"StudentsFirst is a rising power in state political spending, but it didn’t come close to matching the National Education Association’s influence in 2012," notes Center for Public Integrity. "That year, the National Education Association and its local and state affiliates accounted for roughly $15.7 million in independent spending, nearly five times what relative newcomer StudentsFirst spent." (Where education titans spent)
MSNBC segment from over the weekend including New York University’s Pedro Noguera, parent Regina Dowdell, founder of Green Dot Schools Steve Barr, and Working Families Party’s Dan Cantor to "discuss the fight over three nixed charter schools and the public education debate in New York City."
What you need to know about ‘backfill’ Chalkbeat: Backfilling seats that open up can pose steep challenges for schools. Students who enter the school midyear or at one of a school’s higher grade levels can have trouble adjusting to a new school and be academically behind. Midyear entries especially are more likely to have unstable home lives, leading to them leaving the school—meaning that one “backfilled” seat might actually be filled by two or three students over the course of a year.
The Curious Rejection of One S.C. District's Testing-Waiver Request PoliticsK12: In a March 10 rejection letter, however, Deborah Delisle, assistant secretary for K-12, explained that the No Child Left Behind Act requires that all students within a state be held to the same standards and tested on the same tests. She said this is essential given the move to new college- and career-ready standards.
At West Side Chicago school, kids go without teachers WBEZ: Take the Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy on the city’s West Side, where students have spent much of this year without key teachers. Their core courses in English and science have been taught mostly by substitutes this year—sometimes a different substitute every day—meaning no homework, and often no classwork. One student said students are passed automatically since there are no teachers.
D.C. Moves To Extend School Day At Low-Performing Schools WAMU: Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson want students and 40 of the city's lowest-performing schools to stay in school a little longer every day.
Status Quo at Elite New York Schools: Few Blacks and Hispanics NYT: The stagnant racial demographics at the city’s nine specialized high schools led Mayor Bill de Blasio to call again for increasing their diversity.
Video: 'No Kid Goes Hungry' Plan Goes Viral NBC News: More than 700 people, from as far way as Taiwan, have donated almost $20,000 to a Michigan 3rd grader's plan to pay off delinquent lunch accounts. WILX's Amanda Malkowski reports.
Video: Parents Rally Behind Extreme Bullying Victim NBC News: A group of Ohio parents rally behind a 14-year-old developmentally challenged student after a gym teacher and some students are charged with bullying him. WKYC's Lynna Lai reports.
Obesity Linked To Lower Grades Among Teen Girls NPR: The reason for the link isn't clear, but researchers say obesity's effect on self-image and self-esteem might be partly to blame.
Flobots classroom project takes off in Denver AP: The Flobots, a Denver hip-hop band that gained fame with the hit single "Handlebars," are known for social activism and supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement. Drew Elder, a senior vice president of the investment firm Janus, is more familiar with the cello than with Chuck D....
Here's Reed Hastings speaking to CCSA Charter Conference 2014 last week, via Politico, during which he rails against the the vagaries of local elected school boards and urges aggressive charter expansion. (He's not the first to make this argument. Matt Miller's 2008 Atlantic piece, First, Kill All the School Boards, is another notable example.) Don't agree with Hastings? Show your commitment by canceling your Netflix subscription immediately, even if you have episodes of House of Cards still to watch.
The Washington Post’s Emma Brown, in D.C. Mulls Common Core Test Switch, explains that four years ago the D.C. schools opted for the PARCC Common Core Test rather than the Smarter Balanced assessment. Back then, little was known about the ways that the assessments would differ. Now, a powerful case can be made that the district should switch to the Smarter Balanced test.
If Common Core tests are necessary, I'd say, in an urban district the case for Smarter Balanced is overwhelming. Arguments against the transition to the more appropriate tests are worrisome.
Brown links to the blogger Ken Archer at Greater Greater Education, who has access to the minutes of a meeting of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The OSSE administers the district’s tests and it is open to a change away from PARCC. Archer reports that the "OSSE discussed their intentions to engage in a series of stakeholder discussions with regards to the choice of common core next generation assessments.”
But, Chancellor Kaya Henderson has a disturbing reason for opposing the seemingly better test. Henderson opposes a transition because “teachers unions would see it as an opening to attack the Common Core and testing in general.”
The best reason for switching to the Smarter Balanced test is that it is a computer-adaptive assessment. Adaptive testing is one of the promising technologies that were undermined by No Child Left Behind. Adaptive assessments adjust the questions asked based on the test-takers’ ability to handle tougher or easier questions. They could be essential in helping 8th graders with 4th grade skills so they don't give up and drop out of school when standards are abruptly raised.
Check out Tweetails and you can see how much you - or someone you know - is Tweeting.
Apparently I send out about 23 tweets a day (including blog posts), which amounts to 29 hours a month, which makes me a Level 23 Tweet Paladin (and probably a fool).
Lots more details -- word frequency, folks I tweet to/with -- below.
Give it a try and tell me what you found?
The teachers union has its own squad of in-house lobbyists, along with an outside firm, Strook, Strook & Lavin... [and] its own political action committee, UFT Cope, which in the last two years spent $1,721,960. -- NY Daily News reporter Ben Chapman (Parents and children get caught between charter school feud) h/t EW
Here's the MSNBC segment that everyone's talking about (see links in morning roundup) in which we see a mayor caught between several competing players: charter supporters like Eva Moskowitz and Governor Cuomo, charter critics like the UFT, and elected officials even further to his left like Public Advocate Tish James (who's suing against some of the de Blasio-approved co-locations). I'm almost starting to feel sorry for the guy.
California gets waiver for Common Core field tests without penalties EdSource Today: California will not face penalties or multimillion-dollar fines from the federal government for giving all students a preliminary test on the new Common Core standards, instead of on the old state standards that California has abandoned.
Teach for America tests out more training WPost: Teach for America, which places thousands of freshly minted college graduates in teaching jobs in some of the toughest schools in the country, is rethinking its training program in light of complaints from its own members that they need more preparation for the classroom.
Shaking Up the Classroom Wall Street Journal: Instead, in the “Content Level 7″ room at Washington Elementary, 10 students, ages 11 to 14, gather around teacher Nelly Lopez for help in writing essays. Eight sit at computers, plowing through a lesson on sentence structure, while a dozen advanced ...
AFT Says It Will No Longer Accept Gates Funding TeacherBeat: AFT will no longer take money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the union says.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
via Kottke @mrpabruno
At last week's CPAC convention -- a conservative Republican beauty contest at which all the big contenders for the party nominee appeared -- Paul Ryan told a story about a kid who wanted a brown bag lunch instead of a federally subsidized school lunch because the home-made lunches showed someone who cared.
Except Ryan or his staff might have cribbed the anecdote from Invisible Threads, a book about a long-running relationship between a white woman and a black boy (now grown up).
Via The Atlantic Wire: Paul Ryan's Heartwrenching Tale of a Hungry Kid Also Appears in a Heartwrenching Book.
The plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California believe that the state's tenure and seniority protections for teachers are so detrimental to student well-being that they should be considered unconstitutional.
I'm skeptical the evidence on that count is sufficiently abundant and clear to justify judicial intervention, but one can at least imagine what a data-driven argument from the plaintiffs might look like. Rigorous statistical analyses of student outcomes would likely be appropriate, for example, and at times the plaintiffs have attempted to provide them.
What has been more puzzling and disheartening, however, is the apparent need for the plaintiffs to demonstrate that they were personally wronged by the laws in question by impugning the competence of protected teachers.
Last week - and for the second time so far during the trial - a teacher took the stand to defend herself against complaints made by a student plaintiff.
In other words, the Vergara trial entails teachers being forced to defend their competence and professionalism in court because a few students were unhappy with them.
What, precisely, is this sort of public humiliation supposed to accomplish?
"U.S. public school teachers are the sixth highest paid teachers in the world, according this January 29, 2014 UNESCO analysis (p. 254) that adjusts wages by domestic purchasing power so you can compare different currencies and countries more fairly." (U.S. teachers 6th highest paid in the world Hechinger Report)
Kansas School Funding Declared Unconstitutional By State Supreme Court HuffPost: The decision ordered the immediate reversal of recent education cuts, but told a lower court to reconsider the potential $1 billion question of whether Kansas provides enough education funding to adequately prepare students for the future.
For transient, high-needs students, Florida teachers see Common Core as an anchor Hechinger Report: Designers say Common Core’s structure should help low-income, or students who move frequently – like those at Monroe. Norris’ sixth grade students are studying fairy tales from around world. She broke them into four groups and asks them to write about how different cultures tell the same story.
U.S. teachers 6th highest paid in the world Hechinger Report: U.S. public school teachers are the sixth highest paid teachers in the world, according this UNESCO analysis that adjusts wages by domestic purchasing power so you can compare different currencies and countries more fairly.
How de Blasio’s Narrative Got Hijacked NYT: "De Blasio went into this thinking that he and Cuomo were friends,” a Democratic insider said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of concern over retribution, “but Andrew Cuomo doesn’t really have friends.”
Weeks Later, Epic Spelling Bee Ends In Missouri NPR: Fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman and seventh-grader Kush Sharma became celebrities after they essentially broke the bee in February, as Maria Carter of member station KCUR reported Friday. At that competition, they lasted 66 rounds before organizers said they needed time to gather more words. See also TODAY
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Here's the trailer for "Take Away One," about the story of educator and author Mary Baratta-Lorton, whose revolutionary ideas about hands-on learning "transformed nearly every classroom in America" and whose murder remains a mystery. Screening in NYC next week. More about it here.
The news of the day is that the DOE has appreantly reversed itself on one of its much-discussed charter co-location decisions -- Success Academy's students aren't "on their own" after all, according to the NY Post (Flip-flop Farina now wants to help charter students).
If you want, read a little more about the shellacking that reformers have been giving this week over at NRO (School Reformers Fight Back against de Blasio). This kind of robust public response has been missing in the past from polite reformers who've seemed to be scared of their own shadows (or naive about how things get done in the real world).
Still, I still want to take a minute to address WNYC's piece earlier this week about the debate going on between charter advocates and critics, because, well, I like to complain about other peoples' work and this kind of thing keeps happening and really annoys and troubles me.
The WNYC story has several great elements, but misses badly when it comes to balance and context -- and misses out on at least one obvious connection between FFES and Eva Moscowitz's charter network.
Read below for the details.
Lupita Nyong'o didn't mention her IB education during her Oscars acceptance speech, but that hasn't stopped IB from making sure we all know what kind of school she went to (before Hampshire, and Yale).
"Her successful completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme at St. Mary’s School in Nairobi, Kenya, was foundational to her academic success," according to a press release from IB.
The connection has been noted in at least a couple of news accounts ( IB Graduate Takes Home Oscar for Performance as Best Supporting Actress.
See the full press release below -- thanks to EWAE for the tip. Image via Twitter.
Basically, the advice I got from places like Roslyn, Mooresville, McAllen, and Burlington (MA) boiled down to getting very clear about why you're doing this and what you expect to be different in classrooms because of the devices, holding off (or at least piloting) before making big purchases, and making sure to have enough bandwidth and WiFi access to let all those devices work at roughly the same time.
Click here if you feel like checking it out.
WATCH: A Day in the Life of #Educon From last month. Via Learning Matters. Feat. @samchaltain
There was a pervasive sense from the folks we spoke to that TFA has taken a side in education reform, taken the side of teacher evaluation and charters, and that their views were more complicated. We need to create a space that is much more welcoming of the diversity of opinions. -- TFA co-head Matt Kramer in EdWeek
Need for Full-Day Kindergarten Is Lost in Pre-K Debate, Critics Say NYT: Melanie Hartzog, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund in New York, said most states require public schools to offer kindergarten, and several of them, including Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina, require children to attend it on a full-day basis equivalent to the time they would spend in first grade. But New York is one of five states where school districts are not required to offer any kindergarten.
De Blasio, in Radio Interview, Defends His Position on Charter Schools NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on the hip-hop station Hot 97 on Thursday, arguing that his policies on New York City charter schools were being distorted.
Cuomo lends support to solving charter school space issue with legislation Chalkbeat: Two days after promising to “save charter schools” at a rally in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that he is considering a legislative solution for New York City’s charter school space issues. He emphasized the role of charter schools as engines of educational innovation and said he was already speaking with lawmakers about how to ensure that the schools can operate without being crippled by rent costs.
Charter School Battle Lines WNYC: Charges of playing politics with children's educations have flown on both sides of the debate over the de Blasio administration's withdrawal of permission to co-locate for 3 of the 49 schools under review. Beth Fertig, contributing editor for education at WNYC and Schoolbook.org, and Robert Lewis, WNYC investigative reporter, talk about this battle over education and the money behind some of the protests.
A Homeless Teen Finds Solace In A Teacher And A Recording NPR: Aaron didn't intend to tell his classmates that he was homeless. But when he recorded his own story with StoryCorpsU — a project designed to help kids in high-needs schools build stronger relationships with their teachers — he says, it just came out.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
Here's some additional information, via ECS, detailing state opt out provision language for one state we already discussed -- California -- plus two others not previously mentioned -- Nebraska, and Wisconsin:
California: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent's or guardian's written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted. (West's Ann.Cal.Educ.Code § 60615)
Also, Cal. Admin. Code tit. 5, § 852
(a) Each year the LEA shall notify parents or guardians of their pupil's participation in the CAASPP assessment system in accordance with Education Code section 60604.
(b) The notification to parents or guardians, as defined in subdivision (a), shall include a notice of the provisions outlined in Education Code section 60615.
(c) A parent or guardian may annually submit to the school a written request to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of any test provided pursuant to Education Code section 60640 for the school year. If a parent or guardian submits an exemption request after testing has begun, any test(s) completed before the request is submitted will be scored and the results reported to the parent or guardian and included in the pupil's records. An LEA and its employees may discuss the CAASPP assessment system with parents and may inform parents of the availability of exemptions under Education Code section 60615. The LEA and its employees shall not solicit or encourage any written exemption request on behalf of any child or group of children.
Nebraska: On or before July 1, 1995, each public school district in the state shall develop and adopt a policy stating how the district will seek to involve parents in the schools and what parents' rights shall be relating to access to the schools, testing information, and curriculum matters. (Neb.Rev.St. § 79-531) local policies must include Under what circumstances parents may ask that their children be excused from testing, classroom instruction, and other school experiences the parents may find objectionable (Neb.Rev.St. § 79-532)
Wisconsin: Upon the request of a pupil's parent or guardian, a school board, charter school, or governing body of a private school participating in school vouchers program shall excuse the pupil from taking an examination administered under sub. (1m). (W.S.A. 118.30)
Thanks again to ECS, NCSL, Fairtest, and United Opt Out. Image via Flickr. See previous post here.
Asked about stressful standardized testing a few days ago, NYC chancellor Carmen Farina suggested the book Testing Miss Malarkey.
I thought you might like to see the book cover, which now joins Mike Klonsky's "Keep Calm and Continue Testing" as my favorite test-related images.
According to the jacket description: "The new school year brings standardized testing to every school and Miss Malarkey's is no exception. Teachers, students, and even parents are preparing for THE TEST-The Instructional Performance Through Understanding (IPTU) test-and the school is in an uproar. Even though the grown-ups tell the children not to worry, they're acting kind of strange. The gym teacher is teaching stress-reducing yoga instead of sports in gym class. Parents are giving pop quizzes on bedtime stories at night. The cafeteria is serving "brain food" for lunch. The kids are beginning to think that maybe the test is more important than they're being led to believe. Kids and adults alike will laugh aloud as Finchler and O'Malley poke fun at the commotion surrounding standardized testing, a staple of every school's year."
Here's John Merrow on the PBS NewsHour talking about the new SAT, in case you just can't get enough.
College Board Previews Revisions To SAT NPR: The upcoming changes that were announced on Wednesday by the College Board will affect more than a million college-bound, high school students. It's the second major revision in nine years. See also WP, HuffPost, LA Times, PBS, KPCC, ChalkbeatNY, NBC News, Politico, NYT, WSJ, AP
Wendy Davis On Education: 'We Texans Have A Different Way Of Doing Things' HuffPost: "I've laid out a detailed platform … I've been talking about it already to a great extent," Davis told reporters. "Greg Abbott in contrast to that is still defending indefensible cuts to our public school system. With his words he says that education is a priority, but with his actions he shows that it's not." Abbott's campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.
Socialization technique helps in academic achievement, trial study finds WP: In a randomized, controlled trial that examined the technique known as Responsive Classroom, researchers found that children in classrooms where the technique was fully used scored significantly higher in math and reading tests than students in classrooms where it wasn’t applied.
Six Years of High School? An Educational Experiment in Chicago WNYC: At Sarah E. Goode, students attend high school for six years, graduating with a high school diploma and an associate's degree. The school is funded and in partnership with IBM, which means students also get hands on technical and business training, and the chance to land a job at IBM upon graduation. Twenty-six more such schools will open in three states by this fall.
Saucedo teachers spend Day 1 of ISAT teaching; concerns raised about intimidation WBEZ: Teachers at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy declared victory Tuesday, saying their protest of the state’s Illinois Standards Achievement Test is working. The teachers said they spent the first day of ISAT testing doing what they set out to—teaching.
More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
At the risk of making a mountain out of a molehill, here's what I've been able to dig up since yesterday on the topic of parents' rights to opt children out of standardized testing, which I'd thought was pretty well-established (like field trips and sex ed) but is apparently not at all.
Officially, at least, states are required to test everyone who's at school on testing days (for civil rights reasons) and most states don't formally allow parents to opt out. That seems to be the basis upon which Illinois state officials have been telling Chicago parents that they can't just sign a form.
However, parents in most places seem to have figured out other ways -- religious exemptions and/or keeping kids out of school -- to avoid having their children tested if that is their wish.
Districts and administrators sometimes urge parents to reconsider or even in a handful of cases suggest scary effects if parents opt out, but they're bluffing. "We have yet to see a public school attempt to stop opt out when parents push back," notes United Opt Out's Peggy Robertson. "The school district always back down." Testing opponents sometimes try and pressure parents to join them, too (see previous post).
See below for very helpful details from Fairtest, NCSL, United Opt Out, and ECS. Tell CCSSO and USDOE to get over their Mardi Gras hangovers and email me back.
The Daily Oklahoman's Nasreen Iqbal, in Structural Faults Found in Destroyed Moore Elementary School, Engineer Says, explains that when an EF5 tornado hit two elementary schools, killing seven students, that there was no guarantee that a tragedy would have been prevented had construction standards been respected.
But, engineers inspected one of the destroyed Moore, Oklahoma schools and found, "Walls lacking reinforced concrete. An anchor bolt pulled from the ground. In several places, the 30-year-old school had no connection between the masonry wall and support beam."
I need to be equally careful in addressing the obvious lesson. I don't claim that market-driven reformers (and others who distrust regulatory systems) don't care about children. I just argue they are naive about the supposed public benefits of private sector competition.
Corporate reformers should heed the lessons of history. Over the 20th century, unions and workers overcame great obstacles to help enact legal regulations protecting health, safety, and other public goods. I doubt we have entered a new epoch where the rule of law is no longer necessary for checking the power of private enterprise and management. As bad as the tornado was, pretending that education no longer needs regulations is a recipe for really reaping the whirlwind.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.