Watch some snippets from a Chicago play about a closing school that seems to take place in a teachers' lounger (The Last Days of a Chicago Public School) via WNYC.
As the mayor knows, the demand for public charter schools grows every year in his city...Unfortunately, the mayor pursues policies which look to close the doors of new or expanded public charter schools to Newark families in order to pursue his pro-union political agenda. The state will stop him from doing so.
- NJ Governor Chris Christie (Christie calls Baraka funding criticisms part of 'pro-union' agenda)
Observers and policymakers refer easily to New York’s pre-K program as part of the “public” education system or at the very least as a “public” education program. Yet vouchers for K-12 private schools are often criticized for “privatizing” public education.
-- James Ryan in Medium (The Largest Voucher Program You’ve Never Heard About)
If all goes as expected, Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson (above right) will lose the Baltimore mayoral primary today.
There's no doubt that BLM has burst onto the scene like a much-anticipated Beyonce album. Just the other day, President Obama -- sounding somewhat out of tune given the detailed proposals of Project Zero -- criticized BLM for too much yelling and not enough engagement.
Everybody wants to ally with BLM -- from Sanders and Clinton to teachers and school reformers -- at least most of the time.
But it isn't at all clear where the fit is going to last and (so far at least) BLM leaders haven't fractured or joined forces with any particular stakeholder group -- labor, education reform, the Democratic Party establishment, or Bernie Sanders liberals.
McKesson, with his school reform background, has raised suspicions among some labor activists and progressives who might otherwise be eager to join with the social justice leader.
But for union and other leaders it's hard to figure out how to be with and against BLM leaders at the same time, or to come up with any coherent approach.
In recent weeks, there have been some fascinating, seemingly illustrative run-ins between BLM and existing advocacy groups like the Chicago Teachers Union.
In case you missed it, the CTU invited BLM to join a rally a few weeks ago, then struggled to figure out what to do when BLM's Page May started denouncing the police -- a union local -- from the event podium.
"The CTU keeps acting like they are on our side, but then Karen Lewis refuses to say cops need to get out of schools," May said in the DNA Info story. "Until they come out explicitly opposed to cops in schools, I don't think we are fighting on the same side."
Read more about that in this excellent Laura Moser piece from Slate (Chicago Teachers Union is going through an awkward radicalization).
According to this American Prospect story, local BLM activists were part of the one-day CTU walkout. And indeed they were there. But obviously CTU and the local BLM weren't really on the same page -- creating a conflict with the union that represents police officers.
When called on to apologize to the police for the rally comments, one CTU ally defiantly Tweeted "CTU can apologize once the [police union] apologizes for supporting & fundraising 100k for [police officer] Van Dyke who killed our CPS student."
A top CTU official distanced the union from the comments.
At roughly the same time, McKesson was indicating his support in the form of a raised fist emoji:
.@may20p, ✊🏾.— deray mckesson (@deray) April 6, 2016
How this is going to resolve is anybody's guess. BLM could implode or fade, like so many previous groups. It could splinter, or it could find an ally with one or several of the existing combatants out there.
The conundrum is just as much a challenge to education reform groups and Democratic Party traditionalists as it is to the CTU or progressives.
And of course much of the outcome will be shaped by BLM itself.
I didn't hate finale of "Togetherness" as much as some folks -- or for the same reasons -- but the show certainly was a reminder that we should all be careful for what we wish for.
With "Togetherness," I think I may have finally learned my lesson.
For years, I've been hectoring my friends about the need for more and better depictions of schools in popular media, and celebrating the appearance of education wherever it might show up ("Parenthood," anyone?).
But Season Two of "Togetherness" got deeply into the issue as a major plotline, and it was disappointing to see how superficial and unrealistic the result turned out to be.
In Salon (The empty charter school dream), Sonia Saraiya traces the show from Season One to Season Two in ways that I find familiar. "For a show that can be so self-aware about marital dynamics and Hollywood culture, the charter school subplot is a glaring blind spot, one that is given more and more screentime as the season progresses."
There were moments during Season Two that rang true: the uncomfortably fancy charter school fundraiser, the hilariously cliche'd curriculum (except it should have been a "forest" school , no?), the over-educated and clueless white parents thinking that creating and running a school is a lot easier than it is.
But this recap (Everything Changes) makes clear how ridiculous things get by the end: "Michelle gets an idea to save the school: an educational theater show that is built by the kids. All they need to do is … tear everything down and rebuild it under the guidance of Sophie. Cut to the construction montage."
Far too many adults are empathetic and sympathetic to our young people and they want to cut them some slack and in fact that is the worst this you can do for kids who are struggling or kids who are behind or kids who come from vulnerable families.... That’s absolutely wrong. The reason why the Common Core is important and has very real implications around race and class is what former President Bush referred to as the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations.’ When we hold kids to high expectations they rise to them.
- DCPS head Kaya Henderson in WAMU segment (Teachers In D.C, Maryland Keep Up The Pressure As PARCC Season Is Upon Us)
Last weekend in North Carolina, Jennifer Berkshire and Peter Cunningham talked education at the NPE conference. Watch it above. Note how close to the door Cunningham has arranged to sit. Read his reflections on the experience here.
At least a couple of folks found an AFT #RIPPrince tweet objectionable.
"Are you kidding? Exploiting #RIPPrince for political gains? Wow," wrote former MinnPost reporter Beth Hawkins (now with EdPost). And later: "You hear Prince & think "Hate use of data in education?"
After a couple of attempts to explain itself, @AFTTeach (one of several AFT-related Twitter handles) wrote last night "apologies no offense or joke intended."
To be fair, there was no shortage of #RIPPrince abuse going on yesterday, including Broadway shows with mid-performance Prince homages and a Spike Lee block party.
If there was something truly objectionable coming out of the AFT yesterday, it might have been AFT head Randi Weingarten's plea for leniency on behalf of disgraced New York politico Sheldon Silver.
She was joined in writing the court by former NYC Mayor David Dinkins.
Build deeper relationships and ask tougher questions of your student's teachers...Instead of the teacher just saying, 'He's a great kid,' ask, 'Is he reading on grade level?'
-- Bibb Hibbard in NPR (9 Out Of 10 Parents Think Their Kids Are On Grade Level. They're Probably Wrong)
More than 1 million kids lack a home of their own -- many doubled up with other families. Via Ben Spielberg & the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
We've decided that when teachers really want a voice, to just organize under whatever law is operational... But then as soon as we start organizing, these same charter operators who in one breath say it's a public school, in the other breath say when it comes to school teachers, it's private, not public.
AFT head Randi Weingarten in Bloomberg BNA (Charter School Teachers Organizing Under Federal Labor Law)
Education Secretary John King: It's Time To Stop Ignoring The Arts And Sciences ow.ly/10EBxt
Teacher Tenure Is Challenged Again in a Minnesota Lawsuit - The New York Times ow.ly/10EAmN
In San Juan, San Jose and Poway, districts & unions innovate to evaluate teachers | EdSource ow.ly/10EBFr
New York considering using scores on AP exams and SAT subject tests in evaluations | Chalkbeat ow.ly/10EByM
These 3 California school districts allow staff to pack guns to work - LA Times ow.ly/10EBB9
The Trump Effect': Hatred, Fear And Bullying On The Rise In Schools ow.ly/10EBDC
Broadway's 'Hamilton' Makes Its Way Into NYC's High School Curriculum : NPR ow.ly/10EAor
Balloon ‘spacecraft,’ prosthetic limbs and subway vacuums thrill White House science fair wpo.st/ZCKU1
One of BuzzFeed's latest videos, purportedly about questions black people want to ask other black people, has generated reactions ranging from 😬 to 😡.
One of the questions is a version of the age-old "acting white" issue, which Vox debunked not too long ago: The most insidious myth about black kids and achievement.
Seriously, some people are really offended by the attempted humor. For example: 27 Answers To Buzzfeed’s Dumb Video. This is probably where I should provide a trigger warning.
Related posts: Why Do Journalists Love Shaky Science on Race? Eduwonkette; How Barack Obama's Election Can Change the Myth of 'Acting White' NY Mag.
In case you haven't seen it, there's a "Non-Conference" on Privatization in Education at NYU going on this week.
According to the website, discussants will include education historian and NYU Steinhardt research professor Diane Ravitch; and union leaders Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers.
The hashtag is #PoPNonCon16. The livestream is here.
Apparently, there's a Bernie Sanders rally going on across the street.
In case you didn't know, former Newark board member and mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries now heads DFER. He was the afternoon keynote at the Yale SOM education conference last week, and spoke to The Seventy Four.
Or, watch Steve Harvey interview a 5 year old math genius.
I want every teacher, principal, parent and student to know you will have a partner in the White House... Recruiting and retaining effective teachers starts with something very basic, raising teacher pay... Let’s keep working to find a fair balanced approached to testing so our kids learn what they need to compete...
-- Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in New York on Friday via Newsday (Clinton touts economic agenda in Buffalo, Rochester) Last week, her husband raised some eyebrows with his suggestion that Clinton didn't support annual testing (see also NYT). See full speech transcript here.
Hillary Clinton touts economic agenda in Buffalo, Rochester | Newsday http://ow.ly/10wCjR
Clinton Stumps for Friendly Union Faces in Pennsylvania - Courthouse News http://pllqt.it/Yts30d
Why Talented Black and Hispanic Students Can Go Undiscovered - The New York Times http://ow.ly/10uDsB
Black and Latino parents want better teachers and harder classes for their kids - LA Times http://pllqt.it/d1Kig2
Some Parents Of Color Don't Think Schools Are Even Trying To Educate Their Children http://ow.ly/10v4op
Criminal hackers now target hospitals, police stations and schools - LA Times http://ow.ly/10wChm
How One School Under Pressure Resists 'Test Prep' - WNYC http://ow.ly/10wBUm
Why Teachers on TV Have to Be Incompetent or Inspiring - The New York Times http://pllqt.it/EOLvCH
I’m not going to stand by while someone who doesn’t look like me accuses me of carrying out some form of Jim Crow... I teach my own kids that no one can take your dignity and only you can control your temper. I tell them that I know who I am. I know my history.
- Oakland superintendent Antwan Wilson quoted in this SF Chronicle column (Superintendent gets schooled in Oakland’s turbulent politics)
Opt-Outs Persist as Exams Begin Across New York - WSJ http://ow.ly/10lTtm
Teachers union touts victory in evaluation fight - The Washington Post http://ow.ly/10lSD9
FOP want Chicago Teachers Union to condemn rally comments to 'F--- the police' | Chicago Sun-Times http://ow.ly/10kYOb
Besieged teachers unions reach out to their members | EdSource http://ow.ly/10lTop
Taking High School Courses In College Costs Students And Families Nearly $1.5 Billion : NPR Ed : NPR http://ow.ly/10lSIv
New York Teen Accepted To All 8 Ivy League Colleges http://ow.ly/10lSMA
Here's my latest Scholastic Administrator column, about the Teach for America Reboot: "The controversy surrounding TFA may have been helpful, in the end. As Villanueva Beard told Politico, “'I’m grateful for when people make our shortcomings clear, because it enables us to get better.'”
We already have so much work to do to try to close the achievement gap that this is a distraction... It's not Latino parents, it's not African-American parents. We don't have the time to be wasting trying to opt out. We need to know exactly how the kids are doing because when they go to college, if they are not prepared it's going to cost people more money.
-- Luis Torres, director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens, quoted in Politico (Opt-out movement aims to lure more African-American, Latino parents)
Chicago Schools to Close as Teachers Launch One-Day Strike AP: Teachers in Chicago are launching an unprecedented one-day strike. See also Sun-Times, Tribune, WBEZ.
Chicago Teachers Union pushes broad message for fiscal reform with walkout Tribune: The union's repeated threats to strike over pay and pension issues in recent weeks have evolved into a labor-led fight against Rauner's anti-union agenda, and a call for new revenue amid a state budget impasse that has jeopardized social service programs and public universities.
White teachers and black teachers have different expectations for black students Washington Post: New study provides more evidence that race plays a role in expectations of academic success. See also HuffPost.
Teacher-Pay Equity: An Unforeseen ESSA Wrinkle EdWeek: Teacher-salary comparability isn't one of the allowable topics in ESSA rulemaking, but that's not stopping the topic from cropping up in the negotiations.
Mayor de Blasio Meets With Parents Opposed to State Testing NYT: An Education Department official said that although the mayor continued to believe the tests were important, he wanted to hear the parents’ views.
Shirley Hufstedler, Pioneering Judge and First Cabinet-Level Education Secretary, Is Dead at 90 NYT: Shirley Hufstedler set as her goal at the new Education Department to bolster programs that gave assistance to the disadvantaged and the disabled.
One application for many L.A. Unified school options? That's the district's plan KPCC: Currently, each of these programs has its own application process and its own deadline; families must submit magnet applications by November, for instance, but paperwork for Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS) comes due in late April. What's more, parents can't apply for every program online.
High Lead Levels Found at More Newark Schools NYT: Nearly a quarter of samples collected in school buildings in the district last week had concentrations above the federal threshold.
Fewer Suspensions in City Schools After Discipline Changes WNYC: The New York Civil Liberties Union called the new numbers a strong indicator that schools are getting better at resolving minor behavioral issues — especially with the drop in suspensions due to insubordination. See also Chalkbeat.
By the time someone is coming to us job-ready, they've been failed by the healthcare system, the education system; by housing, by law enforcement... Maybe the foster care system, maybe the prison-industrial complex. And also, those systems have fed off of them, and they have a complete lack of trust in any sort of system operating for them.
-- Crown Heights Mediation Center's Amy Ellenbogen in VICE (How 'Violence Interrupters' Are Trying to Stop Gang Shootings in Brooklyn)
Last week, the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools told teachers to stay home on a pre-Easter Weekend furlough day. On Friday, the Chicago Teachers Union is calling on teachers to picket schools rather than teach in them to protect the district and state's lack of funding.
The head of Chicago schools says that the Friday walkout is an illegal strike and that teachers won't get paid if they don't show up.
Or, watch folks debate expanding charter schools in Malden, Massachusetts.
CCSS advocates say it is too early to tell, and we’ll just have to wait to see the benefits. That defense won’t work much longer. Time is running out. The political challenges that Common Core faces the remainder of this year may determine whether it survives.
- Brookings' Tom Loveless (Common Core’s major political challenges for the remainder of 2016)
There are disruptive policies causing some chaos in schools, mass movements of principals and calls for quality schools that are not being supported in a bottom-up way... These are unilateral decisions. It’s not collaborative, and while he may feel a rush to get things done, we think things should be done in a more thoughtful way.
-- Oakland Education Association head Trish Gorham in this SF Chronicle column (Superintendent gets schooled in Oakland’s turbulent politics)
In honor of the announcement from The Seventy Four that 50CAN and StudentsFirst were merging, which is either a totally understandable move or a strange and early April Fool's, here's the video of the original Michelle Rhee announcement.
Yesterday at the local grocery store, I met a guy named Taylor and realized after a minor delay that he was none other than the famous-for-education teacher/poet Taylor Mali.
I accosted him, made him take a selfie with me, and got a quick update on his news. This past Fall, Mali raffled off the original version of his poem to raise funds for a favorite charity. What poem, you ask? You must be new here.
Way back in 2005, Mali's slam performance, riffing off of "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach," was an early viral hit -- and could be considered part of an early wave of teacher voices angry at longtime denigration by the public and policymakers.
Related posts: The Return Of "What Teachers Make" (2011); "You Want To Know What I Make?" A Teacher Responds (2008).
Phoenix New Times: Clinton Releases New Ad Targeting Arizona's Abysmal Education Record. It's so interesting to see everyone using the "no matter what ZIP code" language, given that folks mean such different things by the phrase.
This panel featuring among others Vanessa Rodriguez and Steve Zimmer, is highlighted in Gary Rubinstein's lengthy recap/review of the TFA25 summit earlier this year.
Or, watch these New Orleans 7th graders' version of Beyonce's "Formation." (ABC News via Huffington Post)
Absences at D.C. public schools will be excused Wednesday, some charters to close due to Metro shutdown Washington Post: D.C.’s public schools will remain open Wednesday despite Metro shuttering its entire rail system for an unprecedented 24 hours. At least three charter schools, however, have decided to close, according to Tomeika Bowden, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Charter School Board.
CTU Leaders Plan Walkout At Schools on April 1 Chicago Tribune: Chicago Teachers Union leaders will ask its members to walk off their jobs April 1 for a one-day demonstration over contract talks and public education funding, Vice President Jesse Sharkey said Monday.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Cements Ties With Teachers Union Wall Street Journal: Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg once likened an endorsement from the New York City teachers union to a “kiss of death.” Mayor Bill de Blasio, by contrast, has embraced the United Federation of Teachers and its president, Michael Mulgrew, meeting more with him over the past two years than with any other registered lobbyist, city records show. The men usually chat weekly and sometimes daily.
Before Flint, Lead-Contaminated Water Plagued Schools Across U.S. NPR: Michigan isn't the only place dealing with lead-contaminated water. Schools all over the country have struggled to eliminate lead from water fountains and cafeterias — some for more than a decade.
Advocacy Groups Unhappy With List of ESSA Negotiators PK12: The list already has its share of critics, both among advocates for educational practitioners and those who represent parents or particular groups of students.
In Alabama, Teachers School Lawmakers NPR: The 2016 Teacher of the Year in that state decided it was about time the people who write the laws that affect schools actually see the inside of a classroom.
L.A. Unified board member Monica Ratliff eyes City Council campaign LA Times: To compete in the March 2017 council election, she will have to give up her seat on the seven-member at the end of her term. Los Angeles Unified School District board. Candidates cannot simultaneously run for two seats in the same L.A. municipal election.
The world can look a whole lot different with these glasses on. (via Chicago Theological Seminary)Posted by Upworthy on Monday, March 14, 2016
Here's a fun if super simplistic look at what it'd be like if there were glasses that would help white folks see the world as if they were someone who wasn't white.
Other favorites in this genre include Leave No Privilege Behind (2015), Vox's explainer video What Is Privilege?, Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too, and of course LL Bean's Invisible Backpack of White Privilege.
There's already some use of Yelp for schools (see screengrab above). And now the Nieman Journalism Lab reports that ProPublica is teaming up with Yelp to make it easier to find good local health care services:
"ProPublica is collaborating with the recommendation app to help provide better health care information on medical facilities and other providers. The idea is that finding a good doctor, nursing home, or dialysis clinic in your neighborhood will now be as easy as finding a reliable taco joint."
"Instead of noting whether a place has wifi and if it’s good for kids, the health care data notes a provider’s wait time, noise level in patient rooms, and how well a doctor communicates with patients."
Sounds good, right?
To be sure, there are other sites that try and do the same kinds of things -- GreatSchools, SchoolBook, InsideSchools, etc.
And some will argue that rating schools is different from rating restaurants or even doctor's offices.
But give credit to Yelp for democratizing information about businesses and trends that otherwise would have been limited to a small set of people who are in the know, and note also that none of the existing sites has the ease of use, user base, and mobile options that Yelp provides.
Related posts: A Yelp (Or Facebook) For Schools? (2012); Young Joins GreatSchools [Plus Unsolicited Advice] (2014).
My party trick is always to ask people which city has one of the lowest grad rates. I always know they'll never win, because it's Minneapolis. It just doesn't come to people's mind as the most impacted, the most struggling urban city in America.
-- Robert Balfanz, a research professor at Johns Hopkins University, in MPR (Without support, Minnesota students left behind at graduation)
"At a panel co-sponsored by the Howard University School of Education this week, Secretary of Education John B. King, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten and the CEO of Teach For America, Elisa Villanueva Beard stood in agreement that America needs more teachers of color."
The clip of Mike Brown's mom asking the reporter "Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many." still gives me chills.