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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

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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

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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).

 

AM News: Record Campaign Spending Mixes Unions & Reform Advocates

Education-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines PK12: In Illinois, teachers' unions gave more than $775,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Dillard, an ALEC member, ended up losing a close primary to Bruce Rauner, a businessman and newcomer to politics.

Early Voting Kicks Off In Maryland As Candidates Spar On Schools WAMU: As the statewide races build toward a climax, Marylanders looking to vote before Election Day can cast their ballots starting Thursday morning at locations throughout the state.

Obama Administration Clarifies Anti-Bullying Protections For Students With Disabilities HuffPost:   This week, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon sent a letter with new legal guidance to the nation's public schools in an effort to clarify that federal anti-bullying protections extend to about 750,000 more students than schools think.

Don’t believe everything you hear about the New Orleans charter revolution Hechinger/Lens: As public school students settle into the school year, they can’t seem to shake off a bit of inaccurate national attention: The belief that New Orleans has the country’s first all-charter school system. That’s wrong on two counts. The city still has a handful of traditional public schools, and the array of more than 70 charter schools can hardly be called a system, though that’s beginning to change.

Immigrants’ School Cases Spur Enrollment Review in New York NYT: Officials will determine whether districts have discouraged undocumented immigrant children through rigid enrollment requirements.

On campus, fight Ebola panic with information PBS NewsHour: "Mr. Aguilar, we have students texting and saying that a student on campus has Ebola,” Nurse Belk told me after a student was sent home for an ear problem.

New Orleans public school teacher evaluation results, 2014 NOLA.com: The Louisiana Education Department released teacher evaluation results Wednesday. New Orleans results were below the state average. 7 percent of teachers were considered ineffective and 21 percent highly effective. 

Karen Lewis’ Replacement at the CTU Has a Message for Rahm Emanuel In These Times: Though Sharkey doesn’t yet have much of a relationship with Mayor Emanuel, if his gutsy 2012 debate with Emanuel ally, venture capitalist and current Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is any indication—in which Sharkey blasts Rauner’s anti-union, corporate education reform agenda—Rahm’s life is not about to get any easier when it comes to dealing with the new head of the CTU. 

How One District School Is Tackling English Language Learning WAMU: Teaching students for whom English is a second language can be a challenge, but a specialized program at Cardozo Education Campus is making it work.

From a Rwandan Dump to the Halls of Harvard NYT: Justus Uwayesu’s life was changed by a chance encounter in Rwanda with an American charity worker.

U.N.C. Investigation Reveals Athletes Took Fake Classes NYT: A report found that classes requiring no attendance and little work were common knowledge among academic counselors and football coaches.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Four Of Five NY Superintendents Support Common Core

NYS supes assoc survey finds 80%+ support for Common Core in E and Math among district admins - NYDN http://ow.ly/Db8xK  @via @rpondiscio

#California Rivals Clash on Vision for K-12 Leadership  http://ow.ly/DbBbM via  @educationweek @StateEdWatch (see also Teachers' Unions to Spend More Than Ever)

The Shock of the New | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute http://ow.ly/DbfdQ  @smarick

Warren Simmons on Ted Sizer's legacy 10/21/14 on Vimeo http://ow.ly/DaFD0 

First Generation College Students: The Go-Getter | RealClearEducation http://ow.ly/Da9o1 

Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds - http://NYTimes.com  http://ow.ly/Da7tT  @motokorich

Afternoon Video: Cuomo Pledges Five-Year Common Core Moratorium

Check out this new Cuomo video, in which the shoo-in Democratic candidate takes a perhaps unexpectedly soft (smart?) position on Common Core assessments (Andrew Cuomo Concedes Defeat in the Common Core Wars). "Among his education pledges is a solemn one "not to use Common Core scores for at least five years, and then only if our children are ready." Bloomberg via Breitbart.

 

Media: Meet Al Jazeera's Part-Time Education Reporter, E. Tammy Kim

image from america.aljazeera.comDon't miss out on education reporting from Al Jazeera America's E. Tammy Kim (pictured), who's been putting out pieces from an outlet that many haven't yet noted: For example: A high-poverty public school tries charter-type reforms.   She also writes about labor/poverty, arts/culture and East Asia. 
 
"Previously, she was a lawyer for low-wage workers in New York City, as well as a unionist and adjunct professor. Educated at Yale and NYU School of Law, Tammy was raised by working-class Korean immigrants in Tacoma, Washington. Her journalism has been supported by the Ms. Foundation for Women, The Nation Institute and the Asian American Writers' Workshop." (@etammykim)

Charts: Red Bar Shows People Are 12x More Enthusiastic About Own Schools Than Yours

Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 10.56.34 AM
A quick glance at the red bars to the left of each graph shows that the public grades schools much more harshly nationally (left) than they grade them locally (right). Maybe part of the reason is that they live in wealthier areas that increasingly subsidize their children's education though outside foundations. Via Vox. Used with permission.

 

 

Morning Listen: Cortines Promises Improvements In LAUSD

"On Monday, Ramon Cortines took over as the superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District. The 82-year-old is replacing John Deasy who resigned from the post last week. Cortines faces plenty of challenges as current head of the nation's second largest school district. But he's been in this seat before. Twice as a matter of fact. Ramon Cortines spoke with Take Two on Monday, his first day back on the job."

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 KPCC: New LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines talks top priorities for LA schools

AM News: In LA, Duncan Talks Early Childhood & Tech With Cortines

Education Secretary Duncan talks tech with L.A. Unified's Cortines LA Times: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a brief visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, met with newly installed L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines to talk about local technology problems and the state of local schools.

Education secretary says time to debate preschool is over KPCC: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a conference of preschool advocates in Los Angeles Tuesday that the value of early education to young children is undisputed and the effort should shift to expanding it to more kids.

Baker, Coakley to Face off in Gubernatorial Debate AP: GOP's Baker, Democrat Coakley face each other in debate in race for Massachusetts governor

Schools Face Fears of Ebola, Drop in Attendance Texas Tribune: Fear over possible exposure to Ebola has triggered campus closures in some Texas school districts and additional safety measures at many more in the almost three weeks since a Dallas hospital diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States.

Nation’s Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds NYT: With funding formulas that cap or redirect local property tax revenues to state coffers, some places are looking for other ways to capture local money.

New York City Council to Look at School Segregation NYT: Though the Council has very limited power over public schools, the bill’s sponsors say they do have the ability to increase the volume of the conversation.

Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing Hechinger Report: Steve Jobs once called the personal computer “a bicycle for our minds,” a tool that helps us go farther with the same amount of energy. But for many teachers, it has been a bumpy ride. 

New York Schools Chancellor Replaces 8 Superintendents NYT: The major personnel reshuffling was the first since Chancellor Carmen Fariña took over in January.

Why Patrick Henry High is the perfect school to host Michelle Obama MinnPost: There are any number of reasons why Henry deserves the spotlight, including academic indicators that have earned it the state’s “reward” label — designating it as a school where students are able to achieve despite a 90 percent poverty rate. 

Journalism: But Are All The New Ed-Focused Outlets Really *Helping*?

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comFordham's Mike ("Kojak") Petrilli has a new piece online this morning (Online education coverage is on the rise) over at Education Next (which I sometimes write for), taking a look at the "new breed" of education journalism out there over the past year or so.

What's new, or missing, or wrong in the Petrilli piece?

Clearly someone with access to Politico Pro, Petrilli notes that in addition to Morning Education the outlet "pumps out loads of ministories, and at least a handful of meaty ones, almost every day."

Anyone else seen these pieces, and if they're so influential why aren't they getting passed around?

Petrilli describes Chalkbeat as "a geographically based Education Week," which I'm sure will irk both EdWeek and Chalkbeat for different reasons.

The big surprise for me here is the presence of The Daily Caller, which Petrilli says gets tons of pageviews but I never see passed around. Anyone else read it?

What about RealClear Education, where there is a smattering of original writing in addition to great morning and afternoon roundups, or NPR Education, where Drummond et al have been crushing us with so many education stories we can't keep up? 

What else can I add? 

Check out a few more tidbits and some bottom-line observations below the fold.

Continue reading "Journalism: But Are All The New Ed-Focused Outlets Really *Helping*?" »

Thompson: It's OK To Celebrate Deasy’s Departure, Teachers

The Los Angeles Times’ Too Many Maverick Moments Finally Led to Deasy’s Undoing at LAUSD, by Howard Blume and James Rainey, is probably the best account of how the LA School Board finally lost patience with the “uncommunicative, ungovernable, somewhat detached leader.”

Journalists and scholars rightly take a dispassionate stance and place John Deasy’s defeat in the overall context of systematic change, and why it is hard to improve large urban school systems. The best of that genre is Deasy's Exit Reflects Other School Battles Across the U.S., by Teresa Watanabe and Stephen Ceasar, who place Deasy's rejection in the context of the backlash against corporate reform. He is one of many advocates of high stakes testing who are falling like dominoes.  

Education policy and union leaders are correct in being gracious and not gloating over our victory in forcing the Broad-trained Deasy to resign.

I hope they all understand, however, why classroom teachers must celebrate the rejection of another teacher-bashing corporate reformer. People who haven’t been in the public school classroom can’t fully appreciate the humiliation of having to endure the venom of ideologues like Deasy, Michelle Rhee, and too many other accountability hawks.

Deasy, and others who say that data, leadership, and accountability can overcome the legacies of poverty by fostering High Expectations!, could in theory create such a culture by clearing out the deadwood and creating a lean and determined administrative culture. But, I would ask policymakers if they have ever heard of a punitive management system, in any sector of the economy, where top bureaucrats selflessly accepted all of charges placed on them, and they did not turn around and dump that toxicity on their subordinates.

Real world, the poison spewed by Deasy et. al always flows downhill. Teachers are denigrated. A test and punish culture invariably pollutes classrooms, and students are the prime victims. So, let’s take time to celebrate the defeat of Deasy, and use that energy to invigorate the counterattacks against Newark’s Cami Anderson, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, and Rahm Emanuel.

In doing so, we must also envision a time when the last test and punish reformer is not replaced by another blood-in-the-eye crusader. Then, we can celebrate and the turn all of our energy towards better, more humane schools for all.-JT (@drjohnthompson)

Charts: Top Quarter Of Poor Urban School Students Enroll In College

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"Among the top quarter of these low-income high schools, 60 percent or more of the students went to college in the fall." (Hechinger Report:  Twenty five percent of low-income urban high schools beat the odds). Image used with permission.

Morning Listen: Reed (Netflix) Hastings & Sal Khan Discuss Nonprofit Online Learning

In the most recent Bloomberg EDU, Jane Williams talks to the Netflix founder (and charter skeptic) and YouTube flipped classroom trailblazer (or whatever to call him). Link not working? Go here.

AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)

CA Schools chief race may be election's tightest AP: Tuck has nearly matched Torlakson in campaign fundraising, with $1.9 million, while a Southern California businessman who often supports Republican candidates, William Bloomfield Jr., has independently picked up the tab for at least $900,000 worth of slate mailers and ads on his behalf.

Deasy's exit reflects other school battles across the U.S. LA Times: Top leaders in some of the largest districts — in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Texas and elsewhere — have come under tremendous pressure: some lost their jobs, one faced a massive teachers strike, and lawsuits have been filed against them, among other things.

New LA schools superintendent won’t use district-paid Deasy as adviser KPCC:  New L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said his improvement plans for the school district’s most pressing problems won’t involve the man who arguably knows the district best: resigned Superintendent John Deasy. “Dr. Deasy did many things well, but I will not be using his services,” Cortines said in an interview with KPCC’s Take Two on Monday.

The Short Shelf Life Of Urban School Superintendents NPR: If you're a 12th grader right now in the Los Angeles schools, that means you probably started kindergarten back in 2001. It also means that, as of this week, you've seen four superintendents come and go.

Teacher who flew to Dallas for Common Core seminar put on leave out of Ebola fear The Answer Sheet: A Maine teacher flew to Dallas to attend an educational conference — miles away from the hospital where three cases have been diagnosed — and was told to stay away from the elementary school where she works for 21 days.

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

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On California (Deasy/Cortines, Tuck/Torlackson, San Diego)" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Another Comedian Weighs In On Teachers (& Guidance Counselors)

Lewis Black Slams Guidance Counselors, Praises Teachers ow.ly/D3Auk

Karen Lewis Returns to Twitter After Brain Tumor Diagnosis | CSN Chicago ow.ly/D3ivF

It nearly all boils down to money/funding inequities, says @NewAmericaEd's @ConorPWilliams ow.ly/D3pfc

To Siri, with love - NYT ow.ly/D3Q7R Mother of autistic child writes about how the voice recognition program has helped

AFT & NEA weigh in on all-Dem CA supe race ow.ly/D3GUv

The role of the private sector in education: A convo w/ Chicago Community Trust's Terry Mazany — Chicago Business ow.ly/D3zt5

UMD's Journalism Center on Children and Families (home of Casey Medals) will shut down | Poynter. ow.ly/D3rnm

Quotes: Fed Reserve Head Reminds Us About Underlying Inequities

Quotes2A major reason the United States is different is that we are one of the few advanced nations that funds primary and secondary public education mainly through subnational taxation...Public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households. - Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen in Businessweek (Janet Yellen Speaks Out on Education and Inequality). Go here for the speech iteself.

Charts: That Falling Blue Line Represents The Plummeting Hispanic Dropout Rate

Casselman-feature-dropout-2

"In 2000, 12 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 hadn’t graduated high school, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data," notes FiveThirtyEight (U.S. High School Dropout Rates Fall, Especially Among Latinos). "By last year, that figure had fallen to 7 percent. Among Hispanics, the drop-out rate has fallen from 32 percent to 14 percent over the same period." Image used with permission.

Morning Listen: "This American Life" Show On Divergent Approaches To Classroom Discipline

 

This American Life takes on different efforts to revamp school and classroom discipline, from charter schools' silent hallways to racial disparities in suspension rates to the limits of restorative justice. Click here if the embed doesn't show or play. Thanks to LV for posting this on FB.

AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]

Teachers Unions Are Putting Themselves On November’s Ballot TIME: The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers union, is on track to spend between $40 million and $60 million this election cycle, while the smaller American Federation of Teachers (AFT) plans to pony up an additional $20 million—more than the organization has spent on any other past cycle, including high-spending presidential election years.

GOP schooled on education politics Politico: Just this week, the NEA’s political action committee went on the air with two new attack ads: One accuses Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton of seeking to cut student loan programs. Another blames Hawaii gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona for budget cuts that closed K-12 schools on Fridays for months. And there’s more to come.

Marshall Tuck on mission to overhaul education Fresno Bee: "I wouldn't send my son to every single Partnership school today," he said. "But I can tell you, in '08, there's zero chance I would have sent my son to any of them ... and I'm confident that in three or four years, it will be all of them."

John Deasy, former LAUSD superintendent, might run for public office KPCC: In a conference call with reporters organized by the advocacy group Students Matter, Deasy said he had not decided what he would do after leaving the position, but he has three options in mind: working in youth corrections, supporting the development of future school board supervisors or making a run for political office.

Too many maverick moments finally led to Deasy's undoing at LAUSD LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District dumped a heap of trouble on its schools this fall when it rolled out a new student records system.

L.A. Unified says it believes Deasy acted ethically on iPads LA Times: As part of its settlement this week with former schools Supt. John Deasy, the Los Angeles Board of Education declared that it did not believe Deasy had done anything wrong in connection with the project to provide students with iPads.

School District on Long Island Is Told It Must Teach Immigrants NYT: The guidance came after complaints that children who are in the U.S. illegally had been barred from public school classes in Hempstead.

National school boards group ends tobacco partnership EdSource Today: The National School Boards Association ended its health curriculum partnership with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. last week, highlighting the longstanding efforts of tobacco companies to influence what students are taught about cigarette smoking. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Unions' Big $60M Midterm Election Push [Mostly Against Republicans]" »

Quotes: What NYC's New School Rating System Gets Wrong

The weakness of Fariña’s proposal is not the six measures, it is the belief that a urban school system central bureaucracy can cultivate these qualities in a thousand schools—or that these six measures could be used as an evaluation or accountability tool solely in the hands of district administrators. - NACA's Greg Richmond, in Education Post, via Pondiscio)

Journalism: Researcher Fails To Disclose Union Funding; Journos Fail To Ask

Granted, it was a busy week in Chicago news, what with the Columbus Day holiday and the unexpected sickness befalling CTU head Karen Lewis, but I see this happening with disturbing frequency lately:

A Chicago-focused charter school study from a couple of days ago was apparently funded in large part by the Chicago Teachers Union -- something that wasn't disclosed in the report and wasn't picked up on by any of the media outlets who passed on its results until now.  

The situation was picked up by Crain's Chicago reporter Greg Hinz in this post (Chicago teachers union paid part of cost of charter-school study), which noted:

Mr. Orfield conceded in a later interview with WTTW that the Chicago Teachers Union, a vehement foe of charters, picked up part of the tab. "It was funded by the teachers union," Mr. Orfield said. "And the Ford Foundation and Kresge Foundation and others."...

In a subsequent phone call, Mr. Orfield said the CTU had paid "about half" of the total bill. However, he added, the methodology he used for the Chicago study was "exactly the same" as in prior studies of charters in New Orleans and the Twin Cities."

Hinz himself didn't get around to checking it out in his initial story either (Chicago charter schools lag conventional public schools: Orfield report). The two dailies covered the study (Study: Charter schools have worsened school segregation | Chicago Sun-Times, and Study: Chicago charter schools lag traditional ones - Chicago Tribune -- but didn't address funding sources. Only WTTW, Chicago Public Television, got to the issue.

So what, you ask? The funding source doesn't necessarily undermine the results (though INCS and others have raised questions about the data and methodology), and Chicago's charters did somewhat better using Orfield's methodology than charters in New Orleans and Minneapolis.  

But still... this is pretty basic stuff. Given all the scrutiny given to funding sources and disclosure in the media and by reform critics in particular, disclosure from the researcher (Myron Orfield) -- and some journalistic checking about the funding source -- would have made a lot of sense. I don't know who to be more upset with -- the journalists or the researcher.   

Morning Video: Why Think Tankers Hate The Vergara Strategy

This video recently uploaded by AFT is mostly just a broadside against Campbell Brown but it also reveals something I've written about before -- that think tankers (Brookings, Fordham) don't seem to like the Vergara-style approach to school reform:

 Why not? Some of the concerns are substantive, but that's only a part of it.  Think tankers and others are feeling burned by the pushback against reforms of the recent era (the so-called "war on teachers"), they're not as nearly familiar with legal strategies (as opposed to policies, programs, and politics), and they probably think they're smarter than Campbell Brown, who's leading the charge.

AM News: Gates-Funded Small Schools Work After All, Says New Study

Small high schools send larger shares of students to college, new study says ChalkbeatNY: The multi-year study examines a subset of 123 “small schools of choice” that opened between 2002 and 2008 with private funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and support from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

New Research Suggests Small High Schools May Help After All NPR: A New York City entrant in a long-running research controversy over the effectiveness of small high schools.

Deasy Resigns as Los Angeles Schools Chief After Mounting Criticism NYT: John E. Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, had clashed with the school board, and drawn flak for a flawed $1.3 billion plan to give iPads to students.

LA Schools Superintendent To Leave After iPad Controversy NPR: The Los Angeles schools superintendent is stepping down. John Deasy's resignation follows a contracting scandal that put him on the defensive. He talks to Steve Inskeep about why he resigned.

Deasy resigns as superintendent of LA Unified EdSource Today: Los Angeles Unified School superintendent John Deasy submitted his resignation this morning, after more than a year of turmoil and conflict with the seven-member elected school board. Deasy reportedly cut short a trip to South Korea to negotiate the terms of his departure. 

Los Angeles Unified announces Deasy's exit after secret vote to pay him through end of year LA Daily News: The separation agreement was approved in a 6-1 vote Tuesday. Board member Monica Ratliff, one of two elected officials representing the San Fernando Valley, cast the sole dissenting vote. Ratliff’s office declined to comment on why she voted against the agreement.

Cortines faces challenging tasks as he steps in behind departing superintendent KPCC: This time, Cortines may be in place for a long haul as the board searches for a permanent superintendent. There is little desire among school board members to send the district into more turmoil with another swift change at the top. 

How Schools Are Responding To The Threat of Ebola HuffPost: Schools around the country are taking steps against Ebola, screening students, passing out information and, with the air travel of an infected nurse between Texas and Ohio, closing schools in those two states.

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

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