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Morning Listen: What's *Really* Going On In Philadelphia?

Here's Bloomberg EDU's new interview with superintendent Bill Hite.

AM News: Torlakson/Tuck Spending Surpasses Governor's Race X3

Schools chief race most expensive statewide race EdSource Today: The battle for California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction race is now the most expensive statewide race this year, surpassing spending in even the Governor's race by three times, and it is also the most expensive State Superintendent race in at least 12 years.

Boston Mayor Menino, Who Helped Transform City's Schools, Dies at 71 District Dossier: Thomas M. Menino, the popular mayor of Boston who had authority over the city's schools throughout his 20-year tenure, died Oct. 30 of cancer. He was 71.

Parents, Teachers Deliver Over 100,000 Signatures To Time Magazine Demanding Apology HuffPost: Teachers, parents and union leaders gathered in front of Time magazine headquarters on Thursday to protest the publication’s latest cover. According to a press release from the American Federation of Teachers, the cover (pictured below) depicts teachers as "'rotten apples’ needing to be smashed by Silicon Valley millionaires with no experience in education.”

Cheating concerns force delay in SAT scores for South Koreans and Chinese Washington Post: The nature and extent of the alleged security breach were unclear Thursday because the College Board and its contractor, the Educational Testing Service, revealed few details about the unfolding investigation. But the score-reporting delay could affect thousands of students seeking admission to U.S. colleges as November deadlines loom for early applications.

Indianapolis Cancels Teacher-Led School Turnaround Contract TeacherBeat: A turnaround strategy using cohorts of teacher-leaders won't be used in Indianapolis.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Torlakson/Tuck Spending Surpasses Governor's Race X3" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Here Comes #EduWeen14

Three decades after order, Denver schools struggle to teach English - Denver Post http://ow.ly/DzjJE  @yeseniarobles via @annenberginst

#5: Sean McComb - 2014 National Teacher Of The Year by Education on Tap http://ow.ly/DAE5O 

"A strange shift in overlapping allegiances" [& contributions] in this year's Austin school board race http://ow.ly/Dzss9 

Vilson: A few questions to ask yourself before you talk to me about bad teachers. http://ow.ly/DA2BU  @TheJLV

Not too long ago, @rweingarten & @marshalltuck were allies not mortal enemies, reminds EdWeek's @andrewujifusa http://ow.ly/DArOW 

States Are [Still] Prioritizing Prisons Over Education, Budgets Show http://ow.ly/DAqxO 

(What) Do Americans really think about education? | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute http://ow.ly/DAqbW  @mpolikoff

Charts: Teachers = Teamsters?

image from educationnext.orgThere's lots to learn from Mike Antonucci's new Education Next piece on the rise and (projected) fall of teacher union membership and influence in America -- Antonucci manages to be both critical and sympathetic-seeming at the same time -- but this chart is a good place to start. Used with permission.

"Even if their current difficulties continue, the NEA and the AFT will never disappear. But their days of dominating the education environment are on the wane. In the future, we will look upon them as we now do the Teamsters, as remnants of an earlier age."

Some of the same issues and dynamics can be found in Stephanie Simon's latest piece on union advocacy and influence in the 2014 midterms.  Whether the trends are good for American schoolkids, or bad, or a mixed bag, I'll leave for another day or others to say -- but I wrote a book about a neighborhood charter school with a "thin" union contract if that gives you a clue.

Morning Video: TIME Story, Necessary Outrage, & NEA Gets Out The Vote

 

Watch TIME's Haley Sweetland Edwards discuss her controversial cover story on C-SPAN. Click here if the video doesn't display properly. Or, take a look at Mike Antonucci's new article on teachers unions (Teachers Unions and the War Within). Still surfing the outrage Antonucci describes in his piece, the AFT is delivering a 90,000-signature petition demanding an apology from TIME for the cover image this afternoon in NYC and the new NEA president is embarking on a six-state get out the vote tour.

AM News: Minneapolis School Board Showdown Attracts $500K In Campaign Donations

The sea of cash in the Minneapolis school-board race just became a tsunami MinnPost: Along with six-figure spending by state and local unions, the eye-popping donations bring the total amount of cash going to influence the race to easily twice what many candidates for state office spend on competitive races. 

Large Suburban Districts Call for More Testing Flexibility District Dossier: The Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium is made up of 16 school districts across the country. Earlier this year, the group also called for reduced emphasis on testing. See also PK12

SAT Cheating Inquiry Delays Scores for South Korea and China NYT: The Educational Testing Service said it had reliable information that tests had been compromised for thousands of South Korean and Chinese students applying to American colleges and universities. See also TIME.

Taylor Swift to Donate 'Welcome to New York' Proceeds to NYC Public Schools AP: The singer announced on "The View" today that she's donating the proceeds from the sale of her single, "Welcome to New York," to New York City Public Schools. See also ChalkbeatNY

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

Continue reading "AM News: Minneapolis School Board Showdown Attracts $500K In Campaign Donations " »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: New Reform Groups Pop Up In Boston & NY

TIME reports allegations of mass cheating on SAT http://ow.ly/DxjNF  Students demand apology [no, not really]

Boston failing thousands of students, says reform group - CommonWealth Magazine http://ow.ly/DwXKm  - FFES lands in Boston

Pro-Common Core group "High Achievement New York" says repeal would cost NY $280M http://ow.ly/DwSdh 

Fascinating new @EducationNext look at what's going on inside teachers unions and where they're going http://ow.ly/Dxc4T 

This Is What Happens When You Criticize TFA | The Nation http://ow.ly/DwWtM 

Cuomo calls public school system a ‘monopoly’ he wants to bust http://ow.ly/DwhRm  [But NYSUT still won't officially oppose him]

With $100M pledge, Apple hops on board Obama program to wire up schools - Chicago Tribune http://ow.ly/Dw2LQ 

Philanthropy: No More "Give Money To Someone Really Smart" For Foundations

Here's a new piece on Medium from the Robin Hood Foundation (Philanthropy’s Most Innovative Players Talk Metrics and Impact), based off  a recent event in New York City.  

If you want a sense of just how data-fied some grantmaking has become -- full of metrics and benchmakrs (and philanthropic consultants focused on grantmaking efficiency), you should check it out. New Visions has a six person data team.  Robin Hood uses 166 different formulas to evaluate grants. 

Related posts: Gates Shifts Strategy & Schools Get Smaller ShareEducation's Other, Better(?) Education FunderWhere Walton Spends Money (Differently From Gates)$44 Billion/Year That Would Otherwise Fund Public Projects.

 

Quotes: You Think *Charter* Schools Are The Real Problem? Think Again.

Quotes2The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights currently has 40 open investigations prompted by concerns that districts had shortchanged minority students...  In addition, the department is monitoring compliance agreements with 18 other districts that have adopted plans to redress inequities. - NYT editorial board in response to Office of Civil Rights announcemnt (The Department of Education Offers States Guidance on Equality

Common Core: Union Support For Implementation Continues Behind The Scenes

ScreenHunter_02 Oct. 29 10.57Rhetoric aside, and excepting a couple of spots like Chicago, the national unions and most union locals have continued to work with states, districts, and Common Core developers to familiarize teachers with the new standards being rolled out in schools around the country.  

That's the main finding from my new Education Next article just online today.  Behind the hyperbolic headlines, and despite the efforts of critics within the unions and from the outside, much of the work with unions nationally and locally seems to have continued - much to the frustration of social justice advocates who wanted to de-fund these efforts.  

The piece includes insights from advocates like Bob Rothman, developers like Sandra Alberti (of SAP), funders like Lynn Olson (Gates), and union officials like Marla Ucelli-Kayshup (AFT) and Donna Harris-Aikens (NEA) who have been working on the standards implementation process. One of the main points that came up repeatedly was that unions haven't generally joined with Republicans to oppose the Common Core process -- Chicago, New York, and Tennessee being exceptions. 

“The biggest threat to the Common Core is not that states will pull out” under union pressures, argues Rothman. “The biggest threat is states that stay in but don’t do much to implement the standards.”

Previous articles & appearances in Education Next: Diverse Charter SchoolsMayoral Control in the Windy CityPolitical Educator (Paul Vallas)Ed Next Book Club

AM News: Unions Weigh In On CA & NOLA Races, NY Tenure Lawsuit

UFT asks court to toss lawsuit challenging teacher tenure ChalkbeatNY: The union also claims that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the lawsuit. Only one of the parents participating in the suit says her child has had an ineffective teacher, and the suit does not argue that the state’s laws protected that teacher, the union notes.

Union power on the ballot Politico: Interest groups have poured nearly $25 million into the race for California schools superintendent. The California Teachers Association alone has put more than $7 million behind Torlakson.

National teachers union pours $450,000 into Jefferson Parish School Board election NOLA.com: The American Federation of Teachers has spent almost $450,000 on the Jefferson Parish School Board elections, recent campaign finance reports show. That's more than all individual candidate contributions combined. It had no such presence in Jefferson Parish in 2010, when a business-backed slate of candidates ousted four union-friendly incumbents and took control of the School Board.

Sharp policy divide in schools chief race Politico: The candidates for California superintendent of public instruction are both Democrats. But they have plenty of substantive policy differences. 

Cuomo’s vow on teacher evals prompts flip-flop charge ChalkbeatNY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent statements that he wants to toughen up the state’s teacher evaluation system prompted confusion and anger from his critics on Tuesday.

New Jersey schools promise to correct racial disparities Washington Post: A school district serving two suburban communities in New Jersey has agreed to expand access to Advanced Placement classes and other higher learning opportunities to African American students, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.

Teachers on the Common Core: Familiarity Breeds Approval Teacher Beat: Teachers are about evenly split on whether they approve or disapprove of the common core; elementary teachers and those with the most experience implementing them view them the most favorably.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Unions Weigh In On CA & NOLA Races, NY Tenure Lawsuit" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Even The President Has to Go To Parent-Teacher Conferences

White House pool reports President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama are at Sidwell Friends School 4 parent-teacher confs. 'Tis the season. via @juliehdavis 

Oklahoma Teacher Will Have To Quarantine Herself After Trip To Ebola-Free Rwanda http://ow.ly/Du6Qw 

Why Marshall Tuck Should Not Be Elected State Superintendent | Diane Ravitch's blog http://ow.ly/DtQla 

7 in 10 Young Americans Too Fat, Uneducated, or Criminal to Join Army - Newsweek http://ow.ly/DtPSW 

Arne Duncan Talks K-12 Policy in Tennessee, Where It's Somewhat Stalled - Politics K-12 - Education Week http://ow.ly/DtOUU 

Civil Rights Groups Want Resources for Students to Factor in Accountability - @politicsk12 Education Week http://ow.ly/DtOMa 

Here's The Average SAT Score For Every College Major - Business Insider http://ow.ly/DtOfo  Education Majors = 1438 combined

 

 

Quotes: Cuomo Tacks Back Reform-Ward In NY Daily News Meeting

Quotes2The teachers don’t want to do the evaluations and they don’t want to do rigorous evaluations — I get it. I feel exactly opposite. -- NY Governor Cuomo in NYDN (via Ravitch blog)

Charts: Guess What? 34 States Are Still Doing Smarter Balanced Or PARCC

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 28 10.48You'd think from all the press attention that the Common Core assessments were all but abandoned, but if this new RealClear Education graphic is accurate that's not the case at all.  Thirty-four states are stlll working with one of the two main testing consortia. Just eight states have pulled out. More could do so in the near future, but it's also possible that some of the current midterm-generated Common Core fury will abate after next week. Image used with permission. See all the graphs and interactives at Mapping the Common Core

Morning Video: Union Head Complaining About TIME Magazine Tenure Cover

Here's AFT head Randi Weingarten on MSNBC's Morning Joe talking about that TIME Magazine cover. Still not much heat or light coming from the pro-reform side -- here George Miller chides both sides.  Meanwhile on the teacher tenure front, I hear that there will be some sort of decision on the NY version of Vergara later on today.

AM News: Ebola, Seattle Shooting, Cuomo!

NYC Officials Try to Calm Concerns Over Ebola in Schools WNYC: The letter, which was translated into nine languages, laid out several facts about the disease for families to understand "how low you and your child's risk of Ebola exposure is."

Washington School Gunman Used Texts to Gather Victims at Lunch, Police Say NYT: Jaylen Ray Fryberg’s final moments were etched into greater clarity Monday when the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office said he had committed suicide. See also AP.

Cuomo will push new teacher evaluations, vows to bust school 'monopoly' if re-elected NY Daily News: Higher standards for teachers and competition from charter schools are needed to advance New York's underperforming education system, Gov. Cuomo said during a meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board.

A New Push to Get Low-Income Students Through College NYT: Michael Bloomberg’s charity announced an effort to reduce the number of poor students who excel in high school and fail to get through college.

Judge orders D.C. charter to stop payments to company founded by school leaders Washington Post: A Superior Court judge ordered a D.C. public charter school to stop payments to a private management company set up by the school’s founder,

Empowering students with disabilities to find exercise they love PBS NewsHour: Physical education for these students in Miami, Florida, looks nothing like the calisthenics and kickball of yesteryear. The teenagers from American Senior High School are getting ready for a workout at Oleta River State Park on Biscayne Bay.

U.S. News rolls out global university rankings, with some surprises Washington Post: On Tuesday, the magazine declared Harvard best in the world — one of nine U.S. and three British universities listed ahead of the Ivy League school in New Jersey.

Students Finding New Ways to Sneak Pot into School NBC News: Colorado’s marijuana decriminalization moved the drug from the parking lot to the classroom and teachers are trying to keep it out of school. 

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Big Education Debates In Illinois, Georgia, & California

An Icy Attack on the Georgia Governor’s Education Policies - NYT http://ow.ly/Dqmjx  @AJCGetSchooled

Election 2014 Caravan of Delights: Illinois Gubernatorial Race - State EdWatch - Education Week http://ow.ly/DqljU 

State schools chief race may reverberate beyond California - LA Times http://ow.ly/DoIgo

White House telling Duncan what to do.? not sure what's new about that @politicsk12 http://feedly.com/k/1w9rfsJ 

Roundup of responses to TIME’s controversial teacher tenure cover story - TIME http://ow.ly/DpUXt 

87th school shooting since New Town, reports ThinkProgress http://ow.ly/DoktP 

Thompson: Shannon Hernandez Breaks the Silence

The climax of Shannon Hernandez’s Breaking the Silence is her response to an irresponsible and false charge brought against her. She had participated in a group hug with students celebrating their successful completion of the 8th grade ELA test.
The hearing officer – the type of person that reformers often say is too soft on teachers and too slow to fire them – conducted a lengthy investigation, investing nearly a year to track down the student witnesses and their families. The hearing officer finally says, “Ms. Hernandez, not one student or their family would speak against you. Time and again, each one said, ‘Leave her alone. She’s the best teacher I ever had.’”

In one sense, the high points of Hernandez’s last forty days in the classroom are in the story of how test-driven reformers have stepped up their war on teachers, first making her jump through extra hoops to re-earn tenure. Later, they drove her colleagues into a rage with their preposterous value-added evaluation process. As she watches a final faculty meeting, Hernandez realizes that she is “witnessing the anger and frustration of my colleagues – a microcosm of the national climate around education.” She is brought to tears.

In another sense, Breaking the Silence is an explanation of what teachers REALLY want. (emphasis is Hernandez’s) Teachers want to “interact with other adults in supportive and collaborative environments.” Teachers “want to become better teachers.”  Teachers “want to be treated like humans – humans who are heard, nurtured, and respected.”  Teachers want relief from “the top-down education system [that] has robbed us of our voices.”

In still another sense, the memoir is about students who “are sick of being classroom lab rates who are tested every other month in every class so baseline scores can be established, knowledge gains and losses charted, and pilot tests revised once again.”

Breaking the Silence also is an explanation of why educators should, once again, be allowed to “teach students, not subjects.” It describes the joy that comes with veteran teachers letting go, allowing classes to evolve organically, and “going with the flow of student energy and interest.” It explains why teachers must “live in the moment,” and teach students “to understand the world inside them” and be “better prepared to live in the world around them.”

So, reformers should read Shannon Hernandez’s great memoir in order to understand the damage they have wrought. Teachers, parents, and administrators should also read about her last forty days in the classroom and share the joy and love that is teaching and learning.-JT(@drjohnthompson)

Quotes: Teachers Union Leaders' Dilemma

Quotes2Do [union] leaders appease their militant factions by amping up attacks on school choice and accountability while defending archaic teacher-tenure laws? Or do they maintain political influence among Democrats and moderates by accepting decreases in market share through the expansion of non-traditional public school models like charters? - Laura Waters in NJ Spotlight (NJTU: Implosion, Irrelevance, or Evolution?).

Books: Let's See The Unredacted Klein-Ravitch Emails

image from 645e533e2058e72657e9-f9758a43fb7c33cc8adda0fd36101899.r45.cf2.rackcdn.comAn apparent leak of former NYC chancellor Joel Klein's new book Lessons of Hope reignited the long-running debate over when and why Diane Ravitch turned against NYC's accountability-focused school reform efforts and gave reform critics a second thing (besides the TIME cover story) to rail against over the weekend.

I still haven't seen the book -- Newsweek'sAlexander Nazaryan tweeted about it first (as far as I am aware) -- but Klein and others have repeatedly suggested that Ravitch's turn against reform efforts like those in New York City was motivated at least partly in response to perceived poor treatment of her partner.

See the Twitter thread here.

Or, for a more traditional view of the issue, New America's Kevin Carey wrote about redacted emails in a 2011 magazine feature about Ravitch:

"Over the next two months, Klein and Ravitch exchanged a series of e-mails. Their contents were almost entirely redacted by the department when it responded to the FOIA request. But several people who worked for the department at the time, including one who saw the e-mails personally, say Ravitch aggressively lobbied Klein to hire Butz to lead the new program—and reacted with anger when he didn’t.

"Ravitch disputes this, saying she did not ask for Butz to be put in charge of the program, was not angry, and only urged Klein to call upon Butz for her deep knowledge and experience. She also told me she was glad Butz was no longer at the New York City DOE, because it had constrained her own ability to criticize the department." 

Steve Brill also went after Ravitch in his 2011 book, claiming that the fees she took in for speaking to teachers should have been disclosed, among other things.

Ravitch and others claim that this is merely an attempt to smear and discredit her, that her partner's departure from NYC's DOE came well before Ravitch's "conversion?" and that it had nothing to do with personal issues.

Who cares what two folks who aren't in charge of any schools have to say about each other? Well, the education debate is all about credibility, for better or worse, so questions about Klein and Ravitch's credibility are noteworthy.  There's also the ongoing tension within the reform movement about whether to attack critics or make nice with them, and the issue for both sides of whether attacks are powerful or alienating.

All that being said, I'd love to see the Klein book, and even the unredacted emails.  Klein or Ravitch could provide them.

Related posts:  Smearing Ravitch Could Blow Up In Reformers' FacesInsult-Hurling Coming Mostly From Reform Critics; Diane Ravitch's Reform Vilification Industry

AM News: Union Vs. Reformer CA Superintendent's Race Reaches $23 Million

App details state superintendent race spending EdSource Today: With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the race for California state superintendent of public instruction has been fueled by a combined $23 million in total campaign spending for incumbent Tom Torlakson and candidate Marshall Tuck.

Teacher Is Praised for Her Intervention in Washington School Shooting NYT: Details have begun to emerge about the attack, especially on the role of a young teacher many students are calling a hero. See also NBC News: Shooting Eyewitness: '3 or 4 People Fell at the Same Table'; WBEZ: 2 dead, including gunman, in high school shooting.

The Ad Campaign: Cuomo, With a Daughter’s Help, Tweaks His Education Image NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Education” television ad appears to be a response to criticism from his opponent, Rob Astorino, of his support for the Common Core standards.

L.A. Unified students could take iPads home soon LA Times: Los Angeles Unified students could take school-issued iPads home as soon as next month under a new plan that officials say has dealt with security concerns.

In D.C.’s erratic schools landscape, families debate how hands-on next mayor should be Washington Post: Carla Ferris can name the moment that local elections in the District changed from background noise on the radio to something personal: the day she enrolled her daughter in school. Before that, she said, “I really couldn’t have told you much, if anything, about politics in D.C.”

The Secret Lives Of Teachers: Mei-Ling Uliasz NPR: The second installation of our Secret Lives series continues with a profile of a second-grade teacher with a passion for making "upcycled" jewelry.

A New Orleans Family's Lives Changed In An Instant NPR: A stray bullet took 5-year-old Kyle Romain's sight. His mother fears the violence in her neighborhood will continue: "There's no hope. These little boys are just trigger-happy and gun-crazy."

An American School Immerses Itself in All Things Chinese NYT: At Yinghua Academy in Minneapolis, most classes are taught in Mandarin, and students are near fluency by eighth grade.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Klein Vs. Ravitch, Part 157

New @JoelIKlein book reiterates his claim that @DianeRavitch reform reversal was personally motivated, says Newsweek's @alexnazaryan

@DianeRavitch: @JoelIKlein @alexnazaryan Silly. My "reversal" occurred five years after my partner retired from NYC DOE.

The internecine conflict within NJ teachers union (& across the nation) - NJ Spotlight http://ow.ly/DigSL  @NJLeftbehind

Your local schools probably aren't nearly as good as you think they are - @BrookingsEd http://ow.ly/Dik3O 

Public Schools... for the rich — Joanne Jacobs http://ow.ly/Dip4x 

Rethinking vocational high school as a path to college | http://Marketplace.org  @ehanford http://ow.ly/Dijhi 

Just 8 states - AL, KY, NE, MT, ND, SD, VT, WV - still don't allow charters, and AL could be next to fall http://ow.ly/DijMU 

NPR's 50 great teachers premiers on Tuesday WFSU http://ow.ly/Di9l7  @npr_ed

 

 

Media: TIME Cover/Story Generates Angry (Symbolic) Union Response

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 10.09.28 AM
It lacks some of the visceral feel of the 2008 Michelle Rhee holding a broom in her hands cover (left).  Perhaps Campbell Brown was unavailable to wield the hammer.  But the new TIME Magazine cover (right, and story) is proving controversial enough to have activated the national teachers unions and others who see (and benefit from) the "war on teachers" narrative.  Rally the base!  Scare the members! Scare off anyone else who might be thinking about writing about teacher tenure and school reform. Why not?

Continue reading "Media: TIME Cover/Story Generates Angry (Symbolic) Union Response" »

Quotes: "*They* [Locals] Know What The Kids Need."

Quotes2I want local parents, teachers, and school boards to make the decisions about curriculum and assessment. They know what the kids need. They’re the ones that care the most about those kids. - Green Party candidate for NY governor Howie Hawkins in In These Times (Nervous, Cuomo?)

AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards

Despite History, N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Says: 'I Have Nothing to Do With Common Core' State EdWatch: Although he's previously stressed the importance of the common core, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an Oct. 22 debate: "I have nothing to do with common core."

See also:  NY TimesBuffalo NewsThe Post-Standard.

NY State to Review Schools' Immigration Compliance AP: New York officials ordered a statewide review Thursday of public school compliance with enrollment policies for unaccompanied minors and immigrant children following reports that several dozen children who had recently arrived from Central America were not admitted to a Long Island high school.

Second immigration wave lifts diversity to record high USA Today: Small metro areas such as Lumberton, N.C., and Yakima, Wash., and even remote towns and counties — such as Finney County, Kan., or Buena Vista County, Iowa — have seen a stunning surge in immigrants, making those places far more diverse.

Ed. Department Teacher Prep Regulations Delayed (Again) PK12: Rumors have it that the U.S. Department of Education was set to release new proposed regulations this week requiring teacher-preparation programs to do a better job identifying weak programs. But they have yet to appear in the Federal Register. Earlier this year, the White House promised we'd see new regulations, which have been overdue since 2012, by summer. So what gives?

Common Core revolt goes local Politico: School districts from New Hampshire to Oregon are revolting against the coming Common Core tests.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NY Gov. Cuomo Disavows Common Core Standards" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: NY Teachers Union Declines To Endorse Cuomo Challenger (Because: Albany)

NY state teachers union *still* won't endorse Cuomo or opponent, reports In These Times http://ow.ly/DeXeK 

Daily Kos: Fox News is suddenly concerned about election spending. Because teachers unions, of course. http://ow.ly/DcrSd 

New TIME cover http://ti.me/1ox35XT  prolly giving reformers PTSD flashbacks from '08 @MichelleRhee broom cover http://ow.ly/DeIuK  #tbt

Lopez: Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf? - LA Times http://ow.ly/DdE2h 

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution | The Hechinger Report http://ow.ly/DbVTr 

Teacher tenure: Wrong target  - NY Daily News via @RealClearEd http://ow.ly/DeKjT 

TAP program increases teacher retention at high-need schools, says TAP http://ow.ly/DfmGE  @janarausch

Thompson: Why Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers

The corporate school reform movement has always been built around a clear and united public relations strategy. It's been a one-two punch. Reform is a civil rights revolution to create schools with “High Expectations!” that overcome the legacies of poverty. Test-driven accountability is necessary to overcome teachers’ low expectations.

During the high tide of corporate reform in 2010, their scorched earth public relations campaign against teachers and unions was doubly effective because they all sang from the same hymnal. Since then, however, reformers’ failures to improve schools have been accompanied by political defeat after defeat. Now they are on the same page with a kinder, gentler message.

Now, the most public message is that a toxic testing culture has mysteriously appeared in schools. As the Center for American Progress, in Testing Overload in America's Schools, recently admitted “a culture has arisen in some states and districts that places a premium on testing over learning.” So, the reformers who made that culture of test prep inevitable now want to listen to teachers, and create a humane testing culture.

As Alexander Russo recently reported, in Why Think Tankers Hate the Vergara Strategy, some indicate  that the Vergara campaign against teachers’ legal rights is a dubious approach. I’m also struck by the number of reformers, who complain about unions’ financial and political power, and who seem to by crying that We Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers.

Yes! Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers!

I communicate with a lot of individual reformers who agree that test-driven accountability has failed, but they can’t yet visualize an accountability system that could satisfy their reform coalition and teachers. I repeatedly hear the pained protest that, Testing Isn’t Going Away.

So, what alternative do we have?

Continue reading "Thompson: Why Reformers Are Being Beaten Up by Teachers" »

Quotes: Greedy Reformers

Quotes2A firm that’s just in it for the money is as reprehensible as a teacher union that’s in it just to look after its members’ pay, pensions, and job security. - Fordham's Checker Finn (The State of Education Reform)

Charts: EdWeek Pyramid Of Spending Shows How Much More Unions Spend Than Reform Advocates

You might be forgiven for thinking that reform advocates (DFER, et al) outspend everyone else when it comes to campaign contributions, but this year as in other years that's generally not the case. Both sides are spending more this year than they did in 2012, but this EdWeek story/chart (image used with permission) shows the situation for 2014:

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 23 11.02
To be sure, the unions are supporting a broad set of candidates on a broader set of issues -- and trying to help the Democrats keep the Senate -- but the conventional media narrative of massive unopposed reform largesse isn't accurate. Still not enough?  See also Teachers' Unions, Others Put Cash on Line in Senate RacesEducation-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines.

Magazines: Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Expose Growing Reform Rift

Teacher.Cover[3][1][1]

The newly-resurgent TIME magazine has a lengthy, delightfully wonky cover story about teacher tenure written by former Columbia J-School classmate Haley Sweetland Edwards that you might want to check out (The War on Teacher Tenure).

Some of the new story (subscription only, alas) will be extremely familiar to education insiders like you, but there are some key additional details and aspects worth noting.

For example, Edwards reminds us that the Vergara decision (being appealed) is "the first time first time, in California or anywhere else, that a court had linked the quality of a teacher, as measured by student test scores, to a pupil’s right to an education."

She also reminds us that the current crop of billionaires interested in fixing education is not the first (think Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford).

The parts that may be new to you include background details about how David Welch got involved in the issue four years ago after consulting constitutional scholar Kathleen Sullivan.  Then came the hiring of the PR firm now called Rally, which launched StudentsMatter.  Recruiting and vetting plaintiffs -- no easy feat, I'm told -- came next.

Edwards also notes that some DC-based education reformers aren't entirely behind the Vergara approach, citing concerns from right-leaning wonks like Petrilli and McShane that you may recall from a few weeks ago (they don't like lawsuits and are hoping for a post-Rhee time of cooperation rather than ever-increasing conflict with the teachers unions).  

There aren't any left-leaning think tankers quoted in the piece, but my sense is that reform folks are sick of being beaten up, don't want to have to take more heat for another hard-charging evangelist (ie, Campbell Brown), and are worried about 2016.  

Edwards' previous forays into education writing include a piece about the Colbert/Stewart divide (Pro-Reform Colbert Leapfrogs Reform Critic Stewart) and something about unions' evolving positions on Common Core (Teachers Union Pulls Full-Throated Support for Common Core).

 

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