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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" »

Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)

430890004_98639b3bb7_nSince the Vergara decision was handed down in California reactions have been predictably partisan and extreme. Reformers are ecstatic over what they believe if a "huge win" and their critics are equally confident that the decision was "anti-teacher" and "exactly backwards".

It's not really surprising that the reactions would shake out this way. Education debates are often highly-polarized, and there are political reasons for activists to exaggerate the stakes.

In reality, the most reasonable position to take about the consequences of Vergara is agnosticism. Even if the decision survives appeal it will be many years before schools feel its effects, and then it is likely that the overall impact will be quite modest.

This case may still spend years winding its way through the legal system, and its ultimate fate in the judiciary is not at all obvious. If the ruling eventually remains intact, the California legislature could potentially satisfy its requirements without making major changes to the statutes in question.

More than that,  it's not clear why we should be confident that changing the rules governing teacher tenure or seniority privileges will have major, easily-predictable consequences.

On the contrary, the effects of those rules are complex and often cut in opposite directions. Below the fold, I'll consider the trade-offs involved in tenure reform specifically and try to show why it's hard to know whether the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Continue reading "Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)" »

Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength

image from www.educationnews.orgFormer New Yotk Times Magazine reporter Matt Bai has a fascinating and highly controversial (5,000-comment) story you might want to read about how the ultra-liberal Democracy Alliance ended up naming NEA executive director John Stocks (pictured) as board chairman (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it).

"So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders. You want to free the capital from the grip of powerful interest groups...Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course!"

Originally conceived as a venture fund for progressive think tanks and thinkers (CAP, MMA), the liberal group has funneled $500 million + to liberal groups over the past decade, according to Bai. But it didn't stay innovative very long, in terms of its backers and who got funding. Silicon Valley and Wall Street funders faded away.  Think tanks like the New Democrat Network and Third Way were cut off.

Now Stocks is at the helm, a move that "tells you something about the direction of Democratic politics right now," according to Bai, because of Stocks' role as the power behind the throne at the NEA (top of Bai's list of "political powerhouses that have been intransigent and blindly doctrinaire in the face of change").

Continue reading "Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength" »

Quotes: Rich Liberals Hire Union Head To Run Progressive PAC

Quotes2So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders... Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course! - Former New York Times Sunday Magazine reporter Matt Bai (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it)

AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)

News2

DCPS Hits Pause On Using Test Scores For Teacher Evaluations WAMU: For one year, D.C. Public Schools won't factor student test scores into teacher evaluations.

D.C. will wait a year to rate teachers with Common Core tests PBS: A Thursday announcement from current D.C. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s predecessor and former deputy, could make waves across the country. 

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations AP: The District of Columbia public school system, one of the first in the country to evaluate teachers using student test scores, announced Thursday that it would suspend the practice while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Changes to Teacher Evaluation System NYT: For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, teachers with poor ratings of either “ineffective” or “developing” would have state test scores removed from their evaluations. If the test scores alone led to a poor rating, then teachers would get a temporary pass.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praises Cuomo's teacher-evaluation bill Politics on the Hudson: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday praised a New York bill that would hold teachers harmless for poor Common Core-based test scores through next school year.

‘Safety net’ deal on teacher evaluations protects against negative consequences Chalkbeat: Teachers won’t face negative consequences for the next two years if they flunk their annual evaluations because of Common Core-aligned state tests, according to a tentative deal reached today between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)" »

Events: Fixing Poverty Without Fixing K-12 Education?

120914_$BOX_PovertyEX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeThe Hamilton Project (@hamiltonproj via Brookings) is having a big event today and tomorrow -- check it out -- but you may be pleased or disconcerted to note that their proposed efforts at #AddressingPoverty.  --  14 new policy proposals -- don't really involve K-12 education.

Early childhood education? Sure.  

After-school and summer learning? But of course.

A smattering of education types -- NYU's Amy Schwartz, Harvard's Bridget Terry Long. OK.

Whether this means that poverty isn't really an issue that K-12 can be expected to help address, or that the current mess of K-12 (for poor kids, at least) is more daunting than poverty, I'll leave the interpretation up to you.

Personally, I feel a little left out.

Previous posts: Reduced Poverty Or Teacher Quality? "Both," Says RheeWho Told Us The Education Fights Poverty, Anyway? (Bruno); What Next For Poverty/Inequality 2014?More Poverty In Suburbs Than In Cities;  Poverty Hurts US Students More Than In Other Nations Let's Not Talk About 43M Poor PeoplePoverty Increases Cut Both Ways In Reform Debate.

 

#WorldCupED: The Long-Forgotten AFT-Rotherham Head Butt Of 2006

image from photos1.blogger.com

#tbt

Only the old-timers will recognize either the French soccer player head-butting his Italian opponent in the 2006 World Cup or the relationship to the AFT and Education Sector that I was trying to establish in this blog post from July 2006 (before you were probably born).

The caption was this:  "Unable to restrain himself against the steady stream of insults and elbows, Zidane AFT John turns and viciouslyhead-butts Materazzi the Ed Sector. Was it justified? Public opinion is sharply divided."

Truth be told, I remember the image but don't remember the circumstances. AFT John is long gone, as is the AFT blog that used to be so much fun/frustration (there's not even a cached copy of it that I can find).  

Rotherham is still around, but long gone from Education Sector and public spats with the AFT that have or haven't served him well. 

Previous posts: Winners & Losers 2008 (According To Me)The Successful Failure Of ED In '08Duncan Only Has Himself To Blame, Says Rotherham.

Maps: ProPublica Shows Most States Allow Adults To Pin Kids Down

ScreenHunter_05 Jun. 19 11.54From ProPublica's Heather Vogell: "Public schoolchildren across the country were physically restrained or isolated in rooms they couldn’t leave at least 267,000 times in the 2011-2012 school year, despite a near-consensus that such practices are dangerous and have no therapeutic benefit. Many states have little regulation or oversight of such practices." (Can Schools in Your State Pin Kids Down? Probably.., Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will)

Morning Audio: Vergara Roundtable On SoCal Public Radio

ScreenHunter_03 Jun. 19 11.14Check out this half-hour segment featuring the Broad Foundation's Bruce Reed, Politico's Stephanie Simon, and the Century Foundation's Rick Kahlenberg.  You might be surprised to hear Simon's analysis of the situation -- calling out the unions for hypocrisy on the issue of political spending, for example.  h/t Dr. John Thompson. Reed discusses the possibility that other states will have Vergara-like lawsuits. 

 

Five Best Blogs: Teacher Prep, Vergara, & Everything Else

TEACHER PREP

Possible Silver Lining in Grim Teacher Prep Review | EdCentral ht.ly/yc2Bo @mdjtooley @NCTQ

Top-ranked teacher ed program - Western Governors -- doesn't have classes - Vox ht.ly/yc23f @libbyanelson

VERGARA

SoCal public radio roundtable on #Vergara feat. @StephanieSimon_ @BroadFoundation Bruce Reed, @RickKahlenberg ht.ly/ycm0X

About Those Vergara Naysayers... | @ericlerumht.ly/ybXca

How California under-performs on NAEP and overpays, too -- Profit of Education ht.ly/yc2gG #Vergara

MISC

Jay Mathews: How not to blow $100 million on schools wapo.st/1qdKDAx

Vox: US Educational gains have been steady and long-standing via @voxdotcom ht.ly/yciW0

Behind the recent TFA/CPS renewal/contract extension @PassTheChalk ht.ly/yc9cK

 

Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*

Jetsons robot teacher via smithsonian pandodailyOne of the big stories out of yesterday's NCTQ report was the weakness of alternative certification programs, as noted by Teacher Beat (Alternative Certification Deemed Weak). "For the most part, the 85 alternative programs analyzed weren't sufficiently selective, didn't ensure that applicants knew their content, and did far too little to supervise the new teachers in the classroom, the NCTQ concludes."

As this AEI paper from 2012 describes, one structural reason for the lack of quality behind alt cert programs is that their graduates are deemed highly qualified under NCLB and allowed to be hired without any negative consequences -- a provision created for TFA and staunchly defended by it in the intervening years.  The paper also notes that TFA is the brand name for alt cert but its members are very much the minority in terms of overall alt cert teachers. 

 UPDATE: "All eight TFA regions received the highest rating for how we admit talented individuals into teaching," notes TFA's response to the NCTQ report. "Additionally all eight regions received high ratings in supervised practice." See full statement below.

Continue reading "Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*" »

Magazines: The Innovation/Disruption "Myth" (New Yorker Vs. Slate)

image from www.newyorker.comThe big think piece of the week so far has to be Jill Lepore's New Yorker cover story attempting to debunk (or at least contextualize) the current fancy for things labeled "innovative" and/or "disruptive."

Basically, Lepore is saying that "innovation" is today's version of the word progress, that the Clay Christensen book that has promoted much of the furor is based on some shaky anecdotes, that innovator/disruptor types tend to rely on circular logic (innovations that fail weren't disruptive enough), and that disruptors' insights aren't much good at predicting future successes and may be particularly inappropriate to public efforts (and journalism). 

In several places, the piece notes that schools and other public endeavors have been touched by the innovation craze: 

"If your city’s public-school district has adopted an Innovation Agenda, which has disrupted the education of every kid in the city, you live in the shadow of “The Innovator’s Dilemma.”

And also: "Christensen has co-written books urging disruptive innovation in higher education (“The Innovative University”), public schools (“Disrupting Class”), and health care (“The Innovator’s Prescription”). 

There's also a funny description of the MOOC panic of 2012-2013.

Over at Slate, Will Oremus thinks that the case against innovation/disruption is being overstated and that the New Yorker writer just wants folks to stop trying to disrupt her industry.

There are lots of angles related to education here.  Are things as bad as we're being told by reformers -- bad enough to warrant attempts at "blowing up" the current system? What happens to the legacy system when inno-disruption efforts fail to make much improvement (MOOCs), or (as in charters) succeed only partially?

 

AM News: CT Teachers Endorse Malloy Over Ed Reform Critic

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A labor embrace for Malloy, with a jab over education CT Mirror: The Connecticut AFL-CIO’s biennial political convention was a two-day infomercial promoting the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, with one carefully choreographed note of discord: A rebuke to the Democratic governor’s choice of Stefan Pryor as commissioner of education.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Gets A Mention New Haven Independent: AFT head Randi Weingarten praised a “dear friend” and third-party candidate who was barred from addressing a labor convention—then made a case for why delegates should instead support a governor who has angered teachers.

U.S. Warning New York State on Teacher Evaluations WSJ: A federal education official warned Tuesday that if New York delays using student test scores as part of teacher evaluations this year, the state risks losing up to $292 million of its Race to the Top grant.

Burglaries in summer, school assaults in fall: here's when crimes happen Vox: The beginning of the school year is the most dangerous time for teens. Simple assault is the only type of crime that's more common in fall than any other time of year. The reason for this isn't that it's somehow an autumnal sort of crime; it's that teens are disproportionately the victims of simple assault, and teen crime patterns are different from adults.

From Skid Row to high school graduation, Los Angeles supports homeless students’ academic success PBS NewsHour: Nora Perez just graduated from Roybal learning center, a high school in Los Angeles. Those four years can be an uphill battle for many students. However, Nora faced a mountain of challenges. This is what she called home during high school, the back of a car, parked on a city street. It’s where Nora spent part of the night and studied after school.

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

Continue reading "AM News: CT Teachers Endorse Malloy Over Ed Reform Critic" »

Five Best Blogs: Duncan Moonwalks Vergara Comments Back (Sort Of)

Despite @arneduncan's NEA- and AFT-inspired#Vergara "moonwalk," unions still on defensive, says EIA ht.ly/y8PCE

Former @insidehighered reporter @alliegrasgreen is covering higher ed for Politico @Morning_Edu now ht.ly/y8LH7

THE DISRUPTION MACHINE: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong -The New Yorker ht.ly/y8KcC#edtech

Schoolyard brawls are declining -- is lead abatement the cause? @KevinDrum Mother Jones ht.ly/y8GN8

How desperate Michigan Universities and Businesses teamed up to try and save the state - NatJournal's @fawnjohnson ht.ly/y8ZJh

Just 11 of 86 Denver teachers placed on unpaid leave were rehired once mutual consent was implemented, reports EIA ht.ly/y8Qcx

 

Update: Low-Skill Parents Need Better Educating, Too

Skylab learningThere are an estimated 36 million low-skill adults in the US - not counting undocumented immigrants or incarcerated adults.  

Only about 5 percent of them are getting anything by way of help with their numeracy, literacy, or English language skills.  

Sometimes it's nothing more than a weekly course taught by a volunteeer in the library. 

No surprise, then, that adult ed waiting lists are long, and persistence/retention is low. 

Rather than thinking about them as a separate population, howver, think about them as your students' parents -- the folks your kids go home to each day, who could help out with schoolwork or not, depending.

That's not the only connection, however.

Read about recent efforts to reboot adult education nationally and locally in my first article for EdSurge (New Urgency Around Adult Education) and you'll see lots that mirrors what's going on in K-12 education -- from the trends (flipped, mobile, gamified, etc.) to the struggle to maintain funding to the widely varying results.

 

Previous posts:  The Story Behind 2010's "Waiting For 'Superman'"Common Core: A Peek Inside A "Field Test" Help Desk. Image via Skylab Learning.

 

Lists: Why American Teachers Feel So Poor

Teachers earn a bit more than the average American and they are perceived as prestigious according to public opinion polls, notes Vox's Matt Yglesias in his list of 11 things we should know about American schools. And their absolute salaries are high, too.   So what are they complaining about?  

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.comIt's prett simple: Their relative salaries are low, compared to other college graduates.  So their earnings might seem solid from the perspective of the average parent or member of the public, but their earnings compared to their educational peers doesn't match up. It doesn't in other OECD countries, either, but it's particularly bad in the US. 

AM News: Van Roekel Roars (Politico), Duncan Doubles Down (Vergara)

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NEA president blasts reformers Politico: Van Roekel referred to a full-page ad in USA Today that urged citizens to sue to “stop teachers unions from treating kids like garbage” and today's story inPOLITICO about the decline in union influence.

Duncan issues new statement with the ‘right lessons’ from Vergara trial Washington Post: In case you weren’t sure what to think about last week’s verdict in the “Vergara trial” — in which a Los Angeles court judge tossed out state statutes giving job protections to teachers — Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued a new statement on Sunday offering what he thinks are the “right lessons” from the case.

Home-Schooling Parents Rally Against Common Core AP: Home-schooling parents motivated in opposition to Common Core standards

L.A. school unions back separate candidates in Board of Education race LA Times: The two largest school employee unions in Los Angeles are on different sides of a key Board of Education race, as they maneuver for leverage over pay raises, job security and other matters.

Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes NYT:  Chrispin Alcindor, a Brooklyn fourth grader, was once a top student. But rigorous new academic standards — and the exams that accompany them — have frayed his confidence.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Van Roekel Roars (Politico), Duncan Doubles Down (Vergara)" »

Quotes: Teachers Deserve Reasonable Protections - But Not Ironclad Ones

Quotes2Teachers deserve reasonable due process rights and job protections. But the unions can either work to change the anachronistic policies cited by the court or they will have change thrust upon them. - NYT Editorial Page (A New Battle for Equal Education)

Charts: Ghana Wins World Cup Of Education [Spending]

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 13 10.39The World Cup has just started but Ghana -- one of the teams the US will face to start things out -- has already won the World Cup of Education Spending as a percentage of GDP. The US doesn't even make it out of the first round. Via WSJ.  

Five Best Blogs: Of World Cup Countries, Ghana Spends Most On Education

"Brazilians await the Cup's arrival the way HS students might await a test they haven't studied for." ht.ly/xWxe1 #WorldCupED

Ghana wins #worldcupEd, spending 8.1 percent of GDP on education ht.ly/xWzkU via WSJ

NYT Editorial page declares #Vergara decision the start of a "New Battle for Equal Education" ht.ly/xVBh6

Is Teacher Tenure Really The New Brown V. Board Of Ed? ht.ly/xWpNQ @TeacherBeat's @Stephen_Sawchuk on NPR

John Bailey is now VP of Policy at Foundation for Excellence in Education, says LinkedIn

"The often stated notion that more than half of black males drop out, or do not graduate, is not true," says Toldson ht.ly/xWcal

Without Jobs, School Is a Waste of Time - Young Education Professionals ht.ly/xWbws

School food lobby flip-flops on healthy school lunches | Al Jazeera America @MicheleRSimon ht.ly/xW76t@PoliticsK12

Stop complaining about Common Core, parents! - The Washington Post via RCE ht.ly/xMIC0

 

Charts: The *Real* Reason Some Educators Are So Grouchy?

image from espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.comBasically, schools were protected by the Stimulus (including Race to the Top) during the early years of the Great Recession, but since then state and local funding hasn't (yet) rebounded and federal funding has fallen. Class sizes haven't taken a giant hit but -- see here for lots more charts -- it still isn't pretty. Changes in Per Student Funding 07-12 Via Vox (anyone seen Libby Nelson recently, BTW?)

AM News: Advocates Consider Additional Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits

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Teacher Tenure Ruling in California Is Expected to Intensify Debate NYT: Copycat lawsuits are expected in other states after a judge’s landmark finding on Tuesday that California’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional.

Some states roll back teacher tenure protections AP: The nonpartisan Education Commission of the States, which highlighted the changes in a recent report, says 16 states — up from 10 in 2011 — now require the results of teacher evaluations be used in determining whether to grant tenure. Not all changes have stuck, and few are without a political fight.

De Blasio defends teacher tenure as critics mull copycat suit Chalkbeat: Mayor de Blasio defended the city’s teacher tenure process Wednesday, the same day new research showed the process has become better at blocking ineffective teachers from receiving tenure.  Lawyers and advocates say that New York's tenure rules could be vulnerable to a lawsuit like the one that successfully challenged teachers' job protections in California.

See also: Vergara ruling gets mixed reaction from school board LA School Report; Schools' next test is getting tenure ruling to pay off in class LA Times; LAUSD exploring next steps after teacher tenure ruling LA Daily News; Does Tenure Protect Bad Teachers or Good Schools? NYT.

Obama Defends College Ratings Inside Higher Ed: “A lot of colleges and universities say if you start ranking just based on cost and employability, et cetera, you're missing the essence of higher education and so forth,”Obama said.

In salute to seniors, Obama holds up technical high school as model for skills ... U.S. News & World Report: At Worcester Technical High School, Obama praised students and teachers alike for giving more than just "lip service" to the idea of skills-based education. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Advocates Consider Additional Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits" »

Quotes: No Obama Administration Over-Reach.... On Standards, At Least

Quotes2You can argue that some of the OTHER things the Obama administration has done constitute something of an over-reach, but not on standards. -- Achieve's Mike Cohen speaking at #EWA154 (at roughly the 8:33 mark)

Update: The Story Behind 2010's "Waiting For 'Superman'"

Superman-shieldSome tidbits from my latest oeuvre (How 'Waiting for Superman' (almost) changed the world), which is out today:
 
- the hit-and-miss history of "message" movies (and why they're still so irresistable);
 
- Guggenheim's ill-fated (half-assed?) efforts to include a LAUSD magnet lottery in the movie;
 
- the "two-story" format that helped (or hindered) the movie's message (plus Guggenheim as narrator);
 
- conflicting accounts over whether the film-makers knew ahead of time that they were making such a pro-charter, anti-union film;
 
- the film-makers' refusal to reveal the whereabouts of the kids they profiled (though some updates are known); and 
 
- new efforts to quantify the impact of movie-based advocacy (and ongoing efforts to measure Superman's impact).
 
Participant's latest education-themed documentary, "Ivory Tower," premiers on Friday.

Quotes: Calling Out The Rigid Ideologues Among Us

Quotes2Are we really interested in tapping everyone's full potential in our schools and work places, or do we just like our story better? - NPR's Michel Martin (Do You Want The Truth, Or Do You Just Like Your Story Better?)

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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.