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Charts: Look At Kentucky & New York "Before & After" Scores

image from cdn0.vox-cdn.com
Thanks to Vox for pulling up these before (green) and after (yellow) bar graphs showing how Kentucky and New York kids did on Common Core-aligned assessments, which gives us a rough idea of how kids in other states will do this spring. Click here to read more about the projected dropoffs in 2015.  Image courtesy Vox.

AM News: Get Ready For Low Common Core Test Scores This Spring

Under half of students projected to test well EdSource Today: Projections released Monday predict that fewer than half of students in California and other states will score at grade level on tests next spring on the Common Core standards.

Poll: Voters know little about Common Core EdSource Today: More than half of California voters said they knew nothing or very little about the state’s new Common Core standards for English language arts and math, according to a newly released report by the Policy Analysis for California Education/USC Rossier School of Education.

Teachers union sees ‘surprising common ground’ with Lamar Alexander Tennessean: But while Eskelsen García supports a rewrite of No Child Left Behind that would do away with that waiver approach, NEA has long drawn a hard line against school vouchers and charter schools — two areas that Alexander has promoted legislatively.

Phila. schools see 40 applications for new charters Philadelphia Inquirer: After the Philadelphia School District announced that it would accept applications for new charter schools for the first time in seven years, it received 40, the district said Monday.

Walton Family Foundation Funds Parent-Engagement Efforts in New Orleans EdWeek: A $1.2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation will help the Urban League of Greater New Orleans' increase its parent outreach efforts.

FCC Chair Wants Fee Hike to Expand Internet Access ABC: FCC chair proposes small hike in phone fees to expand Internet coverage to low-income areas.

Number of international students on U.S. campuses at an all-time high PBS NewsHour: More than 886,000 students came from foreign countries to study at U.S. colleges and universities during the 2013-14 school year, an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Get Ready For Low Common Core Test Scores This Spring" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Inequitable Access To Effective Teachers Is A Thing, Right?

Lots of ideas for solving the teacher equity problem from @chadaldeman -- Education Next http://ow.ly/Eqimf  Are any of these viable?

Projected Results from Spring Common-Core Tests - Education Week http://ow.ly/Eq0OQ 

Why public-sector unions lost big in Illinois - The Washington Post http://ow.ly/EqnYS 

Common Core critic Carol Burris debates supporter Jayne Ellsperman on the latest Bloomberg EDU Podcast http://ow.ly/EoRgp  [Who won?]

Ex-Chancellor Klein on #edreform, karaoke, contradictions: http://bit.ly/1uIN9IJ  via #helenzelon

 

Meet @Sonali_Kohli, the Quartz reporter covering education http://ow.ly/EqskK 

The Problem With "Serial" And The Model Minority Myth - BuzzFeed http://ow.ly/EqhAl  Spoiler Alert!

Starting tomorrow! All the day's most interesting education news & commentary, delivered each afternoon  M-F via email http://eepurl.com/8Gwiv 

Events: Inside The Secret World Of The Spencer Journalism Fellowship

Spencers2014-2015
Saturday was the occasion of the annual Spencer Journalism Fellowship reunion, during which the new fellows (pictured) are officially introduced to the alumni and given their secret instructions.  This year's fellows (Linda, Mitra, and Joy) are focusing on poverty, resegregation of schools, and special education respectively.  Read below for some notes and tidbits from the event, as well as encouragement to apply for the fellowship this winter and make us all proud with the project you produce.

Continue reading "Events: Inside The Secret World Of The Spencer Journalism Fellowship" »

Charts: Experiences Of Sexual Violence In High School

image from america.aljazeera.com

Check out the startling statistics presented above (based on an AAUW study) and more at this Al Jazeera America story.  Harassment and related issues aren't a standard education policy topic but they're an important and real part of too many students' lives. 

Books: The 2014 Teaching Book You Probably Haven't Heard Of

image from www.nybooks.comThe latest issue of the New York Review includes a roundup review of three education boooks, including two you probably already know (Goldstein and Green's) and one you may not have heard of.  
 
It's Garret Keizer's "Getting Schooled," and it's a year-in-the-life kind of book rather than a history or an overview like the other two.  
Read the book?  Tell us what you thought.  Think it's useful to understanding today's teacher prep and support quandries?  We want to know.
 
Read the group review here (full text requires subscription): Why Is American Teaching So Bad?

Read a review of Keizer's book: 'Getting Schooled' by Garret Keizer.

Or click below for a Harper's excerpt from the book which seems to have appeared way back in 2011.

 

Continue reading "Books: The 2014 Teaching Book You Probably Haven't Heard Of" »

Morning Video: Harvard Students Fail 1964 Louisiana Voting Literacy Test

This video has been going around the past few days -- I have no idea if it's legit or not, but obviously the appeal is that it cuts a bunch of different ways: Tests are bad. Voting tests are bad. Racial discrimination is bad. Harvard students aren't as smart as they think they are. Take your pick. Link here.

AM News: Nearly 30 State Supes Change Over In Under Three Years

What's the Turnover for State Education Chiefs in Recent Years? State EdWatch: In the past 33 months, 29 states have replaced their state K-12 chiefs at least once, or are officially scheduled to replace their state K-12 chiefs due to last week's elections or for other reasons. 

Montgomery schools chief cites both successes and urgency in closing gaps Washington Post: Montgomery County must redouble its efforts to close the achievement gap between students of different racial and socioeconomic groups, while preparing all students for success in a 21st century world, the school system’s leader said this week in his yearly “State of the Schools” address.

Smarter Balanced tests are still a work in progress EdSource Today: The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium provided a sneak peek for their final computer-adaptive tests in early October, tests to be administered to roughly 25 percent of the country’s grade 3-8 and 11 students in spring 2015 to measure, initially, status and, eventually, growth in achievement on the new Common Core academic standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.

Privacy Concerns for ClassDojo and Other Tracking Apps for Schoolchildren NYT: Many teachers say the ClassDojo app helps them automate the task of recording classroom conduct, but some critics say such apps are being adopted without sufficiently considering the ramifications for data privacy and fairness.

Common Core Reading: Difficult, Dahl, Repeat NPR: Backers of the Common Core say it's important for kids to tackle complex texts. Critics argue that reading shouldn't be a struggle for kids. We'll visit one classroom that borrows from both sides.

Info on 8,000 Seattle Schools students improperly released Seattle Times: Seattle Public Schools is asking for federal help to figure out how a law firm working for the district released the personal information about students receiving special-education services.

Child Homelessness on the Rise in US ABC News: New report details rise of child homelessness in US, says more affordable housing needed.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Nearly 30 State Supes Change Over In Under Three Years" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: More Research Showing Disparate Impacts Of Teacher Hiring/Transfer Practices

New Harvard/Kane study shows how teacher hiring/transfer practices in LAUSD puts black minority kids at a disadvantage - http://ow.ly/Eiwos 

Organizers behind students protesting against TFA deny that they are acting as surrogates for union funders http://ow.ly/EitSQ 

Call it "corporate reform" not because of profit-making, but because it's so top-down, says @drjohnthompson http://bit.ly/116bW7Q 

Five states have shut down/threatened to shut virtual charter company K12 Inc, reports @bloombergnews http://ow.ly/Ehhxc 

State warning parents against opting Illinois kids out of #PARCC test http://sun-tim.es/1ot8yPh " implies consequences

Baltimore-based RiShawn Biddle is covering Minneapolis better than local newsrooms, says MinnPost's @BethHawkins http://ow.ly/EiCqP

 

Journalism: Looking Back At The First Year Of The Seattle Times' EdLab

It's been a year now since the Seattle Times and the Solutions Journalism Network launched EdLab, a Gates-funded effort to focus less on conflict and failure and delve deeper into what's working in public schools.  

And according to this SJN blog post (Moving the needle) things seem to have been going pretty well. Quantity-wise, the Times has produced "more than a dozen major features, accompanied by video documentaries, guest opinion pieces, Q&As, and hundreds of shorter articles and blog posts – all informed by the solutions lens."

And, according to an online surveys of readers,"People have noticed. They do seem to care. For many, solutions coverage does seem to be changing the perceptions of problems in schools and how they might be addressed." Just as important, they seem to be able to tell the difference between a solutions story and normal newspaper coverage.

There's no mention in the post about the controversy -- real or ginned-up -- earlier this year about the Times accepting Gates funding (Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?), or the concern about student data sharing that came up between the EdLab and Seattle Public Radio last winter (8 Cool Things I Learned At #EWAEarlyEd). Indeed, there are times when the Times is covering the Gates Foundation (Rush-hour protest by teachers to target the Gates Foundation).

What happens next? I have no idea.  But the LearningLab in MA has recently popped up on my radar screen, so maybe I'll write about them next. 

Quotes: Truancy Officers Don't Want To Get In Way Of Family's Breadwinner

Quotes2Oftentimes in the community, the student who was out of the street, selling drugs or whatever, is one of the sole breadwinners of the family. And when you get in front of a family’s revenue stream and you make trouble for them ... To me, that’s not really positive.

-- Former Chicago truancy officer via WBEZ (State task force recommends Chicago Public Schools reinstate a new breed of truant officers)

Thompson: In Defense Of Calling It "Corporate Reform"

Diane Ravitch and Larry Cuban aren't just two of education's all-time greatest experts; they are among the world's wisest social scientists. They are largely in agreement on the substance of what Cuban calls the "business-driven, technocratic model of governing schools."

But, in Corporate Reform, Again and Again, Cuban's criticizes Ravitch's term "corporate reform,"  and his position must be taken very seriously.

I was previously surprised to learn that accountability-driven, market-driven reformers recoiled from the term "corporate reform." It is so tame in comparison to the charges routinely leveled at teachers. (The latest extreme example is a Newsweek reporter calling Randi Weingarten the “pedagogical version of Bull Connor.”)

Cuban uses the term "policy elites” to describe "loose networks of corporate and civic leaders, elected policy makers, foundation officials, and academics who circulate ideas consistent with their views of problems and solutions, champion particular reforms, use both public and private funds to run projects, and strongly influence decision-making."

I would have thought the word "elites" would be taken as the more derogatory term.

I read the term "corporate reform" as primarily an attack on its advocates' belief that corporate governance should be imposed on public schools. Cuban, on the other hand, reads it as a "charge that donors and policy elites are making profits and that money-making drives current efforts to privatize schools (e.g., Pearson, test-makers, technology companies for-profit charter schools.)"

Like Cuban, who notes the "mixed motives," of reformers, Ravitch makes a carefully crafted case about the dangers of profit-seekers and privatizers, while inventorying the damage done by their policies. We should all agree with Cuban's recollection of "prior failures of private, for-profit companies running public schools." But, I don't see that as an argument against the use of the words corporate reform.

The big problem with corporate reformers is not their successes in privatizing schools, but their unforced fumbles in public schools. As Cuban explained in a previous post, these elites In centralizing governance of schools, policymakers, supported by major donors, have squelched public and professional voices.   (Emphasis is Cuban's)

Continue reading "Thompson: In Defense Of Calling It "Corporate Reform"" »

Morning Video: Before New Orleans (Or DC), There Was Chicago

Chicago Schools: Worst in the Nation? from Siskel/Jacobs Productions on Vimeo.

It was a cash-strapped city, a dysfunctional bureaucracy, and a national reputation for low-performing schools. But did Chicago deserve its reputation, and what's happened since to make things better?

AM News: Huffman Resigns From Top TN Spot; Newark's Anderson Visits DC

Kevin Huffman Leaving Post as Tennessee K-12 Chief State EdWatch: Huffman was appointed state education commissioner in 2011, and has overseen major changes in Tennessee education policy, many of them tied to the common core. See also ChalkbeatTN.

In DC to talk education, Newark schools chief faces protest over reforms Washington Post: Cami Anderson, who runs the largest school district in New Jersey, came to Washington on Thursday to give a quiet talk about education at a think tank. But the staid event quickly turned dramatic when a busload of angry residents followed Anderson from Newark in a display of the slugfest politics that have infused debate over public education across the country.

Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle NPR: This idea, that kids really need to grapple with complex reading material, says a lot about the soul of the Common Core. And it's controversial, raising fears among some parents and educators that kids, in the process, are being asked to struggle too much.

A Botched Study Raises Bigger Questions NPR: The report attempted to use an approach called value-added modeling. And value-added is currently the golden fleece for anyone questing after what's really working in education. Value-added models promise to provide a detailed, nuanced picture of school performance — to screen out the background noise and zero in on the impact of individual schools and even individual classrooms. But value-added modeling, it turns out, is really, really hard.

Decades of Neglect Show Starkly as Indian Schools Cry Out for Repairs NYT:  Officials are working to improve congressionally funded schools in 23 states on reservations with decaying facilities where students struggle to meet academic standards and teacher turnover is high. See also AP.

Young and inexperienced, a new principal tries to turn around a New Orleans charter school Hechinger Report: “We know effective teachers are crucial to moving our students forward,” says Hardy, pausing for a few seconds before she enters a second-grade classroom. “We have good teachers. My challenge is this: How do I, as a school leader, grow their effectiveness and grow it more quickly?”

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Huffman Resigns From Top TN Spot; Newark's Anderson Visits DC " »

Quotes: Blame Obama For Common Core Pushback, Says Jeb

Quotes2The opposition to the common core has been mostly fueled by President Obama and his administration attempting to take credit for and co-opt a state-led initiative.

- Jeb Bush in Education Next (Talking education policy with Florida’s former governor)

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Minneapolis Making It Much Harder To Suspend Students

It's ideology not outside money that's ruining think tanks -- The National Interest http://ow.ly/Ee3gm

Boston Benefits from Mutual Consent Hiring | TNTP http://ow.ly/Ee01v 

Minneapolis Schools Now Need Permission to Suspend Black Students - Atlanta Blackstar http://ow.ly/EdmPt  Anyone else doing this?

Oh, no, TFA has expanded to San Diego! Check out 2 pieces in @voiceofsandiego http://ow.ly/EbnLw  and http://ow.ly/EbnNI 

How activists generate buzz to generate media coverage - Columbia Journalism Review http://ow.ly/EdZ3y  @jgordonwright @mikephillips1

Handy dandy writeup of yesterday's EdWeek midterms confab http://t.co/mDQg9eMY1O

Yikes: 43 Frantic 911 Calls Document The Horror Of The Marysville School Shooting http://ow.ly/Edij5 

Maps: Many States Now Provide "Early Warning" Reports For Struggling Students

image from a.scpr.org

Here's a map of states with early warning systems, described in this Marketplace story as the result of  a "steady stream of student data, like GPA, attendance, demerits, and test scores" that allow administrators to "peer into the future and spot the 7th and 8th graders most at risk of dropping out of high school in the future." (Using data to predict students headed for trouble). Image used with permission.

Journalism: Replacing "Reformers" & "Reform Critics" With What?

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn raises the nagging issue of journalists using the word "reform" in their work, noting that it's unfair and misleading (in education and other contexts).  

It's not a new concern.  Some newsrooms have already decided against it.  Via Twitter, EdWeek's Sawchuk tells us that reporters there are banned from using it.  

And it's not just those who aren't reformers who might be ready for a change. Some reformers -- notably John Deasy -- came to hate the highly charged term, since it lumped him in with others he thought were more extreme or had other agendas.

I'm open to using another term, and have toyed with alternatives to reform/reform critic in the past.  But 2010's "reformy" never took off like I hoped it would, and 2013's "reformsters" was also a dud.  

So what to call them, and what to call them who oppose them?

 

 

Morning Video: Here's Yesterday's Edweek/Pearson Midterm Re-Examination

Skip to the 22 minute mark to watch the video from yesterday's much-tweeted Edweek/Pearson event, After the Storm: What the 2014 Election Results Mean for K-12 Policy, featuring the likes of Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Gallup Education, the PK12 team, Lamar Alexander's COS David Cleary and HELP staff director Jamie Fasteau among many others.  Watch it above, or look back at the Twitterstream #EdElect2014.

AM News: School Funding Lawsuits On The Move In CO & PA

Denver court rejects dismissal of education funding lawsuit Colorado Public Radio: A Denver trial court has rejected the state of Colorado’s request to dismiss a lawsuit that has major implications for how much money school districts get from the state.  

Common Core Reading: The High Achievers NPR:The Common Core State Standards are changing reading instruction in many schools. And that means new challenges for lots of students, even traditional high achievers.

Why so few white kids land in Chicago Public Schools — and why it matters WBEZ: Roughly half of all white children who could go to CPS do, while the other half gets their education somewhere else. We’ll get into the ramifications for the district a little later, but first let’s take a closer look at how white parents make this decision.

Using data to predict students headed for trouble Marketplace: These school interventions take a lot of forms, everything from special-ed evaluations, to behavioral counseling, to mentoring, to intervention classes in a subject area back at Principal Birch’s middle school in Vacaville.

School district scraps religious names on calendar AP: Presented with the opportunity to recognize a Muslim holiday on the school calendar for the first time, leaders of Maryland's largest school district went a different direction: They removed all mention of religious holidays from the calendar.... See also WashPostVox.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: School Funding Lawsuits On The Move In CO & PA" »

Magazines: More Disclosure Problems For "The Nation"

image from www.wikicu.com

Remember up-and-coming young reporter George [@georgejoseph94] Joseph wrote that big piece in The Nation about TFA a week or so ago?Yeah, you remember.

We already know that he didn't bother reporting that the group behind the anti-TFA campus protests, ASUS, is union-funded.  And -- thanks to New America's Conor Williams -- we also know that his main concern that TFA was tipped off about a FOIA request turns out to be standard operating procedure for federal grantees.  

But now there's more -- not a lot more, but still. I'm procrastinating here and this is helping.  Joseph's bio blurb at The Nation says he's a Columbia undergrad and who he's written for.  All good there.  But his bio at In These Times is a little different, noting that he organizes with a student activist group called Student Worker Solidarity (that's their logo - nice!).

Why wasn't that disclosed in his TFA story, and why is The Nation taking stories from people with what seems like obvious conflicts of interest. Identifying as a member of a student activist group is something that I, at least, want to know when I'm reading a story about student activism -- and something that the editors at The Nation should have considered before taking or assigning the story and in its bio blurb of the writer. 

Video: While Away The Afternoon WIth Khan, Hastings, & Williams, Vanity Fair-Style

Here's a half-hour talk with Sal Khan, Reed Hastings, and Jane Williams - plus a link to the Annie Liebovitz Vanity Fair portrait of Khan and a profile by EdSec Arne Duncan.

Update: NYT Journo Tweets Out 60-80 Days Of Testing Clarification

Kudos to NYT Miami bureau chief Lizette Alvarez, who tweeted out last night that the eye-popping 60-80 days per year figure she cited for testing days in Florida in her Monday story wasn't an "every kid, all day situation."

It's not quite a formal correction, but to be fair you could read the original line different ways.  Here's the post that generated at least some of the questions about the original NYT story:  Are There *Really* 60-80 Days "Dedicated" To Testing In FLA?

Thanks also to everyone at FairTest, the FLDOE, EWA, and ExcelinED for helping try and dig out the facts behind the figure, which turned out to be the total number of days during which testing could be conducted -- the "window" of time rather than the actual number of days kids spend testing. Obiously, we still need a simple, comprable way to talk about testing burdens from district to district and school to school.  Where's the NCEE when you need them?

Related posts: Please Do A Better Job Covering Testing This Year, Journos!.

 

 

Research: New Orleans Think Tank Head Quits After Flawed Study

Here's something you don't see every day - in fact I can't think of it happening ever before (though surely it must have): The ED of the Cowen Institute at Tulane, John Ayers, has resigned after a report came out and had to be withdrawn, according to Higher Education via Politico  (Education Think Tank Head Quits After Flawed Study). The study came out and was withdrawn 9 days later, and now Ayers is gone at the end of this month.  It's not clear why the study was withdrawn, or whether there were issues with its review as well as its methodology, or whether Ayers left because of the report or because of its withdrawal. Know more about the report or the circumstances? Let us know in comments or ping me at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.

AM News: Ed School Teacher Prep Programs Still Way Too Easy, Says NCTQ

Teacher Training Is A Ridiculously Easy Way To Ace College, Report Says Huffington Post: At 58 percent of 509 schools, "teacher preparation programs are much more likely to confer high grades than are other majors on the same campus," the report says. While an average of 30 percent of all students graduated "cum laude," 44 percent of teacher preparation students received the honor. The report calls the results "a wake-up call for higher education."

What Obama’s Inequity Nudge Means for San Diego Schools Voices of SD: The new union president, Lindsay Burningham, made clear when we talked with her in August that she didn’t see much need to change the evaluation process, putting any room for error on the administrator carrying out each review.

Fight Is On for Common Core Contracts WSJ: As states race to implement the Common Core academic standards, companies are fighting for a slice of the accompanying testing market, expected to be worth billions of dollars in coming years.

Seeking Big K-12 Plans From Governors for 2015? Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber Delivers State EdWatch: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, has presented a wide-ranging package of education initiatives that include a focus on early education, reading, and English-language learners.

Portland Schools Urged To Scrap Transfers To Boost Racial Diversity Huffington Post: These allow students to switch to schools in different neighborhoods, but they must enter a lottery if spots are limited. There is also a separate lottery system for students hoping to transfer to selective "magnet" schools which offer advanced curriculums.

Goodbye, Snow Days: Students Study From Home ABC: Goodbye, snow days: Students across the nation increasingly hit the books from home.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Ed School Teacher Prep Programs Still Way Too Easy, Says NCTQ" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Common Core Politics Not As Complicated As You May Think

This @cpre look at the midterms/CommonCore overlap seems notably clear, no? http://ow.ly/E8hDo 

3 reasons Common Core is especially controversial in New York - Vox http://ow.ly/E7lXk 

EdWeek bill tracker shows 2 Common Core rollback proposals have made it into law (so far) http://ow.ly/E7yIU  They're MO & NC

Obama's Fragile Education Legacy http://ow.ly/E7tMf  by @conorpwilliams

New report from Urban Teacher Residency United features Aspire & Denver Teacher Residency http://ow.ly/E8vjK  @utrunited

Head of Tulane-affiliated think tank (& former Chicago charter guru) John Ayers quits after release of flawed study http://ow.ly/E7EWc 

Salman Khan is changing the way kids learn - Portrait by Annie Leibovitz http://vnty.fr/11e1mfV 

All this and more at @alexanderrusso.

Reform: Education Post Marks Up Your Work At "Red Pen Page"

Red Pen Archives   Education PostEducation Post, everybody's favorite new education nonprofit, recently debuted its Red Pen Page, where it rebuts ridiculous claims made by advocates and fact-checks horrible stories reported by journalists.  

In the first few entries, which debuted last week, EP takes on Change the Stakes in NY and the Poughkeepsie Journal for various perceived errors and unsubstantiated claims.

 It's an interesting and potentially useful strategy that mirrors a lot of the writing I've done here in recent weeks and months.  

There are lots of claims being made by advocates (on both sides) and mistakes being made by journalists (of all kinds). And the format -- red pen marks in faux handwriting in the right margin (look where the green arrow leads you) is visually appealing.

However, the approach still relies on people to find the posts on EP's site (rather than sending them out via email or clogging up everybody's Twitter feed), and I'm not sure whether EP has enough reach or credibility (yet?) to make folks stand up and pay attention to what they say.

Related posts: New Reform Group To Counter Relentless Criticism;  Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Rapid Response in Connecticut.

 

Video: TIME Editor Defends Controversial Vergara Story & Cover

Here's an MSNBC segment from a couple of weeks ago that you (like me) may have missed at the time, in which the TIME editor Nancy Gibbs explains the story -- including the notable use of the courts to bypass a broken legislative process - and reflects on the response to the story:

 

Gibbs rejects the notion that the story is anti-teacher -- a frequent claim made against reformers and journalists who write about reform -- but fumbles a bit I thought when she's asked why there weren't more apples on the cover, or a question mark along with the headline. For this and more of a view from the conservative side of things, check out the Media Matters roundup (What Conservative Media Miss In Coverage Of Controversial Time Teacher Story). Meantime: pageviews!

Media: Oops!? Results From The Equity Project Same As Other NYC Charters

Part-time media critic Neerav "Relingquishment" Kingsland notes that several media outlets that covered the recent results showing strong outcomes for The Equity Project failed to realize that the school "Gets Same Results as Most Other Charter Schools in NYC."  It wasn't a liberal or conservative bias, however -- the WSJ, Vox, NPR, Shanker Blog, and National Review all missed it, according to Kingsland.  This suggests that journalists and bloggers need to be careful about the context into which they report their results, and also that NYC charters are somewhat higher performing that charters nationally.  

AM News: US Teacher Distribution Disgrace, PA Funding Lawsuit

U.S. to Focus on Equity in Assigning of Teachers NYT: Federal officials want states to ensure that poor and minority students will not be disproportionately taught by inexperienced educators.

Trying to get better teachers into nation's poor classrooms Washington Post: The Obama administration on Monday ordered states to devise plans to get stronger teachers into high-poverty classrooms, correcting a national imbalance in which students who need the most help are often taught by the weakest educators.

What The White House Is Doing To Make Sure Low-Income Students Get Good Teachers HuffPost: Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education shows that teachers in wealthy districts are more likely to have received a master’s degree or higher than in districts where a majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. 

Ed. Dept.: States Must Address Teaching Gaps TeacherBeat: The Education Department's latest push to ensure disadvantaged students get their fair share of high quality teaching ducks the controversial topic of "teacher effectiveness."

Pa. Districts, Parents Sue Over 'Irrational and Inequitable' School Funding District Dossier: The lawsuit filed Monday by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Small and Rural Schools, and state's NAACP, argues that the state has failed to devise a funding mechanism to provide its public school students with a thorough and efficient education. See also here, here.

Chromebooks Have Officially Taken Over The Education Market BuzzFeed: For the first time, Google Chromebooks were the best-selling device in the education market this quarter, beating out Apple's iPad in the K-12 sphere, according to data from market research firm IDC.

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: US Teacher Distribution Disgrace, PA Funding Lawsuit" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Enough With Pooling Best Teachers In Wealthier Areas, Says Duncan

Ed. Dept. Directs States to Improve Teacher Distribution - Politics K-12 - Education Week http://ow.ly/E4SVt 

State-mandated testing takes 1 pct of FL class says @excelined - but district practices vary http://ow.ly/E513i  @ewaemily @LizetteNYT

Nice post from @MikeStryer on union rhetoric http://ow.ly/E4WzN  but hold on - @CivilRightsOrg opposes Vergara http://ow.ly/E4WIB 

Atlanta-area judge lifts order banning outlets from publishing cheating story | Poynter. http://ow.ly/E4T9O  @AJCGetSchooled

Dana Goldstein's The Teacher Wars is now in its 5th hardcover printing and the author will be in DC on 11/17 http://ow.ly/E4r56 

Hey, Vox, NPR, & WSJ: The Equity Project results aren't that different from other NYC charters, says @neeravkingsland http://ow.ly/E1JVc 

Quotes: Presumption Of Misery In Writing About The Poor

Quotes2There often is a tone in writing about the poor. There is a presumption that people of a certain class are mired in misery.

--  Writer Sarah Smarsh (‘Poor Teeth’ Writer on Class and Journalism) via Longform

 

Afternoon Video: How Moskowitz "Outmuscled" The Teachers Union

Here's a pro-charter segment on Success Academy via ReasonTV.  Can't bear the thought?  Watch the NEA president talk about the union's hopes for teachers and tireless commitment to kids following last week's drubbing of teachers unions Democrats. Play them backwards or mash them up into a single video if you dare.

Magazines: The Long Afterlife Of School-Age Torment

image from www.newyorker.comCheck out this week's New Yorker story (Whipping Boy), recounting the 44-year long hunt for the author's schoolboy tormenter:

"I was ten and he was twelve when for a few indelible months we roomed together in a British-style boarding school perched on an alpine meadow high above Geneva.”

His name—Cesar Augusto—“his size, his command of the school’s pseudo-military regulations, the accuracy he demonstrated when strafing enemies with ink from his Montblanc fountain pen, enabled him to transform our dorm into a theatre of baroque humiliation.”

Image used with permission.

Photo credit James Pomerantz

Media: Are There *Really* 60-80 Days "Dedicated" To Testing In FLA?

This sentence in a new NYT story about states' responses to concerns about overtesting makes it sound (to me, at least) that Florida schools are testing all kids, all day during almost one out of three days per year: 

In Florida, which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing. In a few districts, tests were scheduled to be given every day to at least some students.  

There's no doubt that testing concerns are on the rise, and testing and test prep practices have gotten out of control in some places where new tests have been added but none have been removed, but still I worry about exaggerations and misunderstandings about the actual amount of testing that's going on.

I'm asking around to see if anyone can verify the number or explain how it was calculated.  Meantime, check out the NYT story States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F and let us know what you think.
 

AM News: Showdown Looming Over LA School Board Control

Four L.A. school board members likely to face reelection challenges LA Times: A majority of the Los Angeles Board of Education is up for reelection this spring, and all four are likely to face challengers based on the election filing period that closed Saturday. See also LA School Report.

Hispanic students are making steady math progress Washington Post: Hispanic students have made significant gains on federal math tests during the past decade, and Hispanic public school students in major cities including Boston, Charlotte, Houston and the District have made some of the most consistent progress, according to a report released Monday.

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F NYT: Parents, students and school officials have joined a national protest of consequences of Common Core testing.

Common Core unscathed in California elections EdSource Today: The Common Core State Standards, the principal reform now underway in California schools, emerged unscathed from the state's fall electoral battles, including one of the most combative races for state superintendent of public instruction in decades.

City Deal to Fix Two Struggling High Schools Includes Replacing Staff WNYC: Two Brooklyn high schools will begin reviewing all of their staff members to determine which ones will stay, while developing a longer school day for students, under a long-awaited intervention plan that was originally due in the summer.

After a Dip More NYC Teachers Get Tenure WNYC:  Roughly 60 percent of 4,662 eligible city teachers were approved for tenure this year. That's a little higher than last year's approval rate of 53 percent, but enough of a change to prompt debate about whether Mayor Bill de Blasio was tough enough on teachers.

Five Great Teachers On What Makes A Great Teacher NPR: For our 50 Great Teachers series, a panel of experts shares thoughts on great teaching: past, present, and future.

Seattle Residents Choose To Raise Their Own Taxes To Subsidize Preschool, Increase Teacher Pay HuffPost: Seattle Proposition No. 1B will authorize a $58 million property-tax levy to fund a four-year pilot program of city-subsidized preschool on a sliding scale while raising academic standards and the pay of preschool teachers.

Death Toll Rises to 5 in School Shooting AP: Andrew Fryberg, 15, died of wounds sustained when his cousin, a freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, opened fire in the cafeteria two weeks ago.

'Pioneer Schools' give a peek at what CPS's longer school day will look like Chicago Tribune: Chicago Public Schools principal Nancy Hanks prepares three binders that will be given to each teacher outlining Rahm Emanuel's signature...

See more news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: StudentsFirst Claims 86 Pct Win Rate For Bipartisan Mix Of Candidates

Here's @StudentsFirst's self-rep 104-race $2.2M '14 tally http://ow.ly/DYSdi  [You're next, @FiftyCAN @DFER @Stand4Children @LEE_National!]

Teachers spent $100M says WSJ's @allysiafinley http://ow.ly/DZ02z  [but most of it wasn't on education races, right?]

Outside Money, Mixed Results in Austin school board race - The Austin Chronicle http://ow.ly/DVA17 

Cunningham's take on midterms2014 includes praise & concern for reformers http://ow.ly/DZbOk 

New Jersey Gets No Child Left Behind Waiver Extension - Politics K-12 - Education Week http://ow.ly/DZcPN 

High School Graduation Rates at an All-Time High - The Atlantic http://ow.ly/DZbFt 

NYT editorial board slams de Blasio school improvement plan for being weak, slow, complicated http://ow.ly/DYbKx 

All this and more at @alexanderrusso.

Quotes: Old Playbook Not Working Anymore, Says Defeated CA Candidate

The old Quotes2playbook of...'Things are fine in our schools, we just need more money' — that’s not going to work for long... People want to be inspired, motivated and excited.

-- Marshall Tuck on his close loss for California state superintendent of education (Politico)

Charts: Younger People Want To Spend On Jobs & Schools More Than Older

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.comICYMI from Vox: Young people [blue bars] want to spend money on jobs and schools. Of course, the young are likely to be in school and/or contemplating having kids in school.

Crosswords: NYT Puzzle Lists "NEA" As Answer To "Common Core Org."

Martin West on Twitter    alexanderrusso You mean I have to document claims in tweets  Here s the evidence. http   t.co exCCK3yn5Q
Thanks to Martin West and Morgan Polikoff (among others) for noting that the correct answer to the NYT's 40D question "Common Core org." appears to be "NEA."  No word yet on whether the union is demanding a correction. Image courtesy MW.

Philanthropy: Have Big Funders (Like Walton & Gates) Overtaken Think Tanks (Like Brookings)?

Flickr gates robreich https-::www.flickr.com:photos:gatesfoundation:6172147665:The Washington Post's latest big piece on the influence of philanthropic funding focuses on think tanks.  Titled Who funds the new Brookings?, the piece suggests that the new funding has likey had an impact on think tanks' research agendas if not their conclusions.

Corporate donations, more than large foundation grants, are newer and especially concerning. But foundations also have played a role:

"Foundations began to place more restrictions on their grants, part of a challenging new trend facing Brookings and other academic institutions in which donors increasingly specify their expectations as part of what they call 'impact philanthropy.'"

Among those funding Brookings are the Walton Family Foundation, who have given "millions of dollars to support Brookings’s education policy center — whose scholars regularly adopt market-oriented stances­ on key issues."

That being said, not everything that comes out of Brookings is pro-reform, notes the piece. Tom Loveless critiques the Common Core, which Gates and others support. But that doesn't satisfy folks like AFT president Randi Weingarten, who's quoted questioning the credibility of the institution and lamenting the dropoff in invitations to Brookings events.

The Post's previous effort on the philanthropy front was a look at the Gates Foundation's involvement behind the scenes on behalf of the Common Core that I found overheated (What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core) because I am of the view that funders can't really get the public or policymakers to do things that they don't already want to do (The Myth Of The All-Powerful Billionaires).

Not mentioned in this piece is the 2012 kerfluffle when Brookings and Diane Ravitch parted ways (she was a nonresident senior fellow), or a 2009-2010 attempt to determine the quality of education journalism that struck me as superficial and retro and a bit of of Brookings' areas of expertise.

Related posts: Brookings "Fires" Ravitch For Being "Inactive"Brookings Responds Re Ravitch, RomneyOlde Timey Panel, Olde Timey ReportSecond Brookings Education Report As Bad As First OneGoogle Now Funding Lots Of Think Tanks & Policy Conferences.

 

AM News: Dissecting California's $30 Million Showdown (Torlakson v. Tuck)

Torlakson talks Democratic divisions, teacher tenure, Inglewood Unified KPCC: “I think this election was more about getting someone who could continue the momentum forward, doing some exciting and historic changes to education in California,” he said. “I believe the voters wanted someone with experience and I have that.”

Opinions differ on impact of Tuck’s campaign EdSource Today: In the hours since Marshall Tuck’s daunting but failed effort to unseat incumbent State strong Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, education and political observers have reached different conclusions about the election and its significance.

See also Politico's Morning Edu.

School Choice a Top Priority for Republican Leaders in House, Senate PK12: Be on the lookout for charter school or school voucher proposals to pop up early during the 114th Congress, as school choice legislation was named a top priority by the assumed Republican leaders in the House and in the Senate, which will flip to GOP control in January.

Arne Duncan on Minnesota's achievement gap Minnesota Public Radio News: Pre-school teacher Jody Bohrer and her students in Bloomington, Minn. gave U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan a poster during a classroom visit on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. At Duncan's left is Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Average Urban School Superintendent Tenure Decreases, Survey Shows District Dossier: Significant turnover in the top job for big-city districts reversed what had been an uptick in length of service for urban superintendents, according to a new survey by the Council of the Great City Schools.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Dissecting California's $30 Million Showdown (Torlakson v. Tuck)" »

Quotes: How Can Democrats' Midterm Defeat = Reform Victory?*

Quotes2It’s hard to believe a huge outpouring to defeat Obama – arguably the most powerful force ever to push for “education reform” – is somehow a resounding call for more education reform.

- Jeff Bryant (The Coalition For An Education Agenda Just Isn’t There, Yet)

*Originally headlined "Democratic" but that's not right -- thanks for catching the error.

Thompson: Klein Book Exposes Klein's Flaws & Failures In NYC

Anyone seeking to understand the failure of Joel Klein to improve New York City schools should carefully read Alexander Nazaryan's latest article in Newsweek, Joel Klein's Book on American Schools Tries to Find a Way Forward. Even though the Newsweek reporter’s review of Klein’s new book, Lessons of Hope, obviously aspires to hagiography, read between the lines and he inadvertently captures the essence of the tragedy of school reform.

Nazaryan notes that a Google search may not find “a single kind word about Joel I. Klein.” His revisionist review tries to explain why Klein should not be dismissed as “a tone-deaf autocrat, too comfortable in the parlors of the Upper East Side, not comfortable enough in the school auditoria of East New York and the South Bronx, where jeers often announced his arrival.”

To borrow from Nazaryan’s rhetoric, Klein was a reformer who didn’t successfully “reform much,” but he sure spent a lot of money. In 2003, for instance, the city’s average NAEP 8th grade reading score was 252. In 2009, it was 252. According to Nazaryan’s former employer, The Daily News, Klein took over a system that spent below $11,000 per student. By 2010-2011, that number rose by about 75% to $19,000. Who knows how much additional foundation money was lavished on schools that Klein used as gladiators to defeat neighborhood schools in the race to the test score top?  Moreover, during most of Klein's years, NYC schools benefited from an incredible economic boom. 

Nazaryan makes it seem like Klein had no other option than risk-taking and unleashing the full “brunt of his reforms” on teachers and students. Klein was opposed by UFT President Randi Weingarten, who was supposedly the “pedagogical version of Bull Connor.” Showing that he is oblivious to social science research, cognitive science and education history, as well as the position of Weingarten’s union, Nazaryan indicates that Klein had no choice but to turn students into lab rats because he had to shred “the noxious these-kids-can’t-learn belief deep at the heart of all union recalcitrance.” While doing so, Nazaryan seems to indicate that his knowledge of school improvement comes from the notorious, fact-challenged “The Lottery” and “Waiting for Superman.”

Like Klein, Nazaryan was a newbie when he helped establish a new small high school.  His only preparation was a “harrowing year of teaching middle school English.” After four years, mostly at a “mini-Princeton” selective school, Nazaryan turned to journalism as “a path out, or up, or whatever” from public schools.

Continue reading "Thompson: Klein Book Exposes Klein's Flaws & Failures In NYC " »

Events: Yale 2015 Conference Going "Back To Why"

Yaelsomeed2015Here's the promo card for the spring 2015 version of the annual Yale event, which is notable mostly for the headline:  "Back To Why: Education At Its Core," and its subhead, which is about the need to "refocus on the purpose and outcomes of education reform." Interesting, right? Or am I making too much of it?

Morning Video: Midterm's Big Winner? $6.5 Billion In Spending

From The Daily Show. Money wins! Warning NSFW language from Jason "Money" Jones. 

AM News: Democrats -- Not Unions -- Lost In Midterms, Say Teachers Unions

Teachers Unions Say Midterm Losses Don't Reflect On Them HuffPost: Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, told The Huffington Post that she sees the election results differently -- and does not understand how Democratic reformers could possibly claim they were a success. “It’s hard for me to understand … what the business types and the testing types of this education debate think they won here.” 

Teachers unions defend their ground by getting Torlakson reelected LA Times: In races where education was the main issue, such as the Torlakson-Tuck contest, union-backed candidates and measures fared better, Weingarten said. Voters, she said, still side with teachers on issues such as the need to lower classes sizes, limit standardized testing and provide more funding for schools.

Torlakson victory ensures continuity in reforms EdSource Today: One immediate consequence of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s rebuff of challenger Marshall Tuck is to ensure the continuance of the cohesion in state education policy that has been forged since Gov. Jerry Brown returned to Sacramento four years ago.

Unions' Sliver Of Hope In Devastating Midterm Elections BuzzFeed: The success of progressive initiatives in typically red states is being treated by labor as a signal that what they are doing is working, even if those votes didn’t carry over into the governor and senate races.

Teachers unions spent $60 million for the midterms but still lost many elections Washington Post: The nation's major teachers unions suffered losses across the country Tuesday, despite pouring about $60 million into federal, state and local races in the midterm elections. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Democrats -- Not Unions -- Lost In Midterms, Say Teachers Unions" »

Journalism: Sometimes Education Writer Steven Brill Launching A New Endeavor

Steve Brill, the cigar-chomping, Tab-drinking journalism enterpreneur who sometimes writes about education issues, is starting a new longform investigative journalism endeavor that isn't necessarily focused on education issues but could imaginably be a place for school stories to find a home.  

The effort, detailed in Capital New York and other places (Steven Brill-Jill Abramson startup comes into focus), is a partership with former NYT exec Jill Abramson that will generate one big story a month, published via subscription model, and will be part of an existing site or publication (not named).

Via email, Brill told me that the site isn't education-focused by any means, and they aren't taking pitches yet so hold your horses, but I can't imagine that the right kind of pitch wouldn't find interested eyes given Brill's track record writing about teachers, unions, politics, and schools.  The only real danger is that Brill himself will want to write the education stories rather than assigning them out.

Like many others, I've had a love-hate relationship with Brill, generally loving the attention he brings to the issue and his sharp eye -- he also thanked me in his book about school reform for all the insights this blog provided, which I appreciated -- but lamenting his Ravitchian self-certainty, his pro-reform credulity, and his somewhat limited grasp of education research.

Related posts: Time's Up For "Race ...Steve Brill's School Reform Sustainability ProblemBrill's Big Sloppy Wet Kiss ...Brill (Over)Praises DuncanBrill's Last Stand12 New Yorker Ed Articles Vox Missed/Got Wrong.

 

 

 

Politics: Rounding Up The 2014 Midterm Roundups

Media outlets and think tanks and advocacy groups all have roundups of last night's elections out -- most of them saying much the same things. But who's is the best?

image from edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com

Teachers Unions Take Huge Beating in IL & elsewhere, notes Politico Pro - But Common Core oppo looms in AZ, GA.

It was a really bad night for teachers unions besides CA and PA races, echoes RiShawn Biddle

Fordham's Mike Petrilli takes a somewhat historical look at the elections, comparing them to previous rounds (with a chart!).

NC was the most expensive race in the country, notes PK12 -- if not the reform/union showdown that CA was. Union spending didn't pay off.

It's a mixed bag, says Patrick Riccards aka EduFlack - but Cuomo win without teachers in NY is key.

Winning the Senate doesn't mean that much, notes Rick Hess - and Mike Johnston needs a higher office to seek, soon.

Big wins in RI, notes 50CAN's MPM

Don't forget that Sacto's strong mayor measure failed, notes SacBee via CG

Image used with permission.  There are other roundups -- Whitney Tilson's email, a few insider briefings that I'm not sure are meant for public consumption. I still haven't heard who won in Minneapolis.  I still haven't seen a union-side analysis (the AFT press call was cancelled).  I have the sense that perhaps reformers are celebrating outcomes that didn't largely have to do with education issues (most of the union spending was to help Democrats against Republicans, right?).

Quotes: New Yorker Slips Anti-Reform Straw Man Into Teacher Training Column

Quotes2Some educational reformers in the United States insist that we don’t need to worry about training: firing all the bad teachers would be enough.

- James Surowiecki (Getting Better at Getting Better)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.