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AM News: Teachers Unions Undaunted By Iowa (Plus: Detroit, Chicago Drama)

NEA, AFT Presidents: Hillary Clinton Can Make Things Happen PK12: Teachers' union leaders who put muscle and money behind Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton say they're not disheartened with her photo finish in the Iowa caucuses.

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager To Step Down NPR: The state-appointed emergency manager of the Detroit public schools system is calling it quits. Darnell Earley was a big target because of his job before this one — as emergency manager of Flint. See also NYT.

Chicago Teachers Union calls proposed cuts by district 'an act of war' Chicago Tribune: One day after the Chicago Teachers Union rejected a contract proposal from Chicago Public Schools, district officials said they would slash school budgets and stop paying the bulk of teachers' pension contributions — moves CTU's president quickly decried.

Chicago Schools Announce Cuts After Union Rejects Offer AP: Chicago school officials say they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after the teachers' union rejected the latest offer in contentious contract negotiations that have lasted over a year.

Senior Education official collapses after heated four-hour hearing on Hill Washington Post: A senior executive at the Education Department who was the target of a four-hour interrogation by members of Congress on Tuesday collapsed after the hearing and was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.

This 17-year-old is a rising voice in Baltimore’s Black Lives Matter movement Washington Post: A high-ranking police officer was reassigned after the teen called attention to his tweets, which she said showed “entrenched racism.”

Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City WNYC:  It didn't happen in the South; it happened in New York City, where the mostly white elected officials and Board of Education members said they believed in integrated education. 

Hoaxers increasingly going online to threaten schools AP: In December, Los Angeles, New York City and several other school systems received an email warning of a grisly attack. In late January, districts in Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and elsewhere received bomb threats phoned in using an electronic voice. In almost every instance, the threats disrupted the lives of thousands of students. Schools were closed or locked down. 

Afternoon Listen: The Premiere Episode Of "Have You Heard?"

It's finally here: New Progressive Education Podcast launches, hosted by Jennifer Berkshire and Aaron French. First up is a look at African-American parents in Philadelphia who oppose standardized testing. Or, check out the fundraising site. Agree or disagree with the perspective being explored, you've got to admire the sound quality.

Pics: NEA & AFT Heads Together Canvassing For Hillary In Iowa

 

In Cedar Rapids canvassing with NEA's Lily Eskelsen Garcia-talking with folks about Hillary in advance of Iowa Caucus

Posted by Randi Weingarten on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quotes: Weingarten Contextualizes Early State Primaries

Quotes2I know the early four states love being the early four states, and every four years you hear more and more about them. But 60 percent of the delegates actually get decided in March.

- AFT President (and Clinton supporter) Randi Weingarten in the NYT (Tight Democratic Race in Iowa Unnerves Clinton Campaign)

Morning Video: Male High School Student Makes School Dance Team

 

"Adrian is the only male dancer on his high school’s Lariettes dance team," according to this PBSNewsHour segment (The chance to dance). "Many consider this brave, but according to Adrian he’s just is doing what makes him happy." Read more about the #Outsidethebox series here.

AM News: Clinton Wins Iowa With Teachers Unions' Help

School spending per student drops for a third year in a row Hechinger Report: Per-pupil spending in the nation’s public schools fell for the third straight year in 2012-13*, according to the most recent federal financial data, which was released on January 27, 2016. In that school year, U.S. public schools spent only $10,763 per elementary, middle and high school student, on average, across the country. 

Chicago Teachers Union Rejects 'Serious Offer' From District AP: The Chicago Teachers Union says it has rejected a contract proposal because it does not address school conditions, lack of services to some students and the long-term fiscal crisis of the nation's third-largest school district... See also Sun-TimesChicago Tribune.

Public Advocate Sues New York City over Glitches in Special Ed Tracking WNYC: Public Advocate Letitia James filed a lawsuit on Monday that alleged the city's computer system for tracking students with disabilities was such a failure that it led to the loss not only of basic services for children in need but also of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid reimbursements. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Public schools see influx of state funds but financial challenges still loom KPCC: Up and down California, public schools are enjoying a rapid rise in state funding. With the state’s economic gains and a temporary tax increase approved by voters in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $71.6 billion education budget for the next fiscal year is up more than 50 percent since 2011. Spending per student has increased more than $3,800, to a projected $14,550 this year.

S.F. considers giving condoms away to middle schoolers SF Gate: Public school nurses and social workers in San Francisco would be allowed to hand out condoms to individual middle school students under a proposal before the district’s school board, expanding school-based access to the contraceptive to younger teens and preteens.

GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards Washington Post: Eleven states have passed or debated legislation to create state-run school districts in the past year, according to the Education Commission of the States, which tracks state education policy.

Top Education official will acknowledge ‘poor judgment’ at hearing into his behavior Washington Post: Harris, 56, also failed to report $10,000 in income from his various businesses on his federal disclosure forms and to the Internal Revenue Service, according to investigators. The agency’s inspector general launched an investigation into Harris’s activities in 2011 after receiving anonymous complaints.

EdSec: Six Years Ago, Duncan's Biggest Gaffe (& Perhaps A Turning Point)

Quotes
Six years ago yesterday, Arne Duncan made what is arguably the biggest gaffe of his entire tenure, talking about Hurricane Katrina. It was a big one, no doubt, and might have represented something of a turning point in media coverage of Duncan and educators' perceptions of him. But it was also one of very few mistakes like these that I can recall him making. The only other that comes to mind is the time he came out in favor of same-sex marriage before President Obama. 

 

 

Preview: Friday Social Media & Journalism Events In DC

On Friday in DC, I'll be appearing at a couple of #TFA25 sessions on social media and education journalism. The social media event is titled “Becoming an Education Influencer on Twitter” and is described as a "professional development" track and will take place in room 144BC of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Familiar and new to me, the list of other speakers include Alicia Herald https://twitter.com/aliciaherald, Andre Perry https://twitter.com/andreperryedu, Brittany Packnett- https://twitter.com/MsPackyetti, David Johns https://twitter.com/MrDavidJohns, Jeff Casimir https://twitter.com/j3, Jeremy Chiappetta https://twitter.com/chiachess, Jessica Cordova Kramer https://twitter.com/JJCordovaK, Jo Kmet https://twitter.com/JoKmet, Joseph Manko https://twitter.com/joemanko, Liz Dwyer https://twitter.com/losangelista, Reshma Singh https://twitter.com/reshma_a_singh, and Rishawn Biddle https://twitter.com/dropoutnation.

Someone should make a #TFA25 Twitter Power list from the speakers, right?

I'm also glad to be participating in a media panel at 3:05 titled "Five Things You Should Know Before You Talk to the Press" According to the event description, it will help #TFA25 attendees with the following: "How do stories and pitches sound from the other side of the divide? This panel of editors and writers will share mistakes to avoid when you share your story with journalists, edtech trends they've noticed in the market, and more." It's also in the Convention Center, in East Overlook Room.

Related posts: 52 regions. 40,000 Alumni. TFA At 25Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel7 Things I Learned From The LA Times' TFA ArticleTFA20: A Premature (Or Even Unwarranted) Celebration?Looking Ahead To #TFA25Stop Talking About Education's "Egypt Moment"Five Ideas For TFA's *Next* 20 Years.

Books: New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School English

image from images.macmillan.comYou might know David Denby for his writing in the New Yorker about movies among other things, but he's also interested in education.

He wrote a big profile of Diane Ravitch four years ago.

Now, the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss has this excerpt from his new book, ‘Lit Up.’

It's the account of his return to English class, following up (20 years later) on a similar tale about returning to college.

In the introduction, he explains the motivation behind the project:

"Teenagers may be reading more words than ever, but many of those words are scraps, messages, fragments of books and articles, information from everywhere and nowhere. What about reading serious books? The best way to find out, I reasoned, was not to scan education research and statistical surveys but to “embed” in a single tenth-grade English class all year long and to see what happened as a good teacher worked with 15-year-olds. I would read everything the kids read, sit on the side of the room, keep my mouth shut, and interview the kids when they had some free time."

Denby chose Beacon School, which he describes as a magnet school "with a multi-ethnic and multi-class population of New York kids." From this Wikipedia entry, you can see it's not your typical NYC high school. And the teacher whose classroom Denby observed was not just a teacher, according to Denby, he was "a maker of souls as well as a maker of readers."

It's got blurbs from Dave Eggers and Diane Ravitch, among others. Click the link above for the excerpt, or click here for some reviews. 

Morning Video: The CBO That Started A Charter (Plus Feynman)

Meet the Visionary Chicago School Leader Who Won a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant (via The Seventy Four.

Or, watch Bill Gates talk about scientist Richard Feynman (The Best Teacher I Never Had).

AM News: Chicago Teachers, NYC Special Ed, Koch Brothers Do Poverty

Will teachers accept CPS offer or start countdown to strike? Chicago Sun-Times: Forty members of the Chicago Teachers Union are slated Monday to consider a “serious offer” for a new four-year contract, a step that’s making another teachers strike look less likely. See also Chicago TribuneDNA Info.

NYC Rejects Federal Findings That Many Elementary Schools Defy Disabilities Law NYT: The de Blasio administration took issue with a report saying that the majority of city elementary schools are not fully accessible to disabled people.

Koch brothers' new group will take on poverty, educational quality USA Today: The organization, known as Stand Together, is still in its start-up phase but aims to raise $15 million this year, top officials told USA TODAY in the first interview about the new organization. The group will make its first public splash this week — launching its website and broadly sharing its plans as an annual winter seminar for hundreds of Koch donors opens Saturday near Palm Springs, Calif.

State Pre-K Funding Increases For Fourth Year Straight State EdWatch: Thirty-two states have increased funding while only nine states decreased funding for preschool.

Education Department Tells States: If Students Don't Take Tests, You Will Lose Funding
Huffington Post: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said states need support from the Education Department during the transition, "not the threat of sanctions."

School funding increases in California don't buffer from future uncertainties LA Daily News: Vallejo High School teacher Lewis Brown starts his morning government class with a question of the day that takes advantage of newly assigned iPads.

Baltimore schools lose hundreds of students, millions in funding Washington Post: The school system is investigating whether students were kept on the rolls after enrollment dropped.

The New Student Activists NYT: Black students and their allies are demanding change. Seven from colleges and universities around the country discuss the problem, their protests and themselves.

White House Announces 'Computer Science for All' Initiative PK12: Today, the White House announced what it's calling an "ambitious, all-hands-on deck" initiative to get every student in the United States coding. See also NYT, HuffPost

Students Say Racial Hostilities Simmered at Historic Boston Latin School NYT: Two black students, employing YouTube videos and a hashtag, started a campaign to expose what they see as a hostile climate at Boston Latin School, a beacon of high achievement that was founded in 1635.

Afternoon Video: Outdoor Learning Program Serves Autistic Kids' Needs

"By second grade, it was clear that while Zack Smith could sit in a chair, he had no intention of staying in it. He was disruptive in class, spoke in a loud voice, and had a hard time taking turns with others... Where Zack eventually landed is clinging spread-eagle to an east-facing slab of quartzite in the West Virginia panhandle." From Outside magazine (ADHD Is Fuel for Adventure)

 

Events: 52 regions. 40,000 Alumni. TFA At 25

Watch out, world. A week from today starts TFA's 25th Anniversary Summit in DC.

According to the event organizers, Friday includes "sessions focused on leadership development" (including one about social media that I'm going to be participating in), followed by Saturday's big day of panels (including a Denver case study panel I'm moderating) and an appearance from Janelle Monáe (above). 

There are a bunch of social events, including charter networks (Democracy Prep, etc.), diverse charters (Brooklyn Prospect), and districts (Denver Public Schools).

#TFA25 seems to be the event hashtag. 

There's a big EdWeek deep dive.

There's a BuzzFeed listicle: 19 Things To Do At The TFA 25th Anniversary Summit.

There's an app.

TFA Alumni Affairs (aka @onedayallkids) have put together a "TFA25 Twitter Track" for the conference .

There's some great TFA memorabilia floating around on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, including this 1992 poster:

CZ5v9BWWkAAxm_A

 

If Deray McKesson isn't there, I think there might be a riot. [He's scheduled to be there on Saturday, I'm told.] 

What about LAUSD Board Chairperson Steve Zimmer, or StudentsFirst co-founder Michelle Rhee (pictured at #TFA20)? Jesse Hagopian? Alex Caputo-Pearl? [No idea]

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

The NYT's Nikole Hannah-Jones is going to be there, according to Twitter. (Not as a TFA alum but on a panel on school desegregation.)

The last big gathering of TFA folks was in February 2011, which seems like 100 years ago. People were still talking about the Arab Spring back then. Michelle Rhee was sort of the rock star of the event. Questions about the organization's role and impact were coming up (including from founder Wendy Kopp herself) but hadn't gained real traction yet. There was no #BlackLivesMatter. Teachers in Chicago hadn't gone on strike for the first time in nearly 30 years. Yet.

Related posts: Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel7 Things I Learned From The LA Times' TFA ArticleTFA20: A Premature (Or Even Unwarranted) Celebration?Looking Ahead To #TFA25Stop Talking About Education's "Egypt Moment"Five Ideas For TFA's *Next* 20 Years.

 

Charts: Urban District Spending/NAEP Scores Compared

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"Some large urban school systems get more bang for their buck than others. After adjusting for certain factors outside a district’s control, such as cost of living and student poverty, some big-city school systems spend millions of dollars more than others—but get far lower results on national math and reading exams." CAP 2011- used with permission.

This comes up because of a couple of recent reports on district spending in 2013 (NCES via Washington Post) and district achievement 2015 (CAP via USA Today). Anyone who wants to match up the more recent spending and NAEP figures?

 

 

Numbers: Big-City School Spending Tops Out At $20K Per Kid (NYC

Numbersign"The numbers [for the biggest 100 districts in the nation] ranged from $5,539 per pupil in Utah’s Alpine School District to $20,331 in New York City. After New York, the highest-spending large districts were in Boston, Philadelphia and Anchorage. Four of the 11 highest-spending large districts were in the Washington area, reflecting the region’s relative wealth and high cost of living. Montgomery County was ranked fifth, spending $15,080 per student; Howard County was seventh, at $14,884; Prince George’s County was ninth, at $14,101; and Fairfax County was 11th, at $13,670." - Washington Post's Emma Brown (Spending in nation’s schools falls again)

Today: New CAP Report/Briefing On Testing Better (#TestBetter)

Watch the event from this morning above. Featured are CAP's Catherine Brown, NY State's Mary Ellen Elia, CCSSO's Chris Minnich, Achieve's Mike Coehn, and DCPS teacher Chris Bergfalk, Ruidoso NM Supierntendent George Bickert, and NAACP LDEF's Janel George. 

Read more here: Toward a Coherent, Aligned Assessment System | Center for American Progress. Read the Twitterstream #testbetter here.

 

Morning Listen: How Much Does Teaching Matter From An Economist's POV?

"If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed "just a little bit below average," it's not really their fault. So what should be done about it?"  From Freakonomics (2014, rebroadcast again recently)

AM News: Teachers Unions Sue Detroit Over Poor Conditions & State Oversight

Detroit Teachers Sue District Over 'Deplorable' Conditions AP: The Detroit teachers' union has filed a lawsuit against the district calling for repairing "deplorable" conditions and removing the state-appointed emergency manager. See also Washington Post, US News, Detroit Free Press.

Education Department Tells States: If Students Don't Take Tests, You Will Lose Funding AP: A letter from the federal department last month reminded state school chiefs that the requirement to test at least 95 percent of grade 3-8 students is still in place and will continue under the nation's new education law, passed in December.

Per Pupil Spending Down in Most States, According to Federal Data State EdWatch: Despite the economic recovery, districts spent 1.8 percent less per student in 2013 than they did the prior year.

At least 145 sickened from apparent gas leak at Texas school AP: Authorities say at least 145 students and staff members at a Southeast Texas middle school received hospital treatment after an apparent carbon monoxide leak Thursday....

Immigrants' Son Is 1 Of 12 Students Worldwide To Ace AP Calculus Exam NPR: Of the 302,532 students who took the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, Cedrick Argueta, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, was one of 12 to earn every single point.

Quotes: Education Philanthropy's Mysterious Devotion To Failed Strategies

Quotes2Philanthropy’s quest to improve K-12 education feels stuck in a rut. Some of the biggest funders on the scene remain devoted to a reform strategy that has so far failed to yield transformative change, while a range of other funder-backed efforts aren’t yet operating at a scale likely to produce major breakthroughs.

- David Callahan in Inside Philanthropy (Ed Funders Need to Think Bigger About Systemic Change. Here Are Some Ideas)

Maps: Declining Spending On Schools (Still Varies Widely By State)

Wertwertt

"The new federal data were released on the heels of a report by the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing that state governments in at least 31 states are contributing less to public education than they did in 2008, before the recession." (Washington Post: Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states). Image used with permission.

Morning Video: Pros & Cons Of Neighborhood-Based School Assignment

A Here's a new Reason.com video segment about the perils of residential assignment of kids to schools. (Brownstone Brooklyn's Racial Divide).

AM News: Untimed Testing In NY, Common Core Lawsuit In MA, Barr For Mayor?

New York Will Shed Clock for Some Statewide Tests NYT: The English and math exams given to third- through eighth- grade students will no longer be timed, the State Education Department said, ending the call of “pencils down.” See also WSJChalkbeatNY.

Group Sues to Prevent Common Core Question on Massachusetts Ballot State EdWatch: The lawsuit claims that the question scheduled for a vote on November's ballot is invalid and would revert the state to outdated academic standards. See also New Salem NewsTelegram.

Charter schools founder Steve Barr weighs 2017 challenge to Garcetti LA Times: Although the mayor in L.A. has no formal control over the school district, Barr said Garcetti had abdicated any meaningful involvement in the school system — in contrast to Garcetti's predecessor, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who placed education reform at the core of his agenda. See also LA Weekly.

Virginia's Charter School Amendment Is Prepped For Round Two In Assembly WAMU: An amendment to the state Constitution to make it much easier to create charter schools is expected to take its second big step forward during this session of the General Assembly.

The Latest: Teacher says principal pushed students to safety AP: The Latest on a bus crash at an Indianapolis elementary school that killed the school's principal.

Oakland pledges to fund college for poor SF Gate: The centerpiece of the Oakland Promise initiative is an infusion of grants, ranging from $500 college savings accounts for children born into poverty to college scholarships of up to $16,000 for low-income students.

Afternoon Video: PBS Looks Into Vocational Education

"Of all the U.S. high school students who graduate high school and go on to college, a large proportion will never earn their degree. How can educators better train those who may struggle in trying to pick a course of study? One solution may lie in putting greater emphasis on high school vocational training, but critics disagree." (Should more kids skip college for workforce training?)

NB that one of the disagreeing parties speaking out in favor of giving all kids the same rigorous academic instruction is none other than Carol Burris. 

Quotes: Reformers Urged To Join In On Flint Fight

Quotes2I urge my colleagues fighting for radical change in our public schools to take up the call to action in Flint. This is an opportunity for those of us devoted to social justice to join forces against the structural inequities that deny our neediest and most vulnerable citizens the most critical services for public welfare.

- EdBuild's Rebecca Sibilia in The Seventy Four (Failing Schools, and the Lines That Divide Us)

Morning Video: Trump Touts His Anti-Common Core Position

 
Education

I will end common core. It's a disaster. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Trump2016

Posted by Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Click here if the video doesn't load properly. Via Slate. "I will end common core. It's a disaster."

AM News: School Spending Down (Again, Though Not As Much As Last Year)

Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states Washington Post: The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row, reversing more than a decade of funding increases, according to federal data released Wednesday. The national average was $10,763, down 0.6 percent compared with 2012, adjusting for inflation. That decline was less dramatic than the 3 percent drop the year before, but it shows that, in many places, funding for public education has not rebounded as the economy recovered from the Great Recession. See also Stateline.

Emergency food program in DC schools expands its reach Washington Post: The District of Columbia's experiment serving hot meals to hungry students during a school shutdown picked up steam Tuesday, with twice as many students participating as the day before.

Arguing for mayoral control, de Blasio sparks a spat over charter school funding ChalkbeatNY: Since Cuomo and some Republican lawmakers view the mayoral control debate as more a referendum on de Blasio’s education policies than a governance question, and both embrace charter schools, de Blasio’s remarks could undermine his argument to them.

Illinois students left out of state exams, labeled ineligible for testing Chicago Tribune: Nearly 20 percent of freshmen were left out of PARCC testing in English — but not because families opted out or reported students absent on exam day. Administrators labeled most of those youths ineligible to test, part of the new and controversial way Illinois is testing high school students across the state: Kids take state exams only if they're in particular courses, and not because they're in a certain grade.

Lowering The Bar For The New GED Test NPR: Many students had complained the new version was too hard. Because of the change, tens of thousands of students could potentially get their high school equivalency diplomas retroactively.

From L.A. Unified teacher to superintendent: Who is the real Michelle King? LA Times: At the announcement that Michelle King had been promoted from deputy superintendent to the top leadership position at the huge and troubled Los Angeles Unified School District, the small throng gathered at district headquarters rose to its feet in applause. The applause was a "Survivor"-like salute...

Growing Numbers Of Chinese Teens Are Coming To America For High School NPR: More than 23,000 have come so far, with California a top destination — especially the Los Angeles suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley. Many teens live with host families and attend private schools.

Driver: Principal fatally hit by bus pushed kids out of way AP: An Indianapolis elementary school principal was seen pushing several students out of the way of an oncoming bus before the vehicle fatally struck her, authorities said Tuesday.... See also HuffPost, NY Post.

Somali youth in one Maine city are learning to navigate several cultures WNYC: Maine is home to many Somali refugees in the US, but fitting in hasn’t always been easy. There's even tension among Somali communities — between those who arrived first and those who came later. That also plays out at public schools in Lewiston, Maine’s second largest city.

Video: Run, Hide, Fight -- Until The Guys With Guns Show Up

In this video, The Atlantic magazine takes us inside a mockup school building used to train officers (How America Trains Its Officers to Respond to School Shootings).

TBT: Remembering The Duncan Confirmation Hearing & That New Yorker Profile

Six years ago, Arne Duncan was getting the New Yorker treatment. Seven years ago, he was going through an unusually easy confirmation process.

The confirmation hearing was so boring I spent most of the time making screengrabs and lame comments about folks sitting behind Duncan in the hearing room:

ScreenHunter_12 Jan. 25 23.50 

"Sneaking a peak at the ole Blackberry while Senator Alexander is talking." [

Remember Blackberries? 

As you may recall from Duncan Gets The New Yorker Treatment that came out a year later, I didn't think much of the New Yorker piece: "By and large, it's the Spellings treatment all over again.  Homey details, celebrity name-dropping, and lots of backstory about Duncan's childhood.  There's also the familiar effort to puff Duncan up over his "unprecedented" budget and his buddy-buddy status with the POTUS, as well as the (to my mind) overheated notion that we're on the verge of some great age of education reform." 

Around that time, I was also touting this Slate article about Obama's detached relationships with people and institutions and a 2008 piece I'd written about Obama's elusive support for local control in Chicago schools.

 

Quotes: How Clinton Will Govern (Everyone Says)

Quotes2If Clinton does win, it’s likely that on domestic policy, she will govern to Obama’s left... Clinton’s campaign proposals already signal a leftward shift. And people close to her campaign suggest that among her top agenda items would be paid family leave, debt-free college tuition, and universal preschool.

- The Atlantic's Peter Beinart (America Is Becoming More Liberal)

Morning Video: A Tour Inside A Detroit Public School (Plus Detroit Q & A)

Lakia Wilson, the school counselor at Spain Elementary School, takes us around for a tour. Via AFT.

See also:  DPS Denied Injunction Against Teachers; New Hearing Set  Detroit Free News: Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims said she needs more information and that there's no proof the Detroit Federation of Teachers or its interim president encouraged the mass teacher absences. 

Q&A: A look at the Detroit Public Schools teacher sick-outs AP: Detroit Public Schools teachers have complained for several years about poor pay, overcrowded classrooms, a lack of supplies, unsafe building conditions and uncertainty about their futures as the district struggles under a mountain of debt. Rolling teacher sick-outs have - so far in January - forced the district to close dozens of schools on some days. A preliminary hearing will be held next month on the district's lawsuit seeking to end the sick-outs....

 

AM News: Snowstorm Recovery For East Coast Districts

Many Public School Students Get 2nd Snow Day AP: Students in Philadelphia, Baltimore and the District of Columbia will get a second consecutive snow day as officials said schools will be closed in those cities again on Tuesday.

For hungry DC kids stuck in snow, schools open their doors for meals Washington Post: The Jordan family — two parents and five children ages 3,6,8,9 and 10 — streamed into the cafeteria at the Columbia Heights Education Campus and made a beeline for the chicken nuggets sitting under heat lamps.

Chicago Public Schools gives layoff notices to 227 staff workers Chicago Tribune" Chicago Public Schools turned to a familiar tactic in the face of its latest fiscal crisis, slashing its nonteaching ranks and eliminating vacant positions in a bid to save tens of millions of dollars.

Educators Cobble Together a Post-Blizzard School Day WNYC: Student attendance was 74 percent compared to a typical day, when about 90 percent of students are in school citywide, according to Department of Education figures. Specifically, Queens and Staten Island had the lowest attendance rates, both hovering near 71 percent. 

For Some Schools, Learning Doesn't Stop On Snow Days NPR: It doesn't matter if they get 3 inches or 3 feet of snow — schools in Indiana can bring students into a virtual classroom if their physical classrooms shut down.

 

Teachers Union Calls for Stricter Charter School Laws in New York WNYC: According to a union analysis of charter schools sharing building space with district schools, 13.1 percent of students in the traditional public schools are English Language Learners, while the co-located charters served less than half as many. The charters also enrolled far fewer students with the most severe disabilities who require separate classrooms (1.5 percent compared to 7.1 percent of students in traditional schools). See also Chalkbeat.

Q&A: A look at the Detroit Public Schools teacher sick-outs AP: Detroit Public Schools teachers have complained for several years about poor pay, overcrowded classrooms, a lack of supplies, unsafe building conditions and uncertainty about their futures as the district struggles under a mountain of debt. Rolling teacher sick-outs have - so far in January - forced the district to close dozens of schools on some days. A preliminary hearing will be held next month on the district's lawsuit seeking to end the sick-outs....

In Efforts to Boost Teacher Diversity, Asians and Pacific Islanders Seek Inclusion EdWeek: Although Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders make up 5.1 percent of the U.S. population, census data show that the AAPI community is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country. Yet between 2000 and 2012, there was virtually no change in the percentage of AAPIs in the teaching profession.

Once-Lagging Neighborhood Schools Now Drive Improvement at St. Louis Public Schools St. Louis Post-Dispatch: For decades, children who have fared the worst academically in St. Louis have been those in its neighborhood schools. They tend to come from unstable housing situations, from the deepest poverty.

Maps: Your State Makes It Hard For Poor Kids To Get A Four-Year Degree

CCRCMapTransferOutRates

"In some states, low-income students going to community colleges are much more likely to get a college degree....But there were some notable exceptions in this report, such as Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, and New Hampshire, where the diploma gaps were significantly smaller." Via Mother Jones (This Map Shows Which States Make It Easiest and Hardest to Obtain a College Degree). Image used with permission.

Afternoon Video: In SoCal, WiFi School Buses Help Reduce Digital Divide

"The digital divide and lack of reliable Internet access at home can put low-income and rural students at a real disadvantage. So when superintendent Darryl Adams took over one of the poorest school district in the nation, he made it a top priority to help his students get online 24/7."

Quotes: Teacher Of The Year "Done With Charter Fights & Common Core Spats"

Quotes2Better teaching is the one thing we never really talk about. Better teaching is the only mechanism we have left. Our most needy students need our best teachers, yet our highest need schools have the least experienced teachers, the most turnover and are becoming burnout factories for those who remain. All the existing structural incentives for effective educators push them toward work in suburban schools, where they’ll be better supported and the workload is sustainable. Nobody wants to talk about this. I am done with charter fights and Common Core spats.

- 2016 NSTOY Nate Bowling (The Conversation I'm Tired of Not Having)

Morning Video: Charter School Head Moscowitz Talks Lawsuit, Bias

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AM News: Schools Dig Out From Storm; Detroit School Closings Continue

Snow Clean Up Underway As East Coast Tries To Get Back To Normal AP: While New York City schools are open today, D.C. Public Schools remain closed. In Virginia, classes at Fairfax County schools have already been canceled for Tuesday as well. See also WNYC.

Detroit Teachers Plan Protest at Court Hearing on Sick-Outs AP: Detroit teachers plan to protest before a judge hears arguments in a case that could force teachers to stop skipping school. See also Detroit Free Press, Detroit News.

Chicago Public Schools Announces 227 Layoffs WBEZ: More than 200 administrative employees with Chicago Public Schools are being laid off and another 180 already-vacant positions will be closed, changes officials say will help save the nation's third-largest district $45.1 million a year as it grapples with deep financial problems.

Success Academy Founder Defends Schools Against Charges of Bias NYT: Eva S. Moskowitz says her network of charter schools has room to improve in how it serves students with disabilities but does not discriminate against them. See also Politico NY.

Millions take AP courses, but percentage of schools offering them drops Washington Post: In two landmark studies, quantitative data expert Nat Malkus has confirmed the rigor of the most successful high school program of the past three decades, Advanced Placement, and revealed what might be a troubling decline in AP use in small and rural schools.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Schools Dig Out From Storm; Detroit School Closings Continue " »

Charts: White People Least Sure Government Should Help Diversify Schools

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"Some 61 percent of black Americans and 55 percent of Hispanic Americans said they think the government should take steps to increase school diversity. Only 28 percent of white Americans said the same." Via HuffPost (Surprise! White People Don't Really Care About School Diversity)

Morning Video: Elaborate Teacher Parody Turns Adele's "Hello" Into "Snow"

"Snow... it's me. I know we just got out for Christmas but I'm ready for some more... time to myself." via TIME, via Nuzzel. The original performance is pretty good, too. She's a third grade teacher.

Or, on a much more serious topic, listen to this new Macklemore & Ryan song, White Privilege II, which includes the repeated line:"We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for Black lives?" 

The Seattle-based duo credits a group of collaborators including local educator Georgia Roberts. Lyrics and explanations here.

Quotes: Obama Official Apologizes In Philadelphia

Quotes2A discussion that began with shared interests and shared values – the importance of learning and growth for all our children – ended up with a lot of teachers feeling attacked and blamed... And when [teachers] disagreed with evaluation systems, it appeared to pit them against those who they cherished most – their students... That was no one's desire. 

-- Acting EdSec John King in US News (King Apologizes for Politicized Education Atmosphere)

AM News: Detroit Schools Re-Open (Still Unclear What Candidates Would Do)

Clinton on Detroit schools: 'No one would tolerate these conditions in a wealthy suburb.' Washington Post:  Detroit Public Schools responded to Wednesday’s sickout by taking to the courts to stop further sickouts. The school system filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the Detroit Federation of Teachers and a number of individual teachers. Ivy Bailey, the interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, called the legal action “regrettable.”

Michigan Lawmakers Try to Toughen Strike Laws NYT: Angered by teacher sickouts that have closed many Detroit schools, majority Republicans in Michigan’s Legislature proposed legislation to make it easier to deem such work stoppages illegal strikes.

Detroit Schools in Session After Teacher Sick-out Shutdown AP: The Detroit public school district says all schools are in session Thursday, a day after a massive sick-out by teachers closed most schools

Here's How the Education World Thinks the Feds Should Regulate Under ESSA PK12: The online comment period for how the U.S. Department of Education should regulate under the Every Student Succeeds Act closed Thursday; here are some highlights.

Illinois Governor, GOP Legislators: State Should Take Over Chicago Schools State EdWatch: A state takeover plan would allow the financially struggling district to declare bankruptcy and the state to avoid any liability.See also WBEZ.

CTU president says union could 'possibly' give up pension pickup practice Chicago Tribune: Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, voiced optimism Thursday about the progress of contract negotiations with the school board and acknowledged her members could be in line to "lose certain things."

As charter schools rise, Dallas ISD rues loss of students — and millions in funding Dallas Morning News: DISD’s enrollment dropped by 2,000 students this school year, at a cost of at least $10 million in state funding provided on a per-pupil basis. About half the lost enrollment is kindergartners going to charter schools. The district’s chief financial officer expects another drop in enrollment next school year.

Afternoon Video: "Hip-Hop Therapy" At A Bronx High School

Check out this video short (School of Hip-Hop) about the "hip-hop therapy" program at New Visions Charter High School that accompanies Winnie Hu's feature (Bronx School Embraces a New Tool in Counseling: Hip-Hop). The white hipster counselor is unfortunate, and I'm not sure using hip hop this way can be considered "new," but I'll let it go this time.

 

Site News: Find Me On Facebook (& Tumblr, & Twitter, & via Email)

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As the snowstorm Jonas approaches the East Coast and all other action seems to slow down, this seems like a good a time to remind you that there are other places where you can read/follow my posts: my Facebook page (which features blog posts and Tweets), the media-focused The Grade at the WashMonthly (), and of course my Tumblr page, Hot For Education, which includes lots about pop culture in education, human interest stories, and Tumblr-like stuff.

There's also a daily This Week In Education email you can sign up for, and a weekly email version of "Best Education Journalism Of The Week" that at this point you have to email me (at thisweekineducation@gmail.com) to get on. Please do!

No Instagram or SnapChat yet, but it could happen. Yes, that's the bar at the old Riccardo's in Chicago -- one of my dad's gang's favorite watering holes. 

Quotes: Fuller Slams Obama & Clinton - Not Sanders - Over Narrow Education Vision

Quotes2It’s not entirely Clinton’s fault. President Barack Obama handed Republicans a huge win in December, repealing the thicket of federal rules called No Child Left Behind, while also gutting Washington’s authority to lead on education... But rather than blazing a clear path forward, Clinton seems to bob and weave among polling results.

- Bruce Fuller in the Sacramento Bee (Clinton’s weak school stand gives Republicans an opening)

AM News: Detroit Schools Still Closed (DC-Area Schools To Follow)

Most Detroit Public Schools Close Due to Teacher 'Sick-Outs' Demanding Better Classroom Conditions AP: A city-wide teacher "sick-out" shut down 88 Detroit schools today, causing 44,790 students to miss class, according to the Detroit Public Schools system. Staff members at the closed schools were expected to report to work or take a leave day, the announcement said. See also NPR.

Prince William County cancels school Thursday, Fairfax schools to open two hours late Washington Post: Virginia's two largest school systems will lose out on class time Thursday because of inclement weather.

CPS calls GOP takeover proposal a 'sideshow' AP: Chicago Public Schools officials say top Republicans' proposal for a state takeover of the nation's third-largest school district is a "sideshow" to school funding formula problems in the state. In a Wednesday statement, schools CEO Forrest Claypool said that that the real need is to fix the school funding formula to make it more equitable.

Filing Alleges Bias at Success Academy Network Against Students With Disabilities NYT: Parents of 13 current and former students of Success Academy filed a complaint against the charter school network with the federal Department of Education. See also NY Daily News.

Lowell school board alters course, backs PARCC Lowell Sun: In a nearly complete turnaround from an earlier decision, the School Committee voted 5-2 Wednesday night to adopt the PARCC test this year for students across the district.

New report says Gates Foundation favors businesses, not poor Seattle Times: As Bill Gates hobnobs in Switzerland, a U.K. group is critical of Seattle Foundation’s emphasis on technology and capitalism.

Funders Fuel a Bigger Push for Family Engagement in Schools Inside Philanthropy: In 2014, a group of leading advocates for family and community involvement in schools banded together to create the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) to build greater support around this issue. Now, the Bethesda, MD-based group has received a big boost in its efforts, thanks to two leading funders.

Morning Video: Deray Does Colbert Show (Then Lets Him Off The Hook)

Concerns about insufficient numbers of speakers and panelists of color at conferences, the need to talk more directly about racism, and "handing over the microphone" in general have been big issues this past year in education circles, media newsrooms, and the broader society.

Both Arne Duncan and Randi Weingarten participated in #BlackLivesMatter events (Duncan Wasn't The Only One At Last Weekend's Protests).

I wrote about the BLM-education connection in Scholastic earlier this year (#BlackLivesMatter, Deray McKesson, & Education Reform).

And we all remember last year's Yale Education Summit where an all-white, all-male panel followed a Bruce Fuller speech on race in education? (6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel). 

And so it was a feel-good moment a few days ago when Stephen Colbert had Deray McKesson on his show, talked about white privilege and structural racism, and even switched seats momentarily with the #BlackLivesMatter leader. (Click this link if the video doesn't render properly.)

Historically, Colbert has arguably done better than others booking guests of color in the past, including a memorable 2008 segment with Roland Fryer. And he even wore a BLM wristband on the air at one point.

What didn't get addressed in the segment with Deray-- baby steps, right? -- are Colbert (and other late-night hosts') guest lists and staffing patterns. Women and persons of color are notoriously ill-represented in comedy writing rooms. It's not clear that Colbert's is any different -- and Deray missed the chance (or was holding back) when he didn't bring that issue up in response to Colbert's invitation to help him unpack white privilege.

For Twitter commentary on the appearance start here.

Related posts: 6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel (ie, "Pass The Mic")*Whatever Happened To Roland Fryer (& Cash Incentives For School)?Where #BlackLivesMatter Meets Education (Reform)"I Thought I Knew How To Listen To People".

 

AM News: Detroit Teacher Sick-Out, Plus Supreme Court Immigration Review

Most of Detroit's Public Schools Close Amid Teacher Sick-Out AP: Most of Detroit's public schools are closed Wednesday due to teacher absences, as disgruntled educators step up efforts to protest the governor's plans for the district, its ramshackle finances and dilapidated buildings.

U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh Obama Deferred-Action Immigration PolicyEdWeek: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would take up the Obama administration's policy offering relief for undocumented immigrant parents of children who are U.S. citizens. The case may also affect a related policy regarding undocumented children, and is connected to a larger debate over immigration policies that has drawn in students, educators, and schools in multiple ways.

Obama Proposes Expansion of Pell Grants to Spur College Completion Washington Post: The Obama administration proposed Tuesday to expand the Pell grant program for college students in financial need, giving them new incentives to take a full schedule of courses year-round in an effort to boost graduation rates.

 
Microsoft acquires ‘MinecraftEdu’ with eye toward school-age audience Seattle Times:  With the purchase, the company is hoping it can leverage the huge popularity of “Minecraft” into a bigger Microsoft presence in schools.
 
How have large donations affected education policy in New York City? ChalkbeatNY:  Though contributions from big donors amount to only a fraction of the city’s education spending, they still have a real impact on public school policy, said Jeffrey Henig, professor of political science and education at Teachers College. Henig recently co-authored a book called “The New Education Philanthropy: Politics, Policy and Reform,” which details how powerful individuals and organizations increasingly use donations to advance policies they support.
 
To Be Young, 'Gifted' And Black, It Helps To Have A Black Teacher NPR: A new study finds black students are half as likely as white students to be assigned to a gifted program. Unless their teacher looks like them.
 
Water Contamination Raises Health Concerns for Mich. Students EdWeek: Educators in Flint, Mich., have long taught students buffeted by the pressures of poverty and urban blight. Now, they're facing a new crisis: toxic tap water. 
 
Bronx School Embraces a New Tool in Counseling: Hip-Hop NYT:  A program called hip-hop therapy encourages students to give voice to their day-to-day struggles in neighborhoods where poverty and crime are constants.
 
 

Quotes: OECD Test Is Different (Optional, International, Public)

Quotes2The truth of the matter is that in this global economy we talk about so much and so often, my students are competing with everyone... And so it was important to me to sort of find some sort of a tool where I could say, ‘I think these are the skill sets they’re getting that make them competitive.'

-- Tiffany Huitt, the principal of a 415-student Dallas magnet school that has administered the exam multiple times via EWA (Exam Gives Glimpse of How Schools Stack Up Globally

 

Morning Video: UFT's [Well-Deserved] Million-Dollar Victory Lap Over Common Core

In case you haven't seen it, here's the new UFT ad touting some of the Common Core-related changes coming from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (UFT Airs Common Core Ad). See also NY Post: UFT spends $1M thanking Cuomo for Common Core backtrack.

Or, listen to this MLK Day WBUR segment featuring Deray McKesson (Black Lives Matter And Civil Rights In Modern America).

AM News: Cold-Weather Delays, Deportation Fears, "Baked-In" NYC Segregation

Schools in Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William to open two hours late Washington Post: Public schools in Virginia’s Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties will open two hours late Tuesday because of the extreme cold forecast for the morning hours, including wind chills as low as the single digits, officials said.

Attendance Drops At Maryland High School, As Deportation Fears Rise Washington Post: In Prince George's County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., about 70 percent of the students at High Point High School are Latino. Principal Jimenez says the fear of deportation raids is making many immigrant students scared to come to school, despite assurances from government officials that there are no raids happening at schools.

Small number of schools enrolls large share of public housing residents, report says ChalkbeatNY: At 123 elementary and middle schools, or about 9 percent of schools, students who live in subsidized housing make up more than a third of the enrollment, according to a report released Friday by the city’s Independent Budget Office. By contrast, at over 700 other schools, such students account for less than 5 percent of the population.

Sexual violence isn’t just a college problem. It happens in K-12 schools, too. Washington Post: Twenty-one percent of middle school students reported that they experienced unwanted physical touching on school grounds, according to a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among high school students, 4 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls say they have been forced to have sexual intercourse against their will, according to a 2013 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Education Technology Graduates From the Classroom to the Boardroom NYT: Much of the money pouring into ed tech is going to start-ups focused on corporate training or professional skills, creating greater financing hurdles for companies that develop apps for school use.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Cold-Weather Delays, Deportation Fears, "Baked-In" NYC Segregation" »

Morning Video: NJ's Christie Claims To Have "Eliminated" Common Core

As Slate, EdWeek, Vox, and several others have pointed out, NJ hasn't really eliminated Common Core. But obviously the Christie campaign -- as with Jindal and others -- has made the call that getting through the Republican primary requires abrupt position changes and stretchings of the truth and that pointy-headed fact-checks don't make all that much of a difference to voters or the public at large.

Slate: Chris Christie didn't actually get rid of Common Core in New Jersey; Vox: Chris Christie said New Jersey has “eliminated” Common Core. It hasn’t; EdWeek: Fact-Checking Chris Christie on Common Core.

Or, listen to this WAMU radio segment about a new all-male high school being started in DC and the principal and recently-retired educator who played an important role in his life.

 

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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.