The current urgency about inequality as an issue is really about how some white Americans are coming to live an experience that many minorities in this country have long lived — structural inequity has leapt the racial barrier — and that the legacy to which they fully assumed they were heirs is increasingly beyond their grasp.
- NYT columnist Charles Blow (White America’s ‘Broken Heart’)
Fresh off the heels of news that the public supports them more than City Hall, Chicago teachers rallied downtown. From WTTW Chicago Public Television.
See also WGN TV interview of former EdSec Arne Duncan interviewed about Chicago, unfinished business, and what he might do next.
Or, watch this PBS NewsHour segment on the Oklahoma universal preschool program.
PARCC Scores Lower for Students Who Took Exams on Computers EdWeek: Hard numbers from across the consortium are not yet available. But the advantage for paper-and-pencil test-takers appears in some cases to be substantial, based on independent analyses conducted by one prominent PARCC state and a high-profile school district that administered the exams. See also Washington Post: Report: Kids who took Common Core test online scored lower than those who used paper
Thousands rally downtown for Chicago Teachers Union Chicago Tribune: "I have no idea what goes (on) inside the CTU union and its internal politics, I really don't," Claypool said. "I do see a sincere effort by (CTU President) Karen Lewis, Jesse Sharkey and other members of CTU to get a deal, to get a deal." See also WTTW.
Teachers union has triple the public support of Emanuel Tribune: The survey also found that Emanuel's approval rating on education has fallen to a record low as the mayor and Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool are slashing budgets and cutting jobs in the face of the latest massive budget shortfall. Voters' displeasure with the mayor's handling of education tracks with the similarly low marks they gave Emanuel on his overall job performance and handling of crime.
Jindal Lawsuit Against Common Core Scrapped by New Governor AP: Gov. John Bel Edwards is ending Louisiana's lawsuit against President Barack Obama's administration over the Common Core education standards.
After Speedy Test Reforms, State Education Commissioner Says It's Time to 'Unplug' WNYC: State education commissioner MaryEllen Elia said she hopes more parents will let their children take this year's tests, after 20 percent opted out last year.
New York’s opt-out movement aims to influence policy, not just parents. Here’s how ChalkbeatNY: The opt-out movement’s efforts to influence the Board of Regents have raised eyebrows. Some wonder whether a group founded expressly to encourage parents to skip legally mandated state tests should have a say in statewide policy.
U.N. Experts Seem Horrified By How American Schools Treat Black Children HuffPost: The U.N.'s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent traveled around the U.S. last month to learn more about the various structural barriers and challenges African-American face. The group, which plans to release its full report in September, has given the media its preliminary findings, including several recommendations about reducing inequality in the U.S. education system.
In Oakland, Building Boys Into Men NYT: A California school district tries to reverse the underachievement and lack of opportunity for the country’s most vulnerable students, African-American boys.
Motorist Dead, 4 Students Hurt in School Bus Crash AP: One person is dead and four students injured in an accident involving a school bus and an SUV in southern New Jersey.
— Camika Royal (@DrCamikaRoyal) February 4, 2016
She says she's not going to be there for #TFA25, but here's Camika Royal's TFA20 speech, via Twitter. Royal was TFA 1999 but has since become a critic of the TFA model.
Here's a 2012 blog post she wrote on Diane Ravitch's site: Camika Royal Responds to Critics. Here's a Huffington Post entry about her speech: Swift to Hear; Slow to Speak: A Message to TFA Teachers, Critics, and Education Reformers.
Meanwhile, TFA critics led by the Badasss Teachers and Network for Public Education have set up a "Thunderclap" to bombard the TFA25 twitter stream. Think of it as social media countermeasures.
And perhaps the biggest news leading up to the conference is the announcement that blue-vested alumnus Deray McKesson is running for mayor of Baltimore:
“I Am Running for Mayor of Baltimore” https://t.co/tYQ58AOXYp— deray mckesson (@deray) February 4, 2016
It's unclear if he has any chance of winning in a field that already includes 28 candidates, or even if he's the first to run for big-city mayor, but the announcement might seem to represent a new generation of TFA alumni taking on post-classroom challenges.
From Randi Weingarten: "Educators from around the North East for @HillaryClinton are ready to get out the vote here in NH. #ImWithHer"
"Students at the Montesorri School pratice yoga to help clear their minds of the violence that surrounds their lives," reports Al Jazeera America (Yoga To Help Kids Cope With Violence in Chicago).
See also: Why Schools Are Embracing Yoga (featuring NYC, Detroit, Litchfield, Minn, and Encenitas, CA).
PARCC Scores Lower for Students Who Took Exams on Computers EdWeek: Students who took the 2014-15 PARCC exams via computer tended to score lower than those who took the exams with paper and pencil—a revelation that prompts questions about the validity of the test results and poses potentially big problems for state and district leaders.
Classroom Cuts Move Ahead, Absent a New Chicago Teachers' Contract WBEZ: Claypool said the cuts -- which could mean one position per school, on average -- could still be avoided if the two parties reach an agreement soon.
Rauner: I'm no saboteur Chicago Sun-Times: On that issue, Claypool and CTU President Karen Lewis agreed, with Lewis blasting Rauner. “Please don't pay any attention to the ravings of a mad man,” Lewis said. “He knows absolutely nothing about real education. So that's a problem.”
School Network With Most Kindergarten Suspensions Says It Will Stop Them Boston Learning Lab: Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students were suspended 78 times at schools operated by a single nonprofit school management company in the 2014-15 school year, according to state data.
Nation's charter schools aren't growing as fast as once thought Washington Post: The 7 and 9 percent increases over the last two years were lower than the average 11 percent annual enrollment growth over the last eight years, according to the National Alliance.
Parents gather 'parent trigger' signatures a second time after LAUSD doesn’t make changes KPCC: Parents at 20th St. Elementary School first organized in 2014, but decided not to formally submit their petition when LAUSD administrators proposed an improvement plan that included promises to improve the administration of the school, provide teachers with professional development, and use data to measure teaching and learning.
School kisses Valentine's Day and other holidays goodbye AP: A Minnesota elementary school has kissed Valentine's Day goodbye. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, too....
New York High School Wrestlers Break Stereotypes in Coed Division NYT: At a number of public high schools, wrestling teams with male and female athletes are breaking gender stereotypes.
The livestream begins Saturday morning at 9, but the conference officially starts Friday and there's sure to be a ton of Tweeting going on the next few days as #TFA25 ramps up. (Nearly 200
#TFA25 speakers/moderators, all in one Twitter List http://ow.ly/XRwRY.)
There are 20 sessions Friday, and another 60 on Saturday -- not nearly enough for all the interest in presenting and speaking at the conference. The Frequently Asked Questions makes clear that TFA was expecting (or experiencing) more demand to present than it could handle using the format it decided.
There's no opening plenary session -- the conference version of a outmoded home page -- or even keynotes. Topics covered at the 2011 summit are being avoided. As a result, "Even very senior/VIP speakers will be sharing a session with other speakers and panelists."
Here's a bit more information about what I'm doing -- or hoping to do (depending on which sessions are full, etc.) -- along with some information about what's going to be livestreamed. Take a look and then let us know what you're going to do.
What's on your #TFA25 wishlist? Or, even better, what are you already signed up for?
"To force the issue, they staged a one-day school boycott on Feb. 3, when approximately 460,000 students refused to go to school -- the school boycott was the largest civil rights protest in U.S. history.... Yet, little came of the boycott, and the activists' demands resonate still." From WNYC (Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City)
NEA, AFT Presidents: Hillary Clinton Can Make Things Happen PK12: Teachers' union leaders who put muscle and money behind Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton say they're not disheartened with her photo finish in the Iowa caucuses.
Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager To Step Down NPR: The state-appointed emergency manager of the Detroit public schools system is calling it quits. Darnell Earley was a big target because of his job before this one — as emergency manager of Flint. See also NYT.
Chicago Teachers Union calls proposed cuts by district 'an act of war' Chicago Tribune: One day after the Chicago Teachers Union rejected a contract proposal from Chicago Public Schools, district officials said they would slash school budgets and stop paying the bulk of teachers' pension contributions — moves CTU's president quickly decried.
Chicago Schools Announce Cuts After Union Rejects Offer AP: Chicago school officials say they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after the teachers' union rejected the latest offer in contentious contract negotiations that have lasted over a year.
Senior Education official collapses after heated four-hour hearing on Hill Washington Post: A senior executive at the Education Department who was the target of a four-hour interrogation by members of Congress on Tuesday collapsed after the hearing and was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.
This 17-year-old is a rising voice in Baltimore’s Black Lives Matter movement Washington Post: A high-ranking police officer was reassigned after the teen called attention to his tweets, which she said showed “entrenched racism.”
Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City WNYC: It didn't happen in the South; it happened in New York City, where the mostly white elected officials and Board of Education members said they believed in integrated education.
Hoaxers increasingly going online to threaten schools AP: In December, Los Angeles, New York City and several other school systems received an email warning of a grisly attack. In late January, districts in Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and elsewhere received bomb threats phoned in using an electronic voice. In almost every instance, the threats disrupted the lives of thousands of students. Schools were closed or locked down.
It's finally here: New Progressive Education Podcast launches, hosted by Jennifer Berkshire and Aaron French. First up is a look at African-American parents in Philadelphia who oppose standardized testing. Or, check out the fundraising site. Agree or disagree with the perspective being explored, you've got to admire the sound quality.
I know the early four states love being the early four states, and every four years you hear more and more about them. But 60 percent of the delegates actually get decided in March.
- AFT President (and Clinton supporter) Randi Weingarten in the NYT (Tight Democratic Race in Iowa Unnerves Clinton Campaign)
School spending per student drops for a third year in a row Hechinger Report: Per-pupil spending in the nation’s public schools fell for the third straight year in 2012-13*, according to the most recent federal financial data, which was released on January 27, 2016. In that school year, U.S. public schools spent only $10,763 per elementary, middle and high school student, on average, across the country.
Chicago Teachers Union Rejects 'Serious Offer' From District AP: The Chicago Teachers Union says it has rejected a contract proposal because it does not address school conditions, lack of services to some students and the long-term fiscal crisis of the nation's third-largest school district... See also Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune.
Public Advocate Sues New York City over Glitches in Special Ed Tracking WNYC: Public Advocate Letitia James filed a lawsuit on Monday that alleged the city's computer system for tracking students with disabilities was such a failure that it led to the loss not only of basic services for children in need but also of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid reimbursements. See also ChalkbeatNY.
Public schools see influx of state funds but financial challenges still loom KPCC: Up and down California, public schools are enjoying a rapid rise in state funding. With the state’s economic gains and a temporary tax increase approved by voters in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $71.6 billion education budget for the next fiscal year is up more than 50 percent since 2011. Spending per student has increased more than $3,800, to a projected $14,550 this year.
S.F. considers giving condoms away to middle schoolers SF Gate: Public school nurses and social workers in San Francisco would be allowed to hand out condoms to individual middle school students under a proposal before the district’s school board, expanding school-based access to the contraceptive to younger teens and preteens.
GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards Washington Post: Eleven states have passed or debated legislation to create state-run school districts in the past year, according to the Education Commission of the States, which tracks state education policy.
Top Education official will acknowledge ‘poor judgment’ at hearing into his behavior Washington Post: Harris, 56, also failed to report $10,000 in income from his various businesses on his federal disclosure forms and to the Internal Revenue Service, according to investigators. The agency’s inspector general launched an investigation into Harris’s activities in 2011 after receiving anonymous complaints.
Six years ago yesterday, Arne Duncan made what is arguably the biggest gaffe of his entire tenure, talking about Hurricane Katrina. It was a big one, no doubt, and might have represented something of a turning point in media coverage of Duncan and educators' perceptions of him. But it was also one of very few mistakes like these that I can recall him making. The only other that comes to mind is the time he came out in favor of same-sex marriage before President Obama.
On Friday in DC, I'll be appearing at a couple of #TFA25 sessions on social media and education journalism. The social media event is titled “Becoming an Education Influencer on Twitter” and is described as a "professional development" track and will take place in room 144BC of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Familiar and new to me, the list of other speakers include Alicia Herald https://twitter.com/aliciaherald, Andre Perry https://twitter.com/andreperryedu, Brittany Packnett- https://twitter.com/MsPackyetti, David Johns https://twitter.com/MrDavidJohns, Jeff Casimir https://twitter.com/j3, Jeremy Chiappetta https://twitter.com/chiachess, Jessica Cordova Kramer https://twitter.com/JJCordovaK, Jo Kmet https://twitter.com/JoKmet, Joseph Manko https://twitter.com/joemanko, Liz Dwyer https://twitter.com/losangelista, Reshma Singh https://twitter.com/reshma_a_singh, and Rishawn Biddle https://twitter.com/dropoutnation.
Someone should make a #TFA25 Twitter Power list from the speakers, right?
I'm also glad to be participating in a media panel at 3:05 titled "Five Things You Should Know Before You Talk to the Press" According to the event description, it will help #TFA25 attendees with the following: "How do stories and pitches sound from the other side of the divide? This panel of editors and writers will share mistakes to avoid when you share your story with journalists, edtech trends they've noticed in the market, and more." It's also in the Convention Center, in East Overlook Room.
Related posts: 52 regions. 40,000 Alumni. TFA At 25; Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel; 7 Things I Learned From The LA Times' TFA Article; TFA20: A Premature (Or Even Unwarranted) Celebration?; Looking Ahead To #TFA25; Stop Talking About Education's "Egypt Moment"; Five Ideas For TFA's *Next* 20 Years.
He wrote a big profile of Diane Ravitch four years ago.
Now, the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss has this excerpt from his new book, ‘Lit Up.’
It's the account of his return to English class, following up (20 years later) on a similar tale about returning to college.
In the introduction, he explains the motivation behind the project:
"Teenagers may be reading more words than ever, but many of those words are scraps, messages, fragments of books and articles, information from everywhere and nowhere. What about reading serious books? The best way to find out, I reasoned, was not to scan education research and statistical surveys but to “embed” in a single tenth-grade English class all year long and to see what happened as a good teacher worked with 15-year-olds. I would read everything the kids read, sit on the side of the room, keep my mouth shut, and interview the kids when they had some free time."
Denby chose Beacon School, which he describes as a magnet school "with a multi-ethnic and multi-class population of New York kids." From this Wikipedia entry, you can see it's not your typical NYC high school. And the teacher whose classroom Denby observed was not just a teacher, according to Denby, he was "a maker of souls as well as a maker of readers."
Meet the Visionary Chicago School Leader Who Won a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant (via The Seventy Four.
Will teachers accept CPS offer or start countdown to strike? Chicago Sun-Times: Forty members of the Chicago Teachers Union are slated Monday to consider a “serious offer” for a new four-year contract, a step that’s making another teachers strike look less likely. See also Chicago Tribune, DNA Info.
NYC Rejects Federal Findings That Many Elementary Schools Defy Disabilities Law NYT: The de Blasio administration took issue with a report saying that the majority of city elementary schools are not fully accessible to disabled people.
Koch brothers' new group will take on poverty, educational quality USA Today: The organization, known as Stand Together, is still in its start-up phase but aims to raise $15 million this year, top officials told USA TODAY in the first interview about the new organization. The group will make its first public splash this week — launching its website and broadly sharing its plans as an annual winter seminar for hundreds of Koch donors opens Saturday near Palm Springs, Calif.
State Pre-K Funding Increases For Fourth Year Straight State EdWatch: Thirty-two states have increased funding while only nine states decreased funding for preschool.
Education Department Tells States: If Students Don't Take Tests, You Will Lose Funding
Huffington Post: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said states need support from the Education Department during the transition, "not the threat of sanctions."
School funding increases in California don't buffer from future uncertainties LA Daily News: Vallejo High School teacher Lewis Brown starts his morning government class with a question of the day that takes advantage of newly assigned iPads.
Baltimore schools lose hundreds of students, millions in funding Washington Post: The school system is investigating whether students were kept on the rolls after enrollment dropped.
The New Student Activists NYT: Black students and their allies are demanding change. Seven from colleges and universities around the country discuss the problem, their protests and themselves.
White House Announces 'Computer Science for All' Initiative PK12: Today, the White House announced what it's calling an "ambitious, all-hands-on deck" initiative to get every student in the United States coding. See also NYT, HuffPost
Students Say Racial Hostilities Simmered at Historic Boston Latin School NYT: Two black students, employing YouTube videos and a hashtag, started a campaign to expose what they see as a hostile climate at Boston Latin School, a beacon of high achievement that was founded in 1635.
"By second grade, it was clear that while Zack Smith could sit in a chair, he had no intention of staying in it. He was disruptive in class, spoke in a loud voice, and had a hard time taking turns with others... Where Zack eventually landed is clinging spread-eagle to an east-facing slab of quartzite in the West Virginia panhandle." From Outside magazine (ADHD Is Fuel for Adventure)
Watch out, world. A week from today starts TFA's 25th Anniversary Summit in DC.
According to the event organizers, Friday includes "sessions focused on leadership development" (including one about social media that I'm going to be participating in), followed by Saturday's big day of panels (including a Denver case study panel I'm moderating) and an appearance from Janelle Monáe (above).
There are a bunch of social events, including charter networks (Democracy Prep, etc.), diverse charters (Brooklyn Prospect), and districts (Denver Public Schools).
#TFA25 seems to be the event hashtag.
There's a big EdWeek deep dive.
There's a BuzzFeed listicle: 19 Things To Do At The TFA 25th Anniversary Summit.
There's an app.
TFA Alumni Affairs (aka @onedayallkids) have put together a "TFA25 Twitter Track" for the conference http://ow.ly/XB7aA.
There's some great TFA memorabilia floating around on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, including this 1992 poster:
If Deray McKesson isn't there, I think there might be a riot. [He's scheduled to be there on Saturday, I'm told.]
What about LAUSD Board Chairperson Steve Zimmer, or StudentsFirst co-founder Michelle Rhee (pictured at #TFA20)? Jesse Hagopian? Alex Caputo-Pearl? [No idea]
The NYT's Nikole Hannah-Jones is going to be there, according to Twitter. (Not as a TFA alum but on a panel on school desegregation.)
The last big gathering of TFA folks was in February 2011, which seems like 100 years ago. People were still talking about the Arab Spring back then. Michelle Rhee was sort of the rock star of the event. Questions about the organization's role and impact were coming up (including from founder Wendy Kopp herself) but hadn't gained real traction yet. There was no #BlackLivesMatter. Teachers in Chicago hadn't gone on strike for the first time in nearly 30 years. Yet.
Related posts: Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel; 7 Things I Learned From The LA Times' TFA Article; TFA20: A Premature (Or Even Unwarranted) Celebration?; Looking Ahead To #TFA25; Stop Talking About Education's "Egypt Moment"; Five Ideas For TFA's *Next* 20 Years.
"Some large urban school systems get more bang for their buck than others. After adjusting for certain factors outside a district’s control, such as cost of living and student poverty, some big-city school systems spend millions of dollars more than others—but get far lower results on national math and reading exams." CAP 2011- used with permission.
This comes up because of a couple of recent reports on district spending in 2013 (NCES via Washington Post) and district achievement 2015 (CAP via USA Today). Anyone who wants to match up the more recent spending and NAEP figures?
"The numbers [for the biggest 100 districts in the nation] ranged from $5,539 per pupil in Utah’s Alpine School District to $20,331 in New York City. After New York, the highest-spending large districts were in Boston, Philadelphia and Anchorage. Four of the 11 highest-spending large districts were in the Washington area, reflecting the region’s relative wealth and high cost of living. Montgomery County was ranked fifth, spending $15,080 per student; Howard County was seventh, at $14,884; Prince George’s County was ninth, at $14,101; and Fairfax County was 11th, at $13,670." - Washington Post's Emma Brown (Spending in nation’s schools falls again)
Watch the event from this morning above. Featured are CAP's Catherine Brown, NY State's Mary Ellen Elia, CCSSO's Chris Minnich, Achieve's Mike Coehn, and DCPS teacher Chris Bergfalk, Ruidoso NM Supierntendent George Bickert, and NAACP LDEF's Janel George.
Read more here: Toward a Coherent, Aligned Assessment System | Center for American Progress. Read the Twitterstream #testbetter here.
"If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed "just a little bit below average," it's not really their fault. So what should be done about it?" From Freakonomics (2014, rebroadcast again recently)
Detroit Teachers Sue District Over 'Deplorable' Conditions AP: The Detroit teachers' union has filed a lawsuit against the district calling for repairing "deplorable" conditions and removing the state-appointed emergency manager. See also Washington Post, US News, Detroit Free Press.
Education Department Tells States: If Students Don't Take Tests, You Will Lose Funding AP: A letter from the federal department last month reminded state school chiefs that the requirement to test at least 95 percent of grade 3-8 students is still in place and will continue under the nation's new education law, passed in December.
Per Pupil Spending Down in Most States, According to Federal Data State EdWatch: Despite the economic recovery, districts spent 1.8 percent less per student in 2013 than they did the prior year.
At least 145 sickened from apparent gas leak at Texas school AP: Authorities say at least 145 students and staff members at a Southeast Texas middle school received hospital treatment after an apparent carbon monoxide leak Thursday....
Immigrants' Son Is 1 Of 12 Students Worldwide To Ace AP Calculus Exam NPR: Of the 302,532 students who took the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, Cedrick Argueta, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, was one of 12 to earn every single point.
Philanthropy’s quest to improve K-12 education feels stuck in a rut. Some of the biggest funders on the scene remain devoted to a reform strategy that has so far failed to yield transformative change, while a range of other funder-backed efforts aren’t yet operating at a scale likely to produce major breakthroughs.
- David Callahan in Inside Philanthropy (Ed Funders Need to Think Bigger About Systemic Change. Here Are Some Ideas)
"The new federal data were released on the heels of a report by the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing that state governments in at least 31 states are contributing less to public education than they did in 2008, before the recession." (Washington Post: Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states). Image used with permission.