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Campaigns: Those Union Spending Numbers Are Only Half The Story

Quotes2Unions are important financial powerhouses in elections, but much of their spending is done in such a way that it doesn't show up on FEC reports — it involves getting out the vote or internal communication with their members rather than paid TV ads.  Vox

John Thompson: Jal Mehta's Ten Inconvenient Truths

MehtaJal Mehta, in the Education Week blog Learning Deeply, discusses five inconvenient truths held by both reformers and education traditionalists. I'm not sure why he only mentions five minor blind spots held by reformers.

Perhaps Mehta is being diplomatic or maybe his excellent Allure of Order did such a great job of chronicling the failures of accountability-driven reformers that he didn’t see the need to repeat its diagnoses of their shortcomings. 

Frankly, I think Mehta has chosen a rhetorical path halfway between reformers and their opponents, and he believes he can do the greatest good by sticking to it. Metha is not playing politics; but he seeks consensus. 

I respect that. 

My five inconvenient truths ignored by reformers would be, first, high stakes testing and, second, increased segregation are inherently destructive, so reformers need a very strong reason for imposing either.

Third, education is an act of love and trusting relationships are the key but, fourth, the reformers’ politics of destruction and the demonization of teachers and unions undermine those relationships.

Fifth, reformers should have accepted the burden of proving that their policies would do more good than harm. 

Mehta’s critique of traditionalists, however, is profound.   Hardly a day passes when I don’t wrestle with his “Inconvenient Truth 1: Longstanding institutions are not good at doing things other than what they were initially designed to do.” Mehta’s insight applies to all social institutions, not just education.

Continue reading "John Thompson: Jal Mehta's Ten Inconvenient Truths" »

Books: The Unexpected Alliance Of Civil Rights & Women's Rights Groups

The best education-related article in the New Yorker of the past few weeks might not be Rachel Aviv's piece about the "burn-it-down-to-save-it" actions taken by some Atlanta teachers pressured to produce better results but rather Louis Menand's story about how women's rights and civil rights advocates came together uneasily.

Called The Sex Amendment, Menand's piece uses a couple of new books to tracethe work of women's rights advocates -- in almost total opposition from the rest of the liberal establishment (including civil rights leaders). "The last thing any of these people wanted was a group with a different agenda crashing the party."
 
Key takeaways for education types include the strong differences within the civil rights movement and with the women's rights movement, and the unexpected turns of events that created new opportunities and turned enemies into reluctant allies.
 
No time to recap or make all the connections, but trust me it's a good read for anyone trying to figure out how things end up getting done even when groups generally aligned (say, Democrats, or education advocates) have ended up in staunch opposition on the particulars.  I have no idea how or when this kind of thing could happen in education, but have the sense that it will -- some surprising set of events and alliances not currently part of the stalemated war between reformers and their critics.
 

Morning Video: Colbert Interviews Campbell Brown Over Tenure Lawsuit

Here's the interview -- how'd she do? How'd Colbert do? 

Choice: Chicago Teacher Rebuts Public Radio's "The Big Sort"

You may recall a big WBEZ Chicago Public Radio piece about student segregation at the high school level, which was passed around a lot last week. But not everybody thinks that students sorting themselves into different high schools is such a bad idea.  
 
Chicago teacher Ray Salazar outlined some concerns in a post titled School Choice Happens that noted the limits of neighborhood schools and the potential upsides of kids getting out of their home neighborhoods. Reporter Linda Lutton responded in comments, and the subject was further discussed on my Chicago site (Teacher Pushes Back On WBEZ “Sorting” Story).
 
Check it out -- what do you think?

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Hoboken Laptop Experience Unusual / Misleading

Lots of districts avoid Hoboken's unusually disastrous 1:1 deployment  saga  ow.ly/zKKxD @hechingerreport @pwillens

Chart: Top Liberal Campaign Spenders 2012 - via Voxow.ly/zKHsh includes Bloomberg, Soros, Fred Eychaner, etc.

Readers respond angrily to "practice" school-shooting story ow.ly/zKFno via @romenesko

Race to the Top, Wasn't : Frederick M. Hess ow.ly/zKJcZ@rhess99 via @DianeRavitch

Remembering Gene Maeroff - Education Next : Education Next ow.ly/zL69g (features audio interview)

Some Wisconsin schools oppose Common Core repeal ow.ly/zKF4h AP via @RealClearEd

I'm really enjoying the anonymous fun of #thankscommoncore @thnkscommoncore -- but I also want to know who started it??

Morning Video: Can After-School/Extended Day Programs Make A Difference?

"At Middle School 223 in the Bronx, the fun starts at the end of the regular day. All sixth graders are offered extracurricular activities like African drumming, latin dance and chess, plus personalized help in reading and math." (Why longer school days can be more fun for students)

 

John Thompson: An American Who Stinks at Math Wowed by Elizabeth Green's Explanation

MathI was slow to follow the link to Why Do Americans Stink at Math?, in the New York Times Magazine, and I did not see it as a "must read" until I realized it was written by the Chalkbeat's Elizabeth Green.

I’m bad at math and I don’t see Americans’ problems with math as that big of a deal. I’m much more concerned with the challenge of improving reading comprehension in the 21st century.

As I understand it, math is a precise language, combined with logic. Few teachers are prepared to holistically teach this language or explain to students what the purpose and meaning of the subject is. Besides, contemporary American culture is not at its best in terms of valuing non-English languages, much less translating words and concepts into numbers and symbols.

Green grabbed me when citing John Allen Paulos’s diagnosis of innumeracy— “the mathematical equivalent of not being able to read.” She then reports that on the NAEP, “three-quarters of fourth graders could not translate a simple word problem about a girl who sold 15 cups of lemonade on Saturday and twice as many on Sunday into the expression ‘15 + (2×15).’”

Continue reading "John Thompson: An American Who Stinks at Math Wowed by Elizabeth Green's Explanation" »

Quotes: Teaching Isn't Rocket Science

Quotes2You don’t need to be a genius... You have to know how to manage a discussion. You have to know which problems are the ones most likely to get the lessons across. You have to understand how students make mistakes — how they think — so you can respond to that.

-- Author Elizabeth Green in Joe Nocera NYT column about improving teacher preparation

Quotes: "Don't Call [Common Core Opponents] 'Crazies'," Says Developer

I think then we make a great mistake by caricaturing the opponents of the standards as crazies or people who don't tell the truth... We will lose, and we'll lose things of great importance, if we dismiss this as an extremist position. - David Coleman in BloombergEDU interview via Politico

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Clinton Launches #BabyTalking Campaign

Clinton Launches Baby-talking Campaign In Oakland ow.ly/zxPJy #babytalking 

Unions put teachers on streets — for votes - http://POLITICO.com  Print View http://ow.ly/zxq4G 

Self-proclaimed "naive" NYC Teaching Fellow Florina Rodov aims to open her own school next yearow.ly/zxDgA @TheAtlanticEDU

Do the CAP teacher salary report & coverage seem misleading to you like it does to me? ow.ly/zyp7n@MrPABruno @SchlFinance101

New think tank started by CAP economist will fund Berkely's Jesse Rothstein on ed ineq, reports @TheStoryline ow.ly/zycgT

Ed tech promoters need to understand how most of us learn | The Hechinger Report ow.ly/zxWbN

Washington Post's @TheStoryline is latest entry in wonky explainer sites like @vox. RSS ow.ly/zycMu You're welcome

 

Maps: Which States Are Changing Which Charter Laws To Do What?

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 12.18.16 PMFrom ECS: "42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have charter school laws. Important, evolving elements of these state laws include: Statewide authorizing bodies (33 states); Standards for authorizers (quality school authorizing) (15 states and D.C.); Requirements that authorizing bodies report annually on their portfolios of schools (15 states and D.C.); Explicit performance thresholds below which charters must be revoked or non-renewed (11 states and D.C.); Explicit attention to one type of charter: the Internet, or cyber charter (24 states define or permit; 20 outline elements of oversight)."

 Charter Schools Database via EdWeek.

Image Flickr CC via

Thompson: Burris Documents Damage Done By Tracking & School Reform

BurrisWe know Carol Burris for her insightful critiques of the contemporary school reform movement, but at first glance her On the Same Track seems to be a history of the bad old days. She presents an authoritative account of the severe damage done by “tracking” students, or assigning them to classes based on their so-called abilities. 
But, isn’t the fight to “de-track” classes and to offer the same opportunity for challenging instruction a distant memory from an ugly era? 
Burris begins with a photo of three English students. The color of their ties denotes their place in the school hierarchy. The one with the purple tie is “gifted and talented.” But, it is not a picture of Victorian times. It was taken in 2012. 
The beauty of On the Same Track is two-fold. Her history of the perpetuation of segregation through tracking of students in the second half of the 20th century, and of promising efforts to fight it, presents an overwhelming case against grouping students according to their achievement levels. It includes the research that market-driven, test-driven reformers should have considered before imposing their theories of school improvement on 21st century schools. 
Even better, Burris lets the evidence lead the reader to a startling realization. Reformers, who sought to help poor children of color, have recreated segregation patterns that rival those that grew out of the overt racism of previous generations. We now avoid the word tracking, and we don’t like to think of America as returning to the class-bound structure of England, but much of that evil is being revived in the name of school improvement.

Continue reading "Thompson: Burris Documents Damage Done By Tracking & School Reform" »

Maps: What 10-Year Veterans Make By State (Sort Of)

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.com"The average teacher in South Dakota with a bachelor's degree and 10 years of experience earns $33,600 per year — less than the average South Dakotan auto-repair worker," writes Vox's Libby Nelson, working off a CAP report (After 10 years at work, teachers in some states make less than $40,000) that should provide more context (re cost of living, salaries for other bachelors'-level jobs, etc.), IMHO.

Morning Video: District & Charter Schools Sharing Classrooms, Teachers, & Even Test Scores

From last night's PBS NewsHour: "In Houston, Texas, the superintendent of one school district [Spring Branch] has invited competing charter schools to set up shop alongside a regular middle school. Special correspondent John Merrow reports on their evolving partnership." (Transcript here.)

Charts: Not Nearly As Many Poor Kids As US Principals Seem To Think

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 22 10.24

"Only 13 percent of American children meet an international definition of disadvantage, lower than in many other countries. [And yet] in a survey of 29 countries, more principals in the United States reported having at least 30 percent of students come from socioeconomically disadvantaged homes than in any other country."  (NYT Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor).

 

 

AM News: American Principals Hyper-Focused On Student Poverty, Says OECD

Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor NYT: American principals are much more likely to describe their students as disadvantaged than principals in many other countries — including some countries that are significantly poorer than the United States.

Florida counts down to new Common Core standards, exams Hechinger: Although the teachers at Monroe Middle School are optimistic, many teachers and school leaders think the switch to Common Core is the biggest change in education now, and it’s taken a lot of work.

Waiverless Washington State's Request for New NCLB Flexibility Denied PK12: Washington state can't seem to catch a break these days when it comes to No Child Left Behind Act waivers. 

No go: Feds deny state request to reinstate part of WA No Child waiver Seattle Times: The U.S. Department of Education has denied Washington state's request to reinstate one piece of the state's former No Child Left Behind waiver.

New political action committee forms in L.A. school board race LA Times: A new political action committee has formed to influence the outcome of Los Angeles school board races, filling a gap created when a group of civic leaders, which includes former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, decided to sit out next month's key upcoming election.

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

Continue reading "AM News: American Principals Hyper-Focused On Student Poverty, Says OECD" »

Journalism: Virginian-Pilot Wins Common Core Grant

Among several news outlets awarded a Knight Foundation "prototype" grant is the Viginian-Pilot:

image from www.pbs.org

Pilot for School by The Virginian-Pilot (Project lead: Shawn Day):

Building a targeted digital system that will allow Virginia teachers to search newspaper content and use it to complement class curricula; content will align with Virginia’s Standards of Learning and help students apply academic concepts to what’s happening in their community.

When Storytelling Meets Civic Action (via PBS)

Does it make sense for newspapers to try and guide teachers and parents on Common Core materials, or is there a danger it's going to be misleading or overkill?

 

Bruno: Performance Pay Doesn't Necessarily Discourage Collaboration

6052852063_240c0d2e86_nAustralian teacher Harry Webb (not his real name) has four big objections to performance pay.

I'm more sympathetic to differentiated compensation than many teachers, but I very much understand his first three concerns.

Measuring teacher effectiveness is definitely hard, for example, even if we're making progress on that front. And subjective assessment of teachers remains a huge problem, especially given the "faddish nature of school improvement".

Harry's fourth objection to performance pay, though, is a very common one that I do not understand: that it will "reduce incentives to collaborate" due to "competition for a limited pot of bonuses."

Read on for more (below).

Continue reading "Bruno: Performance Pay Doesn't Necessarily Discourage Collaboration" »

Morning Video: So What's It Like To Take The OECD Test for Schools?

Following up on the fascinating topic of the OECD Test for Schools, the PBS NewsHour just recently aired a new segment about the test's spread, how it differs from most annual assessments (and even the Common Core assessments), and some of the reactions of the kids who've been taking it. Transcript here. You can also read all about the test's development and impacts in my recent Harvard Education Letter article. Don't forget that Frontline's segment on resegregation airs tonight.

Magazines: New Yorker Delves Into Atlanta Cheating School

I'm not sure there's anything entirely new or shocking in it, but image from www.newyorker.comThe New Yorker goes deep with its latest education story (A Struggling School Made a Shocking Choice), by contributor Rachel Aviv.

"Struggling to meet data-driven district targets, as well as progress measurements outlined in No Child Left Behind, administrators and teachers at Parks first began systematically fixing students’ incorrect answers on standardized tests in 2006.

"The resulting scores significantly raised the school’s percentage of eighth graders who met the state’s standards.

"The success created an ongoing cycle that fostered continuous cheating—by 2008, the practices had become what Christopher Waller, the school’s former principal, calls a “well-oiled machine.”

The same pressures and incentives still exist, reports Aviv.  

Could it happen again soon? The story seems to suggest it's likely.

Previous New Yorker stories by Aviv here.

Previous New Yorker posts: The Innovation/Disruption "Myth"New Yorker Digs Into Newark Reform BacklashWhat The New Yorker's Parent/Reporter Should Write About Next.

Articles: Adult Ed's Secret Buzzwords & Lingo

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 14 10.07So you think that edtech (and school reform in general) are full of buzzwords and hot new trends? Well, that may be true. But edtech’s got nothing on adult education, which freely adopts jargon and innovation from the K-12 and postsecondary worlds and then adds its own particular set of terms and approaches.

Some of the developments – flipped, blended, gamified, mobile learning – are familiar trends generally mirroring those taking place in other sectors. Others trends and concepts – contextualization, “braided” funding, and “bridge” programs – are more specific to the needs of low-skill adults and adult education programs who serve them.

That's the opening from my latest EdSurge article, which came out a couple of days ago (So You Think You Can Educate Adults?). The first article is here. Image via EdSurge.

Morning Video: Helping Increase Toddlers' Vocabularies With Word Counters

"Called digital language processors, they have been given to some 55 toddlers whose families are on public assistance through a city program called Providence Talks." (Coaching parents on toddler talk to address word gap)

Morning Video: "Breakaway" Efforts In Baton Rouge (& Elsewhere?)

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 08 09.58Check out the trailer for next week's Frontline (Separate and Unequal), which takes us to "one of several breakaway efforts" around the nation.

Afternoon Video: Military Mom Critiques Jindal's Common Core Reversal

In case you missed it during last week's shortened workweek. Click here if the video doesn't load properly.

Morning Video: Edu-Geeks Martin & Hess Debate Common Core On PBS

Politics: Teachers Unions Spent $191M To StudentFirst's $62M*

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 1.33.41 PM
Earlier today, Politico reported that StudentsFirst has raised a whopping $62 million in campaign contributions in the past two years. However, EdWeek reports that national and state teachers unions spent a combined $191 million in 2012 alone (see chart alone). However imperfect, the comparison serves as a useful reminder that reform money, however new and on the rise it may be currently, remains substantially less than teacher union money. 

Correction: The initial headline said StudentsFirst spent "462M" since I neglected to hit the shift button at the right moment. 

Charts: Racial Gaps High-Poverty Kindergartens

image from s1.epi.orgVia EPI

#EdGif Of The Day: Seventy Years Of Ed Progress

Bachelors_degree_gif

Check out this mildly hypnotic GIF from Vox showing the percentage of the population with a Bachelor's degree or more by decade. Variations among states have grown, and the GI Bill generation didn't change ranges as much as the Boomers did.

AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment

News2

LAUSD board agrees on testing alternative laptops LA Times: With minimal discussion, Los Angeles school officials this week authorized contracts for the purchase of six different laptop computers to determine which device and curriculum works best for high school students.

Common Core test anxiety Politico: Attempts to apply standards in different states spark a testing revolt across the country.

Teachers, postal workers weigh Staples boycott USA Today: Postal workers picket in front of a Staples store April 24, in Concord, N.H. Postal workers around the country protested in front of Staples stores, objecting to the U.S. Postal Service's pilot program to open counters in stores.

In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children Hechinger:  In recent years, New Orleans has become a case study in how children and families are affected by rapid decentralization of public education and mental health systems.

Do Teachers Really Hate Common Core? From the Floor of ISTE 2014 EdSurge: Teachers can live with--or work through--the standards. But the biggest worry? It’s not the standards that are the problem--educators are feeling stifled by the testing.

Summer school enrollment falls sharply after city reduces role of state tests ChalkBeat: In his first six months in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has had a nearly singular focus on providing needy students with expanded education services. But thousands fewer struggling students will be attending summer school this year after city officials changed the way students qualify for the program.

Emerging Themes at NEA: 'Toxic Testing' and Union Threats TeacherBeat: The board of directors will propose a New Business Item calling for a campaign against "toxic testing."

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

Continue reading "AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment" »

Thompson: Is 1-3 Percent the New "Bottom 5-10 Percent"?

BadteacherThe old meme was that replacing the 5 to 10% of teachers who are "grossly ineffective" could drive school improvement. That figure was mostly borrowed from the corporate tactic known as stacking where the low-performing employees were routinely sacked. 

I agree that bad teachers are disproportionately found in high-challenge schools and that they should be dismissed. I rarely see evidence that union contracts play a significant role in protecting them.

Unions defend the collective bargaining agreement, not the individual who is charged. The CBA protects our right to teach. 

Unions don't supervise principals who have more pressing priorities than evaluating teachers.

Neither have I heard a scenario for recruiting enough qualified replacements to staff inner city schools so that management can tackle the not-so-difficult job of firing bad teachers.

The public relations campaign known as Vergara v California is claiming to be something other than a blood-in-the-eye corporate assault on public education. So, the new meme is that even David Berliner, an expert witness for the defense, estimates that 1 to 3% of teachers should be dismissed. 

Its not hard to identify the the bottom 1, 3, or 5%. But reformers would undermine the effectiveness of the vast majority of teachers by using value-added evaluations to get rid of the few grossly ineffective ones. They would force teachers to teach to the test in order to cover their rear ends. They would try to make teaching a more attractive job by undermining the soul of our wonderful profession!?!?

Vergara has accidently redefined the teacher quality issue as removing the bottom 1 to 3%, and preventing the handful of outrageous cases where it costs hundreds of thousands dollars to fire a teacher.  That is an unintended step toward common sense. Real world, absurd foulups happen. That's life. And usually the few extreme cases are unfunny comedies of errors where all sides miscalculate. It is the very few complicated and mishandled teacher termination cases, like the very few medical and legal cases that spin out of control, that run up unconscionable bills.

I wish reformers would accept the fact that firing a bad teacher isn't that hard, but principals tend to be so overburdened that the dismissal of the bottom 1 to 3% rarely makes their to-do list. And, given the deplorable conditions in so many high-poverty schools, recruiting replacements for even the worst teachers in those schools would be a challenge.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.    

Maps: Where The Charters Are

ScreenHunter_09 Jul. 01 21.32Here's a map from Marketplace, which also ran a segment on the state of charter schools featuring quotes from Nina Rees, Dennis Van Roekel, and Jack Schneider. Click the link to get the interactive version.

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Two Of Three Superintendents Support Common Core

Common Core Will Improve Education Most District Chiefs Say - Education Week http://ow.ly/yF4pl 

Aspen Ideas Festival panel with David Coleman scheduled for this afternoon / live video feed, FYI http://ow.ly/yF2iJ

Legislative Efforts to Slow Down PARCC Parked -- at Least for Now - @NJSpotlight http://ow.ly/yEEoU 

How Michigan spends $1 billion but fails to hold @publiccharters accountable | Detroit Free Press http://ow.ly/yEZQd 

Waiverless WA Wants Out of Key NCLB Requirement - @politicsk12 http://ow.ly/yFhCM 

Limiting Rights: A Hit to Collective Bargaining - http://NYTimes.com  http://ow.ly/yFsq5 

Getting ready for #USAvsBEL? On #FIFAvsPISA, it's no competition http://gadf.ly/1q4ZltB  #worldcupED

Paul Bruno: What if There is No Crisis in U.S. Education? | Diane Ravitch's blog http://ow.ly/yFiDM  @mrpabruno

Green Dot Public Schools goes national, revamps Board @greendot http://ow.ly/yF5ei  @brucewmsmith @LAcharters

How to Trick Your Kids Into Reading All Summer Long - - The Atlantic http://ow.ly/yEZuh 

Quotes: EdTech Hubris Undermines School Improvement

Quotes2Either this is a co-operative project, funded by experience, evidence and expertise, as well as the mutual passion for integrity, education and innovation (and yes, venture capital). Or it’s a series of expensive and limiting failures where working-stiff educators have to pick up the pieces.(A Distemperate Response to Silicon Valley’s ‘Edtech Revolution’

Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance

ScreenHunter_08 Jul. 01 11.38

 

 

 

 

Here's something I've been thinking might happen for a while now -- a new national network of diverse charter schools has been announced.

Included among the founding members are several of the schools I profiled in Education Next a couple of years ago (Brooklyn Prospect, Bricolage (NOLA), Community Roots, DSST (Denver), and yes, Success Academy.

See the full press release below, and tune into (attend) the panel on diverse charters at 4pm local time in Las Vegas.

Previous posts: Diverse Charters Spread Nationally (Education Next); Diverse NOLA Charter OpensDiverse Charters Balance Learning & Accountability; and Change Could Help Promote Charter Diversity.

Continue reading "Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance" »

Afternoon Video: Reconciling Due Process & Students' Rights At Aspen 2014

 

Here's a new video from the Aspen Ideas Festival in which it is discussed whether tenure reforms and students' rights can be reconciled -- and if so, how. Feat. Weingarten, Deasy, and hosted by Ray Suarez. Read blog post about here.

Morning Video: Do Learning Games Really Work?

Here's a new PBS NewsHour segment on learning games. Find out more here.

Five Best Blogs [Of The Day]: Monday Could Be A Big Day For Unions

The Supreme Court could cut union membership in half on Monday -[if it allows member opt-outs] Vox http://ht.ly/yxhtj  @mattyglesias

Fordham's @brickm writes about possible edu implications of Supreme Court decision coming Monday http://t.co/NrEqqzXVMR 

Also:

New poll shows more than two-thirds of CA voters want to abolish LIFO and 61 pct want to end tenure via @Morning_Edu #vergara @campbell_brown

Unions not getting enough credit for changes to job protections, says @rweingarten in today's @Morning_Edu

Most Americans Think Racial Discrimination Doesn't Matter Much Anymore | Mother Jones http://ht.ly/ywVFS 

Vergara ruling could spark collaboration, not just confrontation @greendot @calcharters @calteachers http://ht.ly/yx6uO 

New ed-school grads are unprepared to teach—and we seem fine with that | @educationgadfly @rpondiscio http://ht.ly/ywuWA 

Tweets and links throughout the day (and some evenings, too) via @alexanderrusso.

 

Charts: Mainstream Republicans Dislike Common Core Just As Much As Conservatives

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.comThis chart from Vox's Libby Nelson shows that recent Pew survey results reveal there isn't really as much debate within the Republican party over Common Core standards as we may have imagined.  Support among Democratic groups including "solid liberals" appears relatively strong and uniform, which may also be another surprise for some. 

Charts: How US Teachers Feel Compared To Other Countries

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 2.05.46 PMCheck out the OECD report on teachers that came out earlier this week -- including US information for the first time  (PDF) -- for all sorts of interesting information. Called TALIS, the report indicates high levels of job satisfaction and self-confidence for lower secondary teachers in the US, but two out of three don't believe their work is valued by society. You'll feel both reassured and troubled at the same time.

Quotes: Smarick Rails Against Anti-Democratic Attitudes & Elites

Quotes2In too many other cases, our field has succumbed to the derision of politics, giving the impression that technocracy is preferable to democracy... I worry that too often education reform is falling on the wrong side of the democratic-technocratic divide. -- Andy Smarick (Has America Lost Democracy to Technocracc?)

Video: Common Core Through 9-Year-Old Eyes

 

ICYMI: Here's the video that went along with last week's NYT story (Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes).

Five Best Tweets [Of The Day]: Teachers Report High Job Satisfaction, Low Societal Value

OECD: Teachers love their jobs / feel undervalued ht.ly/yrJFH - US stats via @Morning_Edu 90 pct / 34 pct

Republicans -- & school boards -- block nat'l limits on#restrainingstudents, notes @ProPublica's @hvogell ht.ly/yrXzK

Several high-performing Shelby County tenured teachers face unemployment as deadline nears | @ChalkbeatTN ht.ly/yrxUB

White school district sends black kids back to failed schools | MSNBC's @trymainelee ht.ly/yra3c

#CommonCore for Young Learners: Educators tackle challenges in the early grades ht.ly/yrXSM @Harvard_Ed_Pub @KelleherMaureen

Converting Catholic Schools to Charters Draws Scrutiny - Education Week ht.ly/yrSac

Vergara supporters "cleverly positioned themselves as part of a campaign for civil rights," notes Ravitch blog post ht.ly/ys5uv

Former Village Voice writer Wayne Barrett describes de Blasio/UFT as "an unholy alliance" - NY Daily News ht.ly/yr9oo

Ban reading tests (replace them with subject specific exams), says @robertpondiscio because: background knowledge

 

Morning Video: Pushy Pediatricians Stick Noses Into Early Reading

 

Here's last night's PBS NewsHour segment on the AAP's new recommendations for pediatricians to encourage parents to read to children and to give books to young parents. You may recall hearing about pediatricians handing books out during immunization visits.

Charts: School Violence Trends, Revisited

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.comThis latest estimate includes "all violent deaths that occurred on school grounds, or during travel to or from school or a school-sponsored event." (More details at Vox)

Rebuttal: Don't Use Chicago As A Deseg Model

Ecastro flickr office of the principalIn response to yesterday's NYT oped from Rick Kahlenberg touting the Chicago model of income-based diversity enhancement, longtime Chicago special education advocate Rod Estvan wrote the following rebuttal suggesting that Chicago's results from the Kahlenberg plan haven't been all that good: 

"Unfortunately Dr. Kahlenberg does not discuss the fact that Payton’s admission system which is in part based on census tracts is being advantaged by the middle class and even wealthier families who live in enclaves within overall poorer community census tracts. In 2013, only 31.4% of Payton students were from low income families regardless of race whereas back in 2002 the school had about 37% low income students when there was no social economic admissions process but only a race based process."

See the full response below the fold.

Continue reading "Rebuttal: Don't Use Chicago As A Deseg Model" »

Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)

430890004_98639b3bb7_nSince the Vergara decision was handed down in California reactions have been predictably partisan and extreme. Reformers are ecstatic over what they believe if a "huge win" and their critics are equally confident that the decision was "anti-teacher" and "exactly backwards".

It's not really surprising that the reactions would shake out this way. Education debates are often highly-polarized, and there are political reasons for activists to exaggerate the stakes.

In reality, the most reasonable position to take about the consequences of Vergara is agnosticism. Even if the decision survives appeal it will be many years before schools feel its effects, and then it is likely that the overall impact will be quite modest.

This case may still spend years winding its way through the legal system, and its ultimate fate in the judiciary is not at all obvious. If the ruling eventually remains intact, the California legislature could potentially satisfy its requirements without making major changes to the statutes in question.

More than that,  it's not clear why we should be confident that changing the rules governing teacher tenure or seniority privileges will have major, easily-predictable consequences.

On the contrary, the effects of those rules are complex and often cut in opposite directions. Below the fold, I'll consider the trade-offs involved in tenure reform specifically and try to show why it's hard to know whether the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Continue reading "Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)" »

Events: Poynter Institute's "Covering Common Core" Event

Because there's always more to learn, Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.46 PMI'm headed off to Chicago to attend the Covering Common Core journalists' training session being hosted by Poynter, EWA, and Northwestern over the next couple of days.

What's your favorite Common Core story so far? 

What's a Common Core story you haven't seen, or a bit of knowledge that hasn't been surfaced yet?

Mine include Cory Turner's "taking the Common Core" approach, and my own peek inside the field test help desk, but I'm sure there are other better options.

 

 

Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"

WaitAlexander Russo's How Waiting for Superman (almost) Changed the World explains how Davis Guggenheim's film created a zeitgeist.

But, did it produce "measurable impact?"

Participant, the film's production company, sought to "ignite social changes." Participant was founded by eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, and it specializes in "star-laden, carefully crafted, politically colored fims."

Whether Participant knew it or not, in its attempt to claim success, it borrowed from a common school reform meme. Test-driven reformers often claim that increases in student performances in the 1990s were the result of the NCLB Act of 2001. Similarly, Participant claims credit for closing New York City's so-called "Rubber Room," and the Washington D.C. teachers' contract. Both took place before the movie came out.

Michelle Rhee also credits Waiting for Superman for persuading top donors to contribute to StudentsFirst. But, she also claims that her organization is good, not destructive, for public schools.

An objective study, funded by the Ford Foundation, determined that the general public gave good reviews to the film, awarding four out of five stars. Education professionals gave it two stars, concluding that its "depiction of teachers and unions was simplistic."

Russo's account of the making of  Guggenheim's film and of its effects is balanced. If he has a bias, it is towards skepticism, even cynicism. Russo indicates that do-gooders must anticipate that their efforts will be "misunderstood or mischaracterized." When that happened, the filmmaker's team responded with "genuine or feigned" surprise.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"" »

Events: Fixing Poverty Without Fixing K-12 Education?

120914_$BOX_PovertyEX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeThe Hamilton Project (@hamiltonproj via Brookings) is having a big event today and tomorrow -- check it out -- but you may be pleased or disconcerted to note that their proposed efforts at #AddressingPoverty.  --  14 new policy proposals -- don't really involve K-12 education.

Early childhood education? Sure.  

After-school and summer learning? But of course.

A smattering of education types -- NYU's Amy Schwartz, Harvard's Bridget Terry Long. OK.

Whether this means that poverty isn't really an issue that K-12 can be expected to help address, or that the current mess of K-12 (for poor kids, at least) is more daunting than poverty, I'll leave the interpretation up to you.

Personally, I feel a little left out.

Previous posts: Reduced Poverty Or Teacher Quality? "Both," Says RheeWho Told Us The Education Fights Poverty, Anyway? (Bruno); What Next For Poverty/Inequality 2014?More Poverty In Suburbs Than In Cities;  Poverty Hurts US Students More Than In Other Nations Let's Not Talk About 43M Poor PeoplePoverty Increases Cut Both Ways In Reform Debate.

 

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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.