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AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies

The Daily News Flickr swanksalot

Teachers union steps into legal battle over tenure, against a former ally ChalkbeatNY: The lawsuit pits the union against a former ally, Mona Davids, who is among the parents suing to undo the tenure laws. Davids heads the New York City Parents Union, which consulted with the UFT on a union-sponsored parent advocacy group two years ago. [See also TeacherBeat]

Bobby Jindal Sued By His Allies Over Common Core HuffPost: Two years ago, Jindal visited a charter school operated by the Choice Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages a chain of charter schools in Louisiana. Now, Jim Swanson, chair of the Choice Foundation schools, is joining a group of parents and teachers to sue Jindal for trying to reverse his state's adoption of the standards. 

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers Hechinger Report: The case in New Haven tells a cautionary tale of what can happen when a low-performing school rushes to add time to close that gap. It also reflects the latest focus of the expanded-time movement: making extra time for teachers to learn. 

Charter and traditional schools bridge divide under one roof PBS NewsHour: Charter schools have often been seen as a threat to traditional schools, diverting resources and students to these publicly funded but privately run institutions. In Houston, Texas, the superintendent of one school district has invited competing charter schools to set up shop alongside a regular middle school. Special correspondent John Merrow reports on their evolving partnership.

Is There a Mismatch Between Ed. Dept.'s Teacher-Equity Plans and NCLB Waivers? PK12: For the past five-plus years of the Obama administration, the big teacher-policy emphasis has been on educator effectiveness, meaning tying teacher performance to student outcomes, including  on standardized tests. States had to develop teacher evaluations that take test scores into account, both to get a slice of the Race to the Top money, and later, to get flexibility from the No Child Left Behind Act.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC Union, LA Governor Both Fighting Former Allies" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: What If Colleges Don't Agree About "College-Ready"?

"The awkward truth is that *colleges* determine what “college-ready” means." http://ow.ly/zsA5D  @ChadAldeman

Liberal oppo to Common Core isn't as new as Slate's @daveweigel seems to think - but the NY polls *are* a problem http://ow.ly/zrMGu 

5 [Good] Reasons Education Reformers Should Care About Head Start - @saramead http://ow.ly/zsAc9 

The Hill's profile of Third Way's national security guru makes me wonder whatever happened to their education work? http://ow.ly/zsAt6 

The child migrant crisis is not just a border issue: Blue states need to step up. http://ow.ly/zrM0Y  says Slate's @emilybazelon

Ivy League Schools Are Overrated. Send Your Kids Elsewhere. | New Republic http://ow.ly/zsysB

Magazines: 12 New Yorker Ed Articles Vox Missed/Got Wrong

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Vox's Libby Nelson has a good starter list of 12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free but I think she might have missed and/or gotten a few wrong. 

No problem -- that's what I'm here for.

For example, the Vox list includes forgettable profiles of Arne Duncan and Diane Ravitch (Class WarriorPublic Defenderalong with Doug McGray's excellent Steve Barr profile (The Instigator).  

It recommends Kate Boo's story about the attempt to revamp Denver's Manual Arts (Expectations) but leaves out her amazing (2006 - I'm cheating) story about early childhood interventions (Swamp Nurse).

Steve Brill's The Rubber Room was an artful rehash of reporting done by others.  Rachel Aviv's Wrong Answer is a fascinating look at how some teachers decided they had to cheat that loses out in the end with its lazy reliance on NCLB as the main reason. 

Stories mysterious left out include the New Yorker's take on executive function (Delayed Gratification = 210 SAT Points) and Jill Lepore's fascinating revelation that liberal Icon Elizabeth Warren hates neighborhood-based school assignment (Your Favorite Liberal Lawmaker Supports Universal Vouchers*). Nick Lemann's 2010 turning point piece is left out, too (The overblown crisis in American education).

All that being said, kudos to Nelson for getting things started and including some ed-related stories like this summer's Jill Lepore takedown of "innovation" (The Disruption Machine), which I blogged about last month (The Innovation/Disruption "Myth"). Lots more examples from Gawande, Gladwell, etc. to be found. The Hit Man's Tale!?

Previous TWIE posts about the New Yorker:  Learning From The Gay Rights MovementLast Week's Problematic New Yorker Parent Opt-Out StoryThe New Yorker Takes Another Look At CoachingDelayed Gratification = 210 SAT PointsLessons From Earth Day 1970If Doctors Can Do It, So Can TeachersCoaching: Even Veterans & Star Teachers Could BenefitChecklists: The Simple Solution No One Wants To Try.

 

Charts: Not Nearly As Many Poor Kids As US Principals Seem To Think

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 22 10.24

"Only 13 percent of American children meet an international definition of disadvantage, lower than in many other countries. [And yet] in a survey of 29 countries, more principals in the United States reported having at least 30 percent of students come from socioeconomically disadvantaged homes than in any other country."  (NYT Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor).

 

 

Morning Video: Help Reporter Finish Cincinnati School Documentary

Marketplace reporter Amy Scott has launched a Kickstarter to finish out a documentary about a Cincinnati school that's transformed itself into a K-12 community center (OYLER). Watch the trailer above and click the link to contribute (@oylerdoc)


 

AM News: American Principals Hyper-Focused On Student Poverty, Says OECD

Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor NYT: American principals are much more likely to describe their students as disadvantaged than principals in many other countries — including some countries that are significantly poorer than the United States.

Florida counts down to new Common Core standards, exams Hechinger: Although the teachers at Monroe Middle School are optimistic, many teachers and school leaders think the switch to Common Core is the biggest change in education now, and it’s taken a lot of work.

Waiverless Washington State's Request for New NCLB Flexibility Denied PK12: Washington state can't seem to catch a break these days when it comes to No Child Left Behind Act waivers. 

No go: Feds deny state request to reinstate part of WA No Child waiver Seattle Times: The U.S. Department of Education has denied Washington state's request to reinstate one piece of the state's former No Child Left Behind waiver.

New political action committee forms in L.A. school board race LA Times: A new political action committee has formed to influence the outcome of Los Angeles school board races, filling a gap created when a group of civic leaders, which includes former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, decided to sit out next month's key upcoming election.

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

Continue reading "AM News: American Principals Hyper-Focused On Student Poverty, Says OECD" »

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Elizabeth Warren Isn't Taking Up Charters, Testing (Yet)

Warren's "11 commandments for progressives" avoid mention of charters, testing, and teacher pay, notes @mattyglesias ow.ly/zpE9b

Should Progressives Support Public Sector Unions? ow.ly/zoZBG @DmitriMehlhorn vs. Jake Rosenfeld @OnLaborBlog

Antonio Villaraigosa: Why Are Teachers Unions So Opposed to Change? - WSJ ow.ly/zoYSW  @villaraigosavia On Labor

A Year Watching Schools Prepare For FL's New Standards | WLRN ow.ly/zpYlR  @hechingerreport@StateImpactFL

NEA & AFT Give More Than $2.2 Million to Democratic Governors | Intercepts ow.ly/zpHLn

RapGenius goes to School = Education Genius ow.ly/zpEFB Anyone trying or using it out there?

Report Finds U.S. Schools Rank Below Average in Innovation - WSJ ow.ly/zpIub  @carolineporter@OECD_Edu @BenjaminBHerold

NatJournal's @fawnjohnson on the bright political prospects for early ed in Republican races ow.ly/zpUgM

How come there aren't any great twitter bots for education/edreform? ow.ly/zpJr8

Help Marketplace's Amy Scott finish her stunning documentary about Cincinatti's Oyler school @OylerDoc ow.ly/zpITd

 

Thompson: Oklahoma Education Drama Has National Implications

DormanThe Oklahoma State Department of Education annual Vision 2020 conference opened as Secretary of Education Robert Sommers announced his resignation. Sommers was a CEO of Carpe Diem charters, and a supporter of the former Indiana Chief for Change Tony Bennett.   

Sommers’s exit followed the resounding electoral defeat of State Superintendent and Chief for Change Janet Barresi. It also followed the legislative defeats of high stakes 3rd grade testing and the withdrawal from Common Core.

The week's biggest news was also education-related. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman had once been more of an underdog than those who challenged Superintendent Barresi, but now a Rasmussen poll shows that his Republican opponent, Gov. Mary Fallin, is in a freefall.  

Dorman was given the perfect opportunity to proclaim, “We cannot continue Fallin and Barresi’s destructive education policies.”

As Dorman pulled almost even with the incumbent, Fallin repudiated Barresi’s and her own agenda.

The story of how this happened will follow the break.

Continue reading "Thompson: Oklahoma Education Drama Has National Implications" »

Movies: Great High School Teacher Darkroom Scene In "Boyhood"

image from pixel.nymag.comThe formless young protagonist of Richard Linkalter's new film, "Boyhood," gets a number of talkings-to during his 12 years growing up onscreen, but none of them is better than the one delivered by his photography teacher (Mr. Turlington, played by actor Tom McTigue) about two thirds of the way through the movie. Part lecture, part pep talk, the teacher clearly has established a relationship with his troublesome student and is able to drop some wisdom about talent vs. effort without being overly alienating.  Image via NY Mag. A million Internets to anyone who has the script and/or the scene.

Morning Video: Nonprofit Crowdfunding A New Preschool

VOCEL – a small education non-profit for children from under-resourced communities – is behind one of the first initiatives to use crowdfunding to open a preschool, the AFP reports. (TIME via Annenberg Institute)

AM News: Cities Prepare For Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors

Cities in New York State Get Ready for Arrival of Child Migrants District Dossier: Syracuse and New York City leaders are mobilizing services and supports for the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have arriving in their communities.

Obama's initiative gets $104 million boost MSNBC: According to a White House official, Obama will announce Monday at the Walker Jones EducationCenter in Washington new partnerships with public and private groups to the tune of about $104 million in funding.

Rocketship Slows Down EdSurge: In recent weeks the San Jose, CA-based network withdrew charter applications for eight schools in Dallas and San Antonio. Plans to expand to Indianapolis, where it had previously gained approval to build another eight schools that would have opened doors in 2015, have been delayed. Also on hold are plans to grow to New Orleans and Memphis.

Incoming NEA head inherits tension with Education Secretary Arne Duncan MSNBC: Former elementary school teacher Lily Eskelsen García will become president of America's biggest labor union, the National Education Association (NEA), on Sept. 1. In the meantime, she already has plenty of work to do. 

New college data give fuller picture of graduation rates — and show challenges Washington Post:  Dozens of public universities across the country, including three in Maryland, report that fewer than half of their full-time freshmen in 2007 earned bachelor’s degrees after six years at those schools or after switching to other schools.

Pro-Charter School Group Spent Nearly $6 Million in Media Blitz NYC: Lobbyists representing de Blasio's own interests were also heavy spenders this year. The Campaign for One New York spent $1.76 million on its own successful pitch to expand pre-kindergarten, which included money from unions.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Cities Prepare For Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors" »

Twitter Friday: News & Commentary Here, On Facebook, & Via Twitter

Happy Friday! I'll be updating the site via Twitter today -- back to normal blogging on Monday. You can read it all here, or on Facebook (Alexander Russo), or directly on Twitter (@alexanderrusso). Have a great weekend!

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Good Sweden Vs. Bad Sweden

Sweden's disastrous experiment with school choice -- Slate ow.ly/zgFFP @RFisman @rhess99 @edreform

For another take on Sweden's schools (arguing they're just fine), see here: themoneyillusion.com/?p=25145 
via @NeeravKingsland

Massachusetts Senate Votes Not to Lift Cap on Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog ow.ly/zhcFp

Ravitch vs. Campbell: Why do we let women get away with making sexist comments? - The Washington Post @keligoff ow.ly/zgFsM

The case for shutting down Stuyvesant High School, the best public school in New York. ow.ly/zeQzs

Former IN State Chief Tony Bennett and the Politics of Personal Destruction -  @EducationNext  @rhess99 ow.ly/zheyn

Does Reliance on Specific Textbooks Stack the Deck Against Poor Districts? ow.ly/zheXw @merbroussard @MindShiftKQED

Principal comes close to breaking down talking about losing kids due to boundary changes ow.ly/zhhbE 18 min mark

Yes, Gaza militants hide rockets in schools, but Israel doesn't have to bomb them - Vox ow.ly/zheHp

 

Journalism: Virginian-Pilot Wins Common Core Grant

Among several news outlets awarded a Knight Foundation "prototype" grant is the Viginian-Pilot:

image from www.pbs.org

Pilot for School by The Virginian-Pilot (Project lead: Shawn Day):

Building a targeted digital system that will allow Virginia teachers to search newspaper content and use it to complement class curricula; content will align with Virginia’s Standards of Learning and help students apply academic concepts to what’s happening in their community.

When Storytelling Meets Civic Action (via PBS)

Does it make sense for newspapers to try and guide teachers and parents on Common Core materials, or is there a danger it's going to be misleading or overkill?

 

Hot Vs. Hot: Campbell Brown Vs. Matt Damon

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 1.22.47 PM"Here's somebody whose influence on ed policy is in no way related to their hotness, unlike that bimbo Campbell Brown," quipped NY Mag journo Jonathan Chait, linking to Matt Damon's appearances at various anti-reform events a few years back.  

ICYMI, Ravitch questioned Brown's credibility on education issues about which the two people happen to disagree and in the process made several comments about Brown's looks.  

Damon has appeared at various anti-reform events in recent years, based in large part on his good looks and celebrity (and views on education with which Ravitch happens to agree).

Quotes: Union "Cannot Go On Denying Responsibility For School Quality"

Quotes2The fact is, that while NEA does not control curriculum, set funding levels, or hire and fire, we cannot go on denying responsibility for school quality. - Former NEA President Bob Chase (in 1997) via DFER's Charlie Barone

 

Morning Video: Frontline's "Separate & Unequal"

 

This week's PBS Frontline focuses on school de-integration, and it well worth a watch.

AM News: 7 Seattle Charter Schools Proposed

Seven groups file charter-school proposals, judges uphold affirmative-action ruling Seattle Times: Tuesday was the deadline for the second round of charter-school applications in Washington state, and seven groups filed proposals for new schools. See also Seattle Public Radio

Researcher says city’s charter schools aren’t pushing students out, though other cities’ are ChalkbeatNY: “I can say there is definitive evidence of some cities in the U.S. of ‘pushout’ and that New York City is not one of them,” said Macke Raymond, director of Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

Amid Common Core debate, North Carolina opts to tweak, not abandon, standards Washington Post: The House and Senate agreed to a comprise measure that creates a commission to re-examine the Common Core standards and come up with ways to improve on them.

Impasse talks begin for Howard schools, teachers union BaltSun: Howard school officials will begin mediation with the county teachers union Wednesday, the latest step in contentious contract negotiations that lasted throughout the school year.

Summer school now a given for high achievers – but it’ll cost them KPCC: For high achieving students, summer school is the only way to stack their high school transcripts for their college applications to shine above the rest.

Three 'Secret' Ingredients for a Successful Small School WNYC: City officials have boasted for years about their success in creating hundreds of small high schools that have higher graduation rates than many of the large schools they replaced. Now, a new report has singled out what makes the best of these small schools so exceptional.

Investigators Exonerate School in Fatal Stabbing Case WNYC: An investigation released Wednesday found the teen who allegedly stabbed a classmate to death at a Bronx middle school never told anyone at the school about being bullied or harassed by the stabbing victim. Or Chalkbeat: Report: City officials knew of bullying prior to Bronx school stabbing 

Beverly Hills High School principal files lawsuit against district LA Times: The principal of Beverly Hills High School filed a federal lawsuit against the school district Wednesday, alleging that officials routinely ignored his complaints of racial discrimination and retaliated against him through attacks in the media, harassment and by denying job opportunities to him.

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Beyond "Subprime Learning"

4 House and Senate Campaigns with Strong Education Angles - @PoliticsK12 ow.ly/zeyrV

A Mantra for K-12 Philanthropy: First, Do No Harm edweek.org/ew/articles/20… @rhess99

The Movement to Stop Test Mania Continues | Diane Ravitch's blog ow.ly/zeCzq @fairtest

Beyond Subprime Learning | @NewAmericaow.ly/zeCwR

"Diane Ravitch, public education sexist" | New York Post ow.ly/zeXkc Tabloid calls DR sexist. I think they look cute together.

The Splintering School Reform Movement - @MichaelPetrilli in Education Next ow.ly/zeIpK

How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students ow.ly/zeHo7

In 'Underwater Dreams,' Phoenix HS Robotics Team Puts Lens On Immigration Debate : NPR ow.ly/zeEO5

 

Power Couples: The Wonk & The Journo*

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She (Robin Chait) is an education wonk at ostensibly left-leaning CAP, and he (Jonathan) is a writer at sharp-elbowed New York magazine. They both write about a education a lot these days.  Image via Facebook.

*Correction: She's no longer at CAP and is now at a charter school network (via LinkedIn)

Previous posts: Two New(ish) Power Couples For 2014It's A Small, Small World [For Power Couples]Jane & Brian WilliamsNYC DOE & DFER Couple WedsEmily & David SirotaHuffman Vs. Huffman.

I need more non-reform couples, obviously.  Nominations?

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

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

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

 

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

AM News: Districts See Uptick In Central American Refugee Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afternoon Video: Schools Prepare For Surge Of Unaccompanied Migrant Kids

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

Bruno: Performance Pay Doesn't Necessarily Discourage Collaboration

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

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

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

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

Read on for more (below).

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

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

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

Why, you ask?  I'll tell you"

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

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

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

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

Sound familiar?

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

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

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

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

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

Or, was it both?

Read on (below) to find out.

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

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

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

AM News: AFT Conference Wraps Up With Tenure Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Best Blogs & Tweets: Bastille Day Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media: Politico Brings Up The Rear On StudentsFirst Reboot Story

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

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

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

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

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

 

Magazines: New Yorker Delves Into Atlanta Cheating School

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

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

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

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

The same pressures and incentives still exist, reports Aviv.  

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

Previous New Yorker stories by Aviv here.

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

Articles: Adult Ed's Secret Buzzwords & Lingo

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

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

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

Quotes: Reform Debate Often Detached From Schools & Parents

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

Morning Video: Helping Increase Toddlers' Vocabularies With Word Counters

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

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

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

 

 

AM News: Sleepy Washington DC Campaign Goes National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gone Fishing -- Back Monday

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

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

See you Monday.

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

Possible mis-application of the semicolon.

Media: Errant Diversity Tweet Creates NPR Mini-Controversy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM News: Changes Afoot In California & New York City

News2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quotes: Duncan's NEA Resignation Response

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

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

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

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

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

Image via Flickr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charts: Racial Gaps High-Poverty Kindergartens

image from s1.epi.orgVia EPI

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.