HuffPostLA editorial slams UTLA and CTA for resistance to federal funds tied to performance evaluations ow.ly/eUX4t
Recently-resigned Chicago superintendent Jean Claude Brizard warns against too much focus on teacher effectiveness ow.ly/eUU98
HuffPostLA editorial slams UTLA and CTA for resistance to federal funds tied to performance evaluations ow.ly/eUX4t
Recently-resigned Chicago superintendent Jean Claude Brizard warns against too much focus on teacher effectiveness ow.ly/eUU98
My latest article from the Harvard Education Letter, Bringing UDL into the Mainstream, is now up online (subscription required).
It describes how an approach called UDL (universal design for learning) has been spreading from individual classrooms, to schools, to districts, and now even to states (or at least a few of them) -- despite the lack of clear effectiveness research and the confusion between it and other popular reforms such as differentiated instruction and buying iPads.
Thanks to everybody who helped me get up to speed on this fascinating issue. Any experiences or insights into UDL that you want to add, please do so in comments or on Twitter.
My Spring 2012 Harvard Ed Letter article (no subscription required) looked at the impact of NCLB waivers on special education programs and students (With the Rise of “Super Subgroups,” Concerns for Disabled Students Mount).
Based on Vaughan Bell's recommendation, I finally finished watching an excellent lecture by Dorothy Bishop on the dangers of using neuroimaging in educational research. It's long - almost an hour - but very accessible and speaks directly to a number of education research "findings" that have received attention in the press.
Bishop wants to make two big points: The first is that a lot of neuroscience - especially neuroimaging - doesn't tell us very much about human thinking and learning. For example, changes in the way different parts of the brain "light up" over the course of an experiment might have as much to do with the passage of time as they do with the experiment itself.
The second big point is that both scientists and laypeople are more likely to accept scientific claims if they are accompanied by neuroscience-y visuals - like images of brain scans - even if the claims themselves would be obviously bogus if presented alone. In other words, neuroimaging often provides little support for scientific claims about learning, but nevertheless makes us much more likely to believe such claims. That's a dangerous combination for anyone trying to interpret the latest educational research finding.
If you don't have the time to watch the whole thing, a summary of the lecture can be found here. And next time you read about an educational study with descriptions of "brain activity" ask yourself, "What would I think about these results if the researchers hadn't done any brain scanning?" - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)
Last weekend at an EWA conference in Minneapolis, I finally had the chance to meet Lauren FitzPatrick, the Sun-Times reporter who's been working on education along with Rosalind Rossi for the past few months.
According to her Linkedin, FitzPatrick was previously at the Daily Southtown and Gatehouse Media and went to Georgetown and Medill. According to her Twitter profile (@bylaurenfitz) and in real life, she's got great glasses. Here are some of her bylines: Ex-U.S education official knocks school closings as ‘destabilizing’, Can teachers strike over evaluations?.
The addition of FitzPatrick is notable because most commercial news outlets have been reducing their education coverage, whittling down once-massive (or at least healthy) education teams to just one or at most two reporters. The (Portland) Oregonian recently moved Nicole Dungca to the Portland beat, freeing up Betsy Hammond to focus on state K-12 issues (though they also dumped higher ed on her). The only other examples of expanding coverage that I can think of are nonprofits: the local NPR station in Chicago, which added Becky Vevea to the beat along with Linda Lutton, and EdSource Today, a California outlet that currently is looking for a 3rd reporter to join John Fensterwald and Kathryn Baron.
Any others out there? Let us know.
Having written several times before about LEE, the TFA spinoff dedicated to recruiting alumni to run for office, I was happy to see a new article from The American Prospect about the initiative last week.
However, I have issues with the alarmist and exaggerated thrust of the piece, which is to suggest that TFA alumni are on the verge of becoming ever-present among the ranks of elected officials.
Writer and activist James Cersonsky writes that "A selective crowd of high-achieving college graduates is primed to take over the leadership of America’s schools."
Well, no, it's not. Not anytime soon, at least.
LA Loses $40 Million Of Race To The Top Funds Because Of Teachers' Union Resistance To Evaluations HuffingtonPostEducation: The Los Angeles Unifed School District (LAUSD) has just lost out on $40 million of free federal money because the teachers union has declined to sign the district's Race to the Top grant application.
Poll: Obama Favored by Likely Youth Voters, But by Less Than in 2008 PoliticsK12: That margin for Obama is down from 2008, when he claimed 66 percent of the youth vote, compared to Sen. John McCain's 32 percent. That was a margin of 34 percentage points, or twice what this week's CIRCLE poll shows for the Obama versus Romney matchup.
Attention Shifts to Blended Learning at Virtual Ed. Conference EdWeek: From beginning to end, blended learning—briefly defined as any of a variety of approaches that combine features of both face-to-face and online instruction—took headline status in keynote speeches, panel discussions, and report releases throughout the three-day conference hosted here by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL.
Texas Public School Districts Spent $227 Million On Disciplinary Problems, School Security: Study TexasTribune: At a joint hearing Tuesday of the Senate Committees on Criminal Justice and Education, lawmakers discussed ways to save money and improve the quality of school discipline practices, including giving more discretion to teachers, law enforcement and judges when it comes to dealing with disciplinary violations.
When Reporters [like Richard Colvin] Preach the Party Line :: Frederick M. Hess https://ow.ly/eTGn0
When the Bureau of Labor Statistics put out amuch-blogged-about report last week finding that most employees overestimate how much they work, I started mentally preparing a post about whether we should think teachers are more or less likely to exaggerate their hours worked.
As it turns out, the BLS already put out a report in 2008 comparing teachers' work weeks to those of other workers using the methods they consider most accurate.
That 2008 report found that teachers work on average about 2 fewer hours per week than other professionals. Notably, this result was based on work weeks only during the school year and included time spent working at home.
This is an old result, but it's news to me and I find it extremely difficult to reconcile with my own experience. The BLS has the average teacher work week coming in at under 39 hours, but I'm not sure that even my easiest weeks during the school year - usually state testing days - come in under 40 hours. And my sense is that my coworkers are typically working at least as hard as I am. (It can't just be that most of my experience is with younger teachers; the BLS finds that older teachers tend to work a bit more.)
Of course, the point of the new BLS report is precisely that most of us tend to overestimate the time we spend working when we're not carefully documenting how we spend our time. And it's true that I only have a little over 23 hours of actual instructional time each week, well short of the 38-39 hours the BLS says is typical for a teacher work week.
And yet I can't help but feel that I - and most teachers - work more than that. I'd be curious to know what you all think. Is the BLS wrong about teachers? Or are teachers as likely as anybody to overestimate how much time they spend working? - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)
USA Today's Greg Toppo is out there in Atlantic City. The Stamford Advocate's Maggie Gordon reports that she and the rest of the reporting team are "all hands on deck" to cover the weather -- not necessarily such a bad thing given that so many local districts have closed school. The Connecticut Post's Linda Lambeck has merged education and storm coverage, reporting on students at one college taking in students from another college. Zachary Reid from the Richmond Times Dispatch spent time on Monday at the docks and is headed to the shelters on Tuesday.
*UPDATED: Twitter friends Ken Libby, Amy Schultz, Sara Mead, Michael Zinshteyn, and others report that the Wall Street Journal's Lisa Fleisher has been doing storm duty, as has the Huffington Post's Joy Resmovits.
Hurricane Sandy: Race to Top District Contest Deadline Extended PoliticsK12: With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast and threatening a large swath of the nation's population—and schools—the U.S. Department of Education has announced an extension of the application deadline for the Race to the Top district competition.
Hurricane Sandy Shutters Thousands of Schools EdWeek: As Hurricane Sandy began unleashing its fury on the East Coast Monday, the storm shuttered thousands of schools across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, with millions of students to be out of school for at least two days, state education officials said.
Matching Funds Fail to Materialize for Some i3 Grantees EdWeek: Two years after the U.S. Department of Education awarded $650 million in Investing in Innovation grants and set off a mad dash for grantees to raise more than $100 million in matching private funds in five weeks, some of the i3 winners are still facing financial uncertainty stemming from initial fundraising struggles.
Federal Grant Application Sparks New Rural Tennessee Collaborative RuralEducation: Five rural Tennessee districts were part of a much larger group of 54 rural districts in the state to apply for a federal Investing in Innovation grant. They won't know whether they won until November, but five of those districts decided to form a new professional development collaborative, the Tennessee Valley Learning Network. The network is open to educators in Bradley, Marion, Monroe, Polk, and Rhea counties in southeast Tennessee.
How Will Education Groups' State-Level Endorsements Fare? StateWatch: There are big headlines today about how President Barack Obama has become the first presidential candidate to raise $1 billion in a campaign, but there's another big number in politics this year to keep in mind: 6,004. That's the number of state legislative seats that are up for election in 2012.
State and local races and initiatives matter much more media and blogs realize, says Fordham's Checker Finn ow.ly/eRtIc
NEA sending $1.4M to ID, $900K to MI (take that, StudentsFirst!), $500K to FL, and $250K to WA via @mikeantonnuci ow.ly/eRvOA
Described as silly and laughable by unions, Fordham report on unions is useful says Mike Antonucci Intercepts ow.ly/eRvF3
California teachers rank 8th among most powerful state teachers unions, according to Washington DC think tank ow.ly/eRtZh
LA Times look at power and peril of value added rating for teachers in LA ow.ly/eRzOb
From Jay Mathews: Admissions 101: Obama-Romney guide to great college essays... bit.ly/Y92ham
But the former TFA teacher is back with a new regular-but-not-weekly gig writing for the Sunday NYT Opinionator (including this example about something called Responsive Classroom). It's not the old Freedman / Rothstein / Winerip "On Education" column, which remains un-filled, but it's certainly better than nothing.
Mosle's book about a massive school explosion in Texas is coming out next year.
In California, state DFER director Gloria Romera has enraged some union allies with her support for Proposition 32, which would limit fundraising options for organized labor. See HuffPost here.
In Michigan, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst has come out against a pro-labor amendment to the state constitution called Proposal 2, donating $500,000 to the effort. See Mlive here and Huffington Post here.
The Michigan chapter of DFER has not taken an official position on the measure, I'm told, but may soon have an decision. State DFER director Harrison Blackmond is quoted in the HuffPost article saying he's against it.
Read more inside for more on the background of these two state ballot initiatives and the advocacy group's different decisions.
Here are some of the articles from magazines and other websites that I tweeted out over the weekend that you might have missed:
Outside money pouring into [selected] CA house races - LA Times ow.ly/eOyHN
Reform "grifter" M. Rhee's PAC gave $500K to limit collective bargaining in Mich., says Esquire blogger ow.ly/eOzVF
A close look at the ed group endorsements in one state (TN) from EdWeek's Andrew Ujifusa ow.ly/eOO2j
Rosen on Higher Education Market, Roundtable on Math (Audio) bit.ly/VuX3T7 BloombergEDU
TFAer turned writer turned teacher Sara Mosle column on Responsive Classroom in the NYT ow.ly/1PdoRA
College Board President: Tear Down 'Wall' of Underachievement CurriculumMatters: Coleman—best known until now as a chief architect of the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts—has zeroed in on three key areas in his bid to turn up the volume on the College Board's social-justice mission.
Contract With Merit Pay, Backed by Union Chiefs, Is Tough Sell for Newark Teachers NYT: On one side of the table was the union firebrand Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. On the other was the state education commissioner handpicked by Gov. Chris Christie, who became a star among fellow Republicans for aggressively taking on public employee unions.
Undocumented Students Take Education Underground NPR: Georgia is one of three states to bar undocumented students from attending schools. But a group of professors at the University of Georgia has created a fledgling school to provide a place for students to learn.
Should State Education Chiefs Be Elected? StateLine: If it were up to Walter Dalton and Pat McCrory, they’d have a little less company on the ballot in North Carolina this year. In particular, they wouldn’t be sharing space with candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Dalton and McCrory are opposing gubernatorial nominees, but they agree on one thing: The governor ought to be able to appoint the state’s top education official.
Some states will soon call the roll on school reform Reuters: Traditionally allied with Democrats, union leaders these days are sounding Republican themes to woo voters in conservative states such as Idaho, Georgia and South Dakota. They're warning that the proposed reforms would mean higher taxes, bigger government and intrusive state meddling in local affairs.
Following up on Alexander Russo’s American Enterprise Institute paper Left Out of No Child Left Behind,Valerie Strauss’s The Answer Sheet recently posted an extended passage from Jack Schneider’s Excellence for All.
Reading Schneider and Russo, I wonder about the patience of some of the most powerful economic and political movers and shakers on the planet. How long will they continue to invest tens of billions of dollars in a reform movement that has achieved so little?
And as for TFA itself, I question whether TFA should really ally itself more closely with reformers, given reform's weak results and TFA alumni's breadth of views and experiences? I would argue that the wonks need TFA more than TFA needs them.
Research on 'Value Added' Highlights Tracking Problems TeacherBeat: Failing to account for how students are sorted into more- or less-rigorous classes—as well as the effect different tracks have on student learning—can lead to biased "value added" estimates of middle and high school teachers' ability to boost their students' standardized-test scores, the papers conclude.
With time running out, teachers push pro-Obama message in swing states HechingerReport: In the swing states of Ohio and Florida, it’s crunch time for teachers unions, which in the final days of the campaign are getting out the vote for President Obama in droves — even though they disapprove of some of his policies.
Obama Has Touted SIG Data, So Where Is it? PoliticsK12: In the last two debates, President Barack Obama has told the nation that one of his biggest accomplishments on K-12 is helping to spur turnarounds at hundreds of underperforming schools around the country."We've seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time. And they're starting to finally make progress," Obama said during the third presidential debate in Florida, earlier this week.
Adaptive Testing Evolves to Assess Common-Core Skills EdWeek: When Delaware switched to computer-adaptive testing for its state assessments three years ago, officials found the results were available more quickly, the amount of time students spent taking tests decreased, and the tests provided more reliable information about what students knew—especially those at the very low and high ends of the spectrum.
Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst Group Weighs In On Michigan's Proposal 2 HuffingtonPostEdu: Now, the political action committee of StudentsFirst is pumping $500,000 into a campaign against Michigan's Proposal 2, a ballot measure that would protect collective bargaining by enshrining it in the state's constitution.
Hate Group Bullies School Board Into Rescinding Basic Rights for Transgender Students ow.ly/eKqZu
From Jay Mathews: Readers’ cures for bad teaching of writing: The teaching of writing is one of the great weakne... bit.ly/QZmbzb
Bootleg portion of ESPN documentary about slain Chicago HS b-ball star Benji Wilson ow.ly/eLP7t
"Bunker schools" for Syrian kids Pictures following the bombing of six schools CBS News ow.ly/eL8cq
MT @MandyZatynski: “They’re like 5-year-olds fighting over a toy, except the toy is America.”
Meet Taylor Wilson, 18, one of Atlantic Magazine's latest "Brave Thinkers," who at 14 built a nuclear fusion reactor and is taking one of those $100K Thiel Fellowships instead of going to college.
"I was about 10 when I got into nuclear science. That was when that spark hit me. It took a few years of research, but when I was 14, I produced my first nuclear-fusion reaction...
"When people have dedicated their lives to something—and spent eight years in college—they just expect that a kid wouldn’t be up to doing it. But kids have a certain predisposition to do things differently and see the world differently—and that’s helpful.
"I don’t mean to offend anybody, but I think that we get a lot of scientists now who are bent into a system, and we lose some of their boldness by that. Obviously, you have to learn the ropes, but I think it’s important to do that without hammering out the radicalness that makes innovation happen."
Congrats, condolences, as usual.
See the whole list here: 25 Best Blogs 2012
Audit: U.S. Oversight of Charter School Funds Lax AP: An audit of the U.S. Department of Education's division overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in charter school funding has criticized the office for failing to properly monitor how states spend the money.
L.A. schools chief urges union cooperation on federal funds LATimes: Faced with a looming deadline, Los Angeles schools chief John Deasy on Wednesday urged the teachers union to lay aside its concerns and back federal Race to the Top grant application that could bring $40 million to the cash-strapped district.
Apple Unveils Smaller, Cheaper iPad, Touts School Use EdWeek: When word leaked this week that the company would be unveiling a smaller, cheaper version of its iPad—in typical Apple fashion, at an invite-only presentation in a San Jose auditorium, live-streaming online around the world— the education world took notice.
Survey: Today’s teaching force is less experienced, more open to change HechingerReport: More inexperienced teachers are in today’s classrooms than ever before and they are more open than their veteran colleagues to performance-driven options for how they’re evaluated and paid, according to the results of a new survey conducted by the Boston-based nonprofit Teach Plus.
Education In The Election: Why It Matters AP: The federal government contributed just a small fraction of the more than $1.15 trillion spent nationally on education during the last school year, but it still yields great influence over such issues as accessibility, accountability and teacher quality.
N.J. education advocates to Duncan: State's waiver plan is a disaster. — NewsWorks ow.ly/eJo7S
Lessons From Los Angeles - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week ow.ly/eJWlz
With time running out, teachers push pro-Obama message in swing states Ohio, Florida - U.S. News ow.ly/eKgZ1
The five most important issues left out of the debates https://wapo.st/WJIIai For once, education was not one of them
A film about a Chicago basketball prodigy shot to death in 1984 may play a role in helping heal the city in 2012. ow.ly/eKi87
By now you know that Miami-Dade won the Broad prize this year, but you may not have heard or read what it was like at the event itself. I guess the first word that comes to mind is fancy -- fancy part of town (53rd Street), fancy location (Museum of Modern Art), and lots of fancy people (Bloomberg, Pelosi, Duncan, etc.) wearing dark suits with a smattering of Christmas red for the women.
There were lots of familiar faces (Tom Payzant, Joel Derrick Walcott, Jon Schnur, etc.) plus a handful of hungry velociraptors. Justin Hamilton was Duncan's body man, hustling him out of the room once the event was over. Pelosi was wearing a really nice brown wool jacket, and there were a few dapper gents with pocket squares, but the fashion highlight for me was the outfit worn by Bart Anderson, from Ohio -- pictured above with a fashionably short jacket, open collared shirt, and lovely two-tone loafers.
Mitt Romney's 'I Love Teachers' Remark Spurs Fake Valentine From Union HuffPostEdu: Now, the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, has created a "love letter" for Romney. The graphic, which the NEA is distributing widely to reporters and on its blog, is titled "My Funny Valentine" and features pictures of the former Massachusetts governor framed in hearts.
Community Colleges Rethink Placement Tests EdWeek: Now, some community colleges are looking for alternatives. Some are switching to high school grades or revamping assessments, while others are working with high schools to figure out students' college readiness early so they have time to catch up if necessary.
Eagle Academy For Young Men Of Newark, New Jersey's Only All-Boys Public School, Elicits Praise, Criticism HuffPostEdu: Last month marked the grand opening of the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark, the city’s first and only public, single-sex school. The academy is one of Newark’s newest public schools and is part of an effort to transform the district by closing underperforming schools, replacing principals and opening new schools boasting innovative programs.
Report Says College Prices, Once Stable, Are Up Again NYTEducation: The prices that most people actually pay for college, which had remained stable for several years, are on the rise again, as tuition and other cost increases outpace financial aid awards, the College Board reported on Wednesday.
Mitt Romney, Barack Obama Campaigns Fall Short On Specifics For Early Education ow.ly/eHqnd
15 NEA State Affiliates Ran Budget Deficits, 25 Saw Decline in Dues Income « The Greenroomow.ly/eHMhC
What is it like being bullied in school? ow.ly/eI63lBest Quora question / response Ive seen in a long time.
Eisner was recognized for "his work recruiting, tutoring and mentoring the brightest kids from L.A.'s roughest schools and helping them feel a positive drive toward their futures."
Malcolm Gladwell presented the award. Press release below.
If you haven't already, you should check out Jay Mathews' discussion of note-taking skills and the AVID program. It's easy to underestimate how many skills kids may lack when they enter school and how important explicit instruction in those skills can be.
When it comes to helping students make sense of a lecture, though, there's another option that deserves more attention: guided notes. Guided notes are notes that are pre-formatted and partially completed by the teacher, with blank spaces for students to fill in as the lecture proceeds. Guided notes can serve dual purposes, both helping students learn what good notes should look like and helping students process challenging new information without the distraction of having to format notes themselves.
My experience is that educator views on guided notes are mixed, with many teachers deriding "fill-in-the-blank" notes as merely "spoon-feeding" kids. Certainly, it would be ideal for students to be able to generate their own notes, but research does indicate that guided notes can improve students' academic performance and may be especially helpful for students who may struggle to process complex new content (like English learners or those with learning disabilities).
Lecture has been a huge part of education for thousands of years. Even most modern educational trends - like "flipped" classrooms - don't really do away with lecture-type learning. It makes sense, then, to think a little harder about what we can do to make lectures as helpful as possible for students. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)
It is easy to see why the Gates Foundation seeks to add teeth to student survey data by making it a part of teachers' evaluations. The Atlantic's Amanda Ripley, in Why Kids Should Grade Teachers, began with the awful story of a student who never had a chance to express her judgments about school until she filled out a survey during her senior year. Ripley also cited the disappointing experience of Ronald Ferguson in persuading teachers to pay attention to survey results. Over a decade, "only a third of teachers even clicked on the link sent to their e-mail inboxes to see the results."
However, Ripley described a principal who benefited from surveys in a pilot program where he was unable to see the teachers names,"but he said he still found the information more useful than what standardized tests provided." “'It’s very, very precious data for me,' he said." Ripley then closed with the student's complaint about "some crappy teacher [who] is still sitting at that crappy desk."
To replace those teachers, however, we must do something about crappy school cultures. To create respectful cultures, a genuine conversation between teachers and students is required. We must not undermine the great potential of student surveys in guiding those discussions by attaching stakes to them. And once we engage in such a dialogue, I would have a modest proposal for a teacher who refused to read such data. Fire him.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.
By popular demand, here's a Chicago teacher's response to being challenged by a student dancing at him.
Last week I told you about the candidate endorsements and contributions coming from DFER and StudentsFirst, which some of you found fascinating and/or disturbing. This week, it's Stand For Children.
Stand also reports that state affiliates have made endorsements "in school board races, the gubernatorial race in WA, the superintendent position in Indiana, etc." Here are the links that they provided: AZ governing board, TN school board (summer 2012), IN state superintendent, WA gubernatorial, CO board of education, LA school board.
Let me know if this is useful or what more you want to see (like contributions and IE activity). Previous posts: Eighty Candidates Endorsed By StudentsFirst, DFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream. Next up is the rascals at 50CAN.
Romney, Obama Spar Over Education In Foreign Policy Debate HuffPostEdu: Much to the chagrin of moderator Bob Schieffer, Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy took a decidedly domestic turn. During a conversation about what America needs to do to remain internationally competitive, President Barack Obama took the opportunity to lace into Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney on teacher hiring.
Testimony on Texas’ booming Hispanic population taking center stage at school finance trial WashingtonPostNational: Demographer Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and ex-state demographer of Texas, is expected to testify about the explosion in the state’s Hispanic population, which has caused public school enrollment statewide to grow by an average of 80,000 students per year.
State Ballot Initiatives Aim to Raise Taxes to Fund Schools WSJ: Arizona, Missouri and South Dakota have tax-increase measures on ballots, while California is offering voters dueling proposals. Oregon has an initiative to redirect to schools some money that corporations receive as tax rebates.That is the largest number of education-tax initiatives to appear on state election ballots in two decades, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Mitt Romney, Barack Obama Campaigns Fall Short On Specifics For Early Education HuffPostEdu: But unlike in 2008, neither campaign has released a formal position paper on early childhood education. Romney's 34-page education white paper does not mention pre-school.
Obama Finding Teacher Support Secure, If Tepid EdWeek: Educators remain a crucial part of the Obama campaign's efforts on the ground. Earlier this year, the campaign organized a national group called Educators for Obama. It's being led by Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden. She is a former high school teacher who now teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College.
Obama should be talking about his 2 Race To The Top programs -for education & for gas mileage - says NYT Friedman ow.ly/eF6Mb
Newark Teachers Union Embraces Performance Pay, Wins Peer Review - Working In These Times ow.ly/eFSZf
600 Texas School Districts Sue State For 'Unconstitutional' Funding huff.to/T7642A
Another pitch for that New Yorker story about the honors student turned hitman, this time from @tanehisi ow.ly/eG3px
Why pointy headed moderates don't get politics -- and so often lose at them - Salon ow.ly/eFTgu
"I"ll be your visionary. You do the things I come up with." (via The Atlantic)
I've already argued that our teacher quality problems are probably not caused by inadequate demand for excellent teachers, but is there inadequate demand for high quality schools?
Bill Jackson thinks so and argues that if given better information and different incentives, parents will demand - and therefore obtain - better schools for their kids.
Maybe, maybe not.
Reform critics reacted gleefully last week to the news that Communities for Teaching Excellence, the Gates-funded advocacy effort in support of its teacher quality initiative, was being de-funded (LAT, LA Daily News), a reaction that was predictable but sort of sad and short-sighted.
Why so? First and foremost, the outcome explodes notion that reform foundations like Gates are all-powerful, which is obviously untrue but is a myth that seems convenient to repeat. Can't be all-powerful and occasionally ineffective at the same time. It's also a reflection of the reality that advocacy groups have proliferated as much as C4TE has failed. So if reform critics want to call the creation of tons of advocacy groups a success, then fine go ahead.
Last but not least, trashing the efforts of folks like Yolie Flores, the former LAUSD board member (pictured) who took on the task and has dedicated her career to making schools better for poor kids, seems inappropriate coming from mostly white liberals sitting in front of computers or giving speeches. You can read more about Flores in the LA Weekly and Scholastic Administrator (who sponsors this site), and a blog post of mine about her disagreement with LAUSD and Deasy over the changes to PSC ( John Deasy's Mystifying Labor Deal).
One last thing: a couple of people have written me suggesting that the downfall of this latest effort was comparable to the failure of EDIN'08, a comparison I get but would quibble with. Yes, advocacy is a dicey business and folks bigger and better funded than Gates have spent scads of money in other arenas and walked away without much to show for it. The highs and lows are higher in advocacy than they are in policy and program worlds. But I don't believe that EDIN'08 was such a big failure as conventional wisdom would have it. And, an important difference to me is that EDIN'08 was organized around a national campaign, the presidential elections, whereas the Gates teacher quality advocacy effort was focused on the individual Gates districts without any substantial national component.
Listen to this segment from This American Life about the strange and fascinating way that Oklahoma ended up with a universal preschool program (or at least a much-expanded program compared to other states). The tale's got education, research, politics, and all the usual twists and turns. Audio here.
Florida's Race-based Goals For Students Spark Debate HuffPostEdu: Ever since, Florida has been embroiled in a debate about the message sent by its new race-based academic targets, which are lower for black and Hispanic students than for other children.The state, for example, wants 90 percent of its Asian students, 88 percent of its white students, 81 percent of its Hispanic students and 74 percent of its black students reading well by 2018.
Debates Push Fate of Education Policies to Fore EdWeek: As the two presidential campaigns continue to sharpen how they would approach the federal role in education if victorious, advisers to President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have made it clear that the fate of waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act may be decided by the November election.
Admitted, but Left Out in NYC Elite Schools NYTimes: Schools’ efforts to attract minority students haven’t always been matched by efforts to truly make their experience one of inclusion, students and school administrators say. Pervading their experience, the students say, is the gulf between those with seemingly endless wealth and resources and those whose families are struggling, a divide often reflected by race.
Competency-Based Schools Embrace Digital Learning EdWeek: The move to competency-based education—also known as proficency-, standards-, and performance-based education—by Lindsay Unified and other districts will likely give them a head start in preparing for the new demands of the Common Core State Standards, experts point out, and in their ability to use technology more effectively to personalize learning.
At Technology High School, Goal Isn’t to Finish in 4 Years NYTimes: Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn is a six-year program tailored to give students interested in the technology industry an advantage, including an associate degree.
How the national media "maligned" the Chicago teachers strike In These Times ow.ly/eDcGq
A sad attack on Advanced Placement: Nearly all of us are experts about something... bit.ly/ScJQhb
Can an Online [Teaching] Degree Really Help You Get a [Teaching] Job? TIME ow.ly/eDYpM
Creating a "Democracy Index" and other ideas for promoting local decisionmaking - Boston Glob eow.ly/eDd61
Critique of Katherine Boo & others who write abt poverty w/o economic/political analysis TimesLitSupp ow.ly/eDcm2
Feature about Best Busy includes useful lessons about adaptation in large organizations ow.ly/eDdNF
Direct democracy - once a progressive reform - has been hijacked by wealthy conservatives ow.ly/eDdCO
You can follow my weekend reading recommendations via the #thisweekined hashtag on Twitter if you want to catch them all / in real time.
This is from last week's SNL, but I couldn't bear to post it until a few days had passed. The depiction of the school principal is horrible -- and sort of hilarious.
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.