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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

Morning Video: New Efforts To Engage Emotional Support For Common Core

 

Here's an example of how Common Core supporters are going to try and engage the public with outrage over the current inequalities and inadequacies of the education system  - and inspiration about what the new standards can do. From NCLR via Politico. #whimsical

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

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" »

Quotes: That Campaign Field Worker Might Well Be A Teacher

Quotes2If someone knocks on your door and says, ‘I’m Mark, I’m from the state Democratic Party,’ you take the literature and shut the door. “If you say, ‘Hi, I’m Karen, I’m a third-grade teacher at Hillsmere Elementary and I’m here to tell you what’s at stake for public education,’ that gets a very different reaction from the voter. - Karen White, political director for the National Education Association in today's Politico story (Unions put teachers on streets — for votes)

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.

Quotes: Why Teachers Unions Usually Don't Turn Against Reform Democrats

Quotes2However strongly they disagree with Obama and the education reformers about the design of education and teacher pay, they do agree on the principle of paying teachers more. This is in contrast to Republicans, who generally support all the reformers’ accountability measures and lower public budgets as well. - Jonathan Chait in NY Magazine last week.

AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies

The Daily News Flickr swanksalot

Teachers union steps into legal battle over tenure, against a former ally ChalkbeatNY: The lawsuit pits the union against a former ally, Mona Davids, who is among the parents suing to undo the tenure laws. Davids heads the New York City Parents Union, which consulted with the UFT on a union-sponsored parent advocacy group two years ago. [See also TeacherBeat]

Bobby Jindal Sued By His Allies Over Common Core HuffPost: Two years ago, Jindal visited a charter school operated by the Choice Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages a chain of charter schools in Louisiana. Now, Jim Swanson, chair of the Choice Foundation schools, is joining a group of parents and teachers to sue Jindal for trying to reverse his state's adoption of the standards. 

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers Hechinger Report: The case in New Haven tells a cautionary tale of what can happen when a low-performing school rushes to add time to close that gap. It also reflects the latest focus of the expanded-time movement: making extra time for teachers to learn. 

Charter and traditional schools bridge divide under one roof PBS NewsHour: Charter schools have often been seen as a threat to traditional schools, diverting resources and students to these publicly funded but privately run institutions. In Houston, Texas, the superintendent of one school district has invited competing charter schools to set up shop alongside a regular middle school. Special correspondent John Merrow reports on their evolving partnership.

Is There a Mismatch Between Ed. Dept.'s Teacher-Equity Plans and NCLB Waivers? PK12: For the past five-plus years of the Obama administration, the big teacher-policy emphasis has been on educator effectiveness, meaning tying teacher performance to student outcomes, including  on standardized tests. States had to develop teacher evaluations that take test scores into account, both to get a slice of the Race to the Top money, and later, to get flexibility from the No Child Left Behind Act.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies" »

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).

 

 

Movies: Great High School Teacher Darkroom Scene In "Boyhood"

image from pixel.nymag.comThe 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.

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?

 

Hot Vs. Hot: Campbell Brown Vs. Matt Damon

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 1.22.47 PM"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).

Quotes: Union "Cannot Go On Denying Responsibility For School Quality"

Quotes2The fact is, that while NEA does not control curriculum, set funding levels, or hire and fire, we cannot go on denying responsibility for school quality. - Former NEA President Bob Chase (in 1997) via DFER's Charlie Barone

 

Morning Video: Frontline's "Separate & Unequal"

 

This week's PBS Frontline focuses on school de-integration, and it well worth a watch.

Quotes: Neighborhood Schools "Part Of The Problem," Says Simmons

Quotes2The impulse to want a neighborhood school for your children is understandable... [But advocates for neighborhood schools] are part of the problem not part of the solution. -- Warren Simmons, executive director of The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (The Uncomfortable Reality of Community Schools). 

Morning Video: How Poor Latino High School Kids Beat MIT [In Robotics]

 

This documentary trailer (h/t AJAM) tells the story of "how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build an underwater robot from Home Depot parts. And defeat engineering powerhouse MIT in the process." #underwaterdreams

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" »

Magazines: 5 Ways The SF Protests Can Help You Understand Education

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comNow 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. 

Sound familiar?

Three more to go -- the best ones! -- click the link and see.

Continue reading "Magazines: 5 Ways The SF Protests Can Help You Understand Education" »

Thompson: Arne Duncan's "Secretary Under Improvement" Plan

140517_randi_weingarten_teachers_union_ap_605Was the AFT's call for Arne Duncan to be placed on a plan for improvement a stroke of political genius by its leadership?

Or was it another example of what rank-in-file teachers do when we are at our best?

Or, was it both?

Read on (below) to find out.

Continue reading "Thompson: Arne Duncan's "Secretary Under Improvement" Plan" »

AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support

Teacher union's national conference concludes with support for tenure laws LA Daily News: The American Federation of Teachers panel featuring educators from out of state shared their personal observations to bolster why current tenure laws work.

Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons AP: The veto by the Democratic governor sets up a potential showdown with the Republican-led Legislature, which could override Nixon if it gets a two-thirds vote of both chambers during a September session.

Jeb Bush Draws Tea Party Ire Touting Education Record Businessweek: The former governor is touting gains under his “A-plus” plan, which imposed statewide testing standards, provided financial rewards to improving schools and offered students a way out of those that were failing them. The state’s high-school graduation rate has increased to 75.6 percent, compared with 52.5 percent when Bush, 61, took office in 1999.

Exiting teachers-union leader Julie Blaha talks of tenure, retention — and improv MinnPost: She is possibly the funniest woman in education leadership circles in the upper Midwest. She’s capable of rendering even a seasoned journalist helpless with laughter, and thus unable to impose a linear structure on the conversation.

Arne Duncan Says Philadelphia District 'Starved for Resources' District Dossier: The U.S. Secretary of Education also said that Pennsylvania's current level of commitment to funding public schools in Philadelphia is "unacceptable."

Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors AP: After 14 years of separation from her parents and a harrowing journey across the U.S. border, Milsa Martinez finds solace in the ..

School officials try healthier cafeteria options AP: Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates - without turning off sometimes-finicky students....

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

Continue reading "AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Bastille Day Edition

Teachers Unions Use Pension Fund Clout To Make Up For Lost Political Power ow.ly/z9icS  @Molly_HC@AFTunion

A middle ground on tenure? Some teachers in California say yes. | Deseret News National ow.ly/z8qhS

When Teachers Romanticize Their Students' Poverty - April Bo Wang - @TheAtlanticEDU ow.ly/z9i8Y

The Struggle Over Bad Teachers - NationalJournal.comow.ly/z874O

A New Device Lets You Track Your Preschooler ... And Listen In : NPR ow.ly/z9iP9 #KizON

OMG! Texting doesn't actually hurt kids' grammar or spelling skills - Vox ow.ly/z9jqx

​WestEd Gets $3M from USDE to Study Khan Academy Impact | EdSurge News ow.ly/z9lp6

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.

Quotes: Reform Debate Often Detached From Schools & Parents

Quotes2The policy debate has become so polarized that it often seems detached from the very people it is aimed at helping. - Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe via Annenberg Institute

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: White House Presses For Equitable Teacher Distribution

Arne Duncan Unveils 50-State Teacher-Equity Strategy - @PoliticsK12 ow.ly/ySqPl

When Beliefs and Facts Collide - NYTimes.com ow.ly/yRZsZ

Guest Post: In Defense of “Last-In, First-Out” | ON LABOR ow.ly/ySpVH From SEIU #Vergara

Percentage of U.S. public-school students/teachers who are racial or ethnic minorities : 42 percent /18 percent ow.ly/ySCj2

Next NEA leader's first task: Win back public -POLITICO.com ow.ly/yRqZ8 @caitlinzemma Is she on Twitter?

Why the anti-tenure lawsuit will fail  - NY Daily News via @ChalkbeatNY ow.ly/yRfj0  @campbell_brown

Thompson: The AFT Needs to Support the NEA's New Positions

DuncanThe National Education Association annual conference approved a national campaign for equity and against "Toxic Testing." It seeks to end the "test, blame and punish" system that began under President Bush and which has grown worse under the Obama administration. As outgoing NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says, "The testing fixation has reached the point of insanity," The delegates then called on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

Hopefully the American Federation of Teachers national conference will do the same this month.

The AFT should help the press write its lede. It sould adopt the same language, word for word, in order to make the key point. Both unions are on the exact same page in terms of testing and Duncan.

Nuance is appropriate when teachers discuss issues like Common Core standards or how we should deal with edu-philanthropy. But, the jury is in on the damage done by high-stakes testing. And, dumping Duncan is a doable shortterm objective. Let's also unite in sharing the bows when we finally force President Obama, who we helped elect and reelect, to repudiate his appointee who personifies complete fidelity to corporate reform. - JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via. 

Quotes: Duncan's NEA Resignation Response

Quotes2I always try to stay out of local union politics. I think most teachers do, too. - EdSec Arne Duncan in response to NEA resolution in favor of his resignation. (AP via Intercepts)

AM News: Lawsuit Against Teacher Job Protections Filed In New York

Lawsuit Challenges New York’s Teacher Tenure Laws NYT: In the wake of a landmark court decision in California, an education advocacy group says the laws violate the State Constitution’s guarantee of a “sound basic education.”

Teacher tenure under fire Marketplace: The lawsuit comes on the heels of another challenge to tenure laws, in California. In that case, an LA judge said tenure laws, "have deprived students of the quality education they're entitled to."

New Obama Initiative Stresses Equal Access To Good Teachers HuffPost: By April 2015, states must submit "comprehensive educator equity plans" that detail how they plan to put "effective educators" in front of poor and minority kids. To help states write the plans, the Education Department will create a $4.2 million "Education Equity Support Network." And this fall, the Education Department will publish "Educator Equity profiles" that highlight which states and districts fare well or poorly on teacher equity. 

NEA Calls for Secretary Duncan's ResignationTeacherBeat: In a surprising vote at the Representative Assembly on July 4, delegates passed a new business item calling for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

Why more states are backing off Common Core PBS: One major battleground, a growing list of states that are dropping the Common Core standards. Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have done so. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an order for his state to join them. But now even places committed to keeping the guidelines are deciding to slow things down.

Big Data Comes To College NPR: The  exploding field of "learning analytics" raises ethical questions similar to those arising from the recent Facebook revelations.

Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men NPR: For five years running, 100 percent of the graduating seniors at Urban Prep Academies have won admission to four-year colleges. The schools work to promote positive examples of black masculinity.

Free lunch for all in Chicago Public Schools starts in September WBEZ: Under a relatively new program called the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) all school meals will be free starting in September 2014, the district confirmed to WBEZ Thursday. Although the CPS initially rejected the program in 2011, it had expanded it to 400 schools by last fall.

Neighborhood high schools again take hit in new CPS budget WBEZ: Schools with more than $1 million slashed from their budgets are overwhelmingly the city’s public neighborhood high schools.

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. 

Quotes: Did You Know Duncan (& Obama) Opposed Supreme Court Union Ruling?

Quotes2Collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped build America’s middle class. I’ve seen firsthand as Education Secretary that collaborating with unions and their state and local affiliates helps improve outcomes for students. The President and I remain committed to defending collective bargaining rights. - Arne Duncan (Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Harris v. Quinn Ruling)

Media: NYT's Javier Hernandez Can't Be Nice AND Good, Can He?

image from graphics8.nytimes.comI was really sort of hoping that  Javier Hernandez (no, not the one who plays for Mexico) would be an arrogant jerk or something like that, just so I would have a reason to dislike the NYT education reporter and could ignore the envy that comes from his having written some great education stories recently.
 
But alas, he was humble and patient and forthcoming during his recent interview in front of education journalists at a Poynter workshop last week in Chicago, telling us all how he got the "Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes" story -- including the lucky parts and mistakes he may have made.
 
Twitter here.

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.    

Morning Video: What To Expect From This Year's NEA Convention

Vergara reactions, Supreme Court reactions, a new president (Lily Eskelsen) and more -- via TeacherBeat (What to Expect From This Year's NEA Convention)

 

 

Quotes: Teachers' Views = Teachers Union Positions

Quotes2In the majority of cases, disagreeing with unions’ education policy positions represents disagreeing with most teachers... Opposing unions certainly doesn’t mean you’re ‘bashing’” teachers, but it does, on average, mean you hold different views than they do. -- Matt di Carlo Teachers And Their Unions: A Conceptual Border Dispute

 

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.

Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation

Menya PhotoFrom time to time, Educators 4 Excellence puts together teams of teachers to research and make recommendations on various aspects of education policy.

This month, the Los Angeles chapter released reports from two such teams, including one about how to revamp the way we compensate teachers, which you can find summarized here

The report - authored by thirteen current classroom teachers - suggests attracting  teachers with additional compensation for hard-to-staff placements and recommends selectively retaining teachers by offering incentives for teacher and school impacts on student growth.

It also argues that rather than paying teachers bonuses for graduate credits and degrees, we should offer teachers rewards for 'mastery-based' professional development of specific skills or for taking on well-defined leadership roles.

Since many of these proposals are controversial among educators, I wanted to hear more from actual teachers who support them.

Last week, I sat down with one of the report's authors: sixth grade English and Social Studies teacher Menya Cole (pictured).

Menya taught in Detroit through Teach for America and now teaches at a charter school in Los Angeles. It was another TfA alumnus who connected her to Educators 4 Excellence.

A transcript of a portion of our conversation, edited for clarity, is below the fold.

Continue reading "Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation" »

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" »

Roundup: What They're Saying About Supreme Court's Union Dues Decision

You'll see the phrase "dodged a bullet" quite a few times reading through these reaction stories:

Supreme Court ruling on unions reverberates Washington Post: The Supreme Court ruling Monday against an Illinois requirement regarding union dues for home health aides could ease the way for another, broader legal challenge aimed at teachers unions.

Unions hit, but not fatally Politico: Even the fairly narrow ruling is a blow to the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers and other unions that have organized hundreds of thousands of home health workers in states including Illinois, California and Connecticut. Those workers can now decide whether they want to support the union financially.

Unions duck biggest threat from Supreme Court case — for now Washington Post: Now those workers can decide whether they want to pay union dues from their often meager paychecks, a change labor groups worry could cause their memberships and incomes to shrink.

Unions didn’t dodge a bullet at the Supreme Court today. They dodged the guillotine. Washington Post (Bump): Had the Supreme Court thrown out the 1977 case that allows public sector unions to collect fees from employees, it could very well have been the last push needed. Instead, the Court just made the cliff's edge shakier.

Public-Sector Unions Survive Supreme Court Review, Barely. Forbes: The decision drew a strong dissent from the court’s liberals, written by Justice Elena Kagan. She said the state of Illinois not only pays home-health workers but supervises their work. And the state had ample reasons for selecting a single bargaining agent for home-health aides since that could help it ensure a steady supply of workers and guarantees against strikes.

Mulgrew: Union cautiously optimistic after ruling allows some opt-outs from union dues Chalkbeat: United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement on Monday that while he “deplored” the ruling, which gives some public workers the ability to opt out of paying union dues, it might only affect Illinois, the state where the case was based.

Home healthcare ruling may inhibit growth of powerful union LA Times: The SEIU may have trouble maintaining its growth after Monday's Supreme Court decision allowing home healthcare workers to opt out of paying union fees even if the union bargains on their behalf. If history is any guide, once workers can opt out of paying fees, they also opt out of belonging to the union.

Plus as an added bonus -- an #edGIF of declining union membership by state (below)

Continue reading "Roundup: What They're Saying About Supreme Court's Union Dues Decision" »

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.

AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers

Big unions could take big SCOTUS hit Politico: But a 1977 decision allows states to require workers to pay partial dues, or “agency fees,” to cover the union’s cost of negotiating their contracts and representing them in grievances. Illinois is among the states to require just that.

Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling NYT: Across the country, parents who once conceded that their homework expertise petered out by high school trigonometry are now feeling helpless when confronted with first-grade work sheets.

Teacher-Prep Ranking System in Higher Ed. Proposal Irks Teachers' Unions PK12: Teachers' unions applauded the increased emphasis of on-the-job training for teachers and principals in preparation programs that's included in Senate Democrats' proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. But they're much less enthusiastic about a new grant included in the bill for ranking those prep programs. AFT president Randi Weingarten, in a letter to Harkin dated June 24, blasted the proposal.

Teacher evaluation system is latest education battleground Baltimore Sun: This past school year, Maryland's 60,000 teachers were evaluated for the first time according to a formula that required half of their final rating to be based on how much their students learned.

Newark Schools Superintendent Signs New 3-Year Contract District Dossier: Under the "hybrid" contract, Anderson and the state must agree to an extension each year. Anderson has come under fire recently for her "One Newark" school reform plan.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers" »

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. 

Morning Video: Campbell Brown Previews NY Version Of Vergara Lawsuit

Local Fox News segment on NY version of Vergara that's being planned, featuring Mayor de Blasio and Campbell Brown.

AM News: Chicago Lays Off Another 1,000 School Staff

News2

More than a thousand teachers teachers and other staff laid off in Chicago WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools officials told 550 teachers and 600 more school staff Thursday that they’re out of a job. The number is significantly smaller than last year’s nearly 3,000 layoffs, which were due mostly to the Board of Education’s decision to close 50 schools.

Oklahoma: Suit Challenges Repeal of Core Curriculum Standards NYT: A group has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed law that repealed Common Core education standards in the state.

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity KPLU: Approximately 150 teachers took those concerns to the foundation's front door Thursday evening for a rally and a march through Seattle's downtown streets. 

New York Schools Chief Advocates More ‘Balanced Literacy’ NYT: Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants schools to adopt aspects of a method that the Education Department turned away from several years ago.

Tracking the de Blasio administration’s education promises Chalkbeat: Six months ago, Bill de Blasio took control of the largest school district in the country. At the end of his first semester, here’s a recap of what he said he was going to do with it—and what he and Chancellor Fariña have done so far.

Poll finds Common Core opposition rising EdSource Today: An annual poll of Californians’ views on education contains bad news for teachers unions and for advocates of the Common Core standards, good news for backers of charter schools, mixed news for preschool supporters and a warning for State Superintendent Tom Torlakson in his re-election campaign against Marshall Tuck.

Bill simplifying teacher firings now law EdSource Today: Gov. Brown ended three years of high-decibel battles in the Legislature on Wednesday by signing a bill he helped shape that should make it quicker and easier to fire teachers accused of the most abhorrent forms of misconduct.

Move Over Books: Libraries Let Patrons Check Out The Internet NPR: Libraries in Chicago and New York will soon let people check out Wi-Fi hot spots, but will that actually help bridge the digital divide?

A black man with a college degree is as likely to be working as a white college dropout Box: It's clear that more education tends to lead to better employment outcomes. Bachelor's degree holders have a lower unemployment rate than high school graduates, who have a lower unemployment rate than high school dropouts.

More news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

 

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.

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.

Five Best Blogs: New Advocacy Organization Aims To Bring Vergara To New York

Obama alumni Robert Gibbs joins @campbell_brown's#Vergara-inspired campaign, reports @StephanieSimon_ ht.ly/yp0gE

32 States Are Failing To Follow Disability Law, U.S. Says - HuffPost ht.ly/yoEuy @Joy_Resmovits

CommonCore opposition isn't widespread but that doesn't mean it's not in trouble, says @ConorPWilliamsin TPM ht.ly/yoFvE

Showdown for state chief in Oklahoma, South Carolina - @Morning_Edu ht.ly/yoLpF

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end? | Hechinger Report ht.ly/ypb3i @parentrev #parenttrigger

The best and worst education news of 2014 — so far - @Larryferlazzo in the Washington Post

New Approaches To Discipline Strive to Keep Kids Out of Jail : @npr_ed : NPR ht.ly/ypdxr

5 Thoughts on @rweingarten's AEI Remarks by @rhess99 ht.ly/ypePz #vergara

The Twitter handle for @Marketplace's newish edtech site is @LearningCurveEd 

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" »

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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.