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AM News: LAUSD Adds Laptops To Its Tablet Deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Quotes: Teachers' Views = Teachers Union Positions

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

 

Maps: Where The Charters Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quotes: EdTech Hubris Undermines School Improvement

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

Bruno: Interview With A Teacher Who Supports Differentiated Compensation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Diverse Charters Form New National Alliance

ScreenHunter_08 Jul. 01 11.38

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Video: Do Learning Games Really Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Charts: Mainstream Republicans Dislike Common Core Just As Much As Conservatives

image from cdn2.vox-cdn.comThis chart from Vox's Libby Nelson shows that recent Pew survey results reveal there isn't really as much debate within the Republican party over Common Core standards as we may have imagined.  Support among Democratic groups including "solid liberals" appears relatively strong and uniform, which may also be another surprise for some. 

Thompson: Another "Chief for Change" Is Dumped

Barresi

Of course I’m celebrating the overwhelming defeat of Chief for Change Janet Barresi in the Republican primary. Oklahoma State Superintendent Barresi embodies the brass-knuckled, scorched earth corporate reform that has driven young children to cry and vomit, and older students to drop out of school.

Her opponent, Joy Hofmeister, condemned both the “toxic” environment created by high-stakes testing and the politics of destruction that Barresi exemplifies. Barresi  lost by a margin of nearly three to one.

As reported by the Tulsa World's Andrea Eger, a video has now been released showing Barresi's tirade at a Department of Education “Summer Convening” event. Barresi told teachers: 

Anybody that has any question what we’re doing, read Nehemiah. Open up your Bibles and read Nehemiah. I want you to put on your breast plate and I want you to fight off the enemy at the same time you’re rebuilding the wall. Because there’s a lot of people, a lot of enemies are going to try to creep up the back of your neck and say you can’t do it, it can’t be done. Do me a favor and tell ‘em to go to hell.

Honestly, though, I’m saddened that education policy disputes sank to this level. Fifteen years ago, I served with Barresi in a bipartisan reform coalition, known as MAPS for Kids. Before it was derailed by NCLB, MAPS was significantly improving our city's schools. 

Barresi started an excellent charter school just a block from my house. It is NOT a high-challenge school like the school it replaced. But, by bringing in high-performing students from outlying areas, it sure raised property values in our neighborhood.

Continue reading "Thompson: Another "Chief for Change" Is Dumped" »

Morning Video: Campbell Brown Previews NY Version Of Vergara Lawsuit

Local Fox News segment on NY version of Vergara that's being planned, featuring Mayor de Blasio and Campbell Brown.

AM News: Chicago Lays Off Another 1,000 School Staff

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More than a thousand teachers teachers and other staff laid off in Chicago WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools officials told 550 teachers and 600 more school staff Thursday that they’re out of a job. The number is significantly smaller than last year’s nearly 3,000 layoffs, which were due mostly to the Board of Education’s decision to close 50 schools.

Oklahoma: Suit Challenges Repeal of Core Curriculum Standards NYT: A group has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed law that repealed Common Core education standards in the state.

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity KPLU: Approximately 150 teachers took those concerns to the foundation's front door Thursday evening for a rally and a march through Seattle's downtown streets. 

New York Schools Chief Advocates More ‘Balanced Literacy’ NYT: Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants schools to adopt aspects of a method that the Education Department turned away from several years ago.

Tracking the de Blasio administration’s education promises Chalkbeat: Six months ago, Bill de Blasio took control of the largest school district in the country. At the end of his first semester, here’s a recap of what he said he was going to do with it—and what he and Chancellor Fariña have done so far.

Poll finds Common Core opposition rising EdSource Today: An annual poll of Californians’ views on education contains bad news for teachers unions and for advocates of the Common Core standards, good news for backers of charter schools, mixed news for preschool supporters and a warning for State Superintendent Tom Torlakson in his re-election campaign against Marshall Tuck.

Bill simplifying teacher firings now law EdSource Today: Gov. Brown ended three years of high-decibel battles in the Legislature on Wednesday by signing a bill he helped shape that should make it quicker and easier to fire teachers accused of the most abhorrent forms of misconduct.

Move Over Books: Libraries Let Patrons Check Out The Internet NPR: Libraries in Chicago and New York will soon let people check out Wi-Fi hot spots, but will that actually help bridge the digital divide?

A black man with a college degree is as likely to be working as a white college dropout Box: It's clear that more education tends to lead to better employment outcomes. Bachelor's degree holders have a lower unemployment rate than high school graduates, who have a lower unemployment rate than high school dropouts.

More news throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

 

Five Best Tweets: Charter Financial Ratings & EdTech Investments Decline

Standard & Poor’s rates outlook for charter school sector as ‘negative’ - @valeriestrauss @napcs Post http://ht.ly/yurpi 

Investments Decline As Education Technology Grows Up | TechCrunch http://ht.ly/yuaDq 

Did Pando fire @davidsirota over investor complaints? Poynter. http://ht.ly/yuoHR 

Reuters: California Just Made It Easier To Fire Bad Teachers http://ht.ly/yumRx 

Tying Federal Aid to College Ratings - http://NYTimes.com  http://ht.ly/yumxL 

Here's How Not to Teach First-Grade Math - @bechang8 Pacific Standard http://ht.ly/yulYz 

You say you want your kids to be good people, but they know you care more about grades http://ht.ly/yrm5K  @jesslahey

Rick Hess considers the mixed #CommonCore signals coming from state chiefs, foundations, and the USDE? http://ht.ly/ytYX8  @rhess99

Media: "Tell Me More"'s Education Coverage Will Be Missed

The most recent episode of NPR's "On The Media" ponders the meaning of The End of "Tell Me More", the daily national show whose demise has recently been announced (the same week as NPR_ED was launched, as EdWeek's Mark Walsh noted).

image from media.npr.org

"On The Media"'s focus was mostly on the issue of the diversity of the hosts and producers who were on the show (pictured).  But the segment got me thinking about the education segments and topics that the show covered.  

Though I didn't always note all the education segments the show was putting out -- Google shows 117 references to host Michel Martin -- there was a fairly regular segment on parenting that often got to education-related issues. The show held a big 2012 #npredchat on Twitter (check it out  #npredchat aggregate page). EWA's public editor Emily Richmond was a guest on the show (listen to the audio here). There were some great education-related commentaries from host Martin including one about education coverage that I recently linked to (Do You Want The Truth, Or Do You Just Like Your Story Better?)

The show ends August.  You can keep following its host @MichelMcQMartin.

Charts: How US Teachers Feel Compared To Other Countries

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 2.05.46 PMCheck out the OECD report on teachers that came out earlier this week -- including US information for the first time  (PDF) -- for all sorts of interesting information. Called TALIS, the report indicates high levels of job satisfaction and self-confidence for lower secondary teachers in the US, but two out of three don't believe their work is valued by society. You'll feel both reassured and troubled at the same time.

Quotes: Smarick Rails Against Anti-Democratic Attitudes & Elites

Quotes2In too many other cases, our field has succumbed to the derision of politics, giving the impression that technocracy is preferable to democracy... I worry that too often education reform is falling on the wrong side of the democratic-technocratic divide. -- Andy Smarick (Has America Lost Democracy to Technocracc?)

Video: Common Core Through 9-Year-Old Eyes

 

ICYMI: Here's the video that went along with last week's NYT story (Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes).

AM News: John White Blasts Bobby Jindal Over Common Core

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Common Core: Jindal ally blasts move as illegal Politico: On Wednesday, he ramped up his rhetoric considerably, telling POLITICO in an interview that Jindal is breaking the law, trampling the state constitution — and crushing the dreams of low-income minority students.

Meet the Groups Fighting Against Limits on Restraining School Kids ProPublica:  Teachers, high school principals and the U.S. Department of Education have all endorsed the idea of limiting the use of restraints to emergencies. But lobbies representing school district leaders and boards have combined with congressional Republicans to stymie such legislation.

Education Sec. Arne Duncan on The Future of Learning WNYC: This initiative, called Early Childhood Nation, would be the first to incorporate the latest brain science into actual pre-school programs. This program is also aims to help public schools prepare kids to start kindergarten, and it addresses the need for day care. Early Childhood Nation is funded by the Bezos Family Foundation, which is already funding  actual programs for schools and home called Vroom.

Classroom Confusion: What Is the Common Core? NBC News: The Common Core has been at the center of controversy at many school districts. But what exactly does this new academic standard mean for students? (NBCNews.com)

Ed Dept. Expected to Release Draft Criteria for State Tests This Summer PK12: A top official from the U.S. Department of Education is spreading the word here at a student-assessment conference: A draft of the criteria that will shape the way the department approves states' tests will be issued this summer.

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

Continue reading "AM News: John White Blasts Bobby Jindal Over Common Core" »

Five Best Tweets [Of The Day]: Teachers Report High Job Satisfaction, Low Societal Value

OECD: Teachers love their jobs / feel undervalued ht.ly/yrJFH - US stats via @Morning_Edu 90 pct / 34 pct

Republicans -- & school boards -- block nat'l limits on#restrainingstudents, notes @ProPublica's @hvogell ht.ly/yrXzK

Several high-performing Shelby County tenured teachers face unemployment as deadline nears | @ChalkbeatTN ht.ly/yrxUB

White school district sends black kids back to failed schools | MSNBC's @trymainelee ht.ly/yra3c

#CommonCore for Young Learners: Educators tackle challenges in the early grades ht.ly/yrXSM @Harvard_Ed_Pub @KelleherMaureen

Converting Catholic Schools to Charters Draws Scrutiny - Education Week ht.ly/yrSac

Vergara supporters "cleverly positioned themselves as part of a campaign for civil rights," notes Ravitch blog post ht.ly/ys5uv

Former Village Voice writer Wayne Barrett describes de Blasio/UFT as "an unholy alliance" - NY Daily News ht.ly/yr9oo

Ban reading tests (replace them with subject specific exams), says @robertpondiscio because: background knowledge

 

Afternoon Audio: Google Search & Students' Academic Records

An adult job seeker whose Google search highlights his long-ago participation in a special education program is one of the examples cited in a new WNYC story about efforts to force Google and others to delete information from search results:

It's a variant on the student data privacy debate that's going on in education, which includes not only what data is collected but how it's safeguarded and what happens to it after a student's education is over.  

Google and others believe that transparency and avoiding censorship are reasons not to allow deletion requests.  European nations and privacy advocates believe that deletion requests are not nearly as problematic as has been suggested.

Morning Video: Pushy Pediatricians Stick Noses Into Early Reading

 

Here's last night's PBS NewsHour segment on the AAP's new recommendations for pediatricians to encourage parents to read to children and to give books to young parents. You may recall hearing about pediatricians handing books out during immunization visits.

AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny

News2A 'Major Shift' In Oversight Of Special Education NPR: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces new measures for ensuring that students with disabilities are making progress.

Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses NYT: The Education Department said that it would evaluate growth in students with disabilities over time and will compare their test scores with those of students not designated with special needs.

MPS lacks capacity to provide basics to special-ed students, external audit finds MinnPost: At its Tuesday night meeting, the Minneapolis board of education will get harsh news about an external audit that found the district lacks the capacity to effectively provide even basic programming to its special-education students.

States' special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama ... Washington Post: The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more- stringent criteria that drop the number of jurisdictions in compliance..

We're off to the reauthorization races Vox: The Senate proposal focuses on easing the burden of student loan debt, plus holding for-profits accountable. The House proposal adopts some of the recommendations that outside groups have urged to help students complete college, mostly the less controversial ones, and calls for rolling back most of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda on higher education.

House Republicans to Begin Work on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act PK12: Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee plan to introduce a series of bills this week as part of their efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a sweeping piece of federal legislation that includes the entire student loan system.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Obama Moves To Tighten Special Education Scrutiny" »

Five Best Blogs: New Advocacy Organization Aims To Bring Vergara To New York

Obama alumni Robert Gibbs joins @campbell_brown's#Vergara-inspired campaign, reports @StephanieSimon_ ht.ly/yp0gE

32 States Are Failing To Follow Disability Law, U.S. Says - HuffPost ht.ly/yoEuy @Joy_Resmovits

CommonCore opposition isn't widespread but that doesn't mean it's not in trouble, says @ConorPWilliamsin TPM ht.ly/yoFvE

Showdown for state chief in Oklahoma, South Carolina - @Morning_Edu ht.ly/yoLpF

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end? | Hechinger Report ht.ly/ypb3i @parentrev #parenttrigger

The best and worst education news of 2014 — so far - @Larryferlazzo in the Washington Post

New Approaches To Discipline Strive to Keep Kids Out of Jail : @npr_ed : NPR ht.ly/ypdxr

5 Thoughts on @rweingarten's AEI Remarks by @rhess99 ht.ly/ypePz #vergara

The Twitter handle for @Marketplace's newish edtech site is @LearningCurveEd 

Charts: School Violence Trends, Revisited

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.comThis latest estimate includes "all violent deaths that occurred on school grounds, or during travel to or from school or a school-sponsored event." (More details at Vox)

Rebuttal: Don't Use Chicago As A Deseg Model

Ecastro flickr office of the principalIn response to yesterday's NYT oped from Rick Kahlenberg touting the Chicago model of income-based diversity enhancement, longtime Chicago special education advocate Rod Estvan wrote the following rebuttal suggesting that Chicago's results from the Kahlenberg plan haven't been all that good: 

"Unfortunately Dr. Kahlenberg does not discuss the fact that Payton’s admission system which is in part based on census tracts is being advantaged by the middle class and even wealthier families who live in enclaves within overall poorer community census tracts. In 2013, only 31.4% of Payton students were from low income families regardless of race whereas back in 2002 the school had about 37% low income students when there was no social economic admissions process but only a race based process."

See the full response below the fold.

Continue reading "Rebuttal: Don't Use Chicago As A Deseg Model" »

Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)

430890004_98639b3bb7_nSince the Vergara decision was handed down in California reactions have been predictably partisan and extreme. Reformers are ecstatic over what they believe if a "huge win" and their critics are equally confident that the decision was "anti-teacher" and "exactly backwards".

It's not really surprising that the reactions would shake out this way. Education debates are often highly-polarized, and there are political reasons for activists to exaggerate the stakes.

In reality, the most reasonable position to take about the consequences of Vergara is agnosticism. Even if the decision survives appeal it will be many years before schools feel its effects, and then it is likely that the overall impact will be quite modest.

This case may still spend years winding its way through the legal system, and its ultimate fate in the judiciary is not at all obvious. If the ruling eventually remains intact, the California legislature could potentially satisfy its requirements without making major changes to the statutes in question.

More than that,  it's not clear why we should be confident that changing the rules governing teacher tenure or seniority privileges will have major, easily-predictable consequences.

On the contrary, the effects of those rules are complex and often cut in opposite directions. Below the fold, I'll consider the trade-offs involved in tenure reform specifically and try to show why it's hard to know whether the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Continue reading "Bruno: The Trade-offs of Tenure (Possibly Good & Bad Outcomes)" »

Morning Video: Why's College So Expensive? ("Ivory Tower")

Here's the PBS NewsHour segment from last night about the new Participant documentary about college costs and outcomes.

AM News: NY Might Be First Site Of Vergara-Style Lawsuit

News2

New York State Challenge Planned on Teacher Tenure Law WSJ: Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who has been a critic of job protections for teachers, launched the group, Partnership for Educational Justice, in December. She said six students have agreed to serve as plaintiffs, arguing they suffered from laws making it too expensive, time-consuming and burdensome to fire bad teachers.

Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth NYT: With the increased recognition that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important skills, the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking its members to become advocates.

With Common Core as Backdrop, Legislators Seek Power Over Standards State EdWatch: Ten states have adopted laws in the last 18 months that place new restrictions or other requirements on state school boards as they consider adopting standards

A few text messages can help students go to college Vox: Each year, students who seem like they should be going to college — their transcripts look college-ready, they've applied and been accepted and even applied for financial aid — don't show up for class in the fall. In some communities, the attrition rate over the summer can be as  high as 40 percent; nationally, it's estimated to be between 10 and 20 percent.

LA Unified teachers, on average, rank fifth nationally in salary LA School Report: The top four districts for paying teachers with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience are Chicago ($62,046), New York ( $52,278), Hawaii ($50,728) and Houston ($47,273), with LA Unified next, at $46,794, according to the NCTQ data.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NY Might Be First Site Of Vergara-Style Lawsuit" »

Events: Poynter Institute's "Covering Common Core" Event

Because there's always more to learn, Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 3.09.46 PMI'm headed off to Chicago to attend the Covering Common Core journalists' training session being hosted by Poynter, EWA, and Northwestern over the next couple of days.

What's your favorite Common Core story so far? 

What's a Common Core story you haven't seen, or a bit of knowledge that hasn't been surfaced yet?

Mine include Cory Turner's "taking the Common Core" approach, and my own peek inside the field test help desk, but I'm sure there are other better options.

 

 

Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"

WaitAlexander Russo's How Waiting for Superman (almost) Changed the World explains how Davis Guggenheim's film created a zeitgeist.

But, did it produce "measurable impact?"

Participant, the film's production company, sought to "ignite social changes." Participant was founded by eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, and it specializes in "star-laden, carefully crafted, politically colored fims."

Whether Participant knew it or not, in its attempt to claim success, it borrowed from a common school reform meme. Test-driven reformers often claim that increases in student performances in the 1990s were the result of the NCLB Act of 2001. Similarly, Participant claims credit for closing New York City's so-called "Rubber Room," and the Washington D.C. teachers' contract. Both took place before the movie came out.

Michelle Rhee also credits Waiting for Superman for persuading top donors to contribute to StudentsFirst. But, she also claims that her organization is good, not destructive, for public schools.

An objective study, funded by the Ford Foundation, determined that the general public gave good reviews to the film, awarding four out of five stars. Education professionals gave it two stars, concluding that its "depiction of teachers and unions was simplistic."

Russo's account of the making of  Guggenheim's film and of its effects is balanced. If he has a bias, it is towards skepticism, even cynicism. Russo indicates that do-gooders must anticipate that their efforts will be "misunderstood or mischaracterized." When that happened, the filmmaker's team responded with "genuine or feigned" surprise.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Legacy of "Waiting for Superman"" »

Morning Video: "Homework Diner" Idea Spreading In New Mexico

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

"The Homework Diner has become so successful that it’s spawning other branches in New Mexico." (Nightly News: Homework Diner Serves Up Education With a Side of Food)

AM News: San Jose Attempts To Delay Tenure Until 3rd Year (Again)

News2

San Jose district, teachers file bill seeking exception to tenure law EdSource Today:  In their contract reached last year, San Jose and its teachers union had agreed to extending teachers’ probation to three years when a panel of teachers and administrators overseeing the evaluation of probationary teachers made that recommendation.

The Politics Of The Common Core NPR: Jindal's attempt to drop the Core comes amid a backlash in many states against the academic standards. The move is likely to boost his profile among conservative voters and Tea Party supporters if he mounts a 2016 presidential bid.

To Boost Attendance, Milwaukee Schools Revive Art, Music And Gym NPR: After years of cutbacks, Milwaukee Public Schools are re-hiring teachers for classes beyond the basic . They are hoping to retain students as well as boost attendance and test scores.

New Contract for Teachers Is Altering Schools’ Hours NYT: Because of changes in the new teachers’ contract, a number of schools are moving up the start of the school day, and more than a few parents are not happy about it.

Homework Diner Serves Up Education With a Side of Food NBC News: The Homework Diner has become so successful that it’s spawning other branches in New Mexico. 

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

Continue reading "AM News: San Jose Attempts To Delay Tenure Until 3rd Year (Again)" »

Movie Trailers: Racial Conflict On Campus

The movie's called "Dear White People" and it's about racial politics on a college campus. Watch the trailer, then read a Variety review here. It's for work!

Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength

image from www.educationnews.orgFormer New Yotk Times Magazine reporter Matt Bai has a fascinating and highly controversial (5,000-comment) story you might want to read about how the ultra-liberal Democracy Alliance ended up naming NEA executive director John Stocks (pictured) as board chairman (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it).

"So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders. You want to free the capital from the grip of powerful interest groups...Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course!"

Originally conceived as a venture fund for progressive think tanks and thinkers (CAP, MMA), the liberal group has funneled $500 million + to liberal groups over the past decade, according to Bai. But it didn't stay innovative very long, in terms of its backers and who got funding. Silicon Valley and Wall Street funders faded away.  Think tanks like the New Democrat Network and Third Way were cut off.

Now Stocks is at the helm, a move that "tells you something about the direction of Democratic politics right now," according to Bai, because of Stocks' role as the power behind the throne at the NEA (top of Bai's list of "political powerhouses that have been intransigent and blindly doctrinaire in the face of change").

Continue reading "Campaign 2016: Vergara Is Distracting You From NEA's Political Strength" »

Morning Video: DC Chancellor Kaya Henderson

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 9.18.04 AM

Chancellor Kaya faces questions from Andy Rotherham and Emmeline Zhao (who's clearly not wearing a seatbelt, FWIW).

Quotes: Rich Liberals Hire Union Head To Run Progressive PAC

Quotes2So you're a liberal member of the 1 percent, and you've decided to wrest control of the Democratic agenda from change-averse insiders... Where do you turn for leadership and innovation? To the teachers union, of course! - Former New York Times Sunday Magazine reporter Matt Bai (Rich Democrats go from challenging the status quo to embracing it)

AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)

News2

DCPS Hits Pause On Using Test Scores For Teacher Evaluations WAMU: For one year, D.C. Public Schools won't factor student test scores into teacher evaluations.

D.C. will wait a year to rate teachers with Common Core tests PBS: A Thursday announcement from current D.C. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s predecessor and former deputy, could make waves across the country. 

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations AP: The District of Columbia public school system, one of the first in the country to evaluate teachers using student test scores, announced Thursday that it would suspend the practice while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Changes to Teacher Evaluation System NYT: For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, teachers with poor ratings of either “ineffective” or “developing” would have state test scores removed from their evaluations. If the test scores alone led to a poor rating, then teachers would get a temporary pass.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praises Cuomo's teacher-evaluation bill Politics on the Hudson: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday praised a New York bill that would hold teachers harmless for poor Common Core-based test scores through next school year.

‘Safety net’ deal on teacher evaluations protects against negative consequences Chalkbeat: Teachers won’t face negative consequences for the next two years if they flunk their annual evaluations because of Common Core-aligned state tests, according to a tentative deal reached today between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Teacher Safety Net (In NY), Evaluation Pause (In DC)" »

Five Best Blogs: CTA Pushes For Tenure Expansion As Gov. Brown Ponders Vergara Appeal

As Gov Brown ponders Vergara appeal, California teachers union pushing for expansion of tenure - Reuters ht.ly/yeMTy

Why Do Other Parents Care Where I Send My Kid to School? - City Desk ht.ly/yeLLN @ConorPWilliams

Doomsday Scenario: A Court Order to Increase Taxes for K-12 - State EdWatch - Education Week ht.ly/yeMOO

Arizona Schools Chief Under Fire for Anonymous Blog Comments - State EdWatch - Education Week ht.ly/yeMKW

How the District’s education politics remain fundamentally driven by privilege, class, and race. ht.ly/yeLQV @ConorPWilliams

What happens to test scores & other teachers when you cluster TFA teachers at high-need schools? AIR ht.ly/yeKSz

Get to know @mikehtrujillo, one of the best/worst campaign guys who's ever worked on an ed campaign ht.ly/yegFP @hillelaron

Politico rounds up education issues playing out in governors' races ht.ly/ydXC7

Events: Fixing Poverty Without Fixing K-12 Education?

120914_$BOX_PovertyEX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeThe Hamilton Project (@hamiltonproj via Brookings) is having a big event today and tomorrow -- check it out -- but you may be pleased or disconcerted to note that their proposed efforts at #AddressingPoverty.  --  14 new policy proposals -- don't really involve K-12 education.

Early childhood education? Sure.  

After-school and summer learning? But of course.

A smattering of education types -- NYU's Amy Schwartz, Harvard's Bridget Terry Long. OK.

Whether this means that poverty isn't really an issue that K-12 can be expected to help address, or that the current mess of K-12 (for poor kids, at least) is more daunting than poverty, I'll leave the interpretation up to you.

Personally, I feel a little left out.

Previous posts: Reduced Poverty Or Teacher Quality? "Both," Says RheeWho Told Us The Education Fights Poverty, Anyway? (Bruno); What Next For Poverty/Inequality 2014?More Poverty In Suburbs Than In Cities;  Poverty Hurts US Students More Than In Other Nations Let's Not Talk About 43M Poor PeoplePoverty Increases Cut Both Ways In Reform Debate.

 

#WorldCupED: The Long-Forgotten AFT-Rotherham Head Butt Of 2006

image from photos1.blogger.com

#tbt

Only the old-timers will recognize either the French soccer player head-butting his Italian opponent in the 2006 World Cup or the relationship to the AFT and Education Sector that I was trying to establish in this blog post from July 2006 (before you were probably born).

The caption was this:  "Unable to restrain himself against the steady stream of insults and elbows, Zidane AFT John turns and viciouslyhead-butts Materazzi the Ed Sector. Was it justified? Public opinion is sharply divided."

Truth be told, I remember the image but don't remember the circumstances. AFT John is long gone, as is the AFT blog that used to be so much fun/frustration (there's not even a cached copy of it that I can find).  

Rotherham is still around, but long gone from Education Sector and public spats with the AFT that have or haven't served him well. 

Previous posts: Winners & Losers 2008 (According To Me)The Successful Failure Of ED In '08Duncan Only Has Himself To Blame, Says Rotherham.

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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.