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Thompson: Fact Checking the New Orleans Reformers' Spin

When I first read the Education Research Alliance (ERA) report on the effectiveness of the competition-driven New Orleans model of reform, it was clear that true believers in "relinquishment" and market-driven reform would be disappointed by its findings. However, they have still spun the mixed results from the NOLA corporate reform model as a great success.

I have left the fact checking of the ERA's methodology and data to the experts. I've mostly limited myself to fact checking the reformers' spin - the soundbites they use to put the NOLA record in the best possible light, and to use its model to break unions and extend test-driven reform across the nation.

I admit to being surprised that analyses such as those of the NEPC, Andrea Gabor, The International Business Times, In These Times, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Mercedes Schneider, Gary Rubenstein, and others have found so many problems with the ERA research. I still remain most shocked by the soundbite of the respected researcher Douglas Harris who has contributed to headlines asserting that the reforms "worked."

At first, I assumed Harris was just being diplomatic when he said that the "typical elementary- or middle-school student's scores rose by 8 to 15 percentage points," and that "We are not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time." 

In fact, I'm not aware of many districts that haven't made dramatic increases in bubble-in test scores over a short time, and then saw those illusory gains disappear.

It is hard to believe that any scholar would be so quick to trust bubble-in data after reading Is the No Child Left Behind Act Working? by Bruce Fuller, Kathryn Gesicki, Erin Kang, Joseph Wright. Fuller et. al assemble a much greater batch of test score growth claims by entire states, not just a district with an unflinching focus on bubble-in accountability.

How could scholars forget the New Jersey Miracle, where 4th grade reading scores increased 7.9 points per year for nearly as long as NOLA produced gains? NOLA can't hold a candle to Arkansas's miracle where 4th grade reading scores increased by 19 points between 2001 and 2002, and where there was nearly a 75% increase in those scores in four years.  In fact, Fuller et. al calculate an average of the average of gains in fourteen states and find  2.6 and 2.7 points per year for the decade preceding NCLB! 

Continue reading "Thompson: Fact Checking the New Orleans Reformers' Spin" »

Charts: Extra Money "Meaningfully" Improves Student Outcomes

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"Our findings provide compelling evidence that money does matter, and that additional school resources can meaningfully improve long-run outcomes for students." (Education Next: Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings)

Morning Video: PBS NewsHour Returns To New Orleans (Plus "Teaching Teachers")

 

John Tulenko and the team (now with EdWeek) report on how much NOLA schools seem to have improved, and nagging concerns about problems with expulsions and special ed services. Or, listen to this hour-long American Public Radio documentary on teaching teachers

Quotes: "If You Care About Kids, I Am With You."

Quotes2I don’t care if you are in Teach For America, were in Teach for America, like or don’t like Teach for America.  I don’t care if you’re a pin-covered-lanyard-wearing unionista or if you delete every union email on sight.  I don’t care if you teach in a charter or did or will teach in a charter, or if you send your kids to private school or public school. I don’t care if you’re traditionally licensed or alternatively licensed or unlicensed, and I don’t care if you are a normal person or someone who teaches Kindergarten. If you care about kids I am with you

- Tom Rademacher (No Enemies - Mr Rad's Neighborhood)

Maps: In Many States, Homeschool Advocates Succeed In Resisting Regulation

343According to ProPublica, "only two states require background checks for parents who choose to homeschool, and just 10 require parents to have a high school degree. Fewer than half require any kind of evaluation or testing of homeschooled children." (Homeschooling Regulations by State) Image used with permission.

AM News: Alt Cert Extension, ACT Scores, ACLU Vs. Nevada

White House Seeks HQT Extension for Teachers in Training EdWeek: Critics consider this a major loophole in the law, although the U.S. Department of Education said earlier this year that there were not many such teachers (about 35,000 in all). This would impact an otherwise steady source of new teachers and the millions of students they serve, most of whom are in high-need schools and in high-need subjects, including math and science," the administration said.

Massachusetts Students Tie For Top Score On ACT Boston Learning Lab: The average score for public and private school graduates in Massachusetts and Connecticut was 24.4 out of 36, the highest in the nation and more than three points higher than the national average. See also Washington Post.

ACLU of Nevada Sues to Block State's New School Choice Law State EdWatch: The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada says it's filing a lawsuit challenging the state's new school voucher-like program also known as education savings accounts. See also APLas Vegas Review Journal.

One in Four D.C. Public Schools Has a New Principal This Year Washington Post: Last summer, D.C. public schools announced 21 new principals for the school system’s 111 schools. By comparison, Montgomery County had 23 new principals in a system with 203 schools.

Getting ready for the Common Core-based test results KPCC LA: California education officials tentatively plan to release test results for the state, schools and districts based on the new Common Core learning standards on Sept. 9.

Hunger Strike Over Future Of Chicago School Enters Its 11th Day NPR: Parents, teachers and activists are fighting to defend a high school the school board voted to close several years ago. They say officials are ignoring their input over what kind of school to reopen.

Charter School Scored Own State Exams Chalkbeat: The New York City charter school that made the largest gains on state English tests also made an unprecedented decision to grade its own students’ exams.

Former Columbus Administrator to Serve 14 Days in Jail in Data-Scrubbing Case District Dossier: Michael Dodds is the fourth school administrator to be found guilty as part of a scheme to change student data to inflate district performance.

New Jersey teacher who was late for work 111 times keeps job Seattle Times: The arbitrator found that the district failed to provide Anderson with due process by providing him with a formal notice of inefficiency or by giving him 90 days to correct his failings before terminating his employment.

How Schools Are Handling An 'Overparenting' Crisis NPR: Two new books, The Gift of Failure and How To Raise An Adult, argue that too many children are being given too much.

One-Third Of Schools Are Using This App You've Never Heard Of NPR: Clever, a three-year-old startup, is used by 20 million students and teachers to manage all their other apps.

New Invention Targets School Germs NBC News: An East Texas man has designed special silver-based germ-killing strips, which can be attached to door handles and other high traffic areas and surfaces. KETK's Cara Prichard reports.

Deal between IPS and its union means big pay raises for teachers ChalkbeatIN: Every Indianapolis Public Schools teacher will make at least $40,000 — a 12 percent jump for those at the bottom of the scale — if the teachers and school board both vote to approve a contract to which the district and its union have tentatively agreed.

Morning Videos: Back To School Apps, "Every Teacher, Ever," & Les Miz

Back to school apps from the NYT (I was really hoping for a classroom hoverboard). Or more humorous "Every Teacher Ever" via HuffPost. Or teachers flashmob One More Day from Les Mis via Washington Post. You should really be following HotForEd on Tumblr, BTW. All the cool videos are there. 

AM News: Vallas Calls Out Duncan & Daley For Chicago's Fiscal Mess

Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas blames successors [including Duncan] for $1B deficit ABC7 Chicago: "In 2001, the district had $1.2 billion in cash reserves," said Paul Vallas, former CPS CEO. "They had six years of structurally balanced budgets."

Dyett hunger-strikers vow to continue fight Chicago Sun-Times: Randi Weingarten, president of the Washington D.C.-based American Federation of Teachers — which boasts 1.6 million members — joined the hunger strikers Wednesday at a news conference outside of Dyett. See also Washington Post.

D.C. schools attracted record amounts of philanthropy in recent years Washington Post: D.C. public schools attracted more than $31 million from national foundations in 2010, far more than any other school district in the country.

State removes 15 years of test results before releasing new scores EdSource Today: Earlier this month, as the department got ready to send parents the initial student scores on the new tests sometime over the next few weeks, department officials deleted old test results going back more than 15 years from the most accessible part of the department’s website, impeding the public’s ability to make those comparisons.

This Company Just Started Offering Free, Customized Tutoring Online  BuzzFeed: The tech company, which has powered some of the largest education companies, breaks out on its own with a free online learning service, Knewton.com.

Embattled Albuquerque Schools Chief to Learn Fate AP: The embattled superintendent of New Mexico's largest school district is expected to learn Thursday if he'll stay on the job or be forced out just two months into his position. Board members are scheduled to vote on whether Luis Valentino will remain the head of Albuquerque Public Schools after he hired an administrator who faces child sex abuse charges.

Former Sen. Mary Landrieu: Charters Increased Equity In New Orleans Schools PK12: For the Louisiana Democrat, the most important story in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is the enhanced equity in the New Orleans' education system.

New Orleans' Teaching Force Today: Whiter, Less Experienced, Higher Turnover Teacher Beat: The city's teaching force is now 49 percent black, compared to 71 percent black in 2005. About 60 percent of teachers in 2005 were trained in New Orleans colleges; in 2014, fewer than 40 percent were. Teacher experience levels dropped notably since 2003; the percentage of teachers with five or fewer years of experience increased from 33 percent to 54 percent over that time period. 

Knock Knock, Teacher's Here: The Power Of Home Visits NPR: There was a time when a teacher showing up on a student's doorstep probably meant something bad. But increasingly, home visits are being used to spark parental involvement.

There Are Kids Fighting Fires In Washington State Seattle Public Radio: Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

'George' Wants You To Know: She's Really Melissa NPR: George is a transgender fourth-grader. She's the heroine of a new book intended for readers in grades 3 to 7 and published by Scholastic, one of the largest children's publishing companies in the world.

Morning Video: Suprise! Discrimination Against LGBTQ Workers Still Legal

HBO's John Oliver picked up where others left off, pointing out how unprotected workers (ie, teachers, principals, parents, administrators) are against discrimination based on sexual preference in 31 states.

Thompson: Tulsa Cuts Testing Time Fifty-Four Percent!

The Tulsa Public Schools has reduced the time that teachers and students must spend on testing by 54%, or by more than 72 hours. The Tulsa World’s Nour Habib, in Tulsa Public Schools Says District-Mandated Testing Time to be Reduced by 54%, reports that, “The decision to reduce district-mandated tests is based on recommendations from a task force of teachers that was put together last year to study the issue of overtesting in the district. Teacher representatives from all grades were selected based on recommendations by principals and from the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.”

Habib also quotes Shawna Mott-Wright, vice president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association who says, “We are just ecstatic, over the moon. … We really appreciate all of the work that the testing task force did, and we super appreciate and are very grateful for Dr. [Deborah] Gist listening.”

The reduction of testing is doubly important because it follows the testing cutbacks initiated by the state. The Oklahoma Department of Education was limited by law from making major reductions, but State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has been clear in explaining why we must "push the reset button" on testing.  

Fundamentally, the reconsideration of testing was prompted by a grassroots Opt Out movement of parents, as well as the superintendents of the state’s major school systems. The Tulsa task force was formed after two elementary school teachers made national headlines for refusing to administer “high-stakes student surveys and tests.” Sadly, those two heroes, Nikki Jones and Karen Hendren, are no longer with the TPS. Even more disappointing is the way that Jones tried to remain with the system but every time she would hear that the principal would like to hire her, but that “they had to ‘represent the district.’”

So, the cutback will not in itself stop the cycle of test, sort, reward, and punish. Tulsa doesn’t seem to have much to show from its multimillion dollar Gates Foundation “teacher quality” grant, and as long as it takes the foundation’s money, it will be pressured to continue to impose bubble-in accountability. And, Tulsa has seen 20% of its teachers "exit" in the last 14 months.

Continue reading "Thompson: Tulsa Cuts Testing Time Fifty-Four Percent!" »

Quotes: How "Common Core" Got Poisoned

Quotes2The term ‘Common Core’ is so darned poisonous, I don’t even know what it means.

- Jeb Bush quoted in this Washington Post editorial (The right and left poison Common Core with inflammatory rhetoric)

 

Quotes: Black Children Going To School For 12 Years

Quotes2Violence is Black children going to school for 12 years and receiving 6 years worth of education.

-- Julian Bond, former NAACP head who just passed away.

Thompson: A NOLA Middle Ground

John Merrow, in Deciphering Schooling in New Orleans, Post-Katrina, writes that he hasn’t seen enough people take the middle ground when discussing the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans's school reform. He also remembers the city's schools as so bad, pre-Katrini, that one had to "steal electricity from other buildings and utility poles because its own wiring was inadequate—probably rotted through.  And the schools, many of them, were violent and dangerous places."
 
I mostly see middle ground in reports on the New Orleans competition-driven reforms, with NPR Marketplace's series on the debate being the latest example. In fact, most of the panelists in the Education Research Alliance conference, where Douglas Harris released research on the test-driven, choice-driven outcomes, were squarely in the middle ground of the discussions. Harris's conclusions were seen as too rosy by many (or most?) of those moderate experts.
 
But, advocates for the New Orleans model of reform had to be upset by these findings and discussions. Harris, and others who are impressed by much of the New Orleans's outcomes, have hardly found evidence in support of other school systems trying to replicate its market-driven, outcomes-driven approach. 
 
I wish we could focus on what actually worked in New Orleans and what didn't work, what methods could be improved and what should be rejected, and discuss lessons for systemic improvements of schools and systems. Such a conversation must wait, however, until we educators who oppose corporate reform beat back the well-funded campaign to impose test, sort, reward, and punish across urban America. As long as teacher-bashing organizations like The 74 seek to break our unions and destroy the due process rights of educators, we must concentrate on exposing the falsehoods intertwined in the reformers' spin about the supposed glories of New Orlean's charters.
 
Teachers have other things to do rather than criticize reforms that help students. For instance, we welcome the extra counselors who helped raise graduation rates across the nation, and that are the likely reason why New Orleans's graduation rates and college-going rates increased. Educators oppose the hastily implemented silver bullets that have backfired, damaged public schools, undermined our profession and, above all, hurt a lot of students.

Continue reading "Thompson: A NOLA Middle Ground" »

Walcott & Bradford: Folks Who Resemble Each Other & Are Both In Education

11892058_10153387018910218_8606453158210258242_n (1)Folks that look somewhat alike (usually a civilian and a celebrity) aren't that hard to find or think up.

Folks who look alike and are both in education, that's fun.

For example, that's NY-CAN's Derrell Bradford on the left and Dennis Walcott on the right. 

Some other #edudopplegangers out there? Joel Klein and Louisiana schools consultant Bill Attea, according to Peter Cook. Conor Williams and Glee teacher Matthew Morrison, according to Williams' colleagues.

Not sure who your lookalike might be? Just ask! We might have some ideas.

Extra points if the pair come from opposite sides of the education spectrum. 

Or, if you don't care about whether it's in education or not, there's a doppleganger-finding app/website out there now.

Used with permission. #Edu-Dopplegangers15

Related posts: Education Dopplegangers (2010)

Charts: Preliminary Test Results From 4 States Better Than Expected

"All four of these states [Missouri, West Virginia, Oregon and Washington] did better than that field test on the English exam and all but West Virginia and Missouri’s eighth graders improved on the math exam... The drops in their scores from old state exams were much smaller than the 30-plus percentage points declines in New York and Kentucky." (The surprising initial results from a new Common Core exam).  Used with permission.

Charts: Just 17 Pct. Of White Kids Attend Majority-Minority School

Enrollment at Majority-Minority Schools

"Even while school-age children as a whole have become more diverse, most white students still attend largely white schools." Pew Center ("5 facts about America’s students) via BRIGHT

Update: Re-Segregation & Recovery In Pinellas County, Florida

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com
Earlier this week over at The Grade, I shared out an amazing set of graphics showing the dramatic impact of one Florida County's abandonment of integration efforts.

All by itself, the slides told a powerful, clear story about the resegregation of some racially isolated schools and the academic consequences that followed. My favorite -- the red lines showing a cluster of schools becoming more racially isolated over time -- is above.

Now there's a beautifully-rendered 5,200-word feature story to go along with the graphics, all from the Tampa Bay Times, including both the sad challenges that these schools and students have experienced and recent attempts to make things better.

Related posts: Steal This School Segregation Story

Morning Video: Summer Sitcom Features (Another) Reluctant Teacher

The August show, featuring Craig Robinson (from The Office) features wacky characters but maybe not the most uplifting of themes. Check out the promo above. Or if you want a more optimistic version of the same kind of story -- now streaming on Netflix, etc. -- watch the promo for "Teacher of The Year." Trailer and review are both here

Quotes: New Teachers "All So Rough"

Quotes2They come in and they are working so hard, but it's all so rough. There's no way you can prepare anybody for it, you just have to live it... They found a way to get rid of the union... They got rid of such a huge part of the black middle class, those female teachers, head of households, well-educated people. 

 -- Holley Bendtsen, a 10th grade teacher at Landry-Walker high school, quoted on Marketplace APM (Charters transform New Orleans schools, and teachers)

Movies: School-Based Comedy Raises Issues Spanning Charter-District Divide

There is much to like about the low-budget mockumentary called "Teacher of The Year (TOTY)" now available for streaming on Netflix and other VOD services. 

First and foremost, TOTY isn't really about education politics or specific approaches to improving schools. This is nothing like Waiting For Superman, Standardized, Bad Teacher, Won't Back Down, Race to Nowhere, and all the others you may have seen or heard about recently. 

Yes, it's set at a charter school, at which there is -- atypically - both union representation of the teachers and some form of tenure that allows veterans to speak their minds. But the charter status of the school and the union representation are mostly plot vehicles, not central aspects of the story. There's no Common Core, or standardized testing. Heaven. 

The plot centers around two main dramas. First is the decision that the aforementioned Teacher of the Year must make about what to do with his future. Like some real-life state teachers of the year (see here and here), he is frustrated with his work environment and is being tempted to do something else that's much more lucrative and perhaps less stressful. The second plot element is an accusation leveled against one of the other teachers by a student, which could result in the teacher being fired despite his long-standing reputation for being committed to the school and to his students.

But mostly @TOTYmovie is a comedy -- a conglomeration of all the schools you've ever been in before, full of eccentric characters and a mix of high and low humor. There's the handsomely bland  vest-wearing protagonist, Mitch Carter, who breaks up fights, shares his lunch with a hungry student and helps him understand what Shakespeare is all about. There's the perfectly awful Principal Ronald Douche, played by Keegan Michael Key (of Key & Peele), who wants to be superintendent but might not listen to his teachers enough. There's a robotics teacher who thinks that HE should have been Teacher of the Year (and might be right). There are two deliciously horrible guidance counselors (played by the comic Sklar brothers). The assistant principal is a hapless disciplinarian handing out detention slips to bemused students. 

The comparisons to TV comedies The Office or Parks & Recreation are understandable. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer called it a "sweet, gonzo comedy.")

The filmmakers -- Lainie Strouse (the producer) and writer/director Jason Strouse (who's also the principal of an orthodox Jewish school in LA) -- say that their goal was to make something like Spinal Tap or Best In Show -- set in a high school. Another comparison that they like is Ferris Bueller's Day Off (from the point of view of teachers).  Excited about the film's success at 18 festivals over the past year and now online on Netflix and Amazon, the gist of what they had to say during a phone interview last week is that they wanted to make a film about the what it's like teaching in a real school, to tell the story in a silly but realistic way, and to focus on the teachers' perspective rather than the kids'. 

They won't say what school the film was shot at, though part of the deal was giving students jobs as PAs and walk-ons. They told me shooting was done in just 11 days spread out over six months -- and that much of the film was captured in the last few days. The shooting schedule was so fragmented that some of the actors didn't even know that they were in the same film together. 

As for their concerns about education, the filmmakers' only "issues" are that teachers don't make much as other college graduates and sometimes leave for more lucrative careers, and that school and district bureaucracies are a cumbersome bother. The rules and norms of schools breed frustration and tamp down innovation, they feel -- which is why so many people they know used to be teachers but aren't any more (and why highly-qualified non-teachers can't easily become second-career teachers).

Maybe that's the real appeal of TOTY, which is that it's neither glorifying nor tearing teachers down, and raising issues that span charter and district environments alike rather than divide them. 

Related posts: New Documentary Avoids Simplistic Hero/Villain Approach"TeacherCenter" Isn't Even Key & Peele's Best Education Segment#MiddletownFilm Chronicles "Midpoint" Students, Blended Learning.

AM News: Clinton Student Debt Proposal, Teacher Shortage Debate

Hillary Clinton Wants To Help Student Debtors By Taxing The Rich HuffPost: The Democratic presidential candidate wants state and federal governments to increase their funding for students at certain public colleges while also allowing existing borrowers to refinance their high-rate loans and enroll in plans that limit payments to 10 percent of their income. The plan, which would cost $350 billion over 10 years, needs congressional approval and support from states to be viable. See also AP,  NYT, Politico, WSJ.

Did Jeb Bush really pass the first school voucher program in the nation? Business Insider: Presidential debates are often arenas of bombastic proclamations. Bush, however, was not over-selling his accomplishment. In 1999, under his gubernatorial oversight, Florida became the first state in the nation with a statewide voucher program.

Indiana Schools Chief Glenda Ritz Ending Bid for Governor AP: Ritz, a Democrat, has clashed repeatedly with Republican Gov. Mike Pence over education policy since they both won election in 2012. She announced a bid for governor in early June. In a statement Friday, she said she had since decided "now is not the right time for me to run for governor."

Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional) NYT: Just a few years after the recession caused widespread layoffs for teachers, school districts now find themselves with numerous job vacancies and few qualified candidates to choose from. See also: Demand for bilingual teachers especially high in Washington Seattle Times.

A Year After Ferguson, Schools Still Grapple With Equity and Racial Bias District Dossier: After the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and a national conversation about race, policing, and racial bias, some educators sharpened their focus on social justice issues in schools.

Major charter school expansion in the works for L.A. Unified students LA Times: A prominent local education foundation is discussing a major expansion of charter schools in Los Angeles aimed at boosting academic achievement for students at the lowest performing campuses.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Clinton Student Debt Proposal, Teacher Shortage Debate" »

Thompson: This American Life, School Integration, & The Ultimate School Reform Excuse

Former ProPublica writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, in School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson, recalls of the inescapable truth that educators once acknowledged, and that we now need to remember. Children who attend the most segregated schools, Hannah-Jones reminds us, “are more likely to be poor. They are more likely to go to jail. They are less likely to graduate from high school, to go to college, and to finish if they go. They are more likely to live in segregated neighborhoods as adults.” Moreover, “their children are more likely to also attend segregated schools, repeating the cycle.”

Contributing to a continuing series by ProPublica and the New York Times on segregation, Hannah-Jones reports that “over the past 15 years …. the number of so-called apartheid schools — schools whose white population is 1 percent or less — has shot up. The achievement gap, greatly narrowed during the height of school desegregation, has widened.”

The national market-driven, test-driven school reform movement has downplayed the damage done by segregation. It’s choice-driven policies have actually increased the separation of students by race and class. And, This American Life’s The Problem We All Live With, featuring Hannah-Jones, begins with a mention of the research which explains why NCLB-type reforms have failed to improve schools serving neighborhoods with a critical mass of families from generational poverty. In doing so, it properly articulates the question that must be tackled before school improvement and other policies can promote racial justice and economic equality.

Accountability-driven reformers proclaimed their movement as the civil rights campaign of the 21st century, but they haven’t found a viable path towards school improvement. Competition-driven reformers derided traditional educators, who embrace socio-economic integration, early education, and full-service community schools, for allegedly making “excuses” and shifting attention away from the supposed real issue – bad teaching. But, This American Life has it right; reformers using competition-driven policies to improve instruction within the four walls of the classroom are distracting attention from the true problem.

Continue reading "Thompson: This American Life, School Integration, & The Ultimate School Reform Excuse" »

Quotes: "Despondent" About Professional Development

Quotes2I'm pretty despondent about the whole sector.. Regardless of the type of study, it just doesn't look like we have any purchase on what works.

-- Heather C. Hill, a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in EdWeek (Is PD Behind Teacher Improvement? Maybe Not, Analysis Cautions)

AM News: GOP Common Core Debate, Connecticut's Universal SAT Decision

Common Core is Premier Education Issue in GOP Presidential Debate PK12: Jeb Bush has taken a lot of flak from his GOP opponents for supporting the common-core standards, a position he's steadfastly backed, even as his conservative contemporaries have waged battle against them. See also HuffPost, Vox.

Teachers to Christie: Apologize to us over ‘punch in the face’ quip MSNBC: Nearly 32,000 people have signed a petition spearheaded by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) asking the governor to say he’s sorry. They argue that Christie “seems to think that leadership means threatening violence and creating a culture of intimidation.”

Connecticut to Require All 11th Graders to Take the SAT NYT: With approval from the United States Department of Education, Connecticut said it would make the SAT a requirement, administered without cost to students, beginning in the 2015-16 school year.  See also WSJ, CT Mirror. Make way for the test-score punditry: NY state scores coming next week ChalkbeatNY: “I will simply say, it’s one of the things we judge ourselves by,” de Blasio said Thursday, referring to the scores. “It’s not the only thing.”

Who Is 'Good Enough' In A Common Core World? NPR: 5 million students took new, Common Core-aligned tests this Spring through the PARCC consortium. Now begins the rush to set cut scores — to sort students by performance.

Connecticut to Require All 11th Graders to Take the SAT NYT: The new rule will eliminate a statewide exam given last year, and comes amid complaints that public high school students have to take too many tests.

Students Need Not Meet Common-Core Test's Cut Score to Graduate in Wash. St. State EdWatch: To be considered ready for credit-bearing college work, students should score at levels 3 or 4, but the state school board set a different minimum score to earn a diploma.

At one Baltimore school, students are easing racial tensions by learning from each other WNYC: One year after a burst of violent attacks, Digital Harbor High launched a program to bring Latino and African-American students together.

Ferguson Class Of 2014 HuffPost: The students who graduated with Michael Brown had only hope and promise ahead of them. And a year after Brown's tragic death, somehow they still still do. Here are their stories.

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

Continue reading "AM News: GOP Common Core Debate, Connecticut's Universal SAT Decision" »

Quotes: "Political Seepage" In The Classroom

Quotes2The practice that we found most troubling, from the study, is what we referred to in the book as political seepage: teachers who make sarcastic comments, who use partisan humor. It's these offhanded comments that are sort of biting and mean-spirited about the political climate that I think is problematic. Because it creates a climate not of fairness, but it creates a kind of insider/outsider feeling. - Paul McAvoy via NPR (The Role Of Politics In The Classroom)

Thompson: Project Fatherhood

978-080701452-3When writing her excellent Project Fatherhood, the UCLA gang expert Jorja Leap exposed herself to a daunting risk. Leap accepted a degree of physical danger but it was the professional risk that could have been intimidating. Leap defied academic convention and spoke honestly about race, family, child-rearing, domestic abuse and, even, the “P-stuff” or post-traumatic shock.

Much of the credit for Project Fatherhood’s open and candid discussion of some of the 3rd rails of social policy must go to “Big Mike” Cummings, who guided her and the quest they shared with felons and fathers in Watts. Big Mike was exceptionally astute in coaxing the project’s participants into an honest appraisal of the causes and the effects of domestic abuse, as well as fathers not holding up their share of family responsibilities.

Scholars and educators often shy away from the issues tackled by Leap and Big Mike, and correctly argue that it is not just fathers - of whatever backgrounds - who have failed our kids. The horrific conditions of the inner city are a legacy of history, of economic exploitation and oppression, and of abusive political and criminal justice systems.  It is often feared that a conversation about child-rearing will be seen as “blaming the victim” or excuse-making.

We cannot improve inner city schools without building trusting relationships, however, and neither can we establish those bonds with students and patrons without dialogues about fatherhood. As Leap writes, “These men – who routinely used guns and dealt drugs and brutalized women and went to prison and had no clue how to father their own children – needed first to be fathered themselves.”

One of the first things that an inner city teacher seeking to build relationships should learn is that students will test them. It should be clear that much of the chronic disorder of urban classrooms is due to high-risk kids acting out their pain. A crucial reason is less obvious, however, and it is made much more understandable by the chapter entitled “Are You Gonna Leave Us, Too?” Teachers aren’t being tested to see if we are tough enough; students, like their fathers before them, want to see whether mentors are “for real.” These fathers also doubt whether outsiders, who may seek to do good, will care enough to stick it out when the going gets rough.

Continue reading "Thompson: Project Fatherhood" »

Morning Video: Christie Swipes At Teachers Unions (Again), Missouri District Tries Integration (Again)

Here's Chris Christie's now-obligatory slap at the teachers unions from CNN.

But you really should spend your time listening to This American Life's latest podcast, about an unlikely and unexpected school integration experiment in Missouri. Streaming and download versions here.

 

Charts: Time To Rethink [Teacher] Licensing?

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"Today, more than a quarter of American workers need a license to do their job, representing a fivefold increase relative to the 1950s," according to this recent Vox article. That's no surprise to anyone in education. We take licensing for granted. This chart has it coming in 3rd, after only health care and law, at about 60 percent of workers participating. However, licensing isn't all good. According to a new White House report, licensing can lead to higher prices for services & reduced opportunity for individuals (in the form of barriers to entry into a profession and the threat of license revocations based on student loan defaults in some states). Vox recommends state-level license review agencies and -- hah! -- bipartisan work at the federal level.  

Related posts:  19 States Adopting Tougher Licensing (2010); Helping New Teachers With The First Days Of School (Bruno).

Quotes: Defiance Or ADHD? Depends What Color The Kid Is

Quotes2White kids tend to get viewed as having ADHD, or having some sort of behavioral problem. Black kids are viewed as being unruly and unwilling to learn.

-- David Ramey, an assistant professor of sociology and criminology at Penn State, quoted in Daily Beast via Vox (How schools push black students to the criminal justice system)

Morning Video: "TeacherCenter" Isn't Even Key & Peele's Best Education Sketch

TeacherCenter, the Key & Peele parody in which teachers are the subject of a SportsCenter-style show makes the obvious point that our society treats pro athletes much better than it does classroom teachers, delightfully imagining what it'd be like if things were very, very different. But it might not even be their best work on this topic. Some other favorite school-related Key & Peele segments on school bullying, substitute teachers (1 & 2), and inspirational speakers can be found here, here, here, and here. I think substitute teacher 1 (above) is my favorite. OK, now you can go. 

Morning Video: Let's Talk About Segregated Housing & Segregated Schools

Click "play" on this recent panel featuring TCF fellows Stefanie DeLuca and Halley Potter and L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy of CUNY discussing the nexus of race, housing, and education in America. 

According to TCF's Potter, "segregation in housing and schools are intimately linked, and that we need to consider strategies that address both problems." She also notes that integrating schools doesn't really go far enough if classrooms aren't integrated, too, and choice alone isn't probably enough without equitable access to information and other supports. 

Quotes: In NYC, Reformers Oppose Mayoral Control

Quotes2When a group professing to support education reform opposes mayoral control of schools, it calls into question what exactly it stands for.

--Wiley Norvell in NYT (Groups That Back Bloomberg’s Education Agenda Enjoy Success in Albany)

Morning Video: Black Students More Likely to Receive "Stigmatizing" SPED Labels

"The data shows that black students are often times two or three times more likely than white students to be identified, especially in the most stigmatizing categories such as emotional disturbance, mental retardation or intellectual disabilities and some other categories," said Daniel Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies. "They are underrepresented in categories like autism, and perhaps other categories like speech and language." (The Complicated Problem Of Race And Special Education.)

Thompson: Chris Barbic's Resignation & the Failure of School "Reform"

In 2009 and 2010, the contemporary school reform movement became the dog that caught the bus it was chasing. The Obama administration funded the entire corporate reform agenda. The wish list of market-driven reformers, test-driven reformers, and even the most ideological anti-union, teacher-bashers, became the law (in part or in totality) in 3/4ths of the states. Due to the Race to the Top, School Improvement Grants, and other innovations, competition-driven reformers, and corporate reform think tanks were granted the contracts that they claimed would reverse the effects of poverty. 

Now, ideology-driven reformers are supposed to be announcing the increases in student performance that their gold-plated reforms promised. Instead, across the nation, outcome-driven reformers are delivering excuses about their experiments’ disappointing results. Some are completely contradicting themselves, as they announce gains in graduation rates that are attributable to more counselors and student supports. Accountability hawks conveniently forget that they previously derided those old-fashioned, input-driven programs as artifacts of the education “status quo,” and its “low expectations.”

Some defeated reformers, like Michelle Rhee and Cami Anderson, remain blunt in blaming teachers and persons who disagree with them for the failure of schools that accept every student who walks in the door to produce significant gains. Others, like Kaya Henderson and the true believers in the New Orleans portfolio model, predict that early education and wraparound services will turn the toughest schools around. In doing so, these reformers forget how they previously condemned advocates of those policies as the problem.

Perhaps the most interesting spin was issued by Chris Barbic  when he resigned as the superintendent of the Tennessee Achievement School District (ASD). Chalkbeat Tennessee’s Daarel Burnette, in Chris Barbic, Founding Superintendent of State-Run Achievement School District, to Exit, explains that “Tennessee used more than 10 percent of its $500 million windfall in federal education funds to launch the ASD. Those funds, which arrived through the Race to the Top competition to spur education policy changes, have now disappeared.” Moreover, the legislature has made a number of efforts to shift gears away from Barbic’s and the ASD’s approach to school improvement.

Continue reading "Thompson: Chris Barbic's Resignation & the Failure of School "Reform"" »

Morning Video: Teachers As Free Agents, Paid Based On Test Scores

Here's a Key & Peele sendup of SportsCenter in which teachers are highly-paid free agents who are wooed from one school to another based on salaries partly based on test scores. Includes a horrifyingly realistic in-video ad promoting BMWs for teachers.  Via Toppo

Morning Videos: Teacher Heroes, White People, Bluetooth Teacher Coaching

Gov. Jindal praises heroic teachers - via Washington Post. Or, here's a new MTV documentary called "White People" by (undocumented) documentary filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas in which young folks talk about what it's like being white. Read about it here in NY Mag:

 

Are folks doing this with white educators, I hope? Please fill me in. 

Or, watch KIPP's Dave Levin talk about the now-controversial program in which teachers are given instructions/ideas via earbud to help improve classroom teaching:

Via Washington Post / Valerie Strauss

AM News: Teachers Probably Saved Lives In Louisiana Shooting

After Lafayette theater shooting, union chief praises teachers NOLA.com: About 20 minutes into The Grand 16's showing of the film "Trainwreck" on Thursday night (July 24), gunman John Russell Houser stood up and began firing into the crowd, wounding Martin, Meaux and seven others and killing two more, authorities said. But one teacher jumped up to cover the other, and managed to pull the fire alarm to alert emergency responders, Weingarten said.See also Atlantic/EWAWashington PostPhilly.com.

Some Common Core tests are getting shorter. What are they losing? Hechinger Report: After a rough spring testing season, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two state consortia tapped by the federal government to develop tests tied to the Common Core educational standards, is making big changes to its tests, which were administered to over five million students across 11 states and the District of Columbia this year.

Missouri Law Can’t Block Scholarships for Undocumented Immigrant Students Kansas City-Star:  In a memo sent Thursday to college presidents, chancellors and directors, Missouri Department of Higher Education Commissioner David Russell said language in the title or preamble of a recently passed higher education appropriations bill “has no legal authority to withhold scholarship awards from otherwise eligible students.” 

Carnegie Mellon project revives failed inBloom dream to store and analyze student data Hechinger Report: LearnSphere, a new $5 million federally-funded project at Carnegie Mellon University, aims to become “the biggest open repository of education data” in the world, according to the project leader, Ken Koedinger.

Why a Fight in Massachusetts Over Kindergarten Funding Is Getting Ugly Slate: While Massachusetts has a long way to go, access to early childhood education is indeed slowly expanding in many nearby areas. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for universal pre-kindergarten continues with the announcement that preschool teachers at community-based early childhood centers, including day cares—who generally earn less than teachers

New GAO Report: Teacher Prep Programs Lack Performance Data PK12: Seven states ignored the federal higher education law's requirement to identify "at risk" and "low performing" teacher programs, some of them blatantly.

City Invalidates Test Scores of Third Graders at Harlem School NYT: The Education Department invalidated the results of the state exam taken by third graders amid allegations of testing improprieties by the principal of the Teachers College Community School. See also WNYC, NY Post.

What Do We Value More: Young Kids Or Fast Food? NPR: New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It's the fruit of a three-year labor campaign. But there's another group of workers out there that hasn't had a real wage increase in decades. Right now, at preschool programs around the country, teachers are tapping infinite reserves of patience to keep the peace among children at various stages of development and need. They're also providing meals, wiping noses and delivering a curriculum in math and reading that will get the kids ready for school. And there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

Quotes: Does State Trooper Encinia Remind You Of Anyone?

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"Replace Sandra Bland with a twelve-year-old girl. Replace the lit cigarette with chewing gum. Replace the car with a desk. Replace the state trooper with a teacher."
 

- The Synapse (White Educators: Do You Recognize State Trooper Encinia?)

AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders

Who Will the NEA Endorse for President, Clinton or Sanders -- & When? TeacherBeat: Hillary Clinton, obviously, is the odds-on favorite for NEA pick. But consider this: At the NEA meeting this summer, by far the loudest delegate cheer went to Bernie Sanders, when the names of the three Democratic candidates interviewed by NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia were announced. And officially, the NEA has been utterly silent about its endorsement plans. In a way, though, the "who" question is the wrong one to ask. The right question is whether the union can even get a primary endorsement together at all while it still matters.

In New White House Bid, Clinton Embraces Race as a Top Issue AP: At multiple stops in South Carolina, Clinton on Thursday bemoaned "mass incarceration," an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools and poisoned relations between law enforcement and the black community.

Judges Revive Claim that AT&T Overcharged Schools for Internet Service ProPublica: The little-noticed June 23 ruling concluded that the complaint by Todd Heath was properly filed under the U.S. False Claims Act – a decision that could lead to the disclosure of AT&T’s internal records about the federal program known as E-Rate. AT&T said then, and reaffirmed in a recent email to ProPublica, that it complies with the requirement that it charge such customers what is known as the “lowest corresponding price.”

Pool for Unassigned Teachers Swells in Newark Wall Street Journal: The pool swelled recently due to the cyclical flux between school years; many teachers are expected to find jobs in the fall. Many teachers, however, are there because they balked at longer hours in schools slated for overhauls. Under a union-district agreement, teachers joined the pool if they didn’t agree to a stipend, typically $3,000, for working about an hour more daily, several Saturdays and two weeks in the summer. A union spokesman said some who kept to contract hours and left at 3:05 p.m. were derided by other staffers as “Three-oh-fivers.”

Seven States Get NCLB Waiver Renewals, Including Opt-Out Friendly Oregon PK12: Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah can keep their flexibility from mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, no matter what happens with a pending rewrite of the law.

Pearson’s Fallon Seen Turning to Education Deals After FT Sale Bloomberg Business: Pearson Plc’s sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. clears the way for the U.K. company to pursue acquisitions in educational publishing.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders" »

Books: Hey, Leave Those Low-Scoring High Schools Alone!

 
It tells the story of Mission High, which has apparently enjoyed great success despite challenging circumstances -- including the possibility of being closed thanks (indirectly) to federal education law focused narrowly on test scores rather than other metrics:


"Based on four years of reporting with unprecedented access, the unforgettable, intimate stories in these pages throw open the doors to America’s most talked about—and arguably least understood—public school classrooms where the largely invisible voices of our smart, resilient students and their committed educators can offer a clear and hopeful blueprint for what it takes to help all students succeed."

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven't read the book yet, but longtime readers may recall that I critiqued the Mother Jones article Rizga wrote and the accompanying KQED feature that ran in 2012.
 
At that time, I wrote a post titled Everything You Read In That Mother Jones Article Is Wrong that praised Rizga for her writing but not for her fairness in terms of characterizing federal efforts to encourage districts to revamp schools that didn't appear to be doing well by students. I also suggested that Mission High might be something of an outlier, in terms of the apparent mismatch between test scores and other measures.
 
For the new book, there are blurbs from Dave Eggers, Jeff Chang, Dana Goldstein, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and LynNell Hancock. The book officially launches August 15.

Morning Video: New Teachers, Job Prospects, Minority Retention

Here's last night's PBS NewsHour segment on teacher supply and demand, which describes how 200,000 newly-minted teacher education graduates might fare in the job marketplace. (The piece quotes the 40 percent/5 year departure statistic we've long seen for new teachers, though I thought that new research suggested that number might not be as high as we've been told.)

"If and when they do get hired, chances are at least 40 percent of them will leave teaching in the first five years. "

According to Ingersoll, the profession has become even more female-dominated, and minority teachers have doubled but have higher quit rates (largely due to the kinds of schools and districts into which they are hired).

Charts: How Much Did That Free Excellent Neighborhood School Cost You?

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This Matt Yglesias article and accompanying chart are going around today. In the piece, the Vox honcho makes the case -- too simplistically, according to some like Chalkbeat's Maura Walz -- that the housings costs of homes near high-performing public schools (top right quadrant) make them inaccessible to many middle- and low-income families, and that there are strong disincentives to letting more people live in those areas or dis-connecting school assignment and housing. Chart by Ginger Moored via Vox.

Quotes: Unions, Conservatives Making Belated Alliance Over Local Control

Quotes2The unions and the Republicans have spent so many years thinking of each other as enemies that they have been slow to recognize their alliance, and some of them have flinched uncomfortably from it. But the logic of the alliance has made itself increasingly evident. 

- NY Mag's Jonathtan Chait (The Principle That United GOP, Teachers Unions)

Morning Video: Packnett & Mckesson Win TFA Social Justice Activism Award

Here's the promo video for Brittany Packnett and Deray McKesson, two TFA alumni who have been extremely involved in social justice activism since last year's Ferguson protests. They received TFA's Peter Jennings award for their leadership at a TFA event last week. Video provided by TFA. They were also on WNYC and NPR's On The Media last week.

All of a sudden, the reform movement doesn't seem so left behind on social justice issues as it did a year or two ago (though it still has a long way to go).

Related posts: McKesson Invited To Clinton Campaign EventConservatives Critique/Elevate AFT Alum/Activist.

Numbers: Uptick In Violent Deaths & Threatened Teacher Reports At School

"According to new federal crime statistics, there were 32 violent deaths at elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. from July 2010 to June 2011 – the smallest number in almost two decades," notes SI&A Cabinet report (Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools). "But the following year ending in June 2012 – the most recent year for which data is available – a total of 45 deaths were recorded."

The report also notes that "the percentage of teachers who said they had been threatened with attack – or actually attacked – by a student  has been slowly increasing since 2003 when less than 4 percent reported being physically attacked and about 6 percent reported being threatened."

I'm sure we'll see other numbers and interpretations of this information over the next few days.

 

Movies: New Montclair Documentary Avoids Simplistic Hero/Villain Approach

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If and when you get the chance, be sure to check out a new documentary, "The One That Got Away," which explores the challenges facing low-income families, schools that serve them, and social services systems -- in a more balanced and thoughtful way than many other films of this kind.
 
There's no trailer yet, not even a website or social media, but the flyer for the documentary, screened earlier this year at the Montclair Film Fest (where it's based) and last night at Scholastic in Manhattan (thanks, Tyler!), promises a pretty dramatic story: "Once president of his middle school; now behind bars. The One That Got Away tells the true story of Tourrie Moses, a once-highly promising New Jersey student from a troubled background who is now in prison for murder, and a profoundly devoted team of teachers who tried to help him thrive." 
 
And indeed the film tells an intense, vivid tale. The interviews with Tourrie's mother, who's struggled with heroin addiction, and his strict but loving father, who says he spent roughly 20 years in and out of prison, are particularly challenging to watch. 

But the most interesting and helpful aspect to the film is how it describes a situation in which there are no black-and-white heroes or villains, and no bright or artificial line between parents, school, and social services agencies tasked with supporting families and children in tough circumstances.  

 
It's not the school, or the teacher, or the kid, or society. It's all of them. 
 
As depicted in the film, the educators at Glenfield Middle School are incredibly concerned and dedicated but are using an ad hoc warning system of supports and interventions. Ditto for the high school educators who try and fail to get Moses through a delicate transition from middle school despite his social services case having been formally closed. The parents are both flawed but by no means unloving or entirely absent. Tourrie (known to his family as Ray Ray) is intensely charismatic and eager to learn but unable to hold onto his connections to his teachers and his father over the reliable if limited lure of the streets.
 
In capturing these overlapping roles and dynamics, the film raises both structural societal issues (racism, inequality) and issues of personal and individual effort. But neither society nor the individual is given responsibility for the outcome in this film. It's shared. 
 
(And, blessedly, there's nothing in the film about Common Core, standardized testing, teacher evaluation, charter schools, the Gates Foundation, or any of the other obsessions of the current era. )
 
There are some issues I had with the documentary, including some heavy-handed interviewing (especially in a scene about drug addiction), and a front porch group interview with former classmates that's not as useful or enlightening as intended.
 
And, while the educators and social services agency staffers who are interviewed express deep regret and renewed vigilance against a repeat of systemic failures, it's not entirely clear to me that they've given up their ad hoc approach (based on personal relationships) and replaced it with a more reliable warning and intervention system. 
 
This film will raise awareness of the problems facing schools serving kids like Tourrie but I'm not as confident as I'd like to be that a similar tragedy couldn't be happening again right now.
 

Quotes: Endorsements (& Campaign Speeches) May Not Matter

Quotes2In 2008, Clinton and Barack Obama both kept their positions on education reform as vague as possible throughout, to the point where neither the reformers or their opponents had any idea which camp would prevail until Obama named his Education Secretary.

- NY Mag's Jonathan Chait (Will Hillary Clinton Continue Education Reform?)

Morning Video: AT AFT Conference, Goldstein Compares Reform Efforts To "Moral Panic"

 

Not everyone will go so far as writer Dana Goldstein does here, comparing the current school reform era to a "moral panic," in a talk given at the AFT's TEACH15, but it's still a useful and interesting talk from earlier this week. You can also watch segments featuring Jose Vilson, Wes Moore, David Kirp, and WAMU's Kavitha Cardoza.

Quotes: AFT Head Pledges To Reconnect With Members

Quotes2Ultimately, what we've learned is you have to have a real, ongoing re-commitment with your members... You have to walk the walk. You have to engage with them... The change here is to have an enduring relationship.

- AFT head Randi Weingarten in HuffPost (Teachers' Union Girds For Supreme Court Setback, Pledges To Grow Membership)

Campaign 2016: Not So Fast (Or Far) On The Reform Rollback Bandwagon

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The divide within the Democratic party is endlessly fascinating and especially notable this week during which we see civil rights groups and teachers unions divide over the rewrite of NCLB.

In National Journal (Senate Democrats Scramble to Avoid a Split on Education Bill),Fawn Johnson notes that unions and civil-rights groups "may end up on opposite sides." If things end up that way, it could "severely weaken [Democratic members'] bargaining leverage in a conference committee with the House." Reading the NEA quotes in the piece, it would seem that the teachers union is feeling pretty strong right now.

Meanwhile, the Democratic divide looks to affect the Presidential campaign as well.  Last month in TNR (Hillary Clinton's Education Policy), Conor Williams notes what many others have said before: "there’s evidence that a Clinton Administration would mean a substantial departure from [Obama administration] reforms." Candidate Clinton has sought to straddle these differences, but as Williams notes there is more money and more momentum behind the reform critics and their backers. 
 
However, it's worth remembering that for a time in 2008 some progressives thought that Obama was their man thanks in large part to his much-touted but ultimately meaningless support for Chicago's local school councils. (A bit of history that's often forgotten but I happened to write about.) It's hard to imagine candidate Clinton or her team locking into education policy positions unless it absolutely has to -- or necessarily keeping promises made once the election is passed.
 
All this to say: Notwithstanding the outcome of the ESEA rewrite effort and the liberal surge of 2014-205 and all the rest, reform critics and teachers unions are in a mixed situation right now -- newly resurgent and powerful within education circles but somewhat embattled in the larger political world. They are too smart to say it publicly, but they don't have unfettered leverage over Democratic candidates and elected officials despite the current zeitgeist in EducationLand.  

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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.