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Weekend Reading: A Silver Lining In The #Vergara Decision?

Longreads and tidbits from while you were away from your desk:

NEPC's Kevin Welner: A silver lining in the #Vergara decision? http://ht.ly/xZ6aG 

AirBnB / Uber meets tutoring = @WyzAnt? That's the elevator pitch, anyway http://ht.ly/xZm3K  Anybody toured/tried?

Forbes contrib @AdamOzimek adresses tenure reform concerns of @danagoldstein @dianeravitch http://ht.ly/xZxLD  #Vergara

In the absence of a plausible path to resurgence, the Democratic union divide is merely hypothetical, says @mattyglesias http://ht.ly/y3D41 

Jay Mathews: Four gifted writers share doubts about gifted education: Unscientific survey of great writer... http://wapo.st/TWNqmz 

Two boys sentenced to years in a detention facility after claiming they were going to murder kids at their school http://ht.ly/y3foB  [for reals]

#Vergara will "do nothing" to change key education factors, writes Ravitch in TNYROB http://ht.ly/y3gaN 

Slate: The guesstimate that struck down California’s teacher tenure laws. #vergara http://ht.ly/y3g5F

The Camden poverty story that a NYT reporter apparently lifted from the Phila Inquirer http://ht.ly/y3gZx 

Wait, what? The 33 yo creator of internet meme #SlenderMan wants to become a schoolteacher!


People: It's A Small, Small World [For Power Couples]

HiresCatherine Brown has been named to head the education policy team at the Democratic think tank Center on American Progress.  

At CAP, Brown will report to Carmel Martin, who held the job until she was promoted to head of domestic policy.  

Martin's previous job was as head of policy and planning at the USDE.  

That's the job Brown's husband Robert Gordon has been named to take.

To recap: Brown replaces Martin. Brown's husband replaces Martin. 

Plus: Does this mean Clinton's looking left for education advice in 2016?

Previous posts: Policy Wonk Named OMB Education PADFlashback To 2005 (How Much Has Changed?)On The Move: Miller Staffer Heads ...NYT Covers Wedding of NYC DOE & DFER Couple Power Couples: Emily & David Sirota.

Charts: Nearly 90 Percent Of Big Districts Spending Less

image from espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.com

"Urban districts have been particularly hard-hit by the cuts in federal education spending: Nearly 90 percent of big-city school districts spent less per student in 2012 than when the recession ended in 2009." Another chart via Five Thirty Eight

AM News: Van Roekel Roars (Politico), Duncan Doubles Down (Vergara)


NEA president blasts reformers Politico: Van Roekel referred to a full-page ad in USA Today that urged citizens to sue to “stop teachers unions from treating kids like garbage” and today's story inPOLITICO about the decline in union influence.

Duncan issues new statement with the ‘right lessons’ from Vergara trial Washington Post: In case you weren’t sure what to think about last week’s verdict in the “Vergara trial” — in which a Los Angeles court judge tossed out state statutes giving job protections to teachers — Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued a new statement on Sunday offering what he thinks are the “right lessons” from the case.

Home-Schooling Parents Rally Against Common Core AP: Home-schooling parents motivated in opposition to Common Core standards

L.A. school unions back separate candidates in Board of Education race LA Times: The two largest school employee unions in Los Angeles are on different sides of a key Board of Education race, as they maneuver for leverage over pay raises, job security and other matters.

Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes NYT:  Chrispin Alcindor, a Brooklyn fourth grader, was once a top student. But rigorous new academic standards — and the exams that accompany them — have frayed his confidence.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Van Roekel Roars (Politico), Duncan Doubles Down (Vergara)" »

Quotes: Teachers Deserve Reasonable Protections - But Not Ironclad Ones

Quotes2Teachers deserve reasonable due process rights and job protections. But the unions can either work to change the anachronistic policies cited by the court or they will have change thrust upon them. - NYT Editorial Page (A New Battle for Equal Education)

Media: Carrie (Caroline?) Porter Is Writing Education Stories For The WSJ

Caroline porter WSJ 2014

Chicago-based WSJ reporter Caroline Porter (pictured) has been writing a bunch of national education stories in the time since Stephanie Banchero abdicated the throne left for the Joyce Foundation. Some recent examples: 

Campus Crime Has Dropped, Report Finds

Illinois Governor Signs Pension Bill for Chicago

Admission Testing Undergoes Revamp

Oklahoma Dumps Common Core Standards

Child Stabbing Raises Alarm About Web and Youths

Study: About 1 in 6 Teachers Out 18 Days or More

No word yet on whether she's temporary, permanent, or getting a summer tryout for the job, which is traditionally operated out of the Chicago office. According to her WSJ bio, Porter graduated from Northwestern University and has a master’s degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Follow her on Twitter: @carolineporter.

Charts: Ghana Wins World Cup Of Education [Spending]

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 13 10.39The World Cup has just started but Ghana -- one of the teams the US will face to start things out -- has already won the World Cup of Education Spending as a percentage of GDP. The US doesn't even make it out of the first round. Via WSJ.  

AM News: What Next For Unions, Districts, Democrats After Vergara?


The fall of teachers unions Politico: But union leaders can’t spend all their time promoting [popular initiatives like arts classes]: They must also represent their members. 

With California tenure ruling, a Democratic divide Washington Post: When a California judge struck down tenure and other job protections for teachers this week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) both applauded, revealing fissures in the once-solid alliance between labor unions and the Democratic Party.

Is Teacher Tenure Really The New Brown V. Board Of Education? NPR: A California judge ruled that the state's teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional because they disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. Education Week's Stephen Sawchuk explains.

But is Arne Duncan Going To Do Anything About Tenure Reform? Daily Caller: Almost immediately, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cheered the ruling, saying it offered “a mandate” to build “a new framework for the teaching profession.”

Los Angeles Judge's decision to toss teacher tenure shows strength of union adversaries KPCC: “It’s really up now to the state legislature to say: what can we do better to serve our kids and to serve our teachers," said USC education researcher Katharine Strunk. "And I think the union has a very strong - should have a very strong - role to play in that discussion, as should other groups that represent parents, taxpayers, and other stakeholder groups.”

After Vergara, activists expect court battles over teacher tenure across the U.S. Hechinger Report: California teachers unions are confident they will win on appeal, which could take as long as two years. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: What Next For Unions, Districts, Democrats After Vergara?" »

Five Best Blogs: Of World Cup Countries, Ghana Spends Most On Education

"Brazilians await the Cup's arrival the way HS students might await a test they haven't studied for." ht.ly/xWxe1 #WorldCupED

Ghana wins #worldcupEd, spending 8.1 percent of GDP on education ht.ly/xWzkU via WSJ

NYT Editorial page declares #Vergara decision the start of a "New Battle for Equal Education" ht.ly/xVBh6

Is Teacher Tenure Really The New Brown V. Board Of Ed? ht.ly/xWpNQ @TeacherBeat's @Stephen_Sawchuk on NPR

John Bailey is now VP of Policy at Foundation for Excellence in Education, says LinkedIn

"The often stated notion that more than half of black males drop out, or do not graduate, is not true," says Toldson ht.ly/xWcal

Without Jobs, School Is a Waste of Time - Young Education Professionals ht.ly/xWbws

School food lobby flip-flops on healthy school lunches | Al Jazeera America @MicheleRSimon ht.ly/xW76t@PoliticsK12

Stop complaining about Common Core, parents! - The Washington Post via RCE ht.ly/xMIC0


Charts: The *Real* Reason Some Educators Are So Grouchy?

image from espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.comBasically, schools were protected by the Stimulus (including Race to the Top) during the early years of the Great Recession, but since then state and local funding hasn't (yet) rebounded and federal funding has fallen. Class sizes haven't taken a giant hit but -- see here for lots more charts -- it still isn't pretty. Changes in Per Student Funding 07-12 Via Vox (anyone seen Libby Nelson recently, BTW?)

Morning Video: After-School Arts Program Turns Into Full-Time School


From last night on the PBS NewsHour: "In Chicago, an after-school art center has been transformed into a full-time public school that serves students who come from some of the highest crime areas in the city."

AM News: Advocates Consider Additional Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits


Teacher Tenure Ruling in California Is Expected to Intensify Debate NYT: Copycat lawsuits are expected in other states after a judge’s landmark finding on Tuesday that California’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional.

Some states roll back teacher tenure protections AP: The nonpartisan Education Commission of the States, which highlighted the changes in a recent report, says 16 states — up from 10 in 2011 — now require the results of teacher evaluations be used in determining whether to grant tenure. Not all changes have stuck, and few are without a political fight.

De Blasio defends teacher tenure as critics mull copycat suit Chalkbeat: Mayor de Blasio defended the city’s teacher tenure process Wednesday, the same day new research showed the process has become better at blocking ineffective teachers from receiving tenure.  Lawyers and advocates say that New York's tenure rules could be vulnerable to a lawsuit like the one that successfully challenged teachers' job protections in California.

See also: Vergara ruling gets mixed reaction from school board LA School Report; Schools' next test is getting tenure ruling to pay off in class LA Times; LAUSD exploring next steps after teacher tenure ruling LA Daily News; Does Tenure Protect Bad Teachers or Good Schools? NYT.

Obama Defends College Ratings Inside Higher Ed: “A lot of colleges and universities say if you start ranking just based on cost and employability, et cetera, you're missing the essence of higher education and so forth,”Obama said.

In salute to seniors, Obama holds up technical high school as model for skills ... U.S. News & World Report: At Worcester Technical High School, Obama praised students and teachers alike for giving more than just "lip service" to the idea of skills-based education. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: Advocates Consider Additional Teacher Job Protection Lawsuits" »

Five Best Blogs: First Daughter Violates COPPA, Plus Lotsa #Vergara

Sasha's use of Tumblr violated federal law, Obama realizes http://ht.ly/xTzdH 

10 things to know about the #Vergara decision | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute http://ht.ly/xSZG0  by @smarick

Chuck K's and my first take on Vergara http://bit.ly/1obFYS3  @BrianSutter2 @jackiepomeroy

Will #Vergara Change Schools? - @DanaGoldstein - @TheAtlanticEDU http://ht.ly/xT058 

New research finds that, contrary to fears, NLCB had little impact on enrollment in music courses. http://ht.ly/xK8Au 

Study: White People Think One Black Person's Success Proves Racism Is Over http://ht.ly/xRqGz 

The Case For Dedicated Dads - @TheAtlanticEDU http://ht.ly/xTiNR  by @jesslahey

Boosting student achievement with video games | http://Marketplace.org  http://ht.ly/xTCFL  Dan Abendschein

Do You Want The Truth, Or Do You Just Like Your Story Better? : NPR's Michel Martin http://ht.ly/xTI4k 

Wait, what happened at ISTE? I thought that only happened at other (non-ed) tech conferences.

Media: Goldstein Taking Her Talents To The Marshall Project

Dana-goldstein-highresWriter Dana Goldstein has landed at The Marshall Project, a newish endeavor with lots of strong names behind it, where she'll write about criminal justice and school-to-prison.

She was a Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, and has written for Slate, The Nation, The Atlantic, and lots of other folks.  Her book, The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession, is coming out in September.  

I haven't always agreed with Goldstein's take on issues, but I've always admired her reporting and writing.  [Her 2011 line, "Welcome to the beat, Brill!" sticks in my mind as a particularly delightful moment.] And she's always had other interests and topics -- and there'll be a big book tour etc. this summer -- so maybe the dropoff won't be as bad or immediate as it seems.

Previous posts: Goldstein & Carey Debate Test ProliferationTesting Dana Goldstein's Latest Testing Article; Just How Stressful Are Midyear Assessments, Really?Power Couples For 2014The Cheating "Crisis" & Teacher Culpability.

Quotes: No Obama Administration Over-Reach.... On Standards, At Least

Quotes2You can argue that some of the OTHER things the Obama administration has done constitute something of an over-reach, but not on standards. -- Achieve's Mike Cohen speaking at #EWA154 (at roughly the 8:33 mark)

Update: The Story Behind 2010's "Waiting For 'Superman'"

Superman-shieldSome tidbits from my latest oeuvre (How 'Waiting for Superman' (almost) changed the world), which is out today:
- the hit-and-miss history of "message" movies (and why they're still so irresistable);
- Guggenheim's ill-fated (half-assed?) efforts to include a LAUSD magnet lottery in the movie;
- the "two-story" format that helped (or hindered) the movie's message (plus Guggenheim as narrator);
- conflicting accounts over whether the film-makers knew ahead of time that they were making such a pro-charter, anti-union film;
- the film-makers' refusal to reveal the whereabouts of the kids they profiled (though some updates are known); and 
- new efforts to quantify the impact of movie-based advocacy (and ongoing efforts to measure Superman's impact).
Participant's latest education-themed documentary, "Ivory Tower," premiers on Friday.

Quotes: Calling Out The Rigid Ideologues Among Us

Quotes2Are we really interested in tapping everyone's full potential in our schools and work places, or do we just like our story better? - NPR's Michel Martin (Do You Want The Truth, Or Do You Just Like Your Story Better?)

TV: Louis C.K. Takes Us Back To 8th Grade Science Class (Among Other Things)

image from cdn.hitfix.comFirst things first:  The last couple of episodes of Louie are full of flashbacks of Louie's classroom, lunchroom, and after-school experiences as an 8th grader, which include friends who pull him up and pull him back and a really sweet if somewhat misguided science teacher Mr. Hoffman who's just trying to reach the kids (and to get the administration to pay attention to the trouble kids are getting into after school).

It's memoir, at best, but it's pretty good -- and the parental reflections on how to deal with a temporarily-wayward child seem pretty powerful, too. For another good recap -- full of spoilers! -- go here.

In other Louis CK-related news, a recent interview in Medium with the comedian and father and Common Core critic gives us some helpful insight into CK's temprament through an anecdote about how he ended up not going to NYU film school:

"An old teacher of mine got me an interview at NYU film school, and I brought all these videos I’d made, and photographs, a portfolio — I’d gotten into photography and stuff, and they said that they would accept me to go to film school. So I quit my job with that in mind, and I’d been doing stand-up, but not well or successfully, and then I never filled in — I got these forms from this guy to fill in, on the floor of my apartment somewhere, but I couldn’t get my brain to…I was supposed to go back to my high school and get my transcripts, and the idea of doing all that, just that paperwork — going to NYU film school was this dream come true for me, but I couldn’t fill out the thing, couldn’t fill it out and go to the Xerox machine and put a stamp on an envelope, all that stuff. It made me want to vomit. That sort of thing has always been the case for me, I can’t get that done."

Something to keep in mind the next time you have the urge to present CK as the best example of a parent who might be able to help his daughters with homework, right?

Previous posts: Louis C.K. Isn't Really The Next Big Angry Common Core CriticMSNBC Focuses On Conservative Opposition To Common Core (includes CK joke re burning low-performing schools to the ground); Jerry Seinfeld Explains Gettysburg Address To Louis C.K.

Maps: Where The 74 School Shootings Since New Town Took Place

Screen shot 2014-06-11 at 10.56.06 AM
"Blue markers represent incidents in 2014; red markers are for incidents from 2013. You may have to zoom in to view separate incidents in the same city. Cities that were home to multiple shootings are Atlanta; Grambling, La.; Savannah, Ga.; Jackson, Tenn.; Roswell, N.M.; Milwaukee; Augusta, Ga." (There have been at least 74 shootings at schools since Newtown) Click the link to zoom in and get more information.

Morning Video: Watch California Union Chief Discuss #Vergara


On last night's PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill got reaction from Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, and Russlynn Ali, former assistant secretary to the Department of Education.

AM News: What Next For Vergara Case & Proposed Common Core Delay?


California teacher tenure and seniority system is struck down LA Times: The tenure and seniority system that has long protected California public school teachers, even ineffective ones, was struck down Tuesday in a court decision that could change hiring and firing policies nationwide.

Will California ruling on teacher seniority have an impact here? Seattle Times: Some in this state have been closely watching the landmark California case in which a judge ruled on Tuesday in favor of nine students who challenged state laws governing the hiring and firing of California’s teachers

For LA public school teachers, verdict tossing out tenure feels like an attack KPCC: During the Los Angeles Unified school board meeting, teachers seemed deflated about Tuesday's ruling, which they saw as a personal attack.

Gates Foundation urges delay in using tests for teacher evaluation Washington Post: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested more than $200 million to create, support and implement the Common Core State Standards, said Tuesday that states should hold off from using new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core.

Debating tenure protections for public school teachers PBS NewsHour: Teachers unions lost a major court case in California today, which could make it easier to fire ineffective teachers. A California judge ruled that the state’s tenure protections for public school teachers are unconstitutional.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Charter School Proponent, Loses Primary PK12: As Majority Leader, Cantor was second-in-command, was assumed by many to be next in line for the Speaker of the House position, and considered one of the young Republicans who, along with politicians like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., represented the future of the Republican Party.

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

Continue reading "AM News: What Next For Vergara Case & Proposed Common Core Delay?" »

Five Best Blogs: #Vergara Decision Triggers #CommonCoreDelay

The Vergara decision came down -- largely in favor of the student plaintiffs -- but then the Gates Foundation came out with a statement in support of a Common Core delay (in terms of high-stakes implications), seeming to catch everyone by surprise:

Did @gatesed @drvickip et al not realize that #Vergara was coming down today, or not care, or not believe that they could wait?

"A blanket delay is not appropriate for all states," says @CCSSO's @minnichc in response to @gatesed call for #commoncoredelay.

Still no word from @ArneDuncan on #commoncoredelay statement from @gatesed, pro or con, or what would be required to implement.

#Vergara judge: "“The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." via @StephanieSimon_ http://ht.ly/xQNWK 

College presidents express support for Common Core - Newsday http://ht.ly/xQJqY

How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost - @valeriestrauss http://ht.ly/xQlwu 

A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool - Education Week http://ht.ly/xF2s5 

@AP: BREAKING: Police: Shooter used rifle in fatal attack at Oregon high school; teacher injured.

Coming Soon: What Did "Superman" Accomplish, Anyway?


Why did the film come out the particular way it did?

What effects, direct and indirect, did the film have on funding, events, and public perception? (How do you measure a "social impact" film, anyway?)

Where are the 5 kids profiled in the film now -- whatever happened to them?

These are some of the topics my long-awaited, much-anticipated re-examination of 2010's controversial documentary, Waiting for Superman, will attempt to address when it's published -- perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

Long curious about whether the film was as big a success (or failure) as commonly presented, I pitched the idea of a look back at the Gates-funded Davis Guggenheim documentary to AEI and they kindly commissioned the piece (without any clear sense of what I'd end up having to say). I've written two other case studies published by AEI -- the first about the 2008 campaign to make education a big issue in the Presidential campaign, and the second about TFA's near-death experience being disqualified under NCLB.

Previous posts: Varied Responses To "The Successful Failure Of ED In '08"Teach For America & The Alternative Certification Loophole.

Bruno: Charter School Critics Get Part of Their Wish in New Orleans

8441961571_4211aa25a9The big news out of the New Orleans Recovery School District last week was that they're shutting down their last traditional district schools and becoming a district consisting entirely of charter schools.

A great story by Lyndsey Layton documents some of the biggest issues to worry about here, including inequitable access to individual schools and the large number of African-American employees terminated while charter schools expanded.

But it should not be forgotten that even fairly recently critics of charter schools were calling on charter operators to take over an entire district to demonstrate that their apparent success was not merely the result of "creaming" the easiest-to-educate students.

At least as recently as 2012, Diane Ravitch issued "a challenge to KIPP" to "find an impoverished district that is so desperate that it is willing to put all its students" in the charter operator's care.

Granted, that challenge was issued to KIPP specifically, to put their most strident claims to the test. The logic of the challenge, however, was that KIPP schools could not legitimately claim to be providing a superior education as long as they might be "cherry picking" the most advantaged students from - and "dumping" the most disadvantaged back to - traditional district schools.

And even if KIPP is not the operator of the entire Recovery School District, that logic would seem to generalize to the charter sector as a whole. So New Orleans may not offer a test of KIPP specifically, but it nevertheless does offer a test of charter schools in general. A test that, until recently, charter critics had claimed to want.

It's not yet clear - at least to me - whether Ravitch and her fellow charter critics see it this way, whether they think the experiment will somehow still be rigged in charter schools' favor, or whether they're nervous about having their own boldest predictions put to the test in New Orleans.

 No experiment in education ever settles anything. Hopefully, though, we can all agree at least that New Orleans is in a position to teach us something about what happens when charter schools "scale up", even if the results are - inevitably - difficult to interpret. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)

Lunchtime Video: Common Core Opposition Creates Surge ... In Homeschooling?


This segment from last night's PBS NewsHour suggests that Common Core is pushing parents to pull their kids out of regular school but -- viewer beware! -- doesn't quantify the trend and could easily make it seem like it's more widespread than it really is.  On the upside, the segment includes the voices and images of some pro-Common Core parents rather than focusing solely on opponents.

Thompson: The Gates Foundation's "Other" Big Overreach

GatesIn How Bill Gates Pulled Off the Swift Common Core Revolution, The Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton explains that two men met with Bill Gates in 2008 and asked for his support of rigorous national standards.

After a brief discussion within the Gates Foundation, a full court press in favor of Common Core was launched. This was done in spite the social science research questioning whether better standards were likely to improve schools. 

The foundation funded “almost every consequential education group,” as Diane Ravitch aptly put it, in their efforts to promote the standards.  The standard step of conducting pilot studies before such a major innovation was skipped. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used the Race to the Top grant process as leverage to advance Common Core. Within two years, Gates’s preferred policy was adopted by almost every state in the nation.

Where have we seen this story before?

Steve Brill’s Class Warfare explains that Gates met with two men in 2007. They pushed their pet theory about value-added teacher evaluations.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Gates Foundation's "Other" Big Overreach" »

AM News: NYC Delays Universal Free Lunch Over Federal Funding Fears


Why NYC Is Afraid Of Free Lunch For All WNYC: A federal program to extend free lunch to all kids has the city worried it could lose federdal dollars to pay for other things.

Arne Duncan: Dropping Common Core May Not Cost Oklahoma Federal Funding PK12: So far, three states have pulled out of the common core: Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Those last two states made the decision to pull the plug only recently, so it's tough to say how the department will react.

Common standards for nation’s schools a longtime goal Washington Post: President Dwight D. Eisenhower suggested national academic standards were needed as early as 1959. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both proposed that states voluntarily adopt national standards, efforts that crumbled under charges of federal overreach.

Common Core standards face push back by some Louisiana parents and politicians PBS NewsHour:  Seventeen-year-old Christian Meyers of Denham Springs, Louisiana, looks like a typical high school student, but his English classroom is considerably different than most. It’s his family’s kitchen table. 

Hundreds of organizations sign statement backing Common Core EdSource Today: Debra Brown, Children Now’s associate director of education policy, said that the letter was intended to show that Common Core “has deep and broad support” – an impression that can be lost amid the noise created by smaller numbers of vocal opponents.

Schools Were Getting Much Safer Until 2010, Government Report Says HuffPost: The rate of non-fatal incidents in which students felt victimized at school decreased to 35 per 1,000 students in 2010, from 181 per 1,000 students in 1992, according to the 2013 School Crime and Safety Report. The rate rose to 52 per 1,000 students in 2012, the report found. 

Turns Out No Child Left Behind May Have Actually Been Good For Teachers HuffPost:  The paper finds that since No Child Left Behind, teachers report feeling more autonomous, more supported by school administrators and have higher levels of job satisfaction. At the same time, teachers are working longer hours and may feel less cooperation with fellow educators.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Delays Universal Free Lunch Over Federal Funding Fears" »

Five Best Blogs: It's All About Education In DC Mayor's Race

Ravitch call for Congressional hearings on #gatescommoncore gets Liz Lemon eye roll from @mdawriter

MD teachers probably not leaving because of CCSS or new TVAL requirements, says @chadaldeman @EducationNext http://ht.ly/xNB2v 

2014 elections: Schools spotlighted in D.C. mayoral race - http://POLITICO.com  http://ht.ly/xN4Vj 

Life Is an Implementation Problem - Education Next : Education Next http://ht.ly/xNATu  @rhess99

Why Aren’t More Schools Using Free, Open Resources? | MindShift http://ht.ly/xNBAh  @mindshiftKQED 

Teacher Benefits Still Eating Away at District Spending - @EducationNext http://ht.ly/xCV6g 

Alexandra Sollberger leaving House ed committee to join Podesta, notes @MaggieSeverns at @Morning_Edu

Meet The Next 20 Genius Kids Getting $100,000 To Ditch College | FastCo http://ht.ly/xMSdw 

Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)

 Yau Hoong Tang FlickrThere's a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read -- but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that's cobbled together in the piece isn't entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).

Basically, the Post's piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core's rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates "pulled off" the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift. 

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes." Both left and right -- Diane Ravitch and NRO's Stanley Kurtz  -- are already calling for Congressional hearings.

Gates' support is clear, and no doubt played a role.  There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece.  But let's be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn't merely a function of Gates' enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that. 

Continue reading "Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)" »

Quotes: Haycock & Ali Slam Weingarten and Darling-Hammond

Quotes2In essence, Weingarten and Darling-Hammond are saying that public education doesn't need accountability that sets meaningful expectations and requires consequences when we fall short. Instead, schools just need more resources, more support, and more time. - EdTrust's Kati Haycock and former Obama Civil Rights head Russlynn Ali (Let's Have an Honest Conversation About Accountability)

Morning Video: Homeless Valedictorian Thanks Mom For Inspiration

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Via NBC News.  

AM News: Gates At Center Of Common Core, Says Washington Post

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution Washington Post: The pair of education advocates had a big idea, a new approach to transform every public-school classroom in America. By early 2008, many of the nation’s top politicians and education leaders had lined up in support. 

Examples of how Common Core has changed test questions in Mississippi Washington Post: Mississippi, which historically ranks among the lowest-scoring states on achievement  tests administered by the federal government, adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010.  The state slowly phased in the standards until the current school year, and now all Mississippi students are being taught to the new standards. They will take new standardized tests based on the Common Core in spring 2015.

Obama Plans Steps to Ease Student Debt NYT: Borrowers’ debt load is growing and retarding the ability to buy homes, start businesses or otherwise spend to spur the economy, economists say.

Oklahoma repeals Common Core educational standards PBS: The bill, overwhelmingly passed in the House and Senate on the final day of the 2014 Legislature, requires the state to return to old standards in place before 2010, according to the Associated Press.

National student database controversy heats up again Hechinger Report: The idea, sometimes referred to as a “unit record data,” was originally proposed by the Bush Administration in 2005, but critics, citing student privacy concerns, were able to kill it.

Two States Repeal Education Standards NYT: The governors of Oklahoma and South Carolina signed bills within the past week repealing the Common Core state standards, guidelines for children’s achievement in reading and math between kindergarten and high school graduation.

Koch brothers to give $25 million to United Negro College Fund PBS: The United Negro College Fund announced a $25 million grant Friday from Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation — a large donation from the conservative powerhouse Koch name that Democrats have sought to vilify heading into the 2014 midterm elections.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Gates At Center Of Common Core, Says Washington Post" »

Five Best Blogs [Of The Day]: Looking Ahead To Spring 2015 Testing

Less Than Half of U.S. Students Slated to Take PARCC, Smarter Balanced Tests - EdWeek ht.ly/xIII1

Reuters: NC Poised To Reject Common Core Education Standards ht.ly/xIzc6

IPads, Galaxys, and other devices are becoming staples of special-ed classrooms - Slate @GailNRobinson ht.ly/xIz46

Shanker Institute's Leo Casey explains why Obama team "Keep Getting It Wrong" on Ed Policy? ht.ly/xzleC

The interdependence of strong authorizers and great school operators - Alex Medler ht.ly/xIMEx

Once a Welder, Now a Teacher | TNTP ht.ly/xIKH0

It typically takes 9 years for Master's degrees to begin paying off, says Matt Chingos in Education Next ht.ly/xIJUT


Quotes: Anti-Common Core Movement "All Bark, No Bite"

Quotes2After two straight years of vitriol and bombast, well north of 40 states are moving forward with the Common Core. Meanwhile, with very few exceptions, politicians who support the Common Core are winning their primaries handily. The anti-Common Core movement is all bark and no bite. - Mike Petrilli via Politico [yesterday].

Charts: Finance Lawsuits Continue To Play A Big Role Behind The Scenes

image from www.edcentral.orgHere's another chart dug out by EdCentral you might want to see, showing that equity lawsuits may have flatlined the last 20 years but adequacy cases have been on the rise and have played an important role in shaping public education even as other approaches (like deseg and accountability and choice) have won the lion's share of public attention.

Update: What If The Common Core Required The Metric System?


Want to imagine the s--- really hitting the fan? Think about what'd happen if the Common Core state standards and assessments required use of the metric system, which has been adopted worldwide. Olds among you will remember that the US tried to do this in 1975 but the effort was voluntary (really voluntary, no strings attached).  Want to relive the mess that effort was, if only to realize that the current mess isn't quite as bad? Vox has it all -- and thinks it's time to go for it again: It's time for the US to use the metric system.

Morning Video: New Orleans Schools, Then & Now


Last night's PBS NewsHour takes us back to 2005 when the charter push really began in New Orleans, and brings us up to the present, when non-charters are all but eliminated (for better or worse). The evolution sort of reminds me of what happened at Locke High School in LA, where the school improves somewhat for the kids but there is lots of collateral damage experienced by teachers and staff.  John Merrow and Sarah Carr are guests.

AM News: Oklahoma Dumps Common Core, Ohio Stays The Course

News2Oklahoma Just Dumped The Common Core And It Could Cost The State Millions HuffPost: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said in a press release that while “Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind ... federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards."

Ohio Bucks The Conservative Trend, Sticks With The Common Core StateImpact OH: On Wednesday Ohio’s legislature, which is heavily Republican, reaffirmed the math and English standards it adopted along with 43 other states and the District of Columbia.

Obama to Take Education Questions on Tumblr The Hill: On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will do an education-focused Q&A on Tumblr. The company’s founder and CEO Tim Karp will moderate from the White House. Questions can be submitted here. The president’s recent push on education policy includes initiatives in the STEM fields.

U.S. graduation average improves, but with wide racial disparities Seattle Times: As high schools graduate students across the region this spring, parents may be wondering how Washington stacks up against other states. A handy interactive map published by Education Week shows six years of graduation rates, state-by-state, ending with the Class of 2012.

ACT college admission test to report new scores in 2015 Washington Post: Starting next year, students who take the ACT college admission test will face a more complex task if they choose to write an essay and will receive new scores for English language arts and the combined fields of science and mathematics.

Shooting At Seattle Pacific University; 3 Wounded, 1 Dead NPR: Officials say a lone gunman who opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University is in custody.

New Orleans rebuilds education system with charter schools PBS NewsHour: As the school year comes to a close across the country, one of the issues that’s been grabbing major attention in a number of cities this year is the continuing growth of charter schools. New Orleans has been ground zero for this change, and the end of this school year marks a historic moment for the city.

Bruno: The Evidence-Free Debate Over Teacher Preparation

5129607997_660a65a1fc_nIt's natural enough to assume that a professional who has received more job training will be more effective than one who has received less.

So when critics of alternative teacher certification casually assert that it would be "bizarre" to expect a "a five-week long TFA training camp" to be as effective as a year of traditional teacher training (as Anthony Cody does) or that traditional certification is required to make sure teachers are "fully prepared" (as Nancy Flanagan does), readers could be forgiven for assuming supporting evidence exists, even if the authors don't present any of it.

In reality, however, there is a considerable body of research on the effectiveness of alternatively-certified teachers, and taken as a whole it suggests that such teachers compare favorably to their traditionally-certified peers.

Indeed, just in the last few months at least two more studies on the subject have come out. One found that alternatively-certified teachers were about as effective - and in some cases more effective - than traditionally-certified teachers in North Carolina.

Another found that some of the most effective teachers studied (in Florida) were produced by alternative certification programs requiring the least pre-service coursework.

One could reasonably argue that any or all of these studies are limited in various ways. Most tend to focus on boosts to students' math or reading test scores, for example, and that may be an excessively narrow view of teacher effectiveness.

But that is not the debate that we are having. In fact, if you were to read mostly critics of alternative certification, you may not know that this research exists at all.

The result is a largely evidence-free debate about teacher preparation, with proponents of traditional certification relying almost exclusively on the intuitive appeal of their position rather than attempting to demonstrate its truth.

It is entirely possible that traditional teacher certification has virtues that are not captured by the existing research literature on teacher effectiveness.

Those virtues, however, should be demonstrated rather than assumed. That's unlikely to happen as long as one side refuses to acknowledge that the research matters - or even exists. - PB (@MrPABruno)(image source)

Thompson: Latest OK Testing Mess Generates Widespread Complaints

TestsOklahoma adopted the entire test-driven reform agenda promoted by Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan. It failed educationally, but it is producing a seemingly miraculous political outcome, pulling together all types of stakeholders in a grassroots backlash against corporate reform.

The Tulsa World’s Andrea Eger, in Schools Across Oklahoma Say Writing Test Results Deeply Flawed, describes something even more unpredictable. School systems are fighting back.

Eger reports that district officials are discovering “abnormally high rates of students receiving the exact same scores.” They are questioning whether the error-prone CTB/McGraw-Hill properly scored the tests. How is it that the testing company responsible for two breakdowns in online testing in the last two years also determines that over 81% of the 755 students at Jenks Middle School earned the same score in all five elements of its scoring rubric?

Last year, educators in Moore schools demonstrated their personal courage in the face of a massive tornado. Now, a Moore administrator says that “more than half of his district’s fifth-graders and an even higher percentage of its eighth-graders received the same score in every subcategory.” When teachers who were trained in the scoring rubric reviewed their students’ essays, “they determined that the proper scores were ‘nothing close to the scores that were assigned by CTB’s people.’”

The immediate question is whether these “widespread [test score] reductions” for “plagiarism” were penalizing students simply for following instructions to cite directly from reading passages, or whether students were not bringing enough of their personal opinions to the essay tests.

But, that raises a larger question about the transition to Common Core which is supposedly under way. A fundamental principle of Common Core is that “people don't give a shit” about students’ personal perspectives and that test answers must be rooted in the text. In their rush to impose Common Core, “Common Core-type” tests, and other high-stakes assessments, reformers have issued numerous mixed messages. Now, they want to punish students because their contradictory policies have sown widespread confusion.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Quotes: Another Bad Thing NCLB "Caused:" The End Of "Reading Rainbow"

Quotes2Reading Rainbow was not cancelled because it was not effective. Reading Rainbow was the most used television resource in our nation’s classroom. In 2009, it was [cancelled] due to No Child Left Behind. - LeVar Burton (Criticism Of Reading Rainbow Is 'Bullsh*t')

Charts: Small Gains, "Hope For What Else Is Possible"

image from www.edcentral.org

Thanks to EdCentral for pulling out a few charts including this one that reminds us that things are slowly but surely (?) getting better in education (The Condition of Education): "Across all reported races and ethnicities, scores on the reading and math sections of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) have increased since 1990. While there is still much room to improve, these small gains warrant some congratulations—and they give hope for what else is possible."

AM News: NEA Hopes Organizing Will Ease Membership Losses


NEA Aims to Revive Organizing as Membership Drops EdWeek: It has launched a Center for Organizing to provide tools and training, has put millions of dollars behind local affiliates' plans, and is pushing regional support staff to lead the charge

Big Brother: Meet the Parents Politico: A months-long review by POLITICO of student privacy issues, including dozens of interviews, found the parent privacy lobby gaining momentum — and catching big-data advocates off guard.

Ed. Dept. May Lack Tools to Evaluate Promise Neighborhoods, GAO Says PK12: The GAO report, released Wednesday, explains that the department requires grant winners to collect extensive data on things like individuals they serve, services they provide, and related outcomes, as well as report annually on multiple indicators. However, the department told GAO's investigators that it needs to conduct a systematic examination of the reliability and validity of the data to determine whether it will be able to use the data for an evaluation.

Six more charter schools approved to open in New York City in 2015 Chalkbeat: The schools received the sign-off on Wednesday from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, one of two bodies that can authorize charter schools in New York state. They are chartered to open in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, and will serve more than 2,600 students when they reach full capacity.

Is Autonomy for All Schools the Next Wave of Reform for Boston? District Dossier: A new report argues for Boston education leaders to extend charter-like autonomy over hiring, budgeting, and curriculum to all of the city's 128 schools.

Wilson High principal comes out as gay at school’s Pride Day Washington Post: Wilson High School Principal Pete Cahall came out to his students as gay at a school-wide Pride Day event Tuesday, shaking as he said that he had “hid in the shadows for the last 50 years” but was inspired by his students to declare his sexual orientation openly.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NEA Hopes Organizing Will Ease Membership Losses" »

Five Best Blogs: All The Great Stuff You're Missing On Twitter

The Anti-Vaccine & Common Core Standards Paradox - Medium http://ht.ly/xuMsl  Why "being right" isn't enough.

What Does A Good Common Core Lesson Look Like? : NPR Ed : NPR http://ht.ly/xCzUj 

Audio: 3 Teachers Tell Us Why They’ve Left The Classroom http://ht.ly/xuKUv  2 @onpointradio

College Media Coverage of the UC Santa Barbara Shootings | Longreads http://ht.ly/xuLhH 

GAO: Promise Neighborhoods Promotes Collaboration but Needs National Evaluation Plan http://ht.ly/xDjG4 

Adult Learning Innovations Take Root at MIT | EdSurge News http://ht.ly/xD3GV 

Low passing scores on New York Common Core Algebra Test | The Daily Caller http://ht.ly/xDjE1  @ericowensDC

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch - Pacific Standard http://ht.ly/xuKPb  Affordable vs. nutritious (vs politics)


Quotes: Union Resources & Organizing Will Dominate 2016 Campaign

Quotes2"The DFER PAC donated $43,000 to parties, committees, and federal candidates in the 2008 cycle and $17,500 in 2012. And reform-friendly Students First gave just $10,000 in 2012—to a single congressional candidate. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers combined to give over $5.5 million in 2008 and nearly $20 million in 2012." - Conor Williams in TNR (Hillary Clinton's Education Policy: Other Implications for 2016)

Morning Video: Panel On State Turnaround Districts

From #EWA14 here's a panel about what happens when states take over all or part of struggling school districts.

AM News: Reformer Forces Runoff In CA Superintendent's Race


New Jersey May Loosen Control Over Newark and Paterson Schools District Dossier: The State Board of Education is to consider resolutions that would allow Newark's school board to vote on issues on financial management and the Paterson School board to vote on operations.

Case's Revolution Fund Invests in Supplier of Children's Lunche NYT: The Revolution Growth fund, which Mr. Case started with two former AOL colleagues, is expected to announce on Wednesday that it has invested in Revolution Foods, an Oakland, Calif., company that makes healthier lunch meals for children. The investment is worth $30 million, according to a person briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Lawmakers Pressure FCC Ahead of Changes to E-Rate Rules PK12: As schools begin to break for summer, lawmakers and lobbyists are turning up the heat on the Federal Communication Commission, which has promised to revamp its E-Rate system before the start of the next school year.

Thousands of children are coming from Central America to Texas — alone Vox: Different federal agencies are responsible for taking the children in, finding housing for them, and processing their immigration cases. But, as the number of children crossing into the country from Central America has exploded — rising fivefold since 2011 — those agencies haven't received the resources to keep up.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Reformer Forces Runoff In CA Superintendent's Race" »

Five Best Blogs [Of The Day]: For Top Teachers, Districts Hire Early

For Top Teachers, Hire Early | TNTP ht.ly/xAq0K

Vergara v. California: The Most Important Court Case You’ve Never Heard Of - The Daily Beast ht.ly/xzk0A @campbellbrown

Tom Kane: Overcoming the Legacy of Incremental Education Reform | Brookings Institution ht.ly/xrciv

Obama seeks legacy of Internet in every school | TheHill ht.ly/xzvK4

Textbook Rental Company Chegg Acquires Tutoring Website For $30 Million ht.ly/xAqwu

Chicago, DC, & Charter Financial Accountability ht.ly/xAqA0

"The [dispalced] animosity toward charter schools in Chicago is so red hot you can almost feel it." ht.ly/xtxEZ Sun Times edit

Steve Early on Labor Reporting: ‘Unions Can Be Thin-Skinned About Criticism’ - Working In These Timesht.ly/xAqNt


Thompson: NPR's Discussion of How Testing Is Driving Great Teachers Out of the Classroom

Logo2To paraphrase the Reagan administration’s A Nation at Risk (which triggered this mess) if a foreign power tried to destroy the teaching profession, we would call it a war on public education. Data-driven reformers are driving much of the joy out of the greatest job I can imagine.

NPR’s On Point guest host, Art Donovan, in Teachers Tell Us Why They’ve Left the Classroom, interviewed, “three dedicated teachers [who] walked away from jobs they loved.” The discussion featured two veteran educators, a former TFA teacher, and an incoming rookie, and it prompted numerous teachers to call in.

Not surprisingly, testing was blamed for most of the damage being done to the profession. The same phrases kept being repeated by the show's participants, with the only good news being that many teachers are “sticking it out” and remaining in the classroom “despite of the disrespect.”

Problems such as cultural insensitivity, disciplinary challenges, and a top-down curriculum that kills creativity were cited, but the same story kept repeating itself – testing is destroying our public schools.

Interestingly, not one teacher or caller defended test-driven accountability.

Private school kindergarten teacher Suzie Sluyter explained that she left the public schools due to “the focus on testing, data collection and academic push that was inappropriate for the age.” She “was being forced to teach in a way I did not believe in.” Sluyter concluded, “I was actually harming children by pressuring them to do things they weren’t ready for.”

Continue reading "Thompson: NPR's Discussion of How Testing Is Driving Great Teachers Out of the Classroom" »

Quotes: We Need More Power!

When we fail to right-size our reform efforts, we breed a sense of futility among teachers, parents and policymakers.  We might as well be shooting bottle rockets at the moon.  - Tom Kane (Overcoming the Legacy of Incremental Education Reform)



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.