Senate Confirms John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary PK12: King had been serving as acting secretary since the start of this year after taking over for former Secretary Arne Duncan. The vote in the Senate was 49-40. See also LA Times, Washington Post, AP.
NYC Charters Retain Students Better Than Traditional Schools WNYC: New York City charter schools retain more of their students, on average, than traditional public schools, according to Department of Education data obtained and analyzed by WNYC. Kipp and Icahn had the lowest comparable rates for middle school grades, too, among the big networks. We found most of Success's 18 schools in the 2013-14 school year had attrition rates that were lower than those of their local districts.
LAUSD turns down 'parent trigger' bid at southeast LA elementary school KPCC: District leaders rejected the petition from parents at 20th Street Elementary School because, according to a letter officials sent the group on Saturday, the school is not subject to the California law that lets parents force changes at a low-performing school where their children attend — if they can gather enough signatures. See also LA School Report.
Failing grade? Trial over Florida's schools finally starts AP: A showdown over Florida's public schools that began Monday in a Tallahassee courtroom is expected to delve into whether the changes pushed by Republican governors and a GOP-controlled Legislature over the last two decades helped or hurt the state's school children....
Alaska’s Schools Face Cuts at Every Level Over Oil Collapse NYT: Educators and state officials said a reckoning over policies and promises made in a different era, under different circumstances, has arrived.
Seven Schools Meet Higher Diversity Goals in Fall Acceptances WNYC: The seven New York City elementary schools participating in a pilot program to diversify their student bodies met their goals for next year’s kindergarten admissions in all but one case, education officials told WNYC, meaning their youngest students will be substantially more diverse than the year before.
Study: States Leave Out College Readiness Factors That Matter Most EdWeek: An Achieve study finds that states' accountability systems leave out factors that best indicate whether students are ready for college.
My party trick is always to ask people which city has one of the lowest grad rates. I always know they'll never win, because it's Minneapolis. It just doesn't come to people's mind as the most impacted, the most struggling urban city in America.
-- Robert Balfanz, a research professor at Johns Hopkins University, in MPR (Without support, Minnesota students left behind at graduation)
"At a panel co-sponsored by the Howard University School of Education this week, Secretary of Education John B. King, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten and the CEO of Teach For America, Elisa Villanueva Beard stood in agreement that America needs more teachers of color."
The clip of Mike Brown's mom asking the reporter "Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many." still gives me chills.
See #demtownhall for notes from last night's Democratic debate.
Efforts to repeal Common Core gain steam in Kansas Washington Times: “Since last year it had no steam or momentum, and then all of a sudden it was passed out of the committee and on the agenda for a House debate,” said Brad Neuenswander, the state’s deputy education commissioner. “It’s a concern of ours because it still has some legs.”
Survey: Ohio Students Got A Grades on Paper Exams, F Grades Online EdWeek: Ohio is now part of a growing number of states that are questioning the validity of their online exam results.
Superintendents, but not teachers, give high grades to Common Core rollout EdSource Today: While a majority of superintendents and district leaders say their districts have successfully rolled out the new standards, classroom teachers in California are not as upbeat. In a questionnaire and interviews, they expressed doubts about their principals’ instructional knowledge and capacity to lead the transition to the new standards.
Some 11th graders not getting message about how much new Smarter Balanced tests matter KPCC: CSU-bound 11th graders – the only grade in high school required to take the Smarter Balanced standardized tests – who exceed the standard don’t need remediation and can move forward with their Cal State enrollment.
Southern Lawmakers Reconsidering Role of Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations EdWeek: Lawmakers across the South, home to some of the nation's most test score-centric teacher-evaluation systems, are rethinking the weight placed on value-added measures.
Charter school scandal haunts John Kasich Politico: Ohio Gov. John Kasich is an avid proponent of school choice, but his home state’s notoriously problematic charter school sector is often held up as an example of what can go wrong. In the last year, he successfully pushed for revisions to Ohio’s charter school oversight, but the sector remains embroiled in scandal.
Turmoil Behind The Scenes At A Nationally Lauded High School NPR: The early college model known as P-TECH has been copied all over the country, but it is is still a hotly contested work in progress, internal emails show.
Without support, Minnesota students left behind at graduation MPR: Minority students in Minnesota schools have a lower chance of completing high school than in nearly any other state, according to this Minnesota Public Radio investigation. And these schools already spend less money than any other state on the kind of support that might help the students.
Lessons From The School Where I Failed As A Teacher NPR: For years, NPR's Claudio Sanchez has struggled with his decision to leave teaching and the children he had grown so fond of.
For some parents, getting their kids to school is easier said than done WNYC: At San Diego's heavily immigrant Adams Elementary School, a push is on to improve attendance, an indicator linked to dropout rates.
"Our favorite [crossing guard] is an energetic lady who spins around and sings to herself in the middle of the street, luring and halting traffic with graceful pirouettes that make it look as if she’s controlling the cars as part of some larger, secret ballet. However, she can turn on the cars just as easily: we’ve seen her scream at disobeying drivers, smacking her stop sign on the pavement with rage."
Here's the snippet from the other night's Democratic Debate where Anderson Cooper pressed Hillary Clinton on removing bad teachers. Reform-side folks seem to think that putting Clinton on the spot over this issue was a good thing, but reform critics who're listening closely might also hear how unwavering (and well-prepared) Clinton is in defense of teachers.
Trump says Carson will have major education role in his administration PK12: In response to a question about Common Core, candidates opened up about their education agendas during a debate Thursday night.
Could Ben Carson be the Next U.S. Secretary of Education? State Edwatch: GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told a debate audience Thursday that former candidate Ben Carson would "be very involved with education" in a Trump administration.
New law means shorter expulsions, more schooling for disciplined students Seattle Times: Newly passed legislation shortens expulsions and requires school districts to help disciplined students keep up with studies, among other efforts aimed at improving education for minority kids.
LAUSD staff rejecting more charter applications, but the school board isn't always on the same page KPCC: García cut a deal, right there in front of the board room. As board members debated, García huddled with WISH's executive director and a California Charter Schools Association staffer. Then she returned to the dais to offer a compromise: overrule the recommendation of L.A. Unified staff and approve WISH's charter bid for three years, not five. By a 4-2 vote, the board agreed. WISH supporters, clad in red T-shirts, erupted in cheers.
What exactly is a good school? California is trying to find out. LA Times: George Green V, a 19-year-old student, wants you to know what it means to have a black teacher with dreadlocks like his.“When I see him teach, I’m looking at myself in the mirror,” he said. Green is studying at Sacramento Charter High School. He was diagnosed with depression at age 10, and feels...
America's High School Graduates Look Like Other Countries' High School Dropouts NPR: The PIAAC study the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies — looks at the skills adults need to do everyday tasks, whether it's at work or in their social lives. Japan and Finland led the group in literacy, math and technology skills, while the United States' performance was average or well below average in each category.
Segregationist Byrd's Name to Be Axed From Virginia School AP: A Virginia school division decided Thursday to remove a prominent segregationist's name from a school, saying students should not be educated in a building named after a man who sought to shutter schools rather than integrate them.
Chicago District Sues Ex. Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett for More Than $65M District Dossier: The Chicago School District says former superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett and associates with SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates conspired to defraud the school district and stole money from city's school children.
Want to laugh and be terrified/outraged at the same time? Watch this Samantha Bee segment on how, in the absence of any political willingness to take on the gun lobby, schools are preparing kids and teachers for active shooters -- with pencils and schoolbooks. Then go read this helpful/ridiculous Washington Post guide about what to do if a gunman opens fire in your building.
PBS NewsHour: "On Saturday, college hopefuls took a brand new SAT, marking the first time in over a decade the test curriculum has undergone major changes. While scores will still be submitted with many an application, there is growing skepticism of their value as predictors of college success." (As the SAT evolves, so do opinions on its value)
Senate Education Committee Votes to Advance Education Secretary Nominee PK12: Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. is one step closer to being a full-fledged cabinet official with Wednesday's 16-6 vote by the Senate education committee. See also Washington Post.
Merryl Tisch, Board of Regents Chief Who Set Off Testing Backlash, Reflects on Her Tenure NYT: Dr. Tisch, who is stepping down this month, said she tried to do too much, too fast during her time as chancellor, but justified her sense of urgency.
Educators on front line of desegregation debate say city must take the lead Chalkbeat: "The segregation wasn’t organic, and the integration is not going to be organic either,” said Jill Bloomberg, the principal of Park Slope Collegiate, a grade 6-12 school in a gentrifying part of Brooklyn where many schools remain racially isolated.
2 Baltimore School Officers Arrested in Assault on Teenager NYT: A video shows one of the officers slapping and kicking a young man at a school as the other officer stands by.
L.A. County report on special education sees 'crisis' LA Times: Some students with disabilities in Los Angeles County are getting shortchanged by the bureaucracy that is supposed to ensure they receive a good education, according to a consultant’s report discussed on Tuesday.
Arizona Set to Provide Districts a 'Menu' of Standardized Tests State EdWatch: The Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to provide all students in grades 3-8 just the same exam.
Lead fear forces water ban in 30 New Jersey school buildings AP: Elevated levels of lead caused officials in New Jersey's largest school district on Wednesday to shut off water fountains at 30 school buildings until more tests are conducted, but officials said they don't believe the contamination poses any serious health risks....
This Kansas high school student must pay back $3,000 after smugglers helped him leave Guatemala WNYC: This sophomore in Kansas from Guatemala juggles algebra — and the reality that he must soon pay the smuggling fee he owes from coming to the United States.
From New America's "Beyond Ratings" Report: "State education agencies are beginning to embrace the notion that both accountability and development play important roles in ensuring that evaluation systems have their intended effect of improving the quality of teaching for all students."
From WTTW Chicago Public Television: "Late last week, a bill overwhelmingly passed the Illinois House with Speaker Michael Madigan's blessing. It would wrest control of the board away from the mayor, but there are questions as to whether it will pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner."
Or, watch Clinton campaign manager John Podesta talk education in 2012 at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which some Clinton critics/Sanders supporters find extremely objectionable.
As students sit down for second year of new exams, pressure is on to perform KPCC LA: When students across the Southland and California sit down to take the Smarter Balanced exams beginning this week, the pressure will be back on to show improvement over last year's scores. And that pressure is manifesting itself in some of the preparations schools are taking for the tests.
L.A. Unified school board approves another charter against district recommendations LA Times: In a 4-2 vote Tuesday (board President Steve Zimmer abstained), the school board decided to let the group open Wish Academy High School under a three-year charter.
An LAUSD Teacher Is Named National Teacher of the Year Finalist LA Magazine: Jocz is known for his innovative teaching style and creative curriculum. His YouTube channel, Jocz Productions, boasts nearly 14,000 subscribers and offers a crash course in U.S. history aided by pop culture references to help students remember the material (details about the Social Security Act are set to the catchy tune of Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” and the National Recovery Act is scored by Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind.”)
Removing barriers facing AP test takers SI&A Cabinet Report: State sources will cover the cost of Advanced Placement exams in an effort to boost historically-dismal participation by high school students.
Shadow a Student Challenge helps administrators understand kids EdSource Today: The weeklong challenge was organized to build empathy and spur action and sharing.
What Discipline Looks Like At A Boston School With 325 Suspensions Boston Learning Lab: Teachers walk along with the groups of students. Each teacher clasps a stick striped in rainbow colors, with clothespins bearing the students’ names clipped on from top to bottom. If your clothespin is at the bottom, in the red zone, it means you’ve misbehaved. And everybody knows it.
Hidden in the news that author Pat Conroy passed away recently was the reminder that the popular author started out as a one-room schoolhouse teacher and wrote "The Water Is Wide," a book about his experience that was turned into a feature film and then a TV special.
From thePost and Courier: "Conroy took work as a teacher in the Beaufort County School District, where he was assigned a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island. He soon came to realize he was expected to be nothing more than a baby sitter to an island full of underprivileged black children. He made it his mission to give them a good education. His unorthodox methods and ambitious plans led to his dismissal."
According to Wikipedia, The Water Is Wide came out in 1972 and "details Conroy's efforts to communicate with the islanders, who are nearly all directly descended from slaves and who have had little contact with the mainland or its people."
"A film adaptation, titled Conrack, was created in 1974, starring Jon Voight. A Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie titled The Water Is Wide, starring Jeff Hephner and Alfre Woodard, was made in 2006."
Good news. Six more districts -- Las Vegas, Denver, Fort Worth, Greensboro, Milwaukee and Memphis -- will join the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) starting in 2017, according to NAGB. Denver, Milwaukee, and Memphis are especially important additions, politically and otherwise. However, as you can see there are a bunch more districts who still aren't participating. And for some reason Seattle still isn't on the list of schools that are participating or eligible.
Looking more closely at Hillary Clinton's education SWAT team idea - EdWeek https://ow.ly/ZcON9
Christie Warns on Newark Schools - WSJ https://ow.ly/Zd7l2
Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Common Core (and Neither Do His Rivals) - The New York Times https://ow.ly/ZcO3a
Boston students walk out of class to protest budget cuts - AP Article https://ow.ly/ZcNYf
CTU vows 'showdown' on April 1 | Chicago Sun-Times https://ow.ly/ZcPeN
A principal met a student she expelled, and it changed her approach to discipline - The Washington Post https://ow.ly/ZcOYd
College Board Says Khan Academy Partnership Has Led to 19 Percent Fewer Students Paying for SAT Prep https://shar.es/1C87s5
The marshmallow gun demonstration from 2012 is still my favorite -- along with the one of him raising his hand in class to ask a question (which is inexplicably left out of this compilation).
In too many real-world history classrooms and textbooks, our country omits white actors and focuses instead on oppressed peoples’ suffering. They let the passive voice cloak privilege and aggression like pointed hoods, hiding who is responsible for the oppression we’re still working to dismantle. This is dangerous.
Progressive Fellow Sabrina Stevens (The Case for White History Month)
There are two big pieces about the Chan-Zuckerberg philanthropy initiative that you should probably know about:
The first is a package of stories and charts from EdWeek, including an exclusive interview with Zuckerberg himself (Examining Mark Zuckerberg's New K-12 Giving Strategy.
The second piece is a long look at How Mark Zuckerberg Should Give Away $45 Billion from Huffington Post, which includes a major section on education and some information about an international effort called Bridge International Academies.
One particularly interesting line: "The history of philanthropy is littered with projects that helped the poor at a small scale, then made them worse off at a larger one."
On one hand, teachers have to be happy that Clinton and Sanders defended them so vigoriously in last night's Democratic debate. On the other hand, they might well be concerned that CNN moderator Anderson Cooper chose to have them talk about education in the context of sexual predators who need to be removed.
America Rising via Erika Sanzi. Check out her interpretation of events here. Or take a look at PK12's coverage here. The Guardian has some recaps and quotes here. Look back at Maggie Haberman's NYT story from last summer where Clinton also referenced the issue of teacher scapegoating.
Hillary Clinton: Teachers Are Often 'Scapegoats' for Low-Performing Schools PK12: Clinton said she'd like to create an "education SWAT team" at the U.S. Department of Education to help intervene in Detroit's struggling schools, as well as steer federal money to repairing and modernizing schools.
'Just Say No' anti-drug campaign was Nancy Reagan's most memorable achievement LA Times: Drugs already had a strong grip in Compton High School when Maple Cornwell became assistant principal in 1983. Crack cocaine was just making its debut. Educators had few tools to fight what would quickly turn into an epidemic. Into this void came the voice of Nancy Reagan, with a message for children around the nation: "Just Say No."
States seek to stymie hiring suspected sex-predator teachers AP: A school suspects a teacher of sexual misconduct and forces the teacher out to protect the students. But that person can still get a new job in a new school, sometimes with a glowing recommendation....
Charter schools rethink discipline after focus on tough consequences ChalkbeatNY: Parallel shifts are happening across New York City, as some charter school leaders take a second look at discipline policies they put in place when they opened. Those policies, connected to a broader set of ideas referred to as “no excuses,” combine teachers’ high academic expectations for students with strict behavior rules meant to ensure an orderly learning environment.
Officer in School Beating Probe Was Fired Deputy AP: A Baltimore public school police officer under investigation for slapping and kicking a teenager at a school was fired by the city sheriff's department in 2003
Connecticut Approves New School Accountability System State EdWatch: The new accountability system ranks schools based on 12 indicators, including college access and physical fitness, in addition to test scores and expanded ways of measuring graduation.
Judge: Plaintiffs may still access complete California student database, but with tightened security KPCC: A massive database that includes sensitive information on every student who attended California public schools since 2008 will no longer be handed over in its entirety to a small team of experts and lawyers who've filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education.
Guard at Pennsylvania school stabbings dies of heart attack AP: A security guard wounded trying to stop a student who had just stabbed 20 others at a western Pennsylvania high school has died....
Mo Canady of the National Association of School Resource Officers in The Seventy Four (Video of Baltimore Cop Slapping Student Reignites Big Questions About Child Training for School Cops)
"Michelle Obama casually jaunted into a classroom at John Burroughs Elementary School in Northeast Washington wearing a three-quarters sleeved baseball-style blouse." (She also learns that modern-day kids in some schools are taught to snap when they approve of something.)
At GOP Debate, Candidates Talk Detroit Public Schools, Common Core PK12: Kasich said he'd like to slim down the U.S. Department of Education, but didn't say whether he would bail out Detroit public schooos.
Baltimore school police officer in video was fired as sheriff's deputy in 2003 Baltimore Sun: Spence was one of two Baltimore sheriff's deputies who were fired in 2003 after a wrongful Taser attack that sparked outrage in the Hispanic community, according to reports in The Baltimore Sun at the time. See also AP, The Seventy Four, AP.
Students Get Early Crack at New SAT Exam WNYC: The new three-hour SAT has more emphasis on reading. The essay is optional. Only correct answers will be scored, so students are not penalized for guessing. And the test will no longer focus on obscure vocabulary words, in favor of testing students on vocabulary in context. See also AP, Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Hechinger Report.
Opt-Out Fans Urge Senate to Reject John King's Ed. Sec. Nomination PK12: A group of progressives, including leaders in the opt-out movement, sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this week recommending that its members not confirm King, whose nomination is slated for a vote next week.
Illinois House passes bill to create elected CPS board Chicago Sun-Times: If the legislation makes it through the Senate — and that’s still a giant “if” considering that its president is hammering out a solution to the state’s stalled budget — Chicago’s Public Schools would be overseen by 21 democratically elected members of the public rather than the seven the mayor alone chooses. See also District Dossier.
At morning ‘walk-ins,’ advocates press Cuomo for more school funding Chalkbeat: Thursday’s demonstrations across the state are part of a national campaign led by the Chicago-based Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. The group said 40,000 people from 838 schools nationwide had attended similar events.
Flint Is in the News, but Lead Poisoning Is Even Worse in Cleveland NYT: By the most recent estimate, about 37 million homes and apartments still have some lead paint on walls and woodwork, 23 million with potentially hazardous levels of lead in soil, paint chips or household dust.
Do kids learn more when they trade in composition books for iPads? Washington Post: Montgomery County Public Schools has one of the nation’s largest laptop initiatives. At the halfway point, the district has distributed more than 50,000 laptops to classrooms at a cost of $21.8 million. Across the river, far-smaller Arlington Public Schools is halfway through an effort to provide an iPad Air or MacBook Air to every student in grades two through 12 by 2018; the school system has used $5.6 million in local and state funds.
As you may recall from just a few days ago, the New York Times obtained and published video of a Success Academy teacher dramatically ripping up a student's work and telling her to do it over. The video and accompanying story went viral.
But the Times wasn't just Internet shaming an individual teacher for her behavior. It was making the case that ripping up student's work was a common practice at Success Academy schools:
“Five of the teachers interviewed… described leaders at multiple Success schools and a Success supervisor in the teacher training program that the network runs with Touro College endorsing the practice of ripping up work if it was deemed not to reflect sufficient effort. The purpose, they said, was to get students’ attention and demonstrate urgency. At some schools, there was even a term for it.” “It was ‘rip and redo’…”
According to that interpretation, teacher Charlotte Dial wasn't just losing her cool at a moment that happened to be caught on video. She was doing what she'd been taught to do. In which case this GIF of teacher Charlotte Dial ripping up a student's work is an illustration of something that someone, somewhere, taught or told her to do:
But is that true? Spoiler alert: nobody knows.
The phrase "rip and redo" is dramatic and memorable. But there's nothing about rip and redo that's easily found on the web -- no course syllabus or materials endorsing the practice. Nobody seems to know, and everyone who might tell us seems not to be aware of or approve of the practice.
At a now-infamous press conference, Success Academy's Eva Moskowitz disavowed rip and redo: "It is not our policy to rip up student work,'" she's quoted as saying. "It is our policy to insist that children re-do. We make no apologies for the need to re-do work when it's not done."
Asked again about the practice a spokesperson from Success responded: “As we have repeatedly said, this practice is not and has never been part of our program.”
But in an email, the folks at Touro also disavowed the practice: "The practices discussed in the [NYT] article are absolutely not part of our curriculum, and Touro neither condones nor approves of them."
The Times says that rip and redo was being taught by Success trainers, and it's not hard to imagine that kind of scenario. After all, school districts and big charter networks can exert tremendous influence over what's taught to its teachers and by whom. In some cases, teacher training providers can be asked to include specific materials or to hire specific instructors as adjuncts.
But Tauro says that's not the case: "Success Academy staff enroll at Touro College on a cohort basis and matriculate in our Graduate Education master’s program. Full time and adjunct Touro faculty deliver our programs. We pay our faculty."
And NCTQ's Sandi Jacobs isn't so clear that Touro would necessarily know what is going on in each and every of its courses, even if it hired all its instructors. "It is generally our sense that it is up to the individual instructor to teach whatever they want," she said in a phone interview.
"I don't know how they would know" whether all its teachers were or weren't teaching rip and redo. "We don't generally see that programs are coordinated in such a way that anyone could say what is going on in an individual course."
So the mystery remains. Someone out there -- a rogue Touro instructor or Success supervisor -- has apparently been teaching "rip and redo" to Success teachers. But both Success and Touro disavow any knowledge of the practice, and the Times doesn't appear to have any concrete evidence that it is as widespread as has been claimed.
A version of this post was originally published at The Grade.
From The Real News: DeRay: Maryland's Unionized Charter Schools Could Be Model For Nation.
Here's a review of a book that sounds really interesting and timely:
"Many saw the 2008 election of Barack Obama as a sign that America had moved past the issue of race, that a colorblind society was finally within reach.
"But as Marianne Modica reveals in Race Among Friends, attempts to be colorblind do not end racism—in fact, ignoring race increases the likelihood that racism will occur in our schools and in society.
"Modica finds that even in an environment where students of all racial backgrounds work and play together harmoniously, race affects the daily experiences of students and teachers in profound but unexamined ways.
"In the end, the school’s friendly environment did not promote—and may have hindered—serious discussion of race and racial inequity. The desire to ignore race in favor of a “colorblind society,” Modica writes, has become an entrenched part of American culture. But as Race Among Friends shows, when race becomes a taboo subject, it has serious ramifications for students and teachers of all ethnic origins."
You can listen to an interview she did on WNYC in December.
Related posts: New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School English; Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling) In America; 'Confessions Of A Headmaster'; Teacher Perceptions Of Autonomy Vary By Race; Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too.
From PBS: "The Los Angeles school system has come far in the last ten years, especially in terms of inclusivity. In 2003, only 54 percent of LA’s disabled students were taught alongside their nondisabled peers; today, it’s more than 90 percent. But some parents worry that general education schools won’t provide the specialized attention their children require." (LA schools grow more inclusive, but at what cost?)
Jarring New Video Shows A School Police Officer Kicking A Black Teen HuffPost: Four seconds, three slaps, two profane words and one kick. That's the narrative of a disturbing new video that appears to show a Baltimore school police officer assaulting an unidentified male teenager at Reach Partnership High School. See also Washington Post, AP.
Baraka calls Christie's charter expansion OK a 'huge step backwards' for Newark NJ.com: Mayor Ras Baraka is coming out strongly against Gov. Chris Christie's decision to clear the way for a new wave of charter school expansion in Newark, calling it "huge step backwards" for their traditional public counterparts.
Activists urge Senate not to confirm Obama’s pick for new education secretary Washington Post: Dozens of students, parents, educators and activists are urging the U.S. Senate not to confirm John King, President Obama’s choice to succeed Arne Duncan as education secretary, because he pushed education policies when he was education commissioner of New York State that they say were “ineffective and destructive.”
Head Start Program Expanded In Flint To Help Kids Exposed To Lead NPR: It's an effort to combat the damaging effects on kids from the city's lead-laced water. The effects of lead exposure are lifelong and can cause learning disabilities.
Is 'Grit' Doomed To Be The New Self-Esteem? NPR: Schools are moving to high-stakes testing of social and emotional skills. Some experts say it's too soon.
I got my masters in education in advance of teaching, I did even more student teaching than was required, I sought out good mentors. This was not a silly whim. I may not have had the chops for the job, but if so I have plenty of company... I’m trying to call attention to the fact that we are expecting teachers in high poverty schools to do too much. We must end the myth of the hero teacher.
- Author Ed Boland on Diane Ravitch's blog (Ed Boland Responds to Critics)
Here's a 12-minute documentary about a home visit nurse, which as you may recall was the subject of Kate Boo's 2006 feature story, Swamp Nurse. Go here if the video doesn't appear or you want more background.
Or, go listen to an WAMU story about how white parents' decisions not to send their kids to a local middle school affect its demographics and test scores.
Or, watch this new Viceland documentary about young African Americans in Compton, featuring a brief segment at Centennial High School, via Mark Walsh.
Thousands of New York City Students Deprived of Special-Education Services, Report Says NYT: The city’s Education Department said that its data systems were so unreliable that it was not exactly sure what percentage of students were not receiving the services. See also WNYC, Chalkbeat.
Refugees Say N.Y. School District Blocked Them From Going To High School NPR: Utica City School District is facing two federal lawsuits that say it is illegally diverting refugees away from its high school, instead funneling them to other programs to mainly learn English.
Debate surfaces over how much state action needed to ease teacher shortages EdSource Today: An LAO report argues market forces are likely to reverse the recent trend.
As online Common Core tests fail, Tennessee schools face unknown once again Hechinger Report: It was just after nine on Monday morning when Lori Smith, the associate principal at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Kingsport, received a text from her sister, the instructional technology coordinator for Monroe County Schools.
How One D.C. Elementary's 5th Grade Enrollment Highlights Concerns About Middle School WAMU: Brent Elementary on Capitol Hill has a robust student body through 4th grade. After that, things change dramatically. Why?
L.A. Supt. King pledges to bring charters and traditional schools together LA Times: Recently hired school L.A. schools Supt. Michelle King on Tuesday called for traditional public schools and charters—groups often at odds—to work together, pledging to set up a conference where they could share ideas.
New LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King gets earful from Valley parents LA Daily News: The hourlong town hall-style event was hosted and led by LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff of District 6, in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
Let's Stop Requiring Advanced Math, A New Book Argues NPR: Algebra, trigonometry and calculus keep millions of people from graduating. And they're unnecessary, argues author and professor Andrew Hacker.
French, Spanish, German ... Java? Making Coding Count As A Foreign Language NPR: Florida is poised to become the first state to allow high school students to take computer coding as a way to meet a language requirement.
South: Virginia: Bill to Notify Parents of Books’ Content Advances AP: The state’s Senate approved a bill that would force schools to notify parents if their children will be assigned to read books with sexually explicit content.
Rising Poverty Rates, Tight Budgets Put The Pinch On Virginia Schools WAMU: For cities like Manassas, the number of students in poverty has more than doubled in the last decade and many of them, like those who recently immigrated from Central America, need special instruction that puts strains on school resources.
I think that the same way that our current school system is disengaging to our students of color, it's disengaging to our teachers of color as well. There are many teachers or potential teachers that take issue with the current system of micromanagement or the lack of respect for teacher expertise.
-- Pamela Lewis, author of Teaching While Black, in HuffPost (What It's Like To Teach While Black)
"At least 39 states are working to reduce testing time," according to CCSSO's Chris Minnich in a Nichole Dobo tweet from #ewaLA. To see which states, click on the image and try to make them out. I'll see if I can get a better image.
"On February 13th, StudentsFirstNY teamed up with Assemblymember Michael Blake to host a panel discussion at the The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Caucus weekend." (How New York’s School System Can Best Serve Communities of Color)
*Correction: DC should not have been included.
Very Few Teachers Receive Poor Job Ratings, And New evaluations Haven’t Changed That Washington Post: Are the new evaluations — many of which incorporate test scores or other measures of student learning — any better at identifying poor teaching? Not really, according to a new working paper by Matthew Kraft of Brown University and Allison Gilmour of Vanderbilt.
Despite Teacher-Evaluation Changes, the 'Widget Effect' Is Alive and Well Teacher Beat: Despite widespread efforts to make evaluation systems more truthful, most teachers continue to receive good teacher-evaluation ratings—including a handful who probably don't deserve them, according to a recently released working paper.
On the Upper West Side, a radical plan to desegregate schools faces an uphill climb Chalkbeat: On Tuesday, the district’s Community Education Council will host the first of two information sessions about that style of admissions, known as “controlled choice.” Another Manhattan district and one in Brooklyn are also exploring such systems, and education department officials watching closely to see what they come up with. But the prospect of District 3 adopting a controlled choice system anytime soon appears slim.
Obama Encouraging Young People To Learn Math, Science AP: More than 50 national labs in 20 states are opening their doors this week to approximately 5,000 elementary, middle and high school students to help spark interest by exposing them to the scientists, engineers and lab employees who carry out important work and research at facilities in their communities.
Teach For America Marks 25th Anniversary With A Commitment To Recruit More Teachers Of Color NewsOne: At the top of TFA’s agenda going forward is recruiting teachers of color to meet the needs of the nation’s exploding Latino student population and African-American pupils who are struggling to close the academic achievement gap.
Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push to Measure Students’ Emotional Skills NYT: Starting this year, their school and schools in eight other California districts will test students on how well they have learned the kind of skills like self-control and conscientiousness. A recent update to federal education law requires states to include at least one nonacademic measure in judging school performance. But the race to test for so-called social-emotional skills has raised alarms even among the biggest proponents of teaching them, who warn that the definitions are unclear and the tests faulty.
How this Bay Area charter school network is reinventing education Hechinger Report/LA Times: Where many would see signs of success, Tavenner saw failure. "I taught those kids," Tavenner said of that moment in 2011. "I was their principal,... Diane Tavenner scanned the list of names a staffer at Summit Preparatory Charter High School had just handed her. She began to cry. They weren't happy tears.
L.A. Unified plans a Common Core makeover for its elementary school report cards KPCC: Right now, students get two marks for each subject: an academic grade and an effort grade. The report card changes are being proposed as part of a plan to better help parents track how well students are mastering the expectations spelled out in new sets of academic standards.
*Correction: DC should not have been included.
"Stephanie Schmit, senior policy analyst at CLASP and co-author of the report, says that researchers aren’t yet sure why access to these programs is so low but believes that inadequate funding and state-by-state policy differences might be to blame... In the meantime, however, tens of thousands of low-income children are missing a vital opportunity for getting ahead." (Washington Monthly: Head Start Is Missing the Population It’s Designed to Serve)
Of all the hours I was at graduate school, I don’t think there was all together an hour devoted to classroom management... We were developing beautifully crafted lesson plans that no one could use. I was learning esoteric phrases about test design. I spent two semesters doing a research project. I just wish somebody told me how to get a cellphone out of a kid’s hand. I just wish, when that girl stood on top of that desk, I knew what to do.
- Former rookie teacher Ed Boland in the NYT (The Myth of the Hero Teacher)
"The commercial has a "paper" student show up to school to face a group of mean-mugging "scissors" to find even the fellow "papers" have turned on him. It eventually takes a "scissors" and a "paper" — both sworn enemies according to the rules of the game — to befriend the lonely rock and break away from the schoolyard cruelty." via Mashable.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Faces Criticism for Reversals WSJ: In the interview, Mr. Cuomo said he supported a change of course because the large number of parents who allowed their children to skip statewide tests last year was “a totally new fact to take into consideration.”
Fear of Deportation Is Driving Migrant Kids to Stay Home from School VICE: Attendance dropped by one-third in several classes at Riverside High School the day after Acosta's arrest, according to Bryan Proffitt, the president of the Durham Educators Association. Since then, he told me attendance both at Riverside and neighboring schools has remained "inconsistent."
Super Tuesday: 15 Votes, 15 Big Education Stories The Seventy Four: From Alaska to Texas, from Vermont to American Samoa, 15 states and territories vote in Super Tuesday. Here's a quick survey of the top education issues affecting voters in the Super Tuesday states. See also Politico: Bernie’s Revolution Hits a Wall.
With Fewer Members, a Diminished Political Role for Wisconsin Unions NYT: In Superior, in the state’s far north, 241 members remain in a union for which 361 public school teachers are eligible. Andrea Moreau, an instructional coach for other teachers, stopped paying monthly dues in November, saying higher pension and health care contributions were insurmountable obstacles for her, especially with two young children in day care and student loans to pay off.
Judge Dismisses DPS Sick-Out Lawsuit Against Union Detroit Free Press: A judge has dismissed a controversial lawsuit Detroit Public Schools filed against the Detroit Federation of Teachers and its interim president in an effort to stop teacher sick-outs.
Success Academy Loses in Pre-K Battle With de Blasio Administration NYT: Success Academy suffered a defeat in a high-profile skirmish with New York City on Friday, when the state education commissioner ruled that the city could require the charter school network to sign a contract to receive funding for its prekindergarten program.
Poor Scores Leave an Afrocentric School in Chicago Vulnerable NYT: An African-centered charter school is praised by supporters as instilling confidence in students, even as their subpar national test scores have led to a recommendation to close the academy.
Discipline in school shifts from harsh punishment to ‘progressive’ model LA Daily News: The new system, known as PBIS — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports — emphasizes a different way.
Moskowitz offers rare apology in private memo to staff Politico NY: Saying she felt Success tried to help Miranda before the Times story was published, Moskowitz wrote, "we are deeply sorry she feels otherwise." Moskowitz then launches into a recounting of the logistics surrounding the video's release and attempts to apologize to Miranda. The details quickly become convoluted.
Audio: In an impoverished Silicon Valley neighborhood, a bold approach to preschool KPCC: In Santee there are only enough licensed childcare seats for 20 percent of children under 5. It's one of many childcare deserts in California. Then last September, Lujan hit the jackpot for her youngest child, 4-year-old Angela: a preschool slot in a brand new center called Educare
#OscarsSoWhite? Not At This School NPR: Ahead of the Oscars, school kids on Milwaukee's west side decided to pay tribute to African-American cultural icons in their own awards ceremony.
For children like Dasani, school is not just a place to cultivate a hungry mind. It is a refuge. The right school can provide routine, nourishment and the guiding hand of responsible adults. But school also had its perils.
- Andrea Elliott in the NYT (Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life)
USA Today's massive look at the inadequate national and state tracking system for teachers who have abused kids continues to make the rounds (and has already generated some renewed interest in closing the existing loopholes.
The main story package is here: Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts. There have been several updates and add-ons, including this one from Wisconsin: Educators do little time for sex crimes.
If you're interested, here are some other education-related examples of what's called "digital storytelling" that I can find, riffing off a recent piece about what makes some of these multimedia presentations work better than others:
From the Miami Herald: Higher-Ed Hustle
From the Tampa Bay Times: Failure Factories
From EdWeek: Rural Schools Still Struggle to Get Connected
There are a couple of examples that have education elements but are about other things (homelessness, gentrification):
From the New York Times: Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life
From NY Magazine: One Block
Some others that have been pointed out to me as great examples aren't about education but may still be worth looking at for the way they use maps, animations, videos, and text:
From The Guardian: NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations explained
From AP: 22 Years a Slave
From AP: Faded Grace
From the Washington Post: The perils at Great Falls
From the NYT: A Portrait of the Sandtown Neighborhood in Baltimore
If you're curious about what makes these examples work (and make some other examples seem like a giant waste of time), take a look at my attempt to dissect the USA Today story with the help of a few experts here.