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Twitter Monday: You Say You Want A Revolution...

Welcome back! I'm doing some longform writing this week, but you can find what few things strike my interest (and what folks are Tweeting at me to get my attention) here or via Twitter or Facebook. I'll be back full-speed here on Monday January 4th:

Holiday Update: Off To Boston For The Holidays


Thanks to all of you who read and comment on this site, and send me ideas and correct my wrong-headedness on all sorts of issues. I can't tell you how much I've learned and how much I appreciate engaging with you.

I'm off to Boston this morning to spend the holidays with my mom and sister, so there likely won't be anything new posted here for the next few days.

You can always find me on Twitter, of course (@alexanderrusso) and Facebook.

Have a safe and relaxing holiday season, and I'll see you soon!

Quotes: What Happens To Blacks When Latinos Become "White?

Upwardly mobile immigrant groups have always defined themselves in opposition the descendants of slaves as part of the effort to enter the American mainstream... Some immigrants will “become” white, and others won’t, but—as always—everyone will define themselves in contrast to African-Americans.

-- Jamelle Bouie in a 2012 article in The Nation (The Majority-Majority Future)

Charts: SES-Based Achievement Gaps Start By Kindergarten

From EPI: "In fact, children in the highest socioeconomic fifth have reading and math scores that are significantly higher (by a full standard deviation) than those of their peers in the lowest SES fifth." (The top charts of 2015) There's also one about collective bargaining and wages.

Morning Video: Threat Closes Nashua NH Schools

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

Watch the NBC News story above, or read the Washington Post version: School canceled for 11,500 New Hampshire students after weekend threat of attack.

AM News: NYC Schools Violate Disability Act, LA Charters Show Some Benefits

Feds: Most NYC elementary schools violate disabilities act AP: In a letter addressed to the city Department of Education's top lawyer, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Monday said the two-year investigation also showed that six school districts, serving over 50,000 elementary students, did not have a school that was fully accessible. The entire system serves about 1.1 million students. See also ChalkbeatWNYCNYT.

Charter students start off higher academically, but some also learn faster in these schools LA Times: Students who enter Los Angeles charter schools are more academically advanced than their peers in traditional public schools, according to a study released Monday by researchers at UC Berkeley.

Public schools struggle with lessons about Islam amid renewed fears of terrorism LA Times: Experts say what's often not understood by parents today is that it's legal to teach about religion in public schools, a key exception carved out by the Supreme Court back when the battle was over Protestant Christianity's common appearance in the classroom.

D.C. Region May Not Be Prepared For Expected Surge Of Migrant Youth WAMU: Authorities in the Washington, D.C., region are worried about a new influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America as thousands of young people cross the Mexican border to enter the U.S.

Over Half of Race to the Top Cash Directly Supported Educators, Report Says PK12: The Center for American Progress highlights the program's successes, but will future Education Department leaders embrace Race to the Top's competitive-grant model?

Teacher shortage has schools in ‘crisis mode,’ survey finds Seattle Times: A state survey shows that principals are scrambling because there aren’t enough substitute or full-time teachers.

Numbers: Major Resurgence Of Unaccompanied Minors Arriving In US

Morning Media: Duncan Talks With Former Student, Cortines Talks LAUSD

Here's the long-awaited four-minute StoryCorps audio from that conversation between Arne Duncan and former mentee Lawanda Crayton (Former U.S. Education Secretary Says Mentoring Kids Matters).

You can also watch outgoing LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines in a recent interview.

AM News: School Threats, Education Budget Wins, & Unaccompanied Minors

Thousands of Central American Kids Are Back at Our Border. Here’s What You Need to Know Mother Jones: In October and November, nearly 10,600 kids traveling by themselves were apprehended at the border, more than twice as many as during the same period in 2014—and roughly the same number apprehended at the height of last year's surge, in June 2014.

Threats cause N.H. schools to close Monday USA Today: A police investigation was ongoing late Sunday, but the district, one of New Hampshire's largest with about 11,500 students, didn't plan to reopen schools until Tuesday, Superintendent Mark Conrad said.

Muslim students find hostility, curiosity in their schools after San Bernardino KPCC LA: Messelmani is one of five families who have filed complaints of harassment at school with the Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations since the San Bernardino shooting. 

Is NYC's Pre-K Living Up to the City's Promise? So Far, Yes — With Room to Improve WNYC: The city found that 77 percent of programs met a threshold of 3.4 out of a scale of 7. The 3.4 benchmark is associated with positive students outcomes like development of language and social skills, education officials said.

Classes cancelled in Virginia over Islamic calligraphy lesson AP: Tens of thousands of emails and Facebook posts have been received, some "threatening and very profane in nature," said Augusta County Sheriff Randall D. Fisher. No specific threats have been made, though Fisher said he has dedicated an investigator to comb through the messages as a precaution.

Democracy For America Endorses Sanders Over Clinton BuzzFeed: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders added more progressive grassroots support to his campaign Thursday, picking up the endorsement of the Vermont-based Democracy For America, which was founded out of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Education Comes Out on Top in Federal Spending Bill US News: The new money nudges funding for the two programs up to $14.9 billion and $11.9 billion, respectively – a welcome surprise for education advocates from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who just delivered a new education law to the president's desk that will replace No Child Left Behind. 

LAUSD threats investigation centers on 21-year-old Maine man in Romania LA Daily News: A 21-year-old man in Romania has become a key figure in the investigation into emailed threats that led to the daylong closure of the Los Angeles Unified School District, but he said Friday he was surprised the email sent by an unknown person led to widespread school closures.

This Principal Saved Her Failing School, And Now She Could Win $1 Million HuffPost: In December 2013, recording artist Drake donated a recording studio to Strawberry Mansion High School after it was featured on TV. The school was removed from Pennsylvania's list of "persistently dangerous schools." Daily attendance rates went up, and suspension rates went down.

This Superintendent Has Figured Out How to Make School Work for Poor Kids Washington Post: The Jennings School District — serving about 3,000 students in a low-income, predominantly African American jurisdiction just north of St. Louis — does all of these things and more. When Superintendent Tiffany Anderson arrived here 3 1/2 years ago, she was determined to clear the barriers that so often keep poor kids from learning. And her approach has helped fuel a dramatic turnaround in Jennings, which has long been among the lowest-performing school districts in Missouri.

New Jersey Teacher Says She Was Fired After Showing A Video Of Malala HuffPost:  Eleven days later, Hashem said, she was called into a meeting with her department supervisor, Robert Zywicki, who informed her that school Principal Susan Cooley had received complaints from parents about the video. 

Michelle King will head L.A. schools as the search for a superintendent continues LA Times: The Board of Education had hoped to announce a new superintendent Saturday, but emerged from a closed door, 13-hour session with nothing settled. Although the board took no official action, King will serve as superintendent because she was the No. 2 administrator under Cortines, said district general counsel David Holmquist.

As schools try to combat gangs, concerns arise about profiling Washington Post:  After a lull in gang activity in the region, law enforcement officials have tied three brutal killings involving teens or young adults in the Washington region during the past year to a resurgence of gang violence. Specifically, authorities note what appears to be an effort by the MS-13 gang to rebuild.

Charter school advocates raise PAC money Seattle Times: Charter-school supporters are raising money for the campaigns of Washington state lawmakers who have championed their cause since the state Supreme Court declared that the state’s voter-approved charter-school law unconstitutional.

Best Of 2015: Two Education Books Make The List



At least two education books have made some of the annual year-end roundups that are going around right now:

First up is Dale Russakoff's "The Prize," which gets a nice writeup in The New Yorker (The Books We Loved in 2015).

Greg Toppo's "The Game Believes In You" made the list in the Kansas City Star (Best nonfiction of 2015).

Any other examples? Let us know. 

Quotes: Wealthy Donors Try To Read Clinton Tea Leaves


I think when push gets to shove, she’ll be more like Bill Clinton and perhaps [Obama Education Secretary] Arne Duncan than we think right now.

- Eli Broad in WSJ (Clinton Views on Charter Schools, Teacher Evaluations Upset Some Democrats)

AM News: Funding Increase, Clinton Donors, School Bomb Threats

Education Comes out on Top in Federal Spending Bill US News: The $1.2 billion increase for the Department of Education largely consists of a $500 million boost for Title I, the pillar of the federal K-12 law that provides funding for poor students, and a $415 million increase to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which funds special education programs.

Clinton Views on Charter Schools, Teacher Evaluations Upset Some DemocratsWSJ: Democrats backing the effort to overhaul American education have become increasingly concerned that presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton isn’t committed to their cause, and some donors are holding back support for her campaign.

Students evacuated at two D.C. high schools Washington Post: Police responded to a bomb threat at Ballou and a report of a suspicious package at Anacostia.

Long Beach schools among several in US to receive threats KPCC: The Long Beach Unified School District was among several school districts throughout the nation that decided to remain open Thursday after receiving email threats. Long Beach officials deemed the threat it received late Wednesday night to be not credible and decided to keep schools open and on the usual schedule for the district's 79,000 students.

Days from leaving office, Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks about successes, failures Washington Post: Duncan addresses efforts to boost preschool, college funding for undocumented students and the problem of gun violence in the U.S.: "Other countries just value their kids more than we do, and that's heartbreaking. ... It's hard to educate a kid that's dead."

Furor over Arabic assignment leads Virginia school district to close Friday Washington Post: The assignment asked students to copy the Muslim statement of faith to learn about Arabic calligraphy.

Learning Soft Skills In Childhood Can Prevent Harder Problems Later NPR: There's more to learn at school than reading and math. Teaching kids to control their emotions, solve problems and work well with others can help them succeed as teens and adults.

This champion of bilingualism remembers her mother's stories of being paddled in school for speaking Spanish WNYC: The woman tasked with revamping language education in the Boston Public Schools grew up in East L.A. with a mother who was punished for speaking Spanish in elementary school.

At Prestigious Rhode Island School, an Investigation Into Sexual Abuse NYT: St. George’s School has been investigating what it says are “multiple credible reports” of sexual abuse of students in the 1970s and ’80s by three former employees.

Experiment with StoryCorps in schools yields more than 50,000 interviews Washington Post: High schoolers' intimate interviews with relatives are revealing, and as much about the interview experience as the recordings themselves.

Maps: Where The Funding Lawsuits Are


School funding efforts don't get much (enough) media attention, but they're out there and the National Education Access Network at Teachers College Columbia has a map that can get you started figuring out where the action is, plus a newsletter and state updates.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently reported that education funding hasn't recovered since the recession, and the new and expected federal funding levels don't seem likely to change things dramatically. 

#TBT: Carpetbaggers, Charlatans, Martyrs, & Hustlers -Which Are You?


Way back in August 2010, there was a bit of talk about charlatans in education.

First there was a Rudy Crew quote via Larry F. about all the attention and money going into school turnaround efforts ("Carpetbaggers And Charlatans"):

“This is like the aftermath of the Civil War, with all the carpetbaggers and charlatans." 

Then there was a diagram via Kottke with the three options (Charlatans. Martyrs. Hustlers.). 

"Charlatans talk a lot but don't do much work.  Martyrs work a lot but don't talk.  Hustlers do both."

At the time, I identified myself as "a hustler -- or maybe a charlatan.".  How about you?

Thanks to CB for reminding me of this one. 


Quotes: What To Do When The Kids Don't Match The Neighborhood

Quotes2We do have housing segregation in New York City, and it’s quite serious. [But] we need to rethink the notion that we can’t do anything about integration until we integrate the neighborhoods.

-- Inside Schools' Clara Hemphill in in NYT (School Segregation Persists in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Maps Suggest)

Morning Video: How NYC Officials Figured Out It Was A Hoax

Link here.Yes, Inside Edition. Sorry about the autoplay.

AM News: Scrutinizing LAUSD Shutdown, Success Slims Down School Day

Read the emailed threat that closed LAUSD schools on Tuesday LA Daily News: The emailed threat to the Los Angeles school district that resulted in an unprecedented closure of all campuses included specific references to "bombs hidden in lockers," "nerve gas agents" and "Kalashnikov rifles."

Threats sent to schools in South Florida, Houston AP: School officials in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Houston say they're beefing up security on campuses after receiving threats similar to the ones received by the Los Angeles and New York school districts earlier this week....

Los Angeles Schools Reopen With Many Parents on Edge NYT: Even though the threat from the previous day had been deemed a hoax, many parents were wary of sending their children back to class.

Investors Rebel Against Controversial Online School Operator K12 BuzzFeed: Investors weren't the only ones voicing discontent Wednesday: outside the shareholder meeting in Washington D.C. a throng of protestors from national teachers' unions, along with representatives from a school operated by K12, marched and chanted. Protestors accused one of the company's largest school networks, the California Virtual Academies, of failing its 15,000 students.

Leaving 'No Child' behind: New law heartens educators AP:  School leaders and teachers who have argued that test scores alone shouldn't make or break a school are hopeful the new federal education law will offer a truer picture of success....

Success Academy Schools, in Shortening Their Day, Shed a Distinction NYT: Eva S. Moskowitz, the head of the charter network, said the move to reduce class time was made because improved teaching and training had enabled students to achieve mastery faster.

Maintaining Order So Students Can Learn WNYC: There's a word you hear a lot at M.S. 22 in Morrisania: RORS. It's a cute slogan, because the school's mascot is the tiger. But it's also an acronym for a code of conduct: Respectful, Organized, Responsible and Safe.

High Schools Listening to Scientists, Letting Teens Sleep AP: The movement still has a long way to go: There are more than 24,000 U.S. high schools. Supporters expect that such decisions will be made more quickly now that people have mostly stopped debating the underlying science.

Schools Are Incredibly Segregated, But Teaching Kids In Two Languages Could Help HuffPost: A walk through Heritage Elementary School in Woodburn, Oregon, can make you feel like you're touring Europe. In one classroom, a group of third-graders learn to read in Spanish. In another, students recite multiplication tables in Russian. In other parts of the school, students are receiving instruction in English. 

Bid to Spike Federal Teacher-Preparation Regs Fails TeacherBeat: Overall, all this gives the Education Department the green light to release its regs. They are supposed to drop this month, although the department hasn't given many hints about when. 

Magazines: Education Companies To Work For Next?

Somehow I missed this from last February, but EdWeek tells us that Unnamed (7)Fast Company's Most Innovative Education Companies of 2015 includes several familiar names:
"This is the fifth year that the magazine has identified its Top 10 innovators among education enterprises. The magazine casts a wide net for organizations to be considered, according to David Lidsky, the deputy editor who is in charge of the lists. As they make their selections, the judging team looks for selections that “reflect the themes and ideas that have been prime areas of thought, debate, and work” among people in the field, he said in a phone interview."
Image via FastCompany.

Maps: When The Neighborhood Gentrifies But The Neighborhood School Doesn't


"At 124 of [the city's 734 neighborhood elementary] schools they found the median household income was at least 20 percent lower than the income of the surrounding school zone... At 59 elementary schools in neighborhoods that were at least somewhat racially mixed, student populations were more than 90 percent black and Hispanic." NYT story on New School report (School Segregation Persists in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Maps Suggest).


Morning Video: LAUSD Defends Decision To Close Schools When NYC Didn't

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

While LA schools closed yesterday, NYC schools did not. That's caused a certain amount of concern about how districts react to threats. NYPD's Bratton didn't help things much by calling the threat a hoax.

AM News: Grad Rate Uptick, Contrasting LA/NYC Bomb Threat Responses

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Ticks Up To 82 Percent AP: The U.S. high school graduation rate inched up to 82 percent and the achievement gap narrowed, according to new federal data that raise concern among education officials and others that too many students still aren't getting a diploma. Read more in NPR, EdWeekWSJ, Huffington Post, Washington Post.

Emailed threats to NY, LA highlight worries schools face AP: When it comes to assessing threats, New York City and Los Angeles schools likely have more experience than most other districts in the country. See also ReutersNYT, Washington Post, KPCC.

School Segregation Persists in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Maps Suggest NYT: Researchers at the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs mapped the median family income and racial makeup of schools against those of surrounding neighborhoods, and found many of the schools to have markedly less variety. 

In This High School, Reading and Writing Happens in Every Class, Even Math and Chemistry Washington Post: The chemistry students at Northwestern High School were not fiddling with Bunsen burners or studying the periodic table one recent weekday morning. They were sitting at their desks, reading an article about food coloring, underlining key ideas and preparing to analyze it in an essay.

Implementation: Delivering On Education, Then And Now

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 1.29.11 PMIt took me a few minutes to figure out what Conor Williams was talking about in his latest oped for The Seventy Four (Education Politics vs. Practice) but eventually I figured out that it was implementation. 

"What if we considered implementation seriously when thinking about education policy? What if we started with our big priorities, and then mapped theories of action for putting them into place? What if we insisted on only pushing policies that would powerfully improve kids’ experiences at school?"

Apparently there's a new "deliverology" book out by Sir Michael Barber. 

Longtime readers may recall that I wrote about this approach to making better policy turn into better programs a few years ago, for Harvard Education Letter.

Back then, the question was whether states could implement the new programs and policies that they'd promised to tackle in their Race to the Top applications.

Take a look here.

I had forgotten that Kati Haycock was involved in the creation of the The Delivery Institute, along with Mike Cohen. Said Haycock at the time:

“We’ve got to get out of this cycle where we think the job is done when a policy gets enacted,” says Haycock. “When you know what’s in the policymaker’s head and you see how distant that is from the heads of the people on the ground, you can’t help but feel urgency on this."

Related posts: RTTT: "Implementation & Support Unit" Needs Results.

Magazines: Top 20 Education Next Articles Of 2015 (Any Others?)

image from educationnext.orgHere's a roundup of the Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2015 from Education Next, a magazine I've written for a few times over the years. Topics addressed include poverty, Success Academy, Common Core, AltSchools (of course!), Detroit, English Language Learners.

In a perfect world, other education outlets -- Education Week, Chalkbeat, Hechinger Report, the Atlantic Education Page, Vox -- would do the same with their best or top-read pieces. But I don't think most do -- at least not yet. 


Morning Video: Growing Up Undocumented (Plus Linda Ellerbee Signs Off)

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

Here's a clip from MSNBC featuring a professor studying the lives of undocumented students.

Or, watch this clip about the winding down of Linda Ellerbee's Nickelodeon kids news show:

EdWeek: 'Nick News With Linda Ellerbee' Calling It Quits After 25 Years


AM News: Big-City Tuesday Roundup (NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston)

New York City to Close 3 Troubled Public Schools in Brooklyn NYT: It is the first time Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has elected to shut down any noncharter public schools. See also WNYC, Chalkbeat.

Chicago Teachers Say Yes To Strike OptionWBEZ: Under state law, the earliest that teachers could walk off the job this time around is March, but union leaders say it could happen closer to the end of the school year or even into next fall.  See also TribuneAP, Washington PostNYT.

Baltimore schools officials warn that students may face consequences for protesting Freddie Gray verdict Washington Post: As Baltimore braced for a verdict in the first trial related to Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody, Baltimore schools officials warned students that they may risk disciplinary action for taking part in certain protest activities, including walking out of class.

Black, Latino Students Speak Up About Problems in Boston Schools Boston Globe: For two hours Saturday at the city’s public education headquarters in Dudley Square, officials with impressive titles outlined how Boston public schools struggle to educate black and Latino boys.

Coming To Texas: Special-Ed Cams To Protect Students From Their Own Teachers NPR: A new state law will require cameras in special needs classrooms at parents' request. But the schools must pay for recording systems, and there's no way for other students in the room to opt out.

New York Regents Vote to Exclude State Tests in Teacher Evaluations NYT: The board, which was acting on a report from a task force created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, also heard recommendations for addressing problems at a Rockland County school system. See also Chalkbeat.

In this high school, reading and writing happens in every class, even math and chemistry Washington Post: The chemistry students at Northwestern High School were not fiddling with bunsen burners or studying the periodic table one recent weekday morning. They were sitting at their desks, reading an article about food coloring, underlining key ideas and preparing to analyze it in an essay.

Campaign 2016: K-12 Education Way Down List Of Public Concerns


"Only 4 percent of Americans consider education the nation’s most important problem, according to Gallup’s monthly polling, which may explain why we haven’t heard much about specific education policy from the presidential candidates." via FiveThirtyEight (The Big Issues Of The 2016 Campaign)


Quotes: Apple Head Says He Won't Make The "Test Machines"

Quotes2Assessments don’t create learning... We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no... We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.

-- Apple's Tim Cook in BuzzFeed (Apple Won't Make The "Test Machines")

#EDgif Of The Day: Funding Per Student

From the CBPP: "General or formula funding is the primary form of state K-12 funding. States also typically provide revenue for other, more specific purposes, such as bus transportation and contributions to school employee pension plans."

Morning Listen: A Problematic Attempt At "Colorblind" Education

Listen to this WNYC segment about a relatively diverse suburban charter school where an attempt at "colorblind" education didn't work out so well (A Case Study of "Colorblind" Schooling).  

Or, listen to this hilarious Chicago WBEZ segment about kids' never-ending efforts to get out of swim class:

AM News: Maryland Struggles To Explain Unusual NAEP Decrease, Cuomo Hits Common Core Reset Button

Can States Use Special Needs, ELL Students To Manipulate Test Scores? WAMU: Maryland was the only state this year that showed declines on all four tests — reading and math for both 4th and 8th graders. It’s the first time this has happened for any state in the history of the test. Gov. Larry Hogan and Interim State Superintendent Jack Smith said some of that decline is because the state was more inclusive in who took the test, meaning more special education students and English language learners.

N.Y. Governor-Appointed Task Force: Rename Common Core, Reduce Testing State EdWatch: The Common-Core task force was commissioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo to "overhaul the Common Core system — to do a total reboot." See also NY Daily News.

Threatened with closure, ChicagoQuest drops “gaming” focus Catalyst Chicago: During a long and emotional meeting Wednesday night, Chicago International Charter School board members wrestled with a tough question: Should they close a campus that has performed poorly on most academic metrics, but whose few remaining students believe in its mission of “game-like learning.”

Even In Diverse Schools, New Immigrants Face Bullying WAMU: “Anyone that’s not Americanized is basically a 'chanchi' [piglet] but that only goes for the Hispanic kids. If you are from India and don’t speak English you just don’t speak English, there is no code name,” explains Jennifer.

Wanted in New York City: A thousand black, Latino and Asian male teachers Washington Post: New York City, which has the nation's largest public school system, wants to hire 1,000 black, Latino and Asian male teachers by 2017 to create a teaching corps that more closely matches the student body.

Black and Latino students vow to overcome their failing schools Boston Globe:  Saturday marked the first of a two-day session designed to give male students a voice in the changes looming over Boston’s public schools. Motivational speakers led chants about having the confidence and excellence of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in the morning, and held workshops about male empowerment in the afternoon.

Rapid response unit aims to counter criticisms of Teach for America Washington Post: A nonprofit group has begun a public relations campaign to defend Teach for America against critics of the program that places newly minted college graduates in teaching jobs in some of the country's most challenging classrooms.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Maryland Struggles To Explain Unusual NAEP Decrease, Cuomo Hits Common Core Reset Button" »

On The Hill: Teachers Unions Spend $3.7M Lobbying Congress In 2015, Reports Politico

"The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers are on track to spend $3.7 million combined lobbying Capitol Hill before 2015 is done," according to Maggie Severns in Politico.

Charts: In CA, School Police Arrests Of Minors Declining -- But Still High

43rftThis chart from a new Center for Public Integrity story (.An epidemic of questionable arrests by school police) illustrates the number of arrests of minors by school cops (in blue) compared to city cops -- and even more than LAUSD.  "Arrests by San Bernardino and some other school cops declined in recent years. But in 2014, some departments continued to rival or surpass the volume of juvenile arrests in many large cities — including San Francisco, Oakland and for some, Sacramento." Image used with permission.

Morning Videos: Yesterday's Bill-Signing Ceremony, PBS Explainer, FLOTUS Raps

Here's an AP segment with highlights of the Obama speech before the actual signing of the bill into law.

Or, click the link to watch EdWeek's Alyson Klein explain what the law does and doesn't change on the PBS NewsHour.

But really you owe it to yourself to watch this CollegeHumor video urging kids to go to college featuring Pharoah and some rapping from First Lady Michelle Obama


AM News: New Federal Education Statute Signed Into Law

Obama signs education law rewrite shifting power to states AP: Calling it a "Christmas miracle," President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law on Thursday, ushering in a new approach to accountability, teacher evaluations and the way the most poorly performing schools are pushed to improve. See also Washington PostNYTNPREdWeek, NPR.

State Chiefs' ESSA Accountability Pledge: 'There Will Be No Backpedaling' PK12: So what do state superintendents plan to do with the new power they'll have under the Every Student Succeeds Act? And how much do they see accountability changing?

Some States' Share of Federal Teacher Funds Will Shrink Under ESSA TeacherBeat: The change to the Title II program will benefit Southern states, while Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, among others, will see their allocations shrink.

Cuomo Panel Calls for Further Retreat From Common Core Standards NYT: The panel, in recommendations released on Thursday, is calling for changes in what New York State students learn and how they are assessed. See also WNYC, The Seventy Four.

Divided On Arrival: Even In Diverse Schools, New Immigrants Face Bullying WAMU: Immigrant students face a number of challenges coming to the U.S., and as some Montgomery County schools are finding, young people face bullying, fights and attempts to "otherize" them.

Achievement gap in D.C. starts in infancy, report shows Washington Post: New report shows stark disparities in the health and well-being of infants and toddlers in the city's richest and poorest neighborhoods.

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

Continue reading "AM News: New Federal Education Statute Signed Into Law" »

Update: New CBPP Report Highlights Funding Flaws In New NCLB Just Signed Into Law

Kudos to Shree for pointing out the ironic juxtaposition of today's signing of the new NCLB into law and the release of a CBPP report showing state and local education funding cuts in recent years.

As the new CBPP report shows, states and districts have struggled mightily to bring education funding levels back since the Stimulus expired. 


Meantime, federal funding for education programs has decreased 10 percent.


These realities are problematic enough.'

The lack of requirements or incentives for states to increase education in the new version of the federal education law is one of the least-noted concerns out there.

In addition, the vague and complicated relationship between the law and state education efforts in the new version of the law creates little political incentive for lawmakers to support education funding at the federal level.

Best Of 2015: Top #EquityReads Features Vilson, Hawkins, Anderson, & Others

Here's another good roundup of books and articles you should check out, from @NYCLeadership, which describes itself as "An independent, national nonprofit organization that prepares and supports school leaders who create equity in education and foster student success."

 The list (Top Education Equity Reads of 2015) includes many of the usual suspects (Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pedro Noguera, etc), along with a few unfamiliar (to me) or less well-known titles that look intriguing:

Race, Equity and Lessons at St. Paul’s Como Elementary is a MinnPost article by Beth Hawkins that examines the strategies used to increase racial equity in schools in St. Paul, Minnesota. It serves as an important example of an entire school using an equity lens for every decision and observation — big and small.

Lead With Love [Spring Valley High Is Your School Too] is an article by New York City teacher, writer and EduColor co-founder Jose Vilson, who challenges educators to recognize their role in protecting children and standing up against racism.

White America’s Racial Illiteracy: Why Our National Conversation is Poisoned from the Start is an article by Dr.Robin DiAngelo, the author of “What Does It Mean to Be White?” This book and article list examples of challenges that trigger racial stress for white people and why it is worth working through the discomfort these challenges present.

The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education report commissioned by AFT’s Albert Shanker Institute provides data and insights into the role educators play in reducing implicit bias. In The Shanker Blog, Burnie Bond puts the findings in perspective.

And, unlike many other such things, this list includes both 2015 and previous years -- as well as speeches, films, and other forms of media -- and has its own hashtag (#equityreads).


Morning Video: LGBT Livestream


This livestream of AtlanticLIVE's Unfinished Business conference features the AFT's Randi Weingarten, among others.Full agenda and speaker list here. Hashtag #AtlanticLGBT.

Previous posts: Despite Progress, Many LGBT Educators Still Feel "Stuck In A Time Capsule"Gay Marriage: On Equality, Education Has A Long Way To Go*.


AM News: Senate Passes NCLB Rewrite -- Obama Signature Next

New Education Law Passes, With A Power Shift Back To The States NPR: States are thankful for the opportunity, but critics say there's no guarantee that states will succeed in two crucial areas the old law — known as No Child Left Behind — failed. See also Washington Post, HuffPostAPNYTPK12.

ESSA Spin Patrol: How Various Groups Are Claiming Victory PK12: You know you're looking at a bipartisan, compromise bill when everyone rushes the field after the final touchdown, claims partial credit, and proceeds to explain what it means.

CDC grades American schools on how well they teach sex education Los Angeles Times: The CDC gives American schools generally good grades for teaching sex education, but federal health officials see plenty of room for improvement.

Tim Cook: Apple Won't Make The "Test Machines" Taking Over Classrooms BuzzFeed: "We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no," Cook said. "We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level."

Minneapolis Taps a Former Massachusetts Superintendent to Lead the District District Dossier: Sergio Paez most recently served as superintendent of the Holyoke, Mass., district, which the state of Massachusetts took over this year because of years of chronic underperformance.

How some low-income students discovered the unwritten rules of high school admissions ChalkbeatNY:  Breakthrough tries to help close that knowledge gap, first by helping students sort through the 649-page high school directory. Then, Breakthrough staffers coach them on all of the other ways they can improve their chances for a coveted admissions slot at public and private schools alike, from basics like handshakes to more complicated strategies for advocating for oneself.

Man Acquitted of Killing Aspiring Teacher During iPod Theft AP: Zabel moved from Austin, Minnesota, to Philadelphia to start work in the public schools a few weeks before he was killed in June 2008 during a street robbery that netted an iPod. Zabel had been walking home after finishing a shift at a Starbucks store.

Books: Best Titles To Help White Teachers, Parents, Reporters Understand Race

image from img.huffingtonpost.com

There's no shortage of education-related titles in this list of 16 Books About Race That Every White Person Should Read, but this Beverly Tatum book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria" is perhaps the most direct.

"Through research and case studies psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum confronts the subtle ways in which racism dictates the ways both white and non-white people navigate the world.  

Picked by Zeba Blay, Huffington Post Voices Culture Writer, the list also includes Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin, and many other familiar titles. 

The only obvious omission that comes to mind is "Some of my Best Friends Are Black." There was also a great documentary a few years ago called "Prep School Negro."

But I'm sure you can think of others.

Related posts: Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling)White Teachers, Black Students: An "Awkward Disconnect"Mugshots Help Combat Racial StereotypesWhite Reporters & Students Of Color.


Quotes: Bracing Test Score Results In New Jersey - But Now What?

Quotes2There may have been a false sense of proficiency under the previous state testing regime.... [But] simply by providing [Common Core test score] information and assuming that teachers and administrative leaders have the capacity to take that information and translate it into better practice seems to be — I’m skeptical of that.

- Rutgers University's Drew Gitomer on PBS (What the first round of test results say about Common Core progress)

Morning Video: Unclear Path To Improvement After New Test Results

This PBS NewsHour segment focuses on reactions to Common Core test results that are coming back in states like New Jersey.

AM News: Senate Vote On NCLB Rewrite (Plus Rafe Esquith Revelations)

Senate prepares to vote on No Child Left Behind rewrite AP: Although the federally mandated reading and math exams in grades three to eight and in high school continue, legislation expected to be voted on by the Senate on Wednesday encourages states to set caps on overall testing. Senate approval would send the bill to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

ESEA-Rewrite Bill Includes Controversial Teacher-Prep Provisions Teacher Beat: One little-noticed provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, seems to be raising some consternation in the teacher-prep field: a proposal to allow states to use federal teacher-quality funds to sponsor a new kind of teacher-preparation program.

New documents provide details of LAUSD probe that led to firing of famed educator Rafe Esquith LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District’s internal investigation into celebrated fifth-grade teacher Rafe Esquith found that he allegedly fondled children in the 1970s and that in recent years he inappropriately emailed former students describing them as hotties, “sexy” and referring to himself as their personal ATM, according to new documents.

Most Maryland students in grades 3 to 8 not on track in math, new tests show Washington Post: Just 37 percent of Montgomery students and 15 percent in Prince George’s meet math benchmark.

Pro-Charter Think Tank Downgrades City's Rating, Citing 'de Blasio' Effect WNYC: Priscilla Wohlstetter of Teachers College, who co-authored the report with Dara Zeehandelaar of the Fordham Institute, said there's still “more fragmentation than unification” between the choice sector and traditional public schools. For example, only six cities had a common application process, and many did not provide publicly funded transportation for students to attend non-traditional schools.

Mayor de Blasio Draws Criticism for Plan to Pay for Security in Private Schools NYT: The New York City Council has passed a bill that will reimburse private and parochial schools for the cost of hiring unarmed guards, at a cost of nearly $20 million.

School Segregation Debate Hits Home in Bronx High School WNYC: Sigaran is taking a new elective class on integration in public schools. Their teacher, Sarah Camiscole, said she started the project partly in response to a 2014 study by UCLA researchers finding New York has some of the most racially segregated public schools in the country.

High Schoolers Get CPS’ Attention with Website and Lunch Boycott WBEZ:  Their civics teacher Tim Meegan said that 143 boycotted on Thursday and 437 (more than a third of students) boycotted on Friday, according to lunch staff counts. Monday that number blew up to 952 (or more than 80 percent of students), Meegan said late Monday afternoon.

If You Build Affordable Housing For Teachers, Will They Come? NPR: In North Carolina and around the country, districts are facing a problem: low teacher pay that means new hires can't afford to live in the community.

Millions of teens are using a new app to post anonymous thoughts, and most parents have no idea Washington Post: The After School app has exploded in popularity this school year and is now on more than 22,300 high school campuses, according to its creators. Because it is designed to be accessible only to teenagers, many parents and administrators have not known anything about it.

Charts: Teacher Perceptions Of Autonomy Vary By Race


As EdWeek notes, Teachers Say They Have Less Autonomy. However, not everyone perceives the changes in the same ways: "Veteran teachers of 10 years or more showed the biggest sense of loss of control, and white and black teachers were more likely than other teachers to feel they had less autonomy than they had before. Hispanic teachers, interestingly, reported feeling slightly more in control in 2011-12 than in 2007-08."

Quotes: (Some) Republican & Democratic Govs. (Still) Support Common Core


Quotes2The 2014-2015 school year marked the first time, after an initial practice run, that Delaware, Georgia and many other states across the country implemented end-of-year assessments aligned to the Common Core. That makes this year the first that we'll have meaningful data to serve as a benchmark against which we can measure student performance for years to come.

-- Jack Markell and Sonny Perdue in US News (Common Core Tests Are Working)

Morning Video: Newark Teacher Wins, Baraka/Cerf Duo, & More

Watch here as a Newark North Star teacher wins Milken Award (and $25,000)  during a school assembly. Read more about it here.

Also on NJ.com, the editorial page describes Chris Cerf and Ras Baraka as "the new odd couple" of Newark school reform. Over at Education Post (which sponsors The Grade), Cerf responds to some of the claims made in Dale Russakoff's Newark book -- four months after the book came out. 



AM News: San Bernardino Shooter Inspected Several School Cafeterias

San Bernardino shooter inspected school cafeterias before massacre KPCC: San Bernardino school officials tell KPCC that Syed Rizwan Farook visited eleven school sites to inspect cafeterias through his job as a San Bernardino County health inspector. Officials found out less than a day after the shootings that Farook had been at a high school campus two months before the shootings that left 14 people dead and 21 wounded.

Senate Republicans celebrate ahead of vote to replace No Child Left Behind Washington Post: A new Republican video refers to legislation that was a forerunner of the bill that is teed up for a vote on Tuesday.

With Federal Budget Deal Expiring in Four Days, Where Does K-12 Spending Stand? PK12: With Congress poised to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, eyes are now turning to how congressional budget negotiations will impact K-12 aid.

Google Hit With A Student Privacy Complaint NPR: 50 million students and teachers use free Google Apps. A civil liberties organization says their data is being misused.

NYC Council OKs funds for guards at some private schools AP: New York City officials have given the go-ahead to spend nearly $20 million on security guards at private and religious schools.... See also The Answer Sheet.

The Teachers Who Educate Our Youngest Kids Are Struggling To Make Ends Meet HuffPost: A new report out from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that a majority of voters think early childhood educators deserve more pay. This makes sense given that a survey of preschool teachers also featured in the report reveals that some are struggling to get by. Early childhood educators earn notoriously little money.

One Way to Boost Achievement Among Poor Kids? Make Sure They Have Classmates Who Aren’t Poor. Washington Post: In a small number of school districts, officials are trying a different approach, assigning children to school based in part on their family’s income. And when poor kids mix with richer kids in class, they tend to do better academically, especially in math, according to a new study of large North Carolina school districts that was published in the journal Urban Education.

Backlash over Common Core extends to US Catholic schools AP: The backlash against standardized testing is rippling through some Roman Catholic schools as they balance the college-driven Common Core learning standards with spiritual goals.

New York Education Dept. Clarifies Goals for Poor-Performing Schools NYT: The School Renewal Program is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt to improve troubled schools instead of shutting them down, but how they were supposed to improve has been difficult to discern. See also ChalkbeatNY.

New group names 28 L.A. schools--more of them charters--as models LA Times: Those schools, which include charters, magnets and traditional public campuses, are viewed as stellar examples of how to educate students in the L.A. Unified School District. They are being touted by those who, at least initially, had proposed enrolling half of L.A. students in charter schools over the next eight years.

Live Event: Shanker Institute #TeachingQuality Event

Live tweets from the event are above. Panelists and moderators include Josh Starr, Randi Weingarten, Dan Weisberg, Rob Weil, Stephen Sawchuk. Or go here and read and watch and grab materials.

Quotes: PISA Data Suggests US Kids Not Tested More

Quotes2U.S. teachers don’t write their own tests as often as teachers do in other nations. And U.S. students aren’t graded on their writing or projects as often as students elsewhere. In Finland, by contrast, student portfolios are frequently evaluated.

- Hechinger Report's Jill Barshay (Education myth: American students are over-tested)

Morning Video: WV Teacher Asks Clinton About Community Schools

"AFT member Greg Cruey of McDowell County, W.V. submitted his question for Hillary Clinton on community schools through the AFT eActivist network contest and was selected to join 25 AFT members for a conversation with Hillary Clinton." (Via AFT)

AM News: Outlawed Washington Charter Schools Explore Alternate Funding Source

Washington Charter Schools Find Another Source Of Public Money Seattle Public Radio: Washington state’s charter schools are about to lose state funding, so they’re exploring an option that might allow them to stay open. See also Seattle Times.

Montgomery County Group Educates Teachers About Sikh Culture WAMU: After a man who may have mistook Sikhs for Muslims attacked a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012, students in Montgomery County, Maryland, started a group to educate their peers and teachers about their religion. 

High-poverty schools often staffed by rotating cast of substitutes Washington Post: The ACLU branch has brought several lawsuits related to public schools’ teacher churn and heavy use of substitutes. “There are a narrow set of schools where this happens all the time, and until that gets really unpacked and resolved, there’s only so much that can be done to close the achievement gap,” Sapp said.

L.A. school board holds its first interview for job of superintendent LA Times: After meeting for eight hours in private, board members returned to district headquarters, reconvened in open session and adjourned until 8 a.m. Tuesday. They also have set aside time for interviews on Dec. 13.

Tragic deaths of home-schooled kids rarely lead to new rules AP: A Detroit brother and sister vanished more than two years before they were found dead in a freezer in their home, and an 11-year-old Florida girl disappeared more than a year before she, too, turned up in a family freezer. 

How A School's Attendance Number Hides Big Problems NPR: 'Average daily attendance' has long been a trusted measure — but the number conceals an important metric in identifying kids at risk of failing or dropping out: chronic absence.

Police swarm Utah high school, discover gun report a hoax AP: A Utah teenager was arrested after authorities say he lied about seeing a man with a gun inside his high school, triggering a two-hour lockdown and massive police response that illustrated a climate of fear amid repeated mass shootings....

New York City's Struggling Schools' Program Under Fire District Dossier: Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of New York state's Board of Regents, said New York City's $400 million "Renewal Schools" program for low-performing schools was, in some cases, allowing "failure" to persist.



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.