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Update: If School Reform Is Class Conflict, A Social Justice Approach Could Hurt

As I read it, this piece in The New Yorker (Pale Fire) suggests that the current conflict over education reform is in many ways the playing out of long-simmering white-on-white class conflicts.

If so, this would suggest that focusing narrowly on social justice issues -- while entirely understandable in short-term tactical terms -- could only exacerbate the conflict and theoretically slow progress. 

It's nothing you haven't thought or read or perhaps articulated yourself, but a worthwhile reminder. 

 

Maps: Gap Between Rich & Poor Schools Grows 44 Percent (Now $1,500 Per Kid)

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Red and orange states are where students in rich districts receive more funds than students in poor districts. via Hechinger Report (The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade).

"The richest 25 percent of school districts receive 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, the federal Department of Education pointed out last month (March, 2015).  That’s a national funding gap of $1,500 per student, on average, according to the most recent data, from 2011-12. The gap has grown 44 percent since 2001-02, when a student in a rich district had only a 10.8 percent resource advantage over a student in a poor district."

 

Charts: Teacher Salaries Spread Over Time

If I'm reading this right, the salary spread for educators (purple) has grown much wider over time. http://ow.ly/RGim302dxqa

Maps: Nearly 200 "Island" Districts Segregate School Communities

Reform critics like to talk about big social issues like poverty, or focus on reform challenges like racial segregation in charter schools, but downplay ignore structural issues in public education like school assignment policies and district boundaries.

It's not just attendance zones and school assignment policies within districts that contribute to segregation and school inequality. According to a new report from EdBuild, school district boundaries themselves play a dramatic role in "segregating communities and separating low-income kids from educational opportunity." The most vivid examples of this effect are "island" districts entirely surrounded by other school districts of vastly different means.

"The way we fund schools in the United States creates incentives for communities to segregate along socioeconomic lines in order to preserve local wealth. In so doing, communities create arbitrary borders that serve to lock students into, or out of, opportunity. This reality is especially glaring in the case of island school districts that are entirely surrounded by single districts of very different means."

While there are nearly 200 examples nationwide, the report highlights examples in Oakland, Freehold NJ, and Columbus OH.

 

Quotes: "No One Does" What NJ Gov. Christie Is Proposing

Quotes2No one does that right now... The main reason is it disproportionately benefits wealthy school districts.

ECS school finance expert Mike Griffith (Christie school plan: 'No one does that right now,' critic says)

Pop Culture: SF Theater Troupe Mimes School Reform Critique

Check out the promo above, or read an SF Gate review (mixed) here. Via Caroline Grannan.

Charts: PA Funding Formula Benefits Declining Districts

"Of the 100 districts that receive the most per-pupil funding from the state, the overwhelming majority have residents who spend below the state average when it comes to the share of personal income that goes to local property taxes for schools." (The story of Pennsylvania's per-pupil school funding

Morning Listen: A Visit To St. Louis' Obama Elementary School

Morning Video: Education Reform's Common Ground?

Watch folks talk about "common ground" in education reform at Fordham earlier this week, or read transcript here or read up here

 

Events: NYT Education Summit Today & Tomorrow

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Today and tomorrow, the NYT is gathering EdSec John King, Carmen Farina, Pasi Sahlberg, Angela "Grit" Duckworth, and others for its annual education conference. Times journalists including Kate Zernike and Nikole Hannah-Jones are scheduled to participate.

 "The New York Times will bring together the most influential leaders in higher education – including presidents, provosts, chancellors and other decision-makers at colleges and universities ... to explore and assess the most pressing issues on campuses today."

As you can probably tell, the event is focused on higher education and called the Higher Ed Leaders Forum. The issues highlighted in the promo materials include "diversity and free-speech dilemmas, the STEM-humanities debate, sexual assault, the digital future, the crisis in public funding of education and much more."

Check out the schedule here. Far as I can tell, there's no livestream. 

 

Charts: EdTech Investing Cooling Off In 2016, Says New Report

Ed-Tech Market in Flux as Investors Grow More Selective - Education Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/06/08/ed-tech-market-in-flux-as-investors-grow.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW … via @educationweek https://twitter.com/EdWeekSCavanagh

Maps: Last Decade Shows 44 Percent Growth In Gap Between Rich & Poor Schools

"Change in the funding gap between 2001-02 and 2011-12. Red and orange states are where the gap widened to the benefit of students in rich districts."

Courtesy Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report. Read the whole story and see all the charts here.

 

School Life: Banksy's School Mural Project

Schoolkids suggest naming a building after Banksy, and the mysterious artist reacted with a bit of controversial artwork. See more including video of kids' reactions here.

#EDgif Of The Day: Cold Game At The National Spelling Bee

We like to think of the spelling bee as a lovely example of students memorizing crazy words and smiling, but as this Vine from last week "Cold Game At The Spelling Bee" shows, sometimes the real world's not such a fairy tale. #edgifs

Quotes: Re-balancing The Foundation-Education Relationship

Quotes2Philanthropists are not generally education experts, and even if they hire scholars and experts, public officials shouldn’t be allowing them to set the policy agenda for the nation’s public schools. The Gates experience teaches once again that educational silver bullets are in short supply and that some educational trends live only a little longer than mayflies.

- LA Times editorial page (Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda)

#EDgif Of The Day: The Nonprofit College That Banned Fs, Spent Little On Classes,

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This jittery GIF accompanies BuzzFeed's expose expose of a nonprofit college serving overseas students whose misdeeds were ignored or overlooked by a regional accrediting agency. Check it out if you want to be horrified. 

#EDgif Of The Day: EdBuild Map Shows Funding Disaparities Among Similar Districts

New analysis: disparities in k12 funding exist - even among similar districts.  http://bit.ly/1TtaPUu pic.twitter.com/Y98fjCbWcE

Events: Another Week, Another Education Summit

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"At the second annual Education Summit, The Atlantic will illuminate the most pressing debates in the education world today, from cradle to college," says the promo copy for Education Summit 2016. It start tomorrow morning and continues Wednesday, in DC. Topics under discussed are listed as ESSA, Common Core, School to Prison Pipeline, Speech on College Campuses, and College Affordability. Speakers and panelists include Jen Holleran, executive director of Startup:Education (part of the Chan Zuckerberg effort). The Atlantic's education editor, Alia Wong, will also participate. Hashtag? Livestream? LMK. 

Afternoon Video: Highlights From NSVF Summit

#nsvfsummit New Schools Venture Fund Summit 2016 Highlight: Dr. Manuel Pastor, Brittany Packnet, and Jose Patiño from NewSchools Venture Fund on Vimeo.

EdVents: NewSchools Venture Summit 2016

Quotes: A New Era In Education Philanthropy?

Quotes2Signs abound that this era of polarization is giving way to a different and more constructive phase in U.S. efforts to boost student achievement.... The dawn of a new era of K-12 philanthropy .... Funders [like Walton and Broad] are no longer the dominant drivers.

Inside Philanthropy's David Callahn (The New Era of K-12 Philanthropy)

Upcoming: NSVF 2016 All About Diversity & Authenticity

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There are all sorts of conferences going on in May, including the upcoming May 10-11 New Schools Venture Fund Summit 2016 in San Francisco.

In case you haven't heard, NewSchools Summit is "an annual invitation-only gathering for education leaders who bring important and diverse perspectives in K-12 education innovation." And it's big -- 1,000 attendees. Lots of VIP speakers (see above). 

NSVF was the first place I saw Google Glass (RIP), and I'm guessing that this year's event will be full of drone demos, holograms/VR, hoverboards, 3D printers, bots, and wearables.  AltSchool's Max Ventilla will be a mini-celebrity. Newly-hired Chan Zuckerberg honcho Jim Shelton will be a full-on celebrity.

No surprise -- everyone's doing it -- one of the big pushes at NSVF this year is trying to create an authentic, diverse movement. LEE's organizing guru Mark Fraley, is going to be speaking, along with #BlackLivesMatter's Brittany Packnett and DREAMer José Patiño. 

Sponsors of the $1,000 per ticket event include Carnegie Corporation, Walton, Startup:Education (aka Chan Zuckerberg), Gates, Peak , the College Board + Khan Academy, and the Schusterman Foundation.

Hasghtag: #nsvfsummit. Timeline of previous Summits here.

Related posts: NewSchools 2015 Summit Live Twitter FeedThey're Beaming NSVF Summit 2014 To BostonGoogle Glasses Live from NSVF Summit 2013Thoughts On NSVF 2012Rahm Emanuel And Arlene Laurene Powell Jobs At NSVF'12Reformy 2011 Summit Returns To Silicon ValleyFashion Hits & Misses At The 2010 NSVF SummitAnother Spring, Another Summit (2009)NSFV: Live Tweets From Pasadena '09Microblogging The 2008 NSVF Summit.

 

Quotes: School Funding Is A Race Issue As Well As A Money One

Quotes2They live in this county, but they will not send their children to the schools in this county... We shop in the same place. We eat at the same restaurant. So why can’t our kids go to school together?

-- Sumter County school board member Julene Delaine in School Funding In Alabama

Morning Video: It's Not Just Flint Schools That Have Water Safety Concerns

"Over the past few decades, school districts in Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Washington and elsewhere have found higher than acceptable lead levels in their students’ drinking water due to old plumbing systems." via PBS NewsHour.

Events: Conferencing In Arizona #ASUGSVsummit

I'm not there, but you may be -- the annual ASU-GSV confab is happening this week.

Read all about some of the proceedings above, or following along live via @asugsvsummit or .

Folks I know who are there or following from afar include @PrincipalEJT@joemanko, , and .

 

Quotes: Public Charter Schools Claiming Private Status When Teachers Organize

Quotes2We've decided that when teachers really want a voice, to just organize under whatever law is operational... But then as soon as we start organizing, these same charter operators who in one breath say it's a public school, in the other breath say when it comes to school teachers, it's private, not public.

AFT head Randi Weingarten in Bloomberg BNA (Charter School Teachers Organizing Under Federal Labor Law)

Morning Video: Maryland Contemplates Testing Reductions

#edGIF Of The Day: The Harsh Truth About Speed-Reading

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"For a long time, people have claimed to be able to read very quickly without any loss of comprehension — and many have claimed to teach this amazing skill."
From Kernel (The harsh truth about speed-reading).
 

Cartoon: If School Buses Boarded Like Airplanes

"Once again, we're boarding only our Elite Premium passengers at this time. Thank you." From The New Yorker. 

Update: The Teach For America Reboot (Goes Beyond Corps Member Diversity)

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Here's my latest Scholastic Administrator column, about the Teach for America Reboot: "The controversy surrounding TFA may have been helpful, in the end. As Villanueva Beard told Politico, “'I’m grateful for when people make our shortcomings clear, because it enables us to get better.'” 

Quotes: Opt-Out Advocates Work To Win Over Minority Parents

Quotes2We already have so much work to do to try to close the achievement gap that this is a distraction... It's not Latino parents, it's not African-American parents. We don't have the time to be wasting trying to opt out. We need to know exactly how the kids are doing because when they go to college, if they are not prepared it's going to cost people more money.

-- Luis Torres, director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens, quoted in Politico (Opt-out movement aims to lure more African-American, Latino parents)

Update: Furlough Days & Teacher Walk-Outs In Chicago

Last week, the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools told teachers to stay home on a pre-Easter Weekend furlough day. On Friday, the Chicago Teachers Union is calling on teachers to picket schools rather than teach in them to protect the district and state's lack of funding.

#edGIF Of The Day: SAT Security Hole Plus Foreign Student Spike

The reason you care is that Reuters is reporting a "major security hole with the SAT" in which the College Board gave SAT tests that "it knew had been compromised in Asia."

Charts: More Cops Than Counselors In NYC, Chicago, & Miami-Dade (But Not LA)

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Interesting to note that LAUSD has more counselors than cops, and many fewer of both than NYC, Chicago, or Miami-Dade. From The Seventy Four. See more detail here and here.

Morning Video: Clinton's Arizona Education Ad "No Matter What ZIP Code"

Phoenix New Times: Clinton Releases New Ad Targeting Arizona's Abysmal Education Record. It's so interesting to see everyone using the "no matter what ZIP code" language, given that folks mean such different things by the phrase. 

Charts: "Throwing Money At The Problem" Might Actually Have Helped

"New research... finds that an increase in relative funding for low-income school districts actually has a profound effect on the achievement of students in those districts." (“Throwing money at the problem” may actually work in education - Equitable Growth.)

Via WPost Wonkblog.

Update: Inching Closer To "Yelp For Schools"

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A "Yelp For Education" used to seem like a joke, but maybe it's not so far off as we may think. 

There's already some use of Yelp for schools (see screengrab above). And now the Nieman Journalism Lab reports that ProPublica is teaming up with Yelp to make it easier to find good local health care services:

"ProPublica is collaborating with the recommendation app to help provide better health care information on medical facilities and other providers. The idea is that finding a good doctor, nursing home, or dialysis clinic in your neighborhood will now be as easy as finding a reliable taco joint."

"Instead of noting whether a place has wifi and if it’s good for kids, the health care data notes a provider’s wait time, noise level in patient rooms, and how well a doctor communicates with patients."

Sounds good, right?

To be sure, there are other sites that try and do the same kinds of things -- GreatSchools, SchoolBook, InsideSchools, etc.

And some will argue that rating schools is different from rating restaurants or even doctor's offices.

But give credit to Yelp for democratizing information about businesses and trends that otherwise would have been limited to a small set of people who are in the know, and note also that none of the existing sites has the ease of use, user base, and mobile options that Yelp provides. 

Related posts: A Yelp (Or Facebook) For Schools? (2012); Young Joins GreatSchools [Plus Unsolicited Advice] (2014).

 

Charts: New Report Makes Case For Teacher Development > Accountability

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From New America's "Beyond Ratings" Report: "State education agencies are beginning to embrace the notion that both accountability and development play important roles in ensuring that evaluation systems have their intended effect of improving the quality of teaching for all students."

 

Charts: With 6 New Districts (Including Denver), NAEP Trial Reaches 27. But Where's Seattle?

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Good news. Six more districts -- Las Vegas, Denver, Fort Worth, Greensboro, Milwaukee and Memphis -- will join the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) starting in 2017, according to NAGB. Denver, Milwaukee, and Memphis are especially important additions, politically and otherwise. However, as you can see there are a bunch more districts who still aren't participating. And for some reason Seattle still isn't on the list of schools that are participating or eligible.

Live Event: #SXSWedu Starting Today*

*Corrected.

Quotes: Few Of Nation's 19,000 School Police Officers Get Trained

Quotes2The first thing I do [when a school police incident is publicized] is search our database to see ‘Did this person come through our training?’ And the answer is consistently ‘no.’-

Mo Canady of the National Association of School Resource Officers in The Seventy Four (Video of Baltimore Cop Slapping Student Reignites Big Questions About Child Training for School Cops)

Maps: Nearly 40 States Trying To Reduce Testing Time

"At least 39 states are working to reduce testing time," according to CCSSO's Chris Minnich in a Nichole Dobo tweet from #ewaLA. To see which states, click on the image and try to make them out. I'll see if I can get a better image. 

Quotes: Media Mogul Models Viral Site On Great Teaching

Quotes2The best teachers don’t just say, ‘I have a good way of communicating or connecting with the students.’ They also change what they’re communicating. They think of a new curriculum that they know the student will be excited about.

-- BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti in Fast Company (Building A 100-Year Media Company) via Chalkbeat.

Events: Next Week's EWA Seminar

Next week in LA, EWA is hosting a seminar on Teaching and Testing in the Common Core Era that looks interesting. Here's the tentative lineup for one of the panels, including everyone from FairTest's Bob Schaeffer to Fordham's Robert Pondiscio:

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Afternoon Video: High-Speed Internet Might (Finally) Come To Poor Rural Schools

From last night's PBS NewsHour/EdWeek: "New changes to an FCC program could help schools by offering to fund fiber networks of their own." (How schools with the slowest Internet could get re-wired)

Events: Here Comes Yale SOM 2016 (Crossed Fingers)

There were at least two former organizers of the Yale SOM education summit at the TFA conference last week - Edna Novak and Graham Brown (pictured with me above) -- and Yale SOM 2016 is fast approaching.

Keynote speakers include Shavar Jeffries, Sandra Abrevaya, and Sondra Samuels. As in the past, it's being held at the Omni in New Haven.

There are scheduled to be panels on Common Core testing, blended learning, college attainment, parent advocacy, teachers of color, segregation of schools, community colleges, school readiness, federal policy after NCLB, revisiting "no excuses" approaches, effective philanthropy, and many others. 

If you want to follow last year's social media, check out #backtowhy, or check out my livetweets from that day. There was some controversy about the lack of racial diversity on one or two of the panels -- even though the event was much more diverse than some of its predecessors.

I wrote a blog post about it shortly after: 6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel (ie, "Pass The Mic")*. PIE's Suzanne Tacheny wrote more about the topic here: Notes to Self.

What I don't see on the program so far is anything that focuses on the state and local education agencies who govern most public schools, or the unions whose locals represent many educators who work with them. But the panel list doesn't look final and there are no panelists listed so far. 

It's on April 7th and 8th. The twitter is @YaleELC. The hashtag is#DefiningSuccess2016.

 Related posts: New Faces At This Week's Yale Education Conference (2105); Deray Does Colbert Show (Then Lets Him Off The Hook).

Event Preview: My #TFA25 Playlist - What's Yours?

DgfsdfgdsfgfThe livestream begins Saturday morning at 9, but the conference officially starts Friday and there's sure to be a ton of Tweeting going on the next few days as #TFA25 ramps up. (Nearly 200 speakers/moderators, all in one Twitter List .)

There are 20 sessions Friday, and another 60 on Saturday -- not nearly enough for all the interest in presenting and speaking at the conference. The Frequently Asked Questions makes clear that TFA was expecting (or experiencing) more demand to present than it could handle using the format it decided.

There's no opening plenary session -- the conference version of a outmoded home page -- or even keynotes. Topics covered at the 2011 summit are being avoided. As a result, "Even very senior/VIP speakers will be sharing a session with other speakers and panelists."

Here's a bit more information about what I'm doing -- or hoping to do (depending on which sessions are full, etc.) -- along with some information about what's going to be livestreamed. Take a look and then let us know what you're going to do.

What's on your #TFA25 wishlist? Or, even better, what are you already signed up for?

Continue reading "Event Preview: My #TFA25 Playlist - What's Yours?" »

Charts: Urban District Spending/NAEP Scores Compared

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"Some large urban school systems get more bang for their buck than others. After adjusting for certain factors outside a district’s control, such as cost of living and student poverty, some big-city school systems spend millions of dollars more than others—but get far lower results on national math and reading exams." CAP 2011- used with permission.

This comes up because of a couple of recent reports on district spending in 2013 (NCES via Washington Post) and district achievement 2015 (CAP via USA Today). Anyone who wants to match up the more recent spending and NAEP figures?

 

 

Numbers: Big-City School Spending Tops Out At $20K Per Kid (NYC

Numbersign"The numbers [for the biggest 100 districts in the nation] ranged from $5,539 per pupil in Utah’s Alpine School District to $20,331 in New York City. After New York, the highest-spending large districts were in Boston, Philadelphia and Anchorage. Four of the 11 highest-spending large districts were in the Washington area, reflecting the region’s relative wealth and high cost of living. Montgomery County was ranked fifth, spending $15,080 per student; Howard County was seventh, at $14,884; Prince George’s County was ninth, at $14,101; and Fairfax County was 11th, at $13,670." - Washington Post's Emma Brown (Spending in nation’s schools falls again)

Today: New CAP Report/Briefing On Testing Better (#TestBetter)

Watch the event from this morning above. Featured are CAP's Catherine Brown, NY State's Mary Ellen Elia, CCSSO's Chris Minnich, Achieve's Mike Coehn, and DCPS teacher Chris Bergfalk, Ruidoso NM Supierntendent George Bickert, and NAACP LDEF's Janel George. 

Read more here: Toward a Coherent, Aligned Assessment System | Center for American Progress. Read the Twitterstream #testbetter here.

 

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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.