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#EdGif Of The Day: Asteroids, Gay Dinosaurs, Extinction!

"I went to public school in Mississippi. They told us dinosaurs went extinct because an asteroid turned them gay." - Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt via Tumblr. [Still ISO Ep6 classroom gifs!]

Charts: Educational Gains Steady & Long-Standing

image from cdn1.vox-cdn.com

"True, there are some problems with the education system — inequality between schools, for example, not to mention skyrocketing college tuition costs — but that the majority of the population over 25 went from not having a high school diploma to at least having some college in the span of 40 years is astonishing." (Vox: 21 charts that explain how the US is changing) Image used with permission.

Morning Video: Rural Schools Grapple With Influx Of Migrant Children

 

"A federal law meant to protect children allows unaccompanied minors from countries that don't border the U.S. to stay on American soil during their deportation proceedings. While they wait, they're also entitled to a public education." (Migrant Children School | Al Jazeera America)

AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Begins

Hand scorers sought for online Common Core tests EdSource Today: Tests are computerized, but humans needed to score critical thinking. See also Columbus Dispatch: New standardized tests go deeper but chew up time, Miami Herald, THE Journal, Orlando Sentinel.

Unions, Charter Supporters Eyeing Los Angeles Board Runoffs Teacher Beat: The fallout from runoff elections, to be held in May, could influence contract negotiations with the city teachers' union.

NY charter movement vies for dominance with teachers unions AP: Charter schools and their supporters, meanwhile, poured money into the fight. The group Families for Excellent Schools reported more than $9 million in lobbying expenses in 2014. NYSUT reported less than $4 million.

Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé NYT: The Liberty City Charter School, the first of its kind in Florida and a pioneer in what became a national movement, is now defunct.

Chronic truancy in D.C. high schools still rampant despite new laws Washington Post: Despite intensified efforts to improve school attendance rates in D.C. Public Schools, more than half of high school students — 56 percent —were considered ”chronically truant” during the 2013-2014 school year, after accumulating 10 or more unexcused absences, according to a report scheduled to be released Monday by the Children’s Law Center and D.C. Lawyers for Youth. See also Marshall Project.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Week 2 Of Common Core Testing Begins" »

Quotes: When School Reform Meets Democracy

Quotes2If you begin from the premise that you can not convince parents, then I doubt the wisdom of your entire plan for their children. I say that as someone who is unconvinced that teachers should be tenured.

 - The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates (When School Reform and Democracy Meet)

Journalism: White Reporters & Students Of Color

There's been a LOT of discussion this past week or so about important issues surrounding race, class, and privilege among school reformers and reform critics.

But what about the editors and reporters who cover education issues -- and whose work is read by the public and policymakers who are making real-life education decisions every day?

The truth of the matter is that it's not just the education reform movement and its critics who are predominantly white & appear otherwise privileged. 

I know, race is just a social construct. Class is probably more important. Not everyone identifies according to the apparent color of their skin or their national origin. A person doesn't have to be from the community they're writing about to do the job well. (For the record, this post is being written by a white male who has been private-school educated all for all but a few community college Spanish language classes.) 

But let's be clear. Many if not most of the journalists writing about education for a national audience are white, too, and do not appear to come from the neighborhoods and schools that they may spend much of their time covering. For example, there aren't any people of color covering national education issues at The Washington Post. The education team at Politico is entirely white (and female), though founding education editor Nirvi Shah may identify as a person of color. Last I looked, the education team at NPR is entirely white other than Claudio Sanchez (Juana Summers was briefly on the education team before moving over to covering Congress). 

You get the idea. And no matter how smart, hard-working, or privilege-aware these journalists may be, it seems hard to imagine that the cultural distance between reporters and poor minority students doesn't play a role of some kind.  

The issue of cultural sensitivity and journalism has come up most recently among a handful of critics of NPR's "Serial" podcast, which was (tangentially) about magnet school kids in Baltimore.  I wrote about this line of thinking -- and the lack of similar criticism for last year's This American Life segments on Harper High -- not too long ago (Why's "Serial" Getting So Much More Pushback Than "Harper High"?).

But the best examples may come from the recent conflicts between reform advocates and critics in which race and class have been explicit topics of the debate - when Newark's Cami Anderson is under attack for being a white interloper in a black community, or when Chicago's Rahm Emanuel is accused of being a racist murderer by the head of the Chicago Teachers Union.

These are situations in which a white reporter is probably somewhat less comfortable than a person of color, and though I have no way of knowing for sure I'm imagining that there's some influence on the coverage that's produced.

The current reality is that most education reporters have more in common, racially and otherwise, with educators (still mostly white, college-educated women), and with well-educated parents who are making decisions about their own children's education.

The good news is that there are a handful of people writing about education who are (or may consider themselves to be) persons of color.Last year, EWA held a panel session on covering communitiees of color, which was to my knowledge the first such example.  

But there's obviously a lot more work to be done in terms of diversifying the community and educating it as well.  Let's get started!

Meantime, here's a partial list that I'm hoping you can help me complete: 

Daarel Burnette II is the bureau chief of ChalkbeatTN. Brian Charles is a Chalkbeat New York reporter. ProPublica's Nikole Hannah-Jones writes about education, as does Marian Wang.  More names, in no particular order: Juan Perez Chicago Tribune; Dropout Nation's RiShawn Biddle; Melissa Sanchez at Catalyst Chicago; Christina Armario at AP; Vanessa Romo at LA School Report; Motoko Rich at the NYT (also Brent Staples on the editorial page and columnist Charles Blow); Teresa Watanabe at the LA Times. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates doesn't write about education but he writes about issues that surround education.   

Related posts: This More Diverse List Of Top Education Tweeters Needs More Names*Atlantic Story Highlighting "Racial Gerrymandering" Named Magazine Award FinalistLast Week's Problematic New Yorker Parent Opt-Out Story;

AM News: NYC's Diversity Problem, Districts' Teacher Assignment Problem

Lack of Diversity Persists in Admissions to New York City’s Elite High Schools NYT:  Five percent of the students offered placement in eight specialized high schools were black and 7 percent were Hispanic, according to statistics released on Thursday. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Study: Novices Often Teach the Youngest, Neediest Students in Their Schools EdWeek: A new study finds that novice math teachers in a large urban district are more likely to teach the youngest and neediest students in their schools.

Teacher union will consider supporting Galatzan's opponent in Los Angeles Unified election LA Daily News: While Los Angeles Unified School Board member Tamar Galatzan handily defeated a field of five challengers in Tuesday's primary election, the teachers union said it will now consider supporting her opponent in the May 19 runoff. See also LA School Report.

After a series of defeats, opponents of Common Core open new fronts in battle against standards Hechinger Report: Legislators 19 states introduced bills to repeal the Common Core this session. So far none have succeeded. Repeal bills in even the reddest states – states like Mississippi, Arizona, and both Dakotas – have failed to make it to governors’ desks this year. See also SI&A Cabinet Report:  Wyoming flips in support of science Common Core.

[For a roundup of actual opt-out numbers being reported in local NJ papers -- quite small in all but 4 affluent areas -- check out NJ Left Behind here.]

Gender Fluid Generation Medium: In many ways, it seems like gender non-conformity awareness is at all-time high. Last week Congressman Mike Honda announced via Twitter that he was the “proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild.” But schools are still catching up with the needs of gender nonconforming students. Last year, California’s first law protecting gender nonconforming students went into effect. It gives Jace the right to use the bathroom of his choice.

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

Continue reading "AM News: NYC's Diversity Problem, Districts' Teacher Assignment Problem" »

Anniversaries: Belated 8th Anniversary Congrats To Larry Ferlazzo

It's hard to find a more useful, far-ranging, and long-running blog than the one California teacher Larry Ferlazzo has been running the last eight years. And so its easy for me to wish him a hearty Eighth Anniversary (just a few weeks late!).  

What makes Larry's work so notable is that he shares and collects so prodigiously, and his work isn't anywhere near as narcissistic as most of us online tend to be.  Some example blog posts include: New Resources On Race & Racism. Or let Larry tell you: What Have Been My Most Popular Posts? His personal favorites are here, As you will see, Ferlazzo's work spans classrooms and courthouses.

Related posts: This ELL Teacher Has *Way* More Klout Than YouBlogger / ELL Teacher Makes The New York TimesPraise For This Site From A Very High High PlaceBloggers Write Books, Too

Quotes: Two Problems With Ed Journalism These Days, Says Charter Advocate

Quotes2First, education reporters too often do not have a firm enough grasp on the data for the issues which they are covering. Second, too much of education reporting is about raising or lowering the status of specific individuals, rather than examining the root causes of school system dysfunction.

- Neerav Kingsland (What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Charter School Performance)

Related posts: : Washington Post Doubles Down In National CoverageAbout That Front-Page Washington Post StoryThe Washington Post's Wacky Montgomery County CoverageSan Diego Union-Tribune Corrects Washington Post Poverty Headline.

Morning Video: Realizing That Your Childhood School Experiences Are Different

 

"Here I was, right outside my elementary school, [and] somebody’s pulling out a gun. And it was very clear that that was different." In this Bill Moyers interview from last Spring, the Atlantic writer Ta-Nehesi Coates describes an after-school experience that raised his awareness and shaped his interest in journalism.

See the whole interview here. See below for my little collection of quotes and references to Coates and education. Tell me if I've missed any good ones at @alexanderrusso.

Related posts: What They're Saying About That New Yorker ArticleThis More Diverse List Of "Top Education Tweeters"AFT Sponsors Atlantic Magazine Education Event "I Did Not Have a Culture of Scholastic High Achievement Around Me"Bolstering The "Clueless Reformer" CritiqueHe's Referring To The NYC Department Of Education, Right?.

AM News: Big Action In New York, LA, & Boston (Yes, Boston)

A Charter School Rally Duels With Teachers’ Unions in Albany NYT: Charter schools and teachers’ unions from New York City gathered for competing events and to press their causes in Albany. See also ChalkbeatNYWNYC, Albany Times Union

Election sets stage for L.A. Unified battle LA Times: The election results were not exactly the outcome the union had hoped for. A charter schools group, which emerged as a major force in the elections, made significant strides. In a contest that United Teachers Los Angeles fought hard to win, union-backed incumbent Bennett Kayser finished second to charter school founder Ref Rodriguez. See also LA School Report.

Boston Selects New Superintendent of Schools District Dossier: The city's education officials chose Tommy Chang, an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, from a field of four finalists. See also Boston Globe.

New 'Consumer Reports' for Common Core finds learning materials lacking Washington Post:  The initial report posted Wednesday examined materials that have at least a 10 percent market share and were endorsed by at least two states that said the materials were aligned with the Common Core.

GOP Education Chairman Anticipates Vote on Education Bill AP: Kline said he was "taken by surprise" by the opposition he says appears to have been fueled largely by a blog that said the bill would solidify the use of the standards and insert government control into private schools. Kline said the bill would do neither. He said opposition from the Heritage Action for America and Club for Growth also contributed to members' concerns.

Around The World, This Is How Girls And Boys Are Stacking Up Against Each Other In School HuffPost: Girls are now going to school longer than boys and significantly outperform boys in reading. Across countries examined in the report, boys are more likely to post low scores in math, reading and science. See also Washington Post.

More Children Eat Fruit in School, Study Shows NYT: The study found that from the time new nutritional guidelines went into effect in 2012 through last year, the percentage of students choosing fruits increased to 66 percent from 54 percent.

Body cameras for cops but classrooms too? SI&A Cabinet Reoprt:  Instances of children with little to no verbal skills facing verbal or physical abuse at the hands of a special education instructor or a class aid have been documented even though it can be difficult for those children to express that he or she needs help.  

Update: Petrilli's Surprise Apology -- & CitizenStewart's Difficult Choices

Stewart twitterChris Stewart, the blogger who (among others) successfully called out mostly white male middle aged reform critics for their "belief gap" over this past weekend, scored another victory today with a seemingly heartfelt apology from Fordham's Mike Petrilli over an Education Next cover story on single parents. 

But there are some reasons to wonder whether Stewart's successes have been as strong as it might have seemed -- or could have been.

For starters, the Petrilli apology for being goading and insensitive is nothing more than that.  There's no offer to change the cover, retraction of the issue, or change the all-white panel that's accompanying the magazine issue.  

I'm not sure there was more that Stewart et al could have hoped to get -- I wasn't even sure Petrilli would feel the need to apologize given how impervious he's been to criticism in the past and how much he generally delights in stirring things up.  So kudos for that, but still, it's just an apology (and more attention for Petrilli's event).

Somewhat more important, Stewart and others could be seen to have given up the chance to solidify what may be a larger, more fundamental point in the school reform wars by turning to fire on Petrilli and the offensive magazine cover. In so doing, he essentially let Gary Rubinstein, Anthony Cody, and other reform critics off the hook for their incessant criticism of poor minority student success (and the stunning lack of diversity among those who say they're advocating for poor minority children) - for now, at least. 

So again, it was an impressive series of Twitter offensives by Stewart and others, who are bringing up incredibly important and difficult issues for the reform community and its critics alike. I don't want any of that to stop, and was happy to have been included in the conversation and to have helped it along in some small way (probably not).

But I guess the question is whether it's more important from that point of view  to take on reform critics like Cody and Rubinstein (and Ravitch -- where was she?) or to take on reform allies like Petrilli. Perhaps the mostly white male reform community needs awareness raising as much as the mostly white reform critic community. Yeah, it probably does. Perhaps both can be done at the same time. That's probably the hope and aim. But alas, I'm not sure such a thing is possible. 

What do you think?

Related posts: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap"Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders? Image via Twitter. 

Afternoon Panel: Evaluating Advocacy In 3 States (LA, TN, and NC)



Figuring out whether advocacy efforts "work" -- or what that even means -- is one of education advocates' biggest challenges.  Executing an effective advocacy effort is another. With that in mind, you might want to check out today's panel on advocacy evaluation at Brookings, and read the report (Measuring and understanding education advocacy) that's being discussed, which focuses on Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. 

Thompson: "A Place for Us"?

After NPR's Wade Goodwyn’s moving report, One Night Only, about two dozen homeless singers performing at the Dallas City Performance Hall, I wiped tears from my eyes and made a resolution. This wonderful event must be celebrated, but I vowed to not use it as ammunition in our edu-political civil war.

The orchestra began to play "Somewhere" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story," and the homeless singers were "still a bit wobbly" as they joined in. After all, only about five of them were regular members of the chorus.  Choral director Jonathan Palant had worked with 57 different choir singers over the last three months.

Then, Goodwyn reported, "Suddenly, a world-famous opera singer appears on the stage, seemingly out of nowhere. Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade walks into the middle of the Dallas Street Choir and puts her arms around two of the singers."

Together, they sing, There's a place for us. Somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air wait for us somewhere.

Goodwyn noticed "a lot of surreptitious wiping of eyes.” As a hundred other trained voices joined in, the homeless singers grew far more confident and melodious. "It was an evening they said they'd remember the rest of their lives."

But, Goodwyn's final words were nearly as striking in their pessimism, "For a night, two dozen of Dallas's homeless were lifted from the city's cold streets and sidewalks to bask in the warm glow of spotlights. For the usual hostility and indifference to their fate, they were traded love, respect and goodwill - one performance only."

Then, I read Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialogue post on the Gates Foundation’s new effort to address complex and interrelated housing problems.

Continue reading "Thompson: "A Place for Us"?" »

Quotes: Governor Walkers Education Accomplishments, Fact-Checked

Quotes2Our school scores are better. Our ACT scores are second best in the country. Graduation rate’s up over the past four years. Reading scores are up over the past four years, because we put the power back in the hands of the hard working taxpayers and the people they elect to run their school boards. - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at last week's CPAC (Washington Post Scott Walker’s exaggerated education claims)

“.”

Morning Video: Universal Preschool In Iceland Helps Reduce Child Poverty

Opinion: What the United States can learn from Iceland
 "Meet the poorest kids in Iceland, a country with a low child poverty rate and nearly universal enrollment in early education, starting at age 2. In America, meanwhile, despite advances in many states, only 40% of 3-year-olds are enrolled." (How to end child poverty in America CNN).

AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next

School Districts Report Second Day Of Testing Problems StateImpact FL:  The Tampa Bay Times reports Tampa-area schools had to suspend some testing for a second day. Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he won’t resume testing until the state can prove everything is working. Palm Beach school also will not test students on Wednesday. See also Bradenton Herald: State testing in Manatee County sees online delay but no need to suspend testing, ABC7 Common Core testing begins in California next week.

LAUSD Board Members in Runoff NBC SoCal: Los Angeles Unified School District board members Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic will have to compete in a May 19 runoff election as they fight to retain their seats, while incumbent George McKenna won re-election thanks to having no challengers. See also LA Times: One incumbent trails charter-school backed challenger in L.A. board balloting.

Taking the same road to Albany, education lobbying events on divergent paths ChalkbeatNY:  They’re lobbying with the same goal in mind — to push policies that will improve public education — but what they’re asking for couldn’t look more different. Here are four things to know about Wednesday’s festivities.

School Agenda Bedevils Chicago Mayor in Race NYT: As Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago faces an unexpected runoff election, it is his education agenda that threatens his political future. See also Tribune: Emanuel says CPS had no choice but to back down in testing controversy.

Chris Christie’s bold plan to remake public schools is running into trouble Washington Post: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went on a publicity blitz when he vowed to fix this city’s struggling schools with the most expansive re-engineering of urban education anywhere in the country.He told Oprah Winfrey in 2010 that Newark would become a “national model.”  See also HuffPost: Unions Say They'll Sue Christie Again Over Pension Payments, Courier Post: Gov. Chris Christie's shifting position on Common Core.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Pockets Of Trouble For FL District Testing; CA Is Up Next" »

Parents: Housing-Based School Assignment Gets A Black Eye In The Bay Area

That's parent Hamlet Garcia, whom as you may recall was taken to court over his daughter's attendance at a wealthy high performing school district.  

The latest example of parents accused of "stealing" a better education for their children (and the problems of housing-based school assignment comes from Orinda, California, where the child of a live-in nanny was disenrolled by the district and told to attend school where she lives on weekends. A new state bill aims to prevent kids of live-in caregivers from being booted from local schools. Read more about it here and here.

Remember also that Elizabeth Warren, the liberal left's favorite non-candidate for President, is against housing-based school assignment. (See:  Your Favorite Liberal Lawmaker Supports Universal Vouchers*More Questions About Warren's Pro-Choice Views)

Related posts: 8 States Where Faking A School Address Can Get Parents Jail Time [OK, MO, IL, MI, OH, NY, PA, DC].

Maps: Why Won't Anyone Make A Map Of Common Core Test Start Dates?

Common Core Status Map   College and Career State Standards  State Legislation UpdateI still haven't found a map giving start dates for states' Common Core testing windows but in the meantime check out this NCSL map showing where states are on Common Core implementation. The state-by-state assessment consortia map from NCSL is here. Images used with permission.

NB: ME and TN are conducting a review at the request of a state agency. NB2: Other than some big problems in Dade and Broward Counties (FLA), I haven't seen or read about any districtwide testing problems (yet). 

Quotes: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker On Eliminating ISIS Teachers

Quotes2We must identify the people who are teaching ISIS their tactics – in other words, their teachers – and eliminate them. I did that in Wisconsin and I can do it in Iraq and Syria... Behind every problem, there are teachers you need to get rid of.

- Scott Walker (Walker Vows To Detroy ISIS Teachers via Andy Borowitz

Journalism: KPCC Shows The Right Way To Correct A Story In 2 Easy Steps

CORRECTION  LAUSD board president outpacing challengers in finances  endorsements   89.3 KPCC

Kudos to the team at KPCC Southern California Public Radio for showing how to correct a story online (and for reminding us that UTLA and SEIU have split on endorsing the sitting board chair, Richard Vladovic).

Step 1 is to indicate in the headline that the story has been corrected.  KPCC goes with CORRECTED, but in my view an asterisk is also fine.

Step 2 is to indicate at the top of the story that there's been a change and what it is. Regretting the error is a classy flourish, though many news outlets can't seem to bring themselves to do so. 

That's it.  Not so hard, right?

Corrections should be avoided at all costs, but they're also inevitable given the pace of work and complexity of the issues. How you respond to them makes all the difference to readers and sources.

Related posts: Story Corrections Should Be Indicated At The TopNYT Front-Pager Mis-Identifies Ed Trust PresidentFiveThirty-Eight Stumbles Out Of The GateNYT Error Leaves Asians Out Of NYC Gifted & Talented Program.

Morning Video: What's Next For PARCC Testing In Chicago

Watch here for more about Chicago's sudden reversal on the Common Core testing question, or click here for a CBS News segment on parents opting out.

AM News: Tuesday Common Core Testing Canceled In Dade & Broward (Anywhere Else?)

New Assessment Tests Canceled In Dade & Broward For Tuesday CBS Miami:  While some schools were not able to log into the online system, others that were able to access the system found that it worked so slowly that it was very difficult to proceed. See also FSA News: FSA Writing Test Postponed Amid Technical Issues | Sunshine State News;The Blaze: Test Based on Common Core Standards Sees Tech Glitches, Protests

LAUSD board president outpacing challengers in finances, endorsements KPCC: He did not get the endorsement of UTLA, the teachers union, which did not throw its support behind any candidate in the District 7 race.[But] the California School Employees Association, Service Employees International Union and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles have all endorsed Vladovic. Vladovic has also won endorsement from the California Charter Schools Association,which advocates for charter school expansion. See also LA School Report.

Robert Gordon Leaves as Ed. Dept. Advisor PK12: Gordon will be joining the College Board, a nonprofit organization. He'll serve as senior vice-president of finance and strategy. 

Pennsylvania Governor Appoints New Head of Philly School Commission District Dossier: The move comes nearly two weeks after the commission approved five of 39 applications for new charter schools. The governor wanted all the applications denied.

Hundreds attend rally to 'Call Out Cuomo' in Massena North Country Now: Hundreds of people attended a Saturday afternoon "Call Out Cuomo" educational rally at Massena High School. About a dozen speakers, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, stood onstage... See also Capital New York: Charter, union messaging creates New York echo chamber

Ex-Atlanta School Superintendent, Charged In Cheating Case, Dies At 68 NPR: In 2009, Beverly Hall was named national superintendent of the year largely based on her district's improved standardized test scores. But those scores soon came under scrutiny. See also NYT, AP, District DossierAJC.

Chicago ends standoff, agrees to give new state test WBEZ: Indeed, there are just three weeks between now and the end of the school year when CPS will not be giving some kind of standardized test. One of those weeks is spring break. Of course, not all students will have to take all of the tests and not all students are taking the test every day. But, Katten said, it’s still disruptive to the school environment. See also District Dossier.

Decision in ‘free-range’ case does not end debate about parenting and safety WAMU: The Maryland parents who let their children walk home from a park in Silver Spring were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over their views on parenting and children’s safety.

Congress-Watching: 5 Lessons From Friday's Embarrassing "Surprise" ESEA Reauthorization Meltdown

The AP called it a "political embarrassment" for Republicans in charge of Congress, but it might just as well have been called an embarrassment for pundits and journalists covering the process.  

On Friday afternoon, the House scuttled debate on the reauthorization of ESEA, the federal education law currently known as No Child Left Behind. -- and it seems like nobody other than Dropout Nation's Rishawn Biddle seems to have anticipated that such a thing might happen. 

That's right. Not Politico.  Not Politics K-12.  Not AP.  Not the Washington Post. Not Petrilli, Hess, Smarick, or any of those Fordham/AEI folks, either. (Not anyone on the D. side, either, that I know of.)

Looking back, it seems obvious that this was a possibility.  The House and Senate were dealing with a tough political issue with much greater urgency. Conservative Republicans hated the Committee-passed version of the bill. This has happened before.  In 2013, a Republican ESEA reauthorization got pulled.  

And to be fair, political reporters and pundits were surprised about the DHS funding failure, too. Even Boehner said he didn't know what was going to happen on DHS. Education issues don't get on the floor that often, and annual spending amendments are a thing of the past, so things like this are a bit of a wildcard for everyone.

Still, what happened, and how could we get better advance notice in the future? Check out my 5 Lessons below - and add or correct them here or at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "Congress-Watching: 5 Lessons From Friday's Embarrassing "Surprise" ESEA Reauthorization Meltdown" »

Thompson: Oklahoma City Makes Top Ten (Suspending Black Secondary Students)

I didn’t want to blog about Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap? by Daniel Losen et. al. I support the efforts of Losen and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies to close the racial “discipline gap.” Students can’t learn if they are not in class and we need to invest in Restorative Justice, and other alternatives to suspensions.  

We can’t punish our way to improved classrooms. Neither is it possible to systematically teach and learn for mastery in violent and chaotic schools, and Losen’s report calls for the remedies necessary to create safe, orderly, and caring learning environments. I just worry about the lack of an explicit push for the resources that would be necessary to replace the failed suspension-oriented approach to discipline.

I didn't want to touch the issue of disparate suspensions because I fear that systems will respond with data-driven pressure on teachers and principals to ignore disruptive and dangerous behavior, and refuse to invest the money and the focus necessary to replace suspensions with positive interventions. 

Then, I read the Oklahoma Gazette’s summary of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies’ report, and its link to data from my last year in the classroom, 2009-2010. Ben Felder reports that the “Oklahoma City Public Schools is one of the top ten highest-suspending districts at the secondary level for all students, and is the highest suspending district in the nation for black secondary students.” Moreover, between 2010 and 2012, “overall suspension rates at the high school level also increased from 24.7 percent to 45.2 percent during the same period.” 

The latest database shows that at the secondary level, OKCPS “suspension rates for black students climbed dramatically from 36.3% to 64.2%.” That increase of 27.9 points means that the district had a seemingly unbelievable increase in the black secondary student suspension rate of 80% in two years. 

At the risk of angering many friends, who often blame teachers’ “Low Expectations” for discipline problems, I must still argue that the racial disparities in Oklahoma City are primarily due to segregation by race and class, and poverty made worse by underfunding of schools.

Continue reading "Thompson: Oklahoma City Makes Top Ten (Suspending Black Secondary Students)" »

Common Core: Chicago Will Administer New Tests Next Week After All

CPS Letter to ISBE Feb242015

In a complete but not entirely unexpected reversal, CPS announced that it would require all schools to administer the new Common Core assessment next week, as required by the state and the USDE as a condition of funding. Sun Times here passes along speculation that the previous position was a City Hall-inspired effort to win votes from mostly white liberal parents concerned about overtesting for last week's election (in which case Rahm just gave his opponents a big issue). The Tribune here notes that technological limits are not the issue for most Chicago schools, and that CPS was under repeated funding threats from the state (though I'm not sure anyone believed CPS would be defunded over Common Core).

Update: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media

For the last few years, claims of success by reform supporters -- a high-poverty school where students are learning at high levels, say -- have regularly been met with detailed takedowns from the likes of Diane Ravitch or Gary Rubinstein, followed by a swarm of followups from reform critics and allies.

But over the weekend things took a somewhat different turn (at least on Sunday, when I last checked in), and it was the mostly white, mostly male reform critics like Rubinstein and Cody who were on the hotseat for expressing a "belief gap" from a handful of Chris Stewart kicked things off (and storified the exchange below).

A number of new voices showed up -- new to me, at least -- in addition to familiar names like Anthony Cody, John Thompson, and Gary Rubinstein.  As you'll see, the issue of research into teacher bias came up several times, including studies like this and this. And 

It wasn't pretty, or conclusive, or anything else. Both sides of this debate have long sufferered from too few black and brown voices and leaders, and still do. But it was somewhat different from the Twitter exchanges I've been following and writing about for the last few years.

Related posts: Reform Opponents Are Winning Online (For Now)Shame On Reform Allies Who Let Rhee Critics "Get Away With It"Who Influences Education Coverage Better -- Reform Critics Or Funders?

Continue reading "Update: New Voices Challenging Reform Critics' "Belief Gap" On Social Media" »

Morning Video: Race, Reconstruction, & The Nation

In case you missed it like I did, here's The Nation's panel on race and reconstruction, featuring the magazine's work on race over 150 years. Also be sure to check out the background blog posts, including this one about the era from the segregation ban to Nelson Mandela's time (The Nation).

AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week

As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out NYT: About a dozen of their classmates, however, will be elsewhere. They will sit in a nearby art room, where they will read books, do a little drawing and maybe paint. What they will not do is take the test, because they and their parents have flatly refused. See also Yakima Herald: Common Core exams begin soon, and many school districts are ready to go; Philly.com: Monday the day for controversial student testing in New Jersey; WFLA: Florida Standards testing begins across state.

The snow conundrum: How a school system decides whether to open Washington Post: Todd Watkins had been following the snow forecasts closely. By the time he climbed out of bed in the darkness of 2 a.m., he didn’t think a storm would wallop the Washington region. But he thought it was possible that Montgomery’s schools would open after a delay. See also HuffPost: Teachers Ensure Poor Kids Are Fed On Snow Days When They Can't Get Free School Lunch

Contentious teacher-related policies moving from legislatures to the courts Washington Post: The latest foray into the courtroom began Feb. 13, when New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York.

Jeb Bush stands firm on controversial immigration, educationpolicies at CPAC Fox News: Rubio used his time to target Obama's foreign policies, focusing mostly on Iran's nuclear threat. During his speech, Rubio said America needed a leader who understands that the way to defeat the Islamic State “wasn't to give him a job,” referencing ...

No Child Left Behind debate in the House suspended Washington Post: The House suspended floor debate on a Republican bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind on Friday afternoon, with party leaders saying they had to shift the chamber’s focus to debate funding the Department of Homeland Security. See also AP: House Republican Leaders Scrap Education Vote.

Can 'Chuy' give Rahm a run for his money? Tribune: A 2012 teachers strike, among other confrontations, led Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis to form an exploratory committee for mayor last year. After she withdrew for health reasons, she asked Garcia, a former state senator, alderman and ...  See also NBC: Karen Lewis: I Could Have Won

Jimmy Kimmel got doctors to swear at cameras to convince people to get vaccinated HuffPost: "Here in LA, there are schools in which 20 percent of the children aren't vaccinated," Kimmel said, "because parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox."

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

Continue reading "AM News: More States Begin Common Core Testing This Week" »

Quotes: SEIU Could Play Decisive Role In Chicago (As It Has In LA)

Quotes2Now that we have a runoff, we are going to take a very close, serious look at the race. The neutrality vote we took was a vote in the first round. This is now a different election.

--  SEIU Local 1 political operative Jerry Morrison in the Sun-Times (SEIU may join mayor race).

In Chicago's case, SEIU would likely join CTU in opposing Mayor Emanuel. In LA, SEIU Local 99 has been an independent player on education issues, joining with and splitting from UTLA depending on the issue and/or candidate.

Advocacy: 50CAN Does Reformy Things (Somewhat) Differently

2015 Policy Goals   50CANAs you may recall, 50CAN launched in 2010 at roughly the same time as StudentsFirst, but has followed an interesting and somewhat distinct path in the intervening five years compared to other national networks of reform-minded advocacy groups like StudentsFirst and Stand For Children and DFER that all seemed to sprout up around the same time.  

Check out the organization's new state-by-state goals Policy Goals, which are largely state-developed rather than predetermined by the national or its funders, and you'll get a sense for what I mean.  I'm also told that the organization doesn't pick states to go into anymore, but rather gives out planning grants to folks who think they might be interested in putting something together -- 80 in 28 states last year -- and go from there.  Call it an advocacy incubator. They're also running a Policy 101 course (there's still time to sign up), and advocacy workshops.

Related posts: AEI Philanthropy/Advocacy Event (HotSeat Interview: 50CAN Creator Marc Porter Magee50CAN Action Fund Focuses On RI & MNWinn Leaving 50CAN To Head New TFA InitiativeWhere The Shiny New Advocacy Groups Are* [were].

 

 

Journalism: Let's Focus On What Actually Happens -- Not What *Might* Happen*

As Politico recently noted, statehouse efforts to turn the Common Core and its assessments back seem to have peaked since last year. The number of states with repeal efforts repeated this year is down from 22 to 19.  "So far, they’ve fared poorly," notes Stephanie Simon.

But you wouldn't necessarily know this from reading national education news stories, which tend to focus on the handful of rollbacks that have taken back and the slew of proposed rollbacks that have been proposed, or passed out of committee, or made it out of a legislative chamber.  In other words, proposals that *might* happen, but haven't yet become reality -- and probably won't, given the way these things usually pan out. 

I have yet to see an AP, Washington Post*, New York Times, or NPR story about this -- or for that matter anything along these lines from Huffington Post, Reuters, Hechinger, etc. (Please let me know if I've missed anything relevant.*) The issue might have been discussed at yesterday's #EWAcore media training in Denver but the focus there seemed to be on the substance of the standards and tests rather than the national trends and coverage thereof. 

None of this is to say that repeal and slowdown efforts are gone: NSCL says that there are roughly 450 CCSS-related proposals in the works this session. "Total number of bills that would halt implementation of Common Core State Standards: 39 bills (in 19 states) Total number of bills that would halt use of Common Core State Standards-related assessments, i.e., PARCC or Smarter Balanced: 36 bills (in 17 states)."

But if this year is like last year, these new efforts will fare just as badly as last year's.  And if this year is like last year, most newspaper and news site readers will hear mostly about the proposals and what they would do, rather than the actual track record of these proposals and their actual chances of enactment.  

Proposals are great, people -- easy to sell to editors and full of hope or fear for those involved -- but enactment (or at least a realistic chance at passage)  is what counts.  We do readers and ourselves a disservice when we lose track of the larger storyline, creating an impression (in this case, of widespread rollbacks) that doesn't match reality.

NCSL's CCSS tracker is here. There's a spreadsheet showing what's been proposed and whether it's moved here.

*UPDATE: Earlier this week, the Washington Post's GovBeat page (never heard of it!) had a story about failed Common Core repeal efforts.

Listen: President Obama Tells Teen He Has "This Strength" Inside Himself

 

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As you might have heard on NPR this morning, President Obama and a teen named Noah McQueen did a StoryCorps interview.  

 

AM News: Newark Supe. Renewal, LA Teachers Rally, Chicago Testing Standoff

Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson Gets Contract Renewal District Dossier: Anderson and the state signed a three-year contract last year, but it required both parties to agree to an extension each year.

LA Teachers, Union Leaders Rally Amid Stalled Talks AP: The Los Angeles standoff has focused mostly on teacher salaries, class sizes and increasing the number of support staff members like nurses and counselors. The union notes that teachers have gone eight years without a salary increase or cost-of-living adjustment. See also LA Daily News: Teachers rally in downtown Los Angeles.

Standoff over new state school test continues Chicago Public Radio: Suburban parents gathered downtown Thursday to express their own concerns with the test. They want state lawmakers to approve an opt-out bill that would give parents the right to refuse to have their children tested. As it stands now, by law, the only way to refuse the test is for students to verbally state they won't take it.  

In Dig at De Blasio, Cuomo Defends His Plan for Failing Schools WNYC: Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a vigorous defense of his plan to turnaround failing schools, one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio went to Albany and argued for an alternative. See also NYDN: De Blasio warns of flaws in Cuomo's education agenda

More teachers writing their own curricula under Common Core, says new report Hechinger Report via PBS NewsHour: The Center on Education Policy (CEP), a nonpartisan research group, reports that in roughly two-thirds of districts in Common Core states, teachers have developed or are developing their own curricular materials in math (66 percent) and English Language Arts (65 percent). In more than 80 percent of districts, the CEP found that at least one source for curriculum materials was local — from teachers, the district itself or other districts in the state. See also Washington Post: The Republican curriculum on Common Core.

Farmington teacher on paid leave after giving state testing opt-out forms to students Farmington Daily Times: Sharon Yocum, an Esperanza Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, was informed by a member of the Farmington Municipal School District administration Thursday morning that she would be placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation for alleged unprofessional conduct.

Continue reading "AM News: Newark Supe. Renewal, LA Teachers Rally, Chicago Testing Standoff" »

Afternoon Video: That "Humans Of New York" Principal Was Thinking Of Quitting

"Just earlier this year, Nadia Lopez was ready to quit her job at Mott Hall Bridges Academy" -- a school she'd founded in 2010 in the poorest neighborhood in New York City. "Four years later, though, she worried her work wasn't influencing the community." (via The Atlantic: Meet Ms. Lopez of Mott Hall Bridges Academy)

 

#TBT: A Look At This Mythical 2010 Seating Chart Shows Big Turnover In Ed Media

Take a look at this 2010 chart -- a made-up seating chart for a nonexistent USDE briefing room setup and you'll get a pretty vivid idea of how much has changed in national education coverage over the past five years (A Map To Coverage Of National Education News): 

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

So much has changed, I know! USA Today's Toppo is splitting duties on other issues (like demographics). The WSJ's Banchero is gone (to Joyce), replaced by Brody. PK12's McNeil is gone (to the College Board), replaced by Klein and Camera. The NYT's Dillon is gone (to retirement, I think), replaced by Rich. Winerip is gone (to other beats), and the column has sat empty since he left. At the Washington Post, Mathews is gone (to LA, at least), though he's still columnizing from there. AP has changed over. Colbert is gone (as we know him), replaced by... nothing so far as I can tell.  Sanchez has been joined by Kamenetz and Turner. Politico's education page didn't exist back then. Huffington Post's education page wasn't launched yet, either, I guess (come back soon, Joy!).

Quotes: Chicago Illustrates Dangers Of Hasty Discipline Changes

Quotes2It's difficult to go from a zero-tolerance mentality to a restorative justice mentality, because it's a whole different way of looking at things. To really do restorative justice, there have to be certain things in place. -- CTU official Michael Brunson in the Tribune (Teachers complain about revised CPS discipline policy)

Events: Journalists Discuss Common Core (Coverage?) In Denver (Plus Map)

Here's a map of Common Core states, by assessment, from EdWeek, that I got off the #EWACore event hashtag. (All it needs is testing start/end dates for each state, right?) Agenda is here. Crossed fingers there's some (gentle?) discussion of how well/poorly media are doing covering the situation.

Related posts: Missing Context In AP's Common Core Testing StoryPlease Do A Better Job Covering Testing This Year, JournosCan Education Coverage Find Its Balance, Please? 

 

States: Few States Ban Or Freely Permit Testing Opt-Outs, Says ECS Roundup

Www.ecs.org clearinghouse 01 17 68 11768.pdf

ECS Rounds up state opt out rules: "Laws in some states — such as Arkansas and Texas — clearly prohibit opt-outs, while the law is less clear in other states. Legislation introduced in New Jersey would allow opt-outs. Similar legislation in Mississippi failed to progress. State laws in California and Utah allow parents to opt their children out of state assessments for any reason." Image used with permission.
 

AM News: Common Core Sabotage, Chicago Standoff, & ESEA Veto Threat

Unable to repeal Common Core, foes try sabotage Politico: Conservative lawmakers in state after state are running into difficulty rounding up votes to revoke the academic standards outright.. See also NJEA launches ad campaign against PARCC.

White House Issues Veto Threat Against House GOP NCLB Rewrite PK12: Why doesn't the administration like this bill? For one thing, they're not happy about what they see as a big step on back on accountability, particularly for the poor and minority kids that NCLB was designed to help. See also AP,  Obama threatens veto of House education billWhite House threatens veto of GOP bill to fix No Child Left BehindNo Child Reauthorization Has No Shot.

CPS in a bind over snub of state-mandated test, official says Tribune: Chicago school board President David Vitale said during Wednesday's board meeting that the district's effort to administer the exam to just 66 of its more than 600 schools has been "clear and consistent." But, he acknowledged, "The response we've gotten from other authorities is also clear." See also Sun-Times: Which CPS schools will be tested in 2 weeks still unknown.

De Blasio calls for permanent mayoral control of schools ChalkbeatNY: Before mayoral control, the city’s school system was balkanized,” de Blasio said. “School boards exerted great authority with little accountability and we saw far too many instances of mismanagement, waste and corruption.” See also The Atlantic: NYC's Tale of Two Pre-Ks.

Rift escalates between Los Angeles teachers, district AP: Teachers in the nation's second-largest school district are in an escalating rift with Los Angeles Unified officials over higher wages. See also LATimes: Charter school group is political force in L.A. Unified board election, LA Weekly Charter Schools Take on Charter-Hating LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser

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

Former Montgomery schools chief Joshua Starr sets up business to open way for consulting Washington Post: Montgomery County’s former superintendent, Joshua P. Starr, has established a new consulting business, according to Maryland state records and a statement relayed through the school district.The limited liability company, called Education Solutions LLC, was registered with the state Feb. 17, a day after Starr’s resignation took effect, according to online records from the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation.

'Call Out Cuomo' teachers' rally at Massena High Saturday urging residents to ... North Country Now: Carlisto said the “Call Out Cuomo” events are expected to feature American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, NYSUT President Karen E. Magee and others

Arne Duncan talks early childhood education at Alexandria school Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday got a first-hand glimpse of early childhood education in a busy Alexandria preschool classroom, where he got down on the rug with youngsters playing with blocks, chatted up students building a “neighborhood” with sand and talked to a young girl about her writing.

5 Lessons Education Research Taught Us In 2014 NPR: Lessons from a handful of the most viewed papers from the American Education Research Association last year.

Dissecting A Frog: A Middle School Rite Of Passage NPR: In science classrooms across the country, middle-schoolers will take part in an iconic activity this year: frog dissection.

Teachers complain about revised CPS discipline policy Tribune: A CPS spokesman said the district makes training available to all schools on subjects including restorative practices and classroom management. Roughly 100 (of 600) schools have "restorative practices coaches" in the building weekly, and behavioral health teams work at 66 schools. Those resources are allocated to schools based on behavioral data, the district said.

Controversial Schools Tech Contract Wins NYC Approval WNYC: A contract to expand internet access in New York City schools as well as proposals for sharing school space moved forward despite concerns. Oh, and the cell phone ban was lifted.

Employee sues LAUSD superintendent third time alleging sexual harassment KPCC: The latest suit alleges Cortines made sexual advances to Graham in 2000 soon after Cortines helped Graham get a job with the school district’s real estate leasing operations. Cortines left the school district that same year and Graham didn’t report what allegedly happened, according to the suit.

The rise of Chicago's Casimir Pulaski Day WBEZ: The story behind this most “Illinois” of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it’s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.

One District Will Have Saturday School to Make Up for Missed Days ABC News: A North Carolina school district will be in session on Saturday and parents aren't too happy. The Gaston County school district made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and on its web site.

Charts: Gentrification & Suburban Poverty Dominate Education Demographics

Screenshot 2015-02-25 15.32.16"In 1990, the highest level of education was found in the suburbs, seven to eight miles distant from the heart of Charlotte. By 2012, the Charlotte city center itself had the highest percentage of residents with college degrees." Thomas Edsall in the NYT, citing UVA research (The Gentrification Effect).

Media: So-Called "Experts" Not All That Expert (Say Experts)

Screenshot 2015-02-25 14.39.55
A new study out suggests that education 'experts' may lack expertise, in terms of academic qualifications.  The study, authored by the UofIllinois' Joel R. Malin and Christopher Lubienski, suggests that media prominence and academic qualifications aren't closely related.

However, it's no big surprise that education policy has turned away from academic expertise (and academic research, for that matter).  That's been going on for quite a while.

More importantly, the study doesn't name names, and it seems to include more individuals from the more conservative think tank experts -- AEI, Cato -- and fewer liberal or moderate ones.  For reasons I'm not quite clear on (though I'm sure others could understand), EPI is included, but not CAP or New America, or Brookings (or Fordham).  

For a list of institutional affiliations, look here. For MMFA's writeup, look here. The issue has been addressed before -- last winter in InsideHigher Ed, for example. The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives. Image courtesy EPAA. 

Thompson: Asking the Wrong Questions regarding NCLB and Testing

The Shanker Institute's Matt DiCarlo, in The Debate and Evidence on the Impact of NCLB,  issues a typically nuanced, precise and (I'd say overly) cautious summary of what quantitative researchers may have proved about the meager positive effects of NCLB, as he overlooks the extreme "mis-naepery" of non-educators who support test-driven accountability.  

DiCarlo correctly asserts that it is invalid to "use simple, unadjusted NAEP changes to prove or disprove any policy argument." But, he ignores a more meaningful and relevant reality. It is possible to use NAEP scores to disprove disingenuous claims that NAEP shows that NCLB worked. 

DiCarlo concludes that "(test-based) school accountability in general" (emphasis in the original) "tends to have moderate positive estimated effects on short-term testing outcomes in math, and typically smaller (and sometimes nil) effects in reading. (emphasis mine)

The quantitative researcher then concludes, "There is scarce evidence that test-based accountability policies have a negative impact on short-term student testing outcomes." Such a narrowly worded statement is not false.

But, DiCarlo then states that "the vast majority of evaluations of test-based accountability policies suffer from an unavoidable but nonetheless important limitation: It is very difficult to isolate, and there is mixed evidence regarding, the policies and practices that led to the outcomes." That conclusion ignores the vast body of qualitative evidence by journalists and scholars who do not limit themselves to regression studies.

Continue reading "Thompson: Asking the Wrong Questions regarding NCLB and Testing" »

AM News: Teachers Force Mayoral Runoff In Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into April runoff election WBEZ: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote Tuesday in his bid for a second term, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff who now faces a runoff this spring against CTU-endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

In Anti-Testing Push, Unions Turn to Polls, Ads TeacherBeat: The New Jersey and Connecticut state affiliates of the National Education Association are mounting aggressive campaigns.

Los Angeles Unified's teachers union faces test of organizing strength LA Daily News: The print shop below United Teachers Los Angeles' headquarters cranked out 7,500 signs for protestors to carry when they descend on downtown Thursday, demanding higher pay, fewer students per classroom and better working conditions.

The Great U.S. History Battle NPR: The College Board redesigned the framework for its Advanced Placement U.S. history course, and many conservative lawmakers aren't happy about it.

Feds Find Discrimination Against Female Athletes in NYC Schools WNYC: New York City denies violating federal law, but agrees to changes to expand high school sports options for girls.

Taylor Swift Gives $50,000 in Song Proceeds to NYC Schools AP: Global ambassador' Taylor Swift donates $50,000 in song proceeds to NYC public schools

Feds support transgender teen in civil rights suit against schools Washington Post: Federal officials have offered their support for a teen who has accused four Michigan school districts of discriminating against him because he is transgender.U.S. civil rights laws protect “all individuals from sex discrimination, including transgender individuals,” lawyers for the Justice and Education departments wrote in a statement filed in federal district court.

L.A. Schools Reboot Plan to Give Every Student a Computer District Dossier: The Los Angeles Unified district doesn't have the money to continue with plans to provide all students with a tech device, superintendent Ramon Cortines said.

D.C. Defends Plan For School That Would Serve Only Minority Boys WAMU: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to open up an all-boys high school for minority students is facing new questions from the ACLU.

Photos Of School Lunches From Around The World Will Make American Kids Want To Study Abroad HuffPost: Parents could model better eating habits and stock their crispers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but a viable starter solution might begin at lunchtime. Sweetgreen, a healthy quick-serve restaurant that values local and organic ingredients, clarified disparity between American student lunches and those of other countries by photographing typical school lunches from around the world. The visuals are eye-opening.

How Twitter is shaping the #CommonCore debate Hechinger Report: Supovitz says that ordinary citizens and grassroots groups have used Twitter to gain the type of influence – both with politicians and the mainstream media – that has traditionally been enjoyed by more established groups.

TV: Oh, No! Girls' Lena Dunham Is Going To Be A Teacher

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I'm equally horrified and fascinated with the latest plot development on the HBO show Girls, in which Lena Dunham's character Hannah drops out of her MFA writing program and decides she's going to be a teacher. Specifically, she decides she wants to help people (despite her friends' observation that she's selfish) and that she's not good at writing, and -- yes -- that "those who can't teach." (Those words are actually uttered, with an unclear amount of irony.)

In a perfect/nightmare world, she'd do TFA or something, but to Hannah even that takes too long so she's apparently just going to substitute at a private girls' school. (The episode ends with her printing out a resume and walking up to a building with the name St. Justine's on the front.)

What to think, folks? Read more here: Girls Close-Up Episode Review for some guesses as to how well/poorly she'll do, and watch the clip below for a preview of next week. Or check out Twitter, where folks seem fascinated and appalled.

Note that one of the characters on High Anxiety also doesn't know what to do and tries teaching. It doesn't go well. Plus there's the charter school/adultery thing on Togetherness, and the charter school thing on Parenthood (RIP). And let's not forget The New Girl. This may be Peak Education On TV.

 

 Image via @tvtagGirls

Social Media: New Study Suggests Journalism Being Left Out Of Education Debate

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 10.38.29 AM
There are lots of different ways to look at the new CPRE/UPennGSE report about social media and the Common Core debate, but at least one of them is to observe just how small a role journalists and non-advocacy media outlets seem to have been playing -- even in areas where you'd think that mainstream and trade publications who share out information all day would have a big advantage:

*Just 13 of 158 high-volume "transmitters" (8 percent) are journalists. "These include print, online, and radio media, and represent both non-partisan and partisan media entities." I've asked for a list.

*Just 22 (16 percent) of 139 "transceivers" (who pass information along and have their tweets shared) are journos/media outlets. They include @educationweek, @BenSwann (who?), and @ NEAMedia (not really a journalistic outlet). This is the list where journalists are strongest, relatively speaking -- journalism's wheelhouse, really. But journalists come in third. (List requested.)

*Just 3 media outlets qualify for the list of 41 "transcenders" (the elite group in the study). They are @educationweek, @StateEdWatch (penned by Andrew Ujifusa) & @ellemoxley. The report adds @NEAMedia to the list but again that's a whole different thing.  

Of course, the study is limited to tweets directly related to Common Core, and a certain time period.Other kinds of criteria would surface larger numbers of journalists and education outlets that are high-volume, high-retweet, or high-influence.

But my sense is that the report illustrates a deeper dynamic, which is that journalists and media outlets lag far behind activists on the use of Twitter, in part because of the decline in traditional journalism but even more so because of self-imposed limitations on expressing views or attempting to shape the debate. Advocates, think tankers, and even academics have a green light that journalists don't.

Also, my sense is that journalists' experience of Twitter is mostly being tweeted at by those with complaints legitimate and others.   Twitter is the "new comment section," it's being widely noted, and we all know how most journalists feel about comments. So there may be some avoidance going on.

Image used with permission. I found the PDF version easiest for word searches but maybe there are other, better ways to navigate. #htagcommoncore @cpreresearch @upennGSE.

AM News: Ramping Up For Friday's House ESEA Reauthorization Effort

More Conflict Over Cutting Federal Role in Education NYT: Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday produced data that he said showed that poorer districts would suffer under a Republican plan expected to clear the House of Representatives this week.

As House Prepares to Vote on NCLB, Advocates Push for Preschool Funding U.S. News & World Report: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, noted the first bill, passed in 1965, was a bipartisan effort, as was its reauthorization in 1994. "It would be a very good signal to America if something that has bipartisan support ...

How Would the House NCLB Rewrite Affect Funding for Minority Students? PK12: The White House report, released Tuesday, warns of cuts of more than $1.3 billion over 6 years to more than ten districts that serve high concentrations of African-American students. But, these top-line estimates, while powerful, are essentially a worst-case scenario that's highly unlikely to play out in real life, especially if you consider them over six years. There are a number of reasons why.

Schools using new tools to make teachers better Seattle Times: How to help teachers improve? A new system of in-depth observation by trained evaluators and principals, soon to be required in schools across Washington, shows what can help. See also: Seattle ranks high in suspending elementary-school students with special needs.

Suspended students lose millions of days of instruction while out of school Washington Post: Suspension rates dropped for many of the nation’s school districts — including some in the Washington region — but U.S. students still lost about 18 million days of instruction to out-of-school punishments in the 2011-2012 school year, according to research released Monday.

Suspensions at city charter schools far outpace those at district schools, data show ChalkbeatNY: One-third of charter schools reported suspending fewer than 5 percent of their students, and many schools said they did not give out any out-of-school suspensions. But 11 charter schools suspended more than 30 percent of their students — a figure likely to draw added scrutiny amid a nationwide push to reduce suspensions and a debate over allowing more charter schools to open statewide.

Chicago sets early voting record in last weekend before mayoral election WBEZ: About 90,000 Chicago voters cast their ballots during early voting, including more than 21,500 votes on Saturday, which set a single-day record for a municipal election.

Christie’s Truce With Teachers Could Pay Dividends in ’16 NYT: Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey Education Association are cooperating to grapple with the state’s crippling pension costs, and that may help the governor’s presidential ambitions.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Ramping Up For Friday's House ESEA Reauthorization Effort" »

Update: School Breakfast Struggles In NY & LA - But Not Chicago

School breakfasts for low income students -- especially those proposed by unpopular district leaders and provided in student classrooms -- can be controversial, even though it's not that new.  (The newer thing is school dinner.)

Just look to LA, where the Breakfast in the Classroom program was a major sticking point between former LAUSD head John Deasy and UTLA. If SEIU hadn't been strongly supportive of the program, the teachers might have forced a rollback. Last I read, participation had grown from 7 to 40 percent (see KPCC here). 

Or check out NYC, where Mayor De Blasio has been moving mighty slowly with the effort, despite having promised to take quick action when he was a candidate. (See WSJ: Antipoverty Advocates Say NYC Mayor Should Have Included Free Breakfast in Budget).

One place school breakfast hasn't been especially controversial has been Chicago. Yep, Chicago, where pretty much anything and everything is disputed these days.  

The program began in 2011 and the district is ahead of the rest of the state, based on SY2014 statistics from CPS.  Breakfast meals were up to 26 million (or 39 percent) last year, which isn't as big as the school lunch program but it's much newer.  Projected numbers are higher this year, according to CPS, which also says that the district is rated at or above the median for large urban school districts by the Great City Schools. This is Chicago's first year as part of the USDA's Community Eligibility Option by USDA, in which all schools in the district provide students with access to free breakfast and lunch.

Related posts: Antipoverty Advocates Say NYC Mayor Should Have Included Free Breakfast in Budget (WSJ); Nearly Half Of Low-Income Kids Don't Eat Breakfast (HuffPost); IL Among the Lowest Performing States For Free School Breakfast Participation (Progress IL); Dinner Is Now On The Menu At Schools With Poor KidsLunch, Breakfast — Now Dinner.

Movies: Best Education/Oscars2015 Tweet (That I Saw)

It's from Morgan Polikoff: "Is there some way I can include Channing Tatum in my education research? Because that needs to happen." Any other good #Oscars2015 mashups that I might have missed?

Morning Video: "Imitation Game" Writer Urges Kids To Stay Weird

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself, because I felt weird and different and I didn’t belong." Inspiring message that was sadly too late for Draven Rodriguez (the Laser Cat Yearbook kid). Or, watch the Moral March from North Carolina (via AFT). Got something better? Send it to me at @alexanderrusso@

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