"There's some deep ... problems that we as a society haven't faced up to yet.," says"Sean Reardon, a professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford University in this EdWeek video and article (Achievement Gaps and Racial Segregation: Research Finds an Insidious Cycle)
Observers and policymakers refer easily to New York’s pre-K program as part of the “public” education system or at the very least as a “public” education program. Yet vouchers for K-12 private schools are often criticized for “privatizing” public education.
-- James Ryan in Medium (The Largest Voucher Program You’ve Never Heard About)
If all goes as expected, Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson (above right) will lose the Baltimore mayoral primary today.
There's no doubt that BLM has burst onto the scene like a much-anticipated Beyonce album. Just the other day, President Obama -- sounding somewhat out of tune given the detailed proposals of Project Zero -- criticized BLM for too much yelling and not enough engagement.
Everybody wants to ally with BLM -- from Sanders and Clinton to teachers and school reformers -- at least most of the time.
But it isn't at all clear where the fit is going to last and (so far at least) BLM leaders haven't fractured or joined forces with any particular stakeholder group -- labor, education reform, the Democratic Party establishment, or Bernie Sanders liberals.
McKesson, with his school reform background, has raised suspicions among some labor activists and progressives who might otherwise be eager to join with the social justice leader.
But for union and other leaders it's hard to figure out how to be with and against BLM leaders at the same time, or to come up with any coherent approach.
In recent weeks, there have been some fascinating, seemingly illustrative run-ins between BLM and existing advocacy groups like the Chicago Teachers Union.
In case you missed it, the CTU invited BLM to join a rally a few weeks ago, then struggled to figure out what to do when BLM's Page May started denouncing the police -- a union local -- from the event podium.
"The CTU keeps acting like they are on our side, but then Karen Lewis refuses to say cops need to get out of schools," May said in the DNA Info story. "Until they come out explicitly opposed to cops in schools, I don't think we are fighting on the same side."
Read more about that in this excellent Laura Moser piece from Slate (Chicago Teachers Union is going through an awkward radicalization).
According to this American Prospect story, local BLM activists were part of the one-day CTU walkout. And indeed they were there. But obviously CTU and the local BLM weren't really on the same page -- creating a conflict with the union that represents police officers.
When called on to apologize to the police for the rally comments, one CTU ally defiantly Tweeted "CTU can apologize once the [police union] apologizes for supporting & fundraising 100k for [police officer] Van Dyke who killed our CPS student."
A top CTU official distanced the union from the comments.
At roughly the same time, McKesson was indicating his support in the form of a raised fist emoji:
.@may20p, ✊🏾.— deray mckesson (@deray) April 6, 2016
How this is going to resolve is anybody's guess. BLM could implode or fade, like so many previous groups. It could splinter, or it could find an ally with one or several of the existing combatants out there.
The conundrum is just as much a challenge to education reform groups and Democratic Party traditionalists as it is to the CTU or progressives.
And of course much of the outcome will be shaped by BLM itself.
I didn't hate finale of "Togetherness" as much as some folks -- or for the same reasons -- but the show certainly was a reminder that we should all be careful for what we wish for.
With "Togetherness," I think I may have finally learned my lesson.
For years, I've been hectoring my friends about the need for more and better depictions of schools in popular media, and celebrating the appearance of education wherever it might show up ("Parenthood," anyone?).
But Season Two of "Togetherness" got deeply into the issue as a major plotline, and it was disappointing to see how superficial and unrealistic the result turned out to be.
In Salon (The empty charter school dream), Sonia Saraiya traces the show from Season One to Season Two in ways that I find familiar. "For a show that can be so self-aware about marital dynamics and Hollywood culture, the charter school subplot is a glaring blind spot, one that is given more and more screentime as the season progresses."
There were moments during Season Two that rang true: the uncomfortably fancy charter school fundraiser, the hilariously cliche'd curriculum (except it should have been a "forest" school , no?), the over-educated and clueless white parents thinking that creating and running a school is a lot easier than it is.
But this recap (Everything Changes) makes clear how ridiculous things get by the end: "Michelle gets an idea to save the school: an educational theater show that is built by the kids. All they need to do is … tear everything down and rebuild it under the guidance of Sophie. Cut to the construction montage."
They live in this county, but they will not send their children to the schools in this county... We shop in the same place. We eat at the same restaurant. So why can’t our kids go to school together?
-- Sumter County school board member Julene Delaine in School Funding In Alabama
Skip to the 6:00' mark to watch Prince teach class to the tune of Starfish and Coffee. It's pretty fun.
Or, go to this EdWeek story about an education project Prince's former wife started to help low-income kids in Minneapolis. h/t Kathleen Mazno. Anyone know what became of it?
Build deeper relationships and ask tougher questions of your student's teachers...Instead of the teacher just saying, 'He's a great kid,' ask, 'Is he reading on grade level?'
-- Bibb Hibbard in NPR (9 Out Of 10 Parents Think Their Kids Are On Grade Level. They're Probably Wrong)
Skip to the 32:00' mark to watch EdSec King talk at a recent Century Foundation event about encouraging districts to return to school desegregation. Seems like it might be too little too late to me, but it's certainly an interesting thing to have discussed.
Or, watch Chicago teachers union head in a public TV segment on her fiery speech yesterday.
More than 1 million kids lack a home of their own -- many doubled up with other families. Via Ben Spielberg & the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
One of BuzzFeed's latest videos, purportedly about questions black people want to ask other black people, has generated reactions ranging from 😬 to 😡.
One of the questions is a version of the age-old "acting white" issue, which Vox debunked not too long ago: The most insidious myth about black kids and achievement.
Seriously, some people are really offended by the attempted humor. For example: 27 Answers To Buzzfeed’s Dumb Video. This is probably where I should provide a trigger warning.
Related posts: Why Do Journalists Love Shaky Science on Race? Eduwonkette; How Barack Obama's Election Can Change the Myth of 'Acting White' NY Mag.
I want every teacher, principal, parent and student to know you will have a partner in the White House... Recruiting and retaining effective teachers starts with something very basic, raising teacher pay... Let’s keep working to find a fair balanced approached to testing so our kids learn what they need to compete...
-- Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in New York on Friday via Newsday (Clinton touts economic agenda in Buffalo, Rochester) Last week, her husband raised some eyebrows with his suggestion that Clinton didn't support annual testing (see also NYT). See full speech transcript here.
I’m not going to stand by while someone who doesn’t look like me accuses me of carrying out some form of Jim Crow... I teach my own kids that no one can take your dignity and only you can control your temper. I tell them that I know who I am. I know my history.
- Oakland superintendent Antwan Wilson quoted in this SF Chronicle column (Superintendent gets schooled in Oakland’s turbulent politics)
We already have so much work to do to try to close the achievement gap that this is a distraction... It's not Latino parents, it's not African-American parents. We don't have the time to be wasting trying to opt out. We need to know exactly how the kids are doing because when they go to college, if they are not prepared it's going to cost people more money.
-- Luis Torres, director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens, quoted in Politico (Opt-out movement aims to lure more African-American, Latino parents)
"Two years ago, Alex Hribal, a student at Franklin Regional High School near Pittsburgh, wanted to honor the Columbine killers, but school wasn’t in session April 20. He struck on Eric Harris’ birthday — April 9 — and stabbed 20 people." via Washington Post (The strange seasonality of violence: Why April is ‘the beginning of the killing season’)
There are disruptive policies causing some chaos in schools, mass movements of principals and calls for quality schools that are not being supported in a bottom-up way... These are unilateral decisions. It’s not collaborative, and while he may feel a rush to get things done, we think things should be done in a more thoughtful way.
-- Oakland Education Association head Trish Gorham in this SF Chronicle column (Superintendent gets schooled in Oakland’s turbulent politics)
Choice programs may give parents the ability to choose schools that are better (or simply better for their child). Nevertheless, this new study out of Louisiana suggests that there may also be a risk that students will sort into new schools in sub-optimal –- or even harmful –- ways. By better understanding how parents are choosing schools for their children, we can maximize the benefits of school choice while mitigating the risks.
It’s not really O.K., but it’s something you have to live with. It’s called life. As you grow older, you’ll understand it. The campaigns can be very vicious, just like life can be very vicious. But you have to figure it out and overcome it.
- Donald Trump responding to 11 year old student reporter in USA Today (For kid reporters covering Trump's presidential bid, safety now a factor)
The world can look a whole lot different with these glasses on. (via Chicago Theological Seminary)Posted by Upworthy on Monday, March 14, 2016
Here's a fun if super simplistic look at what it'd be like if there were glasses that would help white folks see the world as if they were someone who wasn't white.
Other favorites in this genre include Leave No Privilege Behind (2015), Vox's explainer video What Is Privilege?, Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too, and of course LL Bean's Invisible Backpack of White Privilege.
There's already some use of Yelp for schools (see screengrab above). And now the Nieman Journalism Lab reports that ProPublica is teaming up with Yelp to make it easier to find good local health care services:
"ProPublica is collaborating with the recommendation app to help provide better health care information on medical facilities and other providers. The idea is that finding a good doctor, nursing home, or dialysis clinic in your neighborhood will now be as easy as finding a reliable taco joint."
"Instead of noting whether a place has wifi and if it’s good for kids, the health care data notes a provider’s wait time, noise level in patient rooms, and how well a doctor communicates with patients."
Sounds good, right?
To be sure, there are other sites that try and do the same kinds of things -- GreatSchools, SchoolBook, InsideSchools, etc.
And some will argue that rating schools is different from rating restaurants or even doctor's offices.
But give credit to Yelp for democratizing information about businesses and trends that otherwise would have been limited to a small set of people who are in the know, and note also that none of the existing sites has the ease of use, user base, and mobile options that Yelp provides.
Related posts: A Yelp (Or Facebook) For Schools? (2012); Young Joins GreatSchools [Plus Unsolicited Advice] (2014).
"Our favorite [crossing guard] is an energetic lady who spins around and sings to herself in the middle of the street, luring and halting traffic with graceful pirouettes that make it look as if she’s controlling the cars as part of some larger, secret ballet. However, she can turn on the cars just as easily: we’ve seen her scream at disobeying drivers, smacking her stop sign on the pavement with rage."
Want to laugh and be terrified/outraged at the same time? Watch this Samantha Bee segment on how, in the absence of any political willingness to take on the gun lobby, schools are preparing kids and teachers for active shooters -- with pencils and schoolbooks. Then go read this helpful/ridiculous Washington Post guide about what to do if a gunman opens fire in your building.
PBS NewsHour: "On Saturday, college hopefuls took a brand new SAT, marking the first time in over a decade the test curriculum has undergone major changes. While scores will still be submitted with many an application, there is growing skepticism of their value as predictors of college success." (As the SAT evolves, so do opinions on its value)
As you may recall from just a few days ago, the New York Times obtained and published video of a Success Academy teacher dramatically ripping up a student's work and telling her to do it over. The video and accompanying story went viral.
But the Times wasn't just Internet shaming an individual teacher for her behavior. It was making the case that ripping up student's work was a common practice at Success Academy schools:
“Five of the teachers interviewed… described leaders at multiple Success schools and a Success supervisor in the teacher training program that the network runs with Touro College endorsing the practice of ripping up work if it was deemed not to reflect sufficient effort. The purpose, they said, was to get students’ attention and demonstrate urgency. At some schools, there was even a term for it.” “It was ‘rip and redo’…”
According to that interpretation, teacher Charlotte Dial wasn't just losing her cool at a moment that happened to be caught on video. She was doing what she'd been taught to do. In which case this GIF of teacher Charlotte Dial ripping up a student's work is an illustration of something that someone, somewhere, taught or told her to do:
But is that true? Spoiler alert: nobody knows.
The phrase "rip and redo" is dramatic and memorable. But there's nothing about rip and redo that's easily found on the web -- no course syllabus or materials endorsing the practice. Nobody seems to know, and everyone who might tell us seems not to be aware of or approve of the practice.
At a now-infamous press conference, Success Academy's Eva Moskowitz disavowed rip and redo: "It is not our policy to rip up student work,'" she's quoted as saying. "It is our policy to insist that children re-do. We make no apologies for the need to re-do work when it's not done."
Asked again about the practice a spokesperson from Success responded: “As we have repeatedly said, this practice is not and has never been part of our program.”
But in an email, the folks at Touro also disavowed the practice: "The practices discussed in the [NYT] article are absolutely not part of our curriculum, and Touro neither condones nor approves of them."
The Times says that rip and redo was being taught by Success trainers, and it's not hard to imagine that kind of scenario. After all, school districts and big charter networks can exert tremendous influence over what's taught to its teachers and by whom. In some cases, teacher training providers can be asked to include specific materials or to hire specific instructors as adjuncts.
But Tauro says that's not the case: "Success Academy staff enroll at Touro College on a cohort basis and matriculate in our Graduate Education master’s program. Full time and adjunct Touro faculty deliver our programs. We pay our faculty."
And NCTQ's Sandi Jacobs isn't so clear that Touro would necessarily know what is going on in each and every of its courses, even if it hired all its instructors. "It is generally our sense that it is up to the individual instructor to teach whatever they want," she said in a phone interview.
"I don't know how they would know" whether all its teachers were or weren't teaching rip and redo. "We don't generally see that programs are coordinated in such a way that anyone could say what is going on in an individual course."
So the mystery remains. Someone out there -- a rogue Touro instructor or Success supervisor -- has apparently been teaching "rip and redo" to Success teachers. But both Success and Touro disavow any knowledge of the practice, and the Times doesn't appear to have any concrete evidence that it is as widespread as has been claimed.
A version of this post was originally published at The Grade.
Here's a review of a book that sounds really interesting and timely:
"Many saw the 2008 election of Barack Obama as a sign that America had moved past the issue of race, that a colorblind society was finally within reach.
"But as Marianne Modica reveals in Race Among Friends, attempts to be colorblind do not end racism—in fact, ignoring race increases the likelihood that racism will occur in our schools and in society.
"Modica finds that even in an environment where students of all racial backgrounds work and play together harmoniously, race affects the daily experiences of students and teachers in profound but unexamined ways.
"In the end, the school’s friendly environment did not promote—and may have hindered—serious discussion of race and racial inequity. The desire to ignore race in favor of a “colorblind society,” Modica writes, has become an entrenched part of American culture. But as Race Among Friends shows, when race becomes a taboo subject, it has serious ramifications for students and teachers of all ethnic origins."
You can listen to an interview she did on WNYC in December.
Related posts: New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School English; Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling) In America; 'Confessions Of A Headmaster'; Teacher Perceptions Of Autonomy Vary By Race; Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too.
From PBS: "The Los Angeles school system has come far in the last ten years, especially in terms of inclusivity. In 2003, only 54 percent of LA’s disabled students were taught alongside their nondisabled peers; today, it’s more than 90 percent. But some parents worry that general education schools won’t provide the specialized attention their children require." (LA schools grow more inclusive, but at what cost?)
Here's a 12-minute documentary about a home visit nurse, which as you may recall was the subject of Kate Boo's 2006 feature story, Swamp Nurse. Go here if the video doesn't appear or you want more background.
Or, go listen to an WAMU story about how white parents' decisions not to send their kids to a local middle school affect its demographics and test scores.
Or, watch this new Viceland documentary about young African Americans in Compton, featuring a brief segment at Centennial High School, via Mark Walsh.
"The commercial has a "paper" student show up to school to face a group of mean-mugging "scissors" to find even the fellow "papers" have turned on him. It eventually takes a "scissors" and a "paper" — both sworn enemies according to the rules of the game — to befriend the lonely rock and break away from the schoolyard cruelty." via Mashable.
This video trailer from Chicago's Kartemquin documentary filmmakers comes from a "documentary project in progress" connecting the 1963 Chicago Public School Boycott to today's education struggles.
In 1963, roughly 200,000 Chicagoans marched to protest the policies of then-CPS superintendent Benjamin Willis. (A year later, there was a 500,000-person protest against school segregation in New York City.)
So far, nobody's identified footage of a young Bernie Sanders at the event, but who knows... it could happen.
"She is feeling better today and is eager to get back to school in hopes of achieving a high score on any number of Standardized Tests that will be given this year to insure that Private Corporations continue to receive huge and profitable contracts from CPS voted on by the Appointed Board of Education.” via Chicago Sun Times via FairTest
NBC News segment about so-called "nature" or "forest" schools. Click here if the video doesn't load properly.
Here's a #TFA25 panel moderated by the NYT's Nikole Hannah-Jones, who starts out expressing a view that the term "diversity" is cute but "integration" is an imperative. (Intentionally Diverse Learning Communities). Panelists include Kriste Dragon, Bill Kurtz, Jeremy Chiappetta, Julie Goldstein. 90 minutes.
"If you wonder how such a change could be brought about, take a look at this video (26 min long), and see what you think about the ways in which its educators transformed the teaching and learning climate at their school." (This is how you move a school from crisis to calm via Sam Chaltain).
The current urgency about inequality as an issue is really about how some white Americans are coming to live an experience that many minorities in this country have long lived — structural inequity has leapt the racial barrier — and that the legacy to which they fully assumed they were heirs is increasingly beyond their grasp.
- NYT columnist Charles Blow (White America’s ‘Broken Heart’)
"Students at the Montesorri School pratice yoga to help clear their minds of the violence that surrounds their lives," reports Al Jazeera America (Yoga To Help Kids Cope With Violence in Chicago).
See also: Why Schools Are Embracing Yoga (featuring NYC, Detroit, Litchfield, Minn, and Encenitas, CA).
"To force the issue, they staged a one-day school boycott on Feb. 3, when approximately 460,000 students refused to go to school -- the school boycott was the largest civil rights protest in U.S. history.... Yet, little came of the boycott, and the activists' demands resonate still." From WNYC (Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City)
It's finally here: New Progressive Education Podcast launches, hosted by Jennifer Berkshire and Aaron French. First up is a look at African-American parents in Philadelphia who oppose standardized testing. Or, check out the fundraising site. Agree or disagree with the perspective being explored, you've got to admire the sound quality.
Watch the event from this morning above. Featured are CAP's Catherine Brown, NY State's Mary Ellen Elia, CCSSO's Chris Minnich, Achieve's Mike Coehn, and DCPS teacher Chris Bergfalk, Ruidoso NM Supierntendent George Bickert, and NAACP LDEF's Janel George.
Read more here: Toward a Coherent, Aligned Assessment System | Center for American Progress. Read the Twitterstream #testbetter here.
A Here's a new Reason.com video segment about the perils of residential assignment of kids to schools. (Brownstone Brooklyn's Racial Divide).
"Some 61 percent of black Americans and 55 percent of Hispanic Americans said they think the government should take steps to increase school diversity. Only 28 percent of white Americans said the same." Via HuffPost (Surprise! White People Don't Really Care About School Diversity)
Or, on a much more serious topic, listen to this new Macklemore & Ryan song, White Privilege II, which includes the repeated line:"We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for Black lives?"
Bravo's scripted dramedy, Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce, centers to a surprisingly large extent around the never-ending duties of parents who send their children to a posh progressive LA private school called the "Center for Expanding Horizons" that might be loosely based on Crossroads (?).
In the above gif, two of the main characters are on dropoff duty (helping kids get out of cars and keeping the flow of traffic moving before and after school).
The set is apparently the Old Nokia building in Burnaby’s Glenlyon Business Park (in Vancouver). Here's a little bit about the branding and visual strategy behind the school design. You can find show transcripts that mention the school here and here. More pics from around the Internet are below the break.
As you may have seen, the NYT's ethicist recently told some Bay Area parents that they were not ethically obliged to send their little kid to the local school that seemed safe but had low test scores:
"There’s no recognizably human world where parents treat their own children the same as everyone else’s. This doesn’t license lack of concern for those other kids, and you’re right to worry that your dysfunctional neighborhood school is failing those it serves. But you can do something about that — through involvement in local and state politics, for example — without sacrificing your son. And what you owe is not heroic commitment, ‘‘turning the school around’’ by your own efforts. You owe only your fair share of the duties of an engaged local citizen."
But, over at The Billfold, a Hartford public defender named Josh Michtom took issue with that advice, suggesting that the NYT ethicist had blown the answer. His piece, If You Don’t At Least Try Your Local School, You May Be Part Of The Problem, says that, "To say, simply, “Don’t worry about it” is the wrong answer, and it is a pernicious wrong answer. It is the answer that tells people with both the resources and (theoretically) the philosophical disposition to fight segregation on a voluntary basis that they needn’t bother. It’s a cop-out, and if this topic is to be resolved with a cop-out, it deserves a soul-searching, garment-rending, morosely guilty cop-out."