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
"Only 13 states have laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 schools, while Wisconsin protects students from discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity. So in a great majority of states, LGBTQ students have no explicit legal protections."
Good news, all of you concerned with crushing student loan debt (your own or the issue): According to this review in The Atlantic, Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Purity, features a main character who's faced with large loans and no obvious way to pay them off:
"Her mother broke off contact with her family before Pip was born, and Pip hasn’t been able to persuade her to reveal the truth about her past or the identity of Pip’s father. She’s burdened with $130,000 in student loans, lives in a squatter house in Oakland, and works for a company that fleeces energy consumers with misleading environmental rhetoric. Like her Dickensian original, she has the idea that if she were to discover her own backstory, something wonderful might happen—maybe even the zeroing-out of those student loans."
Author Franzen isn't particularly interested in education, but he and his work have come up several times here over the years. His 2010 book, Freedom, raised some issues related to Education, Parenting. There was the amazing speech he delivered at Kenyon in 2011 (Of Songbirds And Public Education) -- which prompted me to write perhaps the most sincere and least prickly thing I've ever published (Education Will Break Your Heart).
About 20 percent of NY students refused to take spring tests AP: About 20 percent of New York's third- through eighth-graders refused to take the statewide English and math tests given in the spring, the state's education chief said, acknowledging the opt-outs affected assessment data released Wednesday, which otherwise showed a slight uptick in overall student achievement... See also WSJ, Chalkbeat, EdWeek, NYT, WNYC.
News Corp. Planning to Sell Off Money-Losing Education Unit NYT: Amplify, the education division of Rupert Murdoch’s company, is in an “advanced stage of negotiations” with a potential buyer. See also BuzzFeed.
Labor Leadership Is Pushing Hillary Clinton, But the Grassroots Wants Bernie In These Times: “If you want to shape something, you get in before the primaries,” AFT President Randi Weingartensaid in defense of the endorsement. Weingarten, a longtime Clinton ally, is currently sitting on the board of pro-Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA Action.
Brown signs bills letting nannies' kids go to local schools AP: The Democratic governor signed without comment SB 200 by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara, which permits the children of live-in workers such as nannies and maids to attend school in the districts where their parents work at least three days per week. An additional new law requires that schools have a set policy for investigating students' residency before hiring a private investigator to look into residency. It also prohibits students from being photographed or recorded by investigators and mandates an appeals process. See also District Dossier.
Charters transform New Orleans schools, and teachers Marketplace APM: One dominant symbol back then was a flag that read, "Class of 2014," the far off year these kids were expected to launch into college. To accomplish this with so many students so behind in their studies required teachers who could handle some very long school days. Bethaney, now 19, remembers teachers being at her charter deep into the evening. See also Part 2.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
States in red (like LA, MS, AL) have the earlier start times, while states in paler colors (like Alaska, Iowa, ND) start later. Via Huffington Post. Click here for the full story.
Former ProPublica writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, in School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson, recalls of the inescapable truth that educators once acknowledged, and that we now need to remember. Children who attend the most segregated schools, Hannah-Jones reminds us, “are more likely to be poor. They are more likely to go to jail. They are less likely to graduate from high school, to go to college, and to finish if they go. They are more likely to live in segregated neighborhoods as adults.” Moreover, “their children are more likely to also attend segregated schools, repeating the cycle.”
Contributing to a continuing series by ProPublica and the New York Times on segregation, Hannah-Jones reports that “over the past 15 years …. the number of so-called apartheid schools — schools whose white population is 1 percent or less — has shot up. The achievement gap, greatly narrowed during the height of school desegregation, has widened.”
The national market-driven, test-driven school reform movement has downplayed the damage done by segregation. It’s choice-driven policies have actually increased the separation of students by race and class. And, This American Life’s The Problem We All Live With, featuring Hannah-Jones, begins with a mention of the research which explains why NCLB-type reforms have failed to improve schools serving neighborhoods with a critical mass of families from generational poverty. In doing so, it properly articulates the question that must be tackled before school improvement and other policies can promote racial justice and economic equality.
Accountability-driven reformers proclaimed their movement as the civil rights campaign of the 21st century, but they haven’t found a viable path towards school improvement. Competition-driven reformers derided traditional educators, who embrace socio-economic integration, early education, and full-service community schools, for allegedly making “excuses” and shifting attention away from the supposed real issue – bad teaching. But, This American Life has it right; reformers using competition-driven policies to improve instruction within the four walls of the classroom are distracting attention from the true problem.
There is no hokum that Diane Ravitch can write that will absolve her of her destructive support of this new slave trade... No monograph Karen Magee or S.O.S. soccer moms in Westchester’s leafy burbs can offer that trumps their doublespeak about educational opportunity for all…while they hoard it for themselves. -- NY-CAN's Derrell Bradford from a speech delivered yesterday at CCNY.
Note that this is far from the first time that slavery has come up in the education debate, most recently in a WNYC series this summer. See related posts on the topic: Slavery, The Holocaust, & NCLB (2008), What It's Like Being A 12 Year-Old (2015)
In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.— Dan Hodges (@DPJHodges) June 19, 2015
"In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over." -- Daily Telegraph commentator Dan Hodges via Wonkblog
Marketing research company eMarketer estimates that US retail back-to-school season sales will reach $831.33 billion in the months of July and August this year, "up 4.6% year over year and representing 17.3% of full-year retail sales." (Students Stuff Backpacks with Tech for Back-to-School)
Morning Video: Christie Swipes At Teachers Unions (Again), Missouri District Tries Integration (Again)
Here's Chris Christie's now-obligatory slap at the teachers unions from CNN.
But you really should spend your time listening to This American Life's latest podcast, about an unlikely and unexpected school integration experiment in Missouri. Streaming and download versions here.
Click "play" on this recent panel featuring TCF fellows Stefanie DeLuca and Halley Potter and L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy of CUNY discussing the nexus of race, housing, and education in America.
According to TCF's Potter, "segregation in housing and schools are intimately linked, and that we need to consider strategies that address both problems." She also notes that integrating schools doesn't really go far enough if classrooms aren't integrated, too, and choice alone isn't probably enough without equitable access to information and other supports.
Here's a chart comparing actual Loudoun County (VA) attendance zones to model zones that balance student demographics as much as possible and aren't "gerrymandered" in ways that exclude certain groups. Via EdWeek (New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones). Used with permission. Credit Teachers College Record.
This Matt Yglesias article and accompanying chart are going around today. In the piece, the Vox honcho makes the case -- too simplistically, according to some like Chalkbeat's Maura Walz -- that the housings costs of homes near high-performing public schools (top right quadrant) make them inaccessible to many middle- and low-income families, and that there are strong disincentives to letting more people live in those areas or dis-connecting school assignment and housing. Chart by Ginger Moored via Vox.
The New York Times reported that, on Wednesday, Atlantic magazine writer Ta-Nehesi Coates spoke with some Baltimore high school students.
Turns out it was Renaissance Academy in the Booker T. Washington HS building.
Check it out on Twitter, or click this link to watch Coates speak at the book launch event just afterwards (among other things about the privilege of having two parents when he was growing up).
"Over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers—sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses," reports Mother Jones' Jaeah Lee (Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad)
We've been through so much. Slavery. And once slavery ended, segregation. And once segregation ended, we’re still going through this today. What was all the hard work for? Why do we have to go through this again? -- NYC student interviewed in WNYC's latest story Being 12: Debating Race and Police