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Philanthropy: Leave No Privilege Behind (DonorsChoose Meets AirBnB?)

WellDeserved is a a new app that allows folks to offer surplus privileges -- free food at work, extra dental appointments, a soon-to-expire SoulCycle coupon -- to fellow citizens who might want to purchase them.

Their motto: "Privilege goes unused every single day.Why would we waste any of it?"  

Great idea, no?

But they need people to post more education-related privileges that are going unused, and maybe you can help them out.

For starters, there are all the extra laptops, tablets, and smart phones laying around many homes -- not to speak of all that unused broadband access and data.  But that's not all. A student who doesn't need all of the Kumon hours his parents signed him up for could offer them to a fellow classmate.  A private school family living in a desirable neighborhood could offer its spots at the local elementary school. I'm sure you can think of other examples.

Charles Best better watch out.

Charts: In Education A [Worthless] Master's Is Worth More Than Experience

A New Degree in Architecture  Computers or Health Is Worth More Than Decades of Job Experience   Real Time Economics   WSJ

"For education majors [pink rectangle], a new graduate degree is even better than experience, propelling earnings to $49,000 after completing the grad program and $62,000 by midcareer." (WSJ: A New Degree Is Worth More Than Decades of Job Experience)

Thompson: Oklahoma Education Battles Are Worthy of National Attention

This is a fascinating time for Oklahoma schools. As school funding was cut by more than 20% over the last five years, and in the face of a $610 million state budget shortfall, out-of-state corporate reformers, ranging from the American Federation for Children and ALEC to the Parent Revolution, have stepped up their attacks on traditional public schools. The most noteworthy assaults include the secretive local effort to cut funding for Oklahoma City Public Schools to pay for tax breaks for the downtown corporate elites, and the now-defeated state voucher bill.

On the other hand, a grass roots rebellion by parents against high-stakes testing swept out the former Chief for Change Janet Baressi. Now, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has rebuilt the partnerships with professional educators, started a public dialogue, and taken the first steps towards ending the test, sort, and punish policies that have been wrecking our schools.

A growing body of education bloggers along with innovative media outlets like the Red Dirt Report and Oklahoma Watch, as well as more Old School progressive institutions such as the Oklahoma Observer, the Oklahoma Gazette, and the Oklahoma Policy Institute, are publicizing the facts that, previously, the conservative press never deemed fit to print.

This week, the venerable Oklahoma Observer, under its masthead which promises to “Comfort the Afflicted and Afflict the Comfortable,” published an email informing Oklahoma City staff about SB 68 which had quietly passed the state Senate. (Scroll to the bottom of the post to read the memo.) It would allow Oklahoma City and Tulsa to unilaterally authorize charters. Republican Sen. David Holt emailed, “I wanted to give you a brief heads-up on a bill that passed the Senate today that has flown a bit under the radar, and that’s partly by design. But, the progress it is making might eventually be noticed, and I want you to hear from me what is intended. If it becomes law, it is a game changer for our city.”

Holt then explained, “Here at the Capitol, I have not portrayed the bill as a request bill, which of course it is not. I have told my colleagues it is important that OKC not publicly ask for the bill, as that may cause tension in the relationship with OKCPS.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Oklahoma Education Battles Are Worthy of National Attention" »

Quotes: "Now Teachers Are Paid For Classroom Performance"

Quotes2The second big reason for enrollment declines [at education schools] is the end of the credentialed pay raises that marked the old teacher salary formulas. For many decades a master’s degree offered a pay boost no matter its content. Now teachers are paid for classroom performance, not extra degrees.

-- Ball State professor Michael Hicks in the South Bend Tribune (Market forces change teacher education)

NB: North Carolina did away with them, according to EdWeek's Stephen Sawchuk. But according to NCTQ this hasn't happened (yet).

Update: Unfortunate Stalemate For Feds & Diverse Charters*

This week's announcement that Success Academy charters won't give an absolute priority to ELL kids in its charter lotteries because of opposition seems like an unfortunate turn of events (see ChalkbeatNY's Success Academy drops lottery preference for English learners).  

Charter schools located in mixed neighborhoods are often flooded by wealthier, whiter parents, and lose their diversity despite all efforts.  The USDE will allow weighted lotteries, but not guaranteed admission. USDE has opposed letting diverse charters weight their lotteries in such a strong way for fear of the precedent that would tempt other schools to set priorities (for white kids, for kids whose parents have yachts, etc.)

There are situations where charters have been set up to avoid integration, or located or run in ways that are disadvantageous to poor and minority kids.  But this is not one of them.

What could be done?  

Lots of things, it seems. Congress could change the federal definition of a charter school to allow this kind of weighting. The USDE could revise its guidance (though risking Congressional displeasure). Or Success could shift its proposal from an absolute 14 percent priority for ELL kids, going with an unweighted lottery for the first year or two and then shifting. The unitary enrollment system would be diluted, creating different systems for different schools, but more ELL kids would be served.

I'll let you know if and when Success or the USDE respond with more about their thinking, or why these solutions couldn't work.*

*UPDATED: From USDE's Dorie Turner Nolt: “The U.S. Department of Education is firmly committed to increasing high-quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, including English learners, in charter schools, as in all public schools. The Department has worked with Success Academies to find ways for it to provide additional weight for English learners within the boundaries of the law and program guidance, and remains committed to that effort. We have worked with other grantees that submitted proposals to use weighted lotteries for educationally disadvantaged students—including other charter management organizations operating in New York—and have approved several such proposals. Such approaches complement broader efforts by charter schools to recruit, serve and retain educationally disadvantaged students.”

Your turn, Success. 

Related posts: "Smarter" Charters Are Diverse, Teacher-Led;  Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance;  Diverse Charters Spread Nationally (Education Next); Diverse Charters Balance Learning & Accountability.

Morning Video: PBS NewsHour's [Seriously Flawed] Common Core Update

Check out last night's PBS NewsHour segment (Why some students are refusing to take the Common Core test), which in my opinion includes an unfortunate number of errors.  These include exaggerating the number of opt-outs, linking the Newark student sit-in to the Common Core, and minimizing the role of NJEA in opposing the tests (and Newark). That being said, there is some great footage and interviews by correspondent John Merrow.

AM News: Anti-Cuomo Protests In NYC, Republican Union Endorsement In LAUSD

At widespread anti-Cuomo protests, parents and teachers to join hands Chalkbeat New York:  City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew and his predecessor, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, will speak at the morning rally at Park Slope's P.S. 10, which is known for its presence in the movement to opt out of state...

UTLA one step closer to endorsing a Republican in Schmerelson LA School Report: Members of the teachers union political action committee, PACE, are recommending to the full committee an endorsement for Schmerelson in his bid to unseat the two-time incumbent Tamar Galatzan, pledging to work tirelessly to remove her from the school board.

California suspends other standards for Common Core, for now AP: One set of California school standards has temporarily fallen victim to another. California's school accountability system and its new Common Core academic standards were put head-to-head on Wednesday, and Common Core won. See also NPR: Ditching The Common Core Brings A Big Test For Indiana, PBS NewsHour: Why some students are refusing to take the Common Core test.

Privacy Pitfalls as Education Apps Spread Haphazardly NYT: Apps and other software can put powerful teaching tools at teachers’ fingertips, but concerns abound over data security, effectiveness and marketing.

The new digital classroom, brought to you by SXSW Marketplace Learning Curve: One area that's getting a lot of attention is "making."  The “Playground” area of SXSWedu was full of products focused on kids building things, using 3D doodlers and Lego robots. 

Did school board violate Sunshine Law with private Arne Duncan huddle? Palm Beach Post: The Palm Beach Post's education reporting team of Andrew Marra and Sonja Isger notes that, notwithstanding Florida's Sunshine Law, five of seven Palm Beach County school board members met privately Monday with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

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

Continue reading "AM News: Anti-Cuomo Protests In NYC, Republican Union Endorsement In LAUSD" »

Maps: Immigrant Parents Face Barriers To Engaging In School

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.com

This map shows the percentage of kids under 9 with immigrant parents, and this Vox article highlights the barriers keeping immigrant parents from getting involved in their kids' education. They include language, educational background, and community hostility. Of course, it doesn't help that teachers are still majority white (and presumably monolingual.) Image used with permission.

Campaign 2016: 3 Email-Related Scandals I Can Think Of - But There Are More

You might be interested to note that Hillary Clinton isn't the only one to have a bit of an email scandal on her hands - though education's versions aren't nearly as prominent as those the presumptive Democratic nominee faces currently (and are, frankly, not as recent as I'd like):

This Washington Post article (Group Opposed to Vouchers Cites Shortcomings) includes an embarrassing email from then-Bush Administration appointee Nina Rees about then-Senator Arlen Specter ("while I hate the guy, we need to be nice to him I'm told."

This AP/ USA Today story (Bush reading program beset by favoritism, mismanagement) included embarrassing emails from Reading First director Chris Doherty (also under Bush) expressing disdain for "whole language" developers: "They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the (expletive deleted) out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags."

Then there's the alleged scandal between an education reporter and Miami's Carvalho, summarized in the Miami New Times (Carvalho's Liaison): "The emails document discussions the pair had about her coverage of Miami-Dade Public Schools, as well as some sexually explicit banter."

I'm sure there are others -- I can think of at least one more off the top of my head -- but I'd love to hear more from you, dear reader.

No, the USDE notifying TFA that it was the subject of a FOIA request doesn't count. Not for ideological reasons, but just because it isn't really all that scandalous.

Quotes: Both Sides Have "Lost Their Minds" On Annual Testing

Quotes2On one side, you have a group of reformers who say that getting rid of federal mandates for annual testing would be apocalyptic, and that’s crazy.... On the other side, you have people who think that getting rid of it would lead to utopia. I think both sides have lost their minds on this. -- Author and Emerson Fellow Amanda Ripley in the Washington Post (Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing)

TV: What To Make Of All The School-Related Developments On Popular Shows

There may be too few educators on cable TV (and too few education-related segments, too), but has there ever been a time when schools were as much a central part of so many TV shows?

*On Fresh Off The Boat, the hip-hop loving son of immigrant parents has to make new friends at a Florida school where there has apparently a student who isn't white, black, or Hispanic.

*The New Girl is now an assistant superintendent and her boyfriend/employee teacher works at the same school (or still did, last I looked).

*Girls' most appealingly deplorable character, Hannah, substitutes at a private school after crashing and burning at her Iowa MFA program.

*In episode 6 of Tina Fey's new show, The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, the protagonist encounters a burned-out GED teacher who wants to be reported so he can get assigned to the rubber room. (There was a rubber room on Silicon Valley, too.)

*The female half of a bored married couple starts getting involved with an LA charter school startup in Eagle Rock that might also be good for her kids. (Repeat of Parenthood, sort of.)

Plus also: High Maintenance (seriously), Blackish (yep), Empire (just kidding), The Good Wife (I wish).

These aren't just silly pop culture coincidences, I'd argue -- or at least not only that.  They're a representation of what the larger public thinks or knows about education, or is at least what the public is curious about.  Clearly, charter schools and the rubber room are fascinating to writers, and the notion of smart young people trying out teaching isn't as foreign or obscure as it once may have been.

Related posts: Oh, No! Girls' Lena Dunham Is Going To TeachNeighborhood Segregation The Central Issue In New HBO Show;  Apparently Not Everyone's Cut Out To Be A Teaching FellowSilicon Valley's Rubber Room Includes A Rooftop GrillLouis C.K. Takes Us Back To 8th Grade Science.

 

Morning Video: On Fox, Michelle Obama's Healthy School Lunch Initiative Is Orwellian

Watch the segment above (via Media Matters for America). Or, listen to this CRPE discussion about Why Reformers Need an Attitude Adjustment.

AM News: As Testing Continues, Jindal & Bush Joust Over Common Core

Jindal Rips Iowa Ads That Are Seen As Defending Bush BuzzFeed News: “If voters want to vote for someone who’s pro-Common Core, they’re going to have an opportunity to do that in this election,” Jindal tells BuzzFeed News. See also NYT.

More California parents exercise right to skip standardized tests KCRA Sacramento: According to the California Department of Education, fewer than 7,400 parents declined the STAR test (the previous test) in 2013. That's out of the 4.7 million students who took it. Officials said they did not have opt-out numbers for 2014, when the CAASPP was administered on a trial basis. 

Common Core tests running smoothly at Alice Ott Middle School, aside from minor glitches OregonLive:  The first 15 to 20 minutes of testing were somewhat "shaky," Johnston said. A few students were booted off of the system and needed help getting signed in again. Other students had issues finding the volume button for headphones used for audio portions or needed individual computer preferences to be updated.  But aside from those minor glitches, Johnston said the test has gone smoothly.

New Colorado tests debut with both problems and progress Denver Post: Early reports show large numbers of test opt-outs in Boulder high schools. Nearly one in four high schoolers due to be tested in the Cherry Creek district refused PARCC, with Cherry Creek High accounting for nearly 70 percent of the refusals, the district said.

As Students Opt Out of Common Core Exams, Some Say Movement Is Not About Testing US News: Teach Plus, a nonprofit focused on placing effective teachers in urban schools, on Tuesday released a survey  of more than 1,000 teachers in Boston, Chicago, Memphis, Nashville and the District of Columbia who evaluated sample PARCC questions. More than three-quarters – 79 percent – of teachers said the test items were better than what their states used to have, but there were mixed results on whether they were grade-appropriate or too challenging. See also Hechinger Report: Can the new tests quell teacher anger over Common Core?

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

Continue reading "AM News: As Testing Continues, Jindal & Bush Joust Over Common Core " »

Quotes: Hey, Guess What? Larry Summers Agrees With You

Quotes2It is not likely, in my view, that any feasible program of improving education will have a large impact on inequality in any relevant horizon... to suggest that improving education is the solution to inequality is, I think, an evasion. 

-- Larry Summers in The Washington Post (Robots are hurting middle class workers, and education won’t solve the problem)

Journalism: When Reporters Appreciate PR Help Just A Bit Too Publicly

thanks

According to Jim Romenesko, an El Paso TV reporter ended a segment by thanking school’s PR team for feeding her information: "I would like to thank the El Paso ISD [Independent School District] public information team for giving me this information tonight to give it to you first before you hear it anywhere else.”

But the rival El Paso Times called the station out for the unusually public thank-you (and for claiming to have an exclusive it didn't really have, responding "Since when does a journalist thank a ‘PR team’ for doing what they’re supposed to do, which is provide the media with information?”

The segment has apparently been scrubbed with a new voice over since the controversy arose last week.

Let's be clear that some journalists have exceedingly hands-off (even antagonistic) relationships with the districts and sources they cover, and others have uncomfortably friendly ones, but the relationships are in nearly all cases complicated, somewhat symbiotic ones. 

Related posts: Gannett Paper Fires "Veteran Education Reporter"

Morning Video: Las Vegas Faces Looming 2,600-Teacher Shortage

 

Desperate for 2,600 teachers next year, Las Vegas is recruiting like mad.  Watch the video and read the HuffPost story: Why Las Vegas Is Desperate To Hire Thousands Of Teachers.

AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Started Off Fairly Smoothly

NM's first PARCC test goes smoothly Albuquerque Journal: Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) was created by a consortium of states to measure knowledge of the Common Core standards

Common Core test debuts in Oregon, prompting stepped-up teaching, fears it will be too hard  OregonLive.com: Sixth grader Porter Stewart works on a writing assessment to help him prepare for the dauntingCommon Core test that will be given to 300,000...

Calls for opt-out bill continue as Illinois starts PARCC test Sun-Times: No major snafus were reported in the city or on the state level, although Mollison and Morrill elementary schools had some minor glitches, district spokesman Bill McCaffrey said. Otherwise CPS reported a “smooth start to testing,” he said, “with the exception of some minor tech issues, such as popup blockers.”

Federal education chief: Some kids are over-tested Sun Sentinel: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to a crowd of more than 500 on his vision for education and his push to fix the federal No Child Left Behind Act at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach as part of an event by the Forum Club of the Palm 

Education interests to pour money into Democratic primary Philly.com:  AFT president Randi Weingarten, asked whether her union will make independent expenditures to influence the Philadelphia mayor's race, said she was "deeply concerned" about the state of schools here.

With Jesse Jackson's Chuy Garcia Endorsement, Black Leaders Begin to Unite ... In These Times:  has come out strongly against Emanuel's policies in all of these areas, and has the backing of the powerful Chicago Teachers Union and its president Karen Lewis. However, longstanding tensions and distrust between the city's black and Latino ...

More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Started Off Fairly Smoothly" »

Update: Bigger List Of Education Journalists Of Color (#edJOC)

There were lots of interesting responses to my post on Friday about white reporters and students of color -- one of the most immediately useful of which was lots more education journalists of color (#edJOC) identifying themselves or being mentioned by others in addition to those previously listed:

Thanks to @dcrunningmom and @C_C_Mitchell (Corey Mitchell) for clueing me in about @StateEdWatch (@AndrewUjifusa),  @drsuperville@EarlyYearsEW (@casamuels),  @amatos12@StribLonetree@LoriAHiggins@Bobjohnson1word.

The good folks at the Maryland SDE reminded me that there were at least three area #edJOCs: BaltSun's @ericaLG @OvettaWashPost & WBAL's Tim Tooten.  

The three journalists at the San Antonio Express-News  -- @fvaraorta@mlcesar, and @AliaAtSAEN -- might be the most diverse education team out there.

There's also the Greensboro News & Record's Marquita Brown (@mbrownNR) and Cherise Newsome (@CMNewsome) at The Virginian-Pilot.

Last but not least, Lisa Pemberton at the Olympian (@Lisa_Pemberton), Samatha Hernandez (@svhernandez) at the Door County Advocate, and freelancer Tara Garcia Mathewson (@TaraGarciaM). 

Two other journalists who don't write exclusively about education but whose names I've seen and tweeted enough times to think they should be included (assuming they don't mind):  @jbouie & @jdesmondharris.

None of this is to suggest that there isn't a diversity problem when it comes to the education beat -- especially at national outlets and/or beats -- which is especially noticeable given the kids, schools, and communities that are often being covered.

Somebody turn this plus the original post into a Twitter list that we call can follow (if such a thing hasn't been done already)?

#EdGif Of The Day: Asteroids, Gay Dinosaurs, Extinction!

"I went to public school in Mississippi. They told us dinosaurs went extinct because an asteroid turned them gay." - Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt via Tumblr. [Still ISO Ep6 classroom gifs!]

Charts: Educational Gains Steady & Long-Standing

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.com

"True, there are some problems with the education system — inequality between schools, for example, not to mention skyrocketing college tuition costs — but that the majority of the population over 25 went from not having a high school diploma to at least having some college in the span of 40 years is astonishing." (Vox: 21 charts that explain how the US is changing) Image used with permission.

Morning Video: Rural Schools Grapple With Influx Of Migrant Children

 

"A federal law meant to protect children allows unaccompanied minors from countries that don't border the U.S. to stay on American soil during their deportation proceedings. While they wait, they're also entitled to a public education." (Migrant Children School | Al Jazeera America)

AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Begins

Hand scorers sought for online Common Core tests EdSource Today: Tests are computerized, but humans needed to score critical thinking. See also Columbus Dispatch: New standardized tests go deeper but chew up time, Miami Herald, THE Journal, Orlando Sentinel.

Unions, Charter Supporters Eyeing Los Angeles Board Runoffs Teacher Beat: The fallout from runoff elections, to be held in May, could influence contract negotiations with the city teachers' union.

NY charter movement vies for dominance with teachers unions AP: Charter schools and their supporters, meanwhile, poured money into the fight. The group Families for Excellent Schools reported more than $9 million in lobbying expenses in 2014. NYSUT reported less than $4 million.

Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé NYT: The Liberty City Charter School, the first of its kind in Florida and a pioneer in what became a national movement, is now defunct.

Chronic truancy in D.C. high schools still rampant despite new laws Washington Post: Despite intensified efforts to improve school attendance rates in D.C. Public Schools, more than half of high school students — 56 percent —were considered ”chronically truant” during the 2013-2014 school year, after accumulating 10 or more unexcused absences, according to a report scheduled to be released Monday by the Children’s Law Center and D.C. Lawyers for Youth. See also Marshall Project.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Begins" »

Quotes: When School Reform Meets Democracy

Quotes2If you begin from the premise that you can not convince parents, then I doubt the wisdom of your entire plan for their children. I say that as someone who is unconvinced that teachers should be tenured.

 - The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates (When School Reform and Democracy Meet)

Journalism: White Reporters & Students Of Color

There's been a LOT of discussion this past week or so about important issues surrounding race, class, and privilege among school reformers and reform critics.

But what about the editors and reporters who cover education issues -- and whose work is read by the public and policymakers who are making real-life education decisions every day?

The truth of the matter is that it's not just the education reform movement and its critics who are predominantly white & appear otherwise privileged. 

I know, race is just a social construct. Class is probably more important. Not everyone identifies according to the apparent color of their skin or their national origin. A person doesn't have to be from the community they're writing about to do the job well. (For the record, this post is being written by a white male who has been private-school educated all for all but a few community college Spanish language classes.) 

But let's be clear. Many if not most of the journalists writing about education for a national audience are white, too, and do not appear to come from the neighborhoods and schools that they may spend much of their time covering. For example, there aren't any people of color covering national education issues at The Washington Post. The education team at Politico is entirely white (and female), though founding education editor Nirvi Shah may identify as a person of color. Last I looked, the education team at NPR is entirely white other than Claudio Sanchez (Juana Summers was briefly on the education team before moving over to covering Congress). 

You get the idea. And no matter how smart, hard-working, or privilege-aware these journalists may be, it seems hard to imagine that the cultural distance between reporters and poor minority students doesn't play a role of some kind.  

The issue of cultural sensitivity and journalism has come up most recently among a handful of critics of NPR's "Serial" podcast, which was (tangentially) about magnet school kids in Baltimore.  I wrote about this line of thinking -- and the lack of similar criticism for last year's This American Life segments on Harper High -- not too long ago (Why's "Serial" Getting So Much More Pushback Than "Harper High"?).

But the best examples may come from the recent conflicts between reform advocates and critics in which race and class have been explicit topics of the debate - when Newark's Cami Anderson is under attack for being a white interloper in a black community, or when Chicago's Rahm Emanuel is accused of being a racist murderer by the head of the Chicago Teachers Union.

These are situations in which a white reporter is probably somewhat less comfortable than a person of color, and though I have no way of knowing for sure I'm imagining that there's some influence on the coverage that's produced.

The current reality is that most education reporters have more in common, racially and otherwise, with educators (still mostly white, college-educated women), and with well-educated parents who are making decisions about their own children's education.

The good news is that there are a handful of people writing about education who are (or may consider themselves to be) persons of color.Last year, EWA held a panel session on covering communitiees of color, which was to my knowledge the first such example.  

But there's obviously a lot more work to be done in terms of diversifying the community and educating it as well.  Let's get started!

Meantime, here's a partial list that I'm hoping you can help me complete: 

Daarel Burnette II is the bureau chief of ChalkbeatTN. Brian Charles is a Chalkbeat New York reporter. ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones writes about education, as does Marian Wang.  More names, in no particular order: Juan Perez Chicago Tribune; Dropout Nation's RiShawn Biddle; Melissa Sanchez at Catalyst Chicago; Christina Armario at AP; Vanessa Romo at LA School Report; Motoko Rich at the NYT (also Brent Staples on the editorial page and columnist Charles Blow); Teresa Watanabe at the LA Times. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates doesn't write about education but he writes about issues that surround education.   

Related posts: This More Diverse List Of Top Education Tweeters Needs More Names*Atlantic Story Highlighting "Racial Gerrymandering" Named Magazine Award FinalistLast Week's Problematic New Yorker Parent Opt-Out Story;

AM News: NYC's Diversity Problem, Districts' Teacher Assignment Problem

Lack of Diversity Persists in Admissions to New York City’s Elite High Schools NYT:  Five percent of the students offered placement in eight specialized high schools were black and 7 percent were Hispanic, according to statistics released on Thursday. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Study: Novices Often Teach the Youngest, Neediest Students in Their Schools EdWeek: A new study finds that novice math teachers in a large urban district are more likely to teach the youngest and neediest students in their schools.

Teacher union will consider supporting Galatzan's opponent in Los Angeles Unified election LA Daily News: While Los Angeles Unified School Board member Tamar Galatzan handily defeated a field of five challengers in Tuesday's primary election, the teachers union said it will now consider supporting her opponent in the May 19 runoff. See also LA School Report.

After a series of defeats, opponents of Common Core open new fronts in battle against standards Hechinger Report: Legislators 19 states introduced bills to repeal the Common Core this session. So far none have succeeded. Repeal bills in even the reddest states – states like Mississippi, Arizona, and both Dakotas – have failed to make it to governors’ desks this year. See also SI&A Cabinet Report:  Wyoming flips in support of science Common Core.

[For a roundup of actual opt-out numbers being reported in local NJ papers -- quite small in all but 4 affluent areas -- check out NJ Left Behind here.]

Gender Fluid Generation Medium: In many ways, it seems like gender non-conformity awareness is at all-time high. Last week Congressman Mike Honda announced via Twitter that he was the “proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild.” But schools are still catching up with the needs of gender nonconforming students. Last year, California’s first law protecting gender nonconforming students went into effect. It gives Jace the right to use the bathroom of his choice.

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

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Anniversaries: Belated 8th Anniversary Congrats To Larry Ferlazzo

It's hard to find a more useful, far-ranging, and long-running blog than the one California teacher Larry Ferlazzo has been running the last eight years. And so its easy for me to wish him a hearty Eighth Anniversary (just a few weeks late!).  

What makes Larry's work so notable is that he shares and collects so prodigiously, and his work isn't anywhere near as narcissistic as most of us online tend to be.  Some example blog posts include: New Resources On Race & Racism. Or let Larry tell you: What Have Been My Most Popular Posts? His personal favorites are here, As you will see, Ferlazzo's work spans classrooms and courthouses.

Related posts: This ELL Teacher Has *Way* More Klout Than YouBlogger / ELL Teacher Makes The New York TimesPraise For This Site From A Very High High PlaceBloggers Write Books, Too

Quotes: Two Problems With Ed Journalism These Days, Says Charter Advocate

Quotes2First, education reporters too often do not have a firm enough grasp on the data for the issues which they are covering. Second, too much of education reporting is about raising or lowering the status of specific individuals, rather than examining the root causes of school system dysfunction.

- Neerav Kingsland (What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Charter School Performance)

Related posts: : Washington Post Doubles Down In National CoverageAbout That Front-Page Washington Post StoryThe Washington Post's Wacky Montgomery County CoverageSan Diego Union-Tribune Corrects Washington Post Poverty Headline.

Morning Video: Realizing That Your Childhood School Experiences Are Different

 

"Here I was, right outside my elementary school, [and] somebody’s pulling out a gun. And it was very clear that that was different." In this Bill Moyers interview from last Spring, the Atlantic writer Ta-Nehesi Coates describes an after-school experience that raised his awareness and shaped his interest in journalism.

See the whole interview here. See below for my little collection of quotes and references to Coates and education. Tell me if I've missed any good ones at @alexanderrusso.

Related posts: What They're Saying About That New Yorker ArticleThis More Diverse List Of "Top Education Tweeters"AFT Sponsors Atlantic Magazine Education Event "I Did Not Have a Culture of Scholastic High Achievement Around Me"Bolstering The "Clueless Reformer" CritiqueHe's Referring To The NYC Department Of Education, Right?.

AM News: Big Action In New York, LA, & Boston (Yes, Boston)

A Charter School Rally Duels With Teachers’ Unions in Albany NYT: Charter schools and teachers’ unions from New York City gathered for competing events and to press their causes in Albany. See also ChalkbeatNYWNYC, Albany Times Union

Election sets stage for L.A. Unified battle LA Times: The election results were not exactly the outcome the union had hoped for. A charter schools group, which emerged as a major force in the elections, made significant strides. In a contest that United Teachers Los Angeles fought hard to win, union-backed incumbent Bennett Kayser finished second to charter school founder Ref Rodriguez. See also LA School Report.

Boston Selects New Superintendent of Schools District Dossier: The city's education officials chose Tommy Chang, an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, from a field of four finalists. See also Boston Globe.

New 'Consumer Reports' for Common Core finds learning materials lacking Washington Post:  The initial report posted Wednesday examined materials that have at least a 10 percent market share and were endorsed by at least two states that said the materials were aligned with the Common Core.

GOP Education Chairman Anticipates Vote on Education Bill AP: Kline said he was "taken by surprise" by the opposition he says appears to have been fueled largely by a blog that said the bill would solidify the use of the standards and insert government control into private schools. Kline said the bill would do neither. He said opposition from the Heritage Action for America and Club for Growth also contributed to members' concerns.

Around The World, This Is How Girls And Boys Are Stacking Up Against Each Other In School HuffPost: Girls are now going to school longer than boys and significantly outperform boys in reading. Across countries examined in the report, boys are more likely to post low scores in math, reading and science. See also Washington Post.

More Children Eat Fruit in School, Study Shows NYT: The study found that from the time new nutritional guidelines went into effect in 2012 through last year, the percentage of students choosing fruits increased to 66 percent from 54 percent.

Body cameras for cops but classrooms too? SI&A Cabinet Reoprt:  Instances of children with little to no verbal skills facing verbal or physical abuse at the hands of a special education instructor or a class aid have been documented even though it can be difficult for those children to express that he or she needs help.  

Update: Petrilli's Surprise Apology -- & CitizenStewart's Difficult Choices

Stewart twitterChris Stewart, the blogger who (among others) successfully called out mostly white male middle aged reform critics for their "belief gap" over this past weekend, scored another victory today with a seemingly heartfelt apology from Fordham's Mike Petrilli over an Education Next cover story on single parents. 

But there are some reasons to wonder whether Stewart's successes have been as strong as it might have seemed -- or could have been.

For starters, the Petrilli apology for being goading and insensitive is nothing more than that.  There's no offer to change the cover, retraction of the issue, or change the all-white panel that's accompanying the magazine issue.  

I'm not sure there was more that Stewart et al could have hoped to get -- I wasn't even sure Petrilli would feel the need to apologize given how impervious he's been to criticism in the past and how much he generally delights in stirring things up.  So kudos for that, but still, it's just an apology (and more attention for Petrilli's event).

Somewhat more important, Stewart and others could be seen to have given up the chance to solidify what may be a larger, more fundamental point in the school reform wars by turning to fire on Petrilli and the offensive magazine cover. In so doing, he essentially let Gary Rubinstein, Anthony Cody, and other reform critics off the hook for their incessant criticism of poor minority student success (and the stunning lack of diversity among those who say they're advocating for poor minority children) - for now, at least. 

So again, it was an impressive series of Twitter offensives by Stewart and others, who are bringing up incredibly important and difficult issues for the reform community and its critics alike. I don't want any of that to stop, and was happy to have been included in the conversation and to have helped it along in some small way (probably not).

But I guess the question is whether it's more important from that point of view  to take on reform critics like Cody and Rubinstein (and Ravitch -- where was she?) or to take on reform allies like Petrilli. Perhaps the mostly white male reform community needs awareness raising as much as the mostly white reform critic community. Yeah, it probably does. Perhaps both can be done at the same time. That's probably the hope and aim. But alas, I'm not sure such a thing is possible. 

What do you think?

Related posts: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap"Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders? Image via Twitter. 

Afternoon Panel: Evaluating Advocacy In 3 States (LA, TN, and NC)



Figuring out whether advocacy efforts "work" -- or what that even means -- is one of education advocates' biggest challenges.  Executing an effective advocacy effort is another. With that in mind, you might want to check out today's panel on advocacy evaluation at Brookings, and read the report (Measuring and understanding education advocacy) that's being discussed, which focuses on Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. 

Thompson: "A Place for Us"?

After NPR's Wade Goodwyn’s moving report, One Night Only, about two dozen homeless singers performing at the Dallas City Performance Hall, I wiped tears from my eyes and made a resolution. This wonderful event must be celebrated, but I vowed to not use it as ammunition in our edu-political civil war.

The orchestra began to play "Somewhere" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story," and the homeless singers were "still a bit wobbly" as they joined in. After all, only about five of them were regular members of the chorus.  Choral director Jonathan Palant had worked with 57 different choir singers over the last three months.

Then, Goodwyn reported, "Suddenly, a world-famous opera singer appears on the stage, seemingly out of nowhere. Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade walks into the middle of the Dallas Street Choir and puts her arms around two of the singers."

Together, they sing, There's a place for us. Somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air wait for us somewhere.

Goodwyn noticed "a lot of surreptitious wiping of eyes.” As a hundred other trained voices joined in, the homeless singers grew far more confident and melodious. "It was an evening they said they'd remember the rest of their lives."

But, Goodwyn's final words were nearly as striking in their pessimism, "For a night, two dozen of Dallas's homeless were lifted from the city's cold streets and sidewalks to bask in the warm glow of spotlights. For the usual hostility and indifference to their fate, they were traded love, respect and goodwill - one performance only."

Then, I read Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialogue post on the Gates Foundation’s new effort to address complex and interrelated housing problems.

Continue reading "Thompson: "A Place for Us"?" »

Quotes: Governor Walkers Education Accomplishments, Fact-Checked

Quotes2Our school scores are better. Our ACT scores are second best in the country. Graduation rate’s up over the past four years. Reading scores are up over the past four years, because we put the power back in the hands of the hard working taxpayers and the people they elect to run their school boards. - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at last week's CPAC (Washington Post Scott Walker’s exaggerated education claims)

“.”

Morning Video: Universal Preschool In Iceland Helps Reduce Child Poverty

Opinion: What the United States can learn from Iceland
 "Meet the poorest kids in Iceland, a country with a low child poverty rate and nearly universal enrollment in early education, starting at age 2. In America, meanwhile, despite advances in many states, only 40% of 3-year-olds are enrolled." (How to end child poverty in America CNN).

AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next

School Districts Report Second Day Of Testing Problems StateImpact FL:  The Tampa Bay Times reports Tampa-area schools had to suspend some testing for a second day. Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he won’t resume testing until the state can prove everything is working. Palm Beach school also will not test students on Wednesday. See also Bradenton Herald: State testing in Manatee County sees online delay but no need to suspend testing, ABC7 Common Core testing begins in California next week.

LAUSD Board Members in Runoff NBC SoCal: Los Angeles Unified School District board members Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic will have to compete in a May 19 runoff election as they fight to retain their seats, while incumbent George McKenna won re-election thanks to having no challengers. See also LA Times: One incumbent trails charter-school backed challenger in L.A. board balloting.

Taking the same road to Albany, education lobbying events on divergent paths ChalkbeatNY:  They’re lobbying with the same goal in mind — to push policies that will improve public education — but what they’re asking for couldn’t look more different. Here are four things to know about Wednesday’s festivities.

School Agenda Bedevils Chicago Mayor in Race NYT: As Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago faces an unexpected runoff election, it is his education agenda that threatens his political future. See also Tribune: Emanuel says CPS had no choice but to back down in testing controversy.

Chris Christie’s bold plan to remake public schools is running into trouble Washington Post: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went on a publicity blitz when he vowed to fix this city’s struggling schools with the most expansive re-engineering of urban education anywhere in the country.He told Oprah Winfrey in 2010 that Newark would become a “national model.”  See also HuffPost: Unions Say They'll Sue Christie Again Over Pension Payments, Courier Post: Gov. Chris Christie's shifting position on Common Core.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next" »

Parents: Housing-Based School Assignment Gets A Black Eye In The Bay Area

That's parent Hamlet Garcia, whom as you may recall was taken to court over his daughter's attendance at a wealthy high performing school district.  

The latest example of parents accused of "stealing" a better education for their children (and the problems of housing-based school assignment comes from Orinda, California, where the child of a live-in nanny was disenrolled by the district and told to attend school where she lives on weekends. A new state bill aims to prevent kids of live-in caregivers from being booted from local schools. Read more about it here and here.

Remember also that Elizabeth Warren, the liberal left's favorite non-candidate for President, is against housing-based school assignment. (See:  Your Favorite Liberal Lawmaker Supports Universal Vouchers*More Questions About Warren's Pro-Choice Views)

Related posts: 8 States Where Faking A School Address Can Get Parents Jail Time [OK, MO, IL, MI, OH, NY, PA, DC].

Maps: Why Won't Anyone Make A Map Of Common Core Test Start Dates?

Common Core Status Map   College and Career State Standards  State Legislation UpdateI still haven't found a map giving start dates for states' Common Core testing windows but in the meantime check out this NCSL map showing where states are on Common Core implementation. The state-by-state assessment consortia map from NCSL is here. Images used with permission.

NB: ME and TN are conducting a review at the request of a state agency. NB2: Other than some big problems in Dade and Broward Counties (FLA), I haven't seen or read about any districtwide testing problems (yet). 

Quotes: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker On Eliminating ISIS Teachers

Quotes2We must identify the people who are teaching ISIS their tactics – in other words, their teachers – and eliminate them. I did that in Wisconsin and I can do it in Iraq and Syria... Behind every problem, there are teachers you need to get rid of.

- Scott Walker (Walker Vows To Detroy ISIS Teachers via Andy Borowitz

Journalism: KPCC Shows The Right Way To Correct A Story In 2 Easy Steps

CORRECTION  LAUSD board president outpacing challengers in finances  endorsements   89.3 KPCC

Kudos to the team at KPCC Southern California Public Radio for showing how to correct a story online (and for reminding us that UTLA and SEIU have split on endorsing the sitting board chair, Richard Vladovic).

Step 1 is to indicate in the headline that the story has been corrected.  KPCC goes with CORRECTED, but in my view an asterisk is also fine.

Step 2 is to indicate at the top of the story that there's been a change and what it is. Regretting the error is a classy flourish, though many news outlets can't seem to bring themselves to do so. 

That's it.  Not so hard, right?

Corrections should be avoided at all costs, but they're also inevitable given the pace of work and complexity of the issues. How you respond to them makes all the difference to readers and sources.

Related posts: Story Corrections Should Be Indicated At The TopNYT Front-Pager Mis-Identifies Ed Trust PresidentFiveThirty-Eight Stumbles Out Of The GateNYT Error Leaves Asians Out Of NYC Gifted & Talented Program.

Morning Video: What's Next For PARCC Testing In Chicago

Watch here for more about Chicago's sudden reversal on the Common Core testing question, or click here for a CBS News segment on parents opting out.

AM News: Tuesday Common Core Testing Canceled In Dade & Broward (Anywhere Else?)

New Assessment Tests Canceled In Dade & Broward For Tuesday CBS Miami:  While some schools were not able to log into the online system, others that were able to access the system found that it worked so slowly that it was very difficult to proceed. See also FSA News: FSA Writing Test Postponed Amid Technical Issues | Sunshine State News;The Blaze: Test Based on Common Core Standards Sees Tech Glitches, Protests

LAUSD board president outpacing challengers in finances, endorsements KPCC: He did not get the endorsement of UTLA, the teachers union, which did not throw its support behind any candidate in the District 7 race.[But] the California School Employees Association, Service Employees International Union and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles have all endorsed Vladovic. Vladovic has also won endorsement from the California Charter Schools Association,which advocates for charter school expansion. See also LA School Report.

Robert Gordon Leaves as Ed. Dept. Advisor PK12: Gordon will be joining the College Board, a nonprofit organization. He'll serve as senior vice-president of finance and strategy. 

Pennsylvania Governor Appoints New Head of Philly School Commission District Dossier: The move comes nearly two weeks after the commission approved five of 39 applications for new charter schools. The governor wanted all the applications denied.

Hundreds attend rally to 'Call Out Cuomo' in Massena North Country Now: Hundreds of people attended a Saturday afternoon "Call Out Cuomo" educational rally at Massena High School. About a dozen speakers, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, stood onstage... See also Capital New York: Charter, union messaging creates New York echo chamber

Ex-Atlanta School Superintendent, Charged In Cheating Case, Dies At 68 NPR: In 2009, Beverly Hall was named national superintendent of the year largely based on her district's improved standardized test scores. But those scores soon came under scrutiny. See also NYT, AP, District DossierAJC.

Chicago ends standoff, agrees to give new state test WBEZ: Indeed, there are just three weeks between now and the end of the school year when CPS will not be giving some kind of standardized test. One of those weeks is spring break. Of course, not all students will have to take all of the tests and not all students are taking the test every day. But, Katten said, it’s still disruptive to the school environment. See also District Dossier.

Decision in ‘free-range’ case does not end debate about parenting and safety WAMU: The Maryland parents who let their children walk home from a park in Silver Spring were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over their views on parenting and children’s safety.

Congress-Watching: 5 Lessons From Friday's Embarrassing "Surprise" ESEA Reauthorization Meltdown

The AP called it a "political embarrassment" for Republicans in charge of Congress, but it might just as well have been called an embarrassment for pundits and journalists covering the process.  

On Friday afternoon, the House scuttled debate on the reauthorization of ESEA, the federal education law currently known as No Child Left Behind. -- and it seems like nobody other than Dropout Nation's Rishawn Biddle seems to have anticipated that such a thing might happen. 

That's right. Not Politico.  Not Politics K-12.  Not AP.  Not the Washington Post. Not Petrilli, Hess, Smarick, or any of those Fordham/AEI folks, either. (Not anyone on the D. side, either, that I know of.)

Looking back, it seems obvious that this was a possibility.  The House and Senate were dealing with a tough political issue with much greater urgency. Conservative Republicans hated the Committee-passed version of the bill. This has happened before.  In 2013, a Republican ESEA reauthorization got pulled.  

And to be fair, political reporters and pundits were surprised about the DHS funding failure, too. Even Boehner said he didn't know what was going to happen on DHS. Education issues don't get on the floor that often, and annual spending amendments are a thing of the past, so things like this are a bit of a wildcard for everyone.

Still, what happened, and how could we get better advance notice in the future? Check out my 5 Lessons below - and add or correct them here or at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "Congress-Watching: 5 Lessons From Friday's Embarrassing "Surprise" ESEA Reauthorization Meltdown" »

Thompson: Oklahoma City Makes Top Ten (Suspending Black Secondary Students)

I didn’t want to blog about Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap? by Daniel Losen et. al. I support the efforts of Losen and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies to close the racial “discipline gap.” Students can’t learn if they are not in class and we need to invest in Restorative Justice, and other alternatives to suspensions.  

We can’t punish our way to improved classrooms. Neither is it possible to systematically teach and learn for mastery in violent and chaotic schools, and Losen’s report calls for the remedies necessary to create safe, orderly, and caring learning environments. I just worry about the lack of an explicit push for the resources that would be necessary to replace the failed suspension-oriented approach to discipline.

I didn't want to touch the issue of disparate suspensions because I fear that systems will respond with data-driven pressure on teachers and principals to ignore disruptive and dangerous behavior, and refuse to invest the money and the focus necessary to replace suspensions with positive interventions. 

Then, I read the Oklahoma Gazette’s summary of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies’ report, and its link to data from my last year in the classroom, 2009-2010. Ben Felder reports that the “Oklahoma City Public Schools is one of the top ten highest-suspending districts at the secondary level for all students, and is the highest suspending district in the nation for black secondary students.” Moreover, between 2010 and 2012, “overall suspension rates at the high school level also increased from 24.7 percent to 45.2 percent during the same period.” 

The latest database shows that at the secondary level, OKCPS “suspension rates for black students climbed dramatically from 36.3% to 64.2%.” That increase of 27.9 points means that the district had a seemingly unbelievable increase in the black secondary student suspension rate of 80% in two years. 

At the risk of angering many friends, who often blame teachers’ “Low Expectations” for discipline problems, I must still argue that the racial disparities in Oklahoma City are primarily due to segregation by race and class, and poverty made worse by underfunding of schools.

Continue reading "Thompson: Oklahoma City Makes Top Ten (Suspending Black Secondary Students)" »

Common Core: Chicago Will Administer New Tests Next Week After All

CPS Letter to ISBE Feb242015

In a complete but not entirely unexpected reversal, CPS announced that it would require all schools to administer the new Common Core assessment next week, as required by the state and the USDE as a condition of funding. Sun Times here passes along speculation that the previous position was a City Hall-inspired effort to win votes from mostly white liberal parents concerned about overtesting for last week's election (in which case Rahm just gave his opponents a big issue). The Tribune here notes that technological limits are not the issue for most Chicago schools, and that CPS was under repeated funding threats from the state (though I'm not sure anyone believed CPS would be defunded over Common Core).

Update: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media

For the last few years, claims of success by reform supporters -- a high-poverty school where students are learning at high levels, say -- have regularly been met with detailed takedowns from the likes of Diane Ravitch or Gary Rubinstein, followed by a swarm of followups from reform critics and allies.

But over the weekend things took a somewhat different turn (at least on Sunday, when I last checked in), and it was the mostly white, mostly male reform critics like Rubinstein and Cody who were on the hotseat for expressing a "belief gap" from a handful of Chris Stewart kicked things off (and storified the exchange below).

A number of new voices showed up -- new to me, at least -- in addition to familiar names like Anthony Cody, John Thompson, and Gary Rubinstein.  As you'll see, the issue of research into teacher bias came up several times, including studies like this and this. And 

It wasn't pretty, or conclusive, or anything else. Both sides of this debate have long sufferered from too few black and brown voices and leaders, and still do. But it was somewhat different from the Twitter exchanges I've been following and writing about for the last few years.

Related posts: Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?

Continue reading "Update: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media" »

Morning Video: Race, Reconstruction, & The Nation

In case you missed it like I did, here's The Nation's panel on race and reconstruction, featuring the magazine's work on race over 150 years. Also be sure to check out the background blog posts, including this one about the era from the segregation ban to Nelson Mandela's time (The Nation).

AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week

As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out NYT: About a dozen of their classmates, however, will be elsewhere. They will sit in a nearby art room, where they will read books, do a little drawing and maybe paint. What they will not do is take the test, because they and their parents have flatly refused. See also Yakima Herald: Common Core exams begin soon, and many school districts are ready to go; Philly.com: Monday the day for controversial student testing in New Jersey; WFLA: Florida Standards testing begins across state.

The snow conundrum: How a school system decides whether to open Washington Post: Todd Watkins had been following the snow forecasts closely. By the time he climbed out of bed in the darkness of 2 a.m., he didn’t think a storm would wallop the Washington region. But he thought it was possible that Montgomery’s schools would open after a delay. See also HuffPost: Teachers Ensure Poor Kids Are Fed On Snow Days When They Can't Get Free School Lunch

Contentious teacher-related policies moving from legislatures to the courts Washington Post: The latest foray into the courtroom began Feb. 13, when New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York.

Jeb Bush stands firm on controversial immigration, educationpolicies at CPAC Fox News: Rubio used his time to target Obama's foreign policies, focusing mostly on Iran's nuclear threat. During his speech, Rubio said America needed a leader who understands that the way to defeat the Islamic State “wasn't to give him a job,” referencing ...

No Child Left Behind debate in the House suspended Washington Post: The House suspended floor debate on a Republican bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind on Friday afternoon, with party leaders saying they had to shift the chamber’s focus to debate funding the Department of Homeland Security. See also AP: House Republican Leaders Scrap Education Vote.

Can 'Chuy' give Rahm a run for his money? Tribune: A 2012 teachers strike, among other confrontations, led Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to form an exploratory committee for mayor last year. After she withdrew for health reasons, she asked Garcia, a former state senator, alderman and ...  See also NBC: Karen Lewis: I Could Have Won

Jimmy Kimmel got doctors to swear at cameras to convince people to get vaccinated HuffPost: "Here in LA, there are schools in which 20 percent of the children aren't vaccinated," Kimmel said, "because parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox."

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

Continue reading "AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week" »

Quotes: SEIU Could Play Decisive Role In Chicago (As It Has In LA)

Quotes2Now that we have a runoff, we are going to take a very close, serious look at the race. The neutrality vote we took was a vote in the first round. This is now a different election.

--  SEIU Local 1 political operative Jerry Morrison in the Sun-Times (SEIU may join mayor race).

In Chicago's case, SEIU would likely join CTU in opposing Mayor Emanuel. In LA, SEIU Local 99 has been an independent player on education issues, joining with and splitting from UTLA depending on the issue and/or candidate.

Advocacy: 50CAN Does Reformy Things (Somewhat) Differently

2015 Policy Goals   50CANAs you may recall, 50CAN launched in 2010 at roughly the same time as StudentsFirst, but has followed an interesting and somewhat distinct path in the intervening five years compared to other national networks of reform-minded advocacy groups like StudentsFirst and Stand For Children and DFER that all seemed to sprout up around the same time.  

Check out the organization's new state-by-state goals Policy Goals, which are largely state-developed rather than predetermined by the national or its funders, and you'll get a sense for what I mean.  I'm also told that the organization doesn't pick states to go into anymore, but rather gives out planning grants to folks who think they might be interested in putting something together -- 80 in 28 states last year -- and go from there.  Call it an advocacy incubator. They're also running a Policy 101 course (there's still time to sign up), and advocacy workshops.

Related posts: AEI Philanthropy/Advocacy Event (HotSeat Interview: 50CAN Creator Marc Porter Magee50CAN Action Fund Focuses On RI & MNWinn Leaving 50CAN To Head New TFA InitiativeWhere The Shiny New Advocacy Groups Are* [were].

 

 

Journalism: Let's Focus On What Actually Happens -- Not What *Might* Happen*

As Politico recently noted, statehouse efforts to turn the Common Core and its assessments back seem to have peaked since last year. The number of states with repeal efforts repeated this year is down from 22 to 19.  "So far, they’ve fared poorly," notes Stephanie Simon.

But you wouldn't necessarily know this from reading national education news stories, which tend to focus on the handful of rollbacks that have taken back and the slew of proposed rollbacks that have been proposed, or passed out of committee, or made it out of a legislative chamber.  In other words, proposals that *might* happen, but haven't yet become reality -- and probably won't, given the way these things usually pan out. 

I have yet to see an AP, Washington Post*, New York Times, or NPR story about this -- or for that matter anything along these lines from Huffington Post, Reuters, Hechinger, etc. (Please let me know if I've missed anything relevant.*) The issue might have been discussed at yesterday's #EWAcore media training in Denver but the focus there seemed to be on the substance of the standards and tests rather than the national trends and coverage thereof. 

None of this is to say that repeal and slowdown efforts are gone: NSCL says that there are roughly 450 CCSS-related proposals in the works this session. "Total number of bills that would halt implementation of Common Core State Standards: 39 bills (in 19 states) Total number of bills that would halt use of Common Core State Standards-related assessments, i.e., PARCC or Smarter Balanced: 36 bills (in 17 states)."

But if this year is like last year, these new efforts will fare just as badly as last year's.  And if this year is like last year, most newspaper and news site readers will hear mostly about the proposals and what they would do, rather than the actual track record of these proposals and their actual chances of enactment.  

Proposals are great, people -- easy to sell to editors and full of hope or fear for those involved -- but enactment (or at least a realistic chance at passage)  is what counts.  We do readers and ourselves a disservice when we lose track of the larger storyline, creating an impression (in this case, of widespread rollbacks) that doesn't match reality.

NCSL's CCSS tracker is here. There's a spreadsheet showing what's been proposed and whether it's moved here.

*UPDATE: Earlier this week, the Washington Post's GovBeat page (never heard of it!) had a story about failed Common Core repeal efforts.

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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.