About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Quotes: Low Cut Scores "Killing" Employment/Competitiveness

Quotes2That mentality of saying let’s set proficient at a level where not too many people fail is going to kill us... The global standard of what proficient is keeps moving up.

- NCEE's Marc S. Tucker in the NYT via Education Dive (Are cut scores undermining Common Core's intent?)

Twitter Friday: So Long, Seattle (Making Room For POTUS)

I'm traveling back from the @GatesED conference today so I'll be posting a bit here and mostly via Twitter (which also posts to Facebook) -- some of it about the conference but not all of it. Or you can just see it all stream by below here.

Events: Gates Foundation Stays Course In Much-Changed Environment

Even with a big Bill & Melinda appearance and a PBS NewsHour segment, what was actually going on at the conference – first big one like this since 2009, they said -- was no real match for outside events taking place in the education world: indictments against the former head of the Chicago schools, a pro-charter protest/rally in New York City, Clinton and Sanders’ refusal to appear at the Iowa education debate organized by Campbell Brown and the Des Moines Register, and apparently some sort of sneak attempt to get ESEA done at the same time as the Republicans were trying to pick a new House Speaker.

Even if it had been a quieter week in education-land, I’m not sure that the event would have attracted all that much notice:

First and foremost, Gates wasn't announcing any major change in direction (or funding levels). According to Gates, "I believe we are on the right track. For today, and for the coming years, this is our vision: Every student deserves high standards. Every student deserves an effective teacher. Every teacher deserves the tools and support to be phenomenal. And all students deserve the opportunity to learn in a way that is tailored to their needs, skills, and interests."

"Did Bill Gates just con a bunch of people into watching a speech that says the Gates Foundation is doing good work?," quipped EdWeek's Ross Brenneman.

Just as important, the Gates Foundation isn't as much the frightening behemoth as it was a decade ago, or even four years ago.

Back in 2005 or even 2010, the Gates Foundation was perceived as the big bully on the block – aggressive, immodest – or in other corners as the potential savior of public education – I suppose. It was a new funder. There was lots of money going out. Microsoft, the source of Gates' money, was somewhat frightening in its ubiquity. Then it seemed like there were all sorts of linkages between the Gates Foundation and the Obama administration.

But all that seems quaint and old timey a decade later in 2015, what with the fierce, focused efforts of other funders who have come to prominence (Walton, Broad, Bloomberg, etc.). Unlike those others, Gates isn’t pushing charter school growth for growth’s sake, and it doesn’t barely count as a funder of Teach For America. The Walton Family Foundation was conspicuously left out when Gates gave shout outs to other funders (Broad, Bloomberg, Hyde, Schusterman) who have joined the effort.

Just as important, there's also been the rise of other big tech companies like Google and Amazon (and to some extent Apple) to scare us with their email-scanning, dominate-the-world ways. No one seems really worried about Microsoft -- or the Gates Foundation -- taking over the world. The current Seattle construction boom is being fueled by Amazon, thank you very much. It was the Gates' who urged caution on linking test scores to teacher evaluations. 

That doesn’t mean that some folks don’t lump all the funders together, of course, or that there isn’t any controversy surrounding the Gates Foundation. The inBloom implosion wasn’t too long ago, and the foundation is a big big supporter of the Common Core standards that some educators and politicians find so objectionable. Leonie, Anthony, and the person in charge of the BATs Twitter account expressed their ongoing displeasure with the foundation via Twitter. (According to the BATs Twitter feed, the Gates Foundation "has broken hearts of children and teachers in this country - time to get out of public ed. policy.")

The current Gates Foundation affect is urgent but modest. There wasn’t a lot of talk about ‘disrupting’ the education system. In fact, now that I think of it, maybe there should have been more of that.  This was their main point (and sole visual):

Where is the Gates Foundation on the Learning Line?

"We're here to keeping moving up that line" - @BillGates @gatesed #GatesEd #edchat pic.twitter.com/CMlKzQ2Rcw

— michael j. crawford (@mjcraw) October 7, 2015

While there weren't any big programmatic or funding announcement, there were some notable lines delivered in the speeches and panels:

Melinda Gates made a key point about how difficult it can be to persuade parents who have figured out a good school, program, or teacher for their child to help make things better for the rest of the school or district. "That's been hard."

Allan Goolston noted that schools are segregated by programs and floors, a comment that reminded me of Bill Gates' 2008 remarks about how kids might all enter the same school doorway in the morning, their experiences in the building are very different.  

There was also a moment of acknowledgement and contrition regarding the Common Core rollout in reference to moments where "our foundation and others were perhaps naive about those [Common Core] rollouts."

Gates also acknowledged as he has in the past that helping move things forward in education has been harder than making changes in the health area:"Nobody votes to uninvent a malaria vaccine," he quipped in response to a question from Ifill. 

There's been no clear or definitive rise in test scores or other broad-based measures of student achievement: "Test scores in this country are not going up, but there are a few points of light."

I didn’t hear anyone talk about or even refer to inBloom, or whatever happened to the charter-district compact, or that teacher advocacy effort that Yolie Flores ran for a while before it closed shop.  The teachers’ strike in Seattle, the court’s finding against charter schools, and other related messes went unmentioned (at least as far as I heard).

At various times along the way it seemed unclear how much of a splash the foundation wanted to make in the outside world. There was some livestreaming and a hashtag and a press release touting the significance of the event, but if there was an agenda listed publicly it was hard to find and it was announced the second day that the livestreaming was being cut off:

For anyone following #GatesEd online, we won't have a livestream today. You can follow the #GatesEd hashtag for updates.

— Gates Education (@gatesed) October 8, 2015

There was also some upset and confusion about whether press were allowed to report on the interview with Ted Mitchell:

@LianaHeitin This session was closed press at request of speakers. Glad you got a 1:1 with Mitchell after. This tweet however is misleading.

— Jen Bluestein (@TheRealJenBlue) October 8, 2015

Heitin got a sit-down interview with Mitchell after the fact. Perhaps the White House or Education Department didn't want to fuel the sense of tight connections between the foundation and the Obama administration?

I was only at this conference by accident and at the last minute, filling in for some hapless staffer or grantee who didn’t want to talk about unlikely allies with some folks from Hillsborough (FL) and Austin (TX):

Unlikely allies take the stage w/ @alexanderrusso #gatesed pic.twitter.com/YTraHNTM38

— Suzanne Walsh (@sewsueme) October 8, 2015

I’ve moderated similar-ish panels about charter-union cooperation (at Yale) and union innovation (at AFT). I am not a Gates Foundation grantee, however the foundation did pay for my airfare and hotel costs, and some of my freelance clients over the years have most certainly been grantees.

For a roundup of media coverage (and some excellent detailed disclosure from EdWeek), head over to The Grade

Related posts: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common CoreHave Big Funders (Like Walton & Gates) Overtaken Think Tanks (Like Brookings)?Gates Shifts Strategy & Schools Get Smaller Share (Reckhow); Gates Reverses On Risky "ALEC" BetBill Gates' Warning On Test ScoresGates "Deep Dive" Winners Finally Surface.

#TBT: Michelle Rhee Waving A Ruler In Your Face (2012)

image from www.ctcapitolreport.com

From 2012: "This picture of Rhee waving a ruler in your (teachers') face(s) was on the CT Capital Report, which I've never seen before but looks like it comes from the old broom shoot." (This Week In Education)

Quotes: Schools Tend To Have Dis-Equalizing Effects, Say Studies

Quotes2One of the things we know about high-achieving schools is they have an equalizing culture... All kids have access to the same content, more language [arts], challenging math. What you see is less difference in the kind of expectations, learning experiences, and opportunities for the students throughout the school. - Education Trust's Sonja Santelises quoted in EdWeek (Schools Help Widen Academic Gaps, Studies Find)

Charts: Numbers Of Homeless Students On The Rise (Partly Due To Better Tracking)


"There were about 1.4 million homeless students nationwide in the 2013-14 school year, according to the Department of Education, twice as many as there were in the 2006-07 school year, when roughly 680,000 students were homeless." via FiveThirtyEight (There Are Way More Homeless Students Than There Used To Be)

Events: Live From Seattles @GatesED Forum

As you may recall, the Gates Education Forum/15th Year Anniversary begins today with an address from Bill Gates and some other speeches and announcements.

The Twitter handle to follow is @gatesED, which is also the hashtag #GatesEd. You can see an unofficial list of speakers and moderators here. I saw Ted Mitchell on the attendees list, but no John King. Let's assume he's staying put in DC given recent events.

It seems hard to believe, but I'm told that this is the first big education-focused event that the foundation has done since 2008, when it shifted gears away from its early focus on smaller high schools and other things towards teacher development and high school and college completion.

I'll be moderating a panel on "unlikely allies" tomorrow morning featuring two pairs of folks who found ways to work together rather than lapsing into finger-pointing, etc.

Thompson: @TheChalkface Is A Must-Read [Last Call For JT@TWIE!]

[Editor's note: After something like 8 years as a contributor here, John Thompson (@drjohnthompson) is taking his talents to Diane Ravitch's blog. This is his last post, officially. For an archive go here. You can read his latest post hereMany many thanks for your prolific writing, teacher-based insights, and willingness to work with those with whom you don't necessarily agree. It's been an inspiration.] 

Washington D.C. teacher/blogger Dr. Shaun Johnson has restarted @ The Chalkface, this time offering nuggets of school reality. Johnson, who left academia for the kindergarten classroom in Ward Eight, may not have the time to teach school and write the detailed and thoughtful posts that he used to publish, but he provides frequent reality checks. 

Johnson's observations are especially timely as D.C. Chancellor Kaya Henderson spins the attrition rate for her district's teachers and principals. As the Washington Post's Michael Alison Chandler reports, in Kaya Henderson Addresses Teacher and Principal Turnover in Annual Event, Henderson claims a new fellowship program "teaches leaders ... how to support, develop and retain a staff." And, "'If every year you are replacing a third of your staff, something is wrong,' she said. 'We look at that, we have conversations. . . . Or if they are not the right leader for DCPS, they move on.'”

Before non-educators lend credence to Henderson's claims about her district's leadership and the effectiveness of their top-down "teacher quality" campaign, they should follow Johnson's brief and timely observations on how they are implemented in schools. 

Not surprisingly, the first post of the school year began with a discussion of the anxiety caused by the IMPACT teacher evaluation program. It was followed by an observation about how the district's observers create a "audit culture" in public schools. Johnson explains:

Whenever we have our walk throughs, and being in a “failing” school they are frequent, the onus is always on the teacher. What are YOU doing to improve achievement? But the audit never goes the other way. Do I ever get a chance to check off a list of things I need, in return asking what YOU ALL are doing? What are you doing to get that paycheck?

Output-driven reformers would have to actually teach in a high-challenge school before they could understand the predictable, negative results of this micromanaging. Its not just in D.C., however, where "people from District offices around the country do rounds in classrooms and schools to tick boxes on a checklist. Do we have the right things hanging on our walls?"

Continue reading "Thompson: @TheChalkface Is A Must-Read [Last Call For JT@TWIE!]" »

Books: Study Reveals How Racial Inequality Gets Baked Into Schools

image from ukcatalogue.oup.com

Here's a book that I haven't heard much about until last week and think might be really interesting and useful to check out.
The book's author (UIC's Amanda Lewis) was on a Chicago radio show last week (How does racial inequality thrive in good schools?).
I learned a lot from the episode, especially around the impact of white college-educated parents' demands and priorities on teachers and the unconscious disparate implementation of punishments on children of color.
There's also mention of the book in this EdWeek piece (How Does an Equity Audit Work?).
"In a five-year study of one high school, they found that hall monitors and teachers tended to call out black students for dress code and other minor rule violations significantly more than white students, in part because they knew white students' parents were more likely to raise a fuss if their kids got in trouble, or ask that they get out of punishment because they were "good kids."
As you may already know, Lewis has another book, Race in the Schoolyard.

Quotes: Suburban Parents Don't Want/Need Charter Schools

Quotes2The middle class doesn’t want charter schools—they don’t need them. The demand is in the city.

- UC Berkeley's Bruce Fuller in The Atlantic on the lack of suburban charters (Why There’s Little Demand for Charter Schools in the Suburbs)

Site News: Road Trip Tuesday

I'm heading off to Seattle to the Gates conference so I'll be posting a bit here and mostly via Twitter (which also posts to Facebook). Or you can just see it all stream by below here.

Charts: In-School Factors Dominate Teen Dropout Motivations

Drop-out-1u1hbz6While much has been made recently of out-of-school factors affecting students' success in school, this chart seems to show that in-school factors are the biggest motivations for dropping out that students themselves report.
Maybe other issues -- community violence, racism, and poverty -- should have been offered as options. (The closest options are needing to make money and becoming a caregiver.) via Larry Ferlazzo (New Survey On High School Drop-Outs Is Depressing, If Accurate).

Events: See You In Seattle

Yep, the rumors are true. I'm going to this week's Gates Foundation education conference in Seattle and moderating a panel on "unlikely allies" in K-12 and postsecondary who have overcome easy antagonism and found ways to work together.

The event, called the Learning Forum, marks the Gates Foundation's 15th year in the education game, which some have found enormously beneficial and others have found seriously problematic. An estimated 250 folks are going to be there. It will include what the foundation is describing as Bill Gates "first major retrospective speech on education issues in almost eight years," as well as a Bill & Melinda interview with the PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill. Along with many of the usual suspects, the USDE's John King is currently scheduled to be in attendance -- wonder if he'll still be able to show up now that he's been named to succeed Duncan.

The "unlikely allies" who will be onstage with me sharing their experiences include Bill Hammond, CEO, Texas Association of Business; Richard Rhodes, President/CEO, Austin Community College; Jean Clements, President, Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association; and Mary Ellen Elia, Commissioner of Education, New York State Education Commission (formerly of Hillsborough).

According to the foundation, you can watch via live stream starting Wednesday AM. The Twitter handle to use is @GatesEd and the hashtag is #GatesEd. They're also encouraging everyone to follow a few leaders on Twitter including @AllanGolston@GPayneEDU@drvickip@dan_greenstein, & @davidbleysea.

Quotes: Duncan Replacement Touts Teachers

Quotes2Teachers, New York City public school teachers, are the reason that I am alive... They are the reason that I became a teacher. They are the reason I'm standing here today.

- Acting EdSec John King at the White House on Friday (Acting Education Secretary Says Teachers Saved Him)


Morning Video: Residency Programs Train Teachers In Classrooms

"The Boston Teacher Residency, an AmeriCorps service program that recruits future teachers and places them in schools for practical experience is being heralded as a model for training teachers. And other cities have begun to take notice. NewsHour's Christopher Booker reports." (PBS NewsHour: How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers)

AM News: NEA Council Endorses Clinton

NEA Endorses Hillary Clinton in Democratic Primary PK12: The endorsement comes despite serious misgivings from some affiliates, who were hoping a slower endorsement process would give the union more time to extract more policy promises from Clinton. See also PoliticoNYTLA TimesWashington Post, Education Intelligence Agency.

Federal judge agrees to hear charter schools’ case alleging unequal funding Washington Post: The lawsuit was filed by the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools, along with Eagle Academy and Washington Latin public charter schools, in the summer of 2014.

Black leaders visit schools in D.C. and elsewhere to inspire students Washington Post: Four hundred African Americans visited classrooms in 200 schools and 67 cities this fall, the sixth time that HistoryMakers has organized the back-to-school event.

How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers PBS NewsHour: Renee’s lengthy training period is part of a transformation in the way Boston and handful of other cities prepare their teachers. While some teacher training programs require only a few weeks in the classroom, these residency models require far more. In 2003, Jesse Solomon, who taught math in Boston public schools for ten years – co-founded the program that he likens to a medical residency.

For D.C. Second-Graders, It's All About The Bikes NPR: This is all part of the D.C. public schools' mission this year to teach every second-grader how to ride. In partnership with the city's transportation department and private donors, the district bought nearly 1,000 new bikes. Those bikes will rotate throughout the year to every elementary school in the city.

Mayor to CPS on graduation rates: ‘Go back and be accurate.’ WBEZ: Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he told Chicago school officials to go back and fix the errors in the graduation rate that were first reported in June by WBEZ and the Better Government Association. “Soon as there were questions raised, I said, ‘Go back, and analyze what’s going on and be accurate,’” Emanuel said. “And that’s exactly what they did.”

Handcuffing Little Kids May Not Be 'Reasonable,' Says Obama DOJ HuffPost: In a statement of interest on Friday, Justice Department lawyers said the court needs to decide whether "handcuffing two elementary school children with disabilities, behind their backs and around their biceps, for failure to follow instructions" was "objectively reasonable."

Calif. Teens Had Detailed Plans For a Massacre at School NBC News: KCRA's Tom Miller reports that it was fellow students, at California's Summerville High School, who told school administration about fellow students plans to create a massacre at the school soon.

Foundations: The 2015 MacArthur "Genius" Everybody Overlooked

Little noticed in the annual flurry of attention given to MacArthur genius grant recipients -- including by me -- was that the Chicago nonprofit head who won is deeply involved in immigrant education and heads an organization that started a charter school a few years ago.

A day or so after the fact, the Charter Alliance made note of the event -- perhaps the first person involved with charter schools to win the award:

"In 2010, Mr. Salgado founded, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy,a charter school located on the Instituto del Progreso Latino campus in Chicago for grades 9-12. The academy prepares students for success in competitive colleges and universities while simultaneously providing job readiness certifications in entry-level positions with higher wages at the healthcare sector."

Truth be told, there wasn't much interesting in the grants from the people I follow on Twitter this year, even though some awardees are super strong on race and inequality issues. The NYT's Amy Virshup noted that one of the 2015 awardees -- also involved in education indirectly -- named Alex Truesdell had been profiled in the paper the year before. 

If and when someone solidly from the reform camp or its critics win the award, all hell will break loose.  But most of the folks who seem to win these things aren't ideological combatants but rather maker/creators who work from the middle. 

Related posts: Roland Fryer Wins MacArthur "Genius" Award (2011);   Deborah Bial: An Education "Genius" (2007); Educator Wins MacArthur "Genius (2010); Will An Educator Win A 2012 MacArthur Grant?The Genius Behind Teach For America (2007).

Charts: How Charters Ended Up Being Predominantly Urban

"According to the Bellwether report, 56 percent of charter-school students live in cities, versus just 29 percent of all U.S. children. (The remaining charter-school students are about evenly split between rural areas and the suburbs.) Relatedly, nearly two-thirds of the charter-school population is nonwhite, compared to about half of its regular public-school counterpart... Just a small percentage of Colorado’s charter-school population is identified as low-income, versus a solid majority of the students attending charters in D.C." Laura McKenna in The Atlantic (Why There’s Little Demand for Charter Schools in the Suburbs)

Quotes: Ohio Lawmaker Questions $32M Grant For Ohio Charters

Quotes2The charter school system in Ohio is broken and dysfunctional... The last thing we need is a black eye because the money went to a dysfunctional program that we knew was dysfunctional.

-- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in Washington Post (Ohio Congressman questions Arne Duncan’s $32 million charter grant)


Morning Audio: Home Visits & Racial Inequalities At Even The Best Schools

Check out this NPR segment I missed the first time around about home visits being done in some places:


Or, check out this WGN Radio segment about a new book by Amanda Lewis called "Despite the Best Of Intentions" (How does racial inequality thrive in good schools?)  that sounds pretty interesting.

From the promo copy: "On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high-achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latina/o students continue to lag behind their peers?"

AM News: NEA PAC Endorses Clinton, But Not All Teachers Agree

National Education Association PAC likes Clinton for 2016 Washington Post: The recommendation now goes to the NEA’s 174-member Board of Directors, which is meeting on Friday and Saturday. To win the endorsement, Clinton needs at least 58 percent of the board to vote for her, and most observers believe she’ll clear that hurdle. But that doesn’t mean there is unanimous support for Clinton among teachers. See also Teacher Beat, Politico, LA Times.

A look at deadliest shootings on or near US college campuses AP:  A shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday left 10 people dead and seven wounded, authorities said....

Chicago lowers graduation rate after errors found WBEZ: One school, Curie Metropolitan High School, labeled more than 100 dropouts every year as leaving to be homeschooled. Another 1,300 of the so-called transfers had no explanation of what school they were supposedly transferring to or were vaguely listed as going to different states or countries.

Head of DC schools addresses teacher and principal turnover in annual event Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson focused on signs of progress during her third­ annual State of the Schools event Wednesday night, including a recently released uptick in graduation rates, new investments in electives and college-level classes in the city’s high schools, and more engaging courses systemwide.

Following Charter Schools' Lead, One D.C. Public School Adopts Longer Year WAMU: Raymond Education Campus in Petworth is the first D.C. public school to try an extended school year, keeping students in school for 200 days instead of the traditional 180 days.

Bengali Students Need Teachers Who Speak Their Language WNYC: Most Bangladeshi immigrant students in New York City do not have a teacher like Chowdhury to help ease their way. While the Bangladeshi population has exploded — the city’s schools now enroll more than 6,500 Bangladeshi students — the number of Bengali-speaking teachers and bilingual programs has not kept pace. There are only three Bengali bilingual programs in the New York City schools. By contrast, there are more than 40 Chinese programs and upwards of 400 Spanish ones.

Closures, Charter Conversions and New Schools Proposed in Philadelphia District Dossier: Two school closures, two new schools, three charter conversions, and up to three district-led turnaround schools. Those were among the proposals announced Thursday in Philadelphia as Superintendent William Hite presented updated plans for the school district's future, one shaped by diminishing resources and the urgent need to improve school options for more students.

Newark Teachers Express Frustration With Current Merit Pay System HuffPost: But three years later, the contract has expired, and the new president of the local union says that it hasn't worked and that it's not a sure thing the teachers union will agree to keep the provision in its current form. Several Newark teachers said that they had real problems with the contract and that the merit pay hasn't worked, though none were willing to speak on the record for fear of reprisals.Talks for a deal to replace it haven't started, and the contract with the merit pay remains in place.

Thompson: Jennings's Call for Education Policy Worthy of Our Democracy

Jack Jennings's Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools is a must-read for anyone seeking to improve our public schools. Drawing upon a half century of political and education research, Jennings writes a history of federal involvement in school reform and makes sensible suggestions for the next era of school improvement.

Jennings chronicled the first generation of federal education reforms and their results. The ESEA Act of 1965 had big goals and it was well-funded.  From the mid-1960s to the 1980s, often fragmented federally funded efforts only produced modest improvements and they did not bring equity.  But, those gains now look pretty impressive in comparison to post-NCLB outcomes, especially since their funding did not increase in order to meet the ambitious goal of closing the Achievement Gap. To produce equity for the most disadvantaged students, who disproportionately were concentrated in high-challenge schools, a far greater investment into their entire learning environments would have been necessary.

Jennings then documents how and why NCLB accountability failed. He bluntly reminds us that "Tests do not a good education make.”  Moreover, “When it came to measuring student progress in school, NCLB got it wrong.” Pulling it all together, Jennings’s analysis of NAEP testing results shows:

It is ironic that from the 1970s to the early 2000s. achievement generally rose and achievement gaps generally narrowed, which would seem to refute the Title I evaluation results used to support the shift to test-driven reform.

He also concludes:

The long-term NAEP results showed gains, especially for Black and Hispanic students, until 2008. A disturbing finding, though, is that since 2008, achievement has not increased for students except for 13-year-olds, nor have achievement gaps narrowed between racial/ethnic groups.

Jennings is judicious in summarizing the evidence about the effectiveness of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, telling Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post  “The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement. ... They also did considerable harm.”

Then Jennings turns to solutions. First, he calls for a vigorous debate regarding the new direction that federal education policy should take. While I applaud that invitation, teaching in an era of failed test-driven reforms has made me more risk-adverse. But, Jennings’s closing paragraph has finally convinced me:

The biggest lesson I have learned over a half century of involvement in education politics and policy is that if you are not working to implement your own agenda, then you are working off someone else’s agenda. It is time public school advocates established their own ambitious agenda and set out to achieve it.

Continue reading "Thompson: Jennings's Call for Education Policy Worthy of Our Democracy" »

Charts: Poor Districts Funded Differently Based On Student Race

"On the surface, poor districts do receive more state funding than rich schools. But when he delved deeper into the data, sorting by race, what he found was disturbing." via The Atlantic (The Troubling Link Between School Funding and Race) "Black dots represent districts with no white students and white represents districts with 100 percent white students."

Morning Video: First Lady Drops The Mic (Plus "He Named Me Malala" Premiere)

Here's a roundup of the First Lady's Apollo Theater appearance earlier this week talking about #62milliongirls, via The Root: ‘There Is No Boy Cute Enough or Interesting Enough to Stop You From Getting Your Education’. See more at HuffPost.

Or, check out the LA Times' coverage of West Coast premier of Davis Guggenheim's latest documentary, and read more about it here.

7,000 high school girls attend West Coast premiere of 'He Named Me Malala'

High school girls from across L.A. County attended the West Coast premiere of director Davis Guggenheim’s ‘He Named Me Malala.’




AM News: Duncan Presses On ESEA; NEA Ponders Clinton Endorsement

Arne Duncan challenges the country to deal with educational inequity Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan thinks the chances that Congress will replace No Child Left Behind, the main K-12 federal education law now eight years overdue for revision, took a nosedive with House Speaker John Boehner's decision to retire.

Rank and file revolt? NEA's expected backing of Clinton has members fuming Fox News:  "Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members and is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a July press release. See also American Prospect: Hillary's Relationship Status with Labor: It's Complicated, also LA Times.

Suit to limit use of teacher union dues for political purposes is tossed Los Angeles Times: A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a lawsuit that, if successful, would have hindered the ability of teachers unions to raise money. 

Three quarters of traditional public schools in D.C. now require uniforms Washington Post: Most of the city’s affluent students don’t have to wear uniforms, following a national trend.

Three Urban Districts Lauded for Strong Governance, Strategic Vision District Dossier: The school boards in Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Lincoln, Neb., were awarded the 2015 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

With D.C. Schools No Longer 'Broken,' Next Step Is More Relevancy, Chancellor Says WAMU: Graduation rates are up, truancy is down, enrollment is up, and now DCPS must start focusing on doing even more for students, Chancellor Kaya Henderson said in her "state of the schools" remarks and in earlier comments to reporters.

American Graduate Day 2015 celebrates efforts to build student success PBS NewsHour: Those efforts will be celebrated Saturday, October 3 on PBS with American Graduate Day, a seven-hour event featuring celebrities, public figures and journalists like PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan exploring innovative solutions to the challenges that millions of students face every day.

A Tale of Two Schools WNYC: The Department of Education just released its new plan to rezone two schools in Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Presses On ESEA; NEA Ponders Clinton Endorsement" »

Charts: Asians Projected To Replace Hispanics As Top Immigrants

Asians -- not Hispanics -- will emerge as the largest immigrant group in the future, according to this Pew chart via Travis Pillow. Meantime: The white population is growing in many U.S. cities for the first time in years (Washington Post).

Maps: Most Suburbs Out-Graduate City Districts - Except Perhaps El Paso

image from p6cdn4static.sharpschool.com

From the Hechinger Report's Sarah Butrymowicz, who's been diving into graduation data from around the country: "I would love to find a major city school district graduating more students than its suburban counterparts because of academic excellence. For now the only city I can find outperforming its suburbs is El Paso, Texas, and there it’s because the suburbs are performing poorly."

AM News: Weather Delays NYC Charter Rally; Chicago Principals Protest Special Ed Cuts

After weather postpones education rally, debate on the ground likely to continue ChalkbeatNY: The rallies, which Families for Excellent Schools has staged since 2013, have become a potent weapon in the larger political battle the group is waging with the teachers union to influence education policy in the city and state. That battle has intensified as charter-school enrollment has grown to nearly 100,000 students and the city government under Mayor Bill de Blasio has cooled to the charter movement, which grew rapidly under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Special education cuts get focus at CPS board meeting WBEZ: Principals found out over the weekend that more special needs staff would be eliminated. CPS has never before cut special education staff after the first day of school. Officials said it was due to enrollment, but there was no correlation between enrollment declines and special education staffing cuts. Those cuts came in addition to 500 positions that were eliminated over the summer. See also Tribune.

Math content in schools adding to achievement gap, new study finds Washington Post: A peer-reviewed study published in the journal of the American Educational Research Association estimated that nearly 40 percent of the gap in U.S. student performance in math can be traced to that unequal access; the researchers attributed the remaining 60 percent to family and community background.

Graduation Rates Surge for D.C. Public Schools, Reaching 64 Percent in 2015 Washington Post: The percentage of high school students who graduated from D.C. Public Schools in four years increased by six points for the Class of 2015, reaching 64 percent, a significant boost after several years of incremental growth. A closely watched statistic in the District — and one that city leaders have vowed to improve — the graduation rate still rests well below the national average of 81 percent.

New York May Implement 'Total Reboot' On Common Core Daily Caller: Some of the names on the panel are national education figures: Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country's second-largest teachers union, and Geoffrey Canada is president of the Harlem Children's Zone

Shift $15 Billion in Prison Spending to Teacher Raises, Arne Duncan Urges PK12: The education secretary says that much could be saved by redirecting some non-violent offenders away from prison, and the money used to boost salaries at high-poverty schools. See also Washington Post.

In Houston's Gifted Program, Critics Say Blacks And Latinos Are Overlooked NPR: Houston school leaders asked Ford to take a close look at their enrollment in the program, and she gave it a failing grade. "Racial bias has to be operating, inequities are rampant. Discrimination does exist whether intentional or unintentional," she told the school board in May of this year.

History Repeats Itself in Brooklyn School Rezoning WNYC: There are indeed strong parallels between the situation with P.S. 307 now, and how P.S. 8 was viewed in the community, said David Goldsmith, president of the Community Education Council for District 13.  

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

Continue reading "AM News: Weather Delays NYC Charter Rally; Chicago Principals Protest Special Ed Cuts" »

Books: An Anthropological Look At School Fundraising

image from www.tinyspark.orgI don't know much of anything about this, but a new book called A Good Investment? is coming out and it's written up at Tiny Spark (When a School Markets Students as Charity Cases):

"Amy Brown’s forthcoming book examines how a NYC public high school managed its image to donors and critiques big philanthropy’s role in public education. A Good Investment? Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School is based on her two years at the pseudonymous “College Prep Academy.”

According to LinkedIn, Brown is a "Critical Writing Fellow at University of Pennsylvania Critical Writing Program."

Magazines: Why You Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic Magazine Cover Story

There are lots of reasons not to read the latest Atlantic Magazine cover story, penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates: It's not about education. It's super-depressing. It's long. 

But there are some really good reasons to read it, anyway: It's at least partly about education. You'll learn some things you didn't know, probably.

First and foremost, Coates reminds us that so many of the people who end up incarcerated have been failed not only by society but also by schools:

"They just passed him on and passed him on." 

Embedded image permalink
 "I don’t know, it just didn’t look like a person of his age should be writing like that.”
Embedded image permalink
You'll also learned that the prison industry is now $80 billion a year, that it employs large numbers of mostly white workers to incarcerate large numbers of mostly black or brown prisoners, and that one of the people who predicted this period -- former US Senator Patrick Moynihan -- believed even way back then that service programs like Head Start wouldn't be enough to balance out the decades of mistreatment inflicted on black families. 

It -- along with The Case For Reparations and Coates' recent book, Between The World...., might well be the most-read and -remembered pieces of nonfiction writing of the last couple of years. 

Continue reading "Magazines: Why You Should Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic Magazine Cover Story" »



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.