I remember being so immune to death, so immune to shootings, killings. I just remember wanting them to rush, like get the body out the way so we can get back to playing hopscotch or dodgeball. -- Monica Jaundoo Of Parkville, Md. (NPR Race Blog)
Some celebrities shy away from taking a position that's going to bring them so much heat as well as some measure of admiration, and others simply don't agree that tenure is an issue, but Whoopi Goldberg seems to be up for the controversy. If only she'd been somewhat funny about it.... that always helps, right?
Riffing off last week's Campbell Brown appearance on Colbert, TIME's Haley Edwards has an interesting article about the differences between the Comedy Central comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stwart (The Celebrity Death Match Over School Reform).
If there's any doubt about Colbert's leanings, you only have to go so far as the Brown booking last week (and the protests that accompanied it), the Ravitch appearances on Stewart (but not Colbert), and Stewart's grilling of Michelle Rhee. Colbert's critique of the Common Core test questions was a slam on testing and those specific questions, in my opinion (see Colbert Attacks Then Endorses Common Core).
The influence of the two comedians is well known (though hard to measure). One of them -- reform wins! -- is about to switch from basic cable to broacast TV. No word yet on whether Colbert's booker, Emily Lazar, is heading to the new show with him (The Most Important Media Insider You've Never Heard Of), or how much education-related bits we'll get to see in the future.
Previous posts: Colbert To Broadcast Move Probably Bad News For Education (2014); Colbert / Stewart Divide On School Reform (2011); Fear-Mongering Educators Dominate Colbert/Stewart Rally (2010).
Vox's Libby Nelson has a good starter list of 12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free but I think she might have missed and/or gotten a few wrong.
No problem -- that's what I'm here for.
It recommends Kate Boo's story about the attempt to revamp Denver's Manual Arts (Expectations) but leaves out her amazing (2006 - I'm cheating) story about early childhood interventions (Swamp Nurse).
Steve Brill's The Rubber Room was an artful rehash of reporting done by others. Rachel Aviv's Wrong Answer is a fascinating look at how some teachers decided they had to cheat that loses out in the end with its lazy reliance on NCLB as the main reason.
Stories mysterious left out include the New Yorker's take on executive function (Delayed Gratification = 210 SAT Points) and Jill Lepore's fascinating revelation that liberal Icon Elizabeth Warren hates neighborhood-based school assignment (Your Favorite Liberal Lawmaker Supports Universal Vouchers*). Nick Lemann's 2010 turning point piece is left out, too (The overblown crisis in American education).
All that being said, kudos to Nelson for getting things started and including some ed-related stories like this summer's Jill Lepore takedown of "innovation" (The Disruption Machine), which I blogged about last month (The Innovation/Disruption "Myth"). Lots more examples from Gawande, Gladwell, etc. to be found. The Hit Man's Tale!?
Previous TWIE posts about the New Yorker: Learning From The Gay Rights Movement; Last Week's Problematic New Yorker Parent Opt-Out Story; The New Yorker Takes Another Look At Coaching; Delayed Gratification = 210 SAT Points; Lessons From Earth Day 1970; If Doctors Can Do It, So Can Teachers, Coaching: Even Veterans & Star Teachers Could Benefit, Checklists: The Simple Solution No One Wants To Try.
Marketplace reporter Amy Scott has launched a Kickstarter to finish out a documentary about a Cincinnati school that's transformed itself into a K-12 community center (OYLER). Watch the trailer above and click the link to contribute (@oylerdoc)
The formless young protagonist of Richard Linkalter's new film, "Boyhood," gets a number of talkings-to during his 12 years growing up onscreen, but none of them is better than the one delivered by his photography teacher (Mr. Turlington, played by actor Tom McTigue) about two thirds of the way through the movie. Part lecture, part pep talk, the teacher clearly has established a relationship with his troublesome student and is able to drop some wisdom about talent vs. effort without being overly alienating. Image via NY Mag. A million Internets to anyone who has the script and/or the scene.
"Here's somebody whose influence on ed policy is in no way related to their hotness, unlike that bimbo Campbell Brown," quipped NY Mag journo Jonathan Chait, linking to Matt Damon's appearances at various anti-reform events a few years back.
ICYMI, Ravitch questioned Brown's credibility on education issues about which the two people happen to disagree and in the process made several comments about Brown's looks.
Damon has appeared at various anti-reform events in recent years, based in large part on his good looks and celebrity (and views on education with which Ravitch happens to agree).
Here's a Bloomberg segment on school preparations for migrant Central American kids who have been in the news so much the past couple of weeks. Haven't seen tons written on this - which districts are being most affected? Did the White House ask for schools funding as part of his refugee relief package?
Now that you're done reading this week's New Yorker story about cheating in Atlanta, time to circle back and read last week's piece (California Screaming) about the conflicts in San Francisco over class, culture, and education.
Why, you ask? I'll tell you"
1- The opening protest highlights the impact of gentrification and other inequities on a career educator:
Benito Santiago, a sixty-three-year-old special-education teacher, is being evicted from the apartment he’s lived in since 1977.
2- The piece describes a conflict between two groups who are remarkably similar in their ideals and goals -- but not their methods. They're mirror versions of each other, only one is younger and richer and more entrepreneurial than collective than the other:
What’s going on in San Francisco has been called a “culture war,” and yet the values each side espouses can sound strikingly similar.
Three more to go -- the best ones! -- click the link and see.
Here's a new PBS NewsHour segment on learning games. Find out more here.
ICYMI: Here's the video that went along with last week's NYT story (Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes).
This 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)
Here's the PBS NewsHour segment from last night about the new Participant documentary about college costs and outcomes.
The movie's called "Dear White People" and it's about racial politics on a college campus. Watch the trailer, then read a Variety review here. It's for work!
The big think piece of the week so far has to be Jill Lepore's New Yorker cover story attempting to debunk (or at least contextualize) the current fancy for things labeled "innovative" and/or "disruptive."
Basically, Lepore is saying that "innovation" is today's version of the word progress, that the Clay Christensen book that has promoted much of the furor is based on some shaky anecdotes, that innovator/disruptor types tend to rely on circular logic (innovations that fail weren't disruptive enough), and that disruptors' insights aren't much good at predicting future successes and may be particularly inappropriate to public efforts (and journalism).
In several places, the piece notes that schools and other public endeavors have been touched by the innovation craze:
"If your city’s public-school district has adopted an Innovation Agenda, which has disrupted the education of every kid in the city, you live in the shadow of “The Innovator’s Dilemma.”
And also: "Christensen has co-written books urging disruptive innovation in higher education (“The Innovative University”), public schools (“Disrupting Class”), and health care (“The Innovator’s Prescription”).
There's also a funny description of the MOOC panic of 2012-2013.
Over at Slate, Will Oremus thinks that the case against innovation/disruption is being overstated and that the New Yorker writer just wants folks to stop trying to disrupt her industry.
There are lots of angles related to education here. Are things as bad as we're being told by reformers -- bad enough to warrant attempts at "blowing up" the current system? What happens to the legacy system when inno-disruption efforts fail to make much improvement (MOOCs), or (as in charters) succeed only partially?
Before he started Waiting for Superman, non-educator Davis Guggenheim read and reread the definitive but tedious Organizing Schools for Improvement, and went on to study the entire body of work of the Chicago Consortium for School Research. Guggenheim became an expert in economic regression studies so that he could parse the language in papers for and against value-added models. Starting with the work of Larry Cuban, he became an expert on education history.
I kid Guggenheim, of course.
Alexander Russo’s How Waiting For Superman (almost) Changed the World, published by American Enterprise Institute, tells the real story about a pro-union, pro-teacher award-winning filmmaker making a documentary that Jay Mathews described as “one of the most anti-union I had ever seen.”
Russo’s narrative on the making of the film that so deeply offended so many is consistent with my experience. Guggenheim had a lot compassion and he made some political inquiries, but he seemed to have the same disinterest in social science that has long been shown by outsiders seeking to reform schools. It is a testament to the disrespect bestowed on teachers by non-educators that they are consistently uncurious about academic education research. Surely the sponsors of An Inconvenient Truth would not have endorsed that film if Guggenheim was similarly uninformed about global warming.
Worse, Guggenheim and other reformers show even less interest in studying more than one side of the story before pontificating about the cure for inner city educational underperformance.
#worldcupED Only two other World Cup nations outrank the US when it comes to degree attainment, notes the Education Trust -- but that's still not good enough.
The World Cup has just started but Ghana -- one of the teams the US will face to start things out -- has already won the World Cup of Education Spending as a percentage of GDP. The US doesn't even make it out of the first round. Via WSJ.
Writer Dana Goldstein has landed at The Marshall Project, a newish endeavor with lots of strong names behind it, where she'll write about criminal justice and school-to-prison.
She was a Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, and has written for Slate, The Nation, The Atlantic, and lots of other folks. Her book, The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession, is coming out in September.
I haven't always agreed with Goldstein's take on issues, but I've always admired her reporting and writing. [Her 2011 line, "Welcome to the beat, Brill!" sticks in my mind as a particularly delightful moment.] And she's always had other interests and topics -- and there'll be a big book tour etc. this summer -- so maybe the dropoff won't be as bad or immediate as it seems.
Previous posts: Goldstein & Carey Debate Test Proliferation; Testing Dana Goldstein's Latest Testing Article; Just How Stressful Are Midyear Assessments, Really?; Power Couples For 2014; The Cheating "Crisis" & Teacher Culpability.
First things first: The last couple of episodes of Louie are full of flashbacks of Louie's classroom, lunchroom, and after-school experiences as an 8th grader, which include friends who pull him up and pull him back and a really sweet if somewhat misguided science teacher Mr. Hoffman who's just trying to reach the kids (and to get the administration to pay attention to the trouble kids are getting into after school).
It's memoir, at best, but it's pretty good -- and the parental reflections on how to deal with a temporarily-wayward child seem pretty powerful, too. For another good recap -- full of spoilers! -- go here.
In other Louis CK-related news, a recent interview in Medium with the comedian and father and Common Core critic gives us some helpful insight into CK's temprament through an anecdote about how he ended up not going to NYU film school:
"An old teacher of mine got me an interview at NYU film school, and I brought all these videos I’d made, and photographs, a portfolio — I’d gotten into photography and stuff, and they said that they would accept me to go to film school. So I quit my job with that in mind, and I’d been doing stand-up, but not well or successfully, and then I never filled in — I got these forms from this guy to fill in, on the floor of my apartment somewhere, but I couldn’t get my brain to…I was supposed to go back to my high school and get my transcripts, and the idea of doing all that, just that paperwork — going to NYU film school was this dream come true for me, but I couldn’t fill out the thing, couldn’t fill it out and go to the Xerox machine and put a stamp on an envelope, all that stuff. It made me want to vomit. That sort of thing has always been the case for me, I can’t get that done."
Something to keep in mind the next time you have the urge to present CK as the best example of a parent who might be able to help his daughters with homework, right?
Previous posts: Louis C.K. Isn't Really The Next Big Angry Common Core Critic; MSNBC Focuses On Conservative Opposition To Common Core (includes CK joke re burning low-performing schools to the ground); Jerry Seinfeld Explains Gettysburg Address To Louis C.K.
"Blue markers represent incidents in 2014; red markers are for incidents from 2013. You may have to zoom in to view separate incidents in the same city. Cities that were home to multiple shootings are Atlanta; Grambling, La.; Savannah, Ga.; Jackson, Tenn.; Roswell, N.M.; Milwaukee; Augusta, Ga." (There have been at least 74 shootings at schools since Newtown) Click the link to zoom in and get more information.
Why did the film come out the particular way it did?
What effects, direct and indirect, did the film have on funding, events, and public perception? (How do you measure a "social impact" film, anyway?)
Where are the 5 kids profiled in the film now -- whatever happened to them?
These are some of the topics my long-awaited, much-anticipated re-examination of 2010's controversial documentary, Waiting for Superman, will attempt to address when it's published -- perhaps as soon as tomorrow.
Long curious about whether the film was as big a success (or failure) as commonly presented, I pitched the idea of a look back at the Gates-funded Davis Guggenheim documentary to AEI and they kindly commissioned the piece (without any clear sense of what I'd end up having to say). I've written two other case studies published by AEI -- the first about the 2008 campaign to make education a big issue in the Presidential campaign, and the second about TFA's near-death experience being disqualified under NCLB.
I see in this clip an allegory for overconfident reformers and/or overconfident reform critics, each of which group (a) looks a little bit too old for its grade, (b) tends to think they know the answer, (c) and fails to consider other options, and (d) rushes into action. Event roundup and who won via MSNBC here.
Worried about data privacy and social media? Then don't read Dave Eggers' ‘The Circle, in which a post-Facebook company decides that sharing is not just optional and that knowing where kids are and what they're up to at all times is a good thing.
Eggers couldn't have known when he was writing the book that 2013-2014 would be such a big year for student data privacy (and the larger issue of surveillance), but then again Gary Shtyngart made some pretty good guesses about the near future in his dystopian novel, Super Sad True Love Story. Nearly everything but Staten Island becoming cool has come true.
But I digress. It's not a great book - pretty obvious stuff -- and it's not really focused on education, writ small. But there are obvious education implications and a bit of direct address, and that's all it takes, apparently.
Previous posts about novels, dystopias, etc: (Where Are) The Best Novels About Education?; A Dystopian Education Thriller!;A Perfect Test, A Secret List... A Murder; A TFA Refugee's Interesting-Sounding Novel; The Rise Of The "Cell Phone Novel"; How NCLB Is Like A Russian Novel;
The EWA Education Writing Awards are great but include only folks who submit themselves to the process and so often miss out on non-education publications or articles that are about education but not not directly so. As a result, it's helpful to take a look at lists like this one from The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf (Slightly More Than 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism), which includes some pieces I'd never seen before as well as a bunch of articles I've shared already:
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES / South L.A. student finds a different world at Cal by Kurt Streeter"He was named the prom king, the most likely to succeed, the senior class salutatorian. He was accepted to UC Berkeley, one of the nation's most renowned public universities. A semester later, Kashawn Campbell sat inside a cramped room on a dorm floor that Cal reserves for black students. It was early January, and he stared nervously at his first college transcript. There wasn't much good to see."
THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR / Survival Skills at a School in L.A. by Anne P. Beatty
"On days like this, even aloof kids displayed uncharacteristic kindness and affection. Boys lingered over handshakes and looked into my eyes solemnly. Girls threw their arms around me and wordlessly moved away. No one said enough."
WASHINGTON POST / After Newtown Shooting, Mourning Parents Enter Into the Lonely Quiet by Eli Saslow
"The room went quiet as she began reading the names. Daniel Barden. Seven. Dylan Hockley. Six. Ana Marquez-Greene. Six. Six. Six. Six. Seven. Six. How long could one minute last?"
NEW YORK / Them and Them by Benjamin Wallace-Wells
"The immigrant community and the growing population of Hasidim had eyed each other with increasing wariness. Then the Orthodox took over the public schools and proceeded to gut them."
TEXAS MONTHLY / The Other Side of the Story by Jenny Kutner
"When I was fourteen, I had a relationship with my eighth grade history teacher. People called me a victim. They called him a villain. But it's more complicated than that."Still not enough? Click below for a few more (including This American Life and RadioLab).
When advocates of a particular education policy are victorious in the legislative arena, they have only won a battle, not a war. Opponents will show up again and again during implementation—in schools, or before school boards, or in other local forums—to continue the battle. - Brookings' Tom Loveless via Robert Pondiscio
Kids will still go to physical schools, to socialize and be guided by teachers, but as much, if not more, learning will take place employing carefully designed educational tools in the spirit of today’s Khan Academy --modular learning tailored to a student’s needs. -- Google gurus Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen pp 21-22 of THE NEW DIGITAL AGE: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives (Vintage)
That's why one of the most interesting outfits I learned when re-examing the impact of the 2010 film Waiting For Superman -- in-depth report coming soon from AEI! -- is the NYC-based Harmony Institute.
The outfit did a preliminary investigation of the impact of WFS that was funded by the Ford Foundation (but never released in full), and is now demo-ing a product called ImpactSpace, which is a web application for "visualizing the social impact of documentary films." The app now includes 250 films across 24 social issues (including education). Check it out -- and let us know what you think.
Comedian Louis C.K. has been all over the place this past few days, thanks to a series of Tweets in which he expressed his parental frustrations with homework, testing, and the Common Core -- gobbled up by Common Core critics and celebrity-starved education writers alike.
The rant was over pretty quickly and ended with "Okay I'm done. This is just one dumb, fat parent's POV. I'm pissed because I love NYC public schools. mice, lice and all."
Note that he didn't claim any more knowledge than his immediate experience. Note that he's not idealizing pre-Common Core public schools. And he didn't advocate and end to testing or opting out, either.
Of course, when you have 3 million followers and a national TV show you don't get to be "just a parent" for very long, and not everyone admired C.K.'s rant.
His response to the criticisms directed at him -- and to the anger directed as his detractors -- plus some anecdotes taken from his new GQ profile all suggest to me that C.K. probably isn't going to end up a Common Core hater or opt-out proselytizer.
Read on for some of the reasons why. Or just go about your business believing what you've been told.
This new Richard Linklater film follows one boy through 12 years of growing up -- most of it in school -- and was filmed over the same period of time. Watch the trailer then read more about it here: Chronology, Memory & A Movie That Occurs Offscreen. via Kottke.
New York City and LAUSD aren't the only places that have rubber rooms for unwanted or problematic or unfairly judged employees who can't easily be fired. Last night's episode of the HBO show "Silicon Valley" included the revelation that unassigned computer programmers convene on the rooftop of their office building to play hacky sack, grill, or figure out how to while the time away until their contracts end and their stock options vest.
There are some interesting education stories in and among the Deadline Club's 2014 Annual Awards Finalists announced last week, including not only the "Dasani" story from the NYT but also Sarah Carr and Mallory Falk ("Three Models for Charter Schools in New Orleans"), Paige Cowett and Sarah Koenig (“What Are You Doing for the Test of Your Life?”), and also a fascinating (and very long) story about mental health issues among students at Stuyvesant that was originally written in Chinese and published by the Sing Tao Daily (“The Dark Corner in An Elite High School –Mental Health of Successful Students Needs More Attention”) and then translated and published in English by Voice of New York (click here). Photo by Orin Hassan, Creative Commons License.
Arne Duncan once went so far as to say that "the only way to end poverty is through education."
Is that correct?
I'm skeptical. As Matt Bruenig has pointed out, educational outcomes have been improving for decades in the United States, and yet poverty rates haven't really budged.
And what about internationally? Certainly, many developed countries have much lower poverty rates than the United States. Is that a result of superior educational performance?
One preliminary way to look at the evidence would be to see if countries with better academic performance also have lower poverty rates.
Out of curiosity I decided to take a first crack at that using results from the 2012 PISA, which tested 15-year-olds in reading, math, and science.
Click below to see what I found.
All this may change when he moves over to broadcast TV, but comedian Colbert may have been our best science teacher in recent years, according to this Slate blog post (Stephen Colbert’s best science segments) which discusses among other things how some classroom teachers have used his clips and adopted his techniques.
It's not quite at the level of "Scandal," but discussion surrounding CNN's "Chicagoland"reality series about Chicago schools, long-troubled Fenger High School (yes, that Fenger), and principal Elizabeth Dozier has been pretty intense in recent days and weeks. Get up to speed with this Institute of Politics panel from last night.
You might have missed this series of stories from Palo Alto Weekly about student bullying, a district's flawed response -- I certainly did -- but the Society of Professional Journalists gave the Northern California outlet one of its top awards for small media outlets.
Read more about the stories given the award here, or how the stories came about here. Interesting to note that the reporters unearthed a federal Office of Civil Rights case about halfway through the process, and in the end the complaint was made public (by the child's parents).
"The Weekly coverage included two cover story packages researched and written by Lobdell,"Out of the Shadows," (June 14, 2013) about bullying, and "Power to Hurt," (Aug. 16, 2013) on the use of social media by teens, and numerous news stories by Kenrick and Lobdell on the school district's handling of bullying complaints, federal investigations and the development of bullying policies."
The full list of SJP awardees is here -- I didn't see any other education-related stories but I might have missed some.
I started a Tumblr a few years ago to post more images, videos, quotes, and other ephemera related to education that isn't serious enough for here.
I love it but don't worry, nobody else reads it, either.
In honor of one of my most popular posts of all time, a now-defunct annual "beautiful people" roundup, it's called "Hot...For Education."
Recent posts include SF SPED teacher Jeffrey Katz evicted over Airbnb use; Always proofread your hatemail to English teachers; The Survival Selfie; Blackmailed by Your Teacher?; Word Cloud of The Catcher in the Rye.)
In any case, I recently changed the theme (look) so that you can see two posts at a time instead of having to scroll down so far to get to each new post. What do you think? Too much white space, right?
Let me know -- what's a better Tumblr theme to try out? -- or just follow/send me ideas for posts at @hotfored or subscribe here.
For years now, Colbert has been riffing off of education issues, bringing education-related guests on the show, and generally making us all feel like we're involved in something interesting and important. Just this week, he did a fun bit on the Common Core.
A search of "Colbert" on this site generates 571 hits. Memorable interviews include Roland Fryer, Arne Duncan, Davis Guggenheim, and Wendy Kopp.
No one knows for sure, but the most likely impact of Colbert's move to broadcast TV -- and out of character -- is a lot less of that. Book authors are already bemoaning the dearth of interviews that they will likely face with Colbert's move.
There will be much less time for wonky bits, and lots more celebrities and network shows that have to be promoted -- though, arguably, any references to education will be amplified by the comparatively large audience that Late Night gets.
Previous posts about Colbert here.
Last week's premier episode of the VICE-produced documentary series "Last Chance High" was so rough it was hard to watch -- so be warned. Here's this week's show.
This trailer describes both the history of the school itself and the stunning inadequacy of supply of seats given the talent and the demand. Via CPS Obsessed.