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Site News: Gone Camping (Labor Day Weekend)

1012730_630836396933994_225452274_nI know, I know -- so much time away from the blog this summer.  But with a place like this to go to -- a YMCA family camp weekend in Connecticut -- can you blame me?  

In my absence, follow @gtoppo at USA Today (he's even better on Facebook), or see if there's anything good at #reformy (my favorite word and little-used hashtag), or check out @gothamschools' morning roundup.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and see you back here bright and early on Tuesday.

Thompson: Experiment At DC's Hart Middle School No Game-Changer Yet

OnlineLast year, the Washington Post's Emma Brown wrote a story titled  D.C. Students Test "Teach to One" Learning System that reported that the online instruction program at Hart Middle School cost a million dollars to wire a single classroom.  Brown quoted D.C Chancellor Kaya Henderson as saying that the experiment could be a "game changer." 

The program put students in classes of 180 where they could use online instruction to work at their own pace. Brown reported that it would take three years before we could see if this new approach could transform the low performing middle school.

It is hard to test an experiment, however, unless the results are reported.  Where are the quantitative and qualitative evaluations of Hart's outcomes?  In a year when D.C. claims unprescendented gains in its DC-CAS, I wonder whether it is happy with Hart's composite test scores of 28.1 - up just two points. 

JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.   

Reform: Secrets To Winning Elected School Board Races

image from www.scholastic.comHere's a bit of my latest column for Scholastic Administrator about the lessons for other school districts from the last year of turmoil in LA:

Candidate credibility matters to voters. Newspaper endorsements *can* make a real difference. Campaign money isn't magic. Internal polling can be *very* misleading. Absentee ballots and walking precincts matter.

To read the whole thing, cruise on over: Lessons from L.A.

Then come back here and disagree (or agree) with me. 

Image via Scholastic.

Quotes: President Clinton Defends Common Core

Quotes2We cannot be disheartened by the forces of resistance to building a modern economy of good jobs and rising incomes, or to rebuilding our education system to give all our children a common core of knowledge necessary to ensure success... - Former President Bill Clinton, via USA Today's Greg Toppo

Charts: Half African-Americans Experience Unfair Treatment In Schools

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According to these poll results, African-Americans experience more racial mistreatment across the board than other groups, but it's highest in areas of law enforcement and work and somewhat lower in other areas like schools, stores, and health care.

AM News: #MLK50 Focuses On Education

March on Washington Inspires Educators, 50 Years Later PoliticsK12: Teachers are infusing the lessons of the civil-rights movement into their classrooms as thousands descend on Washington for a celebration that culminates with a speech by President Obama. 

China Weighs Ban On Homework; Teachers, Students Argue Against NPR: Hoping to make education less stressful, China's Ministry of Education is considering new rules that include a ban on written homework. But teachers, and even some students, are against the idea.

Success of Online Courses Weighed NYT: San Jose State University announced results Wednesday in its pilot partnership with Udacity, a for-profit provider of online courses, to offer introductory classes online for credit.

Minnesota test-results takeaway: 'Our kids did not get dumber overnight' MinnPost: Today your local newspaper doubtless carries the hotly anticipated results of the 2013 Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), the standardized tests used to determine the number of students who are proficient at math, reading and science.

Some schools drop out of new healthy federal lunch program AP: The transition towards healthier school lunches isn't sitting easy with some schools. Superintendents and parents say kids don't like the new menus and aren't full enough, causing the cafeterias to lose money.

Afternoon Video: Annotated Version Of "I Have A Dream"


Another Daily Beast offering on #MLK50

Charts: Black-White HS Completion Gap Reduced #MLK50

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Lots of bad or mixed news, but the high school completion gap is at least one bright spot via The Daily Beast (50 Years in 10 Charts)

Reform: Millennials Hate Politics (But Alternatives Remain Unproven)

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 12.14.34 PMAmusing and easy as it is to bemoan Millennial self-entitlement and hyper-aggressiveness, complaining about the youngs can get old and is probably not very helpful, anyway if only because there are 95 million of them - 20 million more than Baby Boomers.

So it's a good thing to find Ron Fournier's new Atlantic Magazine article on how Millennials perceive politics and public service -- and how they might blow things up through other means.  Or at least, how they want to.

Titled The Outsiders: How Can Millennials Change Washington If They Hate It?, the article notes that Millennials dislike public service and traditional political gridlock but are committed to volunteering.  They're deeply suspicious of government programs -- and of Democrats as well as Republicans -- and unlikely to think of political action as a solution after what happened in Barack Obama's first term.

These trends create obvious challenges for education advocates of all types. Reform advocates are trying like mad to groom leaders for public service and elected office.  Reform critics are increasingly relying on political protest to make their case.

It's possible that Millennials will change their minds over time, finding as they may that social entrepreneurship and disurptive technologies are appealing but insufficiently robust to create transformational changes.    Indeed, there aren't any examples in the article of Millennials using technology or social media to accomplish things that would normally be done through public service, other than ShoutAbout.org, which I've never heard of before.

Image courtesy Atlantic Magazine.

Charts: More Kids Taking And Failing AP Exams (That's Bad?)

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More kids are taking -- and failing -- AP classes and exams than ever, notes Politico's Stephanie Simon (from last week). Does this mean the $275M the federal government is spending on encouraging participation is wasted for those individuals or the schools that serve them?

AM News: Income Gaps Now Overshadow Race Gaps

Growing income achievement gap overshadows race Hechinger Report: When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech a half-century ago, on Aug. 28, 1963, black children lagged their white peers in school by more than three years. Fifty years later, social class has become the main gateway—and barrier—to opportunity in America.

Arne Duncan: Integration Alone Doesn't Equal a World-Class Education PoliticsK12: On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on the education community to advance an equal-opportunity agenda.

No Child Left Behind loophole imperils at-risk kids NBC: Waivers that allow states to ignore parts of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 could threaten the very children the Act was designed to help. Education reformers and civil rights activists find that millions of at-risk children could slip through the cracks of the education system due to the waiving of requirements.

Editorial: Inside Donald Trump’s University NYT:A lawsuit offers compelling evidence of Mr. Trump’s bait-and-switch scheme that affected thousands of people.

CPS to vote on budget amid rally, boycott of schools Chicago Tribune: Just past the heightened scrutiny over security and school consolidations brought on by the first day of school, Chicago school officials will vote Wednesday on a $5.58 billion budget that promises teacher and program cuts and has generated additional...

Reporter's Notebook On Education Challenges NPR: NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez opens up his notebook to share some of the education stories he's been covering this year. He talks with host Michel Martin about claims of segregation in Memphis schools, and the controversy over new education standards.

Schools Canceled As Heat Wave Sweeps Through Midwest NPR: It's hot in parts of the Midwest this week, and student and teachers just back to school are suffering.

Afternoon Video: Make Teacher Prep More Rigorous (Like Finland!)

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Here's an Amanda Ripley interview at The Economist about what she learned from following exchange students' experiences in other countries' school systems. Sorry about the autoplay -- can't seem to find the HTML to turn it off.  Screengrab above, video below.

Continue reading "Afternoon Video: Make Teacher Prep More Rigorous (Like Finland!)" »

Update: Chicago Efforts Doomed By Parent Engagement Failure, Says Former Supe

image from www.chicagonow.comSo after about a year of careful silence (and a move to Washington DC (where he now works for the College Board), the mild-mannered former CPS schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard did an interview with Andy Smarick last week that garnered some attention for its critique of the Emanuel administration’s education agenda and strategy.

What if anything can we learn from Brizard's version of events?

Some of you won’t care, sworn to hate anything related to CPS or having written off Brizard as yet another short-term City Hall pawn appointed by Daley or MRE (Mayor Rahm Emanuel).

Indeed, the interview doesn't challenge Brizard's view of events (Chicagoist describes it as a softball interview).

And Brizard reportedly received a $292,000 severance package in exchange for his quiet exit.

But others may wonder why Brizard decided to speak so candidly about his time in Chicago.  (Is he trying to resurrect his reputation, or did the non-disclosure agreement that was presumably part of his severance finally expire?) Does he say anything interesting or noteworthy (besides chipping at Emanuel) that might help us understand what happened during that particularly tumultuous period?  

Most important of all, has anything really changed since Brizard left and Byrd-Bennett took over?

Continue reading "Update: Chicago Efforts Doomed By Parent Engagement Failure, Says Former Supe" »

Thompson: Who Are "They" Asks PBS's John Merrow?

StopAt the end of his two-part PBS report on Common Core last week, John Merrow asks the $64,000 question: who are "they?"

Merrow starts by showing the type of classroom interactions that most teachers aspire to, as a Common Core teacher interacts with students in multimedia, multidisciplinary ways to encourage critical thinking, problem solving, good listening skills, speaking skills, and collaboration.  So, there must be "reformers" who watch the segment and ask the question about educators who oppose Common Core - why are "they" resisting us?  

But, Merrow and Barbara Kapinus, of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium agree that they have not been able to devise tests that assess everything that was intended.  Unless "they" - policy makers - stop mistrusting teachers, the tests are likely to be misused.  Since "they" intend to use Common Core for accountability, teachers are likely to be too scared to teach its standards properly.  They will revert to teach-to-the-test basic skills instruction.

The interview with Kapinus raises an intriguing question question as to whether there is no single "they" who support the idea that we need a test worth teaching to.  Did "they" - Education Secretary  Arne Duncan and the governors  - not understand what they - the testing experts - know about the problems inherent in adding stakes to tests. 

Did the experts not know what "they" - the accountability hawks - do not know about standards, teaching, and assessments? If "they" - the big boys who impose one "reform" on teachers after another - understood schools, teaching and learning, would they have have understood the inherent contradiction between higher standards and a test worth teaching with?-JT (@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Quotes: State Defections Will Undercut Common Core, Says Rotherham

Quotes2You’re going to end up with a bunch of states doing different things... Some of the same issues [of state differences] will persist, which undermines the premise of Common Core. - Andy Rotherham in Joy Resmovits' recent David Coleman profile.

Morning Video: How Emanuel Is Revamping Chicago Schools

NBC's John Yang joins The Daily Rundown to report on the changes to the Chicago school system.Via MSNBC.

AM News: NCLB Waivers Hurt Tutoring - & At-Risk Students

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Study: Waivers leave behind at-risk students AP: Millions of at-risk students could fall through the cracks as the Education Department gives states permission to ignore parts of No Child Left Behind, according to a study education advocates released Tuesday.

No Child Left Behind waivers are causing the private tutoring industry to implode Deseret News: Education Week's analysis showed that among states that have received NCLB waivers, very few included supplemental education — after-school tutoring — in their waiver plans.

Arne Duncan Wants Special Education Students To Take General Exams Huffington Post: Should students with disabilities be held to the same academic standards as their peers? And should schools and teachers be held accountable for their progress? U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan answered that question with a resounding yes, proposing a seemingly wonky regulatory change that could have profound effects on some of the nation's most vulnerable learners.

At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice NYT: Charter networks are developing what amounts to a youth movement in which teaching for two to five years is seen as acceptable, even desirable.

Biggest Changes in a Decade Greet Students Wall Street Journal: Millions of students heading back to school are finding significant changes in the curriculum and battles over how teachers are evaluated, as the biggest revamps of U.S. public education in a decade work their way into classrooms. Most states are implementing tougher math and reading standards known as Common Core, while teacher evaluations increasingly are [...]

Breaking Down the Newark Teacher Raises WSJ: Last week, 190 Newark public-school teachers learned they’d be getting bonuses in a controversial merit-pay program funded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg‘s foundation. Not all of Newark’s 3,200 teachers were eligible to begin with, and even fewer – only 11 teachers – qualified for the full bonus amount of $12,500. 

Former Sec. Of Education Wants More Support For Teachers NPR: Education has been called the top civil rights issue of the 21st century. Host Michel Martin asks former U.S. Secretary of Education of Education Rod Paige about whether the nation is winning the battle for equality in schools.

Continue reading "AM News: NCLB Waivers Hurt Tutoring - & At-Risk Students" »

Afternoon Video: How School Clerk Talked School Shooter Down

This interview with an Atlanta-area school clerk is from last week, but perhaps you were away like I was, or didn't get to see it already. (Slate:  Atlanta school clerk says she talked gunman into surrendering.) On Friday President Obama reportedly called her with his thanks (shortly before ordering a secret cruise missile strike on Syria).

Media: Atlantic Adding New Education Channel

So a little birdie tells me that the already-robust Atlantic.com site (which someone once described as Yahoo! News for college educated types) is adding a new Education channel sometime soon, along with existing channels like Politics, Business, Tech, etc.  

No word yet on when the channel launches, how robust its efforts were going to be.  Other outlets -- HuffingtonPost and Politico among others -- have tried to mount a strong education vertical with mixed results. 

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It's going to be run by editor Eleanor Barkhorn (@eleanorbarkhorn) who is - yes! -- a Princeton graduate and TFA alum so please begin to stereotype and judge her immediately that never gets old.

The site has long run education news under the National channel (often written by EWA's Emily Richmond), and partner publication National Journal has its own Education Insiders page.

They were looking for a fellow to help out with the site in July.  Presumably they've found someone by now.  Based on the naming of other Atlantic channels, I predict the Twitter feed will be @atlanticED.  

Previous posts: Early Reactions To Politico's $8,000 / Year Education Page*EdWeek To Launch New Pop Culture / Media BlogHere Comes Slate Education Podcasts

Charts: Media Still Focused On Equity "Despite" Recession

The media (and the nation's attention) should be more focused on excellence rather than equity given historical trends, according to the interesting but somewhat wishful thinking of Fordam's Mike Petrilli (Equity Trumps Excellence):

image from educationnext.org
But as Petrilli finds out, that hasn't happened yet.  Poverty rates, wide inequities, and decreasing social mobility might have something to do with it. Policy types including lots of Obama Aministration folks might be ready to switch horses, but reality (and reform critics) keep getting in the way. 

Morning Video: Obama Lays Out College Costs/Ranking Proposal


Here via PBS NewsHour is the President laying out the plan late last week. Reactions have been mixed.

AM News: School Starts In Chicago & Elsewhwere

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Workers keep watch over new Chicago school year AP: Thousands of Chicago Public Schools students will head to new schools Monday, the first day of what Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called "a new beginning" for the nation's third-largest district after a number of schools were closed....

Chicago School Closures Send Kids Through Dangerous Areas NPR: Chicago is preparing for the first day of school, which has extra challenges this year. The city closed about 50 schools recently, so some children will have to walk through dangerous neighborhoods to get to class. The city is expanding its "Safe Passage" program, training workers who will be stationed on school routes to protect students.

City Makes Test Scores Available on the Web NYT: Parents in New York will be able to log on to see how their children did on the new Common Core reading and math tests.

Texas Tribune: Cyberschools Grow, Fueling New Concerns NYT: As the number of full-time cyberschools in Texas doubles this year, concerns are growing about online education’s influence, finances and overall academic quality.\

In D.C., controversy over academic testing has new frontier: preschool Washington Post: The controversy over academic testing has spread to an unlikely new frontier in Washington: preschool. Some D.C. parents are protesting a plan by the city’s public charter school board to rank preschools based largely on how children as young as 3 are performing on reading and math tests.

Teachers taught to look for mental illness in kids NBC News: One program aims to prepare teachers to recognize students who may exhibit signs of a mental illness. But, but detractors say the pupils could get detrimental labels. 

Lead poisoning's impact: Kids suspended more at school USA Today: Scientists have long known that children with high levels of toxic lead in their bloodstream are more likely than others to behave impulsively, have shorter attention spans and...

What's Behind The Turnaround At Miami Public Schools? NPR: Alberto Carvalho runs the nation's fourth largest school district — Miami Dade Public Schools. Since he took over four years ago, the district's turnaround has been nothing short of "miraculous", or so his supporters say. During his tenure the dropout rate has plummeted. The high school graduation rate has climbed to record levels and test scores for all students are way up. How did Carvalho do it?

Site News: Gone Drivin' - See You Monday

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comI'm off for the rest of the week but will be back on Monday.  

In between now and then, you might be able to find glimpses of me on Twitter or Facebook (but I hope not).

The 1955 Buick Special convertible I'll be driving -- originally my grandmother's -- isn't painted yellow (or in nearly as nice shape as this example) but it's still a lot of fun to drive.

See you Monday!

Afternoon Video: Machines Are Stealing Our Jobs (But It's OK)


Human-replacing technology is nothing new, and not to be feared (unless it's your job that's being replaced and you're unwilling or unable to do something new). Via The Atlantic video channel. Also -- PBS NewsHour segment on a summer school program in Rhode Island is scheduled for tonight.

Quotes: Poll Results Expose Parents' *Real* Views

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comAfter the millions the NEA, AFT, all the educrats have put into their many pronged campaigns of destruction, it's fascinating that parental support for high standards, testing, accountability, and effective teaching is still very high. - Alexander (Sandy) Kress on AP poll results

Hot Seat Interview: The "Anti-Reform" Supe Who Favors Common Core & Assessments

image from www.scholastic.comHere's my latest Scholastic Administrator interview, with Montgomery County's Joshua Starr.

Critical of several aspects of the reform movement and the Obama administration's education agenda, Starr nonetheless supports the Common Core and the use of standardized assessments.

Click below for some interview highlights, or click here for the full thing.

Up next later this year: the College Board's David Coleman.

Continue reading "Hot Seat Interview: The "Anti-Reform" Supe Who Favors Common Core & Assessments" »

Charts: Parents' Views On Testing, School Peformance

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Via AP

Morning Video: Another Effort To Deter Texting & Driving


I've tweeted about this Werner Herzog anti-texting documenter  a bunch, but just in case -- plus a Slate.com explainer on why the film is so moving.

AM News: Parents Support More Uses Of Standardized Testing

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Parents back high-stakes testing AP: Most parents also say their own children are given about the right number of standardized tests, according to the AP-NORC poll. They'd like to see student performance on statewide exams used in evaluating teachers, and almost three-quarters said they favored changes that would make it easier for schools to fire poorly performing teachers. 

Teachers Face License Loss WSJ: Over the past three years, many states have started linking teacher evaluations to test-score improvements and other measures of student performance. But only Rhode Island, Louisiana and Delaware have tied some teaching-license renewals to these evaluations, according to Sandi Jacobs of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a research and advocacy group that supports grading teachers on classroom effectiveness. See also TeacherBeat.

Head Start eliminated services to 57,000 children in U.S. as a result of sequester Washington Post: Head Start programs across the country eliminated services for 57,000 children in the coming school year to balance budgets diminished by the federal sequester, cutting 1.3 million days from Head Start center calendars and laying off or reducing pay for more than 18,000 employees, according to federal government data scheduled for release Monday.

With $50M pledge, Philly schools begin rehiring AP: The question of whether Philadelphia's public schools would open on time next month has been answered. Officials say they will....

Schools increasingly making uniform decisions  USA Today: As students head back to school in the next few weeks, they're more likely than ever to arrive dressed in a school-sanctioned uniform, an increasingly ..

Continue reading "AM News: Parents Support More Uses Of Standardized Testing" »

Afternoon Video: Pediatric Visits Instead Of Preschool

Watch Pediatricians Add Reading to Essential Check-Up List on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

From Thursday night's PBS NewsHour, a @learningmatters segment on efforts to use doctors' visits to encourage literacy among poor children who don't have access to preschool.

Thompson: The Moral Complexities of Opting Out

NsaI have long had conflicted feelings regarding teachers’ timidity in resisting test-driven “reform.”

Of course, it is disgraceful that we have barely resorted to direct actions ranging from work stoppages to boycotts or civil disobedience.  

I still can’t say where I should have drawn the line, much less determine at what point my fellow teachers should have fought back.

Above all, we must listen to students like California teacher/blogger Chris Thinnes' son, who decided to opt out of testing -- and then reconsidered.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Moral Complexities of Opting Out " »

Movies: Trailer & Early Reviews For "We The Parents"

Here's the trailer for the new documentary about the parent trigger that's screening tonight in LA and elsewhere to follow:

Here are the reviews so far:  "You don’t let the patients decide what the doctors can do,” says CFT president in a Hollywood Reporter review. The Daily Beast points out that the trigger attempt that's chronicled in the documentary ultimately failed. Variety calls the film "highly partisan" in its focus on the parent activists rather than teachers or administrators at the school. The film isn't as gung-ho about charters as Waiting For Superman, notes the LA Times, but fails to detail why Celerity never took McKinley over.

Quotes: Who's The Bully

Quotes2When you come to a new school yard ... and you see a bunch of people lying on the ground bloody and beaten up, and you see one person standing there with their arms folded across their chest staring at you. That’s the bully. In New Jersey, that bully is the New Jersey Education Association.

-- NJ Governor Chris Christie (in Politico)

Morning Video: New Standards Require New Tests


An overview of the new Common Core assessment development process from the PBS NewsHour earlier this week.

AM News: Three States Warned On Teacher Evaluation

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NCLB waivers at risk in three states Politico: Oregon plans to appeal its status to the department in the next 10 business days. Washington, with its hands tied by state law, said it can't do much until the legislature convenes in January, but the state outlook is optimistic. And Kansas plans to meet today to discuss its high-risk status.

NCLB Waivers in Kansas, Oregon, Washington at 'High Risk' PoliticsK12: The U.S. Department of Education is threatening to revoke No Child Left Behind Act waivers for three states at the end of the 2013-14 school year over their failure to come up with new teacher-evaluation systems tied to student growth.

School Standards’ Debut Is Rocky, and Critics Pounce NYT: Indiana has already put a brake on them. The Michigan House of Representatives is holding hearings on whether to suspend them. And citing the cost of new tests requiring more writing and a significant online component, Georgia and Oklahoma have withdrawn from a consortium developing exams based on the standards.

Last-Minute A-F Changes Lifted 165 Indiana School Grades StateImpact:  Bennett’s staff does not directly mention the change in emails the Associated Press published this month. From those messages, it’s not apparent state officials made the change with Christel House alone in mind. The finding does, however, shows how a relatively minor alteration to the A-F grading scale can have statewide implications.

On education, mayoral hopefuls don’t talk about their limitations GothamSchools: Despite coming from different candidates, the pledges have one thing in common: They can’t be fulfilled from inside City Hall, despite mayoral control of the city’s schools.

Continue reading "AM News: Three States Warned On Teacher Evaluation" »

Afternoon Video: How Some Countries Change Their Outcomes


I'm trying to get my hands on the video of the full speech, but in the meantime here's writer Amanda Ripley talking at a recent Stand for Children event. Via AEI

Charts: Urban Black Isolation Increases As Segregation Decreases

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While segregation is decreasing in most big cities (see above) racial isolation of blacks and the number of majority-black neighborhoods are actually on the rise and the social and economic costs are enormous, according to this post in The Atlantic:  The Real Cost of Segregation

Thompson: "Reformers" & Misuse of NAEP Data

RheeAs much as I respect Education Week’s Steve Sawchuk, his recent blog post article When Bad Things Happen to Good NAEP Data was a disappointment. He recounted examples of “misnaepery” or the misuse of NAEP data. 

In doing so, Sawchuk demonstrated a false equivalency between egregious violations of scholarship by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee’s Students First, and realtors trying to hype the schools in their area with the careful research of Elaine Weiss and Don Long, in their Market-Oriented Education Reforms’ Rhetoric Trumps Reality

And, Sawchuk also tossed in the obligatory quote by Diane Ravitch in a way that implied that her scholarship was similarly questionable.

Continue reading "Thompson: "Reformers" & Misuse of NAEP Data" »

Quotes: Badly Funded, By Definition

Quotes2The United States is one of only three rich countries that spends less on disadvantaged students than on other students -- largely because education funding for elementary and secondary schools in the United States is tied to local property taxes. By definition, poor neighborhoods end up with badly funded schools. - Fareed Zakaria (Social immobility erodes American dream)

Morning Video: 18 Million Kids Still Missing Summer Meals

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

AM News: NYC Schools Rate Local Teacher Prep Programs

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comSeeking Better Teachers, City Evaluates Local Colleges That Train Them NYT:  Education schools, both public and private, will be evaluated in a variety of ways, including whether their teachers have been able to increase student test scores.

New York City Teacher-Training Programs Analyzed WSJ: The 12 programs, which trained more than 10,000 new city teachers between 2008 and 2012, were analyzed based on factors such as job-performance ratings and student improvement on state tests, as well as on whether graduates go on to teach at high-needs schools.

New York City Issues Teacher-Preparation Data TeacherBeat: Among the findings, the reports show that more than half the teachers hired from these 12 institutions were in highest-need license fields, such as special education, math, science, or English as a second language. 

No solution yet as Philly schools deadline looms Philadelphia Enquirer: ANOTHER DAY, another news conference, and still no solution in sight for finding the $50 million the school district says it needs to open schools Sept. 9.

Lead poisoning's impact: Kids suspended more at school Gannett: Research out Tuesday finds that even children with just moderate levels of lead in their first three years of life are nearly three times as likely to be suspended from school by the time they're 9 or 10 as those whose blood-lead levels were below recent treatment thresholds.

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Schools Rate Local Teacher Prep Programs" »

Afternoon Video: Common Core Hits The Classroom

Watch Public School Students on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Here's the PBS NewsHour segment from last night. Part 2 is tonight.

Quotes: TFA "Used To" Being A Scapegoat


We can be a scapegoat.   We're used to it.

-- @teachforamerica

People: School Reform & The "Opt-Out Revolution"

ScreenHunter_02 Aug. 14 10.21Career development and work-life balance have become big issues as the first wave of the school reform crowd leaves its 30s and 40s and begins getting married and having kids (or not) and also addressing the needs of aging parents.

So it's no surprise that one of the main examples used in the recent New York Times Sunday Magazine story about what happeend to career women who opted out in the early 2000s focuses on a school reformer named Carrie Chimerine Irvin.

She left the workforce for a time, then returned recently and now helps run something called Charter Board Partners in DC.  (She and I also worked together briefly at Policy Studies Associates before I moved to the Hill.)

I'm sure there are other examples of career women in education reform who have taken time away from fulltime work for family reasons.  Not everyone wants to (or can) plow through like TFA founder Wendy Kopp, who remained head of the organization despite having four children.   

Morning Video: Restorative Justice In Baltimore

Watch Fixing Juvie Justice on PBS. See more from PBS.

This was on PBS last night - not specifically about education but relevant given all the schools trying PBIS and restorative justice.

AM News: Districts Cutting PD During Key School Year

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Sequestration Effects: 59 Percent of Districts Cut Professional Development PoliticsK12: Districts are dealing withautomatic, across-the-board trigger cuts of federal education funding by slicing professional development (59 percent of districts), eliminating personnel (53 percent), increasing class size (48 percent), and deferring technology purchases (46 percent).

Obama pushes ambitious Internet access plan Washington Post: There’s just one catch: The effort would cost billions of dollars, and Obama wants to pay for it by raising fees for mobile-phone users. Doing that relies on the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency that has the power to approve or reject the plan.

Charter partnership gives L.A. Unified school new name and outlook LA Times: In an unprecedented partnership, the L.A. Unified School District has joined forces with Crown Prep, an outside charter operator, to run the persistently low-performing campus south of downtown.

Top Obama Higher Education Official, Resigns Huffington Post: Her departure thins out the ranks of the Education Department's first-term upper echelons. Until recently, the department lacked heads for its preschool and civil rights offices, and a general counsel. The department has "acting" leaders in charge of "innovation and improvement," "planning, evaluation and policy development" and communications.

Continue reading "AM News: Districts Cutting PD During Key School Year " »

Afternoon Video: Explaining Hyperloop To Students & Children


"Respect to the Hyperloop, but pneumatic tubes have a centuries-long history -- in both human infrastructure and in the minds of people who dream it up." (Pneumatic Tubes: A Brief History)

Update: Private School Hypocrisy Pro/Con

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.56.09 AMToday's the first day of school for LAUSD kids, but Matt Damon's daughters aren't among them.  Do you care?

As I wrote last week, the testing critic and teacher advocate revealed last week during a publicity interview for Elysium that after agonizing over the decision he was sending his kids to a progressive private school.

The reactions thus far have been fairly predictable (see roundup below).

For me, the issue isn't so much that Damon chose a private school for his kids, but rather that (a) he espoused an outdated and narrow view of the Los Angeles education scene and (b) that reform critics make such a big deal about their opponents' private school choices and backgrounds and then can't deal when they're called out for having enjoyed or exercised some of the same choices.

There are scads of interesting public school options in LA, including among them many progressive options (see where Damon is probably sending his kids below).  

And if it matters where Michelle Rhee sent her children or where Jonah Edelman went to school then it matters where Damon (or Ravitch, or Haimsen) sent theirs. 

Continue reading "Update: Private School Hypocrisy Pro/Con" »

Quotes: Past Pension Obligations Vs. Current Services

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comIt is a genuine tragedy that people who worked hard for the city of Detroit for 30 years should lose pension benefits. But that doesn't mean that the city of Detroit should turn off the streetlights and get rid of schools and ambulance service in order to fund those lost pensions. - Bloomberg contributor Megan McCardle (We Are All Going to Pension Hell)

Morning Video: Ashton Kutcher Encourages Teens To Be Smart


Being smart is all that matters, according to the actor. And opportunity looks a lot like work. 



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.