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Journo-Politics: 2 Things About That "Hillary Being Squeezed" Piece

Ann O'LearyFirst things first: The most notable thing about Tuesday's much-tweeted NYT story about Hillary Clinton and education (Hillary Clinton Caught Between Teachers and Wealthy Donors) might be that Team Hillary put Ann O'Leary out in front to represent the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.

"Both the teachers’ union and the reformers will really feel like they have her ear in a way they haven’t,” said Ann O’Leary in the NYT piece. "She believes we need to have some kind of ways that we can measure student progress,” Ms. O’Leary said.

But she said Mrs. Clinton was “also sympathetic that the test regime has become very burdensome in driving the education system in ways that many people think is problematic.”

Longtime readers of this site already know about her (see related posts, below).  And longtime Hillary-watchers know her, too.  She's on Politico's top Hillary Clinton influentials.  Need to know more? Check out her official Next Generation bio

After the article came out, O'Leary (@Ann_OLeary) tweeted " It's true: I do believe ed community will be pleased @HillaryClinton's someone who listens to all good education ideas."

OK, sure.

As for the piece itself, well, it's obviously a good media "get" for DFER and the like to have the NYT talking about reformy pressures that are (supposedly) being put on the presumptive Democratic candidate. The "leaked" memo worked again!

But there's an undertone of fear and uncertainty just below the surface, and let's be clear: reformers like the unions don't really have anywhere else to go.  They can threaten to stay home or focus on other races but they're pretty much all Democrats and don't really have any interest in having a conservative Republican win the White House. Team Hillary wants their money, sure, and will listen to them, sure.

However, I can't imagine folks as smart and experienced as Team Clinton are feeling any real pressure to do something "crazy" (like coming out hard for the Common Core or even annual testing) anytime soon.  (Coming out in favor of vaccinations was already a bit of a surprise.) So if anything, the Clinton folks might not like the public display that DFER et al are trying to put on here, and Team DFER could get some cold shoulder. For a little while. Nobody can hate nice-guy Joe Williams for long.

Related posts:  A Clinton Ed Staffer On The High Court? (2010), Power Couples In Education, The Update (2007), More Agency Review Team Names (2008), West Coast Reboot For DFER & Steve BarrWinners & Losers of 2008  (According To Me).Image via Twitter.

Morning Video: Rahm Challenger Mis-Labels Charters As "Elite" & "Private"

Or at least, so says Factcheck via HuffPost: "In an ad released on March 18, Garcia stands in front of a closed school and states that the mayor “took the money from these schools and gave it to elite private schools founded by his big campaign contributors." (Chuy Garcia Mayoral Ad Stretches The Truth About Rahm Emanuel's School Funding Decisions). Not really impressed? Read about last night's debate, or about Garcia and De Blasio are and aren't alike (on mayoral control, among other things).

Thompson: Schools and L'Dor V'Dor; From Generation to Generation

Oklahoma education bloggers have been challenged to articulate what we would do about schooling if we were a Queen or King for a Day.  The first ten of the 600-word posts are here. 

My aspiration is inspired by the words of Randi Weingarten who reminds us of the Jewish concept of L'Dor V'Dor, or "from generation to generation." I dream of a learning culture where each generation teaches and learns from each other.

My parents' generation, having survived the Great Depression and World War II, were committed to providing children with greater opportunities than they had. This was "Pax Americana" before our extreme confidence was shattered by Vietnam. In my postage stamp of the 1950s and 1960s,  children continually heard the exhortation, "Pay close attention, I'm only going to show you once."

Coming from parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and neighbors, those words were the opposite of a stern admonition. They challenged us to focus, so we could "learn how to learn." By the time we were teens, our mentors urged us to practice "creative insubordination." 

Never facing a shortage of caring adults for schooling us on life in a democracy, I learned as much "wrasslin iron" in the oil patch and from fellow workers as I did from formal education.  We Baby Boomers listened to Woody Guthrie and read Ken Kesey, and jumped into exploratory learning, often hitchhiking and backpacking widely.  

My buddies were first generation working or middle class. We assumed that tomorrow would be better than today. We sought social justice where everyone could enjoy the same opportunities that we had.

Continue reading "Thompson: Schools and L'Dor V'Dor; From Generation to Generation" »

Quotes: Smart Young People Should Stick To Private Schools, Says Award-Winning Teacher

Quotes2If you're a creative, smart young person, I don't think this is the time to go into teaching unless an independent school would suit you.

-- Nancie Atwell via EdWeek.

Preview: New Faces At This Week's Yale Education Conference

Screenshot 2015-03-24 13.18.53This year's Yale SOM Education Leadership Conference could be particularly interesting, given where were are in the education debate. It looks like there are going to be some new faces and names -- Kalimah Priforce, anyone? The theme ("Back to Why") and official goal (to refocus on "the purpose and outcomes of education reform") are full of intrigue to people like me who follow these things too closely.  We all know that the fight for the hearts and minds of smart young do-gooder types (and entrepreneurs, etc.) is pretty heated, as is the rhetorical battle over who's more "social justice." WebsiteFacebook.For past events, look at the list here. Previous blog posts from me about the event here.

Morning Video: HS Kid's "Wheelchair Challenge" (Or Nancie Atwell's Private School Pitch)

Check out this inspiring student-focused PBS NewsHour segment about wheelchair accessibility for schools. Or watch $1 million prizewinning teacher Nancie Atwell talk literacy and tell kids trying to figure out what to do to not to go into teaching "unless an independent school would suit you." Wait, what?  

Thompson: Where Have All the Teachers Gone?

NPR’s Eric Westervelt, in Where Have All the Teachers Gone?, addresses the “alarming drops in enrollment at teacher training programs.” Westervelt is correct; the decline in the numbers of prospective teachers is “the canary in the coal mine.” 

In California, enrollment in teacher education programs is down by 53%, but the problem is more pervasive. TFA enrollment is also down.

Westervelt reports:

The list of potential headaches for new teachers is long, starting with the ongoing, ideological fisticuffs over the Common Core State Standards, high-stakes testing and efforts to link test results to teacher evaluations. Throw in the erosion of tenure protections and a variety of recession-induced budget cuts, and you've got the makings of a crisis.

Bill McDiarmid, the Dean of the University of North Carolina School of Education, attributes the K-12 decline to teachers who “simply have less control over their professional lives in an increasingly bitter, politicized environment.” McDiarmid says that “the job also has a PR problem.”  Teachers are “too often turned into scapegoats by politicians, policymakers, foundations and the media.” He concludes:

It tears me up sometimes to see the way in which people talk about teachers because they are giving blood, sweat and tears for their students every day in this country. There is a sense now that, 'If I went into this job and it doesn't pay a lot and it's a lot of hard work, it may be that I'd lose it.' And students are hearing this. And it deters them from entering the profession.

Continue reading "Thompson: Where Have All the Teachers Gone?" »

Morning Video: Google Vs. Apple Battle Over Amish Country Classrooms

 

Tech giants battle for classrooms in Amish country From PBS NewsHour. Click the link for the show transcript.

AM News: Parent Trigger 2015, Plus Social Media Monitoring

Parent-trigger showdowns loom nationwide Hechinger Report: Lawmakers around the country are gearing up for showdowns against teachers unions and school administrators who are seeking to squash a new round of education bills that would create and strengthen so-called “parent trigger” laws. Parent-trigger bills exist in some form in seven states, and have been rejected in more than two dozen others. Tennessee and Texas are their primary targets in 2015. See also Texas Tribune, EdWeek, Chalkbeat.

Student Privacy Debate Dominates Assembly Panel’s Meeting on PARCC Tests NJ Spotlight: For close to an hour, the department’s chief counsel and its investigations director defended the practices as legal and appropriate, and said security measures being taken are necessary to maintain the integrity of the exam. At issue specifically is the practice by Pearson, through subcontractor Caveon Test Security, of scanning social media for possible messages by students divulging the contents of the exams. See also: Test security now means checking social media for cheaters.

Mayor De Blasio Defends His School Improvement Plan WNYC: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio makes the case that struggling schools have a better chance of turning around with his approach than with the plan proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. See also HuffPost: Andrew Cuomo's Approval Rating Drops To New Low.

Alabama Lawmakers Pass Charter School Bill EdWeek: The Black Alliance for Educational Options calls Alabama's charter school legislation a "victory" for parents and community members.

Texas Ready to Dump High School Steroids Testing Program AP: After years of catching few cheaters, Texas ready to dump high school steroids testing program.

In addressing food allergies, some Chicago schools fall through the cracks WBEZ Chicago: It’s a typical day in the Ravenswood Elementary cafeteria on Chicago’s North Side. Middle schoolers catch up with friends, make jokes and chow down on a mishmosh of cafeteria food and brown bag lunches.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Charts: In Education A [Worthless] Master's Is Worth More Than Experience

A New Degree in Architecture  Computers or Health Is Worth More Than Decades of Job Experience   Real Time Economics   WSJ

"For education majors [pink rectangle], a new graduate degree is even better than experience, propelling earnings to $49,000 after completing the grad program and $62,000 by midcareer." (WSJ: A New Degree Is Worth More Than Decades of Job Experience)

Quotes: "Now Teachers Are Paid For Classroom Performance"

Quotes2The second big reason for enrollment declines [at education schools] is the end of the credentialed pay raises that marked the old teacher salary formulas. For many decades a master’s degree offered a pay boost no matter its content. Now teachers are paid for classroom performance, not extra degrees.

-- Ball State professor Michael Hicks in the South Bend Tribune (Market forces change teacher education)

NB: North Carolina did away with them, according to EdWeek's Stephen Sawchuk. But according to NCTQ this hasn't happened (yet).

Update: Unfortunate Stalemate For Feds & Diverse Charters*

This week's announcement that Success Academy charters won't give an absolute priority to ELL kids in its charter lotteries because of opposition seems like an unfortunate turn of events (see ChalkbeatNY's Success Academy drops lottery preference for English learners).  

Charter schools located in mixed neighborhoods are often flooded by wealthier, whiter parents, and lose their diversity despite all efforts.  The USDE will allow weighted lotteries, but not guaranteed admission. USDE has opposed letting diverse charters weight their lotteries in such a strong way for fear of the precedent that would tempt other schools to set priorities (for white kids, for kids whose parents have yachts, etc.)

There are situations where charters have been set up to avoid integration, or located or run in ways that are disadvantageous to poor and minority kids.  But this is not one of them.

What could be done?  

Lots of things, it seems. Congress could change the federal definition of a charter school to allow this kind of weighting. The USDE could revise its guidance (though risking Congressional displeasure). Or Success could shift its proposal from an absolute 14 percent priority for ELL kids, going with an unweighted lottery for the first year or two and then shifting. The unitary enrollment system would be diluted, creating different systems for different schools, but more ELL kids would be served.

I'll let you know if and when Success or the USDE respond with more about their thinking, or why these solutions couldn't work.*

*UPDATED: From USDE's Dorie Turner Nolt: “The U.S. Department of Education is firmly committed to increasing high-quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, including English learners, in charter schools, as in all public schools. The Department has worked with Success Academies to find ways for it to provide additional weight for English learners within the boundaries of the law and program guidance, and remains committed to that effort. We have worked with other grantees that submitted proposals to use weighted lotteries for educationally disadvantaged students—including other charter management organizations operating in New York—and have approved several such proposals. Such approaches complement broader efforts by charter schools to recruit, serve and retain educationally disadvantaged students.”

Your turn, Success. 

Related posts: "Smarter" Charters Are Diverse, Teacher-Led;  Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance;  Diverse Charters Spread Nationally (Education Next); Diverse Charters Balance Learning & Accountability.

Morning Video: PBS NewsHour's [Seriously Flawed] Common Core Update

Check out last night's PBS NewsHour segment (Why some students are refusing to take the Common Core test), which in my opinion includes an unfortunate number of errors.  These include exaggerating the number of opt-outs, linking the Newark student sit-in to the Common Core, and minimizing the role of NJEA in opposing the tests (and Newark). That being said, there is some great footage and interviews by correspondent John Merrow.

AM News: Anti-Cuomo Protests In NYC, Republican Union Endorsement In LAUSD

At widespread anti-Cuomo protests, parents and teachers to join hands Chalkbeat New York:  City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew and his predecessor, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, will speak at the morning rally at Park Slope's P.S. 10, which is known for its presence in the movement to opt out of state...

UTLA one step closer to endorsing a Republican in Schmerelson LA School Report: Members of the teachers union political action committee, PACE, are recommending to the full committee an endorsement for Schmerelson in his bid to unseat the two-time incumbent Tamar Galatzan, pledging to work tirelessly to remove her from the school board.

California suspends other standards for Common Core, for now AP: One set of California school standards has temporarily fallen victim to another. California's school accountability system and its new Common Core academic standards were put head-to-head on Wednesday, and Common Core won. See also NPR: Ditching The Common Core Brings A Big Test For Indiana, PBS NewsHour: Why some students are refusing to take the Common Core test.

Privacy Pitfalls as Education Apps Spread Haphazardly NYT: Apps and other software can put powerful teaching tools at teachers’ fingertips, but concerns abound over data security, effectiveness and marketing.

The new digital classroom, brought to you by SXSW Marketplace Learning Curve: One area that's getting a lot of attention is "making."  The “Playground” area of SXSWedu was full of products focused on kids building things, using 3D doodlers and Lego robots. 

Did school board violate Sunshine Law with private Arne Duncan huddle? Palm Beach Post: The Palm Beach Post's education reporting team of Andrew Marra and Sonja Isger notes that, notwithstanding Florida's Sunshine Law, five of seven Palm Beach County school board members met privately Monday with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

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

Continue reading "AM News: Anti-Cuomo Protests In NYC, Republican Union Endorsement In LAUSD" »

Maps: Immigrant Parents Face Barriers To Engaging In School

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.com

This map shows the percentage of kids under 9 with immigrant parents, and this Vox article highlights the barriers keeping immigrant parents from getting involved in their kids' education. They include language, educational background, and community hostility. Of course, it doesn't help that teachers are still majority white (and presumably monolingual.) Image used with permission.

Morning Video: On Fox, Michelle Obama's Healthy School Lunch Initiative Is Orwellian

Watch the segment above (via Media Matters for America). Or, listen to this CRPE discussion about Why Reformers Need an Attitude Adjustment.

Morning Video: Las Vegas Faces Looming 2,600-Teacher Shortage

 

Desperate for 2,600 teachers next year, Las Vegas is recruiting like mad.  Watch the video and read the HuffPost story: Why Las Vegas Is Desperate To Hire Thousands Of Teachers.

AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Started Off Fairly Smoothly

NM's first PARCC test goes smoothly Albuquerque Journal: Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) was created by a consortium of states to measure knowledge of the Common Core standards

Common Core test debuts in Oregon, prompting stepped-up teaching, fears it will be too hard  OregonLive.com: Sixth grader Porter Stewart works on a writing assessment to help him prepare for the dauntingCommon Core test that will be given to 300,000...

Calls for opt-out bill continue as Illinois starts PARCC test Sun-Times: No major snafus were reported in the city or on the state level, although Mollison and Morrill elementary schools had some minor glitches, district spokesman Bill McCaffrey said. Otherwise CPS reported a “smooth start to testing,” he said, “with the exception of some minor tech issues, such as popup blockers.”

Federal education chief: Some kids are over-tested Sun Sentinel: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to a crowd of more than 500 on his vision for education and his push to fix the federal No Child Left Behind Act at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach as part of an event by the Forum Club of the Palm 

Education interests to pour money into Democratic primary Philly.com:  AFT president Randi Weingarten, asked whether her union will make independent expenditures to influence the Philadelphia mayor's race, said she was "deeply concerned" about the state of schools here.

With Jesse Jackson's Chuy Garcia Endorsement, Black Leaders Begin to Unite ... In These Times:  has come out strongly against Emanuel's policies in all of these areas, and has the backing of the powerful Chicago Teachers Union and its president Karen Lewis. However, longstanding tensions and distrust between the city's black and Latino ...

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Started Off Fairly Smoothly" »

#EdGif Of The Day: Asteroids, Gay Dinosaurs, Extinction!

"I went to public school in Mississippi. They told us dinosaurs went extinct because an asteroid turned them gay." - Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt via Tumblr. [Still ISO Ep6 classroom gifs!]

Charts: Educational Gains Steady & Long-Standing

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.com

"True, there are some problems with the education system — inequality between schools, for example, not to mention skyrocketing college tuition costs — but that the majority of the population over 25 went from not having a high school diploma to at least having some college in the span of 40 years is astonishing." (Vox: 21 charts that explain how the US is changing) Image used with permission.

Quotes: When School Reform Meets Democracy

Quotes2If you begin from the premise that you can not convince parents, then I doubt the wisdom of your entire plan for their children. I say that as someone who is unconvinced that teachers should be tenured.

 - The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates (When School Reform and Democracy Meet)

AM News: NYC's Diversity Problem, Districts' Teacher Assignment Problem

Lack of Diversity Persists in Admissions to New York City’s Elite High Schools NYT:  Five percent of the students offered placement in eight specialized high schools were black and 7 percent were Hispanic, according to statistics released on Thursday. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Study: Novices Often Teach the Youngest, Neediest Students in Their Schools EdWeek: A new study finds that novice math teachers in a large urban district are more likely to teach the youngest and neediest students in their schools.

Teacher union will consider supporting Galatzan's opponent in Los Angeles Unified election LA Daily News: While Los Angeles Unified School Board member Tamar Galatzan handily defeated a field of five challengers in Tuesday's primary election, the teachers union said it will now consider supporting her opponent in the May 19 runoff. See also LA School Report.

After a series of defeats, opponents of Common Core open new fronts in battle against standards Hechinger Report: Legislators 19 states introduced bills to repeal the Common Core this session. So far none have succeeded. Repeal bills in even the reddest states – states like Mississippi, Arizona, and both Dakotas – have failed to make it to governors’ desks this year. See also SI&A Cabinet Report:  Wyoming flips in support of science Common Core.

[For a roundup of actual opt-out numbers being reported in local NJ papers -- quite small in all but 4 affluent areas -- check out NJ Left Behind here.]

Gender Fluid Generation Medium: In many ways, it seems like gender non-conformity awareness is at all-time high. Last week Congressman Mike Honda announced via Twitter that he was the “proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild.” But schools are still catching up with the needs of gender nonconforming students. Last year, California’s first law protecting gender nonconforming students went into effect. It gives Jace the right to use the bathroom of his choice.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC's Diversity Problem, Districts' Teacher Assignment Problem" »

Anniversaries: Belated 8th Anniversary Congrats To Larry Ferlazzo

It's hard to find a more useful, far-ranging, and long-running blog than the one California teacher Larry Ferlazzo has been running the last eight years. And so its easy for me to wish him a hearty Eighth Anniversary (just a few weeks late!).  

What makes Larry's work so notable is that he shares and collects so prodigiously, and his work isn't anywhere near as narcissistic as most of us online tend to be.  Some example blog posts include: New Resources On Race & Racism. Or let Larry tell you: What Have Been My Most Popular Posts? His personal favorites are here, As you will see, Ferlazzo's work spans classrooms and courthouses.

Related posts: This ELL Teacher Has *Way* More Klout Than YouBlogger / ELL Teacher Makes The New York TimesPraise For This Site From A Very High High PlaceBloggers Write Books, Too

Morning Video: Realizing That Your Childhood School Experiences Are Different

 

"Here I was, right outside my elementary school, [and] somebody’s pulling out a gun. And it was very clear that that was different." In this Bill Moyers interview from last Spring, the Atlantic writer Ta-Nehesi Coates describes an after-school experience that raised his awareness and shaped his interest in journalism.

See the whole interview here. See below for my little collection of quotes and references to Coates and education. Tell me if I've missed any good ones at @alexanderrusso.

Related posts: What They're Saying About That New Yorker ArticleThis More Diverse List Of "Top Education Tweeters"AFT Sponsors Atlantic Magazine Education Event "I Did Not Have a Culture of Scholastic High Achievement Around Me"Bolstering The "Clueless Reformer" CritiqueHe's Referring To The NYC Department Of Education, Right?.

Update: Petrilli's Surprise Apology -- & CitizenStewart's Difficult Choices

Stewart twitterChris Stewart, the blogger who (among others) successfully called out mostly white male middle aged reform critics for their "belief gap" over this past weekend, scored another victory today with a seemingly heartfelt apology from Fordham's Mike Petrilli over an Education Next cover story on single parents. 

But there are some reasons to wonder whether Stewart's successes have been as strong as it might have seemed -- or could have been.

For starters, the Petrilli apology for being goading and insensitive is nothing more than that.  There's no offer to change the cover, retraction of the issue, or change the all-white panel that's accompanying the magazine issue.  

I'm not sure there was more that Stewart et al could have hoped to get -- I wasn't even sure Petrilli would feel the need to apologize given how impervious he's been to criticism in the past and how much he generally delights in stirring things up.  So kudos for that, but still, it's just an apology (and more attention for Petrilli's event).

Somewhat more important, Stewart and others could be seen to have given up the chance to solidify what may be a larger, more fundamental point in the school reform wars by turning to fire on Petrilli and the offensive magazine cover. In so doing, he essentially let Gary Rubinstein, Anthony Cody, and other reform critics off the hook for their incessant criticism of poor minority student success (and the stunning lack of diversity among those who say they're advocating for poor minority children) - for now, at least. 

So again, it was an impressive series of Twitter offensives by Stewart and others, who are bringing up incredibly important and difficult issues for the reform community and its critics alike. I don't want any of that to stop, and was happy to have been included in the conversation and to have helped it along in some small way (probably not).

But I guess the question is whether it's more important from that point of view  to take on reform critics like Cody and Rubinstein (and Ravitch -- where was she?) or to take on reform allies like Petrilli. Perhaps the mostly white male reform community needs awareness raising as much as the mostly white reform critic community. Yeah, it probably does. Perhaps both can be done at the same time. That's probably the hope and aim. But alas, I'm not sure such a thing is possible. 

What do you think?

Related posts: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap"Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders? Image via Twitter. 

AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next

School Districts Report Second Day Of Testing Problems StateImpact FL:  The Tampa Bay Times reports Tampa-area schools had to suspend some testing for a second day. Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he won’t resume testing until the state can prove everything is working. Palm Beach school also will not test students on Wednesday. See also Bradenton Herald: State testing in Manatee County sees online delay but no need to suspend testing, ABC7 Common Core testing begins in California next week.

LAUSD Board Members in Runoff NBC SoCal: Los Angeles Unified School District board members Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic will have to compete in a May 19 runoff election as they fight to retain their seats, while incumbent George McKenna won re-election thanks to having no challengers. See also LA Times: One incumbent trails charter-school backed challenger in L.A. board balloting.

Taking the same road to Albany, education lobbying events on divergent paths ChalkbeatNY:  They’re lobbying with the same goal in mind — to push policies that will improve public education — but what they’re asking for couldn’t look more different. Here are four things to know about Wednesday’s festivities.

School Agenda Bedevils Chicago Mayor in Race NYT: As Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago faces an unexpected runoff election, it is his education agenda that threatens his political future. See also Tribune: Emanuel says CPS had no choice but to back down in testing controversy.

Chris Christie’s bold plan to remake public schools is running into trouble Washington Post: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went on a publicity blitz when he vowed to fix this city’s struggling schools with the most expansive re-engineering of urban education anywhere in the country.He told Oprah Winfrey in 2010 that Newark would become a “national model.”  See also HuffPost: Unions Say They'll Sue Christie Again Over Pension Payments, Courier Post: Gov. Chris Christie's shifting position on Common Core.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next" »

Quotes: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker On Eliminating ISIS Teachers

Quotes2We must identify the people who are teaching ISIS their tactics – in other words, their teachers – and eliminate them. I did that in Wisconsin and I can do it in Iraq and Syria... Behind every problem, there are teachers you need to get rid of.

- Scott Walker (Walker Vows To Detroy ISIS Teachers via Andy Borowitz

Journalism: KPCC Shows The Right Way To Correct A Story In 2 Easy Steps

CORRECTION  LAUSD board president outpacing challengers in finances  endorsements   89.3 KPCC

Kudos to the team at KPCC Southern California Public Radio for showing how to correct a story online (and for reminding us that UTLA and SEIU have split on endorsing the sitting board chair, Richard Vladovic).

Step 1 is to indicate in the headline that the story has been corrected.  KPCC goes with CORRECTED, but in my view an asterisk is also fine.

Step 2 is to indicate at the top of the story that there's been a change and what it is. Regretting the error is a classy flourish, though many news outlets can't seem to bring themselves to do so. 

That's it.  Not so hard, right?

Corrections should be avoided at all costs, but they're also inevitable given the pace of work and complexity of the issues. How you respond to them makes all the difference to readers and sources.

Related posts: Story Corrections Should Be Indicated At The TopNYT Front-Pager Mis-Identifies Ed Trust PresidentFiveThirty-Eight Stumbles Out Of The GateNYT Error Leaves Asians Out Of NYC Gifted & Talented Program.

Common Core: Chicago Will Administer New Tests Next Week After All

CPS Letter to ISBE Feb242015

In a complete but not entirely unexpected reversal, CPS announced that it would require all schools to administer the new Common Core assessment next week, as required by the state and the USDE as a condition of funding. Sun Times here passes along speculation that the previous position was a City Hall-inspired effort to win votes from mostly white liberal parents concerned about overtesting for last week's election (in which case Rahm just gave his opponents a big issue). The Tribune here notes that technological limits are not the issue for most Chicago schools, and that CPS was under repeated funding threats from the state (though I'm not sure anyone believed CPS would be defunded over Common Core).

Update: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media

For the last few years, claims of success by reform supporters -- a high-poverty school where students are learning at high levels, say -- have regularly been met with detailed takedowns from the likes of Diane Ravitch or Gary Rubinstein, followed by a swarm of followups from reform critics and allies.

But over the weekend things took a somewhat different turn (at least on Sunday, when I last checked in), and it was the mostly white, mostly male reform critics like Rubinstein and Cody who were on the hotseat for expressing a "belief gap" from a handful of Chris Stewart kicked things off (and storified the exchange below).

A number of new voices showed up -- new to me, at least -- in addition to familiar names like Anthony Cody, John Thompson, and Gary Rubinstein.  As you'll see, the issue of research into teacher bias came up several times, including studies like this and this. And 

It wasn't pretty, or conclusive, or anything else. Both sides of this debate have long sufferered from too few black and brown voices and leaders, and still do. But it was somewhat different from the Twitter exchanges I've been following and writing about for the last few years.

Related posts: Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?

Continue reading "Update: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media" »

AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week

As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out NYT: About a dozen of their classmates, however, will be elsewhere. They will sit in a nearby art room, where they will read books, do a little drawing and maybe paint. What they will not do is take the test, because they and their parents have flatly refused. See also Yakima Herald: Common Core exams begin soon, and many school districts are ready to go; Philly.com: Monday the day for controversial student testing in New Jersey; WFLA: Florida Standards testing begins across state.

The snow conundrum: How a school system decides whether to open Washington Post: Todd Watkins had been following the snow forecasts closely. By the time he climbed out of bed in the darkness of 2 a.m., he didn’t think a storm would wallop the Washington region. But he thought it was possible that Montgomery’s schools would open after a delay. See also HuffPost: Teachers Ensure Poor Kids Are Fed On Snow Days When They Can't Get Free School Lunch

Contentious teacher-related policies moving from legislatures to the courts Washington Post: The latest foray into the courtroom began Feb. 13, when New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York.

Jeb Bush stands firm on controversial immigration, educationpolicies at CPAC Fox News: Rubio used his time to target Obama's foreign policies, focusing mostly on Iran's nuclear threat. During his speech, Rubio said America needed a leader who understands that the way to defeat the Islamic State “wasn't to give him a job,” referencing ...

No Child Left Behind debate in the House suspended Washington Post: The House suspended floor debate on a Republican bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind on Friday afternoon, with party leaders saying they had to shift the chamber’s focus to debate funding the Department of Homeland Security. See also AP: House Republican Leaders Scrap Education Vote.

Can 'Chuy' give Rahm a run for his money? Tribune: A 2012 teachers strike, among other confrontations, led Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to form an exploratory committee for mayor last year. After she withdrew for health reasons, she asked Garcia, a former state senator, alderman and ...  See also NBC: Karen Lewis: I Could Have Won

Jimmy Kimmel got doctors to swear at cameras to convince people to get vaccinated HuffPost: "Here in LA, there are schools in which 20 percent of the children aren't vaccinated," Kimmel said, "because parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox."

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

Continue reading "AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week" »

Quotes: SEIU Could Play Decisive Role In Chicago (As It Has In LA)

Quotes2Now that we have a runoff, we are going to take a very close, serious look at the race. The neutrality vote we took was a vote in the first round. This is now a different election.

--  SEIU Local 1 political operative Jerry Morrison in the Sun-Times (SEIU may join mayor race).

In Chicago's case, SEIU would likely join CTU in opposing Mayor Emanuel. In LA, SEIU Local 99 has been an independent player on education issues, joining with and splitting from UTLA depending on the issue and/or candidate.

Quotes: Chicago Illustrates Dangers Of Hasty Discipline Changes

Quotes2It's difficult to go from a zero-tolerance mentality to a restorative justice mentality, because it's a whole different way of looking at things. To really do restorative justice, there have to be certain things in place. -- CTU official Michael Brunson in the Tribune (Teachers complain about revised CPS discipline policy)

Events: Journalists Discuss Common Core (Coverage?) In Denver (Plus Map)

Here's a map of Common Core states, by assessment, from EdWeek, that I got off the #EWACore event hashtag. (All it needs is testing start/end dates for each state, right?) Agenda is here. Crossed fingers there's some (gentle?) discussion of how well/poorly media are doing covering the situation.

Related posts: Missing Context In AP's Common Core Testing StoryPlease Do A Better Job Covering Testing This Year, JournosCan Education Coverage Find Its Balance, Please? 

 

States: Few States Ban Or Freely Permit Testing Opt-Outs, Says ECS Roundup

Www.ecs.org clearinghouse 01 17 68 11768.pdf

ECS Rounds up state opt out rules: "Laws in some states — such as Arkansas and Texas — clearly prohibit opt-outs, while the law is less clear in other states. Legislation introduced in New Jersey would allow opt-outs. Similar legislation in Mississippi failed to progress. State laws in California and Utah allow parents to opt their children out of state assessments for any reason." Image used with permission.
 

AM News: Common Core Sabotage, Chicago Standoff, & ESEA Veto Threat

Unable to repeal Common Core, foes try sabotage Politico: Conservative lawmakers in state after state are running into difficulty rounding up votes to revoke the academic standards outright.. See also NJEA launches ad campaign against PARCC.

White House Issues Veto Threat Against House GOP NCLB Rewrite PK12: Why doesn't the administration like this bill? For one thing, they're not happy about what they see as a big step on back on accountability, particularly for the poor and minority kids that NCLB was designed to help. See also AP,  Obama threatens veto of House education billWhite House threatens veto of GOP bill to fix No Child Left BehindNo Child Reauthorization Has No Shot.

CPS in a bind over snub of state-mandated test, official says Tribune: Chicago school board President David Vitale said during Wednesday's board meeting that the district's effort to administer the exam to just 66 of its more than 600 schools has been "clear and consistent." But, he acknowledged, "The response we've gotten from other authorities is also clear." See also Sun-Times: Which CPS schools will be tested in 2 weeks still unknown.

De Blasio calls for permanent mayoral control of schools ChalkbeatNY: Before mayoral control, the city’s school system was balkanized,” de Blasio said. “School boards exerted great authority with little accountability and we saw far too many instances of mismanagement, waste and corruption.” See also The Atlantic: NYC's Tale of Two Pre-Ks.

Rift escalates between Los Angeles teachers, district AP: Teachers in the nation's second-largest school district are in an escalating rift with Los Angeles Unified officials over higher wages. See also LATimes: Charter school group is political force in L.A. Unified board election, LA Weekly Charter Schools Take on Charter-Hating LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser

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

Former Montgomery schools chief Joshua Starr sets up business to open way for consulting Washington Post: Montgomery County’s former superintendent, Joshua P. Starr, has established a new consulting business, according to Maryland state records and a statement relayed through the school district.The limited liability company, called Education Solutions LLC, was registered with the state Feb. 17, a day after Starr’s resignation took effect, according to online records from the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation.

'Call Out Cuomo' teachers' rally at Massena High Saturday urging residents to ... North Country Now: Carlisto said the “Call Out Cuomo” events are expected to feature American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, NYSUT President Karen E. Magee and others

Arne Duncan talks early childhood education at Alexandria school Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday got a first-hand glimpse of early childhood education in a busy Alexandria preschool classroom, where he got down on the rug with youngsters playing with blocks, chatted up students building a “neighborhood” with sand and talked to a young girl about her writing.

5 Lessons Education Research Taught Us In 2014 NPR: Lessons from a handful of the most viewed papers from the American Education Research Association last year.

Dissecting A Frog: A Middle School Rite Of Passage NPR: In science classrooms across the country, middle-schoolers will take part in an iconic activity this year: frog dissection.

Teachers complain about revised CPS discipline policy Tribune: A CPS spokesman said the district makes training available to all schools on subjects including restorative practices and classroom management. Roughly 100 (of 600) schools have "restorative practices coaches" in the building weekly, and behavioral health teams work at 66 schools. Those resources are allocated to schools based on behavioral data, the district said.

Controversial Schools Tech Contract Wins NYC Approval WNYC: A contract to expand internet access in New York City schools as well as proposals for sharing school space moved forward despite concerns. Oh, and the cell phone ban was lifted.

Employee sues LAUSD superintendent third time alleging sexual harassment KPCC: The latest suit alleges Cortines made sexual advances to Graham in 2000 soon after Cortines helped Graham get a job with the school district’s real estate leasing operations. Cortines left the school district that same year and Graham didn’t report what allegedly happened, according to the suit.

The rise of Chicago's Casimir Pulaski Day WBEZ: The story behind this most “Illinois” of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it’s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.

One District Will Have Saturday School to Make Up for Missed Days ABC News: A North Carolina school district will be in session on Saturday and parents aren't too happy. The Gaston County school district made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and on its web site.

AM News: Teachers Force Mayoral Runoff In Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into April runoff election WBEZ: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote Tuesday in his bid for a second term, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff who now faces a runoff this spring against CTU-endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

In Anti-Testing Push, Unions Turn to Polls, Ads TeacherBeat: The New Jersey and Connecticut state affiliates of the National Education Association are mounting aggressive campaigns.

Los Angeles Unified's teachers union faces test of organizing strength LA Daily News: The print shop below United Teachers Los Angeles' headquarters cranked out 7,500 signs for protestors to carry when they descend on downtown Thursday, demanding higher pay, fewer students per classroom and better working conditions.

The Great U.S. History Battle NPR: The College Board redesigned the framework for its Advanced Placement U.S. history course, and many conservative lawmakers aren't happy about it.

Feds Find Discrimination Against Female Athletes in NYC Schools WNYC: New York City denies violating federal law, but agrees to changes to expand high school sports options for girls.

Taylor Swift Gives $50,000 in Song Proceeds to NYC Schools AP: Global ambassador' Taylor Swift donates $50,000 in song proceeds to NYC public schools

Feds support transgender teen in civil rights suit against schools Washington Post: Federal officials have offered their support for a teen who has accused four Michigan school districts of discriminating against him because he is transgender.U.S. civil rights laws protect “all individuals from sex discrimination, including transgender individuals,” lawyers for the Justice and Education departments wrote in a statement filed in federal district court.

L.A. Schools Reboot Plan to Give Every Student a Computer District Dossier: The Los Angeles Unified district doesn't have the money to continue with plans to provide all students with a tech device, superintendent Ramon Cortines said.

D.C. Defends Plan For School That Would Serve Only Minority Boys WAMU: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to open up an all-boys high school for minority students is facing new questions from the ACLU.

Photos Of School Lunches From Around The World Will Make American Kids Want To Study Abroad HuffPost: Parents could model better eating habits and stock their crispers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but a viable starter solution might begin at lunchtime. Sweetgreen, a healthy quick-serve restaurant that values local and organic ingredients, clarified disparity between American student lunches and those of other countries by photographing typical school lunches from around the world. The visuals are eye-opening.

How Twitter is shaping the #CommonCore debate Hechinger Report: Supovitz says that ordinary citizens and grassroots groups have used Twitter to gain the type of influence – both with politicians and the mainstream media – that has traditionally been enjoyed by more established groups.

Social Media: New Study Suggests Journalism Being Left Out Of Education Debate

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 10.38.29 AM
There are lots of different ways to look at the new CPRE/UPennGSE report about social media and the Common Core debate, but at least one of them is to observe just how small a role journalists and non-advocacy media outlets seem to have been playing -- even in areas where you'd think that mainstream and trade publications who share out information all day would have a big advantage:

*Just 13 of 158 high-volume "transmitters" (8 percent) are journalists. "These include print, online, and radio media, and represent both non-partisan and partisan media entities." I've asked for a list.

*Just 22 (16 percent) of 139 "transceivers" (who pass information along and have their tweets shared) are journos/media outlets. They include @educationweek, @BenSwann (who?), and @ NEAMedia (not really a journalistic outlet). This is the list where journalists are strongest, relatively speaking -- journalism's wheelhouse, really. But journalists come in third. (List requested.)

*Just 3 media outlets qualify for the list of 41 "transcenders" (the elite group in the study). They are @educationweek, @StateEdWatch (penned by Andrew Ujifusa) & @ellemoxley. The report adds @NEAMedia to the list but again that's a whole different thing.  

Of course, the study is limited to tweets directly related to Common Core, and a certain time period.Other kinds of criteria would surface larger numbers of journalists and education outlets that are high-volume, high-retweet, or high-influence.

But my sense is that the report illustrates a deeper dynamic, which is that journalists and media outlets lag far behind activists on the use of Twitter, in part because of the decline in traditional journalism but even more so because of self-imposed limitations on expressing views or attempting to shape the debate. Advocates, think tankers, and even academics have a green light that journalists don't.

Also, my sense is that journalists' experience of Twitter is mostly being tweeted at by those with complaints legitimate and others.   Twitter is the "new comment section," it's being widely noted, and we all know how most journalists feel about comments. So there may be some avoidance going on.

Image used with permission. I found the PDF version easiest for word searches but maybe there are other, better ways to navigate. #htagcommoncore @cpreresearch @upennGSE.

Morning Video: "Imitation Game" Writer Urges Kids To Stay Weird

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself, because I felt weird and different and I didn’t belong." Inspiring message that was sadly too late for Draven Rodriguez (the Laser Cat Yearbook kid). Or, watch the Moral March from North Carolina (via AFT). Got something better? Send it to me at @alexanderrusso@

Thompson: Anya Kamenentz's 4 Alternatives To "Test and Punish"

Anya Kamenetz’s The Test is an awesome analysis of how “the test obsession is making public schools … into unhappy places.” But Kamenetz’s great work doesn't stop there.  In the second part of the book, she presents alternative approaches to high-stakes testing:
 
Team Robot tests conventional subjects (math, reading, writing) in unconventional ways (invisible, integrated, electronic).
 
Team Monkey tests unconventional qualities (mindset, grit) in conventional ways (multiple –choice surveys).
 
Team Butterfly, which Kamenetz would use as the basis for a new system, integrates learning with assessment and covers twenty-first-century skills without quantifying the outcomes in a way that’s familiar or easily comparable …
 
Team Unicorn, which is still emerging, relies heavily on video games. She offers an intriguing distinction between Team Unicorn and Team Robot: “the former understands the limitations of what they are doing.” (Sign me up for the more adventurous approach, whose metrics also should be the most incompatible with stakes being assessed.)

The Test concludes with four strategies for dealing with tests.

Continue reading "Thompson: Anya Kamenentz's 4 Alternatives To "Test and Punish"" »

Flashback Friday (#FBF): "Keep Calm & Continue Testing"

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

"A test season riff on the WWII poster "Keep Calm And Carry On" via @mikeklonsky.  Is this for real, or even new?  I have no idea but would love to know.  There's an ACT logo and they're getting back to me about whether it's official or not.  If this was done by ACT rather than bootlegged it would be all the better.  Other versions of the same idea are here." (2012: "Keep Calm And Continue Testing")

Media: NYT Fills Labor Beat Spot With TNR Alum Noam Scheiber

Politico reported yesterday that the NYT will be filling the spot once held by Steven Greenhouse with TNR alum Noam Scheiber.

I'm no expert on Schieber and his work on politics and labor, but a quick Google Search shows up stories and Tweets about Cory Booker, Karen Lewis, and New Jersey politics that suggest that he's going to provide different coverage than his predecessor.

There are precious few reporters assigned to cover the labor beat, including folks at BuzzFeed and EdWeek and indie bloggers like Mike (EIA) Antonucci, and perhaps depending on how you view his work Dropout Nation's RiShawn Biddle. I don't think there's anyone covering labor for the Washington Post or NPR. 

Related posts: So Long, NYT Labor Reporter Steven GreenhouseWe Need More Teacher Union Coverage -- Right?;  Reporters Should Identify Union EmployeesCharts: Teachers = Teamsters?

Morning Video: Charter Advocate Says Critics Are Rooting For Failures

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Charter advocates and critics debated their role in Chicago earlier this week, including a few moments when INCS president Andrew Broy (far left) claimed that charter critics want Chicago schools to fail. Click here if the video doesn't load. Click here for the Sun-Times coverage.

Journalism: Missing Context In AP's Common Core Testing Story

Monday's AP story about the coming wave of states and districts administering the Common Core assessments this spring (Ohio Debuts New Digital Standardized Test This Week) has been making the rounds, as AP stories do. 

Written in conjunction with the kickoff of Common Core testing this week, the piece includes some useful baseline information, including that by the end of this year 12 million students in 29 states plus DC will have taken the new tests, most of them using computers (75 percent for PARCC and 80-90 percent for SBAC).

But that doesn't mean the story is accurate or fair in terms of how it's shaped -- at least, not according to me.  

There's nothing factually incorrect, far as I can tell (though the writers seem to have missed that Chicago officials are reconsidering their initial decision not to administer the assessment citywide). 

The main issue I have with the story is that it focuses so much on what's not working, or might not work, or has been controversial in some places -- and leaves out much of what's seeming to go well and so much of what we know about the Common Core testing process from last year's field testing.

By the time you get to the end of the article you might well anticipate that things were about to go very, very badly for this spring's assessments. 

But that's not really the case, far as I can tell -- and the AP reporters and editors who worked on the story should have know as much.

Continue reading "Journalism: Missing Context In AP's Common Core Testing Story" »

Quotes: Former Montgomery County Supe Talks Testing Moratorium

Quotes2I think more and more people have come around to the point of view I expressed a few years ago. -- Starr in NPR talking about his 2012 call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing (Exit Interview With A Nationally Known School Leader)

 

Charts: School Board Members Average 5+ Years

Www.nsba.org sites default files SBcirca2010_WEB.pdf

"Nationally, more than half of board members have served longer than five years in their current district. Board member tenure does not vary significantly with district size, though the medium-large districts are the least likely to have members with less than two years of service." From NSBA 2010. I'm checking to see if there are any more recent statistics. 

Thompson: Russo's Disheartening "Eight Lessons for Funders and Grantees"

Almost every paper presented at the American Enterprise Institute’s conference, Is the ‘New’ Education Philanthropy Good for Schools?, made me somewhat more hopeful that the Gates Foundation, at least, will learn and back off from insisting that stakes be attached to standardized tests, and start down more promising policy paths. The exception is Alexander Russo’s Inside Foundations: Eight Lessons for Funders and Grantees on Education Giving

According to Russo’s astute article, the lessons of this new generation of philanthropy are:

1. Policy and advocacy are great tools—to a point.

2. New approaches complicate measurement/evaluation issues. 

3. Newly-created organizations bring focus and fidelity but can lack credibility and engagement.       

4. “Strategic” philanthropy is a powerful way to narrow priorities—unless it’s applied too rigidly.  

5. Setting clear metrics helps—until you take them too far.

6. Fail fast—but don’t overreact to bad news, either.

7. Don’t forget/underplay “the grind.”

8. Little more coordination, please (but not too much!)

In a rational world, this witty and insightful call for balance would contribute to better policy-making. In contrast to the statements made by other insiders to the other contributors, however, I fear that the several elites interviewed by Russo are concluding that, yes, we lose credibility with each of our risky policy gambles -- but we will make it up on volume.

Continue reading "Thompson: Russo's Disheartening "Eight Lessons for Funders and Grantees"" »

Quotes: David Carr's View Of Teachers

Quotes2You will meet this schlumpy lifer who five minutes into the conference makes you just feel like killing yourself, and you think, ‘I leave my child with this kid?’ And the next person you meet will be this incredibly charismatic person who sees every young person before them as this unique piece of clay about to be molded.

- Recently-deceased NYT media critic David Carr in The Answer Sheet (What David Carr told me

Morning Video: The Heroin-Dealing Principal (& Other Options)

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From NBC News: "Missouri police seek a former elementary school principal, they now believe was running a heroin trafficking ring. " Click here if the video doesn't load properly. Or watch AFT video of UTLA event last week here, or Scott Walker's critique of going to college as a requirement for being President here, or Fordham's lavender-shirted Petrilli talking about the same topic over the weekend here.

Charts: An Education U-Turn For Third-Generation Latinos?

Www.urban.org UploadedPDF 413239 Immigrant Youth Outcomes.pdf

"After progress from first to second generation, there are retreats in outcomes, such as voter participation, school attendance, educational attainment, trust in institutions, trust and interchanges with neighbors, and disconnectedness from work and school." Urban Institute via Vox.

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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.