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AM News: Everybody's Looking At NY's Common Core Questions

Take a peek at some of the newly released NY state reading questions Chalkbeat: Below are two reading sections, one from grade 3 and another from grade 8, along with handwritten student responses to questions. We took all of the them from the State Education Department’s set.

Just How Hard Are Common Core Tests? See For Yourself HuffPost: New York State's Department of Education released about half of the questions that were used on this year's math and English tests, allowing the public to see what kinds of items were on the controversial Common Core tests. 

Checking in on Common Core WBEZ: During the last two weeks of school, seventh graders in Wheatley’s class were reviewing for their final test of the school year. The desks in her room were set up in clusters of four—a common arrangement for all of the Common Core lessons WBEZ sat in on. Students would work for 15 minutes reviewing each skill and then pass the materials to the next group over and start on another.

Education Reform Is Becoming A Celebrity Cause NPR: Celebrities are becoming a prominent fixture in the debate over K-12 education.  Comic Louis C.K. is one of many celebrities to come down hard on the Common Core academic standards. And NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas wrote an op-ed in support of the Common Core.

Michelle Obama, Laura Bush push for girls' education Chicago Daily Herald: Mrs. Bush "set a high bar for me during her time in the White House" and has long been a source of inspiration, Mrs.Obama said. "I consider her not just a role model but also a friend," the first lady said. 

Tests That Look Like Video Games NPR: Imagine you're playing a computer game that asks you to design a poster for the school fair. You're fiddling with fonts, changing background colors and deciding what activity to feature: Will a basketball toss appeal to more people than a pie bake-off?

Feds Single Out Va. Schools For Restraining And Isolating Misbehaving Students WAMU: The U.S. Department of Education has singled out two Virginia schools for routinely putting students in isolation or physically restraining them in response to misbehavior.

Why I'll Never Read Another Parenting Book NPR:  Anxious parents are big business, and parenting books — along with baby monitors that track breathing, baby baths that digitally control water temperature and tutors for preschoolers — are an important segment of the insecurity economy.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: "Half-Day" Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

Lets retire the full day and half day#ECE labels. bit.ly/1vg4q7U @NewAmerica

Six Myths in the NYT Math Article | Brookings Institution http://ow.ly/A45td 

Common Core Is Boring - @conorpwilliams in TPM http://ow.ly/A4vsu 

Tests That Look Like Video Games : NPR Ed : NPR http://ow.ly/A4qVO 

15 Strategies for Placing Excellent Teachers in High-Need Schools - EdWeek ow.ly/A4w3b 

Is the Duolingo language app good enough to prep students for the TOEFL? ow.ly/A4SKO  

Writeup of @dfer CA re-launch in Long Beach last weekow.ly/A4WAe @SteveBarrLA

Who does @campbell_brown think she is, asks @citizenstewartow.ly/A4RYX +41 comment

Throwback Thursday: What Was Going On Five Years Ago Today (August 7, 2009)?

Throwback Thursday #tbt is a big thing on Facebook but why should they have all the fun?  

So I took a look at what was happening five years ago in education by checking out the blog archives.  

Right about now 5 years ago, I was still posting Duncan's weekly schedule.

Thompson was still (already) raising hell (The True NEA Revealed).

There were furloughs in ATL (Furloughs alter teachers' schedules, paychecks). 

I posted the opening monologue from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The Feds were investigating the use of clout to get well-connected Chicago kids into elite schools.

Readers still commented on posts rather than ranting on Twitter. (I was still telling people How To "Do" Twitter", and trying to fool you about undocumented TFA teachers. 

What else happened in August 2009?

There were lots of vacations taken. I was still reading ASCD's SmartBrief (is it still there?).

Quotes: Teachers Just "Loving Kids" Isn't Enough

Quotes2“Every single time I get on a plane I’m really glad that the plane is not being flown by someone who just always loved planes." - Teacher quoted in review of Elizabeth Green's new book about preparing teachers better.

Influencers: 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds"

For me, the hands-down top new Twitter feed in education in 2014 is @thnkscommoncore, but I may be alone in that.

The much more official and deeply-considered Top Twitter Feeds in Education Policy 2014 are quite another thing, according to the folks at Education Next who put out the annual update.

This year's version includes three lists -- top overall, top individual, and top organization.  There's lots of overlap, and no doubt some of the accounts (Arne Duncan and USDE) are being run by the same social media manager.

On a related note, should individual accounts for folks like Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee that are presumably run by more than one person be included in the list of "people"?

As in the past, the list focuses on Klout scores rather than numbers of followers.  It's not clickable, or re-sortable (by followers, say).  I've asked for a Twitter list so that you can subscribe to all these folks with a single click, and crossed fingers it might happen (yay!).

As Petrilli notes, here are a couple of newcomers in the form of the Badass Teachers Association and founder Mark Naison, which should yet again have reform advocates reconsidering their disinterest in becoming involved in social media.  (Newcomer Campbell Brown is on the list, but I don't think anyone's expecting her or her organization to carry the reform message on Twitter and Facebook single-handedly.)

CAP and New America also made it -- apparently their first time.

Other observations, profound and otherwise are below the fold.  A few folks made it on the list with high Klout scores but very few followers, about which I have mixed feelings.  Some venerable education policy types aren't on this year's list, lots of mainstream media journalists and journalistic outlets aren't included either (for lack of policy or lack of activity, it's not clear).

Continue reading "Influencers: 12 Observations About EdNext's "Top Twitter Feeds" " »

AM News: Vergara Backers Join One Of Two NY Tenure Lawsuits

Group behind Vergara suit joins anti-tenure challenge in New York ChalkbeatNY:The lesser-known of two lawsuits aimed at taking down New York’s teacher tenure laws got a boost on Wednesday.

Vergara Legal Team Signs On To N.Y. Lawsuit TeacherBeat: The high-powered lawyers that litigated the California suit will represent the plaintiffs in one of two suits targeting teacher tenure in New York.

Big Publishers See A Big Opportunity In Universal Pre-K BuzzFeed: When more than 50,000 children enroll in Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature prekindergarten program in New York City this fall, it will signal a major victory for advocates of early childhood education. To the country's largest education publishers, it will be a sign of something else, too: a major growth opportunity in a sphere that has, so far, been relatively small, fragmented, and underfunded.

Charter Schools Push Back Against New State Law's Measure on Closures Texas Tribune: In their lawsuit, the schools argued that because of the limited appeals, the administrative hearings violated their right to due process under the law. They also questioned why the new law had relied on accountability ratings that had predated its enactment.  

Should state sue Arne Duncan to get No Child waiver back? Seattle Times: The executive director of the association that represents Washington school superintendents says Washington state should challenge the revocation of the state's waiver from the No Child Left Behind law in federal court. 

More Chicago kids say no to their neighborhood grammar school WBEZ: Marsh is a classic neighborhood school. Ninety-four percent of the Chicago Public Schools students in Marsh’s attendance boundary are enrolled here, and that’s despite an explosion in families’ options — many more charter schools, gifted or magnet schools to choose from. Kids can even go to other neighborhood schools; while the district once insisted that a child live in the attendance boundary to enroll in a neighborhood school, that rule has been relaxed.

Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead NPR: Take two kids, the same age, who grew up in the same city. Which one is more likely to go to jail ... or college?

 

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Bad Teacher Math From Weingarten

Teachers avg 14 years of experience not 2, says @StudentsFirst's @jacobwaters about @rweingarten @AFTunion claims ow.ly/A1IhY

"Who The Fck Is Campbell Brown?" writes Esquire's angry political blogger, Charles P. Pierce ow.ly/A2dqO@ESQPolitics

‘The View' Hosts Apparently Love Teachers, Hate Tenure http://ow.ly/A1FnA 

Half-day and full-day labels mislead early education debate, notes @NewAmericaEd via @RedditEducation http://ow.ly/A1GaI 

20 states with new student-data laws | Marketplace.orgow.ly/A1GIU @adrienehill 

Jindal lawyer: Common Core a ‘scheme’ that breaks federal law - @caitlinzemma POLITICO.com ow.ly/A2dhF

Cool new learning space for LA's Locke HS @EdSurge@MJMadda ow.ly/A1J2Z @greendot 

Thompson: Common Core Will Double Dropout Rate, Says Carnegie Corporation*

How did I miss it? The single most important study on Common Core implementation was published by the Carnegie Corporation in 2013, but its key finding has been ignored.

Hat tip to Tom Hoffman and Larry Ferlazzo for showcasing the evidence that is so unnerving.

Carnegie’s Leah Hamilton and Anne Mackinnon, in Opportunity by Design, and the McKinsey Group estimate that the implementation of Common Core (without first establishing a level of systematic supports that would clearly be impossible) would double the nation’s dropout rate.

Even if Common Core was implemented only by top-quartile teachers – who “'move’ student performance at the rate of 1.25 grade levels per year” – the best teachers “cannot possibly meet the demand to raise student achievement to Common Core levels.”

School reformers have long misused multi-colored graphs by the McKinsey Group to argue that improved teacher quality could drive school improvement. So, it is doubly important that Carnegie commissioned McKinsey to use the reformers’ data “to test whether or not it might be possible to avoid large drops in graduation rates using human capital strate­gies alone.”

A year ago, Carnegie and McKinsey concluded, “The short answer is no: even coordinated, rapid, and highly effective efforts to improve high school teaching would leave millions of students achieving be­low the level needed for graduation and college success as defined by the Common Core.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Common Core Will Double Dropout Rate, Says Carnegie Corporation*" »

Polarization: The Education Debate Could Be *Much* Worse

image from oaklandwiki.orgEducators and journalists like to talk about how extreme and polarized today's debate has become, and in some ways that's true.  Social media is full of extremism and polarization.  Democrats are fractured internally even as Republicans are being stretched to the right by the Tea Party movement (not dead yet!).

But still, it's almost entirely words and yelling and rallies and protests, painful and triggering to be sure but well short of property damage or physical violence that's taken place in the reproductive rights debate or even in education at times.

For a little bit of historical context , remember the murder of Marcus Foster, the superintendent of Oakland schools, in 1973.  

Yep, murder.  

Members of the group that called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army shot Foster and his deputy as they left a board meeting, killing Foster outright, in response to a student ID card proposal that Foster had actually helped water down, according to Wikipedia, anyway.

I didn't know about this either, by the way.  Just heard it on the radio and looked it up so I could wag my finger at everyone. Credit Oakland Wiki/CC BY 3.0

Quotes: No, Common Core Doesn't Mandate "Minecraft"

Quotes2Just because - let's say a fifth-grade teacher in Louisville, like we just heard, decides Minecraft is a great way to get his kids using grids. Well, that doesn't mean that teachers everywhere else are doing the exact same thing. -- NPR's Cory Turner (Debunking Common Myths About The Common Core)

Morning Video: AFT Head Debates Former LA Mayor On Tenure

In a followup to the Campbell Brown/David Boies segment earlier this week, Randi Weingarten and Antonio Villaraigosa talk teacher tenureon MSNBC's Morning Joe. (Other cable news shows, where are you?). More about the substance -- and the political back and forth -- at TeacherBeat.

 

AM News: NYC Mayor Touts National Pre-K Movement

De Blasio Cheers on National Pre-K Movement WNYC: The mayor spoke broadly about efforts to expand preschool access in cities such as San Francisco, Miami, and San Antonio—efforts he said are reshaping the national conversation.

Memphis-Area School Year Starts With Opening of Six Breakaway Districts District Dossier: Memphis-area suburban communities moved to form their own school districts in the wake of the merger of the Shelby County, Tenn., district with the financially-strapped city school system in 2011.

Michelle Rhee to Chair Her Husband's Sacramento Charter Group District Dossier: The former District of Columbia schools chancellor returns to the Sacramento charter school organization known as St. Hope Public Schools.

Dispute over Common Core gets personal AP via SF Gate: White issued a letter a few days later, saying he felt he was being personally attacked with suggestions of "unfounded malfeasance" within his office.

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain NPR: Children learn their most important lessons on the playground, not in the classroom, researchers say.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Mayor Touts National Pre-K Movement" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: The "Myth" Of Tenure

What a union will - and won't - do to protect a teacher, according to AEI's Antonucci via @eduwonk http://ow.ly/zZuXJ  Accurate?

SEE ALSO: Tenure never protected teachers as much as is thought, but ending it will deteriorate teaching TCRecord:  http://ow.ly/zZfnR 

CA's new school funding system stumbles into its first year, says @hechingerreport http://ow.ly/zZrxh

Ed advocates of all kinds might do well to (re-) read this New Yorker article: Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral http://ow.ly/zYVlE 

Meet the left's new campaign think tank - WPost http://ow.ly/zZvJJ 

Why Some Schools Are Selling All Their iPads - @TheAtlanticEDU Meghan Murphy http://ow.ly/zYOA4 

Are You A “Student Voice” Kind Of Educator?... http://ow.ly/zZrOy 

 

Afternoon Video: Whoopi Doubles Down On Rant Against Universal Tenure

Some celebrities shy away from taking a position that's going to bring them so much heat as well as some measure of admiration, and others simply don't agree that tenure is an issue, but Whoopi Goldberg seems to be up for the controversy. If only she'd been somewhat funny about it.... that always helps, right?

Quotes: "No One Can Fire Parents"

Quotes2Even better would be widespread parent boycotts. No one can fire parents. They have it in their power to pull the plug on this mess. I hope it comes to that. - Diane Ravitch (Pick Your Fights Carefully)

 

Morning Video: Campbell, Boies -- & Weingarten -- On MSNBC

 

Here's Campbell Brown and David Boies on MSNBC's Morning Joe yesterday morning, with mention of a Weingarten appearance later in the week.

AM News: AFT Pressures Force Split In Dem. Consulting Firm

Former Obama Aides Broke With Democratic Firm Over Anti-Teachers Union Project HuffPost:  Gibbs' liberal colleagues reacted angrily when news of the marriage surfaced, and the American Federation of Teachers made its displeasure known. Gibbs said the teachers union put pressure on New Partners as a result of his new client.  

With Uncertainty, Schools Prepare for New Arrivals Texas Tribune: The average stay is about 35 days. During that time, federal case workers attempt to track down relatives or other caregivers, like foster parents, to sponsor the children as they go through the legal system. Once they are placed with sponsors, they can go to public schools in their communities.

Literacy Laws Challenge Third Graders and Schools NYT: Anthony is one of about 1,900 children from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School District who failed the standardized reading test given to all North Carolina third graders in the spring. Under a recent law similar to those in more than a dozen states, such students in North Carolina may be required to repeat the grade. 

Hillary Clinton’s Fee for a Hometown Speech: Free NYT: The former secretary of state, who regularly commands $200,000 for speeches, returned to Chappaqua, N.Y., to address seven high school seniors at their graduation from a summer scholarship program.

'Building a Better Teacher' explores the complexity of teaching USA TODAY: Greg Toppo spoke recently with Green, who co-founded the Web-based non-profit education news site Chalkbeat. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: AFT Pressures Force Split In Dem. Consulting Firm" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: MA Charter Teachers Join Teamsters

MA teachers unionize via Teamsters not MTA or MFT - Worcester Telegram http://ow.ly/zVVAL  First time ever? @SteveBarrLA @aftacts [seems unlikely]

Sacto's St. Hope schools taps Michelle Rhee as board chair - The Sacramento Bee http://ow.ly/zVZ8c  via @RealClearEd

How Chicago & Philly Are Short-Changing Low-Income Students http://ow.ly/zVY7f  @rklein90

Check out this PD personalization webinar feat. ASCD & Scholastic experts next week 8/14 http://ow.ly/zWlzG  @ScholasticAdms

What happened when writer @elizwgreen stepped in and tried to teach a class herself? insidehighered http://ow.ly/zVe6V 

Media over-focusing on edtech failures vs. successes like McCallen, says proponent @EdSurge News http://ow.ly/zVblM 

Get news and commentary all day at @alexanderrusso.

Pop Culture: Pro-Reform Colbert Leapfrogs Reform Critic Stewart With Broadcast Move

Colbert via scholastic Stewart via scholasticRiffing off last week's Campbell Brown appearance on Colbert, TIME's Haley Edwards has an interesting article about the differences between the Comedy Central comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stwart (The Celebrity Death Match Over School Reform). 

If there's any doubt about Colbert's leanings, you only have to go so far as the Brown booking last week (and the protests that accompanied it), the Ravitch appearances on Stewart (but not Colbert), and Stewart's grilling of Michelle Rhee. Colbert's critique of the Common Core test questions was a slam on testing and those specific questions, in my opinion (see Colbert Attacks Then Endorses Common Core).

The influence of the two comedians is well known (though hard to measure). One of them -- reform wins! -- is about to switch from basic cable to broacast TV. No word yet on whether Colbert's booker, Emily Lazar, is heading to the new show with him (The Most Important Media Insider You've Never Heard Of), or how much education-related bits we'll get to see in the future. 

Previous posts: Colbert To Broadcast Move Probably Bad News For Education (2014);  Colbert / Stewart Divide On School Reform (2011); Fear-Mongering Educators Dominate Colbert/Stewart Rally (2010).

Credits: (Colbert)  Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP; (Stewart) Mario Anzuoni/Reuters /Landov 

Quotes: Only Thing Worse Than The Common Core Is The Alternative, Says Ravitch

Quotes2This is a terrible idea. Legislators have no academic competence to write academic standards. This is a sure way to politicize American education. Politicians should do their work and let educators do their work. Educators are the experts on what students should know and be able to do. - Diane Ravitch (What’s Worse than Common Core? Legislators Writing State Standards)

Think Tank Watch: [Why] Are Washington Think Tanks So Powerful?

As you might have noticed on Twitter, I've been enjoying a blog called Think Tank Watch that covers the industry -- trends, dynamics, comings and goings.  

It's not specifically focused on education -- and that's part of what makes it so useful.

Here's a recent post reviewing a new book (Why Are Washington Think Tanks So Powerful?) examing the rise of the think tanks.  Some of the main points include: 

  • Washington tanks tanks are not primary generators of original research; that function lies with universities.
  • Think tanks are known for their ability to scour the world for attractive ideas, to legitimate them, and to promote them through electronic communications.
  • Think tanks, over the past two decades, have emerged as a complement to, and in some cases a substitute for, lobbyists, due to the ability of think tanks to exploit the rapidly growing information search and propagation capacities of electronic communications.

I've got a whole category about education think tanks, which have supplemented/replaced universities in some regards thanks to their capacity to deliver new ideas quickly and say things more definitively than academics.  That's why we have think tanker Kevin Carey writing in the Times about higher ed rather than Professor So-And-So.  

Previous posts:  Power Couples: The Wonk & The Journo*Reform Debate Often Detached From Schools & ParentsSmarick Rails Against Anti-Democratic Attitudes & ElitesIt's A Small, Small World [For Power Couples]Andy Smarick Is The New Mike Petrilli?Meet Conor Williams, New America's New(ish) Education GuyBig Changes At DC Think Tank [Job Opening!]"Wait A Minute" [On Common Core].

Disclosure: I've written and done research for some foundations, nonprofits, and think tanks.

Morning Video: What You Missed At The KIPP 20Th Anniversary Summit

 

There was a big KIPP Schools Summit a few days ago, and Whitney Tilson has kindly gathered a bunch of videos from the event (his own plus official ones). Start with the First Lady's taped greeting, and then head on to the rest below. This one is pretty inspiring.

Continue reading "Morning Video: What You Missed At The KIPP 20Th Anniversary Summit" »

AM News: NYC Parent Organizing Group Expands To Boston

Out-of-state group touting charter schools expands to Boston Boston Globe: Families for Excellent Schools , a nonprofit that has been mobilizing parents in New York City to push for more charter schools is expanding to Boston, a potential boost for local charter school supporters seeking to rebound after a crushing defeat last month. 

Celebrated Trial Lawyer to Head Group Challenging Teacher Tenure NYT: Mr. Boies, the son of two public schoolteachers, is a lifelong liberal who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and prosecuted Microsoft in the Clinton Administration’s antitrust suit. In aligning himself with a cause that is bitterly opposed by teachers’ unions, he is emblematic of an increasingly fractured relationship between the Democrats and the teachers’ unions.

Amid Criticism, States Gear Up For Common Core NPR: Delaware Gov. Jack Markell co-chaired the Common Core State Standards Initiative. He speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about the set of standards, and responds to its critics.

Legislatures taking state education into their own hands Washington Post: The backlash against the Common Core has prompted lawmakers in at least 12 states to get more involved in setting their own K-12 academic standards, injecting politics into a process usually conducted in obscurity by bureaucrats.

Debunking Common Myths About The Common Core NPR: Many people don't realize it's a set of standards, not a curriculum. NPR's Eric Westervelt talks with education reporter Cory Turner about other misconceptions about the Common Core standards.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Parent Organizing Group Expands To Boston" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Departing House Leader Rails Against Neighborhood-Based School Assignment

Cantor decries neighborhood/school quality linkage  ow.ly/zQlsp USA Today via @RedditEducation  

Fact-Checking UFT’s Attack on NOLA Schools | PE + COow.ly/zQlp0 @petercook

Snapshot of Teacher Union Spending on House, Senate Campaigns  @PoliticsK12  ow.ly/zQ8ez  @laurenonthehill

Vox points out big but little-known hole in union spending figures ow.ly/zR1Ob

2014's top lobbying spenders so far - Washington Postow.ly/zQmeg Labor unions/teachers *not* among them

Why poor kids fail to show up for college - and lie to college counselors about it - Jay Mathews ow.ly/zQmBG

Knowledge Isn’t Power - NYT ow.ly/zPUAI Krugman on politicians and the public ignoring expertise

Campaigns: Those Union Spending Numbers Are Only Half The Story

Quotes2Unions are important financial powerhouses in elections, but much of their spending is done in such a way that it doesn't show up on FEC reports — it involves getting out the vote or internal communication with their members rather than paid TV ads.  Vox

John Thompson: Jal Mehta's Ten Inconvenient Truths

MehtaJal Mehta, in the Education Week blog Learning Deeply, discusses five inconvenient truths held by both reformers and education traditionalists. I'm not sure why he only mentions five minor blind spots held by reformers.

Perhaps Mehta is being diplomatic or maybe his excellent Allure of Order did such a great job of chronicling the failures of accountability-driven reformers that he didn’t see the need to repeat its diagnoses of their shortcomings. 

Frankly, I think Mehta has chosen a rhetorical path halfway between reformers and their opponents, and he believes he can do the greatest good by sticking to it. Metha is not playing politics; but he seeks consensus. 

I respect that. 

My five inconvenient truths ignored by reformers would be, first, high stakes testing and, second, increased segregation are inherently destructive, so reformers need a very strong reason for imposing either.

Third, education is an act of love and trusting relationships are the key but, fourth, the reformers’ politics of destruction and the demonization of teachers and unions undermine those relationships.

Fifth, reformers should have accepted the burden of proving that their policies would do more good than harm. 

Mehta’s critique of traditionalists, however, is profound.   Hardly a day passes when I don’t wrestle with his “Inconvenient Truth 1: Longstanding institutions are not good at doing things other than what they were initially designed to do.” Mehta’s insight applies to all social institutions, not just education.

Continue reading "John Thompson: Jal Mehta's Ten Inconvenient Truths" »

Books: The Unexpected Alliance Of Civil Rights & Women's Rights Groups

The best education-related article in the New Yorker of the past few weeks might not be Rachel Aviv's piece about the "burn-it-down-to-save-it" actions taken by some Atlanta teachers pressured to produce better results but rather Louis Menand's story about how women's rights and civil rights advocates came together uneasily.

Called The Sex Amendment, Menand's piece uses a couple of new books to tracethe work of women's rights advocates -- in almost total opposition from the rest of the liberal establishment (including civil rights leaders). "The last thing any of these people wanted was a group with a different agenda crashing the party."
 
Key takeaways for education types include the strong differences within the civil rights movement and with the women's rights movement, and the unexpected turns of events that created new opportunities and turned enemies into reluctant allies.
 
No time to recap or make all the connections, but trust me it's a good read for anyone trying to figure out how things end up getting done even when groups generally aligned (say, Democrats, or education advocates) have ended up in staunch opposition on the particulars.  I have no idea how or when this kind of thing could happen in education, but have the sense that it will -- some surprising set of events and alliances not currently part of the stalemated war between reformers and their critics.
 

Morning Video: Colbert Interviews Campbell Brown Over Tenure Lawsuit

Here's the interview -- how'd she do? How'd Colbert do? 

AM News: Friday Roundup Lacks Any Clear Theme Or Headline

This Will Make Some Special Education Advocates Really Happy HuffP{ost: The Education Department said Thursday that New York, as well as Minnesota, South Carolina, Delaware and Georgia, could hold onto waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act for another year. 

Protesters slam teacher tenure foe Campbell Brown NY Daily News:  About 20 protesters gathered outside “The Colbert Report” studios in Hell's Kitchen Thursday shouting "there's nothing funny about Campbell..."

Retired Philadelphia Teachers Surrender Certifications in Cheating Scandal District Dossier: The educators agreed never to seek work at public, charter or cyber schools or with contracted education providers.

D.C. School Test Scores Inch Up, But No Repeat Of 'Historic' Jumps WAMU: D.C. officials announced today that math and reading proficiency rates were again up for the city's public and charter schools, though some of the gains were modest and others uneven.

North Carolina Budget May Raise Teacher Pay NYT: The North Carolina Senate moved toward sealing a long-sought budget accord on Thursday, voting in favor of a $21 billion plan that would raise the salaries of public schoolteachers but impose cuts elsewhere in state government.

School Shelters Offer Limited Safety, and Even Less Comfort NYT: Life for about 200,000 people packed into more than 80 schools serving as shelters in Gaza is full of deprivation and discomfort.

Emanuel's deputy education chief leaving post Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel's point person on Chicago Public Schools is leaving City Hall today to join the Joyce Foundation, 

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Generals Back Common Core [Is That A Good Thing?]

450 pro-Common Core Army generals say teacher preparedness tied to national security The Tennesean ow.ly/zNMZY #thankscommoncore?

WI High Court Upholds Law Curbing Collective-Bargaining Rights for Public Employees - WSJ @carolineporter ow.ly/zNOf2

The End of Paper-and-Pencil Exams? [Yes.] @TheAtlanticEDU @EWAEmily ow.ly/zOmVQ

Arnold Foundation helping CPI track funding in 6,300 state level races this year : CJR ow.ly/zNPvM

Things are better, and they're worse, says Fordham's Finn in a farewell message ow.ly/zOmlo No, you're not invited to the party.

Forget the surge of unaccompanied minors hitting some districts -- how about the big surge in suburban poverty? TIME ow.ly/zNOH3

Don’t Teach Math, Coach It - NYT oped by Jordan Ellenberg ow.ly/zOnjS

Choice: Chicago Teacher Rebuts Public Radio's "The Big Sort"

You may recall a big WBEZ Chicago Public Radio piece about student segregation at the high school level, which was passed around a lot last week. But not everybody thinks that students sorting themselves into different high schools is such a bad idea.  
 
Chicago teacher Ray Salazar outlined some concerns in a post titled School Choice Happens that noted the limits of neighborhood schools and the potential upsides of kids getting out of their home neighborhoods. Reporter Linda Lutton responded in comments, and the subject was further discussed on my Chicago site (Teacher Pushes Back On WBEZ “Sorting” Story).
 
Check it out -- what do you think?

Update: West Coast Reboot For DFER & Steve Barr

image from www.dfer.org

 

 

DFER California is re-launching operations for 2014 and beyond, kicked off with a few events and announcements (see press release below).  

As a big part of that effort, DFER has hired Steve Barr to be the state chapter head.  Former state legislator Gloria Romer was the previous head.  

Barr founded Green Dot Schools and more recently headed FIN Schools, which I'm told has been winding down its operations in recent months.

Previous posts:  Pro-Charter Dem PAC Expands To CA [2010]; Strange Times In California [2012]; Green Dot & Steve Barr Finalize Their "Divorce" [2011]; Barr Nonprofit Re-Focuses On Teacher Advocacy [2013]

Continue reading "Update: West Coast Reboot For DFER & Steve Barr " »

Quotes: The Coming Union Backlash Against Reform Democrats

Ultimately, the union backlash is likely to be channeled into the 2016 Democratic primary. Of the various sources of liberal dismay that may be brought to bear upon Hillary Clinton — Warren-esque concern with inequality, unease with the Clinton’s hawkish record — the most focused and organized may well be the cause of the unions.

-- Jonathan Chait NY Magazine (Teachers Unions Turn Against Democrats)

AM News: Common Core Movement Rolling On, Despite Setbacks

Common Core May Persist, Even in Opposition States EdWeek: So far there is little sign and not a great deal of precedent that the states backing away from the common core, or considering doing so, will ultimately produce anything that is truly different from those standards.

What Common Core Looks Like In A Second Grade Classroom NPR: The Common Core State Standards in reading and math have generated lots of attention and controversy, but what do they look and sound like in a classroom? Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez offers a peek at the standards at work in a second grade math class.

Huge confusion in Mississippi over Common Core Hechinger: Under the Common Core standards, students are learning more challenging content earlier. For example, Mississippi’s kindergarteners were expected to count to 20 under the old standards. Under Common Core, they must count to 100.

The biggest benefit of pre-K might not be education Vox: One of the most common arguments in favor of universal pre-K is the argument that it will actually save money: $7 for every $1 invested, according to President Obama's proposal for expanding pre-K access. Some studies have found an even higher return — as high as $16 to $1 — on investment from sending 4-year-olds to school.

A Shattered School in Gaza New Yorker: Tuesday night, thirty-three hundred people were crowded into the Jabaliya Primary School for Girls, in Gaza, when, according to the United Nations, the school was hit three times by explosions.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core Movement Rolling On, Despite Setbacks" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Hoboken Laptop Experience Unusual / Misleading

Lots of districts avoid Hoboken's unusually disastrous 1:1 deployment  saga  ow.ly/zKKxD @hechingerreport @pwillens

Chart: Top Liberal Campaign Spenders 2012 - via Voxow.ly/zKHsh includes Bloomberg, Soros, Fred Eychaner, etc.

Readers respond angrily to "practice" school-shooting story ow.ly/zKFno via @romenesko

Race to the Top, Wasn't : Frederick M. Hess ow.ly/zKJcZ@rhess99 via @DianeRavitch

Remembering Gene Maeroff - Education Next : Education Next ow.ly/zL69g (features audio interview)

Some Wisconsin schools oppose Common Core repeal ow.ly/zKF4h AP via @RealClearEd

I'm really enjoying the anonymous fun of #thankscommoncore @thnkscommoncore -- but I also want to know who started it??

Quotes: Rhee Cites DC Precedent For Union-Approved Tenure/Seniority Changes

Ultimately [in DC], we signed a contract with the union that addressed a lot of these issues, and the American Federation of Teachers signed off on it. So we have a precedent to be able to do this. (In D.C.) we are now retaining the most highly effective teachers at much higher rates.

- Michelle Rhee in NPR (Teacher Tenure Challenges)

 

Morning Video: Can After-School/Extended Day Programs Make A Difference?

"At Middle School 223 in the Bronx, the fun starts at the end of the regular day. All sixth graders are offered extracurricular activities like African drumming, latin dance and chess, plus personalized help in reading and math." (Why longer school days can be more fun for students)

 

AM News: Union Defends Tenure/Seniority Rules Against Lawsuits

New York Educators Fight Back on Attacks to Tenure NYT: The United Federation of Teachers sent out a memo defending tenure laws after two parents groups in New York filed lawsuits to challenge it.

Union Claims Weak Teachers Are Shown the Door WNYC: With its cherished tenure system under scrutiny, the New York City teachers union claimed on Tuesday that hundreds of teachers leave the city schools every year for failing to meet professional standards or as a result of disciplinary actions, even though very few of them are actually fired.

Q&A: Michelle Rhee On Teacher Tenure Challenges NPR: Her group played a supporting role in both the California and New York challenges and is now considering action in several other states.

COMMON CORE

Bobby Jindal Is Being Sued By His Own School Board Over The Common Core HuffPost: On Tuesday, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 6-4 to join the lawsuit against Jindal, known as Navis Hill, et al., v. Louisiana State. 

Can special education students keep up with the Common Core? The Hechinger Report: On a morning in late May, the pace was slow and deliberate as seven students formed a semicircle around their teacher to work on a lesson about finding the main idea in a story.

AFTER-SCHOOL

Can after-school programs help shrink the ‘opportunity gap’ for low-income students? PBS NewsHour: Middle School 223 in the Bronx, NY, is one of about 1,000 public schools in the U.S. offering low-income students a host of fun and educational classes after the final bell rings. But despite their best intentions, after-school programs may be overlooking the “elephant in the room”.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Union Defends Tenure/Seniority Rules Against Lawsuits" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: #ThanksCommonCore

How textbooks describe war has changed dramatically says @PacificStand ow.ly/zIE5z @bechang8.

Are 1:1 computer deployments not all that helpful, as this @WNYC story suggests - or did Hoboken just do it wrong? ow.ly/zIn9R

Mead: 5 Totally Doable Things to Improve Head Start @saramead ow.ly/zIn2Y

Diane Ravitch has met with 46k more teachers than Arne Duncan in the past year, she says ow.ly/zIK7d

Aldeman chides (get it?) Green for ignoring improved math results in her NYT story ow.ly/zIoAI 

To Stop Cheating, Nuclear Officers Ditch The Grades : NPR ow.ly/zIrkY 

Cory Booker, Rand Paul, & Rachel Racusen (again) make The Hill's "50 Most Beautiful" list for 2014ow.ly/zIu2p Any other edtypes?

John Thompson: An American Who Stinks at Math Wowed by Elizabeth Green's Explanation

MathI was slow to follow the link to Why Do Americans Stink at Math?, in the New York Times Magazine, and I did not see it as a "must read" until I realized it was written by the Chalkbeat's Elizabeth Green.

I’m bad at math and I don’t see Americans’ problems with math as that big of a deal. I’m much more concerned with the challenge of improving reading comprehension in the 21st century.

As I understand it, math is a precise language, combined with logic. Few teachers are prepared to holistically teach this language or explain to students what the purpose and meaning of the subject is. Besides, contemporary American culture is not at its best in terms of valuing non-English languages, much less translating words and concepts into numbers and symbols.

Green grabbed me when citing John Allen Paulos’s diagnosis of innumeracy— “the mathematical equivalent of not being able to read.” She then reports that on the NAEP, “three-quarters of fourth graders could not translate a simple word problem about a girl who sold 15 cups of lemonade on Saturday and twice as many on Sunday into the expression ‘15 + (2×15).’”

Continue reading "John Thompson: An American Who Stinks at Math Wowed by Elizabeth Green's Explanation" »

Quotes: Teaching Isn't Rocket Science

Quotes2You don’t need to be a genius... You have to know how to manage a discussion. You have to know which problems are the ones most likely to get the lessons across. You have to understand how students make mistakes — how they think — so you can respond to that.

-- Author Elizabeth Green in Joe Nocera NYT column about improving teacher preparation

Morning Video: New Efforts To Engage Emotional Support For Common Core

 

Here's an example of how Common Core supporters are going to try and engage the public with outrage over the current inequalities and inadequacies of the education system  - and inspiration about what the new standards can do. From NCLR via Politico. #whimsical

AM News: NY Gets A Vergara Lawsuit (MN, CT, NJ & TN Could Be Next)

New York’s teacher tenure faces second challenge as Campbell Brown’s group files suit Chalkbeat:  In the past, Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended teacher tenure as a way to recruit and retain effective teachers. A spokesman from the state said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Second Vergara-Inspired Lawsuit Filed in New York Teacher Beat: "Campbell Brown may be tearing up, but her secret hedge-fund supporters will be crying all the way to the bank if she succeeds in her mission to undercut public education and privatize our schools," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "Parents know that attacking teachers is not the answer to the problems of New York's public schools.  We expect New York's courts to reject the fact-challenged and legally questionable assertions in this case."

Teacher Tenure Fight Comes to New York City NPR: Seven parents filed a lawsuit with New York State Supreme Court on Monday seeking to overturn teacher tenure laws that they said prevent their children from receiving a "sound basic education" that is guaranteed by New York State’s constitution.

Campbell Brown takes on teacher tenure in New York Washington Post: An advocacy group headed by former television journalist Campbell Brown filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday that seeks to overturn the state’s tenure laws and other job protections for teachers.

Teacher Tenure Lawsuits Spread NPR: Rhee's group is considering additional suits in Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey and Tennessee.

The Common Core PR war Politico:Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. The millions have proved no match for the moms. 

What Happens When High School Administrators Get Caught Plagiarizing HuffPost: Although high school students are regularly warned to avoid plagiarism and are often punished when they slip, a steady stream of high school administrators have come under fire lately for engaging in that very practice. 

Boston Plan for Cameras and Microphones on School Buses Comes Under Fire District Dossier: An editorial in The Boston Globe Monday called the plan to install microphones on school buses "bad public policy and a bad lesson for students."

NYC Uses Food Trucks to Bring Summer Meals to Kids AP: NYC uses food trucks to bring free summer meals to kids; more mobility, less stigma.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: You're Fired -- I Mean, Fined

NYC Teachers in Disciplinary Cases More Often Fined Than Fired - WSJ ow.ly/zEQ1a @lesliebrody

Salon: The plot to destroy education: Why techn could ruin US classrooms — by trying to fix them" ow.ly/zFflP

Not All Discipline Disparities May Be The Result Of Implicit Bias - @shankerblog ow.ly/zFVN1

Democrats are more liberal now than 20 years ago -- and most active Dems are liberal, too, says Politicoow.ly/zFfc3

Abq Journal: Panelists provide transparency in New York Education Department's setting of "cut scores"ow.ly/zFiVC via RCE

Don't like these? Lots more to pick from (esp. from over the weekend) at @alexanderrusso.

 

Quotes: "Don't Call [Common Core Opponents] 'Crazies'," Says Developer

I think then we make a great mistake by caricaturing the opponents of the standards as crazies or people who don't tell the truth... We will lose, and we'll lose things of great importance, if we dismiss this as an extremist position. - David Coleman in BloombergEDU interview via Politico

Morning Video: Head Start Helping Head Start Kids With Trauma

PBS: A program in Kansas City, Missouri is trying to stem [preschool expulsions] by "looking beyond the classroom to the issues these children face at home -- and helping them to feel safe." (Giving traumatized kids a head start in healing)

AM News: Lawsuits Filed In NY & CA Against Tenure Protections & Inadequate ELL Service

Campbell Brown’s group to file teacher tenure suit ChalkbeatNY: A group of seven families led by the news-anchor-turned-education-activist Campbell Brown will file a complaint in state court on Monday. The suit, to be filed in Albany by Brown’s group, is the second such case in New York and follows a California ruling in June that deemed teacher tenure laws in that state unconstitutional.

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state EdSource via Hechinger: The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. The lawsuit, filed in April 2013, is set for a one-day trial next week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Washington state stands alone on US education law AP: When the past school year began, four states were in danger of losing their waivers from aspects of the law. But only one has actually lost the flexibility Duncan began promoting in 2011: Washington. The three others - Oregon, Kansas and Arizona - appear to be on the path to resolving their differences with the federal government.

Learning To Read May Take Longer Than We Thought NPR: A Dartmouth study suggests that fifth-graders are still "learning to read," not just "reading to learn."

Gene I. Maeroff, Education Reporter and Author, Dies at 75 NYT: A former education reporter for The Times, Mr. Maeroff found a second career working as an author, a researcher and an adviser on education issues.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Lawsuits Filed In NY & CA Against Tenure Protections & Inadequate ELL Service" »

Twitter Friday: News & Commentary Here, On Facebook, & Via Twitter

It's Friday and so I'll be updating the site -- lightly -- via Twitter (which also posts to Facebook and here). See it all below. Have a great weekend!

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Clinton Launches #BabyTalking Campaign

Clinton Launches Baby-talking Campaign In Oakland ow.ly/zxPJy #babytalking 

Unions put teachers on streets — for votes - http://POLITICO.com  Print View http://ow.ly/zxq4G 

Self-proclaimed "naive" NYC Teaching Fellow Florina Rodov aims to open her own school next yearow.ly/zxDgA @TheAtlanticEDU

Do the CAP teacher salary report & coverage seem misleading to you like it does to me? ow.ly/zyp7n@MrPABruno @SchlFinance101

New think tank started by CAP economist will fund Berkely's Jesse Rothstein on ed ineq, reports @TheStoryline ow.ly/zycgT

Ed tech promoters need to understand how most of us learn | The Hechinger Report ow.ly/zxWbN

Washington Post's @TheStoryline is latest entry in wonky explainer sites like @vox. RSS ow.ly/zycMu You're welcome

 

Maps: Which States Are Changing Which Charter Laws To Do What?

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 12.18.16 PMFrom ECS: "42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have charter school laws. Important, evolving elements of these state laws include: Statewide authorizing bodies (33 states); Standards for authorizers (quality school authorizing) (15 states and D.C.); Requirements that authorizing bodies report annually on their portfolios of schools (15 states and D.C.); Explicit performance thresholds below which charters must be revoked or non-renewed (11 states and D.C.); Explicit attention to one type of charter: the Internet, or cyber charter (24 states define or permit; 20 outline elements of oversight)."

 Charter Schools Database via EdWeek.

Image Flickr CC via

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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.