Education Next has a state-by-state breakdown on duty-to-bargain laws, total earnings loss as a result of those laws, "and additional details about teacher unionization + political contributions." (How teacher collective bargaining affects students’ employment and earnings later in life). Click the link for the interactive version -- let me know if there's anything inaccurate or notable that you come across.
Looking for a new education book to look forward to? You might consider Ed Boland's forthcoming The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School.
"In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a twenty-year career as a non-profit executive to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students' lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them: Jay runs a drug ring for his incarcerated brother; Nee-cole is homeschooled on the subway by her brilliant homeless mother; and Byron's Ivy League dream is dashed because he is undocumented.
"In the end, Boland isn't hoisted on his students' shoulders and no one passes AP anything. This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero, but a searing indictment of reform-minded schools that claim to be progressive but still fail their students.Told with compassion, humor, and a keen eye, Boland's story will resonate deeply with anyone who cares about the future of education."
The book's slated to come out in February.
I've met Boland and his candor and fearlessness talking about the experience are pretty eye-opening.
It'll be interesting to see how the book has turned out.
Other than Dale Russakoff's Newark book and Greg Toppo's education learning book, it seems like it's been a relatively slow year for much-discussed education books. Or perhaps we've just gotten greedy, or can't tolerate anything but the most simplistic kinds of narratives.
Good thing that there are some intriguing-sounding books in the works, and more that I'm sure I'm not yet aware of.
The Network for Public Education has put out a list of electoral victories from earlier this month, including Helen Gym (Philadelphia, Suzie Abijian (South Pasadena), and several others.
The email acknowledges losses in Louisiana, blaming the defeat on lack of money. (There's no mention of labor or progressive backing of their candidates.) Click the link above for the full email.
Meanwhile, there's an email from Stand for Children's Jonah Edelman touting recent election victories. As you can see, the focus is on Louisiana and Denver, where Stand and its allies generally prevailed.
There's no mention of races where things didn't work out so well -- I've asked for some additional information and will let you know what I get back. The full email is below.
I'm still looking for a DFER brag sheet, and haven't seen a roundup from NEA or AFT now that I think of it. Tell them I'm looking, will you?
This Washington Post story (Inside the Clinton donor network) tells a fascinating about how the Clintons have broken with the teachers unions and others over the years (back in Arkansas and during Bill's two administrations) but have managed to bring many such organizations back into the fold.
"Today, the two major national teachers’ unions rank among the Clintons’ biggest supporters. The National Education Association has contributed at least $1.3 million to bolster their races, while the American Federation of Teachers has given more than $756,000 to support them politically and at least $1 million to their foundation. In July, AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid — the first national union to do so."
Children learn to love or hate at an early age.I think it's time we actively work towards teaching love and acceptance.Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Sunday, November 15, 2015
Some people like this -- it makes others cringe. Which are you? via HuffPost: Special Ed Teacher Compliments Every Single Student Each Day. Or, watch the EWA Livestream at #EWAelection
Here EdWeek rounds up which states have reported Common Core scores -- though some data are already outdated. Read the whole story here. Image used with permission.
I have for a very long time also been against the idea that you tie teacher evaluation and even teacher pay to test outcomes... There’s no evidence. There’s no evidence. Now, there is some evidence that it can help with school performance. If everybody is on the same team, and they’re all working together, that’s a different issue, but that’s not the way it’s been presented…
-- Hillary Clinton at a November 9 New Hampshire AFT meeting (partial transcript)
Click here for a PDF version of the map, and here for an explainer. Take a look and let us know if you see anything that catches your eye.
Here's a recent video from Chicago Public Television about efforts to keep effective principals on the job. Click the link for additional charts and information.
Educators: tomorrow, please be especially mindful of Muslim children in your schools and be sure to make them feel safe.— Joshua Starr (@JoshuaPStarr) November 15, 2015
From PDK's Joshua Starr: "Educators: tomorrow, please be especially mindful of Muslim children in your schools and be sure to make them feel safe."
Just the description of the picture might make you think a bit more about it than you did when you first saw it online:
"Beneath the jacket is a fleece-lined hoodie, also black, and in his hand the boy holds a black plastic bag, stretched by the weight of what might be groceries. The sidewalk behind him is cracked and dotted with litter. Dull-brown public-housing towers—as much a part of the quintessential visual New York as the bodega bag—form a jagged horizon."
The critique of HONY -- and TED Talks, and The Moth -- might make you bristle:
"A story has lately become a glossier, less thrilling thing: a burst of pathos, a revelation without a veil to pull away. “Storytelling,” in this parlance, is best employed in the service of illuminating business principles, or selling tickets to non-profit galas, or winning contests."
The New Yorker piece urges us to do the impossible and forget the story, focusing back on the image:
"Forget, for a moment, the factual details that we have gathered in the course of knowing-but-not-really-knowing him... Consider, instead, the ease of the boy’s sneakers against the sidewalk; his shy, smirking confidence; the preternatural calm with which he occupies the space within the frame. Viewed like this—as, yes, irrefutably real, but also as a readable image—he is reminiscent of Gordon Parks’s squinting Harlem newsboy. Both convey something almost spiritual: something about the delicate string that hangs between youth and resilience, about the miraculous talent of children, however voiceless, to stand unswallowed by the city."
Whether you agree or disagree with the point -- and the rest of the essay's reflection on images in politics and society -- it's helpful I think to remember that stories and images can overtake us if we let them, and that sometimes we need to step back from the narrative we're constructing and look at the individual parts.
Maybe you missed it (as I did), but a 42-year-old eighth grade math teacher from Queens (aka #WillFromQueens) made news last month when he cried during a sports radio call-in show and -- after being mocked initially -- was celebrated by his students and sports fans.
So 50CAN's newly updated advocacy handbook -- think of it as open-source advocacy advice -- notes something that many have found the hard way: getting a law passed is only the beginning of the process. But there's lots more, including case studies from Minnesota, Connecticut, and Maryland and it's available in all sorts of portable formats: online, iBook, Kindle, PDF.
And Eli Broad is the bad guy? Whatever you think of Broad strategy, he is trying to help kids who need it the most. https://t.co/fRuw0qObpq— Neerav Kingsland (@NeeravKingsland) November 12, 2015
"And Eli Broad is the bad guy? Whatever you think of Broad strategy, he is trying to help kids who need it the most." Neerav Kingsland responding to news of David Geffen's $100 million donation to create a new private school at UCLA.
"A public elementary school in Harlem, New York, is adopting a radical idea that threatens the education industry as we know it, SOLEs, Self-Organized Learning Environments." From the PBS NewsHour -- includes reactions from teachers and a union rep.
So there's this guy, a former venture capitalist, named Ted Dintersmith, and apparently everyone else but me (and possibly you) has heard of him already.
But not to worry -- we can catch up quick. The latest thing I've seen (by which I mean the first) is this Answer Sheet oped penned by him (A venture capitalist searches for the purpose of school) but bylined by Valerie Strauss, in which we learn that he helped bankroll the documentary “Most Likely To Succeed” and get his world view of education (trailer above).
But Dintersmith's been everywhere, media-wise, in recent weeks and months, including a previous Valerie Strauss piece, Huff Post, Boston Globe (oped), NYTimes (Brooks review of the movie), a Politico mention, a Journal-Sentinel Q&A.
There's more, but you get the idea.
Get your own impression, but to me Dintersmith comes off like an unholy mashup of Bill Gates/WhitneyTilson/Sir Ken Robinson -- with maybe a bit of Bob (2 million minutes) Compton thrown in.
Truth is, I first came across his blog 3 years ago, when he was coming off a big trip with his family and spending time in NYC. Among the more memorable things he wrote at the time was his impression that of Michelle Rhee-run StudentsFirst organization, which described as "an angry dog barking up the wrong tree."
So that explains the appearances in the Answer Sheet.
To my credit (if not to the credit of my memory), I did apparently share out something about the documentary this spring:
“The longer students experiences personalized learning practices, the greater their growth in achievement,” asserts a new report from the Gates Foundation (Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning) #inacol15
Distorting the role charter schools play in transforming lives in order to placate the teachers unions is beyond the pale, @HillaryClinton.— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 10, 2015
"Distorting the role charter schools play in transforming lives in order to placate the teachers unions is beyond the pale," tweeted Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- even as she tried to distance herself (split the difference) from her weekend remarks criticizing charters.
Here's a list of the top 200 local education foundations in the US, which is somewhat ironically led by Pinellas County (where there's been some pretty dramatic resegregation of schools lately). I can't vouch for the data, the methodology, or anything else. MSU's Sarah Reckhow notes on Twitter that it's not a lot of money that they're talking about in the larger scheme of things. The report is put out annual by Dewey and Associates. Thanks to Mesa's Joe O'Reilly for passing this along.
LAUSD Board of Education eyes growth of charter schools LA Daily News: The focus of the board's deliberations will be a controversial $490 million plan to more than double the number of charter schools in Los Angeles. See also KPCC LA.
Next L.A. schools chief: A politically savvy educator who's a superhero? LA Times: The people have spoken about what they want in a new superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the hunt is on for Superman or Superwoman.
Chicago Teachers Union Says Its Members Are Willing to Strike TeacherBeat: The Chicago Teachers Union took a "practice" vote last week to test how its members felt about walking off the job. See also Tribune, Sun-Times.
Feds: Ex-CPS CEO 'fraudulently' steered $40M contract in Detroit Sun Times: An FBI agent believed corrupt former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett worked to “fraudulently steer” a $40 million contract to one of the country’s biggest educational publishers while she worked for the Detroit schools, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Education Continues to Struggle for Airtime in GOP Debates PK12: If you tuned into the Tuesday night GOP presidential debate hoping for education policy talk, once again, you got very meager scraps.
City Releases Latest School Quality Guides WNYC: The latest guides showed a slight uptick of graduating high school seniors last year enrolled in either a two- or four-year college, vocational program or public service program, up two percentage points to 53 percent. The city's overall college-readiness rate also was up, reaching 35 percent compared to 33 percent last year. See also ChalkbeatNY.
Video Shows School Resource Officer Slam Black Teen To Ground HuffPost: Damning video has surfaced in the case of a Florida school resource officer accused of abusing a 13-year-old black student.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
"For the first time, most state-required summative assessments in U.S. elementary and middle schools will be administered via technology rather than by paper and pencil in the 2015-16 school year, according to a report released Thursday by EdTech Strategies, LLC, a research and consulting firm." Edweek (Paperless Testing: Most Grade 3-8 Students To Be Assessed Online in 2016).
This Sacramento Bee story (What’s next for Michelle Rhee, once the national face of education activism?) tells you what you already know: that Rhee has pretty much dropped off the face of the earth when it comes to education advocacy.
What's alluded later on in the piece is just how different (and perhaps much-diminished) her organization, StudentsFirst, has been operating since she stepped down, Pope Ratzinger-like, from day to day oversight.
In contrast to the Rhee era, StudentsFirst under Jim Blew is much more low key, and focused on fewer states (10 vs. 17). The organization claims to have helped enact 40 laws including "a new charter school measure in Alabama, an enhanced charter school law in Ohio and a teacher-evaluation bill in Michigan."
Back in 2012, however, StudentsFirst was involved in a host of state and local races (see below), funding both Democratic and Republican candidates.
Three years later, I've come across little if any sign of them having been involved in any of last week's big races (Philadelphia, Kentucky, St. Paul, Denver, JeffCo, Seattle, etc.). Though I haven't confirmed it independently, I'm told that StudentsFirst wasn't directly involved in any of these races.
As outlined yesterday, CAP and other groups have launched TeachStrong, an effort to revamp the teaching profession. See also TeacherBeat (Can a New Political Campaign to 'Modernize' Teaching Succeed?) and Washington Post (How to build a better teacher: Groups push a 9-point plan called TeachStrong).
Hillary Clinton Rebukes Charter Schools Politico: Her comments in South Carolina came straight from charter school critics’ playbook and distanced her from the legacies of her husband, former President Bill Clinton — credited with creating a federal stream of money to launch charters around the country — and President Barack Obama, whose administration has dangled federal incentives to push states to become more charter friendly. See also PK12. Video here.
Mark Zuckerberg Highlights What He Learned After $100 Million Gift To Newark AP: In a Facebook post Friday, Zuckerberg acknowledged increased graduation rates in Newark and successful charter schools, but also noted the "challenges, mistakes and honest differences among people with good intentions."
The Nation’s High School Dropout Rate Has Fallen, Study Says Washington Post: The U.S. high school dropout rate has fallen in recent years, with the number of dropouts declining from 1 million in 2008 to about 750,000 in 2012, according to a new study to be released Tuesday. The number of “dropout factories” — high schools in which fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate in four years — declined significantly during the same period, according to the study by a coalition of education groups.
Racial Tension and Protests on Campuses Across the Country NYT: Instances of racism and bigotry have ignited protests at colleges across the United States, and social media has amplified the outcry.
Walton Foundation sustains local funding for Teach For America with new grant LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District also has relied on TFA, though less so in recent years, when the district made few hires. Currently, about 30% of the local TFA corps works in L.A. Unified, the nation’s second-largest school system. A handful also works in Lynwood.
In Many States, Security Guards Get Scant Training, Oversight Stateline: About 90 bills were introduced in state legislatures this year dealing with the licensing and training of security officers or requirements for security companies, according to Steve Amitay, director of the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO), an industry group. In recent years, similar numbers of measures have been proposed. None of this year’s bills that would have substantially toughened state requirements was enacted, Amitay said.
Here's C-SPAN footage of the remarks Hillary Clinton made about charters among other education topics, as reported by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post (Hillary Clinton: Most charter schools ‘don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids').
There's some energetic back and forth going on behind the scenes about the accuracy of this WSJ piece and how it codes the states (Financial Woes Plague Common-Core Rollout), but that doesn't mean you can't read it and check out the map of states.
"At least three states, Alabama, Texas, and New Hampshire again, told the federal Education Department that they use state test scores in teacher evaluations, but those policies only exist in their waivers." EdWeek writeup of NCTQ report ("Will Teacher Evaluations Through Test Scores Outlast Obama?)
"I worry about the folks who link every challenge public school districts face to "privatization." It's such an easy way to avoid issues." - Deray McKesson
I worry about the folks who link every challenge public school districts face to "privatization." It's such an easy way to avoid issues.— deray mckesson (@deray) November 5, 2015
Watch this UC Memphis panel on #BlackLivesMatter and education, featuring among others Brittany Packnett. (Skip to 14:00 to hear her "I thought I knew how to listen people... I thought that I was not being paternalistic in my practice...")
There is no way you can blame socioeconomic status for the performance of the United States... When you look at all dimensions of social background, the United States does not suffer a particular disadvantage.
-- OECD's Andreas Shcleicher quoted in NYT column by Eduardo Porter (School vs. Society in America’s Failing Students)
Jeffco school board members who pushed controversial changes ousted in recall ChalkbeatCO: After two years of political acrimony in the Colorado’s second largest school district, three conservative school board members were easily swept out of office Tuesday in a recall election that cost more than a million dollars and attracted national attention. Replacing them are three candidates backed by a constituency of well-connected parents, high-profile county Democrats and the teachers union. They will serve the rest of the recall targets’ four-year terms. See also HuffPost, Washington Post.
St. Paul school board: 4 union-backed newcomers elected TwinCities.com: The union wanted more input on the district's major initiatives, such as the mainstreaming of special-education students and a shift away from out-of-school suspensions. Several candidates in April sought the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement under the banner of Caucus for Change, a union-backed, anti-incumbent movement of mostly teachers and parents. The four who emerged ran as a unified team, promising to hold district leaders accountable for missed enrollment goals, sagging test scores and racial inequities.
Four newcomers to join Seattle School Board Seattle Times: With incumbent Marty McLaren losing to challenger Leslie Harris, four newcomers will make up the majority of the seven-member Seattle School Board.
In Texas, Elementary Schools Mete Out More Punishment to Black Students Washington Post: An analysis of discipline in elementary schools across Texas shows that black students, especially boys, are suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates and are labeled as troublemakers as early as pre-kindergarten. The study by Texas Appleseed focuses on the second-most populous state, but it mirrors school discipline patterns nationwide. It also comes as concern grows about suspensions, which researchers have linked to greater risks of academic failure, dropping out of high school and involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Case Tests Whether New York Underfunds Schools WSJ: The governor’s lawyers have sought to dismiss the case, saying state dollars for education rose significantly in recent years. In state Supreme Court in Manhattan, JusticeManuel Mendez will hear arguments on the case Wednesday. A key question is whether the state has a constitutional obligation to abide by a 2007 funding formula, which was passed by the Legislature after years of litigation in a case brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
Two Chicago schools inch closer to integration after divided vote WBEZ: Ultimately, the council does not have jurisdiction to approve a merger, but Ogden principal Michael Beyer said he wouldn’t move forward with the idea without the council’s support. Although the vote was largely symbolic, six members of the 13-member council chose to abstain.
As Transgender Students Make Gains, Schools Hesitate at Bathrooms NYT: Many schools have crafted policies that require transgender students to use private changing and showering facilities, drawing complaints of discrimination. See also NBC News.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Here's an figure from CAP's new report on improving the teaching profession: "Smart, Skilled, and Striving." Image used with permission.
There was a moment, maybe six or seven years years ago, when it seemed like charter schools with "thin" contracts were all the rage.
They combined the autonomy and flexibility of a charter with the protections against unwarranted dismissal or arbitrary treatment from supervisors. But not all of the schools that had them performed as well as some may have hoped (just like teacher-run schools and every other type of governance option that's been proposed), and charter stalwarts and union hard-liners both hated them equally.
I wrote about them in Harvard's Education Letter (RIP): Charters and Unions: What's the future for this unorthodox relationship?. But that was long ago. I declared them "so 2009" in 2011.
These days, pretty much only the Century Fund talks about them. Some giant percentage of the charters in Chicago are now organized, thanks in part to the efforts of a smooth-talking South African(?) union organizer who's never been seen or photographed. But not with thin contracts, as far as I understand. Much more common seem to be traditional (antagonistic) organizing/unionization efforts like the one currently going on in LA.
Eventually, one would imagine, reform advocates and critics would get their acts together and return to an idea like this -- or a new generation of parents, funders, and politicians would get sick of the more rigid charter and union ideologies. But it's going to be a little while -- and going to take a lot of bravery.
Related posts:Would Unions Ruin Charter Schools -- Or Vice Versa? (2009); Thin Contract At Locke High School.; The Return Of The "Thin" Contract? (2010); "Smarter" Charters Are Diverse, Teacher-Led (2014);
“As an educator I fell short of my commitment to all children and families at my school and for that I am deeply sorry,” said Success Academy Fort Greene principal Candido Brown, speaking through tears. (via Chalkbeat: Success Academy principal gives emotional apology for list of ‘Got-to-Go’ students)
From Pixar's Inside Out. More #EDgifs here.
Their colleagues saw them first as police officers and not teachers... Their colleagues only sought their help when it came to behavior management and not when it came to thinking about some of the content that they might have designed to engage students.
From NPR (Keeping Black Men In Front Of The Class)
I had the chance to chat for a few minutes yesterday afternoon with Naveed Amalfard, one of the co-founders of America's Teachers whose efforts have been written up recently in the LA Times among other places.
Describing the effort as a "a political startup," Amalfard laughs when asked and says "No, this is not a stunt." The organization is building a list of supporters, tolerating unsolicited queries like mine, and building out as much as it can given its two main heads are both still fulltime teachers.
Funders aren't disclosed, but the organization's supporters include former DNC head Howard Dean and former Green Dot head Steve Barr. The ultimate goal is to raise $1-2 million this cycle, says Amalfard. According to this recent LA Times article, they've raised much less than that so far.
The question that everyone seems to want to know, says Amafard, is which side they're on. "I get asked this all the time. We take money from all sides." But folks aren't entirely convinced, he says. They keep asking. "I know that it's literally unbelievable for some people, but we are not a proxy for anyone."
To be sure, the organization has picked three priorities (college costs, UPK, and the DREAM Act) that sidestep hot-button education reform items. "Let's solve these three issues first," he says.
Meantime, the organization is legally prohibited from contact with the Clinton campaign it supports. He doesn't know if the campaign is even aware of its existence. He just wants his candidate to make education a central part of her agenda. A voter pledge drive is coming up later this month. Their inspirations are Democratic strategists David Plouffe and David Axelrod, according to Amalfard.
Other inspirations might be Lawrence Lessig, whose recently-shuttered presidential campaign was largely a vehicle to raise issues surrounding campaign finance, and DFER, the reform-minded Democratic organization created to use campaign contributions and other forms of political advocacy to pressure candidates. (Is there a PAC associated with the Badass Teachers, or with Diane Ravitch's NEPC, or United Opt Out? )
Meantime, anyone who wants to give to the effort should go here.
Related posts: A Teacher-Led Campaign PAC.
Over at EdWeek, there's a recent post about how well big city school districts seemed to do, compared to state scores and national trends.
But others aren't so sure:
Over at the Hechinger Report, Jilly Barshay notes that rising numbers of high-scoring white students masked big declines in math [#thanksgentrification].
At Dropout Nation, RiShawn Biddle notes that district exclusion rates for SPED and ELL kids are all over place and could affect scores, as well.
In Denver suburb, a school board race morphs into $1 million ‘proxy war’ Washington Post: In Jefferson County, teachers unions and Koch brothers battle for votes and the future of public schools. See also ChalkbeatNY.
Success Academy Founder Calls ‘Got to Go’ List an Anomaly NYT: Ms. Moskowitz, who spoke on Friday at a news conference, said that the list existed for only three days before Mr. Brown was admonished and that he changed course. Nonetheless, nine of the students on the list eventually left the school. See also Chalkbeat, NY1, Politico New York.
Judge Issues Restraining Order on L.A. Charter Chain in Unionization Fight Teacher Beat: A judge has granted a temporary restraining order against the 27-school Alliance College-Ready Publia S. Moskowitz, in response to a New York Times article about the list, said the charter school network did not have a practice of pushing out difficult students.
Charters grapple with admission policies, question how public they should be Washington Post: Some schools restrict admission to early grades, fueling a national debate about fairness and access to quality schools.
Big Education Groups to Congress: Finish ESEA Reauthorization PK12: Teachers, school administrators, principals and state officials have launched a digital ad campaign asking lawmakers to finish work to reauthorize the ESEA.
New York City School Suspensions Fell 17% in 2014-15, Officials Say NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced new and expanded initiatives to change how students are disciplined, following a national shift in techniques. See also WNYC.
Many Children Under 5 Are Left to Their Mobile Devices, Survey Finds NYT: Experts said a small, self-reported survey added to evidence that the unsupervised use of mobile screens is deeply woven into childhood experiences by age 4.
In a disadvantaged district, a parable of contemporary American schooling Washington Post: A community is closing its one high school to give kids a better education — at another troubled school. Will it work?
Recent Alabama teacher of the year resigns over certification issues NPR: Less than two years after being named Alabama's Teacher of the Year, Ann Marie Corgill resigned her post this week, citing her frustration with bureaucracy. After Corgill was moved from teaching second grade to fifth, she was told she wasn't qualified to teach fifth-graders. See also Valerie Strauss.
Texas case mulls if home-school kids have to learn something AP: Laura McIntyre began educating her nine children more than a decade ago inside a vacant office at an El Paso motorcycle dealership she ran with her husband and other relatives....
Students Protest Firing Of Spring Valley High School Officer HuffPost: Students at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, left their classes on Friday to protest the firing of Ben Fields, a former resource officer at the school.
The Changing Role Of Police In American Classrooms NPR: Susan Ferriss has reported extensively on this issue for the Center for Public Integrity, and she is with us now. Welcome, thanks for joining us.
Deterioration of public school arts programs has been particularly jarring in L.A. LA Times: Normandie Avenue Elementary Principal Gustavo Ortiz worries that he can't provide arts classes for most of the 900 students at his South Los Angeles school. Not a single art or music class was offered until this year at Curtiss Middle School in Carson.
More and more, it feels like it's going to take something new or different to break the current stalemate on education changes.
So it's hard not to be curious about America's Teachers, the teacher-led pro-Hillary PAC that popped up in the LA Times a few days ago. They two teachers behind the effort are TFA and union members. Take that reformers/critics.
According to the America's Teachers site, "Teachers aren’t supposed to start Super PAC’s. That’s exactly why we created one." The priorities are universal preschool, college affordability, and education rights from DREAMers.
According to the LA Times (Meet the teacher lobby behind Hillary Clinton that's not the teachers union), the group's goals are to make sure that Hillary Clinton hears "from more than just unions or reformers." One main strategy is to focus on "friendlier, softer issues" rather than closing schools and limiting tenure.
What form "something new" is going to take, nobody quite knows. And not all of the new approaches coming along are going to be able to survive, much less thrive. Previous attempts at a middle-ground approach -- remember "thin" contracts for charters, anyone? -- have ended up being ignored even opposed by both of the major sides (who appear at times to prefer trench warfare to progress). And as soon as new people and approaches show up -- think Deray McKesson and Black Lives Matter -- they're claimed by one side and/or vilified by the other.
But eventually something/someone new is going to come along that's so compelling to the public and policymakers that entrenched interests can't ignore or avoid it any longer. The only real question in my mind is who/what will it be?
"No school district grew more in 4th grade math in the past four years than DCPS!"
Then again, scandal-plagued Chicago Public Schools came in second on the same measure, and even LAUSD came in with some improvements. Did these districts make less movement towards Common Core in some way that advantaged them on NAEP 2015? Do they have participation/exclusion policies that are different from other cities?