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Site News: Getaway Day (Brooklyn To Boston)

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I'm heading off for the holiday (along with everyone else). I'll see you back on Monday, December 2. I'll be checking Twitter and Facebook. Happy Thanksgiving / Hannukah.

Afternoon Video: "60 Minutes" Segment On Underdogs & Dyslexics

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Video's not working so click the link: Malcolm Gladwell: The power of the underdog - CBS News.

#EdGIF Of The Day: 33 Signs You're A New Teacher

33 Signs You're A New Teacher

The best of BuzzFeed's 33 Signs You're A New Teacher is #7 ("You start picking up on adolescent slang.") Nearly everything is better with a GIF, right?  #edgif via LEE.

Quotes: Civil Rights Groups "Disappointed" On Teacher Equity

Quotes2The 50-state strategy [to ensure equitable distribution of effective teachers] should have been started 12 years ago. [The new waiver renewal guidance is] disappointing, and it sends a message that it's not at the top of their agenda. -- EdTrust's Kate Tromble in EdWeek (Civil Rights Groups Wary on Waiver-Renewal Guidelines

Thompson: Would Obama Consider $5B SIG Program Successful?

Arne_DuncanIn 2009, Arne Duncan must have told President Obama that his School Improvement Grant (SIG) experiment was risky. SIG would cost nearly $5 billion, as it tried to jumpstart the nation's lowest-performing 5,000 schools.  There was no time for laying a foundation for transformational change. In lieu of planning, a top-down governance would be imposed. Principals would be anointed as divine monarchs and told to produce transformational change in only three years - or else.

Collective punishment would be imposed on teachers. This would encourage other teacher-bashers to step up the blame game.  One of the Democratic Party's most loyal constituencies, teachers' unions, would be alienated and the rank-in-file demoralized. If the benefits were only incremental, would a backlash against education be encouraged? 

What would the President have decided if warned that gains on reading tests would only be 2.5 points per year? Could he not anticipate conservatives such as Education Next's Andy Smarick noting "a cost of one billion dollars for each point of improvement in reading proficiency." (emphasis in the original) Had Duncan warned the President that those low performing schools would only increase their reading scores by 1.5 points per year faster than all other schools, would the President have asked about the down sides of a gamble that produced such small benefits? 

Above all, had the President been told that student performance would decline in 1/3rd of schools, would he have asked follow-up questions? Was there something inherent in the federal micromanaging of SIG that would encourage primitive teach-to-the-test that would backfire and make conditions worse for many students?-JT(@drjohnthompson) image via.     

Technology: Laptops Vs. Tablets

Are you pro-tablet, pro-laptop, or against them both? Gary Stager and a Long Island (NY) superintendent talk pros and cons of tablets/laptops (Day of the Tablet). One thinks it's the right tool for the job. The other, not so much (For the Love of Laptops). I'll let you guess which is which. 

Morning Video: TN Chief Notes Progress, Responds To Critics

Chorus of criticism doesn't stop reform-minded TN education chief Huffman (The Tennessean via @libbyanelson)

AM News: Common Core Steams Ahead In NJ (& Elsewhere)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Common Core Standards, Online Testing Continue to Gain Ground in NJ NJ Spotlight: A pair of bills that would delay implementation of the Common Core and PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness), its online testing component, are going nowhere fast.

 Newark district and charter schools join together for universal enrollment plan NJ.com: The new system would provide big benefits for families, who would submit one application with up to eight school choices, both charter and district, ranked in order of preference. One central lottery would be used to determine placement.

What Happens When Great Teachers Get $20,000 to Work in Low-Income Schools? Results Slate: To fill some of those positions, they selected from a special group of transfer teachers, all of whom had top 20 percent track records of improving student achievement at lower poverty schools within the districts, and had applied to earn $20,000 to switch jobs. The rest of the open positions were filled through the usual processes, in which principals select candidates from a regular applicant pool.

Reformers keep the heat on during now-closed Minneapolis teacher-contract talks MinnPost: Last week as leaders of both sides gathered for the second of the closed-door sessions, 50 parents, students, community members and members of the group Students for Education Reform (SFER) were outside protesting.

After closings, Chicago gets good marks for transfer of special education students Catalyst: About a third of schools that were closed housed separate programs for children with serious disabilities. Experts say parents so far have few complaints about how CPS handled the transition of these students.

No Motive In Newtown Report, But Many Details About Lanza NPR: At more than 50 pages, the summary report issued Monday gives an overview of findings from the investigation, while omitting controversial details such as 911 call recordings.

Chilling Look at Newtown Killer, but No ‘Why’ NYT: Almost a year after Adam Lanza killed 26 children and adults in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, an investigative report shed new light on his internal life and complicated relationship with his mother.

More state and district education news below.

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core Steams Ahead In NJ (& Elsewhere)" »

Afternoon Video: Goldieblox Makes Good Use Of "Girls"

The Beastie Boys aren't happy about it (or maybe they're being gamed), but you'll probably like this viral video to promote Goldieblocks and girls' interest in making things.

Site News: Facebook & Twitter Buttons For "This Week In Education"

Social-media-channelSocial media isn't anything new, and TWIE has been on Facebook and Twitter long before many other sites. But as a few of you have noticed, there haven't been social media buttons on the site itself -- until now.  

All that's changed now.  Look below. Look above.  All around you, Twitter and Facebook buttons so you can "like" and Tweet out individual blog posts without fuss or muss -- thanks to Wayne D'Orio and the eScholastic folks who pulled it off. 

Thanks, and enjoy! Let me know if you have any issues.

Quotes: The Limits Of "Big Data" Hiring & Evaluating

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comA real, live person looks at every résumé [Google] receives. Hiring decisions are made by committee and are based in no small part on opinions formed during structured interviews. -- The Atlantic (They're Watching You at Work)

Media: Too Little Progress On Special Education?

While some educators and parents feel like things are moving too quickly on the education reform front, parents like the ones in Joy Resmovits's in-depth profile aren't so sure -- and the national picture isn't particularly encouraging either:

image from i.huffpost.com"While D.C.'s situation might be extreme, parents nationwide have seen little progress on the special education policies that dictate their children's schooling. As the word "accountability" has gripped education policy, students have been left behind by special education... But for students with disabilities, little changed. Schools have few incentives to improve education for them, because for the most part, schools aren't judged on these students' test scores.

"In fact, some advocates think that recent policy changes leave students in special education programs worse off. Even the Obama administration's post-No Child Left Behind school tracking system has allowed states -- as well as D.C. -- to set significantly lower performance goals for students in special education. "It's pathetic," says Margaret Spellings, who served as U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush. "We're witnessing a gut job on accountability for special education kids."

Huffington Post: One Family's Heartbreaking Fight For Their Son's Education.


Weekend Tweets: Testing, Coddling, & InBloom

Here are some of the best stories, news updates, and blog posts that I came across and Tweeted out over the weekend. Take a look.  What do you think?  Let me know if I missed anything good.

NY Only State Still On Board With School Data Plan http://ht.ly/r7wnA  AP's Karen Matthews re #inbloom

Frank Bruni Are Kids Too Coddled? NYT http://ht.ly/r8vQE  [yes] @frankbruni

The Movement Against Testing in Schools -- New York Magazine http://ht.ly/r8OKH 

JFK's Deeply Revealing Harvard Application Essay - Eleanor Barkhorn - The Atlantic http://ht.ly/r7vSj  @eleanorbarkhorn

Oil And Gas Industry Advocates Accused Of 'Hijacking' Texas Textbooks [UPDATE] http://ht.ly/r7wgE 

The Classic Classroom Management Mistake and How to Avoid It http://ht.ly/r8DOK  @bamradionetwork

Beyond Minecraft: Games That Inspire Building and Exploration | MindShift http://ht.ly/r7ywn 

The power of preschool done right | Hechinger Report http://ht.ly/r7wa7  re UPK Educare

PolitiFact | Fact-checking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's new book http://ht.ly/r8EmE 

Even Playing TV in the Background May Impede Kids’ Development http://ht.ly/r8FzB  via @pacificstand

How Does ‘Lord of the Flies’ Fit Into Common Core? | MindShift http://ht.ly/r7ynV 

Tom Harkin Says We Are Missing the Boat in Education (Audio) @bloombergradio @susaw http://ht.ly/r7xPS 

Rhodes Scholars 2014: 32 American Students Announced As Winners http://ht.ly/r8wT5 

Morning Video: Frequent Quizzes Help Learning

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

AM News: Hold Up On Those Maryland NAEP Scores

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Md. test exclusion rate raises questions Washington Post: The state blocked more than half its English language learners and students with learning disabilities from taking the test, students whose scores would have dragged down the results.The state led the nation in excluding students on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, posting rates that were five times the national average and more than double the rate of any other state.

Principals lobby de Blasio to protect networks GothamSchools: A group of 120 school leaders say they’re concerned with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign pledge to restructure the city’s support networks, which manages school operations around professional development, curriculum and budgeting. De Blasio has said he wants some decision-making authority restored to district superintendents, who oversaw support before Mayor Bloomberg won control of the school system.

Judge Acts on LA Voucher Program in Schools NYT:  A federal judge has given state and federal lawyers 60 days to come up with possible modifications to a court order to make sure that the state’s private school voucher program does not lead to segregation of schools.

Texas Education Board Flags Biology Textbook Over Evolution Concerns NYT: The State Board of Education delayed final approval of a widely used biology textbook because of concerns raised by one reviewer that the book presents evolution as fact rather than mere theory.

Education Board Blocks Charter School Expansion Texas Tribune: The 15-member board voted 9 to 6 to veto Great Hearts Academies' application because of concerns about the school's commitment to serving low-income students and teaching Texas curriculum standards. 

Continue reading "AM News: Hold Up On Those Maryland NAEP Scores" »

Afternoon Audio: How "The Simpsons" Teaches Math

Mother Jones: How the Simpsons Have Secretly Been Teaching You Math

Parents: Advocate Urges Colleagues To "Analyze Actions, Not Heart"

image from 3.bp.blogspot.comI don't always see eye to eye with school reform critics (including parents who are urging others to opt out of standardized testing). It usually depends on whether I am writing pieces that seem to agree with them or seem to

All that to say that I have enjoyed talking with some of the parent opt out advocates these past few days including Peggy Robertson, and in particular I found her blog post (A Quick Guide to Resisting from Within for Educators) thoughtful in ways that I don't always see these days and that might interest you whether you care or not about the opt-out movement (aka "the parent trigger of the left").

As youll see, Robertson urges teachers to stay in the classroom rather than quitting in despair and frustration. She urges them to "open the door" rather than hunkering down. She urges everyone to be humble. ("Activism can have an ego. Avoid it.") She also says teachers should advocate for themselves (“Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.”) All this in a fierce-but-soothing voice that's sort of like a mindfulness meditation (not that I would know what that is).

Perhaps my favorite bit of advice from Robertson is this one: "Analyze actions, not heart." It's not just that doing so is wise and fair, according to Robertson, it's also more effective. "Do not waste time trying to see what is in their hearts – spend your time analyzing their actions so that you can see patterns and red flags that will allow us to strategize and win this fight."

Previous posts:  Either you’re against the Common Core or you've never heard of it (Slate); When Parents Yank Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests (The Atlantic). Image courtesy Robertson.

Quotes: Duncan Only Has Himself To Blame, Says Rotherham

Quotes2One reason the suburbs are complacent is that politicians, notable amongst them Duncan and the President, spent a lot of time telling suburban voters there that any law that said 40 percent of the nation’s schools needed improvement was obviously flawed. - Andy "Eduwonk" Rotherham on Common Core pushback

Thompson: Heckman's Promising New Study on Teens & Self-Control

Heckman2A generation ago, Nobel Laureate James Heckman pulled together the social science documenting the need for high-quality early childhood education.  He explained the importance of programs for teaching character skills such as perseverance (“grit"), self-control, trust, attentiveness, self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Now, Heckman and Tim Kautz, in Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions that Improve Character and Cognition, evaluate the effectiveness of adolescent interventions. 

Building on previous findings, they report “programs that combine work and education are more promising and have been shown to have lasting effects.”

Heckman’s recent work, like his analysis of early education, finds that “successful interventions emulate the mentoring environments offered by successful families.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Heckman's Promising New Study on Teens & Self-Control" »

Morning Video: Union Complains Over Evaluations Showing 7 Pct Failure

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"A new evaluation system finds 13.5 percent of teachers are exemplary and 79.5 percent are proficient. But 5.8 percent of teachers need improvement and 1.2 percent are unsatisfactory." (Click here - video isn't loading right). Via @annenberginst

AM News: Under Pressure, California Relents On Testing


California agrees to administer both math and English tests this spring KPCC: This is not the plan Torlakson, state legislators, and Governor Jerry Brown endorsed in Assembly Bill 484 earlier this year. That bill stipulated that California would only give students one field test this spring, to ease students into the new tests and the computer technology on which they'll take them.

Torlakson retreats from conflict with feds over testing EdSource: Faced with potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines, the state Department of Education has backed down from its confrontation with the federal government over standardized testing.Torlakson’s carefully worded news release makes no mention of the conflict with the federal government or a concern over districts’ capacity to administer computer tests in both subjects next spring. 

State expands field tests of Common Core-aligned assessments LA Daily News: The field test of California's new computer-based assessments will be expanded so that nearly every student will take exams next spring in both math and English, rather than being limited to one or the other, officials said Thursday. High school juniors, students in grades three through eight, plus a small sampling of ninth- and 10th-graders will participate in field tests of the Smarter Balanced assessments.

Federal analysis of school grants shows mixed results Washington Post: A federal program that pumped a record $5 billion into failing schools is showing mixed results, with students at more than one-third of the targeted schools doing the same or worse after the schools received the funding, according to government data released Thursday.

New High School Program Latest Example of Duncan Efforts to Get Around Congress PoliticsK12: When it became clear that Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization wasn't happening, the administration put in place a system of waivers based largely on its blueprint for revising the law. It's even given a waiver to a group of California districts, over the objections of Republicans in Congress.

District and state news below

Continue reading "AM News: Under Pressure, California Relents On Testing" »

Afternoon: Google Launches Play For Education

Via Techchrunch

Charts: One Course's Disappearing MOOC Students

image from cdn.theatlantic.comLast week, MOOC founder Sebastian Thrun told Fast Company that, well, things weren't working out as well as he'd hoped three years ago.  Today at the Atlantic Eduction page Owen Youngman describes how 56,000 students turned into 1,200 course passers. 

Morning Video: Duncan Does MSNBC's "Morning Joe"


Duncan explains his clumsy remarks re white suburban moms and tries to push through to the launch of his new teacher recruitment/retention effort (also in print news and on WNYC so far today).

AM News: The Push For "Great" New Teachers ('Bye, Boomers)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Campaign Seeks to Recruit Top Students to Become Teachers NYT: The campaign, called Teach, uses video spots and radio announcements that portray teaching as creative and compelling a career as medicine, acting or engineering.

Arne Duncan's Search for More Teachers U.S. News & World Report: This week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will re-launch a campaign he initiated a few years ago to get more college students interested in becoming teachers. 

Teachers Wanted WNYC: After all the focus on getting rid of "bad" teachers, Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education, talks about the need for new teachers to replace a large cohort of those about to retire.

The Quality of American Teachers Seems to be Getting Better Mother Jones: The number of teachers from the class of 2008 with different SAT scores: compared to 1993 and 2000, there are fewer from the lower ranks, about the same number from the middle ranks, and more from the higher ranks.

Which States Are Most Vulnerable to K-12 Sequester Cuts? PoliticsK12: More than half the districts in these 14 states rely on the federal government for 15 percent or more of their revenue: Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Interestingly, most of those are "red" states. Republicans, have, in general, been less vocal about the impact of sequestration on schools than Democrats.  

Obama's day: Technology and education USA TODAY: President Obama turns his focus Thursday to the role of technology in education. Obama meets in the afternoon with a group of ConnectED Champions of Change, educators being honored for their use of Internet technology in teaching.

Frequent Tests Can Enhance College Learning, Study Finds NYT: Short quizzes at the start of each class increased attendance and overall performance, an experiment showed.

Online Courses Attract Degree Holders, Survey Finds NYT: About 80 percent of people who enrolled in a massive open online course from the University of Pennsylvania had already earned a bachelor’s degree, according to a survey.

State and district news below.

Continue reading "AM News: The Push For "Great" New Teachers ('Bye, Boomers)" »

Afternoon Video: Jerry Seinfeld Explains Gettysburg Address To Louis C.K.

Thompson: Of *Course* There's Too Much Testing

OptAlexander Russo's Atlantic Magazine article, When Parents Yank Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests, begins with photographs of the signage that has become so ubiquitous in schools.  As the seemingly endless testing season begins, learning stops in schools full of posters stating, "Testing in Progress" and "Lab Is Closed."  

The article explains how teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School refused to give the district’s required tests and encountered the predictable pushback and quotes a Garfield teacher who anticipates “the biggest revolt against standardized testing in U.S. history” during this spring's three month long testing season. [He also cites the Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless who recalls that parent protests against tests “pop up like wildfires” about every decade.]

I'm proud that that parents in Oklahoma are also helping to lead the backlash.  Russo cites the case of Jenks Middle School where 800 parents opted out of last spring's piloting of test questions. He quotes Deedra Barnes, who helped organize the boycott, and who is considering an opt out for the high-stakes testing in 2014.  Testing, she says, is out of balance.

So far, at least, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has decided to insult suburban moms rather than listen to them, but he's not alone. DFER's Charlie Barone “just doesn’t see the groundswell of opposition against testing that FairTest and others claim to exist.”

But how would they? What actual contact with real schools do Duncan and Barone have? Of course, there is far too much testing.  As Diane Ravitch said to comedian John Stewart, "The status quo today is test, test, test, pretest, posttest, data.” The only way to deny the anger felt by parents, teachers, and students is to hypothesize that we are all suffering from a mass hallucination. 

The magazine also links to a previous article by a teacher, Ben Orlin, When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning.   Orlin describes the destructive rote learning and cramming encouraged  high-stakes testing.  It is a reminder that as testing forces teachers to engage in more and more educational malpractice, the backlash is bound to grow.

-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Teachers: "The 40-Year Slump" Features At Least One Teacher

One of the individual experiences singled out in The American Prospect's long feature article The 40-Year Slump is teacher Kameelah Rasheed, who grew up in East Palo Alto, went to Pomona, and resisted pressures to get a PhD in order to become a teacher.  She got a Master's in education instead (at Stanford), and taught at charters in California and Brooklyn (prevented from getting a district school job by the hiring freeze, she says).  Then she moved to an alternative school (also a charter) and then she left the classroom to work on curriculum development -- in part because of salary issues , she says. The feature is about lost earning power for workers since 1974, and the balance between labor and management that unions (and strikes) used to provide.

Morning Audio: Goldstein Interviews Tyre & Harding Re Picking School

How to pick a good school -- from a parent's POV? Via Slate. 

AM News: De Blasio Vs. Moskowitz (The Future Of Charters!)


Bill de Blasio vs. Eva Moskowitz New Yorker: De Blasio and his advisers are still figuring out how much rent to charge well-funded charter schools, his transition team told me. “It would depend on the resources of the charter school or charter network,” he told WNYC, in early October. Via GothamSchools.

$23K-Per-Year Private School Opening in Red Hook DNA Info: The 1,000-seat Basis Independent School is just a few blocks from Brooklyn's largest NYCHA housing development, Red Hook Houses East and West, and median household income for the immediate area is $16,748, according to recent data. Via GothamSchools

Ed. Dept. Names 31 Finalists for Race to the Top District Contest PoliticsK12: The U.S. Department of Education today named 31 finalists for the second Race to the Top district competition, worth $120 million. Awards will range from $4 million to $30 million.

First Satellite Developed By High Schoolers Sent Into Space NPR: The first satellite ever developed by high school students to make it to space is believed to be orbiting Earth after getting a ride aboard a U.S. military rocket Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Va. Fittingly, perhaps, you can send it a text.

San Fernando Valley charter schools unite to form advocacy council LA Daily News: After a change in Los Angeles Unified's funding policy sent their numbers soaring, the 42 affiliated charter schools in the San Fernando Valley have formed an official council that will work as a bloc to communicate with district officials.

In Era of High School Choice, Manhattan District Retains Elite Status WNYC: While Mayor Michael Bloomberg expanded the number of high schools, and trumpeted the benefits of school choice, he allowed an affluent and successful school district to keep its barriers to entry. Some of the city's most desirable high schools are open only to students in District 2 which includes the Upper East Side and parts of downtown Manhattan.

New York Makes State Tests Shorter WNYC: King said he decided to shorten the 2014 tests after hearing feedback from educators, as part of an annual review. He has come under fire lately for pushing ahead with the Common Core standards faster than some would like, and for bungling the implementation. New York was only the second state in the nation to align its tests to the new learning standards last year.



Bruno: Even Ed Schools Don't Always Care About Teacher Prep

213085702_8d5e812d9d_nEducation Secretary Arne Duncan's complaint that universities often don't prioritize teacher preparation is a bit of straight talk that struck a chord with me when Alexander highlighted it last week.

In fact, my experience suggests that Duncan may be understating the problem.

I'd go so far as to say that even schools of education themselves sometimes fail to prioritize teacher preparation.

At least this was the case with my own credentialing program.

Continue reading "Bruno: Even Ed Schools Don't Always Care About Teacher Prep" »

Quotes: "We're Not Going To Start A Super PAC Or Anything"

Quotes2We’re not going to start a super PAC or anything, but we will be deeply involved. - Robin Hood founder Paul Tudor Jones in Forbes (Can Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones Save America's Public Education System?) via GothamSchools

Morning Video: Creepy iPad App Monitors' Preschoolers' Development

Parent's Pad from Kidaptive on Vimeo.

Maybe it's just me -- I was the only one creeped out last weekend when the bouncer scanned the bar code on my driver's license at the door instead of just checking the date -- but this kind of thing gives me the willies. Via Fast Company

Update: White House Defends, Duncan Regrets/Reiterates*

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Thanks to Philip Elliott's AP writeup we now know that Obama spokesperson Jay Carney (blue tie above left) defended Arne Duncan (albeit vaguely) at Monday's press briefing, in response to questions form Politico's Jon Allen (gold tie above right). See transcript below or watch video here.) Duncan issued an apology later Monday afternoon but reiterated his point that nobody looks good on Common Core assessments ("every demographic group has room for improvement").

*Updated Tuesday 8:45: Roundup of news coverage begins below the fold (click below).

Continue reading "Update: White House Defends, Duncan Regrets/Reiterates*" »

AM News: President & First Lady Push New Ed Initiatives


Obama to Unveil Competition to Overhaul High School Wall Street Journal: President Barack Obama will unveil a $100 million Youth CareerConnect competition Tuesday aimed at finding new ways to better prepare high-school students.

Michelle Obama Visits '106 & Park' To Talk Higher Education Vibe: Today, First Lady Michelle Obama brought her words of wisdom and encouragement to BET's "106 & Park." She sat down with show hosts Bow Wow and Keshia Chanté to speak about her personal and her family's stance on education.

How Court's Bus Ruling Sealed Differences In Detroit Schools NPR: It's been 40 years since the Supreme Court accepted what became a landmark case about school desegregation. The case was controversial because it involved busing students between a largely African-American city and its white suburban areas. The city was Detroit and the ruling helped cement differences between urban schools and suburban ones.

Homeless Students A Growing Problem For Schools NPR: It's parent-teacher conference time. But for many students across the country, finding a bed at night is top of mind. Host Michel Martin talks about the growing number of homeless students in the U.S., with NPR Education Correspondent Claudio Sanchez, and Larissa Dickinson, a social worker for Mobile County Public Schools in Alabama.

More news below.

Continue reading "AM News: President & First Lady Push New Ed Initiatives" »

Afternoon Video: MSNBC Covers Common Core Oppo / Day Of Hooky


On The Daily Rundown, watch Chuck Todd talk to a Common Core opponent from South Carolina (who did not participate in the national non-attendance protest that was planned for today). Todd doesn't seem very impressed South Carolina State Sen. Lee Bright, who's challenging Senator Graham. What do you think?

Weekend Reading: Good Reads You Might Have Missed

Here's what I tweeted out over the weekend, including stories from sites and outlets I don't usually check during the week:

Education plus flickrSome Chicago commenters not buying Michelle Obama's story about how she was underestimated at Whitney Young HS http://ht.ly/qSnJh 

No mention of EdSec Duncan in this Politico piece about tight White House control over Cabinet members http://ht.ly/qSoHm 

10 Examples of "Common Core Blarney" from @shermandorn http://ht.ly/qTdwF  #ccss

Bridgeport Schools's Paul Vallas Discusses Tenure (Audio) @bloombergradio http://ht.ly/qUrTj 

Scathing GAO report on poor oversight of DC's school voucher program http://wapo.st/178R67H  echoes this 2012 story http://wapo.st/U7aCLg 

Developing countries and MOOCs: Online education could hurt national systems. http://ht.ly/qUBSY 

ICYMI: How Big Data Is Changing Science (and Society) http://ht.ly/qUtaH 

Should [Hospital] Ratings Be Embraced or Despised? http://ht.ly/qUt6A  Pacific Standard - Relevant for college and K12 school ratings

Why We Prefer Smaller Rewards Today Over Larger Rewards Tomorrow http://ht.ly/qUt1s  #eatthemarshmallowsnow!

TEDYouth Talks Ignite Curiosity | MindShift http://ht.ly/qUsy3  @mindshiftKQED

Checklist: Are You Ready for iPads In Your School? | MindShift http://ht.ly/qUstL  @mindshiftKQED

Quotes: "No More Talk About Scared White Suburban Moms"

Quotes2Stay positive and relentlessly talk about how the new standards are rigorous and will help prepare our kids for college and career. No more talk about Tea Partiers, conspiracy theories, the D.C. bubble, the blogosphere or scared white suburban moms. Defend Common Core on its merits. - Andy Smarick giving advice to Arne Duncan and other Common Core supporters in Politico's story this morning.

Bruno: Why Teacher Observation Guidelines Are So Complicated

8422737329_6b32575760EdWeek's Stephen Sawchuk has easy-to-digest coverage of a new white paper from TNTP arguing that the frameworks and rubrics used to evaluate teachers during classroom observations are too complicated.

Unfortunately, and somewhat characteristically for the group, TNTP is operating on naive assumptions about why teacher evaluation works the way it does.

For example, to hear TNTP describe them teacher evaluations are "often inflated" because observation guidelines are too vague, sprawling, and complex.

With so many poorly-defined criteria to judge, evaluators are unable to focus on the things that matter and thus unable to discriminate effectively between better and worse teachers.

This is a superficially plausible story about high teacher observation ratings, but it's not well-supported by the evidence, nor does it acknowledge other possible explanations.

Continue reading "Bruno: Why Teacher Observation Guidelines Are So Complicated" »

Analysis: 6 Things You Need To Know About Duncan's "Suburban Moms" Remarks

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 11.27.27 AM
What to think or care about Duncan's remarks to the CCSSO a few days ago? 

It was an obvious gaffe, and those inclined to make hay out of it (the Strauss-Politico-Ravitch triumvirate) will do so.  

The mainstream press will (I hope) write the stories they need to write without making CCSS protests look larger or broader than they really are.

But I think there's also an opportunity here for Duncan to relieve the pressure and even take the lead. 

*Correction: A link below is for Education Next, not the Fordham Institute.

Continue reading "Analysis: 6 Things You Need To Know About Duncan's "Suburban Moms" Remarks" »

Morning Video: GED Makeover - Will It Help?

From PBS

AM News: Duncan Remarks Anger Common Core Critics


'White moms' remark fuels Common Core clash Politico: Education Secretary Arne Duncan realized fairly quickly that he had stumbled.Two hours later, with those comments sparking outrage on social media, Duncan told POLITICO that he “didn’t say it perfectly.” But he stood by his thesis: To oppose the Common Core is to oppose progress.

Arne Duncan to State Chiefs: Prove Critics Wrong by Setting the Bar Higher EdWeek: Despite the intense tone of some of Duncan's statements, the question-and-answer session had an upbeat tone as state leaders stopped several times to applaud (literally applaud) the changes in renewal requirements.

Press Virtually Mum As Arne Duncan Blames Common Core Opposition on 'White Suburban Moms' Newsbusters: A Washington Post item by Valerie Strauss at its "Answer Sheet" blog quotes a dispatch from Libbly Nelson at the Politico, but does not link to it. I couldn't find a related original story by Nelson at her Politico archive or in a Politico search on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's name (not in quotes).

At Forums, State Education Commissioner Faces a Barrage of Complaints NYT: John B. King Jr. has become a sounding board for crowds of parents, educators and others who equate his name with all they consider to be broken in schooling today.

Money for new curriculum is out, education firms ready sales pitch KPCC:  State funds for the Common Core transition are unique in that they are largely unregulated.  Even though California passed the  Common Core standards in 2010, it has provided schools little guidance on which of the countless books and other materials out there actually meet those standards. The state typically approves teaching materials.

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Afternoon Video: Blended Learning, Explained (Sorta)

The Learning Accelerator via the Hechinger Report

Quotes: MOOC Developer Reversing Course

Quotes2We were on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and at the same time, I was realizing, we don't educate people as others wished, or as I wished. We have a lousy product.

- Udacity's Sebastion Thrun in Fast Company.

Morning Video: Expert-Less Think Tanks -- Whose Fault?

Here's MSNBC's Chris Hayes doing a segment about a so-called think that's mostly funded by restaurants (and opposed to raising the minimum wage) and lacks any economists on staff:


But is it the think tank's job to hire and/or commission independent degreed experts in the field and let them say what they find, or is it the media's job to make sure that readers/viewers know who funds the think tanks?

It's a question that comes up occasionally in education, and not always when the think tank leans Republican. For example, there are two think tanks with the initials EPI -- one leans right, the other (which hosts Broader Bolder) leans left, and the funding/affiliation are rarely mentioned in the press.

There are also university academics who receive not insubstantial funding from think tanks, foundations, and advocacy organizations and who don't always reveal the sources of this funding when they appear as experts (on Capitol Hill, for example).

NB: I have written reports and articles for various think tanks, including those that lean left and right.  

AM News: New Rules Cloud Teacher Distribution Effort


Five Takeaways from the Education Department's NCLB Waiver About-Face PoliticsK12:  Whatever this 50-state strategy is that the department is touting to address teacher distribution, it should probably have some serious teeth in it given how upset civil rights groups are over this change of heart. 

Sandy Hook parents' group hopes for gun dialogue USA Today: A group representing some of the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims is hoping to persuade a half-million people to sign on to a campaign aimed at uniting parents across the USA "despite all our differences, in our shared love for our children." The campaign, called Parent Together, aims to inspire "honest and open dialogue about solutions to gun violence," the group says.

Board has concerns about Vallas' exit Connecticut Post: Departing Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas told the Board of Education on Tuesday night that his focus would be on the district, and not on running for lieutenant governor of Illinois, during the remainder of his tenure here.

Detert not budging on parent trigger bill, despite attack ads HT Politics: Although Americans for Prosperity is running ads attacking her partly on the issue, Detert said she has no regrets about twice helping kill the parent trigger bill and considers it one of her biggest successes in 2013.

E-cigarettes gain attention in schools amid rise in popularity Washington Post: The smoke was actually vapor, but for Casey B. Crouse, principal at the Silver Spring school, the episode was the first signal of what she would learn is a troubling teen trend nationally: An increasing number of students using electronic devices that simulate tobacco smoking.

Book: Private schools not as effective as some advocates suggest UofIllinois: Private and charter schools may not be as educationally effective as policymakers and school-choice advocates are leading Americans to believe, according to research by education professors Christopher and Sarah Lubienski. Their studies are explored in a new book, “The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools.”

Afternoon Video: What're They Doing? No Idea.


But at least they're not asking you for money or using a 3D printer to make a gun, right?  (Spotify and New York City Schools Get Together To Hack on Music Education). 

Quotes: Duncan On Lowly Teacher Prep Programs

Quotes2If teaching is - and should be - one of our most revered professions, teacher preparation programs should be among a university's most important responsibilities. Unfortunately, this is the exception, not the rule. --  USDE Secretary Arne Duncan via USA Today

Thompson: Which Side of the Detroit Bankruptcy Is the TNTP On?

DetroitThe TNTP’s Amanda Kocon, in Ending the Teacher Hostage Crisis, is right about one thing, “for decades, the teaching profession has relied on a work now, pay later system.” Teachers have been paid artificially low salaries based on a promise of end-of-career payouts from a pension plan. Yes, this system has held teachers hostage.

Kocon cites the Detroit bankruptcy where pensioners may be paid as little as 16 cents on the dollar.  But, it is not just teachers but all of Detroit’s public retirees who must wait in line after investment bankers.  And they're arguing in court that the city did not bargain in good faith.

Kocon makes the evidence-free claim that “six-figure teacher salaries are within our reach.” She then says that we should care of veteran teachers by “doing our best” to make good on the promises that were made to them.

Does that mean the TNTP will be joining the legal fight for justice for teachers and other workers who worked in good faith for decades hoping that the big boys would keep their promises? Or, is it cheering the corporate powers and participating in a craven divide and conquer campaign that will undermine the futures of all workers and all generations? -JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.


Charts: Racial Gap In Belief In Education Impact On Careers

image from cdn-media.nationaljournal.com
From The Atlantic: "Americans' attitudes on education split along racial lines, with minorities much more optimistic about the effects of further academic study or skills training on their own careers."



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.