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5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Klein Vs. Ravitch, Part 157

New @JoelIKlein book reiterates his claim that @DianeRavitch reform reversal was personally motivated, says Newsweek's @alexnazaryan

@DianeRavitch: @JoelIKlein @alexnazaryan Silly. My "reversal" occurred five years after my partner retired from NYC DOE.

The internecine conflict within NJ teachers union (& across the nation) - NJ Spotlight http://ow.ly/DigSL  @NJLeftbehind

Your local schools probably aren't nearly as good as you think they are - @BrookingsEd http://ow.ly/Dik3O 

Public Schools... for the rich — Joanne Jacobs http://ow.ly/Dip4x 

Rethinking vocational high school as a path to college | http://Marketplace.org  @ehanford http://ow.ly/Dijhi 

Just 8 states - AL, KY, NE, MT, ND, SD, VT, WV - still don't allow charters, and AL could be next to fall http://ow.ly/DijMU 

NPR's 50 great teachers premiers on Tuesday WFSU http://ow.ly/Di9l7  @npr_ed

 

 

Media: TIME Cover/Story Generates Angry (Symbolic) Union Response

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It lacks some of the visceral feel of the 2008 Michelle Rhee holding a broom in her hands cover (left).  Perhaps Campbell Brown was unavailable to wield the hammer.  But the new TIME Magazine cover (right, and story) is proving controversial enough to have activated the national teachers unions and others who see (and benefit from) the "war on teachers" narrative.  Rally the base!  Scare the members! Scare off anyone else who might be thinking about writing about teacher tenure and school reform. Why not?

Continue reading "Media: TIME Cover/Story Generates Angry (Symbolic) Union Response" »

Quotes: "*They* [Locals] Know What The Kids Need."

Quotes2I want local parents, teachers, and school boards to make the decisions about curriculum and assessment. They know what the kids need. They’re the ones that care the most about those kids. - Green Party candidate for NY governor Howie Hawkins in In These Times (Nervous, Cuomo?)

AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards

Despite History, N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Says: 'I Have Nothing to Do With Common Core' State EdWatch: Although he's previously stressed the importance of the common core, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an Oct. 22 debate: "I have nothing to do with common core."

See also:  NY TimesBuffalo NewsThe Post-Standard.

NY State to Review Schools' Immigration Compliance AP: New York officials ordered a statewide review Thursday of public school compliance with enrollment policies for unaccompanied minors and immigrant children following reports that several dozen children who had recently arrived from Central America were not admitted to a Long Island high school.

Second immigration wave lifts diversity to record high USA Today: Small metro areas such as Lumberton, N.C., and Yakima, Wash., and even remote towns and counties — such as Finney County, Kan., or Buena Vista County, Iowa — have seen a stunning surge in immigrants, making those places far more diverse.

Ed. Department Teacher Prep Regulations Delayed (Again) PK12: Rumors have it that the U.S. Department of Education was set to release new proposed regulations this week requiring teacher-preparation programs to do a better job identifying weak programs. But they have yet to appear in the Federal Register. Earlier this year, the White House promised we'd see new regulations, which have been overdue since 2012, by summer. So what gives?

Common Core revolt goes local Politico: School districts from New Hampshire to Oregon are revolting against the coming Common Core tests.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: NY Teachers Union Declines To Endorse Cuomo Challenger (Because: Albany)

NY state teachers union *still* won't endorse Cuomo or opponent, reports In These Times http://ow.ly/DeXeK 

Daily Kos: Fox News is suddenly concerned about election spending. Because teachers unions, of course. http://ow.ly/DcrSd 

New TIME cover http://ti.me/1ox35XT  prolly giving reformers PTSD flashbacks from '08 @MichelleRhee broom cover http://ow.ly/DeIuK  #tbt

Lopez: Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf? - LA Times http://ow.ly/DdE2h 

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution | The Hechinger Report http://ow.ly/DbVTr 

Teacher tenure: Wrong target  - NY Daily News via @RealClearEd http://ow.ly/DeKjT 

TAP program increases teacher retention at high-need schools, says TAP http://ow.ly/DfmGE  @janarausch

Thompson: Why Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers

The corporate school reform movement has always been built around a clear and united public relations strategy. It's been a one-two punch. Reform is a civil rights revolution to create schools with “High Expectations!” that overcome the legacies of poverty. Test-driven accountability is necessary to overcome teachers’ low expectations.

During the high tide of corporate reform in 2010, their scorched earth public relations campaign against teachers and unions was doubly effective because they all sang from the same hymnal. Since then, however, reformers’ failures to improve schools have been accompanied by political defeat after defeat. Now they are on the same page with a kinder, gentler message.

Now, the most public message is that a toxic testing culture has mysteriously appeared in schools. As the Center for American Progress, in Testing Overload in America's Schools, recently admitted “a culture has arisen in some states and districts that places a premium on testing over learning.” So, the reformers who made that culture of test prep inevitable now want to listen to teachers, and create a humane testing culture.

As Alexander Russo recently reported, in Why Think Tankers Hate the Vergara Strategy, some indicate  that the Vergara campaign against teachers’ legal rights is a dubious approach. I’m also struck by the number of reformers, who complain about unions’ financial and political power, and who seem to by crying that We Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers.

Yes! Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers!

I communicate with a lot of individual reformers who agree that test-driven accountability has failed, but they can’t yet visualize an accountability system that could satisfy their reform coalition and teachers. I repeatedly hear the pained protest that, Testing Isn’t Going Away.

So, what alternative do we have?

Continue reading "Thompson: Why Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers" »

Quotes: Greedy Reformers

Quotes2A firm that’s just in it for the money is as reprehensible as a teacher union that’s in it just to look after its members’ pay, pensions, and job security. - Fordham's Checker Finn (The State of Education Reform)

Charts: EdWeek Pyramid Of Spending Shows How Much More Unions Spend Than Reform Advocates

You might be forgiven for thinking that reform advocates (DFER, et al) outspend everyone else when it comes to campaign contributions, but this year as in other years that's generally not the case. Both sides are spending more this year than they did in 2012, but this EdWeek story/chart (image used with permission) shows the situation for 2014:

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 23 11.02
To be sure, the unions are supporting a broad set of candidates on a broader set of issues -- and trying to help the Democrats keep the Senate -- but the conventional media narrative of massive unopposed reform largesse isn't accurate. Still not enough?  See also Teachers' Unions, Others Put Cash on Line in Senate RacesEducation-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines.

Magazines: Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Expose Growing Reform Rift

Teacher.Cover[3][1][1]

The newly-resurgent TIME magazine has a lengthy, delightfully wonky cover story about teacher tenure written by former Columbia J-School classmate Haley Sweetland Edwards that you might want to check out (The War on Teacher Tenure).

Some of the new story (subscription only, alas) will be extremely familiar to education insiders like you, but there are some key additional details and aspects worth noting.

For example, Edwards reminds us that the Vergara decision (being appealed) is "the first time first time, in California or anywhere else, that a court had linked the quality of a teacher, as measured by student test scores, to a pupil’s right to an education."

She also reminds us that the current crop of billionaires interested in fixing education is not the first (think Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford).

The parts that may be new to you include background details about how David Welch got involved in the issue four years ago after consulting constitutional scholar Kathleen Sullivan.  Then came the hiring of the PR firm now called Rally, which launched StudentsMatter.  Recruiting and vetting plaintiffs -- no easy feat, I'm told -- came next.

Edwards also notes that some DC-based education reformers aren't entirely behind the Vergara approach, citing concerns from right-leaning wonks like Petrilli and McShane that you may recall from a few weeks ago (they don't like lawsuits and are hoping for a post-Rhee time of cooperation rather than ever-increasing conflict with the teachers unions).  

There aren't any left-leaning think tankers quoted in the piece, but my sense is that reform folks are sick of being beaten up, don't want to have to take more heat for another hard-charging evangelist (ie, Campbell Brown), and are worried about 2016.  

Edwards' previous forays into education writing include a piece about the Colbert/Stewart divide (Pro-Reform Colbert Leapfrogs Reform Critic Stewart) and something about unions' evolving positions on Common Core (Teachers Union Pulls Full-Throated Support for Common Core).

 

AM News: Record Campaign Spending Mixes Unions & Reform Advocates

Education-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines PK12: In Illinois, teachers' unions gave more than $775,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard, an ALEC member, ended up losing a close primary to Bruce Rauner, a businessman and newcomer to politics.

Early Voting Kicks Off In Maryland As Candidates Spar On Schools WAMU: As the statewide races build toward a climax, Marylanders looking to vote before Election Day can cast their ballots starting Thursday morning at locations throughout the state.

Obama Administration Clarifies Anti-Bullying Protections For Students With Disabilities HuffPost:   This week, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon sent a letter with new legal guidance to the nation's public schools in an effort to clarify that federal anti-bullying protections extend to about 750,000 more students than schools think.

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution Hechinger/Lens: As public school students settle into the school year, they can’t seem to shake off a bit of inaccurate national attention: The belief that New Orleans has the country’s first all-charter school system. That’s wrong on two counts. The city still has a handful of traditional public schools, and the array of more than 70 charter schools can hardly be called a system, though that’s beginning to change.

Immigrants’ School Cases Spur Enrollment Review in New York NYT: Officials will determine whether districts have discouraged undocumented immigrant children through rigid enrollment requirements.

On campus, fight Ebola panic with information PBS NewsHour: "Mr. Aguilar, we have students texting and saying that a student on campus has Ebola,” Nurse Belk told me after a student was sent home for an ear problem.

New Orleans public school teacher evaluation results, 2014 NOLA.com: The Louisiana Education Department released teacher evaluation results Wednesday. New Orleans results were below the state average. 7 percent of teachers were considered ineffective and 21 percent highly effective. 

Karen Lewis’ Replacement at the CTU Has a Message for Rahm Emanuel In These Times: Though Sharkey doesn’t yet have much of a relationship with Mayor Emanuel, if his gutsy 2012 debate with Emanuel ally, venture capitalist and current Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is any indication—in which Sharkey blasts Rauner’s anti-union, corporate education reform agenda—Rahm’s life is not about to get any easier when it comes to dealing with the new head of the CTU. 

How One District School Is Tackling English Language Learning WAMU: Teaching students for whom English is a second language can be a challenge, but a specialized program at Cardozo Education Campus is making it work.

From a Rwandan Dump to the Halls of Harvard NYT: Justus Uwayesu’s life was changed by a chance encounter in Rwanda with an American charity worker.

U.N.C. Investigation Reveals Athletes Took Fake Classes NYT: A report found that classes requiring no attendance and little work were common knowledge among academic counselors and football coaches.

Afternoon Video: Cuomo Pledges Five-Year Common Core Moratorium

Check out this new Cuomo video, in which the shoo-in Democratic candidate takes a perhaps unexpectedly soft (smart?) position on Common Core assessments (Andrew Cuomo Concedes Defeat in the Common Core Wars). "Among his education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready." Bloomberg via Breitbart.

 

Charts: Red Bar Shows People Are 12x More Enthusiastic About Own Schools Than Yours

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A quick glance at the red bars to the left of each graph shows that the public grades schools much more harshly nationally (left) than they grade them locally (right). Maybe part of the reason is that they live in wealthier areas that increasingly subsidize their children's education though outside foundations. Via Vox. Used with permission.

 

 

Morning Listen: Cortines Promises Improvements In LAUSD

"On Monday, Ramon Cortines took over as the superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District. The 82-year-old is replacing John Deasy who resigned from the post last week. Cortines faces plenty of challenges as current head of the nation's second largest school district. But he's been in this seat before. Twice as a matter of fact. Ramon Cortines spoke with Take Two on Monday, his first day back on the job."

Cortines-1927761f

 KPCC: New LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines talks top priorities for LA schools

Thompson: It's OK To Celebrate Deasy’s Departure, Teachers

The Los Angeles Times’ Too Many Maverick Moments Finally Led to Deasy’s Undoing at LAUSD, by Howard Blume and James Rainey, is probably the best account of how the LA School Board finally lost patience with the “uncommunicative, ungovernable, somewhat detached leader.”

Journalists and scholars rightly take a dispassionate stance and place John Deasy’s defeat in the overall context of systematic change, and why it is hard to improve large urban school systems. The best of that genre is Deasy's Exit Reflects Other School Battles Across the U.S., by Teresa Watanabe and Stephen Ceasar, who place Deasy's rejection in the context of the backlash against corporate reform. He is one of many advocates of high stakes testing who are falling like dominoes.  

Education policy and union leaders are correct in being gracious and not gloating over our victory in forcing the Broad-trained Deasy to resign.

I hope they all understand, however, why classroom teachers must celebrate the rejection of another teacher-bashing corporate reformer. People who haven’t been in the public school classroom can’t fully appreciate the humiliation of having to endure the venom of ideologues like Deasy, Michelle Rhee, and too many other accountability hawks.

Deasy, and others who say that data, leadership, and accountability can overcome the legacies of poverty by fostering High Expectations!, could in theory create such a culture by clearing out the deadwood and creating a lean and determined administrative culture. But, I would ask policymakers if they have ever heard of a punitive management system, in any sector of the economy, where top bureaucrats selflessly accepted all of charges placed on them, and they did not turn around and dump that toxicity on their subordinates.

Real world, the poison spewed by Deasy et. al always flows downhill. Teachers are denigrated. A test and punish culture invariably pollutes classrooms, and students are the prime victims. So, let’s take time to celebrate the defeat of Deasy, and use that energy to invigorate the counterattacks against Newark’s Cami Anderson, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, and Rahm Emanuel.

In doing so, we must also envision a time when the last test and punish reformer is not replaced by another blood-in-the-eye crusader. Then, we can celebrate and the turn all of our energy towards better, more humane schools for all.-JT (@drjohnthompson)

Morning Listen: Reed (Netflix) Hastings & Sal Khan Discuss Nonprofit Online Learning

In the most recent Bloomberg EDU, Jane Williams talks to the Netflix founder (and charter skeptic) and YouTube flipped classroom trailblazer (or whatever to call him). Link not working? Go here.

AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)

CA Schools chief race may be election's tightest AP: Tuck has nearly matched Torlakson in campaign fundraising, with $1.9 million, while a Southern California businessman who often supports Republican candidates, William Bloomfield Jr., has independently picked up the tab for at least $900,000 worth of slate mailers and ads on his behalf.

Deasy's exit reflects other school battles across the U.S. LA Times: Top leaders in some of the largest districts — in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Texas and elsewhere — have come under tremendous pressure: some lost their jobs, one faced a massive teachers strike, and lawsuits have been filed against them, among other things.

New LA schools superintendent won’t use district-paid Deasy as adviser KPCC:  New L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said his improvement plans for the school district’s most pressing problems won’t involve the man who arguably knows the district best: resigned Superintendent John Deasy. “Dr. Deasy did many things well, but I will not be using his services,” Cortines said in an interview with KPCC’s Take Two on Monday.

The Short Shelf Life Of Urban School Superintendents NPR: If you're a 12th grader right now in the Los Angeles schools, that means you probably started kindergarten back in 2001. It also means that, as of this week, you've seen four superintendents come and go.

Teacher who flew to Dallas for Common Core seminar put on leave out of Ebola fear The Answer Sheet: A Maine teacher flew to Dallas to attend an educational conference — miles away from the hospital where three cases have been diagnosed — and was told to stay away from the elementary school where she works for 21 days.

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

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Another Comedian Weighs In On Teachers (& Guidance Counselors)

Lewis Black Slams Guidance Counselors, Praises Teachers ow.ly/D3Auk

Karen Lewis Returns to Twitter After Brain Tumor Diagnosis | CSN Chicago ow.ly/D3ivF

It nearly all boils down to money/funding inequities, says @NewAmericaEd's @ConorPWilliams ow.ly/D3pfc

To Siri, with love - NYT ow.ly/D3Q7R Mother of autistic child writes about how the voice recognition program has helped

AFT & NEA weigh in on all-Dem CA supe race ow.ly/D3GUv

The role of the private sector in education: A convo w/ Chicago Community Trust's Terry Mazany — Chicago Business ow.ly/D3zt5

UMD's Journalism Center on Children and Families (home of Casey Medals) will shut down | Poynter. ow.ly/D3rnm

Charts: That Falling Blue Line Represents The Plummeting Hispanic Dropout Rate

Casselman-feature-dropout-2

"In 2000, 12 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 hadn’t graduated high school, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data," notes FiveThirtyEight (U.S. High School Dropout Rates Fall, Especially Among Latinos). "By last year, that figure had fallen to 7 percent. Among Hispanics, the drop-out rate has fallen from 32 percent to 14 percent over the same period." Image used with permission.

Morning Listen: "This American Life" Show On Divergent Approaches To Classroom Discipline

 

This American Life takes on different efforts to revamp school and classroom discipline, from charter schools' silent hallways to racial disparities in suspension rates to the limits of restorative justice. Click here if the embed doesn't show or play. Thanks to LV for posting this on FB.

AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]

Teachers Unions Are Putting Themselves On November’s Ballot TIME: The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers union, is on track to spend between $40 million and $60 million this election cycle, while the smaller American Federation of Teachers (AFT) plans to pony up an additional $20 million—more than the organization has spent on any other past cycle, including high-spending presidential election years.

GOP schooled on education politics Politico: Just this week, the NEA’s political action committee went on the air with two new attack ads: One accuses Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton of seeking to cut student loan programs. Another blames Hawaii gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona for budget cuts that closed K-12 schools on Fridays for months. And there’s more to come.

Marshall Tuck on mission to overhaul education Fresno Bee: "I wouldn't send my son to every single Partnership school today," he said. "But I can tell you, in '08, there's zero chance I would have sent my son to any of them ... and I'm confident that in three or four years, it will be all of them."

John Deasy, former LAUSD superintendent, might run for public office KPCC: In a conference call with reporters organized by the advocacy group Students Matter, Deasy said he had not decided what he would do after leaving the position, but he has three options in mind: working in youth corrections, supporting the development of future school board supervisors or making a run for political office.

Too many maverick moments finally led to Deasy's undoing at LAUSD LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District dumped a heap of trouble on its schools this fall when it rolled out a new student records system.

L.A. Unified says it believes Deasy acted ethically on iPads LA Times: As part of its settlement this week with former schools Supt. John Deasy, the Los Angeles Board of Education declared that it did not believe Deasy had done anything wrong in connection with the project to provide students with iPads.

School District on Long Island Is Told It Must Teach Immigrants NYT: The guidance came after complaints that children who are in the U.S. illegally had been barred from public school classes in Hempstead.

National school boards group ends tobacco partnership EdSource Today: The National School Boards Association ended its health curriculum partnership with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. last week, highlighting the longstanding efforts of tobacco companies to influence what students are taught about cigarette smoking. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]" »

Journalism: Researcher Fails To Disclose Union Funding; Journos Fail To Ask

Granted, it was a busy week in Chicago news, what with the Columbus Day holiday and the unexpected sickness befalling CTU head Karen Lewis, but I see this happening with disturbing frequency lately:

A Chicago-focused charter school study from a couple of days ago was apparently funded in large part by the Chicago Teachers Union -- something that wasn't disclosed in the report and wasn't picked up on by any of the media outlets who passed on its results until now.  

The situation was picked up by Crain's Chicago reporter Greg Hinz in this post (Chicago teachers union paid part of cost of charter-school study), which noted:

Mr. Orfield conceded in a later interview with WTTW that the Chicago Teachers Union, a vehement foe of charters, picked up part of the tab. "It was funded by the teachers union," Mr. Orfield said. "And the Ford Foundation and Kresge Foundation and others."...

In a subsequent phone call, Mr. Orfield said the CTU had paid "about half" of the total bill. However, he added, the methodology he used for the Chicago study was "exactly the same" as in prior studies of charters in New Orleans and the Twin Cities."

Hinz himself didn't get around to checking it out in his initial story either (Chicago charter schools lag conventional public schools: Orfield report). The two dailies covered the study (Study: Charter schools have worsened school segregation | Chicago Sun-Times, and Study: Chicago charter schools lag traditional ones - Chicago Tribune -- but didn't address funding sources. Only WTTW, Chicago Public Television, got to the issue.

So what, you ask? The funding source doesn't necessarily undermine the results (though INCS and others have raised questions about the data and methodology), and Chicago's charters did somewhat better using Orfield's methodology than charters in New Orleans and Minneapolis.  

But still... this is pretty basic stuff. Given all the scrutiny given to funding sources and disclosure in the media and by reform critics in particular, disclosure from the researcher (Myron Orfield) -- and some journalistic checking about the funding source -- would have made a lot of sense. I don't know who to be more upset with -- the journalists or the researcher.   

Morning Video: Why Think Tankers Hate The Vergara Strategy

This video recently uploaded by AFT is mostly just a broadside against Campbell Brown but it also reveals something I've written about before -- that think tankers (Brookings, Fordham) don't seem to like the Vergara-style approach to school reform:

 Why not? Some of the concerns are substantive, but that's only a part of it.  Think tankers and others are feeling burned by the pushback against reforms of the recent era (the so-called "war on teachers"), they're not as nearly familiar with legal strategies (as opposed to policies, programs, and politics), and they probably think they're smarter than Campbell Brown, who's leading the charge.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Deasy Resigns From LA - Cortines Named Interim

Reaction to Deasy resignation as polarizing as his tenure #LAUSD http://wp.me/p2fzpD-7Rn 

LAUSD kids under @DrDeasyLAUSD outpaced other urban kids in gains on NAEP in reading & math, but raw scores still well behind big-city avg

State Education Funding Lags Behind Pre-Recession Levels - US News http://ow.ly/CRqlh  @alliebidwell

Jindal's teacher tenure law ruled constitutional by LA Supreme Court | http://NOLA.com  http://ow.ly/CSixi  @jwilliamsNOLA

De Blasio: Congratulations, @RahmEmanuel for taking steps toward bringing universal pre-k to Chicago’s kids next year.

Ravitch blog reaches 15M pageviews in just over 2 years blog http://ow.ly/CSjd7  Anyone else anywhere near her, including mainstream?

Charts: School Budgets (& Jobs) Still Not Where They Used To Be

My sense is that 260,000 jobs is a drop in the bucket compared to jobs lost in the overall economy, but not if it's your job that's been cut:

image from www.usnews.com

The graph (used with permission) is from a a US News story about a new CBPP report (State Education Funding Lags Behind Pre-Recession Levels). "Overall, 30 of the 47 states analyzed are providing less per-pupil funding for K-12 schools this school year than they did before the recession." Districts have restored 70,000 jobs since 2012.

Morning Video: New Report Highlights District-Based Testing/Test Prep Practices

Here's the video from CAP's event, during which you'll find out about CAP head sending her own kids to DCPS schools, plus link to the new report (Testing Overload in America’s Schools):

Basically, the report focusing on 14 districts in 7 states -- Colorado (Denver Public Schools and Jefferson Co. Schools),  Florida (Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Sarasota County Schools), Georgia (Atlanta Public Schools and Cobb County School District), Illinois (Chicago Public Schools and Elmwood Community Schools), Kentucky (Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville and Bullitt County Public Schools), Ohio (Columbus City Schools and South-Western City School District), Tennessee (Shelby County Schools and Knox Co. Schools) -- finds that there's lots of testing and too much test prep -- much of it district-mandated (not state or federal) -- but holds out hope that states and districts can streamline their testing and that Common Core assessments will make for fewer, fairer tests. #CAPedu

 

Quotes: Build Capacity & Let Schools "Improve Themselves"

Quotes2Let's just figure out how to build capacity in individual schools. ..That's the only thing that I think is scaleable, is talking about how to improve the capacity that schools have to improve themselves.

-- Holy Cross assistant professor Jack Schneider in US public schools are better than they've ever been (Vox). 

 

Thompson: Democratic Think Tank's Supposed Faith in Teachers' Expectations

The power of teachers’ expectations is an issue that must be carefully studied and discussed. It is especially important that educators engage in a sober self-reflection on the expectations we hold for students, especially poor children of color. 

That is why educators from all perspectives should join in condemning another simplistic paper by the Center for American Progress (CAP). After rejecting the latest example of the CAP's teacher-bashing, we should all double down on the study and discussion of teachers' expectations, and seek to improve our ability to improve education outcomes for all children, especially students who traditionally have been stigmatized. 

CAP's The Power of the Pygmalion Effect ostensibly supports Common Core while implicitly blaming teachers for the achievement gap. Authors Ulrich Boser, Megan Wilhelm, and Robert Hanna proclaim that the 10th grade students who they studied who “had teachers with higher expectations were more than three times more likely to graduate from college than students who had teachers with lower expectations.” 

Such a claim should require a complex research model which takes into account family, peer effects, and systemic factors that contribute to college readiness. Boser et. al, however, attribute those differential outcomes to teachers’ answer to a 2002 NAEP question about their students’ chances to succeed in higher education. Their definition of “expectations” was based on how teachers answered the question “'how far in school … [do] you expect this student to get,’ including high school, college, and beyond.” Their paper made only a cursory effort to parse the actual accuracy of those opinions. 

Continue reading "Thompson: Democratic Think Tank's Supposed Faith in Teachers' Expectations" »

Journalism: AP Reporter Moves To LA, Returns To Education Beat

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 12.44.04 PMAfter a two-year exile covering foreign affairs and international crises, Christine Armario (pictured) is slated to return to the education beat -- from LA -- starting next month.

As you may recall, AP tried a "team" approach to covering education for a time (roughly 2010-2012). Armario and others were responsible for digging out all those waiver letters in 2012, as you may recall (How AP Got Hold Of All Those Waiver Letters).  In recent times, AP has had Kimberly Helfing covering education nationally.

There's lots of education journalism going on already in LA, between KPCC, the LA Times, and others (LA School Report and the NYT's Jenny Medina occasionally).  But it's the second-largest school district in the nation and warrants much more attention than it usually gets.  

Related posts: Associated Press Names New Education Editor (2011); Another Twist And Turn For The AP Education Team (2012); Replacing The NYT's National Education Writer (2012); Meet AP Education Reporter Josh Lederman. Image courtesy AP.

AM News: NEA Spending Big On 2014 State Races

NEA Spends Big on State Races PK12: The increased emphasis on state races continues a 2012 trend set in motion by the rise of new and influential education reform groups, like StudentsFirst, that often come down on the opposite of education policy debates from teachers' unions and whose main goal is to impact policy at the local and state level.

Decision expected Thursday on next charter schools  AP: Washington's statewide charter schools commission plans to vote Thursday on a group of schools that want to open in 2015. A team of independent evaluators gave their endorsement to two proposals and said two more were not ...

Waiverless Oklahoma Navigates Tough Transition Back to NCLB PK12: Back in August, Oklahoma became the second state to lose its waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act, and accountability in that state has been unsettled ever since.

Report finds wide disparities in local per-pupil spending; D.C. charters spend most Washington Post: Charter schools in the District spent $18,150 per student during the 2011-2012 school year, while  PG County public schools spent $10,408 on each child it served, a significant difference between the highest and lowest spenders in the Washington region, according to a study released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
 
What Happens When Teachers Are at the Helm of a School? WNYC There are about 70 teacher-led schools currently operating in the country. 

The decision-making process at Renaissance can get pretty messy. Principal Stacey Gauthier said it’s her job to facilitate that mess.

 

 

 

 

Torlakson, Tuck Talk Federal Power, Teachers' Unions, in Calif. Chief's Race State EdWatch:  Incumbent Tom Torlakson stresses his opposition to some federal policies, while challenger Marshall Tuck says despite union opposition to him, he agrees with many positions held by the California Teachers Association.
 
Philadelphia Teachers Hit by Latest Cuts NYT: The state-appointed board that oversees the district canceled the contract of teachers and required them to contribute to health care premiums.

Advocates pushing city on struggling schools choose an unlikely champion ChalkbeatNY: Gassaway criticized the Bloomberg administration even as Boys and Girls avoided closure in recent years as the school’s reputation and enrollment declined during his five-year tenure. 

Lawsuit alleges students' instruction lacking EdSource Today: Los Angeles Unified school board member Steve Zimmersaid he expected the practice to be more widespread in the district. 

Why Kids Sext The Atlantic: Between them, the accounts included about 100 pictures, many of girls from the local high school, Louisa County High, in central Virginia. S

#EdGIF Of The Day: Watch School Segregation Grow Over 20 Years

Upworthy: When I Started Looking At This Map About American Schools, I Did *Not* Expect That Bar To Go Up

Quotes: Philly Reform Critic Accused Of Charter Double-Talk

Quotes2[Gym] went into attack mode, viewing everything as a privatization conspiracy. At the same time she would frequently call me to solicit money for her charter school. I found this to be odd and hypocritical. -- Jeremy Nowak in Philly Magazine (Gym denies this)

Morning Video: Did Republican Gov. Cut $1 Billion From Michigan Schools?

"[Democratic challenger] Schauer also started capitalizing on education concerns in Michigan, mentioning frequently that he’s the son of a teacher....Fueling the biggest controversy of the race, Schauer says Governor Snyder has cut $1 billion from education."

Journalism: Funding Disclosure Should Apply To Reform Critics, Too

Kudos to In These Times for updating its Harvard/TFA story (Student Activists Demand Harvard Sever Ties with Teach for America) to note that the group behind the effort received nearly $60,000 in AFT funding, as well as other labor backing.

The same can't be said for news outlets covering student protests against the Philadelphia school board for recent contract actions, in which union funding for student groups (albeit in small amounts) has gone unmentioned. The two main student groups, Philadelphia Student Union and United Youth for Change, received $80,000 from the AFT, according to Droput Nation's RiShawn Biddle (The AFT’s $2 Million Spree in Philly).

While education journalists and reform critics have increasingly noted when groups and individuals receive funding from reform-oriented foundations and individuals, the same can't be said about coverage of reform critics' efforts and ideas.  

But the correction/addition from In These Times -- a progressive outlet! -- points out that it can and should be done by mainstream outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, AP, Huffington Post, and others. It's not that hard to do: Ask where the group gets its funding from, or ask Biddle or Mike Antonucci, or look around online.

Related posts: Reporters Should Identify Union EmployeesWho Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political StrengthMeet Sabrina Stevens, AFT's Secret New "Education Advocate"

AM News: Ailing Chicago Union Leader Decides Against Mayoral Run, May Have Brain Tumor

Karen Lewis has brain tumor, not running for mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who just pulled out of mayoral contention, is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor that was diagnosed shortly after she experienced a severe headache last week.

Union Leader Will Not Run for Chicago Mayor NYT: Karen Lewis, the Chicago union leader who had been considering a bid to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will not run as she continues treatment after surgery for an undisclosed medical condition, her exploratory committee said Monday.

Chicago Union Head Decides Against Mayoral Bid AP: Emanuel issued a statement after her announcement wishing her a quick recovery. "I have always respected and admired Karen's willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city's future," said Emanuel, a former congressman and White House chief of staff. 

Karen Lewis not running for mayor WBEZ: Emanuel already faces several declared challengers, including his vocal critic in the City Council, Ald. Bob Fioretti; Dr. Amara Enyia, an urban development consultant; former Chicago Ald. Robert Shaw; Chicago police officer Frederick Collins; and conservative activist William J. Kelly.

As Apprentices in Classroom, Teachers Learn What Works NYT: A charter school training program reflects the belief that teachers, like doctors, need to practice repeatedly with experienced supervisors before they can take the reins in classes of their own.

It's 2014. All Children Are Supposed To Be Proficient. What Happened? NPR:  No Child Left Behind law famously set this year as the date when, well, no children would be left behind. So now what?

Classes, homework and working with refugees USA TODAY: Typically, a college student's schedule is packed with classes, homework and maybe a job or two. For some, working with refugees is also on the list. There are nearly 300,000 refugees and 90,000 asylum-seekers currently residing in the U.S.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Ailing Chicago Union Leader Decides Against Mayoral Run, May Have Brain Tumor" »

Scheduling: Canceling School For Columbus Day Is The Worst Idea Ever

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.comCanceling school for Columbus Day is the dumbest idea ever, according to Vox, but I'm still taking the day off (reserving the right to post things on Twitter).  Really, really need a morning news roundup? Check out RealClearEducation, Annenberg Institute, or Politico. 

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Reform Critics Gather In NYC

Reactions to @edtrust school rating report rounded up at @morning_edu http://ow.ly/3szUrN 

“The Educator and the Oligarch" - The Washington Post http://ow.ly/CAznt  @valeriestrauss interviews @anthonycody

How College Students Battled Textbook Publishers To A Draw, In 3 Graphs http://ow.ly/Cxka3 

Improve education by having teachers recite from e-readers? Hmm. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/10/is-it-okay-to-make-teachers-read-scripted-lessons/381265/ …

Can We Find A Truce in the Teacher Wars? | EdCentral http://ow.ly/CzIA2 

Philissa's Weekend Reads: http://feedly.com/e/K05pQg4V  @chalkbeatny

Morning Video: Weingarten, Finn, Darling-Hammond Debate School Progress

As you may already have seen via my Twitter feed, this week's @StanfordSOTU session featured the AFT president, Fordham guru Finn, and Stanford professor. Here's the video -- 90 minutes or so.  Click here if the video doesn't work. Search for #StanfordSOTU to see what folks were saying in real time.

AM News: Chicago Union Head Steps Down; Ed Trust Slams NCLB Waiver School Ratings

CTU President Karen Lewis 'not well,' but union mum on details Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is "not well" but under top-notch medical care, the union said Tuesday, refusing to detail the health crisis that has landed Lewis in the hospital. [Several more stories on this below the break]

Should a School Get an 'A' Even if Poor and Minority Students Underperform? PK12: In Florida, which rates schools on an A-F scale, the average proficiency rate for African-American students in "A" schools is lower than for white students who attend "C" schools.

NY State Commissioner Suggests a Way Around Charter Schools Limit WNYC: King said it was up to the governor and legislature to find a solution. But he added, "We have work to do to continue to grow high-quality seats, whether it's in charter schools or district schools." 

On Professional Development Days, D.C. Teachers Become Students WAMU: Today is the first of 10 professional development days for teachers at D.C. public schools, an opportunity for them to sharpen their skills as educators.

Video: SAT vs. ACT: What’s the Difference? NBC News: The ACT and the SAT are both standardized tests that help colleges evaluate students and are accepted by all schools. So what sets the exams apart? 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Chicago Union Head Steps Down; Ed Trust Slams NCLB Waiver School Ratings" »

Events: Reform Advocates Meet In Chicago

From deep inside a Chicago hotel, the day after StudentsFirst announced Jim Blew as Michelle Rhee's replacement and at roughly the same time as CTU is announcing that Karen Lewis has a serious illness and her duties are being taken over by her deputy:

Related posts: 5 New Orgs Bring PIE To 49 MembersTalk About "Love" (Not "Rights")PIE Annual Summit (2013)State Advocacy Groups Talk Policy - Not Tactics (2012); Reform Celebration In Seattle (2011).

AM News: NYC To Get 17 More Charters, Despite District Opposition

SUNY green-lights 17 more city charter schools, 14 for Success Academy ChalkbeatNY: A State University of New York committee unanimously approved 17 additional charter schools to open over the next two years, with 14 of the charters going to Success Academy, the city’s largest and most controversial network. The other three charters went to Achievement First, a Brooklyn-based network of schools.

City Nears Charter Cap as 17 More Schools Win Approval WNYC: A State University of New York committee charged with overseeing charter schools authorized 17 more charter schools to open in New York City over the next two years, 14 of them operated by the city's largest and in many respects most controversial network.

17 Charter Schools Approved for New York City, Expanding a Polarizing Network NYT: The decision by a state committee substantially increased the size of Success Academy, one of the city’s largest and most polarizing charter networks.

Philadelphia Teachers' Union Vows to Fight Contract Cancellation District Dossier: The School Reform Commission cancelled the teachers' union contract on Monday, prompting backlash from some educators and other supporters of the union.

D.C. public schools enrollments continue to climb Washington Post: Enrollment is up in both D.C. charter and traditional public schools this year, according to unofficial numbers released this week by officials from the D.C. Public Charter School Board and D.C. Public Schools.

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan On Common Core WBUR: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was back in Massachusetts Wednesday visiting Springfield Technical College to talk about the important role that community colleges play in job training. 

Boston Superintendent's Job Draws Numerous Candidates District Dossier: Candidates hail from Canada to Florida. The majority have been superintendents, and the group is predominantly male.

Seattle School District Settles Rape Allegation AP: Seattle school district to pay $700,000 to family of girl who said she was raped on field trip

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: StudentsFirst Succession, Success Academy Expansion

California School Voucher Backer [& Democratc] To Head U.S. Education Reform Group ow.ly/CskGl

Major expansion for Success, growing dread in districts | Capital New York ow.ly/Csv18 @elizashapiro

Common Core Copyright: What Does It Really Mean? 5 Questions http://ow.ly/Crt8b  @minnichc @emmelinez

Here's Another Big Funder Swaying Education in One State - Inside Philanthropy http://ow.ly/CrZ68 

Chicago Schools Under Fire Over Dirty Conditions, Rotten Food ow.ly/CskTE @robojo features awful lot of CTU & ILRYH sources

What Keeps Women Out of Elite Colleges? Their SAT Scores – The Chronicle of Higher Education ow.ly/Cs4wG

“The starchy-vegetable lobby was quick to take offense" and other choice quotes from the NYT school lunch storyow.ly/CsjR8

Charts: Education Majors Enjoy Low Unemployment, High Satisfaction

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.com

Special education teachers are on the list of low-paying majors at mid-career ($47,000), and Elementary and Early education jobs pay even less (13 charts that explain why your college major matters). But on the other hand, unemployment rates for education majors are 5 just percent, second-lowest after health care and roughly the same as STEM.  Something to keep in mind when considering claims of massive layoffs, etc. And when it comes to meaningful work, early childhood, SPED, and even elementary teachers rank pretty high compared to other college-educated jobs. Check all the charts out via Vox.  Image used with permission.

John Thompson: Restoring the "Clash of Ideas" in Public Schools

How is it possible that the New York Times food columnist turned education commentator who wrote The Trouble with Tenure could turn around and write nearly the opposite: The Wilds of Education?

Now, Frank Bruni praises the students, families, and educators in Colorado and elsewhere who are opposing standards that demand that schools be all on the same page when teaching a single ideologically-driven set of Standards.

Bruni writes, “When it comes to learning, shouldn’t they [schools] be dangerous?” Sounding like a teachers union building rep, Bruni asks, “Isn’t education supposed to provoke, disrupt, challenge the paradigms that young people have consciously embraced and attack the prejudices that they have unconsciously absorbed?”

I am curious about noneducators, who ordinarily support the clash of ideas, who contradict themselves by attacking tenure, due process, and the policies that are essential for protecting the free flow of ideas of public education. Do they not realize that the test, sort, reward, and punish reform movement is only viable when it is imposing tests where there is only one “right” answer? Do commentators like Bruni not understand that tenure is essential for protecting the debate and discussion in our schools?

Bruni’s ill-informed attack on teachers may help answer my question. It was based on an interview with – you guessed it – one ideologically-driven reformer. Bruni accepted the claims of Colorado Senator Mike Johnson at face value. It doesn’t seem to occur to Bruni that the efforts of Johnson et. al to destroy the rights of teachers (so that they cannot oppose his test-driven accountability schemes) also opened the door for Colorado's conservative reformers to micromanage the learning of students? Can he explain a difference between the way that rightwing censorship operates, as opposed to the way that corporate reform functions when it micromanages teachers’ instruction and students’ learning?

Continue reading "John Thompson: Restoring the "Clash of Ideas" in Public Schools" »

Quotes: Teachers' Expectations & The Common Core

Quotes2All else equal, 10th grade  students who had teachers with higher expectations were more than three times more likely to graduate from college than students who had teachers with lower expectations.

-- New CAP report on teachers' expectations & the Common Core (click link to see report -- via HPEdu)

AM News: Flat SAT Scores, Philly Contract SNAFU, Lewis Hospitalized

SAT scores for Class of 2014 show no improvement from previous marks Washington Post: High school graduates this year fared no better on the SAT college admission test than their predecessors in 2013, a stagnant result that exam overseers said should sound an alarm for the nation to get more students on track for college. See also HuffPost, Baltimore Sun, AP.

Pennsylvania: Health Costs Imposed on Teachers NYT: Philadelphia teachers vowed to fight a sudden move by the district Monday that cancels their union contract and requires them to start paying health premiums of $55 to $140 a month. See also District Dossier.

Chicago Teachers Union head Karen Lewis hospitalized WBEZ: Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis has been hospitalized after experiencing discomfort over the weekend. See also National teachers union contributes $30000 to Karen Lewis.

Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data NYT: The participating companies are publicly committing themselves not to sell information on kindergartners through 12th graders. See also Politico.

See the AP U.S. History course changes and take a sample exam Washington Post: Readers asked what specifically the College Board has changed in its Advanced Placement U.S. history course and what the questions on the exam are like.

Where Do We Stand on NCLB? A Progress Report for Congress Education Week: More than 40 states may have waivers from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Department of Education is off the hook when it comes to reporting on states' progress toward meeting the goals of the NCLB law.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Flat SAT Scores, Philly Contract SNAFU, Lewis Hospitalized" »

Journalism: NYT Gets It Wrong On NCLB Tutoring Requirement

Motoko Rich's latest NYT piece isn't really focused on NCLB sanctions but rather the political standoff between Washington State officials and the Obama administration over use of test scores to help evaluate teachers.

Still, NCLB sanctions are the only real-world impact of the fact that Washington State schools are still operating under the original NCLB -- the only reason anyone cares, really -- and the exaggerations and misundertandings of that law are in many ways a precedent for the current confusions/criticisms surrounding Common Core.

So it's worth reminding everyone what NCLB did and din't require.  

Specifically, the law didn't require "private" tutoring for schools not making AYP repeatedly.  It required tutoring provided by someone other than the school, including nonprofits, community groups, commercial tutoring companies, and sometimes even school districts (like Chicago, which received a federal waiver to provide tutoring to non-AYP schools).*

Whether or not the tutoring was top-notch, many schools and districts lined up against it because it meant that someone else was teaching their kids (and possibly doing a better job) and that they got slightly less federal funding than in the past under their control. Some districts and students responded ungenerously, by making their own students travel to other locations for tutoring rather than making arrangements for in-school delivery. 

What NCLB *did* do, among other things, was require annual reading and math tests for schools receiving federal education funding, and require districts to test all students and report out data based on subgroups, and severely limit the use of non-certified aides and out-of-field teachers who were often assigned to low-income children and paid for with federal funding. It also encouraged federal lawmakers to increase Title I funding substantially, in order to help pay for things like extra tutoring that students at schools that weren't doing right by poor kids might need.

NCLB was far from a perfect law, to be sure. The student transfer provisions were ridiculously weak, and the law allowed states to continue to set their own cut scores on annual tests, making it seem like kids were doing much better than they really were.  But it -- like Common Core and the assessments -- shouldn't be so eaisly used as a convenient dumping ground for educators' and advocates' talking points.

*NCLB also didn't require districts to shutter schools, or fire teachers.  Those were possible options, sure, but very little of that was done under NCLB, and even under the subsequent school turnaround initiative based on NCLB (SIG). But that's for another time.

Quotes: Schools Can't Be Graded, Says NYC Chancellor

Quotes2Schools have unique qualities that cannot be captured in a letter grade... They are not restaurants. 

- NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina explaining end of school report card grades

Charts: Hispanic Dropout Rate Plummets Despite Growing Student Population

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.com

"In 2000, three Hispanic students had recently completed high school for every one who dropped out, according to Pew. Now nine times as many finish high school as drop out." (Vox: Latinos are driving a huge decline in the high school dropout rate) Image used with permission.

 

Watch: For One Miami Principal. Common Core Spurs Hope & Fear

 

Watch Bridget Mckinney, third-year principal of Miami's Allapattah Middle School, explain "her trepidations, as well as her support, for the common core itself." (Common Core Spurs Hope, Fear for a Miami Principal via State EdWatch).

 

Afternoon Video: Celebrities' Hilariously Bad Education Ideas

The Marshall Tuck campaign gets a few celebrity endorsements for his CA superintendent race -- plus some hilariously awful suggestions.

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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.