When kids are exposed to children who are different than them, whether it’s along racial lines or economic lines, that contact between different groups reduces the willingness of kids to make stereotypes and generalizations about other groups... It also reduces anxiety because a lot of prejudice grows out of fear of the unknown and feeling anxious when you’re around different people because you’ve never had that experience before.
-- Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education in US News (Racial Tensions Flare as Schools Resegregate)
What I learned from the discussion was that people probably have very different notions about what it means to come at improving schools from a social justice perspective. For reform critics like Ravitch, opposing approaches that disempower classroom teachers or put pressure on traditional schools feels like social justice. For reform advocates like Duncan giving parents choices and making schools accountable for results feels like social justice.
Eager as they might be to claim the mantle of social justice advocacy, my sense is that both sides are wrong, and that the things that they spend most of their time advocating for are not the things that social justice advocates would prioritize for children and communities of color who most need better schools.
It's important to note that changes to education are not central to the current #BlackLivesMatter movement that embodies social justice advocacy in the current era. When education does come up, things like more charters, school desegregation, teacher empowerment, accountability, and student loans are not priority items.
So what would a social justice education agenda look like? Here's a highly imperfect guess at some of the priorities that might be highlighted. There's got to be a better version of this somewhere, but it's a start:
10/ Cops out of schools
9/ Ending defiance-based suspensions and expulsions
8/ Anti-racism /cultural awareness training for teachers
7/ High-quality universal preschool
6/ Living wages for paras, aides, and early childhood teacher
5/ Equitable distribution of certified teachers (and payroll costs) among district schools
4/ Limits on self-segregation of affluent students within neighborhoods and island districts
3/ Dramatic reduction in local control/property tax-based funding
2/ Giving parents right to legal action against inadequate education (as with IDEA)
Via The Seventy Four.
For years we've been told that poverty has been increasing. So it might not seem like a big deal that Majority Leader Paul Ryan claimed that poverty is worse under Obama earlier this week. At 15 percent, the official measure is high. But the official measure doesn't account for certain public benefits, such as food stamps, notes The Washington Post. An alternative measure "also indicates that a greater share of Americans are poor now than were poor under the Bush or Clinton administrations. Yet the current rate is moderate by historical standards — below its level throughout much of the Reagan administration."
The whole "Pokemon Go will revolutionize education" claims have made me incredibly angry, even though it's a claim that's made about every single new product that ed-tech's early adopters find exciting (and clickbait-worthy)... All this matters for Pokemon Go; all this matters for ed-tech....“Gotta catch ’em all” may be the perfect slogan for consumer capitalism; but it’s hardly a mantra I’m comfortable chanting to push for education transformation.
- Audrey Watters in Hack Education Weekly Newsletter (HEWN)
Check out this fascinating American RadioWorks interview titled Race in Suburban Schools, featuring L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy talking about his look at one Midwestern suburban school district that illustrates the increasing diversity and nagging achievement gaps in the leafy burbs. One striking example Lewis-McCoy describes is how he observes white teachers hold back from correcting the grammar and speech of black and brown students to avoid stigmatizing them.
Red and orange states are where students in rich districts receive more funds than students in poor districts. via Hechinger Report (The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade).
"The richest 25 percent of school districts receive 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, the federal Department of Education pointed out last month (March, 2015). That’s a national funding gap of $1,500 per student, on average, according to the most recent data, from 2011-12. The gap has grown 44 percent since 2001-02, when a student in a rich district had only a 10.8 percent resource advantage over a student in a poor district."
Reminder: among voters who haven't yet chosen Trump or Clinton, VP pick not terribly important. (Healthcare is, tho) pic.twitter.com/5wZUmS4wKc— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) July 15, 2016
By the looks of this polling data, independent voters care about education just a smidgen less than they care about who gets picked for the Vice President.
The word “ghetto” has come to sound like an indictment of a people as well as of a place. https://t.co/BZwBwihm7n— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) July 14, 2016
This recent New Yorker article (There Goes the Neighborhood) raises a bunch of important questions about how we think about gentrification and low-income communities that used to be commonly called "ghettos" -- and, by extension, low-income (generally low-performing) schools.
Scholars have long been sympathetic towards these communities, according to the piece:
"Scholars who studied the ghetto tended to be motivated by sympathy for its residents, which often resulted in a complicated sort of sympathy for ghettos themselves."
It could be argued that some of the same emotions have been on display when it comes to the low-income, generally low-performing school.
However public opinion has changed dramatically.
"Where the ghetto once seemed a menace, threatening to swallow the city like an encroaching desert, now it often appears, in scholarly articles and the popular press, as an endangered habitat."
The reality may be, however, that displacements from gentrification are not be as widespread as is commonly thought. That's because underlying mobility rates are already relatively high in these communities, as evictions, better opportunities, and other shifts move families in and out of low-income areas.
In addition, "Gentrification needn’t be zero-sum, because gentrifying neighborhoods may become more densely populated, with new arrivals adding to, rather than supplanting, those currently resident.
Sympathetic scholars, recent focus on gentrification, and questions about underlying mobility rates suggest that the common "gentrification = bad" construction that's prevalent right now might warrant some careful rethinking. Perhaps changes to neighborhood schools -- demographic, programmatic, etc. -- shouldn't necessarily be viewed with immediate suspicion. Perhaps gentrification isn't universally bad.
If I'm reading this right, the salary spread for educators (purple) has grown much wider over time. http://ow.ly/RGim302dxqa
Here's the latest evidence that parents' beliefs about how well their schools are doing educating their children differ from NAEP performance evidence.
"A new study finds a program that works with at-risk young men in Chicago schools reduced overall arrests in the group by 35 percent, violent crime arrests by 50 percent and boosted on-time high school graduation for participants by 19 percent." via WTTW Chicago Public Television (Program for At-Risk Youth Cuts Arrests by 35 Percent)
"As of May 2016, just six states planned to implement the PARCC-designed assessment in the 2016-17 academic year. SBAC ... retains 14 states that plan to use the full test." via Education Next.
Reform critics like to talk about big social issues like poverty, or focus on reform challenges like racial segregation in charter schools, but downplay ignore structural issues in public education like school assignment policies and district boundaries.
It's not just attendance zones and school assignment policies within districts that contribute to segregation and school inequality. According to a new report from EdBuild, school district boundaries themselves play a dramatic role in "segregating communities and separating low-income kids from educational opportunity." The most vivid examples of this effect are "island" districts entirely surrounded by other school districts of vastly different means.
"The way we fund schools in the United States creates incentives for communities to segregate along socioeconomic lines in order to preserve local wealth. In so doing, communities create arbitrary borders that serve to lock students into, or out of, opportunity. This reality is especially glaring in the case of island school districts that are entirely surrounded by single districts of very different means."
While there are nearly 200 examples nationwide, the report highlights examples in Oakland, Freehold NJ, and Columbus OH.
"While prison spending has risen three times as quickly as school spending nationally, in some states the disparities are far greater. In Colorado, prison spending rose five times faster than school spending. Prison spending grew six times more quickly in South Dakota and seven times in Wyoming. In Texas, where the disparity is greatest, prison spending grew at nearly eight times the rate as school spending."
From the Washington Post (The states that spend more money on prisoners than college students)
There wasn't much education talk at the Aspen Ideas festival this year, compared to previous years, but here's a panel on civil rights from the festival held recently. See #AspenIdeas for more.
"As kindergarten and pre-k have become more academically rigorous, some worry that the very youngest students may be missing out on crucial development through abundant playtime. But other educators believe setting high expectations for achievement helps kids, especially low-income students, excel. " From PBS NewsHour. Set at Mission Hill. Cameo from Matt Damon's mom -- and Fordham's Robert Pondiscio.
"Of the 100 districts that receive the most per-pupil funding from the state, the overwhelming majority have residents who spend below the state average when it comes to the share of personal income that goes to local property taxes for schools." (The story of Pennsylvania's per-pupil school funding)
Seattle's Garfield High School is integrated in terms of student demographics, but not when it comes to participation in advanced courses (or where students hang out), notes this Seattle Times story.
There was a period of time where it was as if almost anyone who wanted to open a charter school could get a grant of $100,000 from the Waltons. It ran like that for a number of years, until eventually they looked at the results and decided this wasn’t working.
NACSA's Greg Richmond in The American Prospect (Education Reformers Reflect at 25)
This video highlights Avalon School in St. Paul, Minn., and Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Los Angeles, Calif -- one charter led by teachers, another part of a college-prep focused network. (Charter Schools After 25 Years: Inside Two Contrasting Schools via EdWeek)
Parents generally place greater value on schools with a high percentage of students of the same race/ethnicity as their child — but only if their child would otherwise be in the smallest minority at school. If their child won’t be in the smallest minority, parents are less concerned about — and, in fact, supportive of — schools with a more diverse student body.
- From Mathematic analysis of DC school lottery choices, via NY Times
Here's an Urban Institute look at how various big-city school systems look, using NAEP TUDA data and controlling for demographics. Click the link to read the report.
"Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks to Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center for insight into how Southern schools can move race relations forward."
Duckworth—indifferent to class, race, history, society, culture—strips success of its human reality, and her single-minded theory may explain very little.
- David Denby in The New Yorker (The Limits of “Grit”)
"The battle over Common Core education standards is playing out across the country, but a new set of requirements for teaching science is creeping into curricula without the same fanfare. Some states are voluntarily adopting the practices, which emphasize more consistent science instruction as well as hands-on experimentation." PBS NewsHour
"For the [2014 Washington DC] lottery, families submitted rank-ordered lists of their preferred schools from a long list of options, including charter schools and traditional public schools."
From Mathematica (Market Signals: A Deep-Dive Analysis of Parental School Choice)
Here's a two-minute video from Save Our Public Schools making the case against raising MA's charter school cap. There's a big state referendum on the issue coming later this year. The video claims that charters already take $400 million away from public schools.
"At Pennsylvania’s Upper Darby High School in suburban Philadelphia, more than 15 languages are spoken in a student body of nearly 4,000. To help support such a diverse array of English-language learners, the school created a peer tutoring program."
Check out Scholastic Administrator editor Wayne D'Orio's new piece about how Hamilton teamed with two nonprofits to immerse high school students in American history'—and challenge them to create their own performances.
"Thirteen teams of 11th graders from around New York City are waiting anxiously in the wings to perform their own two-minute pieces on events or people from the birth of our country. “Welcome to the best day of the year for us here at the Richard Rodgers: EduHam,” says an enthusiastic Miranda as he looks out on a theater packed entirely with high school students. After the student performances, the high schoolers will see Hamilton, culminating their immersion in the life and times of the “10-dollar founding father without a father.”
Ed-Tech Market in Flux as Investors Grow More Selective - Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/06/08/ed-tech-market-in-flux-as-investors-grow.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW … via @educationweek https://twitter.com/EdWeekSCavanagh
"Overall, the national average of chronic absenteeism was 13 percent, or about 6.5 million students, the Education Department said....Detroit Public Schools has the highest rate of chronic absenteeism among the nation’s largest 100 school districts." via AP
"Change in the funding gap between 2001-02 and 2011-12. Red and orange states are where the gap widened to the benefit of students in rich districts."
Courtesy Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report. Read the whole story and see all the charts here.
Do shorter hours or higher wages make better teachers? - https://t.co/Nnr0ySNxFf— Savas Savides (@SSavides) May 22, 2016
This recent chart from the Economist magazine uses OECD and IMF numbers to try and track the relationship between hours of work, purchasing power, and student achievement. American teachers are shown to work 45 hours a week and make $60,000. Its PISA scores are in the middle. Are these figures correct?
Here's a GIF showing how each school in NYC's District 1 would be affected by a controlled choice school integration initiative, based on a model presented by WNYC in its school integration series.
As you can see in the top row, schools that currently have almost 100 percent poor kids would see an influx of nonpoor kids. The bottom row shows how schools with relatively high percentages of nonpoor kids would gain poor classmates under a model plan.
The plan would phase in over time, and only new students (kindergartners, mostly) would be affected. But obviously these would be big changes for schools and families. Some families won't have choices. But we all know what happens when more affluent families don't get what they want.
Watch above, check out the details here. #equitymatters
U.S. Graduation Rate Breaks Another Record - Education Week ow.ly/HLGP300SQQP
Chicago Teachers Union blames state school spending impasse on lack of leadership - Chicago Tribune ow.ly/Wc9W300SQ0A
CTU prez suggests teachers could forgo some raises in contract | Chicago Sun-Times ow.ly/i8eZ100aCFS
US SENATE HOPEFUL FORCED TO EXPLAIN 1ST-TO-COLLEGE CLAIM: Associated Press ow.ly/6zP9300SQMU
Mississippi Bans Public Contributions to Superintendents' Association - State EdWatch - Education Week ow.ly/l3g8300SPU5
17 people, including officer, exposed to pepper spray during brawl at L.A. high school - LA Times ow.ly/16rL300SPsu
Principal Hired to Revive Struggling Boys and Girls High School May Leave - The New York Times ow.ly/P3ju300SPAl
When you’re 21 and this is your second campus shooting
Some of the speakers include Gloria Ladson-Billings, Sean Reardon, and Richard Rothstein.
Some of the Equity Project journalists who will talk about their projects include Alejandra Lagos, Zaidee Stavely, Kristina Rizga, and Patrick Wall. Cara Fitzpatrick, will also be there. Spencer Fellowship head LynNell Hancock, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Keith Woods are also scheduled to attend.
What's it all about? According to the promo materials, the Equity Matters event "will bring together the nation’s top experts and education journalists in examining the root causes and impact of our nation’s ever-widening “opportunity gap.”
This isn't the first such gathering. There was an event in San Francisco not too long ago featuring Rizga, Pirette McKamey and Robert Roth.
Philanthropists are not generally education experts, and even if they hire scholars and experts, public officials shouldn’t be allowing them to set the policy agenda for the nation’s public schools. The Gates experience teaches once again that educational silver bullets are in short supply and that some educational trends live only a little longer than mayflies.
- LA Times editorial page (Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda)
We’ve been talking a lot about the idea of modernizing the teaching profession and that has been a real point of contention with some folks because they say, “We don’t need to change it. We just need to be nicer to teachers. We need to reward teachers more and pay them more.” That reflexive defense of the status quo is just as unhelpful as people who say, “Let’s throw the whole system out and start over.”
-- Lanae Erickson Hatalsky in Education Post (Staying Chill, the Teacher Wars...)
At least $2.6B in fed funding goes to districts that are wealthier on average - US News ow.ly/YPDs300NxkD
New Orleans school unification committee to meet for first time s.nola.com/IyNv4BY
Kansas Parents Worry Schools Are Slipping Amid Budget Battles - The New York Times ow.ly/J0MD300Nzaw
Take A Ride With A Kentucky School Bus Driver NPR n.pr/1qgU8Dv
High Lead Levels Discovered In Chicago School's Drinking Fountains n.pr/25xX5PW
Teach for America retools efforts to recruit graduates from top colleges wpo.st/bwHd1
Why a High School in Connecticut's Richest County Has Been Failing for 50 Years - The Atlantic ow.ly/nyG7300LF0X
How interesting, given the current controversy over the research, to listen and watch as Angela Duckworth and Kate Zernike talk about grit at #EWA16.
Curious about the media role in puffing and then pulling down Duckworth's work, check out my recent column: Journalism’s Role In The Current “Grit” Hype/ Criticism Cycle.
Spring conference season might be over, but Summer Season is just starting. Among the June events is the NYT higher education conference on June 20, which promises to include 100+ college president types, Times senior editors, and an "interactive program [that] features U.S. Secretary of Education John King, topic specialists Carol Dweck, Angela Duckworth, Amy Cuddy and Nicholas Christakis, and other leading experts." (I'm thinking hologram, right?).
The Higher Ed Leaders Forum will also include a special “Education Innovation” section in The New York Times. Topics include diversity and free-speech dilemmas, the STEM-humanities debate, sexual assault, the digital future, the crisis in public funding of education and much more.
The “Higher Ed Leaders Forum” is supported by presenting sponsor The Walton Family Foundation, associate sponsors NYU School of Professional Studies and Oppenheimer Funds Inc., supporting sponsor Carnegie Corporation of New York and media sponsor Education Dive.
To apply for an invitation and learn more about The New York Times “Higher Ed Leaders Forum,” please visit NYTHigherEdLeadersForum.com.
It takes an exceptional teacher to marginally increase a student’s test score, and these gains fade out quickly. It takes an average urban charter school to increase a student’s test score, and these gains increase over time. Lastly, test scores aren’t everything, so we should be cautious in how we use them and we should give strong deference to parental choice.
-- Arnold Foundation's Neerav Kingsland [Missing the Schools for the Teachers (the Folly of the Teacher Wars)]