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Quotes: NYC Teachers Now Favor Modified Mayoral Control

Quotes2The thing is, in New York, everyone thinks it's mayoral control or nothing. That's not the case. Every city that has mayoral control has different versions of it but the idea of mayoral control, yes, we do not want to go back to the school boards and the Board of Education.

-- UFT head Mike Mulgren in Capital New York  (Teachers' union leaders talk of changes to mayoral control) Has BdB responded yet? Doesn't this help Cuomo?

Morning Video: Karen Lewis Addresses FairTest Event (Plus Bonus Pasi Sahlberg)

 

Here's Chicago's Karen Lewis talking about testing and other issues, via Diane Ravitch. Let's pair it with a Pasi Sahlberg essay on fallacies in reform-minded teacher improvement efforts, via Valerie Strauss.

AM News: NY Teachers Call For Modified Mayoral Control

Teachers' union leaders talk of changes to mayoral control Capital NY:  The U.F.T., Mulgrew said, wants the mayor to have less control over the Panel for Educational Policy (P.E.P.), the governing body of the Department of Education. See also NYDN.

Cuomo Seeks to Link Bills on Rent Regulation and Private School Tax Credits NYT: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was trying to play mediator by getting Assembly to approve the tax credits and the Senate to continue rent regulations.

CPS acknowledges errors, takes steps to count dropouts correctly WBEZ Chicago: “CPS is committed to ensuring the accuracy of our data, and we are taking four additional concrete steps to further guarantee the integrity of our data,” Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz said in an email sent late Wednesday.

Arkansas Board Rejects Switch From PARCC to ACT, Defying Gov. Hutchinson State EdWatch: The Arkansas Times reported that the board's 7-1 vote not to switch to the ACT Aspire test for 2015-16 school year was a "surprising rebuke" of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Student teaching key to teacher retention, report says EdSource Today: The report, “A Million New Teachers are Coming: Will they be Ready to Teach?” found that 82 percent of teachers who were trained by  UTRU, which partners with both San Francisco Unified and Aspire, the charter school organization that has 36 schools in California, were still teaching after five years on the job. In contrast... only 28 percent of TFA's teachers remain in the profession after five years.

Police Allegedly Enrolled Kids in School Illegally Washington Post: The District is suing two D.C. police officers for more than $224,000 in back tuition and penalties for allegedly enrolling their three children in D.C. public schools while they lived outside the District.

Texas Teacher Fired After Disturbingly Racist Post In Response To Pool Party Incident HuffPost: A teacher has been "relieved of her teaching duties" after posting a racist Facebook rant in response to recent events at a McKinney, Texas, pool party.

Federal Money for [Higher] Education Surpasses States’ Contributions NYT: Much of the growth of federal higher-education spending has been increases in veterans’ education benefits and Pell grants.

City Offers Summer 'Bootcamp' for Aspiring CTE Teachers WNYC: New York is among five communities receiving funds from the American Federation of Teachers to work with local business leaders on career and technical education opportunities. See also ChalkbeatNY.

Colorado schools to track marijuana offenses by students AP: Colorado schools will begin compiling data on students who get busted for using or distributing marijuana, an effort aimed at gauging the effects of the drug's legalization in the state....

Renovation Reveals 98 Year-Old Treasure NBC News: When it came time to renovate an Oklahoma City high school, no one had any idea what would be found behind the walls; the original blackboards complete with lesson plans and drawings intact, 98 years later. 

Pre-K Year Two; Public Pools; Biking and Breathing WNYC: Seventy thousand rising pre-kindergartners received their acceptance letters for year two of New York City's universal pre-k program. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery answers parents' questions about registration and other educational matters.

Transgender student files lawsuit against schools over bathrooms Washington Post: A 16-year-old transgender student has filed a federal lawsuit against a Virginia school board, calling its policy on school restrooms discriminatory.

'D' grade may get LAUSD students out of high school, but not into 4-year college KPCC LA: Ten years ago, the district established a requirement for students to pass college preparation courses that would make them eligible to enter University of California and California State University campuses. Starting with the Class of 2017, students would be required to pass the courses with a "C" grade to get them college ready.

Embattled Dallas Schools Chief Defies Board, Fires Principals District Dossier: Superintendent Mike Miles' own job security has been a hot topic of late after several school board members tried, but failed, to fire him in April.

Afternoon Video: Former Education Staffers Debate ESEA 2015 Chances

 

Check out this video from yesterday's Brookings event, Getting education bills to the finish line, which among other things includes former education staffers' best guesses at the chances that Congress will act on ESEA reauthorization this year. (Or if you prefer, check out the twitterstream using the hashtag #EdBills.)

My favorite moment is when Bethany Little highlights the impact of waivers on Congressional momentum in 2011.  What's yours? Featuring Chingos, DeLisle, Little, Flanagan, and West.

Next time, maybe they could include a leadership staff alumnus to give the larger, more political perspective. Committee staff are great and smart, but also sometimes in their silos.

Charts: A Surge In Restarted Schools Shows Promise, Says MSDF

image from www.msdf.org
The folks at the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation are big into Restarted Schools, citing states like Louisiana, Tennessee, and Michigan, Georgia and Nevada, and (soon?) in Pennsylvania that have created Achievement School District laws, as well as NJ, MA, and IN where there are direct state takeovers. Charter management organizations, long hesitant to get involved with restarts (also known as turnarounds) are finally getting into the game thanks to strong signals from authorizers.

"We see more and more charter school authorizers in cities with large charter market shares (like Washington, DC, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New Orleans) are starting to encourage high performing charter school operators to take over and restart low performing charter campuses."

According to MSDF, most of the new schools in NOLA since 2009 have been restarts.

Thompson: The Perils -- And Potential -- Of "Right-Click" Credit Programs

image from apps.npr.orgNational Public Radio committed fourteen reporters to an investigative series, The Truth about America's Graduation Rate, which identifies three major ways that school systems try to improve their graduation rates.

NPR finds that some districts did it in the proper way, by "stepping in early to keep kids on track." 

Too many improved graduation rates by "lowering the bar by offering alternate and easier routes when students falter," or "gaming the system by moving likely dropouts off the books, transferring or misclassifying them."

NPR's excellent series should push us to ask some tougher questions, such as what is the harm of "juking the stats" in order to graduate more students? Credit recovery is the alternative route that might have the most potential for helping students graduate, but when abused, it has great potential for harm.

In the early years of NCLB, my students shunned credit recovery as "exercising your right-click finger." But, as credit recovery expanded, the practice literally became dangerous. In many inner city high schools, most of the chronic disorder and violence is prompted by students who attend irregularly and/ or who come to school but don't go to class.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Perils -- And Potential -- Of "Right-Click" Credit Programs" »

Morning Video: Conservatives Critique/Elevate AFT Alum/Activist Deray McKesson

Conservative media are going pretty hard at TFA alumnus Deray McKesson (top left) these days, including both a Fox News segment (Sean Hannity and guest accuse activist Deray McKesson of being a ‘race pimp’) and a Michelle Malkin rant in the NY Post (The militant takeover of the ‘Teach for America’ corps).

On Fox News, Hannity and conservative radio host Kevin Jackson questioned McKesson's role in publicizing protests and tried to undercut his legitimacy by portraying him as a professional protester. (McKesson asks if the questions he's getting would be asked of someone who's not a person of color.) If the video above doesn't load properly, you can watch it at RawStory. Salon and Medialite also posted it.

In the NY Post, Malkin takes a somewhat different approach. She's no less critical of McKesson, but her focus is on his connection to TFA: "TFA’s most infamous public faces don’t even pretend to be interested in students’ academic achievement. It’s all about race, tweets and marching on the streets."

Former talk show host Montel Williams also tried to take McKesson on, pointing out that he was no MLK. Read all about what happened next on that here.

Conservative media doing what it does isn't anything new. But TFA has been the subject of a series of critiques from the left, and so this critique from the right must be a welcome change.  Or as education writer Amanda Ripley tweeted, "Best publicity I've seen for TeachForAmerica in a while....Priceless"

It's also a chance for TFA and other reform groups to see the power (and peril) of pushing hard on social justice issues.  

As I and others have noted several times in the past, reform advocates have generally been slow and tentative in embracing social justice issues, and over-reliant on outside elite voices rather than people of color with some connection to the communities being discussed.

It's also a challenge for reform critics to have someone so closely identified with TFA take the lead in a national discussion about race, class, and inequality. 

Which public official or candidate for office will try and get in a photo with him next? 

Related posts: Stories I’d Like To See: The Rise & Evolution of DeRay McKesson 

AM News: Common Core, Charter Groups Spending Big In Iowa & NY

Pro-Common Core Group Tops Political Ad Spending in Iowa via Sunlight Foundation: The advertising campaigns have not targeted a particular candidate, but there is no doubt it benefits former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who is announcing his campaign next week and will travel to Iowa on Wednesday, June 17 for an event at the Molengracht Plaza in Pella at 5:15p.  The ads will also benefit the only other prospective candidate who hasn’t backed away from Common Core, Ohio Governor John Kasich who is coming to speak at a Greater Des Moines Partnership event on June 24th.

NY groups spend more than $13 million to push education reform NYDN: The study from Hedge Clippers, a union-backed activist group, says New York City-based Families for Excellent Schools has spent more than $10 million on ads and lobbying since January 2014 to lift the charter school cap and allow for the creation of more of the publicly funded, privately run schools.

Fairfax County Supervisor Gross fights off challenger in Democratic primary Washington Post: in the last quarter, Swanson outraised Gross nearly four to one, mostly due to a large donation from Leadership for Educational Equity, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that helps teachers and other educators run for public office.

House Looks to Resurrect ESEA Bill for Action as Early as Next Week PK12: The stalled renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could start moving again in the U.S. House of Representatives, sources say.

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids? Washington Post: From Rand Paul on the right to Elizabeth Warren on the left, members of the Senate education committee pushed aside their policy disagreements earlier this spring when they voted unanimously in favor of a bipartisan revision to the widely reviled No Child Left Behind law.

Fact Checking Gov. Scott Walker on His Education Record PK12: Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., is expected to announce his presidential candidacy really, really soon. So exactly what might his education platform be? And how have his policies played out in Wisconsin? See also APJS Online

Former Florida governor’s reforms – acclaimed by Obama – may become a liability Hechinger Report: When he was asked about the Common Core during his recent visit to Iowa – a sparsely populated state that nonetheless enjoys great influence because it’s the first to select the parties’ nominees for president – Bush never referred to the initiative by name, and insisted that he opposed the federal government’s meddling in education.

What Can We Learn From the Investing in Innovation Program Five Years Out? PK12: The Investing in Innovation program will have been worthwhile, even if some of the grantees haven't yielded the results they were initially hoping for, a top official at the Department said.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Common Core, Charter Groups Spending Big In Iowa & NY" »

Update: Summer's Here, "Hot For Education" Is Waiting

Hotfored1

Not following Hot For Education? You're missing out on lots of fun. On Twitter (@hotfored), on Tumblr (don't be scared), and on Feedly/Digg RSS here.  

Thompson: Petrilli Endorses Integration & Segregation & Trusting Relationships for Some

If the purpose of school reform is improving education and not union-busting and privatization, reformers should do some soul searching after they read Robert Putnam's Our Kids. Had they known twenty years ago what Putnam documents today, would accountability-driven, competition-driven reformers have rolled the dice and sought to increase equity by holding teachers accountable for raising test scores?

Would they have believed that education failures produced by the stress of generational poverty could have been reversed by the stress of high-stakes testing? Would they have pretended that increased segregation produced by school choice could have been the cure for segregation created by economics? Had they recognized the importance of trusting social relationships, would reformers have demanded a basic skills testing regime that would inevitably degrade the learning cultures of poor schools and replace holistic instruction of poor children of color with nonstop remediation for primitive bubble-in tests?

I've long thought that conservatives like Fordham's Mike Petrilli, who now criticize value-added teacher evaluations, would be especially open to the insights of Putnam and others who help chart an escape from the constraints imposed by top-down micromanaging of classrooms. And, yes, Petrilli seeks to liberate some students from the social engineering known as "school reform." 

Petrilli's How Schools Can Solve Putnam's Paradox offers support for Putnam and advocates for socio-economic integration like Richard Kahlenberg. He writes, "If loneliness, isolation, and extremely fragile families are big parts of the poverty problem, then connecting poor children with thriving families and communities can be part of the solution." Even better, Petrilli seeks to, "Build on the social capital that does exist in poor communities."

I think Petrilli's next proposal, "Build social capital by creating new schools," is weird, but he offers a reality-based disclaimer. He admits, "But the people who run these schools are often not from the community, and that creates inevitable conflicts. It’s also something of an open question whether these brand-new schools can create true social capital beyond their four walls."

Continue reading "Thompson: Petrilli Endorses Integration & Segregation & Trusting Relationships for Some" »

HotSeat: The "Real" RiShawn Biddle Is Too Hot To Handle

Rishawn biddle 2015
Let's spend a little time with RiShawn Biddle, the self-identified education "editorialist" who's one of the most provocative, controversial, and perhaps hardest-working people in education media.

According to his About page, making change "isn't purely academic for me. These are kids, young boys and men, who look just like me. Many of them are growing up in neighborhoods that look like the one I grew up in..."

I know him from his 2011 work unearthing an AFT attack memo against the parent trigger, and from his 2014 work revealing that some of the groups protesting against TFA on college campuses were AFT-supported. He's one of very few folks out there tracking union issues in education, albeit from a very critical point of view.

But he's not just all about bashing the union. Earlier this year, he was one of very few who predicted (correctly) that the House attempt to revamp NCLB would end up getting pulled.  And he's bashed reform folks for several things including inattention to diversity, weak efforts on social justice, and more. 

Admired by some, he's reviled by others -- including some reformers who agree with him on substance but who find him abrasive, overly aggressive, or simple too independent-minded for their liking. Among other things, he calls for "a revolution, not an evolution, in American public education."

Asked about him, Chris Stewart (aka @citizenstewart) wrote, "I think his faith is an important driver in his understanding of the world. And, his time as a journalist and some of the fall-out with the black community in Indianapolis adds complexity to his story." 

On the HotSeat, Biddle tells us how he gets it all done (and pays the rent), dishes on who his favorite writers are (I'm not one of them), complains (justifiably) about how he's treated by trade and mainstream reporters (you know who you are), tells us what he thinks of like-minded reformers (be afraid), and predicts what's (not) going to happen in the rest of 2015. (Spoiler alert: No, he doesn't feel the need to answer your question about what happened at the Indy Star.)

Continue reading "HotSeat: The "Real" RiShawn Biddle Is Too Hot To Handle" »

Quotes: Clinton On Testing

Quotes2Are tests important? Yes. Do we need accountability? Yes. But we’ve gotten off track in what we test and what we test for that we sacrifice so much else in the curriculum, in the school day and school year.

-- Hillary Clinton (Washington Post via HuffPost Hillary Clinton Sounds Off On Education Issues)

Morning Video: Some Districts "Code" Kids to Supress Dropout Numbers

"In just nine states and the District of Columbia, students must complete required classes to be considered “college-ready” and to earn a diploma. Twenty-three states allow students to opt in, or out, of a more rigorous path to graduation. That leaves 18 states with requirements below what experts say students need for their next step in life." via PBS NewsHour.

Or, watch this local news coverage of the First Lady's speech to the graduating class of students that would have included Hadiya Pendleton. Click here.

AM News: LA School Board Retreats On College-Ready Course Requirement

 As 22,000 students risk not graduating, LAUSD board eases requirements KPCC: The school board is modifying a commitment made a decade ago to require so-called A-G courses, the classes required to become eligible for University of California and California State University entry, to earn a high school diploma. See also LA Times.

Senate Gears Up for ESEA Floor Debate PK12: Alexander said that he and his staff have been working in close concert with the President Obama and his staff on substance of the reauthorization. See also NatJourn: Sen. Alexander Vows to Block new Obama Education Regulations

Raising Graduation Rates With Questionable Quick Fixes NPR: The nation's high school graduation rate is at a record-high 81 percent. Why? Because states are doing good things ... or using some sleight of hand. [does ECCA fix/address this?]

Duncan: Soon-to-be educators need more time in classroom Chalkbeat New York: Denver Public Schools is “way ahead of the curve” in teacher preparation due in part to the Student Teacher Residency program offered through the University of Colorado Denver, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday.

Oregon Opt-Out Bill Could Lead to Loss of Federal Dollars, Ed. Dept. Warns PK12: The state's House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would inform parents twice a year of their right to exempt children from standardized tests.

Student poverty, lack of parental involvement cited as teacher concerns Washington Post: Student poverty is a major barrier to learning, according to teachers polled in a new national survey of educators released Tuesday. Lack of parental involvement and overtesting were also identified as big problems, as well as student apathy, according to an online Public Opinion Strategies survey of 700 elementary and secondary teachers across the country.

Hillary Clinton makes a promise to union leaders: I'll listen to teachers Washington Post: Hillary Rodham Clinton told the president of the National Education Association that she would listen to teachers if elected president, a simple promise Monday that impressed the president of the nation's largest labor union.

Weingarten, de Blasio to announce five-city 'compact' Capital New York: American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten will announce a compact with five cities to increase career and technical education offerings in New York City this Thursday, and will be joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA School Board Retreats On College-Ready Course Requirement" »

Documentaries: #MiddletownFilm Chronicles "Midpoint" Students, Blended Learning

Duy in chargeIf you're lucky enough to be following Duy Linh Tu's Facebook page, you know that he's already been through a lockdown and been put in charge of class (pictured).

It's all part of a new documentary the Columbia University multimedia guru has been working on, in partnership with Digital Promise, focused on Middletown NY schools.

The district is trying blended learning, and a "midpoint" program for kids not quite ready for 4th grade, among other things.

Want to know more? Friend him on Facebook here or follow the ‪#‎middletownfilm‬ hashtag on Instagram.

 

 

Campaign 2016: AFT Already Spending For Ads In New Hampshire

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Here's  a tidbit from PK12's Friday Reading List: "The American Federation of Teachers is launching a digital advertising buy in New Hampshire, in an effort to raise the profile of education issues in the 2016 primary. It will run on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as in local papers, like the Concord Monitor. How much did it cost? A "substantial" amount, AFT says." 

Update: Top Ed Tweeters 2015 Are Arrogant White Reform Critics

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Mike Petrilli's latest foray into Twitter analytics attempts to determine not just rankings (via Klout) but also tone and emotion:

"What does Twitter say about the tone of the education policy debate?... It appears that many of the leading tweeters in education policy are “arrogant/distant,” meaning we are “well read” and “use big words.” Good for us!"

On Twitter, EdWeek's Stephen Sawchuck notes that the list still doesn't include number of followers, and as a result doesn't include any EdWeek reporters.  (Petrilli claims that followers can be bought. Knowledge Alliance notes that some folks use lists rather than following individuals.  I've noted in the past that advocates are leaving journalists behind on social media. )

I don't give much credence to the emotional analysis. My only other thought would be to note - as I have several times before -- that reform critics tend to do better on Twitter than reform advocates.  

Xian Barrett, Anthony Cody, Jose Vilson, Mark Naison, and Sabrina Stevens all join Diane Ravitch and Randi Weingarten near the top of the list. Reform advocates are limited to Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Andy Smarick, and Tom Vander Ark. 

The list is also super-white, it should be said -- especially the top reform-friendly members. Chris Stewart, Rishawn Biddle, and Gwen Samuels among others are on the rise but still not at the top.

Related posts: This More Diverse List Of "Top Education Tweeters" Needs More Names*New Study Suggests Journalism Being Left Out Of Education Debate.

Morning Video: Senator Bennet Laments Exacerbating Impact of Higher Ed

 

 

 
Here's some video of US Senator Michael Bennet talking about how higher education seems to be exacerbating the inequities of our society and our schools. Via Facebook.

"Our system of higher education combined with our system of K-12 education is conspiring to compound income inequality rather than relieve income inequality in this country. We have to figure out, as a country, working with states and local governments, how we’re actually going to provide a deal that’s different than the one people are getting today and looks more like the one people had when we had a rising middle class. Otherwise, we aren’t going to have a rising middle class."

Bonus activity: Name the staffers behind the Committee members and tell us what they're thinking.

Or watch a news segment on the discovery of old school chalkboard lessons in Oklahoma City.

AM News: This Week, Hillary Clinton Meets With The NEA

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Hillary Clinton Meets With NEA, Talks Testing, Accountability
 PK12: With the AFT, she talked about the importance of teachers, and made it clear that they shouldn't be "scapegoats" for broader problems in K-12.  And in speaking to the NEA, Monday Clinton sounded, perhaps, a shade or two more skeptical of standardized testing than she has in the past. And she hit on another issue that many parents and educators (and their unions) consider critical: the need to invest in arts, music, and other enrichment classes, alongside academics.

Hillary Clinton makes a promise to union leaders: I’ll listen to teachers Washington Post: The NEA will make its candidate videos and questionnaires available to its members, according to Carrie Pugh, the union’s political director. NEA leaders have not decided if the union will make an endorsement before the primaries, Garcia said.

MI bill reduces impact of test scores on teacher evals  SI&A Cabinet Report: Although many support the move toward allowing for more local control, others are concerned that the bill could stall progress districts have already begun to make in upgrading their evaluation systems.

Teachers union continues to push for class-size funding Seattle Times: Even as lawmakers are on track to limit the school class-size reduction measure that voters approved last November, the state’s largest teacher union continues to push for full funding of Initiative 1351. I-1351 requires the state to reduce K-12 class sizes and would cost billions of dollars, though it didn’t come with a way to […]

Arkansas Poised to Drop PARCC's Common-Core Test in Favor of ACT State EdWatch: Arkansas was one of 10 states, along with the District of Columbia, to use the PARCC test in the 2014-15 school year.

Public versus private schools: Who goes where, by state Washington Post:  The proportion of children who attend public school ranges widely from state to state, from a low of 79 percent in the District of Columbia and Hawaii to 93 percent in Wyoming and Utah, according to the Education Law Center’s annual school funding report, released Monday.

This Summer, The Cafeteria Comes To The Kids NPR: Twenty-one million kids eat free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year, but getting them fed during the summer is a challenge. So some school districts are getting creative in the way they're using USDA funds: Murfreesboro City Schools is taking the cafeteria to the kids. The district calls it the Combating Hunger on Wheels Bus — or the CHOW bus.

Where Does a Transgender Child Fit In at School? WNYC: Confident and social, Q said he feels at ease in his classroom. And his peers have helped him move comfortably from identifying as a girl to a boy. He transitioned over the course of second grade. That’s when he started to more regularly dress in boy clothes and dropped his given name in order to go only by his first initial.

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

Continue reading "AM News: This Week, Hillary Clinton Meets With The NEA" »

Quotes: Time To Reconsider 1973 Rodriguez School Funding Case

Quotes2[The 1973 Supreme Court decision San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez was] a triumph of states’ rights over human rights 

- Wade Henderson in the Washington Post (Inequitable school funding called ‘one of the sleeper civil rights issues of our time’)

NPR: Two Semi-Shady Ways Schools Are Graduating More Students (Plus One Promising Approach)

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Be sure to check out NPR's big new graduation rate package (The Truth About America's Graduation Rate), featuring national coverage and stories from Oregon, Chicago, San Antonio, Alabama, North Carolina, Detroit, Atlanta, DC, and more:

"NPR Ed enlisted the help of 14 reporters at member stations around the country. We identified three major ways that states and districts try to improve their graduation rates. 1: Stepping in early to keep kids on track. 2: Lowering the bar by offering alternate and easier routes when students falter. 3: Gaming the system by moving likely dropouts off the books, transferring or misclassifying them."

If you're an expert on this, maybe you can match the city/district with the strategy without even looking at the stories!

I'm told that some pieces are written, and others are audio, so don't kill yourself looking for radio segments for every district that's included.  And  few more segments are coming out tomorrow and Wednesday.

 

Morning Video: "Raising A Black Son In America"

 

Via Vox: "One of the truest, saddest TED talks ever," notes Jenee Desmond-Harris. Or or watch this ABC News segment on a NYC student's path to academic success through playing the cello. Or, watch this January PBS NewHour segment about the Marshmallow Test.

AM News: Reports Show Inadequate & Inequitable Access To Well-Funded Schools & Qualified Teachers

Nation's 'Disinvestment' in Public Schools Is Crippling Poor Students, Reports Say State EdWatch: Are prominent school funding advocates satisfied that states are now giving schools robust and well-targeted financial support? Not even close. See also Washington Post, Huffington Post.

Access to New York’s top teachers still unequal, state report shows ChalkbeatNY: While less than 1 percent of teachers in the whitest and most affluent quartile of schools were deemed “not highly qualified” — because they lacked an appropriate college degree or teaching license — that rate was between 6.9 percent and 8.8 percent in less affluent schools.

Hillary Clinton Traces Friendly Path, Troubling Party NYT: Mrs. Clinton’s aides say it is the only way to win in an era of heightened polarization, when a declining pool of voters is truly up for grabs. Her liberal policy positions, they say, will fire up Democrats, a less difficult task than trying to win over independents in more hostile territory — even though a broader strategy could help lift the party with her.

Common Core side effect: New PE teachers allow for collaboration time EdSource: Back from near extinction, physical education specialists are being hired by a smattering of districts to take over P.E. duties from elementary classroom teachers, who after years of teaching physical education themselves are now being freed up for Common Core lesson planning.

Ohio School District Bets on Technology in Creating New Learning Model wsj: The shop has 3-D printers and a laser cutter, and Ms. Green works there as an intern for the school. During the school year, she helped teachers incorporate the machines into their lessons.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visits New Dorp High School SI Live: Duncan paid his second visit to New Dorp on Friday to see how far the school has come since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. More than 365 students and some three-dozen faculty members at New Dorp suffered losses from Sandy.

Oregon Has The Lowest Graduation Rate In The Country. Preschool Could Fix That. NPR: Oregon has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country — just shy of 69 percent in 2013. The number has nudged up in recent years, but advocates say to make big improvements, Oregon has to start young.

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

Continue reading "AM News: Reports Show Inadequate & Inequitable Access To Well-Funded Schools & Qualified Teachers" »

Maps: Only A Few States Require 4-5 Years Before Granting Tenure

Screenshot 2015-06-05 12.21.00

As you can see from this chart and story (This Is What It Takes To Get A Teacher Fired Around The Country), only a few states (the ones with darker boxes) require four or five years of teaching before giving tenure. Image via HuffPost/NCTQ. I count 6 states that require 5 years, and 5 that require 4. There are other things like teacher preparation and supervision/PD that are more important than tenure timelines, but 3-4 years doesn't seem like enough to me. 

Quotes: Foundation Transparency Reforms Not Nearly Enough

Quotes2Compared to earlier times, I know the sector is doing a better job of assessing itself.... [But] none of these efforts go nearly far enough. The sector largely remains a black box, and answers to some of the most basic questions about philanthropy are still elusive.

-- Inside Philanthropy's David Callahan (Still in the Dark)

Update: Celebrating the First Month of "The Grade" (Plus Free Daily Email)

Screenshot 2015-06-05 10.16.44In case you hadn't heard, a new site focusing on K-12 education reporting called The Grade launched just about a month ago over at The Washington Monthly, and I wanted to encourage you to take a look at it, follow along, and send me ideas if and when the urge strikes.

There's now a daily email (see below) you can sign up for here. Follow it on twitter feed @grade_point (don't ask), or an RSS feed if you use Feedly or Digg Reader.

Basically, it's an attempt to keep tabs on what's going on in education journalism -- trends, new outlets, people on the move, and the best and worst of education coverage -- and a place to peel back the curtain and help explain what goes on behind the scenes in the development of news stories that the public read every day.

Dubbed "A Closer Look at Education News," The Grade is like an education version of NPR's "On The Media," except it's online and hosted by the Washington Monthly and only cares about K-12 education reporting.

The past few weeks have included a look at the charter school backfill issue, some entirely unsolicited story suggestions for topics and angles that might warrant extra attention, a critique of the Miami layoff numbers used in a recent NYT story (and of limited solutions mentioned in an Atlantic piece about teacher retention), and a celebration of the Hechinger Report's first five years.

Other posts describe how "solutions" journalism could help balance education coverage, but it's super hard to pull off well, and about how writing about innovations is sexy and fun but rarely pays off. Trade publications are missing in-house education editorials and columnists, in my opinion (and probably no one else's). Reporters should write more about their own personal education experiences and disclose their own school choices for their children, and ask harder questions during interviews (Amanda).

I thought it was great that some KPCC and ProPublica reporters dug up an education angle to the Sony Wikileaks email hack, but too bad they didn't nail it down. Some additional digging on the recent Achieve report on state test scores might have been helpful, too.

I've looked for more examples of high-poverty districts with high opt-out numbers, and written about NPR's recent decision to ban on-air book plugs for fellow staffers.

Anyway, you get the idea.  Check it out online here. There's now a daily email (see below) you can sign up for here, or via an RSS feed if you use Feedly or Digg Reader. Follow it on twitter feed @grade_point (don't ask).

Continue reading "Update: Celebrating the First Month of "The Grade" (Plus Free Daily Email)" »

Morning Video: "Paper Tigers" Documents Traumatized Teens

This new documentary (from Robert Redford's son) follows six traumatized kids in Walla Walla, WA who attend an alternative high school. Watch above. Via Seattle Times. "The behavior isn't the kid. The behavior is a symptom of what's going on in their life."

AM News: All Eyes On Michigan (Teacher Evaluation) & Wisconsin (College Tenure)

How a senator stopped serious teacher evaluation reform in Michigan MLive.com: Today, the group's cutting-edge efforts to improve teacher accountability, which seemed like a sure bet as recently as five months ago, have been essentially gutted. A central provision of their recommendations – to rid the state of its patchwork of local, often useless evaluation models in favor of rigorous statewide criteria – is gone from a new bill now before the House. Even some who support the watered-down bill privately admit it likely will do nothing to improve education for Michigan students.

Unions Subdued, Scott Walker Turns to Tenure at Wisconsin Colleges NYT: Gov. Walker and leaders in Wisconsin’s Republican-held Legislature are pushing the University of Wisconsin system to give a board largely picked by the governor far more control over firings and even curriculum.

Hillary Clinton could position herself to the left of Obama on education MSNBC: Hillary Clinton told members of a powerful teachers union in Washington D.C. this week that organized labor has an important role to play in public education, and that critics of unions are “dead wrong to make teachers the scapegoats.” See also BuzzFeedEdWeekNYT.

Students take online Common Core test with minimal interruptions EdSource Today: Millions of students have been able to take new online assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards this spring with minimal technical interruptionsThat’s according to the California Department of Education. Officials in six school districts and a charter school organization EdSource has been tracking as they implement the new standards said they have had very few interruptions in testing of any kind.

Hello McFly, One More Time: South Carolina's 1998 Standards Push State EdWatch: Back in 1998, South Carolina decided to give its new standards some bite by holding students and schools more accountable through standardized tests.

New Charter Schools Could Come To Boston Boston Learning Lab: This summer, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will accept charter applications for all school districts in the state except Somerville, Lawrence and Malden, which are at their charter limits. Charter operators may apply for new schools or to expand existing ones. Boston could see new charter school seats for the first time since reaching a state-imposed charter limit in 2013.

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

Continue reading "AM News: All Eyes On Michigan (Teacher Evaluation) & Wisconsin (College Tenure)" »

Charts: In One Year, 41 Chicago Schools Raised $7.6M In Private Donations

image from catalystchicago.wpengine.netdna-cdn.comThere's a perception in some quarters that public schools within each school district are by and large equal in terms of how they're funded, and it's mostly charter schools that rake in the outside donations. 

Well, this new piece from Catalyst Chicago (The price of fundraising) pretty much explodes that idea:

"For a select but growing group of schools in Chicago’s wealthier communities, parent fundraising has risen to new heights." 

Last year, 8 schools raised more than $300,000 each. "Thirty brought in more than $100,000 and eight raised more than $200,000." One raised more than $600,000. 

 

Thompson: The Truth None of Us Wants to Face

I still teach GED part-time, so I have not become completely absorbed into the edu-political world that is so divorced from the reality of inner city schools. I seek a balance, addressing the school improvement proposals that are politically viable, while remaining connected with the reasons why practitioners and parents are so dismissive of reform agendas. 

I can't deny that I've been acculturated into much of the "status quo" mentality illustrated by my first principals' mantra, "Pick your battles." The battles that we inner city teachers want policy people to launch are simply not winnable. 

However, Jay Mathews, in How Do We Help Our Least Motivated, Most Disruptive Students?, tackles the issue that I know I shouldn't  touch. 

Twenty years after I was repeatedly warned that assessing disciplinary consequences in a credible manner is an issue that school systems won't dare address, and as the agenda has shifted to reducing suspensions, why should I try to answer Mathews' question? Against my better judgment, I'll respond to his columns and readers. (After I read the book he cites, I'll see whether I dare to get closer to the 3rd rail of edu-politics by discussing it.)

Mathews wrote a three-part series on Caleb Stewart Rossiter's Ain't Nobody Be Learnin' Nothin'.  His first column on Rossiter's indictment of grade inflation "inspired a flood of comments and e-mails saying such malpractice was happening nearly everywhere in the country." But Mathews, like so many teachers turned advocates can only ask, "What do we do about it?" He then turned to Rossiter’s solution to low academic and behavioral standards which doesn’t seem practical to Mathews (or me) but which "represents the toughness I sense many Americans think is overdue."

Mathews begins his third column with his obligatory praise of KIPP, even though he probably realizes that its methods can't be scaled up and are thus irrelevant to systemic improvement. He concedes "that a significant number of low-performing students are likely not to enroll in schools like KIPP — or will drop out — because they don’t like the emphasis on good behavior and hard work."

Mathews agrees with Rossiter that neighborhood schools should teach good behavior and they should not keep returning disruptive students to their original classes, "where they distract students trying to learn." I would add that disruptive students also want to learn and, above all, they want to learn how to control their behavior. I would also argue that troubled students should never be described as "miscreants" or "slow learners" which is Mathews' characterization of Rossiter's views.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Truth None of Us Wants to Face" »

Live Events: Dignity In (DC) Schools (#DSCinDC)

There's pretty much always something interesting going on in DC these days. Earlier this week it was Success Academy's Eva Moskowitz coming to DC talking about her charter model. Today's it's a Dignity In Schools event where students and others talk about pushouts, school-to-prison, and ways to alleviate the problem. The Twitter handle is @DignityinSchool, and the hashtag is #DSCinDC. I haven't seen any media coverage (yet), and there's no video (yet), but there's lots out there on social media already so you might want to check it out.

AM News: All Eyes On Nevada's New Voucher Program (Plus: Democratic Candidates Meet With AFT)

In Nevada, the ultimate in school choice or school as a commodity? Washington Post: The new law, which the state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed with help from the education foundation created by former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R), is a breakthrough for conservatives, who call it the ultimate in school choice. And they are working to spread it nationwide: Lawmakers in Georgia, Iowa and Rhode Island considered similar legislation this year. See also Christian Science MonitorWSJLas Vegas Review.

What Did Democratic Presidential Candidates Tell AFT Union Leaders? PK12: The union's top leadership sat down earlier this week and chatted with three folks vying for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State; Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who considers himself an independent socialist.

D.C. Schools Improved Under Mayoral Control, But Progress Remains Uneven WAMU: The first formal assessment of D.C.'s public schools since mayoral control was granted in 2007 finds that while small gains have been made, work remains to be done. See also Washington Post.

Ed. Dept.: Poorest Districts Have More Trainee Teachers Teacher Beat: High-poverty districts tend to have more teachers-in-training than other districts, but overall there aren't that many such teachers, a federal report says.

Teaching Youth To Think 'Slow' May Help Reduce Crime FiveThirtyEight: Last year, BAM reached 1,935 boys in 38 schools across the Chicago Public Schools system. 

Missouri Drops Smarter Balanced Common-Core Exam State EdWatch: A provision of the state education budget signed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would cut off funding for the Smarter Balanced exam and require a new test for the next school year. 

Introducing The First Non-Medical Intern Union In The U.S. NPR: At the American Teachers Federation, the union's interns are putting their foot down. After about a year of negotiating, they have voted to form their own union.

City's Denial of Early Childhood Contracts Raises Questions WNYC: The Williamsbridge NAACP Early Childhood Education Center is now among 10 childcare centers that were not awarded contracts to continue serving their neighborhoods in the coming school year. The city's decision mystifies City Councilman Andy King.

Authorities File Charges Over Loud Cheering at Mississippi High School GraduationNYT: At least three people are facing the prospect of $500 fines and six-month jail terms after they were said to have yelled and clapped during a graduation ceremony in Mississippi.

More news and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Quotes: Room For Compromise On Common Core

Quotes2Some Republicans are using the [Common Core] controversy as a reason to abolish the Department of Education. Some Democrats and labor unions are using it to rehabilitate teacher unions. But there's a place for coalition here, and compromise.

-- Demos senior fellow Richard Brodsky in Huffington Post (Rand Paul and Obama: Together Again on Common Core, Subsidies and Drug Laws?)

Maps: Someday These Giant State Spending Variations Will Look Impossible

image from www.washingtonpost.com

Here, via Emma Brown at the Washington Post, is a map of states that spend the most (and the least) on education, in one map. Spending averages $10,700 and ranges from a measly $6,555 per pupil in Utah to a whopping $19,818 in New York. At present, there seems to be nothing that can be done (politically and legally) about these inequalities (and in-state inequalities as well), but I imagine that some time in the future people will look back on this as a WTF? relic of an ancient and backwards time, you look back on life before Glue Sticks. Image used with permission. 

People: Little Caitlyn Jenners Showing Up At School Every Day

Much is being made of Caitlyn Jenner's transition and recent Vanity Fair cover, but gender non-conforming parents and children (and teachers) are slowly but surely making their presences known.

Above is a recent example. "My son went to school for 1st time in a dress 2day," wrote Vanessa Ford. In another tweet, she noted that her child is "joyful in a way unique to when he wears dresses" and that the school and classmates have been generally supportive.

When this happy image went around on Twitter yesterday, Jenn Borgioli Binis (aka ‏@DataDiva) told us that @RaisingRainbow was 'a great resource to teachers in a chat on supporting transgendered students."

What kicked this all off (for me) this week was a personal narrative by Chicago-based education writer Maureen Kelleher about her own child's evolving gender identity and how she and her child's school are dealing with it. 

Related posts: CA May Allow Trans Kids To Pick Teams (2013); Trans at 16  (2013); What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress? (2012); Our Soon-To-Be Outdated Beliefs (About Education) (2009); Transgendered In The Classroom (2008); Bad Beef, Bad Hawaii, Cross-Dressing Kids...; 

 

Morning Video: What They Mean When They Talk "Common Core"

 

Watch this local TV newscast about the Common Core debate in Ohio, and then check out Andy Rotherham's RealClear Education piece about what folks -- politicians, teachers unions, parents, etc. -- really mean when they're talking about Common Core. It's not usually the standards. Sometimes it's not even the tests. 

AM News: How To Explain Common Core Tests Results? Plus: Varying edTPA Requirements

Schools face challenge of explaining Common Core test results to parents EdSource Today: A major selling point of the new Common Core assessments was that because they were taken online, they would be available more quickly to teachers, parents and students, and would help inform instruction in a way that the multiple-choice California Standards Tests did not. But so far it seems that parents and students will get results about the same time as they did in previous years.

States Set Varying Passing Bars on New Teaching Exam TeacherBeat: States have set the bar on the edTPA exam in different places, and some give their teacher-candidates other options to demonstrate teaching skill.

From Harlem to Capitol Hill, a lesson in producing better teachers Washington Post: Eva Moskowitz, the founder of New York City's largest chain of public charter schools, imported a Harlem classroom to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to demonstrate how she trains and coaches teachers at Success Academy schools. 

Policy Group to Congress on ESEA: Don't Let the Perfect Be Enemy of the Good EdWeek: When the Senate's ESEA reauthorization bill is called up for debate at the end of this month or early July, messaging will be crucial to garnering support for the bill from both sides of the aisle.

Parent Engagement on Rise as Priority for Schools, Districts Edweek: As districts adopt formal efforts to integrate parents into the fabric of their schools, advocates welcome a shift away from seeing parent-engagement efforts as just an add-on.

New York City Creates Replacement for Student Data Website NYT: A website for the city’s public schools will allow parents to view information on their children like attendance and report card grades. See also WNYCChalkbeatNY.

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

Continue reading "AM News: How To Explain Common Core Tests Results? Plus: Varying edTPA Requirements" »

Afternoon Video: Worst Cautionary High School Speaker Ever

"I used to be like you. Used to clown around, make fun of the principal... I did a drive by at my own daughters quinceanera! Yeah shot up everybody!" Key & Peele "Consequences (Nov. 2014)

Thompson: Rick Hess Is Back!

Rick’s back! And Hess’s Personality Quiz: Am I a Wannabe Edu-Bureaucrat? is hilarious. Every other paragraph, I had to shout at the computer screen, “I wish I’d said that!” 

The conservative Rick Hess, who hasn’t explicitly repudiated his identification as a school reformer (or conservatism), is back blogging at Education Week after a several week hiatus. Hess unveils a 17-point quiz which can determine, “Congrats! You're an aspiring bureaucrat!” In doing so, the American Enterprise Institute scholar explains the rise of a new “cheery, ready-made mantra for your brand of ‘reform.’ It's: ‘Meet the new boss; same as the old boss . . . except this time you're going to be lucky to have a really, really smart boss. Not like all those others who have come before.’"

Hess identifies wannabe edu-bureaucrats by asking whether they “routinely describe teachers and schools as ‘good’ or ‘effective’ based on limited, simplistic, standardized metrics like reading and math scores,” seek to impose the “right way to train all new teachers” and mandate teacher evaluation models “for every school in every district in their state,” or condemn parents who opt out of standardized tests as irresponsible.

Wannabe edu-bureaucrats “get a warm feeling when talk turns to ‘P-20 alignment.’" They believe that “people who disagree with me on Common Core, ESEA, teacher evaluation, and the rest are mostly just playing politics. … [and] really wish they'd simmer down and shut up.” Aspiring bureaucrats aren’t trained to conduct or evaluate research, and they “rarely read beyond an abstract,” but they find that "good” research usually agrees with their views on reform. These wannabes “find it easiest to communicate in acronyms and buzzwords.”

Hess writes that you might be a wannabe edu-bureaucrat if “I've never been reminded of the USSR's 'five-year plans' when the U.S. Department of Ed orders waiver states to devise . . . five-year plans, with ambitious (if arbitrary) race-based performance targets.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Rick Hess Is Back!" »

Charts: When It Comes to Graduating College, Mediocre Rich Kids = Smart Poor Kids

Via the NYT. Or as former NYT labor reporter Steven Greenhouse put it via Twiter, "Smart child from poor family is no more likely to get college degree than mediocre rich kid."

Quotes: Beware Destructive Uses of Common Core Cut Scores

Quotes2The point of setting higher standards is to help students achieve them over time, not rush to premature judgment... Let's move toward a more thoughtful approach that puts testing in its rightful place—and returns spring to a season of growth, not failure. -- AFT head Randi Weingarten in EdWeek (States Should Ditch 'Cut Scores' on New Tests)

Morning Video: Where's K-12 Education's Elizabeth Warren?

Here's an impassioned Elizabeth Warren talking about infrastructure, student loan interest rates, NIH and NSF funding -- and the need to "wake up people all over America" against the interests of the rich and powerful in Washington who are doing fine the way things are. 

Read more about Warren's political strategy and her policy positions from Vox's Ezra Klein. Do *not* watch this scary Vox video about long-term unemployment and the need for a major public works or job training effort. 

Is there anyone like this in education (or talking about K-12 education) -- this mad, this urgent, this smart about influencing others? I can't think of anyone right off the bat. 

 

AM News: LA Parents Hint At "Trigger" To Leverage Changes

Testing the power of the parent-trigger law Hechinger Report: In Los Angeles, the parent-trigger law, once considered the fast track to turning struggling California schools over to independently operated charters, has instead become a bargaining chip in brokering deals with the district. The alliance between 20th Street Elementary parents and Los Angeles Unified is the latest case in which the district has skirted the loss of a public school to a charter operator. See also LA School Report, EdWeek.

What Is Christie Walking Away From? NJ Spotlight: The teachers unions, for example, have softened their support, especially since the tests affect teacher evaluations under the state‘s new tenure law. And opposition has surfaced from both conservative and liberal camps that see the standards and tests as a top-down incursion on instruction. See also Weingarten call for states to ditch new cut scores in EdWeek.

In Nod to Florida, Texas Lawmakers Approve A-F Grades for Schools State EdWatch: On May 31, Lone Star State lawmakers approved House Bill 2804, which would extend the state's current method of giving districts letter grades to individual schools.

Emanuel starts cleaning house at Chicago school board Sun-Times: Those leaving the Board include CSV's Deborah Quazzo; Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp; Carlos Azcoitia, a former CPS principal and network chief-turned National Louis University professor, and former Northwestern University President Henry Bienen.

College Board, Khan Academy team up to offer free SAT prep program LA Times: The revised version of the SAT college entrance exam won't be offered until March but students can start preparing for it Tuesday with a new, free online study program affiliated with the test. See also HuffPostEdSource Today.

For the Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap NYT: In the bottom quartile, 58 percent of students expected to get at least a bachelor’s degree and 12 percent to go on to graduate school. Thirteen years later, we can see who achieved their goals. Among the participants from the most disadvantaged families, just 14 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree.

The Quantified Student: An App That Predicts GPA NPR: Researchers found that a phone's activity tracker can automatically predict students' school performance.

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

Continue reading "AM News: LA Parents Hint At "Trigger" To Leverage Changes" »

Videos: How Schools Train Students To Expect Premature Approval

 Branford Marsalis: "My students... all they want to hear is how good they are and how talented they are. And they're not... most of them aren't really willing to work to the degree to live up to that." via Vox Warning: NSFW language at the start of the clip. 

Quotes: Author Toppo Touts "Hard Fun"

Quotes2That's an actual idea game designers use. It's not fun because it's easy; it's fun because it's hard. Any gamer asked to pick their favorite game of all time, they'd say there was a grind involved to get there. It took a lot of work, it took practice and persistence. But within that I always had a sense of where I was coming from and where I was going. I think that is the key here.

-- Greg Toppo on NPR (Exploding Myths About Learning Through Gaming)

AM News: What Next For NJ & Common Core (Plus Chicago Supe Resigns)

Former Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley Joins Democrats' Race for White House PK12: Among his education achievements as governor was signing into law a bill that made some undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition.

Real Test After Christie’s Call to Drop Common Core: What Happens Next? NJ Spotlight: Now what? In the aftermath of Gov. Chris Christie’s announcement on Thursday that he no longer supports the Common Core State Standards, what are the administration’s plans for setting its own standards for New Jersey’s public schools?

Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigns amid federal criminal investigation Chicago Tribune: Byrd-Bennett sent written notice of her decision to the city school board, a source told the Tribune late Sunday. An official CPS announcement was pending.

Deadline for Teacher-Distribution Plans Looms PK12: Attention state agency officials: Monday is the final deadline to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education that address the equitable distribution of teachers.

Center for Union Facts says Randi Weingarten is ruining nation’s schools Washington Post: The writer, Richard Berman, is a D.C.-based corporate communications consultant who is waging a national campaign against Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Poll: Maryland Voters Concerned About Time Spent On Standardized Tests WAMU: When it comes to education issues, Maryland voters are worried about too much standardized testing of kids more than anything else, according to a poll commissioned and released by the state's teachers union. The survey shows rare bipartisan agreement on education in Maryland.

Chicago struggles to redesign neighborhood high schools Catalyst: Overall, the neighborhood high schools that small schools were intended to rejuvenate are still struggling. Many, especially on the South and West sides, suffer from sharply declining enrollment.

Charter-school backers resist state’s traditional financial-reporting rules Seattle Times: The state wants charter schools to follow the same financial-reporting rules as other public schools, but has encountered some unexpected backlash. It’s the first clash in an otherwise peaceful relationship with the state as charters ramp up in Washington.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Confounds Mayor Bill de Blasio WSJ: Aides to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have huddled for months trying to understand Gov. Andrew Cuomo, often as they scrambled to address perceived slights. They largely have come to one conclusion: There is very little to be done about him.

Reaching Kids Means Conquering Poverty in Mount Vernon WNYC: Educators on the front lines — those who work with the students in the schools that struggle most to pass reading and math tests — said Cuomo’s argument ignored a key factor, one beyond teachers’ control: poverty.

School surveillance video shows boxes of SAT exams were delivered to UPS Washington Post: On May 2, 263 teens sat for the SATs at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va., the culmination of weeks of expensive test preparation for some students as they hoped to enhance their standing on the college entrance exams.

Blue-collar town leads Rhode Island’s tech-assisted learning revolution Hechinger Report: The students dive into the lesson, dragging empty domino shapes from the bottom of the screen and placing them at the top, where they add dots and create equations.

Hastert’s Name Removed by Alma Mater NYT: AWheaton College scrubbed J. Dennis Hastert’s name from its public policy center after the former House speaker’s indictment on charges that he lied to the F.B.I. about financial transactions.

Quotes: Portrayal of Teachers Is "Disingenuous and Outrageous"

Quotes2The Obama Administration has managed to pit the teachers against the civil rights community on this issue and to put the teachers on the defensive.... The liberal press has bought this argument hook, line and sinker... Teachers are not opposed to annual accountability testing because they are enemies of their students' civil rights.  They are opposed to annual accountability testing because it is being used to punish teachers in ways that are grossly unfair and singularly ineffective.

- Mark Tucker in EdWeek (Annual Accountability Testing: Time for the Civil Rights Community to Reconsider)

Morning Videos: Texas Truancy Trap

 

How Texas punishes truant teens (from Al Jazeera) three part series.

AM News: Christie's Slow-Motion Common Core Flip-Flop, Plus SpellingBee

Christie Calls for End to Common Core Standards in NJ WNYC: Left untouched in the Governor's reform is the controversial PARCC exam, which is aligned to Common Core's standards. Gov. Christie says New Jersey will continue to administer the test, which saw its debut this year. See also Washington Post, AP via HuffPost, HuffPost, Politico, NJ Spotlight.

It All Came Down To 'Nunatak' NPR: What I saw felt much more like a celebration of language and learning. An evening that showed these 13- and 14-year-olds — some younger — displaying deep knowledge of word origins, analyzing Latin and Greek roots, even Sanskrit. See also: National Spelling Bee Crowns Co-Champs For Second Straight Year.

Past National Spelling Bee Champs, All Grown Up, Share What Life After Winning Is Like AP: What's life like years after the Bee for a few of these champs? ABC News looked at four past winners, all grown up, who shared what they're up to today.

15 Chinese Accused of Using Test-Taking Impostors for College Entrance Exams NYT: The indictment sketches a scheme in which individuals are accused of paying impostors using fake Chinese passports to take college entrance exams at testing sites in the Pittsburgh area.

Study Highlights Rifts Over Best Practices for Approving Charter Schools EdWeek: Authorizing has been getting increased attention lately as some state- and press-led investigations have revealed cases of systematic academic and financial failure in charter schools.

Why one Common Core test will match the tough national exam known as the Nation’s Report Card, and one won’t Hechinger Report: PAARC used NAEP as a major resource to determine benchmarks for college and career readiness in high school. The other test makers went a different direction and primarily relied on feedback from teachers and college faculty to determine what skills they would expect a student at each grade level to be able to demonstrate.

School testing bill appears to be dead in the Washington state Senate Seattle Times: The state Senate does not appear likely to consider a bill that would temporarily eliminate the need to pass a science test to graduate from high school. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure on Wednesday, with lawmakers saying they expected it to pass the Senate as well. But the Senate voted Thursday morning […]

 More news below and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.

Continue reading "AM News: Christie's Slow-Motion Common Core Flip-Flop, Plus SpellingBee" »

School Life: Live From Snack Time

We've seen versions of this kind of thing before, including FOUND, but still... HuffPost has a bunch of good ones. 

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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.