more decentralized (and arguably democratic) process of borough-dominated or even independently elected board members appointing a Chancellor independent of the mayor (like in LAUSD and many other districts).
Supporting mayoral control puts de Blasio in the same camp as Republican mayors like Rudy Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg and centrist Democratic mayors like Rahm Emanuel, Adrien Fenty, Kevin Johnson, and Anthony Villaraigosa.
Officially, de Blasio says he's going to "improve" mayoral control by giving CECs an advisory vote on some issues and enhancing the role of Citywide Ed Councils. He and the other Democratic candidates all said they wanted to keep the same basic setup, with minor variations. See them on video from GothamSchools here. Checker Finn recently mocked de Blasio's notions about improving mayoral control as vague and unworkable.
Liberals' views on de Blasio reminds me of liberals' views on Barack Obama, who was thought by some to have been deeply supportive of local control in Chicago but turned out to be quite something different.
Nothing's going right at the Booker T. high school Fall Carnival Season Fair.
Here's a PBS NewsHour segment from a week or so ago. Though they're designed differently, the LA program's name -- "Parents' College" -- reminds me of the Harlem Children's Zone's "Baby College."
Some quick observations: She ducks the "what about the unions?" question entirely (not defending them, it's worth noting) -- and Stewart lets her. She posits the notion that charter schools or choice reduce the sense of public obligation but ignores the reality that more affluent parents (including Ravitch herself) have "shopped" for better schools for their children for decades. She was holding the noisy green key-keeper in her hand to keep from blocking her face using that hand, right? See extended segments here.
Yes, Your School is Watching You WNYC: The Glendale school district in California is paying a firm over $40,000 to monitor the social media posts of their middle and high school students this school year. The state of Florida recently enacted a cyberbullying law which gives schools the power to investigate the off-campus social media activities of their students.
Mass School Closings a Nationwide Trend NBC: Craig Melvin talks with a Philadelphia family that is experiencing school closings first hand.
Calif. Could Lose At Least $15 Million in Federal Funds Over Testing Politics K12: Ever since California approved a bill to suspend much of its accountability testing for one year, everyone has been wondering if the feds would punish the Golden State for straying far from the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, which call for states to test students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school and use the results to make key school improvement decisions.
Study: Dual credit benefits kids in richer schools Hechinger Report: A study by the Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville found that more students were enrolled in dual-credit college courses in high school students in suburban and rural areas with larger enrollments of whites and smaller numbers of low-income families, and that excelled in such things as grades, test scores, and attendance.
Education Department Seeks Feedback On Ratings System For American Universities HuffPost: The Education Department forums are scheduled Nov. 6 at California State University, Dominguez Hills; Nov. 13 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.; Nov. 15 at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls; and Nov. 21 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Here are some funny bits from Homer Simpson's highly ineffective elementary school teacher, Edna Krabappel, who was voiced by actress Marcia Wallace who passed away last week. Via Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune.
From last night's show, the social science/ entertainment author explains how smaller classes can isolate struggling learners and make it less likely for them to thrive.
All those DC, Philadelphia, and Chicago families considering staying in the city and sending their kids to neighborhood schools (or progressive charters) probably won't make a real dent, according to this recent Atlantic piece from last week (It Won't Work).
Why not? These changes might be good for the families being recruited into desirable schools on a small scale but "cannot substitute for reforms that address the root causes of concentrated poverty, budget shortfalls, and failing schools."
The piece focuses in on Philly's "Center City Schools Initiative," which raised enrollment at three desirable schools but displaced low-income minority families and reduced nonwhite enrollment -- and didn't have much impact on the rest of the system's enrollment, peformance or budget.
Author Maia Bloombfield Cucchiara recommends breaking down urban-metro barriers (as in Wake County), refocusing on fiscal equity, and -- hey, why not? -- attempting to overturn the 1974 Supreme Court decision that blocks urban-suburban cooperation. She doesn't have much advice about how to make these things happen, but I'm guessing there will likely be a return to some of the methods of the past in future years (as current approaches becom eless fashionable), and it's good to be reminded that "the vastly different fates of urban and suburban schools... are not inevitable."
Previous posts: Philadelphia Advocates Seek 1 Citywide School Application; What About Schools Gentrification Passes By?; Cartoon: The Secret Gentrification Plan; "When The Melting Pot Boils Over"; Middle-Income Schools Left Behind; Nobody Wins Until (White) Parents Trust Schools.
Image via Library of Congress (via The Atlantic)
Given the raucous school board meetings we've been reading about lately, my first thought seeing Larry Feinberg's t-shirt (above) was that he must be a #CCSS critic or some other type who was encouraging others to make things loud. But @lfeinberg says it's not that at all - that he's actually an elected school board member himself and that it "encourages taxpayers/voters not to be bashful." See the full image below.
You may remember hearing about The Dalton Experiment (aka American Promise) before, but EdWeek's Mark Walsh reminds us that it's finally out (in NYC, at least):
It's especially timely given this recent Atlantic article about how much easier it apparently is for black boys to fit into nonwhite suburban schools than black girls. Maybe not so much at urban private schools? It's also an interesting contrast with last year's "Prep School Negro" documentary.
After all, lots of aspects of childhood and adolescence are physically and emotionally stressful, so the marginal impact of bullying may not always amount to much in practice. And suffering from bullying could conceivably be the sort of thing kids "grow out of" and move on from with no lasting damage.
Researchers, however, are increasingly investigating and quantifying the mental and physical toll that bullying takes on children, and a new study looking at long-term impacts into adulthood is particularly grim.
The authors found that even after accounting for pre-existing hardships, the victims of bullying had worse health outcomes, weaker social relationships, and lower wages as young adults. This was especially true for individuals who were bullied more frequently and for victims who responded by becoming bullies themselves.
As the authors put it, "Being bullied is not a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up but throws a long shadow over affected children’s lives."
Educators, then, are wise to strive to prevent bullying on their campuses. But do we know how to do it?
Forbes contributor Jake Adger rounds up the zip codes with the highest spending & school grades comparesto the median home price in Chicago, NY, and SF - and ends up recommending Dublin (CA), Coal City, Hinkley, and Batavia (near Chicago) and Nanuet in the NY area:
For charter schools operating in buildings owned by school districts only about a third are paying some sort of facility costs nationally, says NAPCS. (Forty-two percent pay nothing.) Here's the breakdown:
This is from NAPCS, a breakout of data from its survey of charter schools nationally. It's a followup to the argument in NYC over the Bloomberg administration's no-rent charter school co-location policy.
Yesterday, NAPCS told me that only about 25 percent of charters nationally are located in district buildings, though obviously that varies widely from district to district (based in part on facility payments and real estate costs, I'm guessing). The WSJ has reported that around 120 of aroudn 180 NYC charters are in district buildings.
Charter critics argue that they shouldn't be co-located, or at least should have to pay rent, and have persuaded the Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio to take that position. However, it doesn't appear to be common or even widespread that districts charge charters for facilities, based on the NAPCS survey.