About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Maps: All But 8 States Have NCLB Waivers Now

image from s3.amazonaws.com

In a piece titled Why No Child Left Behind must be fixed, in one map, the Washington Examiner (I know) notes that the waiver system we're operating under currently (thanks, Arne Duncan) has more strings than NCLB or its likely successor. 

Morning Videos: Teacher Heroes, White People, Bluetooth Teacher Coaching

Gov. Jindal praises heroic teachers - via Washington Post. Or, here's a new MTV documentary called "White People" by (undocumented) documentary filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas in which young folks talk about what it's like being white. Read about it here in NY Mag:

 

Are folks doing this with white educators, I hope? Please fill me in. 

Or, watch KIPP's Dave Levin talk about the now-controversial program in which teachers are given instructions/ideas via earbud to help improve classroom teaching:

Via Washington Post / Valerie Strauss

AM News: Teachers Probably Saved Lives In Louisiana Shooting

After Lafayette theater shooting, union chief praises teachers NOLA.com: About 20 minutes into The Grand 16's showing of the film "Trainwreck" on Thursday night (July 24), gunman John Russell Houser stood up and began firing into the crowd, wounding Martin, Meaux and seven others and killing two more, authorities said. But one teacher jumped up to cover the other, and managed to pull the fire alarm to alert emergency responders, Weingarten said.See also Atlantic/EWAWashington PostPhilly.com.

Some Common Core tests are getting shorter. What are they losing? Hechinger Report: After a rough spring testing season, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two state consortia tapped by the federal government to develop tests tied to the Common Core educational standards, is making big changes to its tests, which were administered to over five million students across 11 states and the District of Columbia this year.

Missouri Law Can’t Block Scholarships for Undocumented Immigrant Students Kansas City-Star:  In a memo sent Thursday to college presidents, chancellors and directors, Missouri Department of Higher Education Commissioner David Russell said language in the title or preamble of a recently passed higher education appropriations bill “has no legal authority to withhold scholarship awards from otherwise eligible students.” 

Carnegie Mellon project revives failed inBloom dream to store and analyze student data Hechinger Report: LearnSphere, a new $5 million federally-funded project at Carnegie Mellon University, aims to become “the biggest open repository of education data” in the world, according to the project leader, Ken Koedinger.

Why a Fight in Massachusetts Over Kindergarten Funding Is Getting Ugly Slate: While Massachusetts has a long way to go, access to early childhood education is indeed slowly expanding in many nearby areas. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for universal pre-kindergarten continues with the announcement that preschool teachers at community-based early childhood centers, including day cares—who generally earn less than teachers

New GAO Report: Teacher Prep Programs Lack Performance Data PK12: Seven states ignored the federal higher education law's requirement to identify "at risk" and "low performing" teacher programs, some of them blatantly.

City Invalidates Test Scores of Third Graders at Harlem School NYT: The Education Department invalidated the results of the state exam taken by third graders amid allegations of testing improprieties by the principal of the Teachers College Community School. See also WNYC, NY Post.

What Do We Value More: Young Kids Or Fast Food? NPR: New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It's the fruit of a three-year labor campaign. But there's another group of workers out there that hasn't had a real wage increase in decades. Right now, at preschool programs around the country, teachers are tapping infinite reserves of patience to keep the peace among children at various stages of development and need. They're also providing meals, wiping noses and delivering a curriculum in math and reading that will get the kids ready for school. And there are hugs. Lots of hugs.

Quotes: Does State Trooper Encinia Remind You Of Anyone?

Asdfasdf
"Replace Sandra Bland with a twelve-year-old girl. Replace the lit cigarette with chewing gum. Replace the car with a desk. Replace the state trooper with a teacher."
 

- The Synapse (White Educators: Do You Recognize State Trooper Encinia?)

Morning Video: In South Carolina, Clinton Addresses "Black Lives Matter"

Watch the NBC News clip above, or read more about the speeches here from AP. Or, watch acclaimed rapper (and college graduate) J. Cole talk about the importance of education and his issues with it (from March on Tavis Smiley).

AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders

Who Will the NEA Endorse for President, Clinton or Sanders -- & When? TeacherBeat: Hillary Clinton, obviously, is the odds-on favorite for NEA pick. But consider this: At the NEA meeting this summer, by far the loudest delegate cheer went to Bernie Sanders, when the names of the three Democratic candidates interviewed by NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia were announced. And officially, the NEA has been utterly silent about its endorsement plans. In a way, though, the "who" question is the wrong one to ask. The right question is whether the union can even get a primary endorsement together at all while it still matters.

In New White House Bid, Clinton Embraces Race as a Top Issue AP: At multiple stops in South Carolina, Clinton on Thursday bemoaned "mass incarceration," an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools and poisoned relations between law enforcement and the black community.

Judges Revive Claim that AT&T Overcharged Schools for Internet Service ProPublica: The little-noticed June 23 ruling concluded that the complaint by Todd Heath was properly filed under the U.S. False Claims Act – a decision that could lead to the disclosure of AT&T’s internal records about the federal program known as E-Rate. AT&T said then, and reaffirmed in a recent email to ProPublica, that it complies with the requirement that it charge such customers what is known as the “lowest corresponding price.”

Pool for Unassigned Teachers Swells in Newark Wall Street Journal: The pool swelled recently due to the cyclical flux between school years; many teachers are expected to find jobs in the fall. Many teachers, however, are there because they balked at longer hours in schools slated for overhauls. Under a union-district agreement, teachers joined the pool if they didn’t agree to a stipend, typically $3,000, for working about an hour more daily, several Saturdays and two weeks in the summer. A union spokesman said some who kept to contract hours and left at 3:05 p.m. were derided by other staffers as “Three-oh-fivers.”

Seven States Get NCLB Waiver Renewals, Including Opt-Out Friendly Oregon PK12: Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah can keep their flexibility from mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, no matter what happens with a pending rewrite of the law.

Pearson’s Fallon Seen Turning to Education Deals After FT Sale Bloomberg Business: Pearson Plc’s sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. clears the way for the U.K. company to pursue acquisitions in educational publishing.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NEA Ponders Timing, Selection Of Clinton -- Or Sanders" »

Charts: Who's Running All Those Charter Schools?

Presentation1

I don't know if it's been vetted by NAPCS or NACSA or anyone else yet, but Bruce Baker's maps and charts showing Who’s actually running America’s charter schools are pretty interesting to look at, and give a good sense of how narrow the conversation about charters can get given the distribution of providers/operators out there. 

Books: Hey, Leave Those Low-Scoring High Schools Alone!

 
It tells the story of Mission High, which has apparently enjoyed great success despite challenging circumstances -- including the possibility of being closed thanks (indirectly) to federal education law focused narrowly on test scores rather than other metrics:


"Based on four years of reporting with unprecedented access, the unforgettable, intimate stories in these pages throw open the doors to America’s most talked about—and arguably least understood—public school classrooms where the largely invisible voices of our smart, resilient students and their committed educators can offer a clear and hopeful blueprint for what it takes to help all students succeed."

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven't read the book yet, but longtime readers may recall that I critiqued the Mother Jones article Rizga wrote and the accompanying KQED feature that ran in 2012.
 
At that time, I wrote a post titled Everything You Read In That Mother Jones Article Is Wrong that praised Rizga for her writing but not for her fairness in terms of characterizing federal efforts to encourage districts to revamp schools that didn't appear to be doing well by students. I also suggested that Mission High might be something of an outlier, in terms of the apparent mismatch between test scores and other measures.
 
For the new book, there are blurbs from Dave Eggers, Jeff Chang, Dana Goldstein, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and LynNell Hancock. The book officially launches August 15.

Morning Video: New Teachers, Job Prospects, Minority Retention

Here's last night's PBS NewsHour segment on teacher supply and demand, which describes how 200,000 newly-minted teacher education graduates might fare in the job marketplace. (The piece quotes the 40 percent/5 year departure statistic we've long seen for new teachers, though I thought that new research suggested that number might not be as high as we've been told.)

"If and when they do get hired, chances are at least 40 percent of them will leave teaching in the first five years. "

According to Ingersoll, the profession has become even more female-dominated, and minority teachers have doubled but have higher quit rates (largely due to the kinds of schools and districts into which they are hired).

AM News: White House School Discipline Summit, Plus Free Online AP Lessons

White House Hosts School Discipline Summit PK12: The department's civil rights data collection shows that more than 3 million students are suspended or expelled each year (including 4-year-olds). See also Washington PostHuffPost.

Education Groups to Leaders in Congress: Get ESEA Rewrite Over Finish Line PK12: Begin conferencing the House and Senate ESEA bills now, said 10 major education groups in a letter sent Wednesday.

As states drop out of PARCC’s Common Core test, faithful carry on Washington Post: The tests from PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — has come under fire for its length, for its technical glitches and for efforts by its test publisher, Pearson, to crack down on cheating via social media.

Teachers' union gets schooled for violating campaign law Philly.com: The union was flagged for giving a $11,500 donation to its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers - Pennsylvania Chapter, whose political committee on March 9 wrote a check for that amount to Gym's campaign.

The new frontier for Advanced Placement: Online AP lessons, for free Washington Post: First came MOOCs, or massive open online courses. Now there are MOOLs -- massive open online lessons -- to help high schools teach some of the toughest AP topics.

Issue of collective bargaining threatens California evaluation reform EdSource Today: Democratic leaders’ efforts to rewrite the state’s teacher evaluation law have stalled over the same disagreement that upended the last big push in the Legislature three years ago: stark differences in who gets to decide what goes into an evaluation.

From an ‘Undocumented’ Boyhood to a Doctorate NYT: A new memoir hopes to further the debate on immigration policy.

A Geek Speaks Out Against Tech WNYC: Computer scientist Kentaro Toyama used to use tech to help the poor around he world. But slowly, he started believing it wasn't the answer. He explains why tech isn't doing much to educate the underprivileged or spur social change.

74 percent of high school students failed Algebra 1 final in a Md. district Washington Post: The exam results were better than they were last year, but failure rates remain steep for Montgomery Co.

Parent petition results in Prescott School new principal LA School Report: A wave of angry complaints by parents of students at a small elementary school has succeeded in convincing LA Unified to replace a principal whom the parents described as unfit for the job.

Report: Mass. Schools Bans On Junk Food Are Working Boston Learning Lab: The Northeastern study compared thousands of food and beverage options available in about 75 middle schools and high schools over a one-year period, before and after the standards took effect.

Calendar: Which States' Test Score Results Come Out When

Calendar
When are those Common Core test results coming back?  

Some have already come out, at least preliminarily. Think Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Others according to this **unofficial & unverified** cheat sheet are:

7/15 MT

7/31 WI

August VT, ID, WA, SD, NV, DE, ME, CA

September HI, ND, OR, NH

Oct-Nov MO & MI

Note that PARCC states will all come out at about the same time in October or November, based on cut scores that are being set over the summer.

Note also/again that these dates are unverified by me, so you should confirm them if it's really important to you.

Thompson: Rick Hess's (& My) Lessons from Race to the Top

Some academics persist in a strange ritual - gauging greatness by the effects that government office holders have on the political process, as opposed to the results of their policies for flesh and blood human beings. Andrew Jackson and Teddy "the Big Stick" Roosevelt have been categorized as "great" because they were so effective in stealing Indians' land and leaping into imperialism. Ronald "the Great Communicator" Reagan gets high marks for the transformative nature of his politics, as the Central American death squads he supported and the destruction of blue collar jobs are forgotten.

Now, some proclaim Arne Duncan as a great transformer because he completely changed the nature of education policy. Those who celebrate Duncan's political victories, like William Howell and Joanne Weiss, remain curiously silent about the possible benefits and the costs of his school improvement experiments.

Fortunately, conservative Rick Hess's contribution to the discussion in Education Next, Lofty Promises but Little Change for America's Schools, offers a real world critique of Duncan's gambles. Hess recounts the results that matter, concluding "the breakthrough wins touted so avidly by Race to the Top enthusiasts in 2010 and 2011 now look much more like pyrrhic victories—shot through with design flaws, tainted by federal compulsion, and compromised by half-hearted follow-through." 

Continue reading "Thompson: Rick Hess's (& My) Lessons from Race to the Top " »

Update: Goldstein Compares Current Teacher Fears To 1980s' Welfare Fears

As some of you may recall, I was surprised to find out that Dana Goldstein used the powerful idea of a "moral panic" to describe concerns over ineffective teachers in her book.  

In the following days, Goldstein explained to me via Twitter that moral panic was indeed what's been happening, and that "this anxiety has consistently overlooked the profession's structure, child poverty, & other factors that matter."

In the fascinating excerpt she shares (above), Goldstein writes that "the ineffective tenured teachers has emerged as a feared character, a vampiric type who sucks tax dollars into her bloated pension and health care plans, without much regard for the children under her care." 

Hmm. My experience, for what it's worth, is that "teacher bashing" or the so-called "war on teachers" has been the authentic experience of some teachers, and has been the part of some Republican lawmakers' efforts (as in Wisconsin). 

But it hasn't been my experience that teachers have been singled out by reform advocates -- most of them Democrats -- in the way that welfare queens were the targeted by Republican lawmakers (a comparison Goldstein raises in the excerpt above). 

Instead, the idea of teacher bashing and the war on teachers has been part of the case made by advocates for teachers to fight against efforts to change the way schools and teaching work that they did not think were reasonable (or likely to be effective).

Claiming that reformers are conducing a war on teachers has worked really well at putting reformers on the defensive -- as have accusations against reformers for being elite, racist, etc. And for all I know this may be how moral panics of the past have emerged: an idea expressed by one segment of society is amplified by its intended victims as a means of self-defense.

But it's not the same as what comes to mind when I think of moral panic, which is to describe a broader, society-wide fear of a certain category of person based on profession, race, or appearance. I'm curious what scholars who have developed the idea of a moral panic would say about Goldstein's use of the term here, or how 2015-ish concerns about ineffective teachers map against 1980's concerns about welfare queens.

**Also: The paperback version of Goldstein's book, The Teacher Wars, comes out next month!**

Related posts: At AFT Conference, Goldstein Compares Reform Efforts To "Moral Panic"Goldstein Puts TFA Under The MicroscopeGoldstein & Carey Debate Test Proliferation

AM News: Nearly 40 Percent Of Black Kids Growing Up In Poverty, Says New Report

The U.S. Is Letting Poor Kids Fall Further and Further Behind in Reading Slate: Break this figure into subgroups and the picture looks even grimmer, with 39 percent of black kids and 33 percent of Hispanic kids in poverty.

See also Bloomberg News: Brain Scans Reveal How Poverty Hurts Children's Brains, AP More U.S. Children Are Living In Poverty Than During The Great Recession, HuffPost The Heartbreaking Physical Toll Of High Achievement Among Disadvantaged Teens.

Teachers May Be Staying In The Classroom Longer Than Expected, Says Study HuffPost: A recent federal study found that a much smaller percentage of beginning teachers leave the field in their first five years on the job than the widely quoted figure of 50 percent. It’s 17 percent, according to the new research.

The declining D.C. school system hired political strategists. It seems to have worked. Washington Post: Last year, consultants trained principals of traditional schools to knock on doors in a direct appeal to families, an effort that continues this summer. Now they are refining their pitch with messages based on the new market research, which included the parent survey, focus groups and polling data, a package that cost the school system $95,000.

The K-12 Record of New GOP Candidate Gov. Kasich PK12: Gov. John Kasich doesn't have the kind of high-profile and polarizing history with public schools that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can claim. But he has an extensive record. See also ThinkProgress.

How The Big New Education Law Could Cut Testing Time NPR: Marla Kilfoyle is a teacher on Long Island, New York, a center of the opt-out movement, and the general manager of the Badass Teachers Association, a national group that opposes standardized testing. Hundreds of its members will be on Capitol Hill this week lobbying Senators and the Department of Education to halt standardized testing, among other ideas aiming to empower teachers.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Nearly 40 Percent Of Black Kids Growing Up In Poverty, Says New Report" »

Charts: How Much Did That Free Excellent Neighborhood School Cost You?

Screen shot 2015-07-21 at 3.10.01 PM

This Matt Yglesias article and accompanying chart are going around today. In the piece, the Vox honcho makes the case -- too simplistically, according to some like Chalkbeat's Maura Walz -- that the housings costs of homes near high-performing public schools (top right quadrant) make them inaccessible to many middle- and low-income families, and that there are strong disincentives to letting more people live in those areas or dis-connecting school assignment and housing. Chart by Ginger Moored via Vox.

Quotes: Unions, Conservatives Making Belated Alliance Over Local Control

Quotes2The unions and the Republicans have spent so many years thinking of each other as enemies that they have been slow to recognize their alliance, and some of them have flinched uncomfortably from it. But the logic of the alliance has made itself increasingly evident. 

- NY Mag's Jonathtan Chait (The Principle That United GOP, Teachers Unions)

Morning Video: In LinkedIn Debut, Duncan Promos Lehigh High School Teachers

Check it out. Here's the accompanying text. With Duncan's debut, that makes ... two folks I know about using LinkedIn. The other is Deschryver.  Are there others?

AM News: At 22 Percent, Child Poverty Rate Still Higher Than Before Recession

More children are in poverty today than before the Great Recession PBS NewsHour: Today, 22 percent of children live in poverty, up from 18 percent in 2008. Minnesota led the United States in children’s overall well-being, followed by New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It’s the first time in nearly a decade that a state outside of New England has ranked first nationwide.

ESEA Rewrite: What to Expect From House-Senate Conference PK12: Representatives from both parties and both chambers will attempt to find common ground between their dueling reauthorization bills, which contain some stark policy differences. See also Washington Post.

ESEA Rewrite and Waiver Issue: When Should ELLs Count for Accountability? PK12: The House and Senate bills to write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act go in different directions when it comes to testing English-language learners.

Pat Toomey background check amendment: Why the No Child Left Behind rewrite won't include it. Slate: Among the more unfortunate casualties was Sen. Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act, which proposed extending federal protections against bullying to LGBT students. Other amendments were adopted in extremely watered-down form.

Judge Rules Against Miss. Districts in K-12 Money Lawsuit as Ballot Duel Looms State EdWatch: A lawsuit and two opposing ballot initiatives over school spending in Mississippi promise to create a complicated picture for K-12 spending in the state.

Chicago Public Schools Propose Selling $1.16 Billion In Bonds Reuters via HuffPost: Proceeds would be used to improve school facilities, refund outstanding bonds, and pay banks to terminate swaps used to hedge interest-rate risk on variable-rate debt, according to documents posted on the CPS website.

'Breaking Bad' Actor Runs for Albuquerque Seat AP: Actor Steven Michael Quezada (keh-ZAH'-dah) is jumping in a heated race for county commissioner in Albuquerque. Quezada is a member of the Albuquerque school board.

The Test That Can Look Into A Child's (Reading) Future NPR: Researchers say they've come up with a 30-minute test that can predict a child's language skill and diagnose learning disabilities.

NYC Parents, Teachers and Students Give Their Schools High Marks WNYC: Consistent with last year's survey results, 95 percent of parents who responded to the survey were at least "somewhat satisfied" with their child's education and with the school's response to their questions.  [But no class size question?!] See also:  ChalkbeatSchoolBook.

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

Continue reading "AM News: At 22 Percent, Child Poverty Rate Still Higher Than Before Recession" »

Update: Baltimore Students Get Ta-Nehesi Coates Talk

The New York Times reported that, on Wednesday, Atlantic magazine writer Ta-Nehesi Coates spoke with some Baltimore high school students.

Turns out it was Renaissance Academy in the Booker T. Washington HS building.

Check it out on Twitter, or click this link to watch Coates speak at the book launch event just afterwards (among other things about the privilege of having two parents when he was growing up).

Morning Video: Packnett & Mckesson Win TFA Social Justice Activism Award

Here's the promo video for Brittany Packnett and Deray McKesson, two TFA alumni who have been extremely involved in social justice activism since last year's Ferguson protests. They received TFA's Peter Jennings award for their leadership at a TFA event last week. Video provided by TFA. They were also on WNYC and NPR's On The Media last week.

All of a sudden, the reform movement doesn't seem so left behind on social justice issues as it did a year or two ago (though it still has a long way to go).

Related posts: McKesson Invited To Clinton Campaign EventConservatives Critique/Elevate AFT Alum/Activist.

AM News: Labor Dispute Over AFT's "Early" Clinton Endorsement

Unions seethe over early Clinton endorsement Politico: Labor leaders said there was a clear understanding that no national unions would make an endorsement before July 30. But the American Federation of Teachers jumped the gun. See also NY Post, WSJ.

Democratic 2016 Candidates Like Senate ESEA Bill, GOP Not So Much PK12: GOP lawmakers running for president don't think the bipsartisan Senate bill to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act goes far enough in restoring power to parents. See also LA Times, Atlantic Education.

President Obama Takes On the Prison Crisis New York Times: He talked about community investment, especially in early-childhood education and in lower-income minority communities, as the best way to stop crime before it starts. And he spoke of the importance of removing barriers to employment, housing and ...

Memphis students to meet Michelle Obama as part of higher education initiative WREG: 
The summit is part of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, which aims to inspire students continue theireducation after high school. 

Oakland educators say their success in school discipline relies on shared goals Seattle Times: Since 2012, the Oakland Unified School District has decreased suspensions by 47 percent — a dramatic drop that has drawn attention from those who wonder whether Seattle Public Schools can do the same. On Friday, four leaders of Oakland’s efforts came to Seattle to explain what they’ve done, and why.

Kansas’s Teacher Exodus EWA:  Frustrated and stymied by massive budget cuts that have trimmed salaries and classroom funding, Kansas teachers are “fleeing across the border” to neighboring states that offer better benefits and a friendlier climate for public education, NPR’s Sam Zeff reported. But it’s hardly an outlier.  And it doesn’t take much to find stories of teacher shortages in Arizona and Indiana, among many others.

USA tops International Math Olympiad for first time in 21 years Washington Post: If winning a youth math competition seems less important than vanquishing the Soviets back in 1980, consider this: the last time America won the IMO was 1994. Back then, Bill Clinton was president and Ace of Base was top of the pop charts. See also NPR.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Labor Dispute Over AFT's "Early" Clinton Endorsement" »

Thompson: Why Did the TNTP Fail to Turn Around a High-Profile Tulsa School?

The Tulsa World’s Andrea Eger, in McClure Elementary School’s “Faculty Restart” Flopped, Educators Say, writes, “Last summer’s ‘faculty restart’ at one of the city’s toughest inner-city schools wasn’t the extraordinary new beginning it was hailed as. Educators and parents say it was a disaster.”

At the beginning of the school year, after replacing 3/4th of the school’s faculty, McClure School Principal Katy Jimenez said, “I have never experienced a vibe and energy like we have right now.” Jimenez said, “The team has come together in an amazing way. My returning teachers gave up their summer to build a team they wanted to be a part of. Their investment is very deep. We are exhausted but so excited.”

The principal borrowed a line from the corporate reform spin-meisters known as the TNTP and praised a second-grade teacher, Paige Schreckengast, as “an irreplaceable.” Ms. Schreckengast was featured the story’s photograph.

The Tulsa Public Schools had partnered with TNTP to help recruit teachers. It should be no surprise to educators familiar with its blood-in-the-eye assaults on veteran teachers that the hiring process was called “very strenuous, focused” and resulted in a staff where 88% had less than three years of experience.

Eger reports that even in this high-profile restart, “two vacancies went unfilled for much of the year because of a lack of applicants.” I’m not surprised by that, however, because many or most of the best teachers have heard the jargon before and many refuse to participate in such restarts because they know that the ideology-driven playbook is likely to fail. Neither am I surprised that “seven teachers bugged out mid-year; and then another seven left at the end of 2014-15.”

The irreplaceable also left.

Now, Tulsa says that the district officials learned from mistakes made in McClure’s faculty restart. The principal, Jimenez, says that she will no longer accept Teach for America candidates. According to Eger, Jimenez is balancing her remaining optimism with “a brutal, unrelenting reality.” The principal says:

I’m not hopeful for any more support this year. I say that because I’ve been in TPS for 13 years, … I don’t think people know what to do for a site like us. If you ask them at the district level, they think they’re giving us plenty of extra help. I don’t have enough students to qualify for an assistant principal, but I have one. I receive two discretionary (teacher) allocations. I have Reading Partners, a full-time therapist from Family and Children’s Services — but it’s still not enough for the day-to-day needs.

-JT (@drjohnthompson)

 

 

Quotes: Your Individual Racism Isn't Really The Problem

Quotes2In [Coates'] estimation, racism is neither an individual act of hatred nor some natural outside force; racism is a series of systems operating exactly as they were planned.

- In the New Yorker (Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up)

Numbers: Uptick In Violent Deaths & Threatened Teacher Reports At School

"According to new federal crime statistics, there were 32 violent deaths at elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. from July 2010 to June 2011 – the smallest number in almost two decades," notes SI&A Cabinet report (Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools). "But the following year ending in June 2012 – the most recent year for which data is available – a total of 45 deaths were recorded."

The report also notes that "the percentage of teachers who said they had been threatened with attack – or actually attacked – by a student  has been slowly increasing since 2003 when less than 4 percent reported being physically attacked and about 6 percent reported being threatened."

I'm sure we'll see other numbers and interpretations of this information over the next few days.

 

Morning Video: Charlie Rose Interviews Ta-Nehesi Coates

 

Here's the full interview from earlier this week, in which Coates talks about growing up and going to school in West Baltimore, and eventually getting to Howard University. I haven't seen or read him talk about in-school experiences (or teachers) who helped or hindered him along the way, but maybe it's out there. Thanks LF for pointing this out to me. 

Or, listen to this Philadelphia piece How a Philly school in a free-fire zone went from lockdown to hopes up. via AnnenbergInst.

AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?

Senate Votes Overwhelmingly For Bipartisan No Child Left Behind Rewrite HuffPost: However, the bill’s next steps are unclear, since even its supporters concede President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign it in its current form. See also NYT, HuffPost.

Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue PK12: Here's a look at the Senate and House bills to rewrite the NCLB law, and how they compare to each other, current law, and the Obama administration's waivers. See also AP, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour.

Senate tweaks formula for Title 1 funds to educate children from poor families Washington Post: Burr rewrote the amendment so that the formula changes would not take effect until Congress funds Title 1 at $17 billion annually. It is unclear when that would happen; the program is currently funded at $14.5 billion, an amount that has been steady since 2012. In addition, the change in formula would affect only dollars spent by Congress in excess of the $17 billion benchmark.

Testing Revolt In Washington State Brings Feds Into Uncharted Waters NPR: As Congress debates the future of No Child Left Behind, one state falls short of federal testing requirements.

Crime stats show troubling trend at nation’s schools SI&A Cabinet Report: A general decline in serious crime on K-12 school campuses nationwide appears to be reversing, perhaps reflecting an upswing in violence in some of the nation’s largest cities.

Some schools are still testing students for drug use APM Marketplace: Many schools are still testing students for drug use, despite the end of federal funding and mixed evidence on whether it's worth the expense. Some are expanding their testing.Research shows that while drug testing is associated with a very modest decline in marijuana use, surveys sometimes find an increase in the use of other drugs. How? For one thing, drug tests aren’t always accurate. Case in point, Goldberg says, the athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. 

Lawsuit says SoCal schools among those breaking law in teacher evaluations KPCC: A lawsuit filed Thursday in Contra Costa County alleges that 13 school districts are violating state law because they aren't using student achievement data when evaluating instructors. The suit was filed by four parents and two teachers. It's backed by Students Matter, a nonprofit founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. See also EdSource Today.

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

Continue reading "AM News: What Next For NCLB Rewrite?" »

Thompson: The Good, Bad, & Ugly of Chicago Grad Rate Improvements

The Atlantic's Kate Grossman, in What Schools Will Do to Keep Students on Track, asks the right questions, draws on some of the world's best social science research, reports on all sides of the key questions, and gives insights into whether Chicago's increase in graduation rates will be sustainable.

Even if I hadn't personally witnessed the benefits of my school's Freshman Team, I would still perk up and listen when a Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) scholar endorses efforts to help students transition into high school, saying “I’ve been arguing against silver bullets my whole career—but this is one.”

Even better, the CCSR has found more evidence of "a direct link between improved freshmen pass rates and dramatically improved graduation rates." Best of all, it studied "20 schools that had early success improving their on-track rates [and] did not find widespread gaming by principals eager to make their schools look good."

If data is used for diagnostic purposes, and real interventions by caring mentors are offered each step of the way in helping students to overcome failure, perhaps the single best approach to school improvement is helping students progress through school. Teachers should be able to "turn to the school’s 'care team,' which finds ways to get kids more intensive help." The team should help students "make up assignments they blew off or didn’t understand," and as long as extensions on deadline aren't "endless," everyone can benefit.

But, what happens when promoting power metrics and graduation rates are incorporated into formal or informal accountability systems?

Continue reading "Thompson: The Good, Bad, & Ugly of Chicago Grad Rate Improvements" »

Movies: New Montclair Documentary Avoids Simplistic Hero/Villain Approach

Got away
If and when you get the chance, be sure to check out a new documentary, "The One That Got Away," which explores the challenges facing low-income families, schools that serve them, and social services systems -- in a more balanced and thoughtful way than many other films of this kind.
 
There's no trailer yet, not even a website or social media, but the flyer for the documentary, screened earlier this year at the Montclair Film Fest (where it's based) and last night at Scholastic in Manhattan (thanks, Tyler!), promises a pretty dramatic story: "Once president of his middle school; now behind bars. The One That Got Away tells the true story of Tourrie Moses, a once-highly promising New Jersey student from a troubled background who is now in prison for murder, and a profoundly devoted team of teachers who tried to help him thrive." 
 
And indeed the film tells an intense, vivid tale. The interviews with Tourrie's mother, who's struggled with heroin addiction, and his strict but loving father, who says he spent roughly 20 years in and out of prison, are particularly challenging to watch. 

But the most interesting and helpful aspect to the film is how it describes a situation in which there are no black-and-white heroes or villains, and no bright or artificial line between parents, school, and social services agencies tasked with supporting families and children in tough circumstances.  

 
It's not the school, or the teacher, or the kid, or society. It's all of them. 
 
As depicted in the film, the educators at Glenfield Middle School are incredibly concerned and dedicated but are using an ad hoc warning system of supports and interventions. Ditto for the high school educators who try and fail to get Moses through a delicate transition from middle school despite his social services case having been formally closed. The parents are both flawed but by no means unloving or entirely absent. Tourrie (known to his family as Ray Ray) is intensely charismatic and eager to learn but unable to hold onto his connections to his teachers and his father over the reliable if limited lure of the streets.
 
In capturing these overlapping roles and dynamics, the film raises both structural societal issues (racism, inequality) and issues of personal and individual effort. But neither society nor the individual is given responsibility for the outcome in this film. It's shared. 
 
(And, blessedly, there's nothing in the film about Common Core, standardized testing, teacher evaluation, charter schools, the Gates Foundation, or any of the other obsessions of the current era. )
 
There are some issues I had with the documentary, including some heavy-handed interviewing (especially in a scene about drug addiction), and a front porch group interview with former classmates that's not as useful or enlightening as intended.
 
And, while the educators and social services agency staffers who are interviewed express deep regret and renewed vigilance against a repeat of systemic failures, it's not entirely clear to me that they've given up their ad hoc approach (based on personal relationships) and replaced it with a more reliable warning and intervention system. 
 
This film will raise awareness of the problems facing schools serving kids like Tourrie but I'm not as confident as I'd like to be that a similar tragedy couldn't be happening again right now.
 

AM News: Senate Nears Finish To NCLB Rewrite

Senate Votes to End Debate on ESEA Rewrite; Final Vote Expected Thursday PK12: Senators also rejected a high-profile amendment from Democrats to beef up accountability measures in the underlying bill overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. See also AP.

Civil Rights Groups, Teachers' Union Spar Over Accountability PK12: The National Education Association sent a letter Tuesday to senators urging them to oppose a Democratic amendment that would beef up accountability in the Senate's ESEA rewrite.

Emanuel taps Claypool to take over at CPS, sources say Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to soon appoint longtime City Hall troubleshooter Forrest Claypool to head up the embattled Chicago Public Schools, two sources told the Chicago Tribune late Wednesday.

Why are Latinos teachers such a minority in Chicago? WBEZ:  That slow increase of Hispanic teachers comes at a time when Hispanic students make up the largest ethnic group in CPS, at 46 percent.

'Mr. Spider' Says Goodbye: An Art Teacher's Final Day At School NPR: For nearly a quarter century, Mathias Schergen taught in one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods. Now, he's moving on.

Gov. Cuomo continues to bring in money from donors with education ties ChalkbeatNY: he contribution is part of $2.4 million in donations Cuomo’s campaign reported receiving over the last six months — a slice of which again came from a cadre of money managers, executives, philanthropists, and lawyers who support charter schools, tougher accountability rules, or weaker job protections for teachers.

What was the Mark Twain quote that landed a teacher in jail? LA School Report: It apparently started when a technology coordinator who was in his Hobart Elementary School classroom on March 19 thought that what he said may have been a bit too much for his fifth graders, according to a chronology of events in the letter. She told the principal, Jonathan Paek. When he confronted Esquith, the teacher said the quote should be taken in the literary context that it was made.

Teachers back in school to master Common Core standards EdSource Today: Interviews with officials in six large California school districts and a major charter school system have found that several hundred of their teachers have signed up for – and in many cases by now already completed – summertime professional development programs provided at their schools to help them transition to the new standards.

Court Hands Major Victory to PARCC, Pearson in Challenge by Vendor EdWeek: Because the AIR lacks legal standing, the judge ruled, the other substantive complaints it made about the contract award—specifically, that it was biased in favor of Pearson—were effectively thrown out, too.

Safety: At Least 28 Students Seriously Injured By School Police Since 2010

image from www.motherjones.com

"Over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers—sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses," reports Mother Jones' Jaeah Lee (Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad)

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

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.