About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too

Some Fieldston parents and NY Magazine readers may be concerned about the progressive private school's racial awareness program described in this week's magazine (Can Racism Be Stopped in the Third Grade?), but not everyone's quite so bothered by the effort.  

As described in the magazine feature by Lisa Miller, the school asked elementary school kids to identify themselves by race and then separated them -- temporarily -- as part of a program to deepen the students' understanding of racism and differences. "It would foster interracial empathy by encouraging children to recognize differences without disrespect while teaching kids strategies, and the language, for navigating racial conflict."

The program is mandatory, and operates during the school day, and start with kids as young as eight. "In 45-minute sessions, children would talk about what it was like to be a member of that race; they would discuss what they had in common with each other and how they were different, how other people perceived them, rightly or wrongly, based on appearance. Disinhibited by the company of racially different peers, the children would, the school hoped, feel free to raise questions and make observations that in mixed company might be considered impolite."

Designed by Fieldston's Mariama Richards, the "affinity-group" program was meant to foster authentic conversation but it felt to some parents like a step backwards -- like segregation, like overkill. It wasn't a comfortable discussion in ethics class."This same parent who sends her children to Lower because she values diversity tends not to dwell on the fact that she has few close friends of color; that her neighborhood is almost entirely white; that her nanny or housecleaner or doorman has brown skin."

Racial and demographic diversity has long been a goal for progressive private schools, but mixing kids together is just a start. Efforts like these have been popping up in different places around the country.  (My progressive private alma mater, Chicago's Francis Parker, just hired a director of diversity who seems like she's going to push the envelope for ostensibly liberal parents.) Fort Greene's Community Roots, a diverse progressive charter school, asked mixed groups of parents to engage in group activities outside of school in order to promote understanding and deepen classroom diversity.

See also this CNN segment featuring concerned parents:

 
ctn pkg carroll race experiments classrooms_00005030
 
"One of New York City's most elite and progressive elementary schools is conducting an experiment on race by separating students. CNN's Jason Carroll reports."

The reaction so far to the article has been generally supportive of the effort at Fieldston:

Education writer Dana Goldstein, now at The Marshall Project, noted on Twitter that the piece "perfectly captures moment in which young(ish) progressive educators confront parents who hold old notions of "colorblindness." Once unusual, racial awareness programs (the invisible white backpack, etc.) are more commonly part of college than they used to be. "My demographic wouldn't be shocked if our kids were separated by race and asked to discuss it in "safe space," noted Goldstein. "We've been there."

Over at Vox, Jenée Desmond-Harris's post (Why a New York City school's idea to (temporarily) separate kids by race is smart) lists the many advantages of the Fieldston program, especially teaching the lessons that "ignoring race and racism doesn't make these things go away, and that white people have a racial identity, too."

Not everyone is a big fan of the approach being taken, however.  Responding to the earlier NYT piece written by Kyle Spencer, New America's Connor Williams wrote a post titled The Limits of Talking About Privilege to Teenagers

NYT editor Amy Virshup thought that the NY Magazine story might not offer much that readers hadn't already learned. "But @KyleYSpencer story on same topic ran in Feb., w/pix of real kids, not models. What's new?"

The issue of overkill -- not so much on the issue but perhaps the controversy at this particular school -- is also the focus of a recent blog post I wrote over at The Grade:  Another Story About Fieldston’s Controversial Racial Awareness Program.  

One thing I'd add is that it's not just kids who need more and better racial awareness programs but also educators and advocates.  Teachers -- predominantly white and middle class -- need space and time to talk about and understand not only their students' backgrounds but also their own.  And advocates -- reformers and critics alike, also predominantly white and college-educated -- would do well with more of the same.

Making sure that conference panels and speakers and attendees are more diverse is one step, as is engaging more diverse groups of stakeholders (not just mobilizing them). Panels about racial awareness or race-focused issues are good, too.  But what about taking it one step further and doing a version of what Fieldston is doing and let adults engaged in education talk together in affinity groups and have some authentic conversations, too?  I could see PIE, or TFA, or maybe the Shanker Institute or Century Foundation doing something like this. Or maybe it's already happening and I just haven't heard about it.

Morning Video: Head Start At 50 Years (Plus Alternative Options)

 

"Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson announced the creation of Head Start, the early education program designed to support the needs of low-income children and get them ready for elementary school. The NewsHour’s April Brown explores the legacy and efficacy of the iconic program." via PBS NewsHour. Or, watch this story about a girl being dragged behind a school bus (she's recovering), or Stephen Colbert's Wake Forest hilarious/insightful commencement speech.

Morning Video: President Obama Laments Parents Choosing Private Schools

"What’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better... are withdrawing from sort of the commons," Obama said. "Kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids." Via RealClear Politics. Click the link if the video doesn't load properly.

Cartoons: The First Rule Of Miming

Pictures: "Game Of Loans.... Interest Is Coming" Goes Viral

In case you missed it, Wayne State University put this "Game Of Loans.... Interest Is Coming" image up on Facebook last week and it went viral pretty quickly. Hard to believe someone hadn't connected the show and the student loan phenomenon before (perhaps they had?). Insert statistics about loans and default rates at Wayne State here. Hat tip Robert Pondiscio. 

Quotes: Common Core = Private School/Voucher Increases?

MQuotes2ore parents are fleeing to private schools with the hope of escaping the standards - whether they can afford to self-pay or they will come to support school vouchers in greater numbers. - Allison Hertog in HuffPost (Parent Opt-Out Movement: Engine of Common Core Unraveling?)

Comedy: HBO's John Oliver Swings (& Misses) Against Standardized Testing

It's no easy job being smart and funny at the same time, and especially so when the topic is something as boring and controversial as standardized testing.  But last night's John Oliver segment didn't seem to succeed at either task, and came off somewhat blinkered with its focus on the concerns of (mostly) white teachers and (mostly) white parents and students. Watch for yourself and let me know what you think:

As you'll see, there are some funny bits and great snippets -- Obama bashing standardized tests in a pandering campaign speech before the NEA, a dirty remark regarding the Common Core logo, a funny quip about teachers' inspirational class posters in the new age, a bit about value-added formulas coming from livestock prediction models (is that true?), the instructions on what to do if a kid throws up on a test (is THAT true?), the comparison of Pearson to Time Warner Cable, the pop culture references (Fight Club, etc.).

There are tons of problems with standardized tests, and lots of things that could be done to improve them.
But Oliver seems to be trying way too hard and might not have the goods. Making fun of school testing pep rally videos seems like something you might see on America's Funniest Home Videos (if that's still on). The repeated focus on Florida seems problematic. The Talking Pineapple test question is old. The adult who did poorly on the test I don't care about him. The French kid with the cigarette? I have nothing to say. The girl crying because she tests poorly and can't take advanced art seems hard to believe (someone find her!). Going back to the dancing test mascot not twice but three times seems desperate (or maybe just not my cup of tea).
 
More importantly, going back to a world without standardized tests, and subgroups, and attempts to link teachers to student progress, is hard for me to imagine, and my sympathies lie much more with the kids who aren't being taught by teachers who think they can learn or school systems that don't give them the resources they deserve to succeed.  I don't think testing dramatically worsens those problems, even if it doesn't fix them.  The Common Core testing rollout has been glitchy but nothing like, say, the initial rollout of Obamacare.  And as I noted last week recent events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere have been a big reminder to us all that fixating for or against testing, charters, or technology increasingly seems like fiddling on the margins. 
 
None of this is to say that I hope Oliver and his crew don't continue to watch and mock things going on in education.  The Daily Show and the Colbert Report were generally great in terms of keeping an eye on hits and misses in schools and improvement efforts.  It seems unlikely that Colbert is going to be able to interview education researchers in his new gig.  So we need Oliver et al to keep the attention.  I'm just hoping that they'll be funnier and smarter about it next time around. Or maybe I just need to be in a better mood.
 

Morning Video: Maryland 6th Grader Didn't Mean To Be Rude To Obama

"I didn’t mean to cut him off,” said Bennett Middle School student Osman Yahya, 12, in a telephone interview with POLITICO.  "I was just nudging him to get on." (POLITICO)

 

Charts: Rich and Poor Spend Relatively More On Education Than Middle-Income Families

Screen shot 2015-04-29 at 4.08.18 PM"Higher-earning consumers spend less on housing, food and health care. (They spend more total dollars in these categories, but because of their higher incomes, such purchases are a smaller share of their expenditures.) Transportation, however, takes up a bigger share of expenditures for those in the middle, and less for the lowest-earning households... Education follows a U-shaped pattern, taking up the largest share of expenditures for those at the bottom and top of the distribution." (WSJ: How Rich and Poor Spend (and Earn) Their Money)

Maps: Yellow & Orange Show States Where Tests WIll Matter (Somewhat) For Teachers

Screenshot 2015-04-29 08.24.24"A majority of the states that have adopted Common Core won't use results to rate teachers this year. Of the 21 states that plan to use the tests as part of teacher evaluations in the future, many have already specified that the score will count for only a percentage of the evaluation." (Hechinger Report Stakes for “high-stakes” tests are actually pretty low).

Click the link and hover over each state for specific measures. 

As for stakes for students: "Three states will use the test scores as some portion of a graduation requirement... Only three states will be using this spring’s Common Core-aligned test to regulate grade promotion."

Morning Video: Education Reporter Gets Close To Cover Baltimore #FreddyGrey Protests

Baltimore Sun education reporter Erica Green put herself in harm's way covering yesterday's protests and rioting, but in the process documented lots of what was going on. Follow @ericaLG for more of her images and impressions. Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie was also posting images and updates, and EdWeek's Evie Blad was giving regular updates too. 

Or, watch AFT head Randi Weingarten tell Pearson to stop spying on kids during online testing.

Thompson: A White Suburban Dad Named Arne Duncan Needs Out

New York  Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch says that "it’s been well over a year since I’ve had someone talk to me about instruction and curriculum. Everyone has talked to me about evaluations."

Well duh!

We are in the middle of a wonderful democratic moment as the Opt Out movement is poised to kill the high stakes testing vampire. And, even Tisch ridicules the idea that the test, sort, and punish school of reform can be saved by punishing parents who are standing up for their children. She says, “I would say to everyone who wants to punish the school districts ... Really, are you kidding me?”

But, Arne Duncan has even surpassed his previous political blunder of dismissing the concerns of "white suburban moms" whose kids might not be as brilliant as they think. He again demonstrates political sensitivity comparable to that of Southpark's Eric Cartman. As Chalkbeat's Patrick Wall reports, in As Opt Out Numbers Grow, Arne Duncan Says Feds May Have to Step In, Duncan now threatens to punish low-income schools in states which fail to hit participation rate targets.

The Education Czar demands, "Respect My Authorit-iii!"

Even better, Duncan reveals his lack of education judgment by asserting that his children aren't being injured by punitive testing mandates. After all, testing hasn't sucked all of the oxygen out of elite schools. Whether Duncan knows it or not, its under-the-gun, high-challenge schools that face the most pressure to impose drill and kill. He remains clueless about the inevitable ways that the toxicity dumped on teachers and administrators flows down onto the kids.

Duncan, the white suburban father, knows best. He, not moms and students, should decide how much of the joy of learning should be sacrificed in the name of bubble-in accountability.

Duncan's gaff is the best news since the announcement that 185,000 New York students have already opted out. He has just thrown more gasoline on the irreversible fire that is spreading through states that first adopted his extreme version of test-driven  accountability.

Continue reading "Thompson: A White Suburban Dad Named Arne Duncan Needs Out" »

Quotes: Duncan Laments Lack Of Urgency From Parents & Others

Quotes2What we don’t have is enough parents beating down our door saying ‘go faster...You never have critique saying ‘do more.’ The critique is always ‘slow down, slow down...’
- EdSec Arne Duncan via EdSurge News (What Education Writers Are Reporting On)

Quotes: Why Louis C.K. Makes His Daughter Take The "Smelly" Bus To School

Quotes2My 13-year-old daughter leaves the house at 7:15 every morning and takes a smelly city bus to school* way uptown. It's like 8 degrees out, and it's dark and she's got this morning face and I send her out there to take a bus.  I could send her in the Mercedes and then have it come back to get me, but I can't have my kid doing that. I can't do that to her. Me? I earned that f—ing Mercedes. You better f—ing believe it.

- Comedian Louis C.K. in the Hollywood Reporter 

*Anyone know whether it's a public school he sends her to, and whether he opted her out?

People: Meet The Teacher Who Started #IWishMyTeacherKnew

Screen shot 2015-04-20 at 10.49.41 AM

Meet Kyle Schwarz, the Denver 3rd grade teacher who apparently started the #IWishMyTeacherKnew meme that has spread to at least 17 states, according to CBS News. Image via Twitter. @kylemschwartz.

AM News: You Watch The NCLB Markup, I'll Watch The NY Testing Launch

Senate Attempts To Revise No Child Left Behind Measure NPR: A Senate committee begins work on a bill that would overhaul the education law. That measure — once considered a great uniter of politicians on the left and right — has since become a great divider. See also NPR

Parents Get An Earful on Opting Out of the State Tests WNYC: Last year, 1,925 students opted out, according to the city's Department of Education. In 2012, 113 students opted out of the tests, education officials said.

Some Parents Oppose Standardized Testing on Principle, but Not in Practice NYT: Even parents who are uncomfortable with the exams are discovering that it is hard to push the button on the nuclear option — refusing to have their own children take them.

Atlanta Judge Urges Talks on Sentences in School Cheating Case NYT: Judge Jerry W. Baxter said, he thought an appropriate sentence for educators convicted of altering test scores would mean sending them to jail. But then he had a change of heart. See also Washington Post: Judge urges Atlanta educators to accept plea deals in test cheating case.

Marco Rubio's education plan is pretty much like President Obama's Fusion:  and Obama both support the idea of early childhood education. Rubio even said on CBS' Face the Nation that he thinks programs like Head Start, which Obama has championed, are well-intentioned.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: You Watch The NCLB Markup, I'll Watch The NY Testing Launch" »

Morning Video: This Is What An Opt-Out Protest Looks Like

Watch some Westchester County (NY) parents, teachers, and kids protest against testing above (click the link if the video isn't rendering properly, or read more about the event here). Or watch a DC school get ready for them (via PBS NewsHour) below:

Continue reading "Morning Video: This Is What An Opt-Out Protest Looks Like" »

Morning Video: Returning To A 2010 San Diego Elementary School Shooting

The PBS NewsHour returns to the scene of a 2010 San Diego area shooting. It's part of a new series they're calling The New Safe.

Morning Listen: Six States Have Trigger Laws - What's Next (If Anything)?

Can parent triggers help schools without ever being "pulled"? Listen to the story above or read about it here: What's Next for the Parent Trigger Movement?

Charts: White Kids Disproportionately "Winning" School Lottery In SF (& Elsewhere)

White kids are winning San Francisco’s school lottery  and the data proves it   The Washington Post
"White children account for 29 percent of the city's population age 19 or younger, but only 13 percent of students in public schools... The district's school "lottery," intended partly to promote diversity in classrooms, has apparently had the effect of concentrating white students in the best elementary schools." Washington Post (White kids are winning San Francisco’s school lottery)

 

Maps: Immigrant Parents Face Barriers To Engaging In School

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.com

This map shows the percentage of kids under 9 with immigrant parents, and this Vox article highlights the barriers keeping immigrant parents from getting involved in their kids' education. They include language, educational background, and community hostility. Of course, it doesn't help that teachers are still majority white (and presumably monolingual.) Image used with permission.

TV: What To Make Of All The School-Related Developments On Popular Shows

There may be too few educators on cable TV (and too few education-related segments, too), but has there ever been a time when schools were as much a central part of so many TV shows?

*On Fresh Off The Boat, the hip-hop loving son of immigrant parents has to make new friends at a Florida school where there has apparently a student who isn't white, black, or Hispanic.

*The New Girl is now an assistant superintendent and her boyfriend/employee teacher works at the same school (or still did, last I looked).

*Girls' most appealingly deplorable character, Hannah, substitutes at a private school after crashing and burning at her Iowa MFA program.

*In episode 6 of Tina Fey's new show, The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, the protagonist encounters a burned-out GED teacher who wants to be reported so he can get assigned to the rubber room. (There was a rubber room on Silicon Valley, too.)

*The female half of a bored married couple starts getting involved with an LA charter school startup in Eagle Rock that might also be good for her kids. (Repeat of Parenthood, sort of.)

Plus also: High Maintenance (seriously), Blackish (yep), Empire (just kidding), The Good Wife (I wish).

These aren't just silly pop culture coincidences, I'd argue -- or at least not only that.  They're a representation of what the larger public thinks or knows about education, or is at least what the public is curious about.  Clearly, charter schools and the rubber room are fascinating to writers, and the notion of smart young people trying out teaching isn't as foreign or obscure as it once may have been.

Related posts: Oh, No! Girls' Lena Dunham Is Going To TeachNeighborhood Segregation The Central Issue In New HBO Show;  Apparently Not Everyone's Cut Out To Be A Teaching FellowSilicon Valley's Rubber Room Includes A Rooftop GrillLouis C.K. Takes Us Back To 8th Grade Science.

 

Quotes: When School Reform Meets Democracy

Quotes2If you begin from the premise that you can not convince parents, then I doubt the wisdom of your entire plan for their children. I say that as someone who is unconvinced that teachers should be tenured.

 - The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates (When School Reform and Democracy Meet)

Parents: Housing-Based School Assignment Gets A Black Eye In The Bay Area

That's parent Hamlet Garcia, whom as you may recall was taken to court over his daughter's attendance at a wealthy high performing school district.  

The latest example of parents accused of "stealing" a better education for their children (and the problems of housing-based school assignment comes from Orinda, California, where the child of a live-in nanny was disenrolled by the district and told to attend school where she lives on weekends. A new state bill aims to prevent kids of live-in caregivers from being booted from local schools. Read more about it here and here.

Remember also that Elizabeth Warren, the liberal left's favorite non-candidate for President, is against housing-based school assignment. (See:  Your Favorite Liberal Lawmaker Supports Universal Vouchers*More Questions About Warren's Pro-Choice Views)

Related posts: 8 States Where Faking A School Address Can Get Parents Jail Time [OK, MO, IL, MI, OH, NY, PA, DC].

AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week

As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out NYT: About a dozen of their classmates, however, will be elsewhere. They will sit in a nearby art room, where they will read books, do a little drawing and maybe paint. What they will not do is take the test, because they and their parents have flatly refused. See also Yakima Herald: Common Core exams begin soon, and many school districts are ready to go; Philly.com: Monday the day for controversial student testing in New Jersey; WFLA: Florida Standards testing begins across state.

The snow conundrum: How a school system decides whether to open Washington Post: Todd Watkins had been following the snow forecasts closely. By the time he climbed out of bed in the darkness of 2 a.m., he didn’t think a storm would wallop the Washington region. But he thought it was possible that Montgomery’s schools would open after a delay. See also HuffPost: Teachers Ensure Poor Kids Are Fed On Snow Days When They Can't Get Free School Lunch

Contentious teacher-related policies moving from legislatures to the courts Washington Post: The latest foray into the courtroom began Feb. 13, when New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York.

Jeb Bush stands firm on controversial immigration, educationpolicies at CPAC Fox News: Rubio used his time to target Obama's foreign policies, focusing mostly on Iran's nuclear threat. During his speech, Rubio said America needed a leader who understands that the way to defeat the Islamic State “wasn't to give him a job,” referencing ...

No Child Left Behind debate in the House suspended Washington Post: The House suspended floor debate on a Republican bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind on Friday afternoon, with party leaders saying they had to shift the chamber’s focus to debate funding the Department of Homeland Security. See also AP: House Republican Leaders Scrap Education Vote.

Can 'Chuy' give Rahm a run for his money? Tribune: A 2012 teachers strike, among other confrontations, led Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to form an exploratory committee for mayor last year. After she withdrew for health reasons, she asked Garcia, a former state senator, alderman and ...  See also NBC: Karen Lewis: I Could Have Won

Jimmy Kimmel got doctors to swear at cameras to convince people to get vaccinated HuffPost: "Here in LA, there are schools in which 20 percent of the children aren't vaccinated," Kimmel said, "because parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox."

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week" »

States: Few States Ban Or Freely Permit Testing Opt-Outs, Says ECS Roundup

Www.ecs.org clearinghouse 01 17 68 11768.pdf

ECS Rounds up state opt out rules: "Laws in some states — such as Arkansas and Texas — clearly prohibit opt-outs, while the law is less clear in other states. Legislation introduced in New Jersey would allow opt-outs. Similar legislation in Mississippi failed to progress. State laws in California and Utah allow parents to opt their children out of state assessments for any reason." Image used with permission.
 

Update: School Breakfast Struggles In NY & LA - But Not Chicago

School breakfasts for low income students -- especially those proposed by unpopular district leaders and provided in student classrooms -- can be controversial, even though it's not that new.  (The newer thing is school dinner.)

Just look to LA, where the Breakfast in the Classroom program was a major sticking point between former LAUSD head John Deasy and UTLA. If SEIU hadn't been strongly supportive of the program, the teachers might have forced a rollback. Last I read, participation had grown from 7 to 40 percent (see KPCC here). 

Or check out NYC, where Mayor De Blasio has been moving mighty slowly with the effort, despite having promised to take quick action when he was a candidate. (See WSJ: Antipoverty Advocates Say NYC Mayor Should Have Included Free Breakfast in Budget).

One place school breakfast hasn't been especially controversial has been Chicago. Yep, Chicago, where pretty much anything and everything is disputed these days.  

The program began in 2011 and the district is ahead of the rest of the state, based on SY2014 statistics from CPS.  Breakfast meals were up to 26 million (or 39 percent) last year, which isn't as big as the school lunch program but it's much newer.  Projected numbers are higher this year, according to CPS, which also says that the district is rated at or above the median for large urban school districts by the Great City Schools. This is Chicago's first year as part of the USDA's Community Eligibility Option by USDA, in which all schools in the district provide students with access to free breakfast and lunch.

Related posts: Antipoverty Advocates Say NYC Mayor Should Have Included Free Breakfast in Budget (WSJ); Nearly Half Of Low-Income Kids Don't Eat Breakfast (HuffPost); IL Among the Lowest Performing States For Free School Breakfast Participation (Progress IL); Dinner Is Now On The Menu At Schools With Poor KidsLunch, Breakfast — Now Dinner.

Morning Video: Charter Advocate Says Critics Are Rooting For Failures

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Charter advocates and critics debated their role in Chicago earlier this week, including a few moments when INCS president Andrew Broy (far left) claimed that charter critics want Chicago schools to fail. Click here if the video doesn't load. Click here for the Sun-Times coverage.

Quotes: Former Montgomery County Supe Talks Testing Moratorium

Quotes2I think more and more people have come around to the point of view I expressed a few years ago. -- Starr in NPR talking about his 2012 call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing (Exit Interview With A Nationally Known School Leader)

 

Quotes: David Carr's View Of Teachers

Quotes2You will meet this schlumpy lifer who five minutes into the conference makes you just feel like killing yourself, and you think, ‘I leave my child with this kid?’ And the next person you meet will be this incredibly charismatic person who sees every young person before them as this unique piece of clay about to be molded.

- Recently-deceased NYT media critic David Carr in The Answer Sheet (What David Carr told me

Morning Video: Language Immersion Programs

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Learn more about native language programs from this NBC News segment (above or click here ). Or, watch and learn about dual immersion programs from the NY local NBC affiliate (via WNYC) here.

Update: Clinton Comes Out As Pro-Vaccination, & CA Might End "Personal Belief" Exemption

It wasn't entirely clear what Hillary Clinton's views on vaccination were -- until now. "The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork," she says (via Twitter). And, according to NPR, California is considering joining 30 other states that don't allow parents to list personal beliefs as a way to bypass vaccination requirements.

Quotes: Peanut Allergy Bans Vs. Measles Vaccination

"If my kid can't bring peanut butter to school, yours shouldn't be able to bring preventable diseases." Kim Jordan (via Kottke)

Quotes: Choice Is Awful - Except Compared To Having None

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comI'm splitting hairs. They're all fine ... compared to what were the choices my whole life: mediocre public schools.

- New Orleans parent Carrie Fisher in EdWeek (Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands)

TV: Neighborhood Segregation The Central Issue In New HBO Show

image from media.salon.comThe new David Simon show coming later this year will give us all a chance to think about residential segregation and the neighborhood school.

According to a recent Grantland article, the miniseries -- called "Show Me A Hero" -- surrounds the reaction in Yonkers NY to a 1985 court decision that the city had "'illegally and intentionally’ fostered segregation in its schools and neighborhoods by concentrating all of its public housing in one section of the city.” 

The series is based on a Lisa Belkin book by the same name (book cover to left). The former NYT writer has since moved to HuffPost and Yahoo. You can read an excerpt here. Something in Salon here. IMDB for the show is here.

What's this have to do with education?  Well, residential segregation combined with neighborhood-based schooling is the main reason we have such inequitable & segregated schools and school systems (and charter networks, too). While everyone likes to talk about the joys of the neighborhood system, it's turned out to be class- and race-based in some pretty awful ways. See Nikole Hannah-Jones' work in ProPublica and The Atlantic if you don't think it's a current issue.   

So this show will give us at least a glancing chance of revisiting the issues of race, class, and the neighborhood school. 

Related posts: In Education, It's *Liberals* Who Oppose ChoiceWatch School Segregation Grow Over 20 YearsRethinking The Neighborhood School IdealDecline In Black-White Segregation (Sorta)The (Partial) Re-Segregation Of American Schools

Quotes: Anti-Vaxxers Vs. Homeschoolers, Part 2015

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comI think some parents see [not vaccinating] as a personal choice, like homeschooling. But when you choose not to vaccinate, you're putting other children at risk. - Parent quoted in Washington Post (via Next Draft)

Quotes: Parents Should "Protect Your Children" From Common Core Exams

Quotes2Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability, and validity. - National Review's Michelle Malkin (Choose to Refuse on PARCC/SBAC Testing)

Morning Audio: The Force Field Of Expectations & The Half-Second Too Soon Rescue

20150122_specials_invisibiliabatman

This recent episode of NPR's new show "Invisibilia" focuses on the "force field" that parent and adult expectations -- however well-intended -- can have on lowering kids' abilities and performance in school and for years later. On a literal level, the show is about rats, blind kids and echo-location. On a symbolic level, it's about how many of us intervene a half-second too early and interrupt an uncomfortable but important learning moment. Don't worry, it's not all symbolic. There's some Carol Dweck in there, too -- and a snippet from a song my dad wrote at the 2:30 mark. Download and transcript here.

Quotes: Rethinking The Neighborhood School Ideal

Quotes2The neighborhood school might still be the best choice if this were a perfect world with ways to teach well each child wherever she or he might be. We don’t have that. -- Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews (The decline of neighborhood schools causes discomfort. Should it?)

Charts: Dinner Is Now On The Menu At Schools With Poor Kids

Screen shot 2015-01-25 at 10.35.58 AMFollowing up on Christine Armario's January 15 AP story about the growth of schools offering after-school meals as well as breakfast and lunch, here's a chart and file from the USDA showing which states are serving how many of these kinds of meals.  

The program started in 2010 and served 104 million meals last year - much smaller than the breakfast and lunch programs. 

They call them after-school meals or suppers (which seems quaint, no?).

All states now participate, according to USDA - though as you can see the participation levels vary widely.

I'd love to know how it's worked at some schools to have that available -- for the kids, teachers, and parents. Has it made a difference?

Here's the full list of states (PDF). At Risk Suppers FY2014

 

 

Afternoon Video: PBS NewsHour Covers "The Test"

Here's last night's PBS NewHour segment featuring Anya Kamenetz's new book, The Test. (Is it a high of 113 tests K-12, or is 113 the average?) Not loading properly, or want to read the transcript? Click here.

Quotes: "Free-Range" Parents Object When Kids Stopped Walking Home

Quotes2The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood. I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.

-- Parent Danielle Meitiv in Slate (Maryland parents investigated by the police for letting their kids walk home alone)

#EdGif Of The Day: How To Explain A Book To Your Students

"It's like an iPad, only thicker.  It entertains yo for hours.  It's like individual screens with words on it. It's like a movie you get to direct in your own head."  via
 
We may all have an exaggerated sense of kids' use and affection for e-reading (a new Scholastic survey shows that most kids read real books and like them better) but still this is pretty funny and brilliant (though not at all new). 
 
 

AM News: Pushing Lunch Until After Recess (& Offering School Dinner, Too)

With lunch after recess, fruits and veggies consumption increases by 54 percent PBS NewsHour: The study sampled seven schools containing grades 1 to 6 in a Utah school district. Three of the schools switched to putting recess before lunch, while the remaining four schools kept their original schedule of lunch before recess. In the schools that switch, the researchers observed — in addition to the 54 percent increase of fruit and vegetable consumption — a 45 percent increase in children eating at least one serving of the two. In the schools that didn’t switch, however, consumption of fruits and vegetables were observed to have decreased.

 More schools serve students dinner as demand expands AP: Thirteen states and the District of Columbia began offering students dinner as part of a pilot program expanded to all states after the 2010 passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Schools where at least half the students are low-income and qualify for free or reduced-price lunch are reimbursed for each supper by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at a rate often significantly higher than the cost of the meal.

Majority of US public school students are in poverty Washington Post: For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation. 

AFT's Weingarten lays out new models for unions People's World: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten today laid out a framework for a renewed American labor movement. She was joined by U.S. labor secretary Thomas Perez and others at an Albert Shanker Institute conference.

Jeb Bush is running on his Florida education record. Here's what he actually did Vox: Bush's signature reform was testing students every year and grading schools based on the results of those tests. He also pushed to expand charter schools and supported voucher programs, as well as pioneering a program to hold students back who weren't reading in third grade. Some of these ideas are still well within the mainstream of the Republican party. But others, particularly mandatory annual standardized testing, have become much less politically popular in recent years. 

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: Pushing Lunch Until After Recess (& Offering School Dinner, Too)" »

Update: "Serial" Eyewitness Blames Tensions On Magnet Program

NPR's big podcast success, Serial, is long done now, but more news has been trickling out about some of the characters from the series (about the murder of a high school student). In this interview with one of the key witnesses (Witness from 'Serial' Tells His Story for First Time) there's the claim that tensions at Woodlawn high school were exacerbated by the creation of a magnet wing at the school:

When Woodlawn put in the magnet thing, they took out all the vocational classes. Before you would just go down there for drafting, shop, and everyone would co-mingle, and all the students interacted. But when they put the magnet wing in, it was kinda like ‘these people were different from us.’ And they didn’t have to interact with us anymore. They didn’t have to go by us, except to come to lunch, and that was it. But their gym, lockers, parking, was down in the magnet wing. And I found that to be a bit of a slap in the face. Because I knew football had paid for all of that, but there were few football players down there. Football paid for everything at the school.

Others know much more than I do about Woodlawn and about magnet programs being added to existing high schools -- but it seemed like an interesting claim to me and a fun way to bring up the show again.

Related post: Why's "Serial" Getting So Much More Pushback Than "Harper High"?

Magazines: NY Mag Profiles Brown, Declares Beginning Of The "Lawsuit" Era Of School Reform

ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 14 10.50
Pegged to the court hearing taking place today in Staten Island, Vanessa Grigoriadis' profile of Campbell Brown in New York magazine (The Most Controversial Woman in School Reform) starts out with the somewhat expected description of what Brown looks like but manages to hit some interesting and useful points along the way.  Read it all below. Image used with permission. Photo credit: Dina Litovsky.

Continue reading "Magazines: NY Mag Profiles Brown, Declares Beginning Of The "Lawsuit" Era Of School Reform" »

Morning Video: Schools [Still] Try Teaching Willpower

 

This PBS NewsHour segment focused on KIPP Infinity features schools trying to teach grit. Clip and transcript here.

Morning Video: Golden Globe Winner "Boyhood" Full Of School-Related Moments

"Boyhood" was a big winner at last night's Golden Globes awards, which reminded me of the great scene in the movie when the protagonist's high school photo teacher gives him a pep talk/calling out. ("Who do you want to be Mason, what do you want to do?") I wrote about this last summer when the movie came out. There's a glimpse of it in the trailer, too -- along with a few other school-related scenes ("Welcome to The Suck.")

 

Lunchtime Video: Why No One Wants To Talk About Ending Neighborhood School Segregation

Here's a short video and writeup via The Atlantic about the 1974 Boston public school integration effort, and recent efforts to revisit segregation in public schools. Click here if the video doesn't load.

Quotes: "Nobody [In The RNC] Cares About The Common Core"

Quotes2The thought that the Common Core, of all things, would somehow derail [Bush's] presidential campaign is a little odd. Federal education policy is a second-tier issue, and as Nate Silver has shown there's no clear partisan tilt on the Common Core issue among the mass public... If party leaders decide that a charge against the Common Core is their #1 goal for 2017, then obviously Jeb is out of luck. But that would be a very weird thing to decide. - Vox's Matt Yglesias (Jeb Bush's path to victory in 2016)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.