About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Morning Video: A Closer Look At Philadelphia Budget Cuts

AM News: Washington State Schools Suffer Over Refusal To Use Student Scores

In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools in a Bind NYT: The state refuses to base teacher evaluations on student scores, which triggers an outdated standard: that every student be proficient in reading and math.

New TV ad from UFT presents rosier view of public schools ChalkbeatNY: After a week where charter school advocates highlighted the public school system’s failures, the United Federation of Teachers is taking a rosier view in a new television ad. 

California, other states to set test cutoff scores EdSource Today: During the next few weeks California educators will play a pivotal role in a crucial phase of work for the new Smarter Balanced assessments California students will take this spring: setting the cutoff scores that will indicate how well a student is performing.

The Education Battle of 2014 On The Media: Conservatives in Colorado and elsewhere are alarmed by the College Board’s new Advanced Placement US history test, which the  Republican National Committee has called  a “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation's history.”  See also PBS NewsHour

Chicago District Puts Hold on Approving New Charter Schools This Fall District Dossier: Some speculate the decision to put off new proposals this fall is related to next year's mayoral election.

Tuck, Torlakson debate union power, lawsuit EdSource Today: Marshall Tuck and Tom Torlakson, the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction, disagreed on the condition of education in California, the influence of teachers unions and who is best qualified for the job during a recent debate.

L.A. Unified reports big rise in its graduation rate LA Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday reported a huge rise in its graduation rate, but left out the students most at risk of not making it to commencement ceremonies.

Philadelphia schools crippled by budget crisis PBS NewsHour It’s a tough time to be a student, a teacher or a parent in the Philadelphia public schools. The nation’s eighth largest school system is experiencing a severe budget crisis. Special correspondent for education John Tulenko of Learning Matters looks at the impact hitting the classroom and what’s being done about it.

Change in Admissions Rules Muddles NYC Middle School Search WNYC: There are 48 competitive middle schools and programs that used test scores as the main criteria in their admissions. But they are among the best neighborhood schools in the city, and competition is fierce.

Abuse Cases at 2 Schools, With Technology at the Root NYT: Recent cases in New Jersey and Brooklyn highlight how online communications have blurred boundaries between students and teachers. See also SchoolBook

Tony Bennett Talks Lady Gaga, Arts in the Schools, Secret to His Success ABC EdNews: Tony Bennett, who made history this week by becoming the oldest artist with a No. 1 album, said he has a secret to his success. One, he said, most may not believe. 

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: KY's Third-Year Common Core Scores Are In!

Mixed results from KY's 3rd year Common Core test results - @AndrewUjifusa http://ow.ly/CfXp7  @ccsso @minnichc @AchieveInc

Due process gives bad teachers -not poor kids- the benefit of the doubt in NYC, says new @AEIeducation report http://ow.ly/CfKMi 

Writers @amandaripley & @elizwgreen discuss overlaps between their books, vitriol directed at them by readers http://ow.ly/CfNLn 

Missed Opportunities at Congressional Black Caucus conference http://ow.ly/CfWED  @citizenstewart

A high-poverty public school tries charter-type reforms | Al Jazeera America http://ow.ly/CfW8in  @etammykim @solutionsjournalism

Vouchers on the horizon for IL, wonders @catalystchicago? http://ow.ly/CfVaQ 

“The Feds just keep pushing the one button they have—which is accountability. ” —@amandaripley http://ow.ly/CfO02 

Inaugural @NetworkPublicEd event 10/11 replaces NBC's now-defunct @educationnation conference, says @dianeravitch http://ow.ly/CfN3a 

ICYMI: The Roots' @questlove tweeted in support of yesterday's Families / @jeremiahkitt event. via @edu_post

Thompson: Once Again, Mass Insight Explains What It takes to Turn Around Schools*

When I first read Mass Insight's The Turnaround Challenge, I was thrilled by its holistic explanation of what it takes to turnaround the most challenging schools. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the document was his Bible, but then he violated most of its principles when establishing School Improvement Grants, dooming his SIG to failure.

In 2007, Mass Insight showed that instruction-driven, curriculum-driven policies could not transform the schools with the greatest challenges, and that the mass dismissal of teachers was a bad idea. It emphasized the "Readiness Triangle," drawing upon the best social science to explain how and why a proper foundation must be laid for school improvement. Now, Mass Insight and Ounce of Prevention explain why today's accountability regimes are undermining school improvement.

Let's hope that reformers listen to Mass Insight's and the Ounce of Prevention Fund's Changing the Metrics of Turnaround to Encourage Early Learning Strategies, by Elliot Regenstein, Rio Romero-Jurado, Justin Cohen, and Alison Segal. As it says in a previous study, Rethinking State Accountability and Support, Ounce proposes "the reverse" of the Arne Duncan value-added accountability regime. 

Continue reading "Thompson: Once Again, Mass Insight Explains What It takes to Turn Around Schools*" »

Quotes: Schools Can't Be Graded, Says NYC Chancellor

Quotes2Schools have unique qualities that cannot be captured in a letter grade... They are not restaurants. 

- NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina explaining end of school report card grades

Charts: Hispanic Dropout Rate Plummets Despite Growing Student Population

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.com

"In 2000, three Hispanic students had recently completed high school for every one who dropped out, according to Pew. Now nine times as many finish high school as drop out." (Vox: Latinos are driving a huge decline in the high school dropout rate) Image used with permission.

 

AM News: NYC Charter Rally, Dallas Ebola Scare, Denver Walkout, & Deasy Departure?

 Charter School Backers Rally, Hoping to Influence de Blasio’s Policies NYT: Demonstrators filled Foley Square to highlight what they said was a crisis of quality in New York City public schools. See also WNYC.

Rally organized by charter schools sparks controversy WPIX-TV:  haven't added up all the expenses,” said Families for Excellent Schools CEO Jeremiah Kittredge. “What we've focused on is the amazing turnout." See also ChalkbeatNY.

In Dallas Schools, Fear of Possible Ebola Exposure NYT: Parents and schoolchildren wrestled with their fears after learning that five school-age children had had contact with a man who is ill with Ebola.

School Board Wants Civil Disorder Deemphasized. Students Walk Out. NPR: For two weeks the Colorado high school students have been protesting an official's proposal that the AP history curriculum promote patriotism and free-market economics, and not condone civil disorder. See also PBS NewsHour

John Deasy's future Los Angeles Times (editorial page): At least two more, Steve Zimmer and board President Richard Vladovic, are independent thinkers who could be persuaded to support him more often.

Cutting higher ed costs for Chicago’s disadvantaged students PBS NewsHour: Two separate pushes were announced today in Chicago aimed at improving access to higher education among lower-income students. The moves, announced separately, will eliminate costs at one of the nation’s most elite universities and at the city’s community colleges.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Charter Rally, Dallas Ebola Scare, Denver Walkout, & Deasy Departure?" »

Twitter Thursday: It's All Here -- Just In A Different Format

Still traveling, so I'll be updating the site via Twitter again today -- back to normal blogging tomorrow. You can read it all here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso).

Twitter Wednesday: Rainy Wednesday (Rabbit, Rabbit!)

Happy Wednesday -- Happy October. I'm on the road today so I'll be updating the site via Twitter. You can read it all here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). Have a great weekend!

Watch: For One Miami Principal. Common Core Spurs Hope & Fear

 

Watch Bridget Mckinney, third-year principal of Miami's Allapattah Middle School, explain "her trepidations, as well as her support, for the common core itself." (Common Core Spurs Hope, Fear for a Miami Principal via State EdWatch).

 

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Sure, Why Not Compare Schools To Yellow Cabs?

The inevitable comparison between Uber and school choice - James Courtovich in the WSJ http://ow.ly/C6T4y 

Putting The Trust Back In Education ow.ly/C7S14 @ConorPWilliams riffs off of @ulrichboser's new book

Instead Of Staring At Screens, These Kids Stared At Faces : NPR ow.ly/C7OJ9 @NPRCoryTurner

End the charter school wars - NY Daily News ow.ly/C7APr@RickKahlenberg @HalleyTCF

Wave of undocumented students challenges schools, costs extra $2K per kid | PBS NewsHour Extra ow.ly/C7oOb

Investigations into teacher misconduct can often take more than a year  http://ow.ly/C6ZhC  @lizbowie

Nearly 5 years in, NYC is "nowhere close to delivering" on Race to the Top promises, writes Steve Brill ow.ly/C82tI

Confessions Of A Six-Figure Father: Why I'd Never Send My Kids To Private School ow.ly/C7oxf

Afternoon Video: Celebrities' Hilariously Bad Education Ideas

The Marshall Tuck campaign gets a few celebrity endorsements for his CA superintendent race -- plus some hilariously awful suggestions.

Journalism: Think Tanks Bypassing Media & Doing Their Own Version Of Journalism

In case you hadn't noticed, more and more think tanks are behaving in journalism-like ways: hiring journalists to write pleasant, engaging pieces as well as blogging and tweeting directly to policymakers and the public. [They also seem less focused on hiring only PhDs, or on doing their own original academic research, but that's another thing.]

The Think Tank Watch has a recent blog post (Think Tanks Doing Journalism) that highlights this trend:

"Many Washington think tanks have been hiring well-known journalists in recent years in an effort to beef up their efforts to get good writers, network with media-types, and better disseminate information and policy proposals to a wider audience. "

A recent Economist article (Think-tanks and journalism: Making the headlines) points out that it's not just opeds, papers and conferences anymore. 

Indeed.  we've seen bits and pieces of that from education think tanks like Education Sector, Fordham, Carnegie, Brookings, and New America all come to mind. Perhaps the best example of this is AIR taking over Education Sector (and its blog), or Bellwether helping launch RealClearEducation. ThinkProgress -- a division of CAP -- is another example (they were looking for an education reporter not too long ago).

Of course, some news outlets are blurring the line the other way, becoming more wonkish and policy-oriented and less, well, newsy.  Part of this is by necessity.  With their own writers and social media campaigns, think tanks need journalists less.  They've already got academic credibility (of a sort), they already validate ideas for politicians and policymakers. Now they're distributing their own ideas directly.

Related posts: AIR Taking Over Education SectorCarnegie Is The New Ed Sector[Why] Are Washington Think Tanks So Powerful?Meet Conor Williams, New America's New(ish) Education GuyGoogle Now Funding Lots Of Think Tanks & Policy ConferencesExpert-Less Think Tanks -- Whose Fault?

Morning Video: New Video Targets 371 "Failing" NYC Schools

It's not quite as moving as last summer's version -- and the one I saw last night during the news featured a kid who wanted to be a doctor -- but here's the new Families For Educational Justice video that's airing in NYC, focusing on 143,000 kids in low-performing schools, using the hashtag #donttstealpossible. "In vast areas of NYC [Brooklyn & the Bronx, mostly], children have little choice but to attend a failing school." There's also a map of 371 failing schools in NYC. There's a rally on Thursday.

AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments

Superintendents Support Common-Assessment Consortia EdWeek: About two-thirds of district superintendents say states should stick with their common-core testing consortia, while 16 percent remain on the fence over the issue, according to results from a new survey.

AFT Set To Spend More In 2014 Than Any Other Election Cycle Huffington Post: An AFT official told The Huffington Post that the union is on track to spend more than $20 million this cycle to "try to dial back some of the damage done by the cuts to public education and public services and elect people who will fight for kids, families and communities."

NEA Sues New Mexico Schools Chief Over Teacher Evaluations TeacherBeat: NEA officials say that the state has violated local districts' purview in dictating aspects of the evaluation systems, particularly by requiring a certain portion to be based on growth in students' standardized-test scores.

De Blasio stays mum on plans for struggling schools ChalkbeatNY: Mayor Bill de Blasio needs another extension. Four weeks into the school year, de Blasio said he wasn’t yet ready to detail his vision for improving with the city’s worst-performing schools, saying those plans would be released soon for the second time this month.

Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static NPR: One Los Angeles school is working technology into the learning process, while avoiding the traditional screen-time pitfalls.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Superintendents' Strong Support For Common Core Asssessments" »

Quotes: Progressive Dems Could Win With Education, Says Pollster

Quotes2The top testing turnout message overall emphasizes education, specifically Republicans' efforts to cut programs for students while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. - Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, quoted in TruthOut.

Weekend Reading: 10 Stories You (Might Have) Missed

Education key topic in PA, KS, AR, TX campaign debates | MSNBC ow.ly/C3Sgn

The states versus Secretary Duncan — Mediumow.ly/C1h5r Why Mary Fallin has a case but Bobby Jindal doesn’t

Atlanta cheating scandal has changed the way educators approach exam security - WSJ @carolineporterow.ly/C2UUg

Colleges are doing diversity all wrong - Vox ow.ly/C2U6E

With the Right Technology, Can Children Teach Themselves? | MindShift ow.ly/C2WG0

Montana teacher who raped student & initially got one (1) month sentence gets new, longer sentence - Vox ow.ly/C2U86 @DLind

Congrats to WSJ ed reporter @carolineporter on the occasion of her marriage (and on making the NYT) ow.ly/C2Tqv #edjourn

 

Magazines: Where Are The Pro-Reform Versions Of The Nation, Mother Jones, Etc?

image from www.thenation.com

The new issue of The Nation (Saving Public Schools) includes a feature package of education stories that may pique your interest whatever your position or views. Some highlights include: 

The Tough Lessons of the 1968 Teacher Strikes (Goldstein)

What It Takes to Unite Teachers Unions and Communities of Color (Fine and Fabricant) 

Why Don’t We Have Real Data on Charter Schools? (Noguera)

5 Books to Build a Movement for Education Justice (Shibata)

Our Public Education System Needs Transformation, Not ‘Reform’

It's interesting to note that, despite all the firepower that reform advocates have behind them, they rely almost entirely on occasional efforts in traditional mainstream journalistic outlets like Slate, The New Republic, NYT Sunday Magazine and the daily papers but lack moderate or centrist versions of the liberal-leaning outlets like Mother Jones, Jacobin, The Nation, The Washington Monthly, City Paper (DC), and The American Prospect to pump out sympathetic stories like these "on the regular."

This advantage in access to a slew of magazines -- combined with the social media influence advantage that reform critics have over reform advocates and the liberal leanings of many journalists, somewhat offset by the influence of journalism grants from funders like Gates and Broad -- makes for an interesting interplay of efforts. 

Related posts: Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?Think Tanker Tells Reporters To Stop Scapegoating TFA3 Newish Places To Get Public Radio Stories (Plus NPR Controversy)

Image via The Nation.

Morning Video: FL Mandates Extra 60 Mins. Reading Time For 300 Low-Performing Schools

 

"The state of Florida recently mandated the 300 lowest-performing elementary schools add an extra hour of reading instruction each day, the first in the country to do so. But while supporters are convinced the extra time will improve kids' reading, not everyone is convinced it's the right solution." PBS NewsHour

AM News: Dem. Accountability Hawk Cong. George Miller Isn't Gone Yet

Miller on Common Core, Teacher Evaluation, and NCLB Renewal PoliticsK12: Miller's comments pack a special punch because he is one of the most hawkish members of Congress when it comes to accountability. Miller, an architect of the No Child Left Behind Act, said that tying test-scores to Common Core exams before teachers are ready would be repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the NCLB era.

George Miller: 'Students are Enthusiastic' About Meeting Common-Core Challenge State EdWatch: The retiring U.S. representative also says that politicians are attacking the standards largely to position themselves better for the 2016 presidential elections.

Karen Lewis and Corey Brooks duke it out over Twitter Chicago Sun-Times: A Twitter exchange between Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis grew heated today as the two traded digs on the governor's race.

Teens who crossed US border alone enter schools AP: The group of mostly Spanish-speaking teenage boys with styled spiky hair and high-top sneakers enthusiastically pecks away on hand-held tablets at the G.W. Carver Education Center, pausing to alert the teacher when stumped. See also PBS: Wave of child migrants pose challenges for Florida schoolsBacklog of children’s immigration cases challenges judges, lawyers and schools.

The campaign to keep Karen Lewis out of the mayoral race Chicago Tribune: Out of nowhere nearly two weeks ago, Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter schools organization backing Mayor Rahm Emanuel's re-election, issued a news release demanding that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis step down.

Trial To Begin In Atlanta Public Schools' Cheating Scandal NPR: On Monday, opening statements begin in the trial of 12 educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy. Originally, 35 were indicted but more than half took plea deals. See also WSJ.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Dem. Accountability Hawk Cong. George Miller Isn't Gone Yet" »

Afternoon Video: Urban League Pushes For "Equitable Implementation" Of Common Core

As originally noted in Politico's Morning Education, the national Urban League is apparently backing the "equitable implementation" of the Common Core and thus putting at least a bit of pressure on critics to consider the issue from a minority parent perspective.  I mean, check out the fierce expressionon the little girl's face:

Anyone seen a racial or SES breakdown of Common Core support among the public or parents? What other efforts has the Urban League been involved in, and to what effect (if any)?

Charts: Pay No Attention To High Teacher Turnover In "Those" Parts Of District

Teacher Resignations in the Miami-Dade Public Schools (by voting district)

Source: National Council on Teacher Quality, "Unequal Access, Unequal Results," 2014 Click to enlarge

"In 2004-05, close to half of all public school teacher turnover happened in just one quarter of all public schools."  (Education Next: Teacher Retention Varies [Wildly] Within Districts)

Quotes: "Students Before Teachers." Says Harvard Law Prof

Quotes2Progressives should be part of the solution. We can't succumb to simplistic defenses of the distorted teacher protection schemes. We must confront the demonstrable effects of these laws. The future of public education and of the teaching profession can be brighter only when we place students' rights first and foremost on our list of priorities.-- Laurence H. Tribe in USA Today (Students before teachers)

Morning Audio: TFA Interviews MA Blogger Jennifer Berkshire (aka EduShyster)

There's lots of disagreement between TFA's Aaron French and EduShyster's Jennifer Berkshire, who used to work for the state union, but we're promised "no yelling." Here's a link in case it doesn't load for you.

AM News: Just 5 Percent Of High-Poverty NYC Schools Have 50 Percent Pass Rates

Charter schools help poor kids hit 50% pass rate, says report by pro-charter group NY Daily News: A survey by Families for Excellent Schools found that only 46 of 925 high-poverty city schools surveyed reached 50% pass rates — and half of those were charter schools.

Attorney General Holder to Step Down, Promoted Changes in School Discipline EdWeek: In the education world, he is perhaps best known for his efforts to address disproportionately high discipline rates for students from certain racial and ethnic groups. Alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Holder also encouraged schools to step back from zero-tolerance policies that the two said could sometimes lead to heavy-handed punishments for minor rule violations.

Winners of Federal Teacher-Prep Grants Include Many Familiar Names Teacher Beat: Two-thirds of grantees have been funded in the past, but the results of their efforts aren't clear.

With Climbing Graduation Rates Come Renewed Doubts Texas Tribune: In a decade, Texas has gone from an example of the nation’s dropout crisis to the second-highest graduation rate in the country. But that climb has not been matched by success in measures of college and career readiness.

D.C. Says It Now Knows Why Forty Percent Of Students Don't Graduate WAMU: Forty percent of ninth graders in D.C. public schools don't graduate on time, and now city officials say they have identified some of the characteristics and challenges faced by those students. See also Washington Post

The Challenges of a Youth Complicated by Poverty WNYC: Daniel Cardinali is president of Communities in Schools, a federated network of nonprofits that are locally controlled, locally financed, and aim to bring case workers and resources to at-risk students and communities that need it most. And he argues that to help students like Jairo, education policy makers need to change some of their assumptions about how school works.

School board takes on cleanliness controversy WBEZ: The parent who read the comment, Jennie Biggs, has three children at Sheridan Elementary in Bridgeport and is also part of a parent group called Raise Your Hand. That group released the results of an informal survey they did over the last week, which got 162 responses across 60 schools.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Happy New Year, Everyone (Right?)

Students before teachers, writes Harvard's Laurence Tribe http://ow.ly/BWAdB  #Vergara @studentsmatter

How to Make Teachers More Like Doctors - The Atlantic http://ow.ly/BV4da  @DmitriMehlhorn

Where Girls Get Kidnapped on Their Way to School - Atlantic Mobile @jesslahey http://ow.ly/BWtgE 

Oh No! It's @EduShyster! by Education on Tap http://ow.ly/BWjvI  @TeachForAmerica @AaronMoFoFrench

Why @nctqKate is suing the University of Missouri http://ow.ly/BWgkp  @nctq

The Mis-Education Of African-American Girls : NPR Ed : NPR http://ow.ly/BV0xL  @Ericnpr Interview with LDF's Janel George

Bill Clinton, like @AFTunion, favors grade span testing http://goo.gl/1W9v53  via @knowledgealliance 

Reform: Another Call For A Nationwide Audit Of District Testing Practices

A couple of weeks ago PBS NewsHour education correspondent John Merrow rightly pointed out that the moratorium on high-stakes use of testing to judge teachers was a start of sorts at addressing the overtesting that seems to have creeped into some American schools -- but still lacked a plan for any future action (So There’s A Moratorium. Now What?).

"This very limited moratorium means that scores on the new Common Core standardized tests won’t be used to evaluate teachers in many places.  That’s what some might call a necessary but hardly sufficient action This moratorium doesn’t mean that a truce has been called between the warring sides in the battle over teacher job protection and evaluation. That war is ongoing, sadly. And this moratorium doesn’t mean that school districts are now going to examine the role or amount of standardized bubble testing."

Towards further examination of overtesting -- the numbers and definitions out there so far are thin and uneven -- Merrow proposes a quick fill-in-the-blank questionnaire for superintendents around the country and suggests the National State Teachers of the Year to popularize the effort:  

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 10.54.07 AM

Yes, it's another test :-)  But something like this is probably going to have to happen, eventually. We need more information about what's going on out there -- and it's not students who will have to take this one. 

Last winter, I urged EdSec Duncan to get out in front of this and do some sort of audit (Unsolicited Suggestions).  A former Hill insider clued me in that the Senate ESEA proposal included something along those lines (National Audit Of Testing Proposed By Senate). Still no word on whether the USDE would endorse or even implement such a thing.   

Charts: Big Rise In Mass Shootings -- Many Of Them At Schools

image from cdn.theatlantic.comThe FBI's new report on the rise in mass shootings in recent years show the disturbing reality that many of them -- just under 25 percent -- take place at schools.  Over all, there were 39 such shootings in education settings, second only to places of business like malls and offices. Story via The Wire.  Image via the FBI.

Morning Video: Miami Supe. Carvalho Joins "Too Much Testing" Bandwagon

"Judy Woodruff gets debate from Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Partnership for Inner-City Education and Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho." (PBS NewsHour)

AM News: NYC Charter Schools Flex Political/Parent Muscle (Again)

For a third year in a row, pro-charter groups plan large political rally ChalkbeatNY:  Calling itself the “Coalition for Education Equality,” a group led by the pro-charter Families for Excellent Schools announced they will stage a large education rally on Oct. 2 at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. 

Is there too much testing in the public schools? PBS NewsHour: Alberto Carvalho is the superintendent of Miami-Dade County School District, who’s calling for changes. His district is dealing with dozens of mandated tests throughout the year. And Kathleen Porter-Magee is with the Partnership for Inner-City Education. She’s also a fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

When the digital classroom meets the parents Marketplace APM: On a recent night at High Tech Los Angeles, a charter high school in Van Nuys, California, a group of parents got a lesson in just what that means. One of them was Nooneh Kradjain, who has two sons at the high school, and was busy scribbling notes. She said she was struck by how much things have changed since she was in school. 

Emanuel says he 'made a mistake' in naming school after Obama Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he “made a mistake” in his “rush to honor” President Barack Obama — which is why he dropped plans to name a new, $60 million selective-enrollment high school on the Near North Side after his former boss.

White high school dropouts are wealthier than black or Latino college graduates Vox: When it comes to building wealth, whites have a vast advantage over their black and Hispanic peers. Writing at Demos, Matt Bruenig dug into the Federal Reserve's latest Survey on Consumer Finances and found a huge wealth gap by race and ethnicity.

Center for Union Facts says Randi Weingarten is ruining nation’s schools Washington Post: The 11-page mailing, on expensive paper stock, was sent first class to 125,000 households across the country this week.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Charter Schools Flex Political/Parent Muscle (Again)" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Just A Wednesday Afternoon

KS Teacher of the Year: The Common Core Is Working in My Classroom - Education Week http://ow.ly/BS0Ei 

Most-banned books include The Bluest Eye http://ow.ly/BPZ9o  But here are 19 others with disturbing elements http://ow.ly/BPZim 

Three R's For The Digital Age: Rockets, Robots and Remote Control : NPR Ed : NPR http://ow.ly/BSspX 

Map of school paddling percentages by state - @igotcharts via @libbyanelson http://ow.ly/BSdMT 

Is the Providence mayoral campaign behind the teachers union contract rejection? | Rhode Island Public Radio http://ow.ly/BRKgR 

Beating Walker a top priority, says @neamedia @Lily_NEA http://ow.ly/BRK9q 

NB: I'm looking for (unpaid) interns and contributors for Fall 2014 -- pass it along or ping me directly at alexanderrusso at gmail if you're interested in helping out.

Media: Think Tanker Tells Reporters To Stop Scapegoating TFA

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comThere's lots to love in Conor Williams' Daily Beast story (Stop Scapegoating Teach for America), at least some of which I feel like I and others have written several times in the past -- though perhaps with less stylishness.  

In essence, Williams is taking on TFA's critics for exaggerating the case against TFA and ignoring larger issues surrounding teacher preparation, diversity, and professionalism. More importantly, he's also taking on the reporters who keep citing these

In particular, Williams cites stories penned by NPR's Anya Kamenetz and former New America Foundation colleague Dana Goldstein in Vox, noting that TFA's diversity has long eclipsed that of the overall teaching corps nationally and that is has been evolving internally for several years now.  (He ignores last year's Politico story, which is just a well.)

"Both [stories] present alt cert in general—and TFA in particular—as a problem, as a project that urgently needs fixing. Read them, and you’re called to consider whether alt cert programs are worth having, and to wonder whether they can be saved."

This level of concern and urgency is senseless given the small size of the teacher corps TFA has in classrooms at any single time. "TFA is neither a lever for dramatically improving or ruining U.S. public education," notes Williams. "Dramatic reforms to TFA’s teacher training aren’t going to substantially shift the trajectory of American public education."

Over all, the debatre over TFA is a sideshow, notes Williams, distracting our attention from the reality that little-trained TFA recruits come near to doing as well as fully-trained traditional candidates.

Related posts:Teach for America Not Directly Displacing Veterans In ChicagoKey Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel12 Problems With Politico's TFA Story (+1 With TFA)Goldstein Puts TFA Under The Microscope. Vox image used with permission.

Reform: It All Began 25 Years Ago In Charlottesville -- Right?

Image001
Conventional wisdom has it that the current reform movement started in 1983 with the release of the Nation At Risk report, but EdWeek makes a pretty good case with this piece (Historic Summit Fueled Push for K-12 Standards - Education Week) that a better starting point would be 25 years ago (1989) in Charlottesville, Va.

Penned by Alyson Klein, the EdWeek piece reaches back to some of the folks involved in the 1989 summit and some of those who're working on national standards today. In a few cases - Achieve's Mike Cohen, for example -- they are still working at it.

My old boss, Jeff Bingaman, was a committed member of the National Education Goals Panel, which was one of the entities that came out of the standards movement of that time, and was a strong advocate for the voluntary national assessment that President Clinton proposed funding in his second administration in order to provide cross-state comparisons beyond NAEP and give the national standards that were being developed some extra emphasis in schools and districts.

Check it out.  It seems so long ago, it's almost a dream.  But it wasn't that long ago -- and many of the same issues are part of Common Core and whatever happens next. Image used with permission. Image used with permission from the Bush Presidential Library.

Quotes: Orfield: "We Still Don't Have A Lot Of Data"

Quotes2We have more data than we used to have before the accountability revolution, but we still don’t have a lot of data.

- UCLA's Gary Orfield in FiveThirtyEight (The Most Important Award In Public Education Struggles To Find Winners)

Morning Video: Watch Baton Rouge Teachers Implement Common Core

Debate aside, Core a reality in classrooms The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). Click the link for the transcript and if the video doesn't load properly.

AM News: NCLB-Required School Changes Beneficial To Students, Says Study

New Study: Adequate Yearly Progress Not So Bad PK12: Some of AYP's sanctions actually proved beneficial. Leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring— one of the most onerous sanctions for schools that chronically failed to meet AYP— yielded the most positive impact from schools.

New report reveals surprising facts about Hispanic children and teens WPost: Hispanic children, the largest minority group in public schools as well as the fastest growing, are increasingly showing up in preschool programs,  have made significant gains on national math tests, and are posting record high school graduation rates, according to a new study released Wednesday. But they still lagged behind their white peers in academic achievement and were more likely to live in poverty and not finish college.

Camden Public School Activists Up in Arms WNYC: The bill, backed by the Christie Administration and passed 32-1 by the Democratic-controlled State Senate, loosens the restrictions on so-called "Renaissance Schools" in Camden, as well as in Newark and Trenton. Camden already has three "Renaissance Schools," charter schools which work more closely with the district on enrollment and receive more funding than traditional charters.

Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level NYT: A new study indicates that the higher the income level of a student’s family, the more adept the student will be on how to use the web.

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams WAMU: Kojo sits down with Eric Williams, Loudoun County's new superintendent, to talk about about the issues facing one of the area's fastest-growing school systems.

Arne Duncan says Ray Rice, NFL send 'terrible message' Chicago Sun-Times: Education Secretary Arne Duncan has one message for Ray Rice and the NFL. And it's that they're both sending a "terrible message" to America's youth. “These folks are so interested in making money, they've lost a sense of values."

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: RI Teachers Fight To Retain "No Layoffs" Guarantee

Providence RI Teachers Want Contract To Retain "No Layoff" Provision | Rhode Island Public Radio http://ow.ly/BOEXQ 

Parent group allied with @ctulocal1 asks questions about group allied with charters and choice http://ow.ly/BOAFV  @ILRaiseYourHand

23 states still allow teachers to hit students - & it's still common in Mississippi and Arkansas - @libbyanelson Vox http://ow.ly/BPTom 

Lessons from Guilford County’s @amplify Tablet Rollout | EdSurge News http://ow.ly/BPT6T  @EdSurge

More parents join suit to overturn tenure laws | New York Post http://ow.ly/BPJrs  via @Dyrnwyn

Debate aside, Core a reality in classrooms | News | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana http://ow.ly/BPDqQ  @WillSentell

State Auditor has a very different take on #CommonCore than Bobby Jindal | http://NOLA.com  http://ow.ly/BPCKh 

Broad panel frustrated at incremental progress, notes @benweider at @FiveThirtyEight http://ow.ly/BPsJw 

Being pro-reform -- and pro-labor -- in the Vergara era, by Ama Nyamekye http://ow.ly/BPoG9  @ed4excellence

Charts: Child Disability Rates Rising Fastest Among Wealthier Families

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.com

"There's also some good news in these new figures: while mental disabilities are on the rise, there has also been a 11 percent decline in physical disabilities among children over the past decade. Much of this is concentrated in declines among respiratory diseases, like asthma, which have fallen by nearly a quarter just in the course of 10 years." (Vox, with permission)

Quotes: Blame/Credit Chicago Mayor For Mobilizing Teachers, Says Weingarten

Quotes2Rahm was in some ways the best organizer that the Chicago Teachers Union had. He created the conditions by which the union had no other choice. - AFT head Randi Weingarten (Are Chicago — and Rahm Emanuel — Ready for Karen Lewis?)

Morning Video: Katie Couric Explains Common Core, Duncan Reacts To Jindal

Watch Couric explain Common Core standards and then watch Arne Duncan take questions from Yahoo! News about the politics of it all (esp. Bobby Jindal).

AM News: Record High Student Homelessness, Broad Prize Shared

Record number of public school students nationwide are homeless Washington Post: Elementary and secondary schools reported that 1.3 million students were homeless during the 2012-2013 year, an 8 percent jump from the prior year.See also AP.

Districts in Florida, Georgia Split School Prize ABC News: In a first for the largest education award given to public schools nationwide, jurors decided to split the $1 million Broad Prize between two urban districts - a past winner with an established record in Georgia and an up-and-coming district showing recent gains in Florida. See also AP.

The politics of Common Core don't matter nearly as much as what happens in classrooms Vox:  While the political debate is far from settled, it now appears likely that the Common Core standards will hang on in the vast majority of states. Second, the Common Core will be the basis for end-of-year standardized tests in many more states, making the stakes for students and teachers much higher.

Common Core can help English learners in California, new EdTrust study says Hechinger Report: The rigorous new Common Core standards represent both a daunting challenge and a promising pathway that could help close the achievement gap for the growing number of American students who enter school knowing little or no English. See also EdSource Today.

'The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace' NPR: Robert Peace, a 30-year-old African-American, was a Yale University graduate and an almost straight-A student in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He also dealt marijuana. And had taught at his former high school. See also here.

In Washington Heights, Students Greet Spanish Queen With Selfies and Song WNYC: At Dos Puentes Elementary in Washington Heights on Monday, first graders sang a stirring rendition of "Let it Go" in Spanish, and eighth graders took selfies with Queen Letizia of Spain. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Interim Superintendent Aims To Keep Seattle Public Schools On A Steady Course Seattle Public Radio: Marcie Sillman speaks with Seattle Public Schools Interim Superintendent Larry Nyland about the challenges ahead as he takes charge of Seattle Public Schools.

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: Diverse Charter Dominates Denver Top Spots

Diverse charter has 5 of top 6 public schools in Denver - @DSSTPubSchools ow.ly/BM6yT  @RickKahlenberg@HalleyTCF

What is the value of understanding public opinion about teaching? - NJ ow.ly/BM9xy  @fawnjohnson namechecks @WhiteRhinoRay

Weingarten: The True Story of Public Education in America http://ow.ly/3rEMMO  @rweingarten

NYC schools list test score cutoffs for admission despite prohibition - New York Post http://ow.ly/BLAqw  #checkyourself

Just 19 years ago today, Bill Clinton proposed getting all American schools online | Poynter. ow.ly/BMCEv

Before you file those SIG comments, check out @theOunce 's new report on turnound metrics being proposed ow.ly/BML20

All-Girls Schools Don't Make Girls More Competitive - Pacific Standard ow.ly/BMCwA

Quotes: How Testing Has Made Schools 'Significantly’ Better

Quotes2We’ve begun, I think, to pay more attention now to interim assessments and formative assessments (which help teachers adjust in the middle of a school year to target student needs). We’re beginning to have just enough information where we can string some things together. - Oregon Deputy State Superintendent Rob Saxton (How a decade of testing made education ‘significantly’ better Washington Post).

Lunchtime Video: Stewart Rips Into Corporal Punishment Proposals*

"Last February, Jon Stewart on the The Daily Show ripped a state legislator in Kansas, Rep. Gail Finney, who was pushing legislation to allow teachers and parents to whack kids hard enough to bruise." (19 states still allow corporal punishment in school) via the Washington Post.

*Yeah, that's Jon Stewart, not Stephen Colbert as I originally had it in the headline.

Thompson: Has "Education Post" Already Changed Its "Kinder, Gentler" Tune?

BurrisIt was less than a month ago that Peter Cunningham, the former Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S. Department of Education announced that his new organization, the Education Post, supposedly repudiated the playing of edu-politics and moved beyond name-calling.

Given its financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation, and since it included reformers like Ann Whalen, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Paul Pastorek, those nice words needed to be taken with a grain of salt.

It didn’t take long, however, for the real the Education Post to come through. Ann Whalen’s The False Arguments of Carol Burris Against High Standards reveals the venom hidden just below their seemingly polite veneer.

Whalen countered a Washington Post piece by national Principal of the Year Carol Burris, Four Common Core "Flimflams." She characterized Burris’s position as “inexcusable,” as “resistance to common sense changes,” and “toxic.” Whalen’s counterargument was “when you can’t make an honest case against something, there’s always rhetoric, exaggeration or falsehood.”

For the record, Whalen didn’t even try to challenge much of the substance of Burris’s carefully-honed arguments. Burris explained that Common Core was not, in fact, internationally benchmarked or based on research.  Burris explained how Common Core “insists upon the use of a particular method of math instruction.” She then explained  that the prescribed  method “may be helpful in increasing understanding for some students, it should be up to a teacher to use it, or not use it, as a strategy. Instructional strategies have no place in state standards.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Has "Education Post" Already Changed Its "Kinder, Gentler" Tune?" »

#EdGif Of The Day: Watch College Become Commonplace (Except South)

College education

From Vox: "Just over 40 years ago, only around 1 in 10 US adults had a four-year college education. Today, that rate has nearly tripled. This gif shows the geography of that explosion." Source: Reddit user metricmapsore. "Broadly speaking, the South remains the place where degrees are the least common. Meanwhile, cities — and particularly the northeastern Amtrak corridor — are where college graduates have concentrated." Used with permission.

AM News: Duncan Criticizes Jindal, CA Predicts Spring Testing Success

Duncan criticizes Jindal The Times-Picayune: Jindal announced late last month that he would sue Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education directly over the Common Core academic standards. The lawsuit followed an initial loss for the governor in state court over the use of a Common Core test

Officials optimistic about spring assessments EdSource Today: Last spring more than 3 million students in California, the largest number ever to take an online test in the state, took field tests of new assessments aligned to the Common Core state standards without major technical breakdowns or system crashes, according to state officials. See also: Scores on exit exam hold steady.

TX Education Board Members Question Teacher Prep Requirements Texas Tribune: The three SBOE members, all Republicans, who backed the veto said they hoped it would persuade the board of educator certification to reconsider an August decision against raising the required GPA — from 2.5 to 2.75 —for admission to educator preparation programs. The full SBOE will take up the recommendation Friday. 

Harmony Project Offers More Than Just Music In LA NPR: With public schools across the country cutting music instruction to save money, the Harmony Project in Los Angeles is trying to make up the difference. The nonprofit offers free music lessons to kids.

Nine People, One Bedroom: A Teen's Take on Life In Poverty WNYC: Jairo Gomez never thought he was poor, even though he was one of seven kids and his family lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan Criticizes Jindal, CA Predicts Spring Testing Success" »

5 Best Blogs & Tweets [Of Today]: "In The Dust Of This Planet" Edition

NCEE 's Tucker responds to Ravitch and Cody http://ow.ly/3qZsNF 

Actually, public education is getting better, not worse - The Washington Post http://ow.ly/BGAx4  @crampell

Wendy Kopp: Criticism toward Teach for America is misplaced - The Washington Post http://ow.ly/BHyz3 

New MTA head Barbara Madeloni Thinks Tests Are Failing Our Schools http://ow.ly/BHmcU  Boston Magazine

Funders band together to invest in “Teacher Town, USA” [aka Memphis] http://ow.ly/BHmsZ  @bridgespangroup via @michaelpetrilli

Charter accountability "too important to be left to those working for their demise," notes EIA re @annenberginst rpt http://ow.ly/BHGDd 

"The LEAST Informative School Ranking Ever Developed!" http://ow.ly/BHBN9  Boston Magazine feat. XKCD's Randall Munroe

 

 

Afternoon Audio: Recovering 50,000 Dropouts Is Chicago's Latest Effort

From old-school drive-arounds looking for stray kids to targeted online programs, Chicago's trying to recover 17-21 year olds who could graduate high school. Nothing showing? Here's the link (and also the transcript).

Media: Boston Magazine Botches Rankings, Profiles Firebrand Union Chief

image from cdn1.bostonmagazine.comIn what's at least the 2nd journalistic goof-up that I know of during the annual back-to-school media deluge of rankings and other kinds of education coverage, Boston Magazine messed up its private school rankings badly and the Globe tells us all about it (Boston Magazine retracts school rankings).  

Basically, the magazine ranked private schools using incorrect SAT score averages, using partial data since many schools didn't provide SAT results, thus pushing some schools up higher than they deserved and pushing others down.

This isn't a reason not to rank schools, though.  It's just a motivation to rank them responsibly.  Sloppy, inexplicable efforts like this just make everyone look bad.  Apparently something similarly bad happened the last time the magazine ranked schools in 2009.

All is not lost, however.  The public school list is up, and doesn't seem to have the problems with the private list. The issue also has a profile of union head Barbara Madeloni that you might want to read, and a piece about healthy school lunches that you will probably feel like you've already read. There's also an XKCD alternative list of schools that you might find amusing.

Image courtesy Boston Magazine

Related posts: FiveThirty-Eight StumblesActually, Ranking High Schools Can Be Enormously Useful.

Advertisement

Advertisement

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.