"A day at work doesn't look like this. What about a day at school?" [Also from Upworthy -- they're so good at the headlines! -- and possibly not new (but I don't remember).] PS -- It's in French.
"A day at work doesn't look like this. What about a day at school?" [Also from Upworthy -- they're so good at the headlines! -- and possibly not new (but I don't remember).] PS -- It's in French.
FactCheck.org took a look at President Obama's claim last week that education spending was withering over time and came to the conclusion that he was wrong (Obama on Education Investments). "It has increased from 4.7 percent [of GDP]in 1985 to 5.1 percent in 2010 with ups and downs along the way."
My latest Scholastic Administrator column is out, focusing on how the NCLB implementation and pushback history compares to the Common Core process we're going through now (Whither CCSS?).
"At the time, a number of states considered opting out. Several states (including Connecticut, Arizona, Utah, and Nebraska) and districts filed lawsuits against NCLB. So did the NEA and 11 districts scattered around the nation. Others sought accommodations, proposed legislation, or reported on the costs of complying with the new law. Three wealthy Connecticut districts opted out of the program entirely in 2003, followed by two districts near Chicago."
Back to the present: A few more states have slowed down their CCSS participation since the piece was written -- I think we're up to seven now, right? -- but the basic argument remains the same.
"If the history of NCLB is any guide, the vast majority of the current efforts to reconsider or roll back the Common Core will lose steam or result in some relatively minor accommodation well short of opting out. Whether that is a good thing or not depends on where you stand."
There's a big national push to get US kids to learn how to code computer programs going on, as you may have noticed (see Google News roundup here).
You know, there are lots of programming jobs out there, and we need more American kids to program the drones and teachbots of the future.
What do you think? Excited? Fearful? A little of both? Me, too.
I don't know of any other big city school district making this kind of announcement.
Image via Flickr HackNY
The annual Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship luncheon took place a couple of weeks ago and those alumni in attendance made up a veritable who's who of education reporting. They included Liz Bowie (Balt Sun), Greg Toppo (USA Today), Dana Goldstein (Slate, Nation), Sarah Garland (Hechinger), Trey Kay (NPR). Those not able to make it -- Sarah Carr, Peg Tyre, Elizabeth Green, among others -- are an equally impressive lot. (That's the 2010 crew pictured right.)
Latest Spencer news: Greg Toppo just got a book contract for his learning games book and is joining the Spencer advisory board. Dana Goldstein just turned in her completed manuscript. Sarah Garland has a very cute baby. Current Spencers Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Lauren Smith Camera, and Annie Murphy Paul were all there, too.
All this to say that the Spencer Fellowship is up again for 2014-2015 and if you think you have the stuff to make it through Evidence and Inference and Sam Freedman's book writing workshop you should apply. Seriously.Your idea is great. You're totally qualified. The competition isn't too tough. (Plus which, the Nieman deadline is already passed.)
See the latest press release below. Don't forget.
"Grit" - the tendency of a person to persevere through the difficult process of attaining a long-term goal - has become popular among educators recently who view it as one of those "non-cognitive" skills that, if properly instilled, can help students succeed in school and in life.
Over the last few weeks Peter Meyer has written a couple of very good essays summarizing why the educational significance of "grit" is probably overstated. You should read them both, but the bottom line is that while grit is certainly good to have, persistence is helpful largely because it facilitates the development and utilization of conventional cognitive abilities.
In other words, educators excited about developing students' grit tend to underestimate how important it will be for those students to acquire large amounts of factual knowledge.
Here's another recent Chris Hayes segment about the President's inequality speech and what education can and can't accomplish on its own.
I wrote an essay for EdSource last month arguing that California - or any state adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (GSS) - would be wise to add specific factual knowledge to the new standards during the implementation process.
The NGSS are disappointingly lacking in scientific content, which they de-emphasize in favor of more general scientific thinking skills and "practices".
One point that's worth elaborating on is that it's not entirely clear what good science assessments look like when science standards are very vague on the details of what factual knowledge students should acquire in school.
There's an unfortunate tendency among many science educators to assume that specific knowledge isn't all that important, and that we should really be aiming to assess "higher-order" scientific thinking skills anyway.
In practice, however, that's easier said than done.
From last night's MSNBC, All In host Chris Hayes breaks new ground by having Michelle Rhee on the show and declaims lack of philanthropic support and political attention towards reducing child poverty (vs. reforming schools). Rhee tries to get a word in (what's that neon logo glowing behind her?)
The average American school has about the same bandwidth as the average American home, even though obviously there are 200 times as many people at school as there are at home. -- President Barack Obama in a recent speech
So as you may have seen, MSNBC's Chris Hayes did a segment on PISA13 last night.
One of the guest panelists was Sabrina Stevens, along with AFT head Randi Weingarten and NJ reformer Derrell Bradford.
Predictably, Hayes and Weingarten focused on the effects of poverty on student achievement and the flaws of the current reform movement.
Onscreen and in the intro by Hayes, Bradford was ID'd by his organization's name and his work with Gov. Chris Christie and the state charter board. He mostly played amicable defense -- he's a quasi-regular on the show.
Stevens was ID'd merely as an education activist (see screenshot). She got a word in here and there, and nervously chewed the inside of her mouth the rest of the time.
What nobody said -- not host Chris Hayes, or Weingarten, or Stevens herself, was that she was until recently an AFT communications staffer, and had worked for the Denver teachers union before coming to the AFT. So basically there were two AFT folks on the panel (plus a pro-labor host).
That's fine, I guess - it's not my show. But viewers also weren't told -- by Hayes or anyone else -- that Stevens recently left AFT to launch a new progressive ed advocacy organization that's describing itself as "a marketing department for progressive education - a campaign that never stops."
It is bad enough that test-driven reformers have turned schools into venues for high-stakes competition. New York City seemed to have sunk to the lowest of the low with its market-driven A-F School Report Card, which made bubble-in testing a life or death matter for schools. NYC reformers were not content with giving small schools and charters advantages in their Social Darwinist struggle against regular high schools. As the Annenburg Foundation's Over the Counter, Under the Radar explained, they overtly damaged schools that were slated for closure by disproportionately assigning high-needs students in those targeted schools, making it inevitable that they would fail their students.
New York Magazine's Robert Kolter, in The Opt Outers shows that under-the-gun NYC administrators have been pushed to a new nadir of common decency. Kolter tells the story of Pharez, a third-grader at a school that primarily serves English Language Learners. It “had surrendered its schedule solely to test prep; teachers spent the entire day teaching almost nothing but material related to the ELA and math exams.” The stress of the non-stop test prep cost Pharez sleep and his appetite. His father said the 8-year-old “was complaining about pains in his back and his head. If it was happening to a college student, I might accept this. But for a child, it was not acceptable, not at all. And so I opted him out.”
The school made the process difficult for the father. He was pressured by the principal, the principal’s secretary, the PTA president, and the assistant principal. Pharez had a right to prepare a portfolio in lieu of testing, but they repeatedly ignored requests for help in preparing the portfolio. On the last day of school, they said Pharez had failed. Kolter recounts more examples of the "inhumane" results of test-driven reform.Still, it is hard to comprehend that any educators, regardless of their motives, would be so cruel to a child. -JT (@drjohnthompson) Image via.
In this hourlong radio documentary, American Radio Works explores the potential power -- and peril -- of individualized education technology efforts. Can it match a watchful tutor? Listen above, and/or click here to read and/or see some visual extras: One Child at a Time: Custom Learning in the Digital Age.
The "best" teachers are usually portrayed as epic heroes in movies. Even in classic "practical" teaching guides like The First Days of School or Teach Like a Champion it is often implied that effective teaching requires an unattainable level of technical virtuosity.
As a result, there are many hard truths about teaching that are rarely stated. Those with experience usually understand these realities - that it might be worth throwing away student work to save yourself an evening of grading, for example, or that group work is often a waste of class time - but new teachers may either find themselves surprised by them or consider themselves failures for admitting them.
That's where Roxanna Elden's See Me After Class, recently released in a second edition, comes in.
Elden has no qualms about admitting that it might make sense to "go absolutely nuts" at your worst class or that low-skilled kids will repeatedly "break your heart" over the course of the year. Crucially, she frames these facts as disappointments (at worst) rather than failures.
This, in turn, makes the book encouraging rather than discouraging because one of the most frustrating experiences for new teachers - or maybe for any teacher - is thinking that other teachers aren't experiencing the same disappointments that you are.
It’s fascinating to watch a lot of armchair quarterbacking [about Duncan’s competitive grant and waiver programs]... People never want to critique money that goes to prop up the status quo. -- TN state commissioner Kevin Huffman in Stephanie Simon's recent Politico piece
"In the past, public school standards varied state to state. With backing from the federal government, some governors and superintendents collaborated on a national "Common Core." But they define only the "what" -- what kids should know, not how they should be taught." (Defining What Public School Students Should Know) Rebroadcast from 08/2013
PISA Test Results For U.S. Students Are 'Sobering' NPR: International standardized test scores have been released. The test is given to students around the world every three years. It measures their knowledge of reading, mathematics and science literacy. U.S. students usually turn in mediocre performances, and this year's scores were no different.
U.S. 15-Year-Olds Slip in Rankings on International Exams WSJ: U.S. 15-year-olds made no progress on recent international achievement exams and fell further in the rankings, reviving a debate about America's ability to compete in a global economy.
U.S. Test Scores Remain Stagnant While Other Countries See Rapid Rise HuffPost: Poland, Germany and Ireland showed tremendous growth, and Vietnam, which administered the exam for the first time in 2012, wound up among the top-performing countries, eclipsing the U.S. in math and science. Results like these herald Sputnik moment-type fears, leading some officials to believe the U.S. is losing its competitive edge.
US students still only average on tests USA Today: American high school students still post only average scores on a key skills test administered to kids in 65 countries across the industrialized world.
Fla. students score below international peers in math, science AP: Fla. students score below international peers in math, science in global test.
American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math The Atlantic: More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education. The results, published today, show the U.S. trailing behind educational powerhouses like Korea and Finland.
American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests NYT: Students in the United States scored in the middle of the developed world in reading and science, but lower in math, according to results released on Tuesday.
U.S. students score below average in world reading, math and science tests PBS: According to the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, American students scored slightly below average on the reading, math and science tests taken last year by 500,000 15-year-olds around the globe.
U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test Washington Post: Scores in math, reading and science posted by 15-year-olds in the United States were flat while their counterparts elsewhere — particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian provinces or countries — soared ahead, according to results of a well-regarded international exam released Tuesday.
Non-PISA news (there's not much) below the fold.
Last night on 60 Minutes, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced drone delivery in the not too distant future, which set the Internet on fire (so to speak) and reminded me to remind you that drones are coming to schools, too (or at least I think they will and am fasci-horrified by the possibilities).
Other tidbits from the 60M segment? Bezos knows that he's just as likely to be disrupted as previous industries were, and is fighting hard not to let happen to him what happened to Blockbuster, etc. Also: Cloud computing is Amazon's fastest-growing revenue source. Like Google, they're not really making money off what you think they're making money off of.
In 2009, Arne was the new sheriff in town, with big boxes of ammunition and a shiny new gun. Now, it’s later in the movie and he’s all out of bullets and he’s trying to scare states by shaking a stick at them. - Rick Hess in Stephanie Simon's recent Politico piece
The New York Times' Clyde Haberman explains the hard-earned wisdom of Medgar Evers College President Rudy Crew in Back in New York with the Same Passion, but to Less Fire and Smoke.
The former NYC School Chancellor is determined to "get it right on the front end" by "creating a pipeline" to higher education. Crew is networking with the persons who really matter in kids' lives - parents, local leaders, teachers, principals and pastors.
Crew bemoans the recent preoccupation with test scores, saying “we have been chasing numbers when we ought to be chasing confidence.” He wants the entire community to help instill "a desire for learning and — no small matter — a confidence that they can learn."
Crew recalls a conversation with John F. Kennedy Jr. when he was head of the Robin Hood Foundation. He explained to Kennedy, “John, I would take these kids, these nonreaders, and give them an experience that is so fundamentally different from any they ever had. I’d take them to camps. They’d go fishing. They would learn how to be out on boats and canoes.”
After my neighborhood became the epicenter of crack and gangs in Oklahoma City, I was an environmental educator and that is why I became an inner city teacher. I have no doubt that Crew nails the attitude that we adults must help nurture, “So ‘I can’t swim’ becomes ‘Lookit, I can swim.’ The ‘I don’t touch fish’ becomes ‘Lookit how many fish I caught.’" Follow Crew's advise on nononcognitive experience, and test scores "will take care of themselves." -JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.
In 2009, Arne Duncan must have told President Obama that his School Improvement Grant (SIG) experiment was risky. SIG would cost nearly $5 billion, as it tried to jumpstart the nation's lowest-performing 5,000 schools. There was no time for laying a foundation for transformational change. In lieu of planning, a top-down governance would be imposed. Principals would be anointed as divine monarchs and told to produce transformational change in only three years - or else.
Collective punishment would be imposed on teachers. This would encourage other teacher-bashers to step up the blame game. One of the Democratic Party's most loyal constituencies, teachers' unions, would be alienated and the rank-in-file demoralized. If the benefits were only incremental, would a backlash against education be encouraged?
What would the President have decided if warned that gains on reading tests would only be 2.5 points per year? Could he not anticipate conservatives such as Education Next's Andy Smarick noting "a cost of one billion dollars for each point of improvement in reading proficiency." (emphasis in the original) Had Duncan warned the President that those low performing schools would only increase their reading scores by 1.5 points per year faster than all other schools, would the President have asked about the down sides of a gamble that produced such small benefits?
Above all, had the President been told that student performance would decline in 1/3rd of schools, would he have asked follow-up questions? Was there something inherent in the federal micromanaging of SIG that would encourage primitive teach-to-the-test that would backfire and make conditions worse for many students?-JT(@drjohnthompson) image via.
Chorus of criticism doesn't stop reform-minded TN education chief Huffman (The Tennessean via @libbyanelson)
Common Core Standards, Online Testing Continue to Gain Ground in NJ NJ Spotlight: A pair of bills that would delay implementation of the Common Core and PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness), its online testing component, are going nowhere fast.
Newark district and charter schools join together for universal enrollment plan NJ.com: The new system would provide big benefits for families, who would submit one application with up to eight school choices, both charter and district, ranked in order of preference. One central lottery would be used to determine placement.
What Happens When Great Teachers Get $20,000 to Work in Low-Income Schools? Results Slate: To fill some of those positions, they selected from a special group of transfer teachers, all of whom had top 20 percent track records of improving student achievement at lower poverty schools within the districts, and had applied to earn $20,000 to switch jobs. The rest of the open positions were filled through the usual processes, in which principals select candidates from a regular applicant pool.
Reformers keep the heat on during now-closed Minneapolis teacher-contract talks MinnPost: Last week as leaders of both sides gathered for the second of the closed-door sessions, 50 parents, students, community members and members of the group Students for Education Reform (SFER) were outside protesting.
After closings, Chicago gets good marks for transfer of special education students Catalyst: About a third of schools that were closed housed separate programs for children with serious disabilities. Experts say parents so far have few complaints about how CPS handled the transition of these students.
No Motive In Newtown Report, But Many Details About Lanza NPR: At more than 50 pages, the summary report issued Monday gives an overview of findings from the investigation, while omitting controversial details such as 911 call recordings.
Chilling Look at Newtown Killer, but No ‘Why’ NYT: Almost a year after Adam Lanza killed 26 children and adults in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, an investigative report shed new light on his internal life and complicated relationship with his mother.
More state and district education news below.
While some educators and parents feel like things are moving too quickly on the education reform front, parents like the ones in Joy Resmovits's in-depth profile aren't so sure -- and the national picture isn't particularly encouraging either:
"While D.C.'s situation might be extreme, parents nationwide have seen little progress on the special education policies that dictate their children's schooling. As the word "accountability" has gripped education policy, students have been left behind by special education... But for students with disabilities, little changed. Schools have few incentives to improve education for them, because for the most part, schools aren't judged on these students' test scores.
"In fact, some advocates think that recent policy changes leave students in special education programs worse off. Even the Obama administration's post-No Child Left Behind school tracking system has allowed states -- as well as D.C. -- to set significantly lower performance goals for students in special education. "It's pathetic," says Margaret Spellings, who served as U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush. "We're witnessing a gut job on accountability for special education kids."
Huffington Post: One Family's Heartbreaking Fight For Their Son's Education.
Here are some of the best stories, news updates, and blog posts that I came across and Tweeted out over the weekend. Take a look. What do you think? Let me know if I missed anything good.
The Movement Against Testing in Schools -- New York Magazine http://ht.ly/r8OKH
Oil And Gas Industry Advocates Accused Of 'Hijacking' Texas Textbooks [UPDATE] http://ht.ly/r7wgE
Beyond Minecraft: Games That Inspire Building and Exploration | MindShift http://ht.ly/r7ywn
The power of preschool done right | Hechinger Report http://ht.ly/r7wa7 re UPK Educare
PolitiFact | Fact-checking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's new book http://ht.ly/r8EmE
How Does ‘Lord of the Flies’ Fit Into Common Core? | MindShift http://ht.ly/r7ynV
Rhodes Scholars 2014: 32 American Students Announced As Winners http://ht.ly/r8wT5
Md. test exclusion rate raises questions Washington Post: The state blocked more than half its English language learners and students with learning disabilities from taking the test, students whose scores would have dragged down the results.The state led the nation in excluding students on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, posting rates that were five times the national average and more than double the rate of any other state.
Principals lobby de Blasio to protect networks GothamSchools: A group of 120 school leaders say they’re concerned with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign pledge to restructure the city’s support networks, which manages school operations around professional development, curriculum and budgeting. De Blasio has said he wants some decision-making authority restored to district superintendents, who oversaw support before Mayor Bloomberg won control of the school system.
Judge Acts on LA Voucher Program in Schools NYT: A federal judge has given state and federal lawyers 60 days to come up with possible modifications to a court order to make sure that the state’s private school voucher program does not lead to segregation of schools.
Texas Education Board Flags Biology Textbook Over Evolution Concerns NYT: The State Board of Education delayed final approval of a widely used biology textbook because of concerns raised by one reviewer that the book presents evolution as fact rather than mere theory.
Education Board Blocks Charter School Expansion Texas Tribune: The 15-member board voted 9 to 6 to veto Great Hearts Academies' application because of concerns about the school's commitment to serving low-income students and teaching Texas curriculum standards.
A generation ago, Nobel Laureate James Heckman pulled together the social science documenting the need for high-quality early childhood education. He explained the importance of programs for teaching character skills such as perseverance (“grit"), self-control, trust, attentiveness, self-esteem and self-efficacy.
Now, Heckman and Tim Kautz, in Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions that Improve Character and Cognition, evaluate the effectiveness of adolescent interventions.
Building on previous findings, they report “programs that combine work and education are more promising and have been shown to have lasting effects.”
Heckman’s recent work, like his analysis of early education, finds that “successful interventions emulate the mentoring environments offered by successful families.”
"A new evaluation system finds 13.5 percent of teachers are exemplary and 79.5 percent are proficient. But 5.8 percent of teachers need improvement and 1.2 percent are unsatisfactory." (Click here - video isn't loading right). Via @annenberginst
California agrees to administer both math and English tests this spring KPCC: This is not the plan Torlakson, state legislators, and Governor Jerry Brown endorsed in Assembly Bill 484 earlier this year. That bill stipulated that California would only give students one field test this spring, to ease students into the new tests and the computer technology on which they'll take them.
Torlakson retreats from conflict with feds over testing EdSource: Faced with potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines, the state Department of Education has backed down from its confrontation with the federal government over standardized testing.Torlakson’s carefully worded news release makes no mention of the conflict with the federal government or a concern over districts’ capacity to administer computer tests in both subjects next spring.
State expands field tests of Common Core-aligned assessments LA Daily News: The field test of California's new computer-based assessments will be expanded so that nearly every student will take exams next spring in both math and English, rather than being limited to one or the other, officials said Thursday. High school juniors, students in grades three through eight, plus a small sampling of ninth- and 10th-graders will participate in field tests of the Smarter Balanced assessments.
Federal analysis of school grants shows mixed results Washington Post: A federal program that pumped a record $5 billion into failing schools is showing mixed results, with students at more than one-third of the targeted schools doing the same or worse after the schools received the funding, according to government data released Thursday.
New High School Program Latest Example of Duncan Efforts to Get Around Congress PoliticsK12: When it became clear that Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization wasn't happening, the administration put in place a system of waivers based largely on its blueprint for revising the law. It's even given a waiver to a group of California districts, over the objections of Republicans in Congress.
District and state news below
Last week, MOOC founder Sebastian Thrun told Fast Company that, well, things weren't working out as well as he'd hoped three years ago. Today at the Atlantic Eduction page Owen Youngman describes how 56,000 students turned into 1,200 course passers.
Duncan explains his clumsy remarks re white suburban moms and tries to push through to the launch of his new teacher recruitment/retention effort (also in print news and on WNYC so far today).
Campaign Seeks to Recruit Top Students to Become Teachers NYT: The campaign, called Teach, uses video spots and radio announcements that portray teaching as creative and compelling a career as medicine, acting or engineering.
Arne Duncan's Search for More Teachers U.S. News & World Report: This week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will re-launch a campaign he initiated a few years ago to get more college students interested in becoming teachers.
Teachers Wanted WNYC: After all the focus on getting rid of "bad" teachers, Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education, talks about the need for new teachers to replace a large cohort of those about to retire.
The Quality of American Teachers Seems to be Getting Better Mother Jones: The number of teachers from the class of 2008 with different SAT scores: compared to 1993 and 2000, there are fewer from the lower ranks, about the same number from the middle ranks, and more from the higher ranks.
Which States Are Most Vulnerable to K-12 Sequester Cuts? PoliticsK12: More than half the districts in these 14 states rely on the federal government for 15 percent or more of their revenue: Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Interestingly, most of those are "red" states. Republicans, have, in general, been less vocal about the impact of sequestration on schools than Democrats.
Obama's day: Technology and education USA TODAY: President Obama turns his focus Thursday to the role of technology in education. Obama meets in the afternoon with a group of ConnectED Champions of Change, educators being honored for their use of Internet technology in teaching.
Frequent Tests Can Enhance College Learning, Study Finds NYT: Short quizzes at the start of each class increased attendance and overall performance, an experiment showed.
Online Courses Attract Degree Holders, Survey Finds NYT: About 80 percent of people who enrolled in a massive open online course from the University of Pennsylvania had already earned a bachelor’s degree, according to a survey.
State and district news below.
Alexander Russo's Atlantic Magazine article, When Parents Yank Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests, begins with photographs of the signage that has become so ubiquitous in schools. As the seemingly endless testing season begins, learning stops in schools full of posters stating, "Testing in Progress" and "Lab Is Closed."
The article explains how teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School refused to give the district’s required tests and encountered the predictable pushback and quotes a Garfield teacher who anticipates “the biggest revolt against standardized testing in U.S. history” during this spring's three month long testing season. [He also cites the Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless who recalls that parent protests against tests “pop up like wildfires” about every decade.]
I'm proud that that parents in Oklahoma are also helping to lead the backlash. Russo cites the case of Jenks Middle School where 800 parents opted out of last spring's piloting of test questions. He quotes Deedra Barnes, who helped organize the boycott, and who is considering an opt out for the high-stakes testing in 2014. Testing, she says, is out of balance.
So far, at least, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has decided to insult suburban moms rather than listen to them, but he's not alone. DFER's Charlie Barone “just doesn’t see the groundswell of opposition against testing that FairTest and others claim to exist.”
But how would they? What actual contact with real schools do Duncan and Barone have? Of course, there is far too much testing. As Diane Ravitch said to comedian John Stewart, "The status quo today is test, test, test, pretest, posttest, data.” The only way to deny the anger felt by parents, teachers, and students is to hypothesize that we are all suffering from a mass hallucination.
The magazine also links to a previous article by a teacher, Ben Orlin, When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning. Orlin describes the destructive rote learning and cramming encouraged high-stakes testing. It is a reminder that as testing forces teachers to engage in more and more educational malpractice, the backlash is bound to grow.
-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.
One of the individual experiences singled out in The American Prospect's long feature article The 40-Year Slump is teacher Kameelah Rasheed, who grew up in East Palo Alto, went to Pomona, and resisted pressures to get a PhD in order to become a teacher. She got a Master's in education instead (at Stanford), and taught at charters in California and Brooklyn (prevented from getting a district school job by the hiring freeze, she says). Then she moved to an alternative school (also a charter) and then she left the classroom to work on curriculum development -- in part because of salary issues , she says. The feature is about lost earning power for workers since 1974, and the balance between labor and management that unions (and strikes) used to provide.
How to pick a good school -- from a parent's POV? Via Slate.
In fact, my experience suggests that Duncan may be understating the problem.
I'd go so far as to say that even schools of education themselves sometimes fail to prioritize teacher preparation.
At least this was the case with my own credentialing program.
We’re not going to start a super PAC or anything, but we will be deeply involved. - Robin Hood founder Paul Tudor Jones in Forbes (Can Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones Save America's Public Education System?) via GothamSchools
Here's what I tweeted out over the weekend, including stories from sites and outlets I don't usually check during the week:
Some Chicago commenters not buying Michelle Obama's story about how she was underestimated at Whitney Young HS http://ht.ly/qSnJh
No mention of EdSec Duncan in this Politico piece about tight White House control over Cabinet members http://ht.ly/qSoHm
Developing countries and MOOCs: Online education could hurt national systems. http://ht.ly/qUBSY
ICYMI: How Big Data Is Changing Science (and Society) http://ht.ly/qUtaH
Should [Hospital] Ratings Be Embraced or Despised? http://ht.ly/qUt6A Pacific Standard - Relevant for college and K12 school ratings
EdWeek's Stephen Sawchuk has easy-to-digest coverage of a new white paper from TNTP arguing that the frameworks and rubrics used to evaluate teachers during classroom observations are too complicated.
Unfortunately, and somewhat characteristically for the group, TNTP is operating on naive assumptions about why teacher evaluation works the way it does.
For example, to hear TNTP describe them teacher evaluations are "often inflated" because observation guidelines are too vague, sprawling, and complex.
With so many poorly-defined criteria to judge, evaluators are unable to focus on the things that matter and thus unable to discriminate effectively between better and worse teachers.
This is a superficially plausible story about high teacher observation ratings, but it's not well-supported by the evidence, nor does it acknowledge other possible explanations.
It was an obvious gaffe, and those inclined to make hay out of it (the Strauss-Politico-Ravitch triumvirate) will do so.
The mainstream press will (I hope) write the stories they need to write without making CCSS protests look larger or broader than they really are.
But I think there's also an opportunity here for Duncan to relieve the pressure and even take the lead.
*Correction: A link below is for Education Next, not the Fordham Institute.
The Learning Accelerator via the Hechinger Report
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.