From last summer: "THIS JUST IN: Star English teacher Ruby Ruhf says goodbye to Ohio and signs with NY P.S. 431. She'll land $80 mil from the six-year deal, along with a possible additional $40 mil based on test scores."
What I learned from the discussion was that people probably have very different notions about what it means to come at improving schools from a social justice perspective. For reform critics like Ravitch, opposing approaches that disempower classroom teachers or put pressure on traditional schools feels like social justice. For reform advocates like Duncan giving parents choices and making schools accountable for results feels like social justice.
Eager as they might be to claim the mantle of social justice advocacy, my sense is that both sides are wrong, and that the things that they spend most of their time advocating for are not the things that social justice advocates would prioritize for children and communities of color who most need better schools.
It's important to note that changes to education are not central to the current #BlackLivesMatter movement that embodies social justice advocacy in the current era. When education does come up, things like more charters, school desegregation, teacher empowerment, accountability, and student loans are not priority items.
So what would a social justice education agenda look like? Here's a highly imperfect guess at some of the priorities that might be highlighted. There's got to be a better version of this somewhere, but it's a start:
10/ Cops out of schools
9/ Ending defiance-based suspensions and expulsions
8/ Anti-racism /cultural awareness training for teachers
7/ High-quality universal preschool
6/ Living wages for paras, aides, and early childhood teacher
5/ Equitable distribution of certified teachers (and payroll costs) among district schools
4/ Limits on self-segregation of affluent students within neighborhoods and island districts
3/ Dramatic reduction in local control/property tax-based funding
2/ Giving parents right to legal action against inadequate education (as with IDEA)
There are several education-related events going on this week at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, and a handful of education-related appearances on the main stage. First up are a pair of education panels hosted by DFER.
This is pretty upsetting to watch, though no guns are drawn and no one's killed. Maybe because it happened to a teacher. Maybe because we all know what can happen when things escalate like that. Read the accompanying article here.
"Meant to promote the first lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative, 'This Is For My Girls' grabbed headlines when it was first released but hasn’t quite stuck in the public consciousness since then."
Pale Fire https://t.co/VrDUYWNJ1Q | The New Yorker— Culture (@sr_culture) July 18, 2016
As I read it, this piece in The New Yorker (Pale Fire) suggests that the current conflict over education reform is in many ways the playing out of long-simmering white-on-white class conflicts.
If so, this would suggest that focusing narrowly on social justice issues -- while entirely understandable in short-term tactical terms -- could only exacerbate the conflict and theoretically slow progress.
It's nothing you haven't thought or read or perhaps articulated yourself, but a worthwhile reminder.
As you can see above, Donald Trump's son gave a speech last night that included some pretty harsh language about education:
"Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now they're stalled on the ground floor. They're like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and administrators and not the students."
[In response to accusations that the lines were plagiarized from a recent article, the author of the article noted that he was the primary speechwriter for the speech.]
"The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. ... You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears.
"Nestled in neighborhoods of varying degrees of affluence, suburban public schools are typically better resourced than their inner-city peers and known for their extracurricular offerings and college preparatory programs. Despite the glowing opportunities that many families associate with suburban schooling, accessing a district's resources is not always straightforward, particularly for black and poorer families."
That's the promo blurb for Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling, by L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy.
It's one of several recent books taking a long hard look at suburban communities whose schools may not be as good (or as equitable) as may be commonly believed -- for example Amanda Lewis' With The Best Of Intentions.
Related posts: How Racial Inequality Gets Baked Into Schools; White Teachers, Black Students: An "Awkward Disconnect"; Mugshots Help Combat Racial Stereotypes; Best Titles To Help White Teachers, Parents, Reporters Understand Race; Forthcoming Novel Highlights White Parents & Diverse Schools.
The whole "Pokemon Go will revolutionize education" claims have made me incredibly angry, even though it's a claim that's made about every single new product that ed-tech's early adopters find exciting (and clickbait-worthy)... All this matters for Pokemon Go; all this matters for ed-tech....“Gotta catch ’em all” may be the perfect slogan for consumer capitalism; but it’s hardly a mantra I’m comfortable chanting to push for education transformation.
- Audrey Watters in Hack Education Weekly Newsletter (HEWN)
Check out this fascinating American RadioWorks interview titled Race in Suburban Schools, featuring L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy talking about his look at one Midwestern suburban school district that illustrates the increasing diversity and nagging achievement gaps in the leafy burbs. One striking example Lewis-McCoy describes is how he observes white teachers hold back from correcting the grammar and speech of black and brown students to avoid stigmatizing them.
At GOP Convention, NEA Thanks Republicans for Help Enacting ESSA - Politics K-12 pllqt.it/RDZfkq
See also: NEA Adds $1.4 Million to Massachusetts Anti-Charter Campaign | Intercepts ow.ly/Fqyb302mE7k
In AFT Talk, Hillary Clinton Doubles Down on Support for Teachers - Teacher Beat - Education Week ow.ly/z7nL302njQK
A Harsh Critique Of Federally Funded Pre-K npr.org/sections/ed/20…
After 2 Years, Progress Is Hard to See in Some Struggling City Schools - The New York Times ow.ly/MoD4302o5Yx
Opting out of Common Core testing slightly up statewide, despite drop in Clark County - Las Vegas Sun News ow.ly/gKcX302mHeQ
U.S. students win prestigious International Math Olympiad - for second straight year washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sh…
Proposed Texas textbook describes Mexican-Americans as 'lazy,' new coalition works to block it washingtonpost.com/news/education…
Denver Public Schools set to strip nearly 50 teachers of tenure after poor evaluations denverpost.com/2016/07/18/den…
How racially diverse is your school? Use our interactive to find out seattletimes.com/seattle-news/d…
Oklahoma City School Board approves modified charter school expansion mediabullpen.com/view/oklahoma-…
DPS superintendent describes what he learned abroad denverpost.com/2016/07/18/dps…
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith Retires . News | OPB pllqt.it/piZUNn
If supporters of charter schools want to go into the Democratic National Convention opposing “democratically governed” schools and insisting on the right to “replace or destabilize traditional public schools,” be my guest.
Here's the latest in a series of occasional case studies I've been doing the past few years, this one about an education-focused PAC called Democrats For Education Reform that was an early backer of Barack Obama and had lots of early success, but has struggled in recent years as its oponents (the teachers unions, mostly) have shifted tactics and politics have gotten more polarized. It came out late last week. Read it all here.
Here's the teaser trailer for the new HBO series, "Vice Principals," which features two highly flawed human beings attempting to replace a retiring principal played by Bill Murray.
The skeptical left is lining up to make sure Hillary Clinton keeps her promises to progressives - LA Times ow.ly/RPOo302kyww
New York City's Great Middle-School Divide theatlantic.com/education/arch…
Charter school and union unite on wanting L.A. Unified to pay retiree benefits for charter teachers - LA Times ow.ly/rXcT302kyxA
San Diego County Schools superintendent to be placed on leave - LA Times ow.ly/6Bkm302kHv6
Should D.C.'s Next Schools Chancellor Be A Local? wamu.org/programs/the_k…
Paying for education must go beyond classrooms, advocates say seattletimes.com/education-lab/…
Red and orange states are where students in rich districts receive more funds than students in poor districts. via Hechinger Report (The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade).
"The richest 25 percent of school districts receive 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, the federal Department of Education pointed out last month (March, 2015). That’s a national funding gap of $1,500 per student, on average, according to the most recent data, from 2011-12. The gap has grown 44 percent since 2001-02, when a student in a rich district had only a 10.8 percent resource advantage over a student in a poor district."
If I'm reading this right, the salary spread for educators (purple) has grown much wider over time. http://ow.ly/RGim302dxqa
This picture, via Whitney Tilson, encapsulates those early days.
However, a new case study out today from AEI (written by me) tells how those early successes were blunted, then turned into liabilities during the last four years: how critics began labeling DFER as part of "corporate" reform efforts, how the teachers unions turned Common Core concerns into a rallying cry, and -- most disappointingly, perhaps -- DFER generally stood by as social justice issues (immigration, integration, police violence) grew in importance.
Meantime, DFER failed to create the Emily's List-style donor base that would broaden its support and free it up from charter advocates.
With the Democratic platform amended by reform critics and the Democratic convention coming up later this month, there's no better time to look at what DFER's done, what it's become, and where it might go next.
New DFER head Shavar Jeffries says that he's going to make DFER a deep part of the Democratic Party. But there's not much sign so far that DFER has changed, and from recent events it seems like he's got his work cut out for him.
Related posts: Meet DFER Head Shavar Jeffries.
Watch the platform committee meeting from last weekend above, thanks to Valerie Strauss, who appears to be the only media person covering the debate very closely.
As Strauss has posted, the platform was changed over the weekend in ways that pleased the AFT and its allies and displeased DFER among others:
"Democratic negotiators led by Troy LaRaviere, an outspoken Chicago educator who was pushed out of his job as principal of an elementary school by the school district leadership; Chuck Pascal, a Sanders delegate from Pennsylvania; and Christine Kramar, a Nevada delegate, worked to win agreement on key changes to the original language. They got help from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who has been a longtime supporter of Clinton’s, and some of their changes were adopted with little dissent."
Politics K-12 has a bit about the extent of the changes to the earlier drafts of the platform, as well as the 2012 platform language.
And DFER has posted its own transcript of the debate, in which Chicago's Troy Laravierre, Randi Weingarten and other reform critics appear.
Were any reform allies present, or even eligible to be present? Did DFER and others try to get amendments presented to bolster its positions?
Also, were any of the many education reporters out there covering the event, in person or online, and if not why not? The Sanders-inspired changes to the platform (and the Clinton stump speech) seemed to warrant media attention, so it's curious that this debate is receiving so little attention.
Reform critics including Jesse Hagopian and Jonathan Kozol (pictured above, via Twitter) met over the weekend. In this picture, Hagopian carries a sign that reads "Black Lives Matter To Teachers."
For a variety of reasons -- police killings, Clinton adoption of Sanders positions on college tuition (among other things), lack of clarity among reform critics about what to do next -- the event's supporters do not appear to have garnered support or coverage in nearly the same amounts as previous versions.
As far as I can tell, no major elected officials or candidates were there, or celebrities. (Way back in 2011, you may recall, Matt Damon appeared.)
The only coverage of the event I've seen is from the Valerie Strauss blog: ‘For black lives to matter, black #education has to matter.’
I'm also curious about reform critics who were in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, or other places over the weekend, during which #BlackLivesMatter protests were being held.
Via Politico. Click here if video doesn't display.
So much of what happens inside your classrooms is determined by what happens outside your classrooms. … You see students coming to school hungry, or exhausted from a long night at a shelter. … Let’s not ignore the weight of the problems that these little kids bring on their little shoulders to school every day. We need to tackle all the problems holding our kids back.
Presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in address at NEA convention, quoted in Slate (The Teachers' Candidate)
"One woman at the scene said Castile was a cook and kitchen supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul. The St. Paul elementary school’s website lists Castile as the cafeteria supervisor." (Protesters target Governor’s Residence after fatal police shooting).
"Clarence Castile, Philando’s uncle, said his nephew had worked in the J.J. Hill school cafeteria for 12 to 15 years, “cooking for the little kids.” He said his nephew was “a good kid” who grew up in St. Paul and also lived in Minneapolis for a time." (Aftermath of fatal Falcon Heights officer-involved shooting on video).
The incident took place away from school, during a traffic stop. Some of it was broadcast on Facebook.
Other highly-publicized videos that have involved students or schools include a white South Carolina school police officer grabbing an African-American student by the neck last fall, and an officer manhandling a black teenage girl in McKinney Texas.
Here's the current top Tweet on #NEARA16, showing candidate Clinton and NEA head Eskelsen Garcia. Other highlights include an appearance from "Scandal" hearthrob Tony Goldwyn.
Here's Clinton's speech. Click here if it doesn't load properly. Go to #NEARA16 for all the twitter action.
Here's the video from last night's WNYC #raceinschools conversation including Lucinda Rosenfeld, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Rebecca Carol.
Sunday night's stirring BET speech put Jesse Williams' activism on the front burner, but this obviously wasn't the start of anything for him.
Vox has a nice roundup of issues and moments he's spoken out. The Times has a transcript of the speech. He's a board member of the Advancement Project, which bills itself as a "next generation national civil rights organization."
But that's not all. He's the son of educators, was a teacher himself. He grew up in Chicago and worked at a Philadelphia charter school after graduating from Temple, according to his biography. Wikipedia says he taught for six years.
“I loved being a teacher. It’s the best thing I have ever done. My favorite job ever. I miss it every day,” says Williams in The Guardian (Jesse Williams: I am not going to participate in celebrity culture.)
I haven't been able to find out which schools he taught at, or which schools he attended.
I don’t think we could have done this if I had to answer to a school board. My superintendent colleagues spend the vast majority of their time trying to convince people to allow them to do what is good and right for kids. That’s never how I spend my time. I take great ideas to great leaders and they say yes or they say no and we keep it moving. There is no way that we could have gotten as far as we have gotten without mayoral control.
- DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson explaining keys to her success on WAMU (Chancellor Kaya Henderson Says She's Leaving D.C. Public Schools)
There's a small but growing group of white education folks out there who are identifying themselves as "woke," by which they mean they are aware of structural inequalities and racism (and presumably working against these things).
But I'm not sure that employing the term is a good thing for white folks to do, much as they might be tempted. And I'm especially unsure that it's a good thing for white men to do, given all the privileges and blind spots that come along with being white and male.
The question of being white and woke came up recently on Twitter, thanks to Jonas Chartock expression discomfort with the spread of the term:
It's also been a topic of debate since Justin Timberlake got slammed for his well-intended but clueless response to Jesse Williams' amazing BET speech Sunday night (while you were probably watching Game Of Thrones and I was watching soccer).
The reason, in simple terms, that white folks probably shouldn't use the term is that using "woke" seems like blatant appropriation of a term that people of color in the #BlackLivesMatter movement are using, which is in itself a form of racism.
How can you be a "woke" white person if using the term suggests that you aren't?
So what's a good alternative if you're a white person who thinks s/he "gets it"? There are a few out there to consider, including ally, aspiring ally, and anti-racist. I like the last term the most because it's the most explicit.
If the numbers of white people who are concerned and active about racism are going to grow, then they will likely need an identifier (and maybe even an affinity group) of their own.
The work matters more than the identifier, of course, but I hope it's not "woke."
Related reading: Earning the ‘Woke’ Badge (Amanda Hess in the NYT), Daily Dot (Black Twitter lists the woke white people invited to their cookout), The Cut (Macklemore Is All of My Woke Ex-Boyfriends)
This video highlights Avalon School in St. Paul, Minn., and Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Los Angeles, Calif -- one charter led by teachers, another part of a college-prep focused network. (Charter Schools After 25 Years: Inside Two Contrasting Schools via EdWeek)
Bill keeps longer tenure, scraps other ‘Vergara reforms’ | EdSource ow.ly/GnMm301FriJ
5 Colorado Republicans Fight to Take on CO Senator Michael Bennet - ABC News ow.ly/JAxQ301Frbq
Preschool Teaching Programs Too Diffuse, Unfocused: Analysis - Teacher Beat - Education Week ow.ly/rssE301Fs4A
A School Where The Students Hire Their Teachers | WBEZ ow.ly/Mpwa301FrrV
Leg up or catch up? Wealthier students use summer school to get a step ahead | 89.3 KPCC ow.ly/xXxm301Fr6S
Kansas Votes More Money For Public Schools To Avert Shutdownn.pr/28X0QLS
Kansas Lawmakers Pass Bill in Bid to Stop Court From Closing Schools - The New York Times ow.ly/kgwl301Fr4s
Tutors See Stereotypes and Gender Bias in SAT. Testers See None of the Above. - NYT ow.ly/LUSf301Fr28
Fighting for ‘Our School’ | American RadioWorks | ow.ly/yOOu301ExDA
1 In 10 Cal State Students Is Homeless, Study Finds n.pr/29bPaBc
There aren't a lot of African Americans who live on the Upper West Side...We were sad to learn that, you know? I would like more diversity, but we chose to move to this place because we put the quality of the education at a higher value.
-- An unnamed UWS parent in this Gothamist piece (UWS Parents Fight Proposal To Relocate School)
School segregation is the result of intentional policy choices and governmental interventions. It was constructed, and to end it we must deconstruct it through further interventions. We also must acknowledge that segregation was created at the behest of middle class white voters and business leaders and it can only be undone at their behest.
- Nate Bowling (We have the answer, we choose to ignore it)
"Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks to Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center for insight into how Southern schools can move race relations forward."
"The battle over Common Core education standards is playing out across the country, but a new set of requirements for teaching science is creeping into curricula without the same fanfare. Some states are voluntarily adopting the practices, which emphasize more consistent science instruction as well as hands-on experimentation." PBS NewsHour
Here's a two-minute video from Save Our Public Schools making the case against raising MA's charter school cap. There's a big state referendum on the issue coming later this year. The video claims that charters already take $400 million away from public schools.
"San Francisco’s Lowell High School is one of the most selective public schools in the country. But the school’s selectivity means that black and Latino students, who are often less prepared for academic rigor than Lowell’s majority-Asian students, are underrepresented." via PBS NewsHour.
Or, watch this kid imitate Presidential candidates at his graduation.
"At Pennsylvania’s Upper Darby High School in suburban Philadelphia, more than 15 languages are spoken in a student body of nearly 4,000. To help support such a diverse array of English-language learners, the school created a peer tutoring program."
Still buzzing over the Sunday Tony awards show? Me, too. Check out the show performances if you missed any here, or click the link above and watch some of the NYC high school kids who've been attending the show and performing for Lin Manuel-Miranda as part of what Scholastic's Wayne D'Orio dubbed "Hamilton 101." It's pretty cool to watch them. The video is about a half-hour long.
City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg (M, 30s, no book dust jacket, perched on edge of his seat, Brown NB) pic.twitter.com/9gk5zS5cOq— CoverSpy CHI (@CoverSpyCHI) March 24, 2016
A long novel about mid-1970s New York City, this book features a key subplot about a Southern-born college graduate brought north to teach at an elite and nearly all-white private girls' school in Manhattan.
That doesn't make it an education book, and at nearly 1,000 pages it's not exactly a quick read, but if you're an educationista looking for an excuse to read about the birth of punk, the near-bankruptcy of NYC, and proto-terrorism, it's all you need :-)
What's on *your* summer reading list, and what's its slender connection to education?
Related posts: Best Of 2015: Two Education Books Make The List; Best Titles To Help White Teachers, Parents, Reporters Understand Race; An Anthropological Look At School Fundraising; New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School English; 'Confessions Of A Headmaster'.
Check out Scholastic Administrator editor Wayne D'Orio's new piece about how Hamilton teamed with two nonprofits to immerse high school students in American history'—and challenge them to create their own performances.
"Thirteen teams of 11th graders from around New York City are waiting anxiously in the wings to perform their own two-minute pieces on events or people from the birth of our country. “Welcome to the best day of the year for us here at the Richard Rodgers: EduHam,” says an enthusiastic Miranda as he looks out on a theater packed entirely with high school students. After the student performances, the high schoolers will see Hamilton, culminating their immersion in the life and times of the “10-dollar founding father without a father.”
Do shorter hours or higher wages make better teachers? - https://t.co/Nnr0ySNxFf— Savas Savides (@SSavides) May 22, 2016
This recent chart from the Economist magazine uses OECD and IMF numbers to try and track the relationship between hours of work, purchasing power, and student achievement. American teachers are shown to work 45 hours a week and make $60,000. Its PISA scores are in the middle. Are these figures correct?