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Quotes: Neighborhood Schools "Part Of The Problem," Says Simmons

Quotes2The impulse to want a neighborhood school for your children is understandable... [But advocates for neighborhood schools] are part of the problem not part of the solution. -- Warren Simmons, executive director of The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (The Uncomfortable Reality of Community Schools). 

Morning Video: How Poor Latino High School Kids Beat MIT [In Robotics]

 

This documentary trailer (h/t AJAM) tells the story of "how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build an underwater robot from Home Depot parts. And defeat engineering powerhouse MIT in the process." #underwaterdreams

AM News: Districts See Uptick In Central American Refugee Children

Schools a haven for kids who crossed border alone AP: Schools and districts in metropolitan areas such as Washington, Houston and Miami have seen an uptick in the number of these students and anticipate more could enroll this fall.

Judge Blasts School Officials and Justice Department ProPublica: The Huntsville ruling is important, both because the district is racially diverse and because it is the largest in the state still under federal mandate to desegregate.

Rahm Emanuel vs. Karen Lewis Would Be a Bloody Mayoral Battle New Republic: Both are former dancers and ballet aficionados, as well as products of elite colleges: Lewis was the first African-American woman to graduate from Dartmouth; Emanuel attended Sarah Lawrence. And Lewis, like Emanuel, is Jewish.

Lessons from Rocketship’s 100-Student Classroom Model EdSurge: Why the blended learning leader is taking a step back and returning to its old model.

Deieon Sanders charter high school is facing closure SB Nation: It placed dead last in a ranking of area public and charter schools earlier this year. Audio surfaced showing Sanders saying he would break the neck of school co-founder D.L. Wallace, who was making considerably more money than than the ex-Cowboys cornerback.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Districts See Uptick In Central American Refugee Children" »

Afternoon Video: Schools Prepare For Surge Of Unaccompanied Migrant Kids

Here's a Bloomberg segment on school preparations for migrant Central American kids who have been in the news so much the past couple of weeks. Haven't seen tons written on this - which districts are being most affected? Did the White House ask for schools funding as part of his refugee relief package?

Bruno: Performance Pay Doesn't Necessarily Discourage Collaboration

6052852063_240c0d2e86_nAustralian teacher Harry Webb (not his real name) has four big objections to performance pay.

I'm more sympathetic to differentiated compensation than many teachers, but I very much understand his first three concerns.

Measuring teacher effectiveness is definitely hard, for example, even if we're making progress on that front. And subjective assessment of teachers remains a huge problem, especially given the "faddish nature of school improvement".

Harry's fourth objection to performance pay, though, is a very common one that I do not understand: that it will "reduce incentives to collaborate" due to "competition for a limited pot of bonuses."

Read on for more (below).

Continue reading "Bruno: Performance Pay Doesn't Necessarily Discourage Collaboration" »

Magazines: 5 Ways The SF Protests Can Help You Understand Education

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comNow that you're done reading this week's New Yorker story about cheating in Atlanta, time to circle back and read last week's piece (California Screaming) about the conflicts in San Francisco over class, culture, and education.  

Why, you ask?  I'll tell you"

1- The opening protest highlights the impact of gentrification and other inequities on a career educator:

Benito Santiago, a sixty-three-year-old special-education teacher, is being evicted from the apartment he’s lived in since 1977.

2- The piece describes a conflict between two groups who are remarkably similar in their ideals and goals -- but not their methods.  They're mirror versions of each other, only one is younger and richer and more entrepreneurial than collective than the other:

What’s going on in San Francisco has been called a “culture war,” and yet the values each side espouses can sound strikingly similar. 

Sound familiar?

Three more to go -- the best ones! -- click the link and see.

Continue reading "Magazines: 5 Ways The SF Protests Can Help You Understand Education" »

Thompson: Arne Duncan's "Secretary Under Improvement" Plan

140517_randi_weingarten_teachers_union_ap_605Was the AFT's call for Arne Duncan to be placed on a plan for improvement a stroke of political genius by its leadership?

Or was it another example of what rank-in-file teachers do when we are at our best?

Or, was it both?

Read on (below) to find out.

Continue reading "Thompson: Arne Duncan's "Secretary Under Improvement" Plan" »

Morning Video: So What's It Like To Take The OECD Test for Schools?

Following up on the fascinating topic of the OECD Test for Schools, the PBS NewsHour just recently aired a new segment about the test's spread, how it differs from most annual assessments (and even the Common Core assessments), and some of the reactions of the kids who've been taking it. Transcript here. You can also read all about the test's development and impacts in my recent Harvard Education Letter article. Don't forget that Frontline's segment on resegregation airs tonight.

AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support

Teacher union's national conference concludes with support for tenure laws LA Daily News: The American Federation of Teachers panel featuring educators from out of state shared their personal observations to bolster why current tenure laws work.

Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons AP: The veto by the Democratic governor sets up a potential showdown with the Republican-led Legislature, which could override Nixon if it gets a two-thirds vote of both chambers during a September session.

Jeb Bush Draws Tea Party Ire Touting Education Record Businessweek: The former governor is touting gains under his “A-plus” plan, which imposed statewide testing standards, provided financial rewards to improving schools and offered students a way out of those that were failing them. The state’s high-school graduation rate has increased to 75.6 percent, compared with 52.5 percent when Bush, 61, took office in 1999.

Exiting teachers-union leader Julie Blaha talks of tenure, retention — and improv MinnPost: She is possibly the funniest woman in education leadership circles in the upper Midwest. She’s capable of rendering even a seasoned journalist helpless with laughter, and thus unable to impose a linear structure on the conversation.

Arne Duncan Says Philadelphia District 'Starved for Resources' District Dossier: The U.S. Secretary of Education also said that Pennsylvania's current level of commitment to funding public schools in Philadelphia is "unacceptable."

Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors AP: After 14 years of separation from her parents and a harrowing journey across the U.S. border, Milsa Martinez finds solace in the ..

School officials try healthier cafeteria options AP: Bean burgers, peanut butter substitutes and pre-sliced vegetable packets were on the menu Monday as school lunchroom managers from around the country sampled offerings in a hunt for fare that will meet stricter health mandates - without turning off sometimes-finicky students....

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

Continue reading "AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Bastille Day Edition

Teachers Unions Use Pension Fund Clout To Make Up For Lost Political Power ow.ly/z9icS  @Molly_HC@AFTunion

A middle ground on tenure? Some teachers in California say yes. | Deseret News National ow.ly/z8qhS

When Teachers Romanticize Their Students' Poverty - April Bo Wang - @TheAtlanticEDU ow.ly/z9i8Y

The Struggle Over Bad Teachers - NationalJournal.comow.ly/z874O

A New Device Lets You Track Your Preschooler ... And Listen In : NPR ow.ly/z9iP9 #KizON

OMG! Texting doesn't actually hurt kids' grammar or spelling skills - Vox ow.ly/z9jqx

​WestEd Gets $3M from USDE to Study Khan Academy Impact | EdSurge News ow.ly/z9lp6

Media: Politico Brings Up The Rear On StudentsFirst Reboot Story

Money_1The Minnesota Star Tribune posted the story last week that SF was pulling out of the state (StudentsFirst pulls up stakes), and reported that the group was getting out of FLA, too.

EdWeek added to the story (StudentsFirst Powers Down Five State Affiliates) by listing the 5 states that were being shuttered (Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, and Minnesota), explaining the the reasons for closing up shop differ by state, and noting that Travis Pillow at RedefinED got to the FLA part of story first.

Politico led with the story in its morning roundup today (Rhee’s group retrenches) but provided little by way of new information and (old habits die hard) failed to credit EdWeek or the Minnesota Star Tribune or anyone else for unearthing the news.

Sure, it's embarrassing having other folks break a story that probably should be yours.  But it only makes it worse when they pretend you dug it up themselves or assume their readers don't know/don't care where the story idea came from. Plus, it makes their hard-working counterparts really hate them.

Previous posts: StudentsFirst 14-State 2012 Candidate SpendingStudentsFirst 2012 Spending On Local Board RacesNEA & State Political Spending 5X Higher Than StudentsFirstWhy's Politico So Stingy With Crediting Others?

 

Magazines: New Yorker Delves Into Atlanta Cheating School

I'm not sure there's anything entirely new or shocking in it, but image from www.newyorker.comThe New Yorker goes deep with its latest education story (A Struggling School Made a Shocking Choice), by contributor Rachel Aviv.

"Struggling to meet data-driven district targets, as well as progress measurements outlined in No Child Left Behind, administrators and teachers at Parks first began systematically fixing students’ incorrect answers on standardized tests in 2006.

"The resulting scores significantly raised the school’s percentage of eighth graders who met the state’s standards.

"The success created an ongoing cycle that fostered continuous cheating—by 2008, the practices had become what Christopher Waller, the school’s former principal, calls a “well-oiled machine.”

The same pressures and incentives still exist, reports Aviv.  

Could it happen again soon? The story seems to suggest it's likely.

Previous New Yorker stories by Aviv here.

Previous New Yorker posts: The Innovation/Disruption "Myth"New Yorker Digs Into Newark Reform BacklashWhat The New Yorker's Parent/Reporter Should Write About Next.

Articles: Adult Ed's Secret Buzzwords & Lingo

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 14 10.07So you think that edtech (and school reform in general) are full of buzzwords and hot new trends? Well, that may be true. But edtech’s got nothing on adult education, which freely adopts jargon and innovation from the K-12 and postsecondary worlds and then adds its own particular set of terms and approaches.

Some of the developments – flipped, blended, gamified, mobile learning – are familiar trends generally mirroring those taking place in other sectors. Others trends and concepts – contextualization, “braided” funding, and “bridge” programs – are more specific to the needs of low-skill adults and adult education programs who serve them.

That's the opening from my latest EdSurge article, which came out a couple of days ago (So You Think You Can Educate Adults?). The first article is here. Image via EdSurge.

Quotes: Reform Debate Often Detached From Schools & Parents

Quotes2The policy debate has become so polarized that it often seems detached from the very people it is aimed at helping. - Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe via Annenberg Institute

Morning Video: Helping Increase Toddlers' Vocabularies With Word Counters

"Called digital language processors, they have been given to some 55 toddlers whose families are on public assistance through a city program called Providence Talks." (Coaching parents on toddler talk to address word gap)

Pictures: Michelle Obama's Tour of the Brown Museum In Topeka

ScreenHunter_02 Jul. 14 10.22The New Republic wonders if this is "the political photo of the year," which it probably isn't.  But it's still a prettyeye-catching image. (Michelle Obama Tours Brown v. Board National Historic Site)

 

 

AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National

Sleepy campaign for D.C. Board of Education goes national Washington Post:  When Tierra Jolly thumbed through her mail on Monday, she was surprised to see campaign literature touting her bid for a seat on the D.C. State Board of Education.

Districts Debate Merits of Master's for Teachers AP: Texas' two largest school districts, in Houston and Dallas, recently eliminated advanced degree pay going forward, following the example of North Carolina, where lawmakers last year started phasing it out. Yet the backlash in North Carolina grew so intense that the state is now looking at reinstating the extra pay for those teaching classes related to the subject in which they have an advanced degree. 

Ethics Panel Absolves Tony Bennett of Wrongdoing in School-Grade Changes State EdWatch: The Indiana State Ethics Commission said former state Superintendent Tony Bennett committed no ethics violation in changing certain school grades in 2012.

How a better summer vacation could help low-income kids in school Vox: On average, kids come back to school in the fall about a month behind where they were at the beginning of summer break, says Catherine Augustine, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation who has studied summer learning loss.

Union Leader Derides Obama Education Chief AP: Union president chides US education secretary but stops short of calling on him to quit.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National" »

Gone Fishing -- Back Monday

0703OPEDanderson-master675Hi, all -- I'm taking the rest of the week off but will be back on Monday.  

No, I'm not going to see the World Cup finals -- just some local travel, friends visiting, and book reading.

See you Monday.

Try not to fix education before I get back; I would be sad to miss that. 

Possible mis-application of the semicolon.

Media: Errant Diversity Tweet Creates NPR Mini-Controversy

Alarm-silence FLATTOP341 flickrIn case you missed it last week, NPR education blogger Anya Kamenetz sent out a frustrated tweet last week about the struggle to get diverse voices into a story that generated a bit of a controversy.  

The errant tweet -- "I reach out to diverse sources on deadline. Only the white guys get back to me :( " -- went out under @NPR-Ed, making matters somewhat worse.  

Kamenetz apologized pretty quickly, took responsibility and nobody took the tweet down. I passed it along and assumed it was all over.  

However, more recently EWAer Dakarai Aarons posted about the situation on Facebook, linking to a blog post summarizing the situation, the online reactoins, and noting NPR's struggles with newsroom diversity and programming diversity, and its hiring of Juana Summers as part of the education team. 

The Blaze also picked up the story, referencing Juan Williams but also noting that "the initial tweet expressed a desire to hear from minority sources (in addition to the offending phrasing)... [and that Kamenetz] "was engaged and apologetic throughout the process, yet many continued to harangue her."

Also: NPR reporter apologizes after being called out for ‘diversity’ gaffe (Twitchy).

Previous posts: "Tell Me More"'s Education Coverage Will Be MissedNPR Ed Team Adds StaffWhere Does That Public Radio Coverage Come From, Anyway?.

Morning Video: "Breakaway" Efforts In Baton Rouge (& Elsewhere?)

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 08 09.58Check out the trailer for next week's Frontline (Separate and Unequal), which takes us to "one of several breakaway efforts" around the nation.

AM News: Changes Afoot In California & New York City

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School funding reforms spur decisions at local level EdSource Today: California’s new school funding system is driving districts in diverse regions of the state to shift their resources to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the sweeping financial reform effort – graduating students so they are ready for college or careers. 

In wake of new union contract, 62 schools approved to ‘break the rules’ ChalkbeatNY: Community Health Academy of the Heights in Washington Heights wanted to incorporate lessons in the kitchen to teach students healthier eating and cooking habits, but was restricted from doing so because of rules related to the use of the kitchen, Principal Mark House said. 

City Schools to Try Bending Some Rules This Fall WSJ: This fall 62 New York City schools will try a range of ideas—such as staggering start times and changing class sizes—under an initiative that lets them bend union rules and city regulations if enough teachers agree.

Putting online testing to the test Marketplace: There’s a general sense among educators that kids are way more comfortable online than most of us grownups will ever be… so they have that going for them. There is one small thing to be concerned about: making sure kids can use a keyboard.  Keyboarding classes are becoming routine in elementary schools. Schools that don’t get up to speed in time to offer tests online, will still be able to use papers and pencils for the next few years.  

What We Don't Know About Summer School NPR: It's a warning echoed in countless teen movies — "If you don't pass this class, you'll go to summer school!" Kids for generations have been threatened with the elusive summer school: fail this test, miss this day and kiss your vacation goodbye.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Changes Afoot In California & New York City" »

Afternoon Video: Military Mom Critiques Jindal's Common Core Reversal

In case you missed it during last week's shortened workweek. Click here if the video doesn't load properly.

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: White House Presses For Equitable Teacher Distribution

Arne Duncan Unveils 50-State Teacher-Equity Strategy - @PoliticsK12 ow.ly/ySqPl

When Beliefs and Facts Collide - NYTimes.com ow.ly/yRZsZ

Guest Post: In Defense of “Last-In, First-Out” | ON LABOR ow.ly/ySpVH From SEIU #Vergara

Percentage of U.S. public-school students/teachers who are racial or ethnic minorities : 42 percent /18 percent ow.ly/ySCj2

Next NEA leader's first task: Win back public -POLITICO.com ow.ly/yRqZ8 @caitlinzemma Is she on Twitter?

Why the anti-tenure lawsuit will fail  - NY Daily News via @ChalkbeatNY ow.ly/yRfj0  @campbell_brown

Thompson: The AFT Needs to Support the NEA's New Positions

DuncanThe National Education Association annual conference approved a national campaign for equity and against "Toxic Testing." It seeks to end the "test, blame and punish" system that began under President Bush and which has grown worse under the Obama administration. As outgoing NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says, "The testing fixation has reached the point of insanity," The delegates then called on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

Hopefully the American Federation of Teachers national conference will do the same this month.

The AFT should help the press write its lede. It sould adopt the same language, word for word, in order to make the key point. Both unions are on the exact same page in terms of testing and Duncan.

Nuance is appropriate when teachers discuss issues like Common Core standards or how we should deal with edu-philanthropy. But, the jury is in on the damage done by high-stakes testing. And, dumping Duncan is a doable shortterm objective. Let's also unite in sharing the bows when we finally force President Obama, who we helped elect and reelect, to repudiate his appointee who personifies complete fidelity to corporate reform. - JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via. 

Quotes: Duncan's NEA Resignation Response

Quotes2I always try to stay out of local union politics. I think most teachers do, too. - EdSec Arne Duncan in response to NEA resolution in favor of his resignation. (AP via Intercepts)

Media: NOLA's The Lens Pares Down Charter Coverage, Loses Star Reporter

Flickr-sashalaA recent CJR article tells the story of how New Orleans' nonprofit outlet is going to have to cut its near-comprehensive coverage of charter school board meetings and is going to lose its star reporter Jessica Williams (In New Orleans, a comprehensive schools coverage hiatus).  

The news could be cause for alarm, but Williams isn't going far, and The Lens' comprehensive approach of the past four years is being replaced by a more targeted one (which sounds more sensible, anyway).

The events remind us that nonprofit news is a relatively new and untried model when it comes to local education coverage.  There are a bunch of other outlets out there trying to avoid The Lens' current predicament.  

Image via Flickr.

Morning Video: Edu-Geeks Martin & Hess Debate Common Core On PBS

AM News: Lawsuit Against Teacher Job Protections Filed In New York

Lawsuit Challenges New York’s Teacher Tenure Laws NYT: In the wake of a landmark court decision in California, an education advocacy group says the laws violate the State Constitution’s guarantee of a “sound basic education.”

Teacher tenure under fire Marketplace: The lawsuit comes on the heels of another challenge to tenure laws, in California. In that case, an LA judge said tenure laws, "have deprived students of the quality education they're entitled to."

New Obama Initiative Stresses Equal Access To Good Teachers HuffPost: By April 2015, states must submit "comprehensive educator equity plans" that detail how they plan to put "effective educators" in front of poor and minority kids. To help states write the plans, the Education Department will create a $4.2 million "Education Equity Support Network." And this fall, the Education Department will publish "Educator Equity profiles" that highlight which states and districts fare well or poorly on teacher equity. 

NEA Calls for Secretary Duncan's ResignationTeacherBeat: In a surprising vote at the Representative Assembly on July 4, delegates passed a new business item calling for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to resign.

Why more states are backing off Common Core PBS: One major battleground, a growing list of states that are dropping the Common Core standards. Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have done so. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an order for his state to join them. But now even places committed to keeping the guidelines are deciding to slow things down.

Big Data Comes To College NPR: The  exploding field of "learning analytics" raises ethical questions similar to those arising from the recent Facebook revelations.

Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men NPR: For five years running, 100 percent of the graduating seniors at Urban Prep Academies have won admission to four-year colleges. The schools work to promote positive examples of black masculinity.

Free lunch for all in Chicago Public Schools starts in September WBEZ: Under a relatively new program called the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) all school meals will be free starting in September 2014, the district confirmed to WBEZ Thursday. Although the CPS initially rejected the program in 2011, it had expanded it to 400 schools by last fall.

Neighborhood high schools again take hit in new CPS budget WBEZ: Schools with more than $1 million slashed from their budgets are overwhelmingly the city’s public neighborhood high schools.

Politics: Teachers Unions Spent $191M To StudentFirst's $62M*

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 1.33.41 PM
Earlier today, Politico reported that StudentsFirst has raised a whopping $62 million in campaign contributions in the past two years. However, EdWeek reports that national and state teachers unions spent a combined $191 million in 2012 alone (see chart alone). However imperfect, the comparison serves as a useful reminder that reform money, however new and on the rise it may be currently, remains substantially less than teacher union money. 

Correction: The initial headline said StudentsFirst spent "462M" since I neglected to hit the shift button at the right moment. 

Charts: Racial Gaps High-Poverty Kindergartens

image from s1.epi.orgVia EPI

#EdGif Of The Day: Seventy Years Of Ed Progress

Bachelors_degree_gif

Check out this mildly hypnotic GIF from Vox showing the percentage of the population with a Bachelor's degree or more by decade. Variations among states have grown, and the GI Bill generation didn't change ranges as much as the Boomers did.

Quotes: Did You Know Duncan (& Obama) Opposed Supreme Court Union Ruling?

Quotes2Collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped build America’s middle class. I’ve seen firsthand as Education Secretary that collaborating with unions and their state and local affiliates helps improve outcomes for students. The President and I remain committed to defending collective bargaining rights. - Arne Duncan (Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Harris v. Quinn Ruling)

AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment

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LAUSD board agrees on testing alternative laptops LA Times: With minimal discussion, Los Angeles school officials this week authorized contracts for the purchase of six different laptop computers to determine which device and curriculum works best for high school students.

Common Core test anxiety Politico: Attempts to apply standards in different states spark a testing revolt across the country.

Teachers, postal workers weigh Staples boycott USA Today: Postal workers picket in front of a Staples store April 24, in Concord, N.H. Postal workers around the country protested in front of Staples stores, objecting to the U.S. Postal Service's pilot program to open counters in stores.

In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children Hechinger:  In recent years, New Orleans has become a case study in how children and families are affected by rapid decentralization of public education and mental health systems.

Do Teachers Really Hate Common Core? From the Floor of ISTE 2014 EdSurge: Teachers can live with--or work through--the standards. But the biggest worry? It’s not the standards that are the problem--educators are feeling stifled by the testing.

Summer school enrollment falls sharply after city reduces role of state tests ChalkBeat: In his first six months in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has had a nearly singular focus on providing needy students with expanded education services. But thousands fewer struggling students will be attending summer school this year after city officials changed the way students qualify for the program.

Emerging Themes at NEA: 'Toxic Testing' and Union Threats TeacherBeat: The board of directors will propose a New Business Item calling for a campaign against "toxic testing."

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

Continue reading "AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment" »

Media: NYT's Javier Hernandez Can't Be Nice AND Good, Can He?

image from graphics8.nytimes.comI was really sort of hoping that  Javier Hernandez (no, not the one who plays for Mexico) would be an arrogant jerk or something like that, just so I would have a reason to dislike the NYT education reporter and could ignore the envy that comes from his having written some great education stories recently.
 
But alas, he was humble and patient and forthcoming during his recent interview in front of education journalists at a Poynter workshop last week in Chicago, telling us all how he got the "Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes" story -- including the lucky parts and mistakes he may have made.
 
Twitter here.

Thompson: Is 1-3 Percent the New "Bottom 5-10 Percent"?

BadteacherThe old meme was that replacing the 5 to 10% of teachers who are "grossly ineffective" could drive school improvement. That figure was mostly borrowed from the corporate tactic known as stacking where the low-performing employees were routinely sacked. 

I agree that bad teachers are disproportionately found in high-challenge schools and that they should be dismissed. I rarely see evidence that union contracts play a significant role in protecting them.

Unions defend the collective bargaining agreement, not the individual who is charged. The CBA protects our right to teach. 

Unions don't supervise principals who have more pressing priorities than evaluating teachers.

Neither have I heard a scenario for recruiting enough qualified replacements to staff inner city schools so that management can tackle the not-so-difficult job of firing bad teachers.

The public relations campaign known as Vergara v California is claiming to be something other than a blood-in-the-eye corporate assault on public education. So, the new meme is that even David Berliner, an expert witness for the defense, estimates that 1 to 3% of teachers should be dismissed. 

Its not hard to identify the the bottom 1, 3, or 5%. But reformers would undermine the effectiveness of the vast majority of teachers by using value-added evaluations to get rid of the few grossly ineffective ones. They would force teachers to teach to the test in order to cover their rear ends. They would try to make teaching a more attractive job by undermining the soul of our wonderful profession!?!?

Vergara has accidently redefined the teacher quality issue as removing the bottom 1 to 3%, and preventing the handful of outrageous cases where it costs hundreds of thousands dollars to fire a teacher.  That is an unintended step toward common sense. Real world, absurd foulups happen. That's life. And usually the few extreme cases are unfunny comedies of errors where all sides miscalculate. It is the very few complicated and mishandled teacher termination cases, like the very few medical and legal cases that spin out of control, that run up unconscionable bills.

I wish reformers would accept the fact that firing a bad teacher isn't that hard, but principals tend to be so overburdened that the dismissal of the bottom 1 to 3% rarely makes their to-do list. And, given the deplorable conditions in so many high-poverty schools, recruiting replacements for even the worst teachers in those schools would be a challenge.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.    

Morning Video: What To Expect From This Year's NEA Convention

Vergara reactions, Supreme Court reactions, a new president (Lily Eskelsen) and more -- via TeacherBeat (What to Expect From This Year's NEA Convention)

 

 

Quotes: Teachers' Views = Teachers Union Positions

Quotes2In the majority of cases, disagreeing with unions’ education policy positions represents disagreeing with most teachers... Opposing unions certainly doesn’t mean you’re ‘bashing’” teachers, but it does, on average, mean you hold different views than they do. -- Matt di Carlo Teachers And Their Unions: A Conceptual Border Dispute

 

Maps: Where The Charters Are

ScreenHunter_09 Jul. 01 21.32Here's a map from Marketplace, which also ran a segment on the state of charter schools featuring quotes from Nina Rees, Dennis Van Roekel, and Jack Schneider. Click the link to get the interactive version.

AM News: Louisiana Board Of Ed May Sue Governor Over Common Core

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Louisiana State Board Moves Closer to Suing Gov. Jindal Over PARCC Tests State EdWatch: The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6-3 on July 1 to retain legal counsel and prepare for a possible lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal over the PARCC test.

NYC charter schools join national coalition aimed at de-segregating sector ChalkbeatNY: Brooklyn Prospect’s two schools set aside seats for transient students who seek to enroll at their schools in the middle of the year. Community Roots Charter School, housed in one of the city’s fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods, holds seats for students who live in the nearby public housing complexes. Last fall, Success Academy Charter School CEO Eva Moskowitz successfully took on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan over a federal grant policy that prohibited her schools from setting aside seats for English language learners.

State report: More than $28M raised for Newtown AP: People from Connecticut, across the U.S. and around the world have donated more than $28 million to charities in the wake of the deadly 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, according to a report released Tuesday....

A 'Lost Generation Of Workers': The Cost Of Youth Unemployment NPR: Youth joblessness remains remarkably high across the country, threatening long-term trouble for young people's career trajectories, earning potential and the overall health of the economy.

Public Schools in New York City Are Poorer and More Crowded, Budget Agency Finds NYT: Total enrollment has not risen, but average class sizes are up and federal and state aid have fallen, a report by the Independent Budget Office said.

Under pressure, D.C. school system gets more aggressive about selling itself Washington Post: The District’s traditional public school system is sending principals out to knock on doors in a campaign to sell itself to city families, an aggressive move to boost enrollment and maintain market share after years of ceding ground to charter schools.

Nutrition Group Lobbies Against Healthier School Meals It Sought, Citing Cost NYT: The School Nutrition Association has done an about-face as it lobbies Congress to allow schools to opt out of the very nutrition rules it helped to create in 2012.

Character Counts! creater, exclusive private school spar over discipline of daughter LA Times: Last month, the day before seniors in white dresses and flower crowns marched in graduation ceremonies, Josephson and his wife, Anne, filed a Superior Court lawsuit accusing the $35,000-a-year school of mistreating two of their teenagers. Their lawyer said they intend to ask a jury for $10 million in damages.

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Two Of Three Superintendents Support Common Core

Common Core Will Improve Education Most District Chiefs Say - Education Week http://ow.ly/yF4pl 

Aspen Ideas Festival panel with David Coleman scheduled for this afternoon / live video feed, FYI http://ow.ly/yF2iJ

Legislative Efforts to Slow Down PARCC Parked -- at Least for Now - @NJSpotlight http://ow.ly/yEEoU 

How Michigan spends $1 billion but fails to hold @publiccharters accountable | Detroit Free Press http://ow.ly/yEZQd 

Waiverless WA Wants Out of Key NCLB Requirement - @politicsk12 http://ow.ly/yFhCM 

Limiting Rights: A Hit to Collective Bargaining - http://NYTimes.com  http://ow.ly/yFsq5 

Getting ready for #USAvsBEL? On #FIFAvsPISA, it's no competition http://gadf.ly/1q4ZltB  #worldcupED

Paul Bruno: What if There is No Crisis in U.S. Education? | Diane Ravitch's blog http://ow.ly/yFiDM  @mrpabruno

Green Dot Public Schools goes national, revamps Board @greendot http://ow.ly/yF5ei  @brucewmsmith @LAcharters

How to Trick Your Kids Into Reading All Summer Long - - The Atlantic http://ow.ly/yEZuh 

Quotes: EdTech Hubris Undermines School Improvement

Quotes2Either this is a co-operative project, funded by experience, evidence and expertise, as well as the mutual passion for integrity, education and innovation (and yes, venture capital). Or it’s a series of expensive and limiting failures where working-stiff educators have to pick up the pieces.(A Distemperate Response to Silicon Valley’s ‘Edtech Revolution’

Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation

Menya PhotoFrom time to time, Educators 4 Excellence puts together teams of teachers to research and make recommendations on various aspects of education policy.

This month, the Los Angeles chapter released reports from two such teams, including one about how to revamp the way we compensate teachers, which you can find summarized here

The report - authored by thirteen current classroom teachers - suggests attracting  teachers with additional compensation for hard-to-staff placements and recommends selectively retaining teachers by offering incentives for teacher and school impacts on student growth.

It also argues that rather than paying teachers bonuses for graduate credits and degrees, we should offer teachers rewards for 'mastery-based' professional development of specific skills or for taking on well-defined leadership roles.

Since many of these proposals are controversial among educators, I wanted to hear more from actual teachers who support them.

Last week, I sat down with one of the report's authors: sixth grade English and Social Studies teacher Menya Cole (pictured).

Menya taught in Detroit through Teach for America and now teaches at a charter school in Los Angeles. It was another TfA alumnus who connected her to Educators 4 Excellence.

A transcript of a portion of our conversation, edited for clarity, is below the fold.

Continue reading "Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation" »

Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance

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Here's something I've been thinking might happen for a while now -- a new national network of diverse charter schools has been announced.

Included among the founding members are several of the schools I profiled in Education Next a couple of years ago (Brooklyn Prospect, Bricolage (NOLA), Community Roots, DSST (Denver), and yes, Success Academy.

See the full press release below, and tune into (attend) the panel on diverse charters at 4pm local time in Las Vegas.

Previous posts: Diverse Charters Spread Nationally (Education Next); Diverse NOLA Charter OpensDiverse Charters Balance Learning & Accountability; and Change Could Help Promote Charter Diversity.

Continue reading "Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance" »

Roundup: What They're Saying About Supreme Court's Union Dues Decision

You'll see the phrase "dodged a bullet" quite a few times reading through these reaction stories:

Supreme Court ruling on unions reverberates Washington Post: The Supreme Court ruling Monday against an Illinois requirement regarding union dues for home health aides could ease the way for another, broader legal challenge aimed at teachers unions.

Unions hit, but not fatally Politico: Even the fairly narrow ruling is a blow to the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers and other unions that have organized hundreds of thousands of home health workers in states including Illinois, California and Connecticut. Those workers can now decide whether they want to support the union financially.

Unions duck biggest threat from Supreme Court case — for now Washington Post: Now those workers can decide whether they want to pay union dues from their often meager paychecks, a change labor groups worry could cause their memberships and incomes to shrink.

Unions didn’t dodge a bullet at the Supreme Court today. They dodged the guillotine. Washington Post (Bump): Had the Supreme Court thrown out the 1977 case that allows public sector unions to collect fees from employees, it could very well have been the last push needed. Instead, the Court just made the cliff's edge shakier.

Public-Sector Unions Survive Supreme Court Review, Barely. Forbes: The decision drew a strong dissent from the court’s liberals, written by Justice Elena Kagan. She said the state of Illinois not only pays home-health workers but supervises their work. And the state had ample reasons for selecting a single bargaining agent for home-health aides since that could help it ensure a steady supply of workers and guarantees against strikes.

Mulgrew: Union cautiously optimistic after ruling allows some opt-outs from union dues Chalkbeat: United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement on Monday that while he “deplored” the ruling, which gives some public workers the ability to opt out of paying union dues, it might only affect Illinois, the state where the case was based.

Home healthcare ruling may inhibit growth of powerful union LA Times: The SEIU may have trouble maintaining its growth after Monday's Supreme Court decision allowing home healthcare workers to opt out of paying union fees even if the union bargains on their behalf. If history is any guide, once workers can opt out of paying fees, they also opt out of belonging to the union.

Plus as an added bonus -- an #edGIF of declining union membership by state (below)

Continue reading "Roundup: What They're Saying About Supreme Court's Union Dues Decision" »

AM News: Jindal Common Core Reversal Could Cost $25M

Changing from Common Core would cost $25.2 million over five years, superintendent says NOLA.com: White's disclosure came in response to a request from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, as the high-level head-butting over national academic standards in Louisiana moves from news conferences to a committee room, possibly on its way to the courthouse.

Proposal to Rate Leadership Programs Has Principals' Groups 'Concerned' District Dossier: The National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals said they support many of the provisions included in the draft of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. 

Survey Finds Parents Conflicted About Time Dedicated to Testing Students EdWeek: Parents say assessments and test prep are stealing instructional time away from their children, according to a new survey.

Is test-prep teaching? It takes up 18 percent of school time Seattle Times: As lawmakers in Olympia prepare to grapple with court-ordered increases in school funding, it might help to have a better idea of the various tasks a teacher is expected to complete in a day.

Some schools will get laptops instead of iPads, says LAUSD AP:  In the fall, administrators, teachers and students at those schools will test the laptops to determine whether they should be used going forward.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Jindal Common Core Reversal Could Cost $25M" »

Afternoon Video: Reconciling Due Process & Students' Rights At Aspen 2014

 

Here's a new video from the Aspen Ideas Festival in which it is discussed whether tenure reforms and students' rights can be reconciled -- and if so, how. Feat. Weingarten, Deasy, and hosted by Ray Suarez. Read blog post about here.

Five Best Blogs [& Tweets]: Teaching Is The New Equity

Access to Effective Teaching is the New Measure of Equity | Center for American Progress http://ht.ly/yBryT  @amprog

A 'Death Knell' For Public Sector Unions? Not Yet : NPR Ed http://ht.ly/yCkwG 

Narrow Supreme Court Ruling Has Public Unions' Nonmember Fees on Thin Ice - http://ht.ly/yC69X 

LAUSD Abandons One-Device-Fits-All iPad Strategy, Offers Laptops, Convertibles http://ht.ly/yCkUR 

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play - Tim Walker - The Atlantic ht.ly/yCzcV

The inevitable attack on character/motives that follows a difference of views with Ravitch et al ht.ly/yCzqO

In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, shouldn't we demand it in our schools? buff.ly/1wGILTC... @newamerica

Four ed conferences in the same week - anyone speaking at (or going to all of them)? @iste @qualitycharters @ECS [Plus NEA]

Yes it's true -- you can *still* get This Week In Education via free daily email - just sign up here: ht.ly/yCrj9

Morning Video: Do Learning Games Really Work?

Here's a new PBS NewsHour segment on learning games. Find out more here.

AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers

Big unions could take big SCOTUS hit Politico: But a 1977 decision allows states to require workers to pay partial dues, or “agency fees,” to cover the union’s cost of negotiating their contracts and representing them in grievances. Illinois is among the states to require just that.

Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling NYT: Across the country, parents who once conceded that their homework expertise petered out by high school trigonometry are now feeling helpless when confronted with first-grade work sheets.

Teacher-Prep Ranking System in Higher Ed. Proposal Irks Teachers' Unions PK12: Teachers' unions applauded the increased emphasis of on-the-job training for teachers and principals in preparation programs that's included in Senate Democrats' proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. But they're much less enthusiastic about a new grant included in the bill for ranking those prep programs. AFT president Randi Weingarten, in a letter to Harkin dated June 24, blasted the proposal.

Teacher evaluation system is latest education battleground Baltimore Sun: This past school year, Maryland's 60,000 teachers were evaluated for the first time according to a formula that required half of their final rating to be based on how much their students learned.

Newark Schools Superintendent Signs New 3-Year Contract District Dossier: Under the "hybrid" contract, Anderson and the state must agree to an extension each year. Anderson has come under fire recently for her "One Newark" school reform plan.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Supreme Court Could End Mandatory Union Dues For Teachers" »

Five Best Blogs [Of The Day]: Monday Could Be A Big Day For Unions

The Supreme Court could cut union membership in half on Monday -[if it allows member opt-outs] Vox http://ht.ly/yxhtj  @mattyglesias

Fordham's @brickm writes about possible edu implications of Supreme Court decision coming Monday http://t.co/NrEqqzXVMR 

Also:

New poll shows more than two-thirds of CA voters want to abolish LIFO and 61 pct want to end tenure via @Morning_Edu #vergara @campbell_brown

Unions not getting enough credit for changes to job protections, says @rweingarten in today's @Morning_Edu

Most Americans Think Racial Discrimination Doesn't Matter Much Anymore | Mother Jones http://ht.ly/ywVFS 

Vergara ruling could spark collaboration, not just confrontation @greendot @calcharters @calteachers http://ht.ly/yx6uO 

New ed-school grads are unprepared to teach—and we seem fine with that | @educationgadfly @rpondiscio http://ht.ly/ywuWA 

Tweets and links throughout the day (and some evenings, too) via @alexanderrusso.

 

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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.