Tutorservice Daily News for September 28th through September 29th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 28th through September 29th:

  • Morning Video: African Education Entrepreneur Wins "Genius" Grant –  
    "Patrick Awuah is an educator and entrepreneur building a new model for higher education in Ghana. Read more here.
    Related posts: Roland Fryer Wins MacArthur "Genius" Award (2011);   Deborah Bial: An Education "Genius" (2007); Educator Wins MacArthur "Genius (2010); Will An Educator Win A 2012 MacArthur Grant?; The Genius Behind Teach For America (2007).
  • AM News: NEA To Endorse (Hillary), Apple (But Not Pearson) To Pay LAUSD – National Education Association Could Be Close to Endorsing Hillary Clinton PK12: Sources say that the National Education Association, the country's largest union, could endorse the Democratic candidate in a presidential primary battle as early as Friday.
    LAUSD board to vote on $6.4M settlement proposal with Apple over iPad software KPCC: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told board members this week he’s negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with Apple Inc. and tech company Lenovo to resolve a dispute over faulty software on the tablets they sold to the district.
    Arne Duncan to Charter Schools: Here's Millions in Grants, Be More Responsible PK12: The U.S. Department of Education is awarding millions under the Charter School Program to fund new charters and expand high-performing networks. See also Washington Post.
    School Choice Fan Rep. Kevin McCarthy Could Be Next Speaker PK12: The California Republican, elected in 2006, doesn't have nearly as long a resume on K-12 as did current Speaker John Boehner going into the job.
    New numbers show teacher prep numbers still falling SI&A Cabinet Report: Despite school districts statewide complaining about a shortage of credentialed applicants, a new report shows enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California continues to decline.
    Teachers Union Criticizes Charter Perk WSJ: The new ability of New York charter schools to set aside seats for employees’ children drew fire Monday from the United Federation of Teachers, which said such “nepotism” defied charters’ stated goals of serving the neediest children. 
    Michelle Obama highlights education with #62milliongirls CNN: On Saturday, first lady Michelle Obama announced a new campaign during the star-studded Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park to raise awareness of the issue. 
    As Worries Rise and Players Flee, a Missouri School Board Cuts Football NYT: With safety concerns growing and more students choosing to play soccer and other sports, the football team at a suburban St. Louis high school was disbanded.
    Google Virtual-Reality System Aims to Enliven Education NYT: Expeditions, a field-trip simulation program, will be offered free to schools as Google works to further develop virtual-reality technology.
    Why wealthy Loudoun County does not have universal full-day kindergarten Washington Monthly: The superintendent of Loudoun County schools wants to expand full-day kindergarten, but it will be costly.
    Chicago principals blindsided by more cuts to special needs WBEZ: In an unprecedented move, Chicago Public Schools plans to cut another $12 million from special education based on official enrollment numbers released late last week. Typically, special education staffing is left alone once the school year begins.
    3 years later, results of LAUSD's arts experiment are mixed KPCC: In 2012, Los Angeles Unified school board members made arts instruction a core subject, designating it as important as subjects like math and English.  A KPCC analysis of the most recent district data found that at about 100 elementary schools, the vast majority of students get no arts instruction.
    Aurora Bridge Crash: International Students Far From Family, But Not Alone Seattle Public Radio: Seattle-area community college students are planning a vigil this week to remember the five international students who lost their lives on the Aurora Bridge. That’s just one example of how students here help each other. Foreign students are thousands of miles away from their families, but they’re not alone.
  • Teaching: MasterClass Features Household Names Teaching What They Know –  
    Watch out, Khan Academy, TED Talks, Coursera, and all the others who are trying to educate America via video. According to the NYT, here comes MasterClass, in which folks like Serena Williams, James Patterson, Usher, and Dustin Hoffman share their knowledge for $90 a course.
  • Campaign 2016: No, Sanders Doesn’t Oppose Universal Education – "A chart on the Internet said that Sanders does not support "requiring all children to have a K-12 education."
    "However, it bases this claim on writings and campaigns from more than 40 years ago, and more recent legislative evidence indicates that Sanders supports a traditional view of K-12 education.
    "We rate the claim False."
    PolitiFact: Web graphic says Bernie Sanders doesn't support compulsory K-12 education
  • Maps: Where The 21 "Agency Fee" States Are — For Now – "Twenty-one states [in green] currently allow unions to collect agency fees to cover collective bargaining costs, and the unions in those states would have to reorganize if the plaintiffs win the Friedrichs case." New article via Education Next.
  • Quotes: Noguero On Why Obama Picked/Kept Duncan (& If Duncan Really Cares) – Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.
    - Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).
  • Quotes: Noguero On Why Obama Picked/Kept Duncan (& If Duncan Really Cares) – Even though I have disagreed with many of his policies, positions and statements, I do think he actually cares about poor children. Just goes to show that "caring" is not enough to create good, effective policy.
    - Pedro Noguero on Arne Duncan (via Facebook).
  • Pictures: Drop-Off Time At Two Adjacent Schools – Drop-off time at PS307 (left) & PS8 (right) http://t.co/Cgq2DDl8WO Story by @katetaylornyt Picture of the week? pic.twitter.com/hfNyszdmAm
    — The Grade (@grade_point) September 25, 2015

    The juxtaposed pictures of two schools during drop-off time accompanied last week's New York Times story about a proposed zoning change that would send students from one school to the other.

  • Morning Video: Pro-Charter Ad Slams NYC’s De Blasio Gets Criticized As Racist – Politico New York's Eliza Shapiro posted this video from Families For Excellent Schools and wrote about it last week (New charter ad hits de Blasio on race). Then came the followup story in which some folks denounced the ad as being overly divisive (Critics call new charter school ad 'racist'). 
    While it makes some uneasy, descriptions and accusations related to race and racism are all over the place in the past few years, including recent comments from Derrell Bradford, Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book, #educolor, and the This American Life series related to school integration. Just last week, white affluent Brooklyn parents were being accused of racism in response to a proposed school zoning stage (and affluent white parents in Chicago were being praised for their open-mindedness).  Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech related to #BlackLivesMatter.
    On the substance of the matter, the NYT editorial page recently suggested that the DOE needed to move further, faster on failing schools. ProPublic recently slammed the universal preschool program for not adding enough low-income (minority) students. But he's also launched a big new initiative related to economic equality.
    Related posts: Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling); Your Individual Racism Isn't Really The Problem; Worst Schools = The "New" Plantation.
  • AM News: Boehner Resignation Could Hinder ESEA Reauthorization – House Speaker Boehner, Key Architect of NCLB, to Resign From Congress PK12:&nbsdivp;Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce committee when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, and played a key role in shepherding NCLB through the legislative process. See also Washington Post.
    LAUSD board to vote on $6.4 million settlement proposal with Apple over iPad software KPCC: Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told board members this week he’s negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with Apple Inc. and tech company Lenovo to resolve a dispute over faulty software on the tablets they sold to the district. Most of the settlement money will come from Apple.
    Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, and Malala Yousafzai Unite to Push for Girls' EducationTIME: Women and girls took center stage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City on Saturday night, with Beyoncé, Michelle Obama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai rallying more than 60,000 fans in support of girls' education. See also USNWR.
    Study: Principals Satisfied with TFA Teachers Atlanta Journal Constitution: Most principals are satisfied with the Teach for America teachers in their buildings, according to a study released today by the RAND Corporation. 
    Black math scores lag the most in segregated schools Hechinger: More than half of the achievement gap could be attributed to factors inside the school.  Only about 15 percent of the achievement gap could be attributed to inequities in funding and resources between schools. The remainder of the achievement gap is an unexplained mystery. See also Washington Post.
    Test scores complicate the debate over expanding L.A. charter schools LA Times: As the battle to greatly expand charter schools in Los Angeles begins, both sides are touting statistics they claim make their case.
    White House honors teenager who inspires girls to do computer coding Washington Post: Swetha Prabakaran, 15, runs a nonprofit to teach elementary schoolers about computer coding.
    Education Department Restarts Peer-Review of Tests PK12: States that have adopted new tests, or made significant changes to their old ones, will have to undergo peer review by the U.S. Department of Education within the next four to eight months, according to department officials.
    How One Principal is Trying to Get More Black Men Into the Classroom Washington Post: One Philadelphia principal is trying to do his part by launching a new organization that aims to bring together Philly’s black male educators and provide them with professional support to thrive in their jobs.
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

    Who Are The 'Gifted And Talented' And What Do They Need? NPR: Estimates vary, but many say there are around 3 million students in K-12 classrooms nationwide who could be considered academically gifted and talented. The education they get is the subject of a national debate about what our public schools owe to each child in the post-No Child Left Behind era.
    Pope Urges Immigrants, East Harlem Children To 'Keep Dreaming' HuffPost: The pope noted that many of the students at Our Lady Queen of Angels and three other local Catholic schools represented at the event come from minority and immigrant communities.
    'Breaking Bad' Actor Helping Co-Star in New Mexico Election AP: The 52-year-old Quezada, an elected Albuquerque Public Schools board member, is one of four candidates seeking a District 2 commission seat.
    Marla Krolikowski, Transgender Teacher Fired for Insubordination, Dies at 62 NYT: In a well-publicized lawsuit, Ms. Krolikowski sued St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens for dismissing her over her appearance.
    Tag ban lifted on Mercer Island; school playgrounds return to normal Seattle Times: The Mercer Island School District has reinstated the game of tag following an outcry from parents.

Posted in Education News | Leave a comment

Tutorservice Daily News for September 24th through September 25th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 24th through September 25th:

  • Thompson: Jack Jennings & the Insider’s View of School Reform – One reason why I loved Jack Jennings's Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools is that it helped me grasp something that always perplexed me. NCLB, unlike Arne Duncan's test and punish agenda, had very little in terms of real sanctions for individuals.  Why didn't the normative education culture of compliance respond in the obvious manner – pocket the extra money and pretend to comply with the law? Why did systems actually impose test-driven accountability and juke the stats, rather than just play the numbers games and claim that they had really taken a pound of flesh out of educators?
    Similarly, Jennings helps explain a phrase that became ubiquitous in my world. Our poor district desperately needed federal money, but it didn't dare spend it in the ways that would most benefit poor students. During years before and shortly after NCLB, I'd often hear the statement about Title I money: "Oh, that's just federal money." In other words, individual administrators wouldn't take risks in order to spend those modest funds more effectively; they’d stick with programs that were completely safe.
    To his credit, Duncan subsequently spoke about flexibility in spending Title I. I'd cite his promises and suggest approaches focusing on the socio-emotional aspect of learning and invariably hear words of agreement from administrators. After all, our district was 90% low-income, so there was little chance that those researched-based approaches would unfairly benefit affluent kids. Then would come a statement like this: "But, what if some 25-year-old accountant disallowed it?" Often, the other administrators would offer the same few anecdotes about other districts that were burned by federal bureaucrats.
    Jennings account of Title I is especially incisive. The ultimate insider with a half century of experience in edu-politics explains how Congress thought it was passing a general aid program with few strings attached. Reports of abuses prompted federal administrators in the 1970s to turn it into a categorical aid program, which led to regulations that could be burdensome. State and local administrators pushed back and gained some relief from the micromanaging. In return, the program became more focused on student achievement, as opposed to investing in the broader welfare of poor children.  
    As Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools unfolded, my big question was addressed. I had been unaware of the long complicated story of how Title I had become more focused on academic accountability.  On the ground in inner city schools, we would have had to have our heads firmly in the sand to miss the justified pressure from the civil rights community to produce concrete metrics of academic growth for poor children of color but I, at least, had missed the parts of the story that Jennings recounts. Systems had been fighting multi-faceted battles over accountability and I’d just been aware of the disputes over test scores. So, even though NCLB’s test score targets seemed so utopian that it appeared unlikely that systems would go to illogical extremes to meet them, an overall foundation had been laid for a serious commitment to test-driven accountability.

    Before moving on to NCLB, Jennings reviews the results of the imperfect federal efforts that it sought to replace. The ESEA Act of 1965 had big goals and it was well-funded.  From the mid-1960s to the 1980s, federally funded efforts only produced modest improvements and they did not bring equity.  But, in comparison to post-NCLB results, those gains look pretty impressive, especially since their funding did not increase in order to meet the ambitious goal of closing the Achievement Gap. To produce equity for the most disadvantaged students, who disproportionately were concentrated in high-challenge schools, a far greater investment into their entire learning environment would have been necessary.
    I would add some more historical perspective. As Jennings notes, the test scores don't tell us what would have happened if old-fashioned federal aid not been available.  What would have happened to the achievement of poor students in the 1980s as Supply Side economics wiped out their families’ jobs and hopes for a future if Title I hadn’t existed?
    Test scores improved in the 1960s and early 1970s. Those gains must also reflect the benefits of the greatest economic boom in world history. By the Reagan years, when it was decided that the stick of standards-based accountability was necessary, good jobs for poor people of color, as well as blue collar factory workers, were disappearing so fast that it looked like much of American society was unraveling.  The hopefulness of Pax Americana prosperity, as well as real progress in civil rights, must have helped improve student outcomes. The despair of jobless, post-industrial inner cities that followed must have compromised the effectiveness of federal education investments. 
    Jennings then documents how and why NCLB accountability failed. He bluntly reminds us that "Tests do not a good education make.”  Moreover, “When it came to measuring student progress in school, NCLB got it wrong.” Pulling it all together, Jennings’s analysis of NAEP testing results shows:
    It is ironic that from the 1970s to the early 2000s. achievement generally rose and achievement gaps generally narrowed, which would seem to refute the Title I evaluation results used to support the shift to test-driven reform.
    He also concludes:
    The long-term NAEP results showed gains, especially for Black and Hispanic students, until 2008. A disturbing finding, though, is that since 2008, achievement has not increased for students except for 13-year-olds, nor have achievement gaps narrowed between racial/ethnic groups.
    When he turns to the post-2008 era, Jennings is appropriately cautious. Being an advocate, my reading of the evidence is that Arne Duncan and the Billionaires Boys’ Club put NCLB-type testing on steroids. Together, they increased the percentage of educators held personally accountable for bubble-in test score growth from less than 1/4th to nearly 100%. I read the evidence as saying that Duncan and corporate reformers took an awful accountability system and made it worse, probably inflicting the greatest harm on the poorest children of color.
    An objective scholar as careful as Jennings might say, however, that it is still too soon to characterize the Duncan record in such a manner. He is judicious in summarizing the evidence in a way that most educators will accept, telling Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post,  “The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement. … “They also did considerable harm.”
    Jennings is critical of the reformers’ faith in charters and value-added evaluations, as well as indicating that Common Core was partly undermined by the refusal to listen to teachers’ complaints about testing. But, probably wisely, he is slower to pronounce judgments on policies that are just now being implemented. For instance, he picks his closing words carefully in terms of the quantitative portion of teachers’ evaluations:
    My hope, though, is that student test scores will not be used improperly. Policymakers should heed the researchers and test-preparers who stress that tests in current use were not created to be valid in assessing teacher performance for purposes of major decisions such as pay and job retention. 
    I've been going back and forth about the last quarter of Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools where Jennings makes policy recommendations. On one hand, it would be hard to initiate a grand new federal effort until we have some distance from the hubris and the social engineering of the Duncan years. But, who am I to discount suggestions based on Jennings’s decades of experience? I think he has persuaded me but that is a topic for another post. – JT(drjohnthompson)

  • Parents: Didn’t Take Long For Common Core Homework Debate To Flare Up Again – This Dad Wrote A Check To His Kid's School Using Common Core Math, says BuzzFeed about an image going around social media this week. But The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using “Common Core” Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About, says blogger Hemant Mehta at Patheos. The parent has since recanted – sort of. 
  • Charts: Should Education Advocates Work On Voting Issues? (Yes.) – One big reason Congress ignores the poor: they don't vote http://t.co/sxapyVRI0C pic.twitter.com/cWwySbfjl0
    — Vox (@voxdotcom) September 25, 2015

    The notion that people interested in making schools work better for kids should get involved in voter registration/equity issues will probably make some (on the reform side, mostly) howl and tear their hair out of their heads (except perhaps those Democracy Prep folks).
    But social justice activists and organized labor have long been involved in these kinds of things (most notably in Chicago, where the CTU registered voters along with running candidates against City Hall).
    There's a sliver of reform-side history on voter registration in the form of Steve Barr (and others?) being involved with Rock The Vote, which was a musician-focused effort to encourage people to register whose heyday was in the 1990's on MTV.
    This forthcoming study on responses to poor AYP ratings suggests increases in voter turnout 5-8 percent (varying by income) — almost as much effect as door knocking.
    Plus which: schools are often used as polling places, so it's right there in front of your faces.
    Parent engagement & mobilization is now recognized as a key aspect of efforts to make schools work better. Why not throw some voter registration/advocacy in the mix while you're at it?
    Related posts: Harvard Students Fail 1964 Louisiana Voting Literacy Test;  Children's Academic Success Vs. Minority Voting Rights; Computerized Voting To Change A Contract; Turning Students Into Voters.

  • Morning Video: Can Catholic Schools Bounce Back? – "Since the 1960s, enrollment at Catholic schools in the United States has fallen by more than 50 percent. Today, only about two million students attend Catholic school, and that’s due to a variety of reasons, including falling birth rates among Catholics, the rise of charter schools in urban areas, and more Catholics moving to the suburbs. But the one Pope Francis will visit and some others like it have found ways to keep their doors open." 
    From the PBS NewsHour: Struggling Catholic schools seek ways to set themselves apart.

    See also Hechinger Report: Pope Francis visits Common Core Catholic school, as fight over standards in parochial education rages; As pope visits, Catholic schools hope for a K-12 renaissance.
    Still want more? Try #popeschools

  • AM News: Seattle Tragedy, NYC’s Muslim Holiday, & Chicago Next Steps – Sadness in international-student community after tour-bus tragedy Seattle Times: North Seattle enrolls about 900 international students each year, and the students on the bus, including the four who died, were among this year’s group.
    For 1st time, New York City schools close for Muslim holiday AP: Thursday was the first time the schools serving 1.1 million pupils closed for a Muslim holiday. Eid al-Adha is known as the Feast of the Sacrifice. It commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim – Abraham to Christians and Jews – to sacrifice his son.
    With Hunger Strike Over, Chicago Activists to Focus on Elected School Board District Dossier: Activists ended a 34-day hunger strike to reopen Dyett High School. They will channel their energy into advocating for an elected Chicago school board.
    Black males struggle in segregated schools Washington Post: A new nces/AIR study using federal data finds that black students who attend schools that have a majority of black students score lower on achievement tests than black students who go to school with fewer other black students.
    More than 1 in 5 U.S. children are (still) living in poverty Washington Post: The proportion of American children who live in poverty began rising during the recession, and it continued rising after the recession officially ended. In 2013, the child poverty rate finally fell for the first time since 2006 — a dip that advocates hoped was the beginning of an enduring trend.
    D.C. School Takes New Approach To Fighting Poverty: Teaching Parents & Kids WAMU: We go inside an innovative partnership between a health clinic and a school, that aims to create healthier, more resilient communities in the nation's capital.
    Some Concerned Union Too Involved In Pittsburgh Public Schools As Crucial … CBS Local: But Randi Weingarten has shown a particular interest in Pittsburgh. Not only its teachers, but in who sits on the Pittsburgh Public School Board. “Why would the AFT be contributing to local neighborhood school board elections?” asked KDKA's Andy Sheehan.
    Kids Who Are Time-Crunched At School Lunch Toss More And Eat Less NPR: Many public school students get 15 minutes or less to eat. A study finds that kids who get less than 20 minutes for lunch end up eating less of everything on their tray.
    As city acts on their cause, community school advocates carve out a new role ChalkbeatNY: For the advocates, the challenge is to back Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious plan to transform nearly 130 schools into community schools, while also ensuring that those changes are made with public input and result in service-filled schools that outlive this mayoral administration. For de Blasio’s side, the trick is to move quickly enough that the public sees an immediate return on its expensive investment while ensuring the continued support of advocates.
  • Viral: Fall Is the Worst Season (Not Just Because Of Decorative Gourds) – "It all starts with the back-to-school feeling, a sensation beloved by freaks…."
    via Jezebel (Fall Is the Worst Season)
  • Charts: Quick Reminder Why Everyone’s So Worried (About The Kids & Themselves) – This chart from the NYT last year (The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest) notes that poor and middle-class Americans used to be relatively better-off than those in other countries, but since 2000 have fallen behind their counterparts in other countries.

    "After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans."
    No wonder everyone's so fearful and stressed-out, right?

  • Quotes: When You Leave, Those Who Remain Win – Those who hold power in the lazy monopoly may actually have an interest in creating some limited opportunities for exit on the part of those whose voice might be uncomfortable.
    – Albert Hirschman (Exit, Voice, and Loyalty) via Malcolm Gladwell (The Power Of Failure)
  • #TBT: Remembering The Annenberg Challenge (aka "Bottom-Up" Reform) – There's lots of talk these days about "bottom-up" efforts to fix struggling schools and districts, largely tied to what happened in Newark over the past five years.
    But as some longtimers may recall, bottom-up (locally-driven, community-led) school reform funded by nonprofit sources has been tried before, most notably in the form of Walter Annenberg's $500M Challenge.
    Take a minute to check out the case studies of Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City that were written and published way back in 2000. (The Chicago chapter is one that I wrote. Carol Innerst and Ray Domanico wrote the others.)
    Some of the folks who are pushing for bottom-up reforms now were actually part of these efforts, and should know better (or at least know that it's no guarantee of success of any kind). 
    While we're on the topic, the NYT's Kate Zernike is scheduled to interview Dale Russakoff about Newark tonight at 5.
  • Morning Video: Integration Lessons From SF For Chicago & Brooklyn Parents –  
    This SF Chronicle video — part of a larger package of stories Twitter buddy Tania de Sa Campos (@taniadsc) reminded me of last night — is a great reminder of the hope and the many many challenges to mixing kids in schools in ways that their parents likely don't live or mix in real life.
    There's also a helpful "Behind The Headlines" roundup from Education Next about school integration and diversification efforts (including diverse charter schools) you might want to check out. 
    The contrasting narratives taking shape in Chicago and Brooklyn are fascinating to watch, and such a welcome relief from all the other education issues that tend to get talked about all the time. I'm really hoping that things work out reasonably well in both situations, and that the NYC and Chicago media do a steady, careful job sharing out the developments as they take place. Crossed fingers. 
Posted in Education News | Leave a comment

Tutorservice Daily News for September 22nd through September 24th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 22nd through September 24th:

  • AM News: None Of These Items Are About The Pope – High school students give Chinese president football AP: Chinese President Xi Jinping received a football, a personalized jersey and instruction on America's most popular sport during a tour of a Washington state high school….
    Detailed MCAS Results: Mostly Up, But Some Concerns Boston Learning Lab: Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts commissioner of elementary and secondary education, is “very concerned” about this year’s MCAS reading scores in the early grades, he said in a telephone press conference Wednesday. But he said he is “very pleased” with overall results on the 2015 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests. The state released district-by-district and individual school results Thursday.
    Joe Biden inches past Bernie Sanders in new poll New York Post:  say those unions are waiting for Biden to make his decision, whereas the American Federation of Teachers — led by Clinton ally Randi Weingarten — made an early endorsement of Clinton. 
    English-Learners New to the U.S. Are Focus of Education Department Initiative PK12: John King, a senior adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, acknowledged that the recently completed English-learner tool kit is merely the department's "first installment" in support of ELLs.
    Seattle School Board halts suspensions for elementary students Seattle Times: The Seattle School Board’s resolution calls for a one-year moratorium on some out-of-school suspensions for elementary students, and a plan to reduce such suspensions for all students.
    Making College More Affordable, One Text At A Time NPR: The right text or email message can help students get enrolled, find the right payment plan and remind them to pay, White House research shows.
    Test results expected for Common Core-aligned exams in Maryland Washington Post: Officials will release the first results in late October, with home reports expected at the end of the year.
    High-flying flips is the trick to keeping away bad feelings PBS NewsHour: Tonight, we discover a young man who fights the demons in life through meditation and the kind of high-flying acrobatics seen in video games. It’s an art form known as tricking. The video was shot and edited by teachers from Miami, Detroit and Aurora, Colorado.
    How Eva Moskowitz’s growing bureaucracy handled a school-supply fiasco Chalkbeat: A team of staffers from the network was dispatched to Long Island to sort the furniture and supplies into boxes destined for the right schools, staff members said, volunteering nights and weekend days to complete the work.
  • Politics: Arne Duncan, Master Manipulator? Give NEA Credit, Too. – One of the things that Michael Grunwald gives Team Duncan credit for in Politico's long feature about the not-yet-lameduck Education Secretary is seeing the anti-testing momentum building earlier than many (think 2011) and figuring out how to help his boss avoid unnecessary criticism: 

    “The union needed a target for its anger, and he was happy to take a bullet for the president.” 
    That's raised some eyebrows, including from EIA's Mike Antonucci.
    Writes the observant union watchdog: "If true – and I would expect vigorous denials if anyone bothered to inquire – I might actually have to adjust my cynicism meter into the red zone. This is manipulation of the union’s most devoted activists on a grand scale."
    Well, not so fast there.
    What's not mentioned about the anecdote — which I have not confirmed independently (Dorie? Justin? Massie? Daren?) is that the NEA isn't necessarily as dumb as it might look from this move. Its challenge was to express members' frustrations with the direction with the administration was taking without hurting the chances of the Democratic President they still wanted in the White House.
    This strategy has been noted several times in the past — Jonathan Chait from New York Magazine comes to mind. So however smart Duncan's staff was getting him involved in his own roasting, the union was arguably just as smart aiming its fire at Duncan not Obama.  
    Still reading? Here's the 13 things.

  • Thompson: School Closings in Chicago, Newark & Oklahoma City – Like so many reformers in Newark and elsewhere, Cory Booker was a true believer in "disruptive innovation" to produce "transformative" change. Dale Russakoff, in The Prize, explains that Newark reformers, funded by Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million grant, were slow in developing a plan for creating a "hybrid" district through school closures and expanding the charter sector.  Booker had said that the biggest challenge would be "breaking this iceberg of immovable, decades-long failing schools." After this is done, "They'll melt into many different school models. They're going to flower, just like the cherry blossoms in Branch Park."
    Booker didn't seem to have read about the [then] decade-long history of Chicago school closures started by Arne Duncan. And, he seemed to have forgotten about the murder of Derrion Albert as he walked home from his turnaround school, Fenger H.S. Or, perhaps he believed that Newark gang-bangers would be so inspired by One Newark that they would transform gang turf into cherry orchards for all. 
    In 1998, when I had my first experience with a school closure and reopening, Oklahoma City had some schools as violent and low-performing as those of Newark and Chicago. My John Marshall wasn't one of them. It was somewhere between 2/3rds and 3/4ths low-income, very similar to the neighboring Northeast H.S., which was turned into a magnet school. Marshall had the best faculty that I had ever seen, and Northeast was known for producing state and local teachers of the year and teacher-leaders. After the crack and gang violence peaked in the early 1990s, and after the "jobless recovery" finally started to put some patrons back to work, both schools had been seeing incremental gains.
    Then came the 1998-1999 "Year from Hell," as our long-suffering principal dubbed it. Combining students from the two neighborhoods who could not be admitted to selective schools was not the sole cause of our collapse. Neither am I aware of a connection between the change in school boundaries and the deaths that year of five Marshall students and recent alumni. But, the meltdown of our school showed the risks involved with tampering with the delicate ecosystems of schooling.  It was a major step in our blood-drenched path to becoming the lowest-performing secondary school in the state.
    Even before our first funeral, during my daily, dazed walk to the gym for lunchtime basketball with the students, I kept asking if this was a nightmare, and whether what I was experiencing was real.
    I taught 9th grade and we picked up an additional 100 freshmen. The younger students were always much, much harder to teach, lead, and coax into becoming responsible students, but they were particularly disoriented by the breakdown of traditional gang boundaries prompted by their transfer. Of course, this doesn't occur in every school closure, but the unpredicted and disproportionate numbers of freshmen created classes of up to 43 students. Because there were so many new faces, the always difficult challenge of tracking down "hall-walkers," who routinely skipped class, was made much tougher.
    Sadly, as in previous and subsequent years, the students who came to school but who did not go to class did not really want to be given complete freedom to skip school. They wanted to be caught, to have a caring adult learn their names, and to start the belated process of going to class (most of the time.)  Frequently, my students would laugh at a kid who would peek in the door and then run off. I'd be told that that was "so and so," and he was supposed to be in our room. Even if I didn't catch a good enough look to attach a face to the name, I could then make another call home, and again notify a counselor.
    But, we all had far too many brushfires to put out. In our overwhelmed school, most of those kids dropped out before their teachers had a chance to learn who they were. Four years later, our graduating class would barely be more than a third of the size of the incoming freshman class. 
    I had the good fortune of a last-hour planning period. I played football with the guys and softball with the female athletes. But, less than a hundred students were authorized to be out in the gym and in the ball fields. By late winter, several hundred students continually skipped class and meandered across the property. Sometimes, out of morbid curiosity, I went inside, walked the entire building, and searched in vain for a class that was under control, working, and learning.
    Several times on my tours, hundreds of the students who remained inside class would spill out into the halls. We subsequently lost a hundred students a year, transforming our inner ring suburban school into a hardcore dysfunctional one.
    Our faculty was no different than the teachers who were helping to improve student outcomes the year before, and it was essentially the same as in 2002 when Marshall's outcomes improved more than any other high school in the district. Marshall then started to produce the same type of incremental gains as we produced before the Year from Hell. In 2006, another school closure created conditions that were even worse than 1999. This time, the process was "data-driven" and our new school of Centennial was funded as if it was a run-of-the-mill, 90% low-income school, not a 100% low-income school serving extreme concentrations of traumatized kids from a neighborhood lacking social capital. 
    I'll leave the story of that tragedy to another time. Instead, I will ask why reformers in Newark and Chicago believed they had a better handle on the closure process than we did in Oklahoma City. Why in the world did they believe they could avoid creating schools that crossed "the tipping point," and which would have required far more per student funding than similar schools that may be "low-income" but that are very different from the highest-poverty neighborhood schools?  Why would they believe their One Newark would let cherry blossoms bloom without inflicting severe harm on those kids left behind in more segregated schools?- JT (@drjohnthompson)        
  • Quotes: How Some Upper Middle-Class Parents Calculate School Choices – I could move to Oak Park and pay $25,000. I don’t want to do that. We could also go to British school or Latin school and I’d have to pay another $25,000. I don’t want to do that.  So if you look at the numbers, it makes sense to make this work.
    - Chicago parent on WBEZ Chicago (Possible merger of contrasting schools one step closer)
  • Morning Video: Tupac On School "Just To Keep You Busy" – "What they tend to is teach you reading, writing, and arithmetic, then teach you reading, writing, and arithmetic again, then again, then again, just make it harder and harder, just to keep you busy. And that’s where I think they messed up." (via Bellwether Education Partners)
  • Reform: Why Was Community Engagement In Newark *So* Bad? – In a recent interview in The Seventy Four, former mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries described how woefully insufficient the communications and engagement effort was behind the Newark school reform effort: “There was absolutely not an infrastructure to communicate to parents… voters [and] the community.” 

    Love or loathe the Newark reform effort, you have to admit that it's pretty notable that well-funded reformers who'd seen what happened to Michelle Rhee in DC and had to know the importance of informing and rallying community members to their cause didn't seem to do so (or did so ineffectively). Across the river, Families For Excellent Schools launched in 2011. There was nothing like that in Newark. 
    In Dale Russakoff's book about Newark, the communications effort outsourced to consultant Bradley Tusk and others is described as a half-completed boondoggle:

    Mysteriously Tusk's role in Newark — and his effectiveness — isn't mentioned in this recent Forbes profile (What Uber And Mike Bloomberg Have In Common).

    I've invited Tusk and other consultants who worked on the Newark project to tell me more about their work, what if anything the Russakoff book gets wrong, and what readers need to know about the folks working on the opposite side of the issue (who don't get nearly as much attention as Tusk et al in the Russakoff book).
    So far, few if any takers. But the lines are still open.  
    Related posts: Meet Bradley Tusk, Reform Strategist; Why Organized Opposition Gets Less Attention.

  • AM News: LA Charter Expansion Plan Sets Off Deep Divisions – Group Led By Billionaire Proposes Overhaul Of LA Public Schools NPR: A memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times reveals a controversial plan to put half of the city's public school kids in charter schools. Renee Montagne talks with Times education reporter Howard Blume. See also LA Times, KPCC LA.
    Rezoning Plan for Two Brooklyn Schools Riles Up Parents WSJ: Parents from both schools say the proposal was thrust on them suddenly this month without their input. Department officials say urgency mounted when 50 children expecting to attend P.S. 8’s kindergarten this fall had to be put on a waitlist. See also NYT: Race and Class Collide in a Plan for Two Brooklyn Schools.
    Possible merger of contrasting schools one step closer WBEZ Chicago: Because the move would be considered a “school consolidation” under the law, CPS will have to make an official announcement by December 1 and hold three more public hearings before making a decision.  Gad said she thinks if the merger is approved, parents will leave Ogden.
    Brown signs $500m teacher training bill SI&A Cabinet Reoprt: Brown signed legislation Tuesday authorizing the distribution of $490 million in teacher training money to school districts based on their number of full-time equivalent certificated staff.
    Shavar Jeffries and the color of education 'reform' Washington Post: Shavar Jeffries is the new president of Democrats for Education Reform, making him a prominent African American leader in a movement that's been criticized for being too white and elitist.
    Chicago’s brand of teacher organizing goes viral Catalyst Chicago: As in Chicago in 2012, the Seattle teachers union connected with community concerns about standardized testing to argue against attaching tests to teacher evaluations. The new contract takes student test scores out of teacher evaluation altogether. “There’s a mood shifting out there among teachers and parents about what’s going on in the schools, and who has a say over it,” said Knapp.
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

    Colo. Supreme Court Upholds Lawmakers' Cuts to School Funding State EdWatch: The Dwyer v. Colorado ruling is the state Supreme Court's second major decision regarding K-12 finance in the past two years.
    Superintendent Chang calls for less testing, broader assessments Boston Globe: District schools, Chang said, are curtailing the use of so-called predictive exams — those aimed at forecasting performance on year-end multiple-choice tests, such as the MCAS. Chang said such tests are not good measures of students’ reasoning ability.
    Fairfax County schools could face a $72 million budget shortfall Washington Post: Fairfax County school officials have been sounding the alarm about a potentially significant budget shortfall that could lead to major cuts next school year, with the most recent estimates forecasting the deficit at the state’s largest school system at $71.6 million.
    Woman shoots husband in school parking lot in front of kids AP: North Carolina authorities say a woman shot her husband in front of two children inside a pickup truck outside an elementary school….
    City Schools Are Overcrowded, With No End in Sight WNYC: Nearly 500,000 New York City students are in overcrowded schools. And as the city revises the way it calculates overcrowding, to give a truer picture of how full the schools are, this number could increase even more.
    Despite Supreme Court ruling, charters may get some tax money Seattle Times: As the state Supreme Court considers motions asking it to reconsider a ruling that prohibits charters from receiving public money, the schools may continue to get it.
    Why it’s hard for girls in rural India to stay in school PBS NewsHour: Fifteen years ago, the United Nations set a goal: By this year, every child in every nation should be able to obtain free basic education.

  • Parents: Chicago & NYC Examples Highlight Promise & Challenges Of Integration – There are two contrasting stories going on around school integration right now — one in Chicago where parents at an overcrowded high-achieving school are considering merging with a nearby low-achieving school and the other in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood where parents are apparently expressing concerns about changes in the attendance zone that would bring in more low-income kids. 
    Read about the Chicago story at WBEZ and DNA Chicago: "Jenner principal Croston told the crowd that Jenner teaches children to “be neighborly. It’s one of the golden rules of every single world religion,” he said. “I think we are not doing our children a service when we continue to perpetuate stereotypes; when we continue to perpetuate myths.”"
    Read about the Brooklyn situation at Gothamist (among other places):"At last night's meeting, most of the parental indignation was directed at the DOE, which proposed the rezoning plan on September 2nd, and planned only two town-hall meetings—one at each school—before a revised plan is expected to be presented on September 30th. The rezoning could be finalized before the end of the year."
    The dynamics are a good reminder of what David Simon said recently: "White people, by and large, are not very good at sharing physical space or power or many other kinds of social dynamics with significant numbers of people of color."
    Or Ravi Gupta in a recent Conor Williams commentary: "‘Neighborhood school’ is almost an Orwellian term. It sounds great—and can be great in a perfect world. But its history is a history of using neighborhood boundaries to segregate."
    But it can and does happen — in unlikely places including Greenwich, Connecticut (Who Knew That Greenwich, Conn., Was a Model of Equality?)
    Related posts: School Integration's Nagging NIMBY Problem; New Report Calls For Renewed Integration Effort (Can It Happen?); 
  • Update: Whatever Happened To Roland Fryer (& Cash Incentives For School)? – Get More: Comedy Central,Funny Videos,Funny TV Shows

    News that Harvard economist Roland Fryer has been named to MA State Board of Ed (h/t Rotherham) is a great opportunity to play this memorable interview he did with Stephen Colbert, talking about the achievement gap and kids and parents' responses to financial incentives. 
    In the interview, Fryer puts a bill on the table as an incentive for Colbert to ask good questions.
    Of course, the idea of financial incentives has lost much of whatever luster it held, based on both squeamishness about the idea and disappointing results.
    More interest and attention these days seems to be going towards low-tech reminder and engagement efforts using cell phones to communicate with parents. See examples here, here, and here.
    But the cash payment idea hasn't gone away, domestically and elsewhere. The PBS NewsHour recently ran a segment about a cash payment program operating in Brazil. Other less direct ways of helping low-income parents help improve their kids' education chances include raising the minimum wage and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. 
    Related posts: Roland Fryer Wins MacArthur "Genius" Award; Fryer To Colbert: "You're Black Now, Aren't You?"; The Rise And Fall Of Cash For Grades;  How Parental Fears Might Shade Views Of Roland Fryer; 

  • Quotes: Obstacles To Instructional Coaching In Schools – Unfortunately, there are schools that enter into coaching, but they put coaches in situations that will only foster resentment and not growth among teachers. Perhaps it's these days of accountability and point scales on teacher evaluations, but there is a lack of trust between many teachers and leaders. 
    – Peter DeWitt in EdWeek (4 Reasons Instructional Coaching Won't Work)
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Tutorservice Daily News for September 17th through September 22nd

Tutorservice Daily News for September 17th through September 22nd:

  • Morning Listen: Contrasting Chicago Schools Might Attempt Merger – As Chicago's public housing has been dismantled and gentrification has taken hold, white and college-educated parents have moved into neighborhoods with legacy neighborhood schools that are all-black and nearly all poor students. A proposal to merge one of these schools (200-student Jenner) with a nearby high-performing (and overcroweded) school (Ogden) with just 20 percent poor students raised some parental concerns. 
    WBEZ's Linda Lutton attended a meeting to air parents' concerns — and optimism — about a possible attendance zone change that would merge the schools into a racially and economically school.  Both schools' principals are in favor. The proposal isn't endorsed by the central office, and hasn't yet been voted on by the Local School Councils that oversee the principals and budgets at each school. 
    Above, listen to Lutton talk about the possibility, which she calls precedent-setting, and click the link below to read and listen to more of the parent meeting. 
    You can also listen to the recent episode of This American Life in which school integration was proposed — and opposed — in Missouri last year.
  • AM News: Walker’s Out, LA Charter Plan Revealed – Scott Walker Suspends Presidential Campaign After Late Anti-Union Push PK12: In what turned out to be his last major campaign push, Walker this month had once again played up his opposition to unions. See also State EdWatch.
    $490-million plan would put half of LAUSD students in charter schools LA Times: The timing of the charter plan is troubling, said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. She said the district has made recent strides, "but instead of building on this success … Mr. Broad and his allies are trying to …
    Boy withdraws from school that suspended him over clock AP: The family of a 14-year-old Muslim student who got in trouble over a homemade clock mistaken for a possible bomb withdrew the boy Monday from his suburban Dallas high school. Ahmed Mohamed’s father, Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed, said he has pulled all of his children from their Irving Independent School District schools. 
    Dispute Over Validity of Common-Core Exam Ignites New Florida Testing Fight State EdWatch: There's a new political dispute over assessments in Florida. This one involves a study about the common-core test given to students earlier this year.
    Merger would mean first integrated neighborhood school in a former public housing area WBEZ:  Beyer says a committee of Ogden parents researched multiple options to relieve overcrowding and felt this was the best approach. But he says Ogden won’t pursue the option unless the local school council supports it; a vote is scheduled for tonight. “Nothing is a done deal,” Beyer says.
    Chicago Mayor Prepares Large Property Tax Hike AP: It's unclear how residents and businesses will respond. Emanuel has faced raucous crowds at public budget hearings, but the political fallout for the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama could be delayed because he doesn't face re-election until 2019.
    Charter leaders continue to battle de Blasio over space in public school buildings ChalkbeatNY: In an open letter to de Blasio, the leaders accuse the de Blasio administration of “hurting some of the city’s most vulnerable students” by denying their requests for space in public-school buildings.
    State’s first charter school was overpaid $200,000 Seattle Times: First Place Scholars, the state’s first charter school, got more state money than it should have after providing inaccurate information, says the audit, part of an investigation that began last year when the school was put on probation. See also AP, Seattle Public Radio.
    Six D.C. schools had ‘critical’ testing violations, 11 others had irregularities Washington Post: One test administrator coached students to change answers, others erased stray answer sheet markings.
    How TV Can Make Kids Better Readers NPR: In their new book, two education scholars argue new media can be a key part of building literacy.
    5 years after Facebook pledge, Newark schools struggle AP: So has Zuckerberg's donation, which was matched with another $100 million from other donors, shown that big-scale philanthropy guarantees quick change? "We've proven at this point that answer is no," said Derrell Bradford, a supporter of Zuckerberg's effort and leader of the New York school reform group NYCAN, who previously worked for similar groups in New Jersey. 
  • Roundup: Education Audio Is Everywhere – Christine Schneider from Education Cities notes that there are a lot of mainstream education-related audio segments and podcasts that have come out recently:
    Note To Self (WNYC) Half the teachers in America use one app (Class Dojo) to track kids
    The Beginning Of The End - the end of self doubt - about one amazing Detroit high school teacher (pictured above).
    Also from TBOTE - the end of high school (also from WDET).
    Freakonomics - preventing crime for pennies on the dollar. Follows the Becoming a Man (BAM) program.
    Curious City (WBEZ) - were Chicago Public Schools ever any good? 
    WBEZ also did one on truancy that was super interesting.
    Education Cities is a nonprofit network of 32 city-based organizations in 25 cities working to dramatically increase the number of great public schools. Find them at @edcities. 
  • Quotes: Restaffing Struggling Schools Won’t Necessarily Fix Them – The problems of the city’s struggling schools can be solved by real strategies, but not by political sloganeering. “Get tough on teachers” may warm the hearts of “reformers,” but it is a distraction from the real work that needs to be done.
    – UFT head Michael Mulgrew in the NY Daily News (Firing teachers vs. fixing schools)
  • Morning Video: Time For School –  
    "Hear the story of Jefferson Narciso from Rocinha, one of Rio de Janeiro's poorest and violent neighborhoods. Shy and smart, Narciso embarks on a journey to a better life through education that is plagued by the fears of others." (PBS NewsHour) Featuring a small cash transfer/school attendance program. Or, watch Chelsea Clinton speaking at her old Arkansas middle school on Friday.
  • AM News: Democratic Candidates’ Education Silence, Seattle Teachers Ratify – Why Aren't Democratic Presidential Contenders Talking About K-12 Policy? PK12: Democratic contenders for the White House have focused on early-childhood education and college access, but not said much about K-12 policy.
    Seattle teachers ratify contract Seattle Times: With approval of the contract with Seattle Public Schools, the strike, which was suspended, now officially ends.
    Homework: A New User's Guide NPR: School's back in session, and that means the homework's back, too. Here's what you need to know about how much work U.S. students have to do and how to tell the difference between good work and bad.
    De Blasio Says NYC Policies Support More Diverse Schools WNYC: Appearing on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, he said his goal was to increase equity and opportunities for all children through his affordable housing plans, pre-k expansion and after-school programs. 
    Unions push to cancel classes for pope’s visit Washington Post: Aona Jefferson, president of the Council of School Officers, said that the parade, street closings, Metro disruptions, bus route changes and huge crowds will lead to “commuting nightmares.”
    Clever, a Software Service, Gives Schools a Way to Manage Data Flow to Apps NYT: A new company, Clever, is addressing questions raised by politicians and parents about the data on students, and how it is secured and used.
    Illinois test results plummet under new Common Core exams WBEZ Chicago:  This first look at the controversial PARCC test may not be representative—the results, which Smith called a “super draft,” leave out between 25 and 30 percent of the nearly 1.1 million tests taken, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. 
    Dyett high school hunger strike ends after 34 days WBEZ Chicago: Protesters demanding Dyett High School reopen as a neighborhood school with a green technology curriculum have ended their hunger strike after 34 days. The end of the strike comes after protesters won a number of key demands but never declared victory. See also AP.
    Safety experts question classroom barricade devices AP: A nationwide push allowing schools to buy portable barricade devices they can set up if an active shooter enters their building has school security and fire experts questioning whether they're really safe….
    New Mexico Gives Every Teacher $100 for School Supplies TeacherBeat: The state's plan has been unenthusiastically greeted by one local union, though, that says it's a distraction from larger issues of education funding.
    Teachers union plans protest outside new Broad museum in downtown LA LA Daily News: Protesters are expected to gather outside Eli Broad's new $140 million museum that houses his 2,000-piece contemporary art collection Sunday, to call on the billionaire to halt plans to back a charter school plan that could enroll half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
  • Charts: Pinellas County Tops This 2014 District Education Foundations List – After Pinellas comes Clark County (Las Vegas), Omaha, Denver, Philadelphia, Hillborough, and NYC. Local (district) education foundations are either the best or worst thing ever, depending on whether you like what the fund is doing or not (and how you feel about equity). Here's a 2014 ranking by dewey & associates called "Stepping Up" which is billed as "the nation's only study and ranking of K-12 education foundations." h/t ED.
  • Thompson’s Throwback Friday: Russakoff’s Schooled & The Prize – Dale Russakoff's New Yorker article, Schooled, foreshadowed the powerful narrative of The Prize. 
    Before we can inquire more deeply into the nuance of Russakoff's full revelations, the essence of her discoveries must be contemplated. So, Why Cory Booker Should Have Respected Newark's Families and Teachers, This Week in Education, May 20, 2014, is worth a reread:
    Dale Russakoff’s New Yorker article, Schooled, recounts the failure of the “One Newark” plan to transform Newark schools. One of the key contributions of Russakoff’s excellent narrative is her portrait of the personalized nature of the edu-philanthropy process. As one wealthy donor said, “Investors bet on people, not on business plans, because they know successful people will find a way to be successful.”
    Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million in seed money after being blown away by then-mayor Cory Booker. Zuckerberg explained, “This is the guy I want to invest in. This is a person who can create change.”
    Booker created a confidential draft plan to “make Newark the charter school capital of the nation.” Because it would be driven by philanthropic donors, no openness would be required.  “Real change requires casualties,” Booker argued, and stealth was required to defeat “the pre-existing order,” which will “fight loudly and viciously.”
    Had they bothered to study social science research, cognitive science, and education history, hopefully the edu-philanthropists would have realized that Booker’s approach to “One Newark” could be great for his political ambitions but it was doomed as method of improving schools.
    The corporate reformers’ lack of curiosity in an evidence-driven plan for improvement is doubly frustrating because, as David Kirp documented, a successful experiment in systemic improvement was conducted in the nearby Union City schools.            

    Union City embraced high-quality early education. As Kirp explained in Improbable Scholars, it used research-based reforms to turnaround a school system that had been one of New Jersey’s worst. Kirp shows how we can build great schools on the strengths of our democracy. Their successes did not come from outside technocrats, but from a local culture of “abrazos” or caring.  Rather than firing our way to the top, Kirp shows that school improvement must come from trusting relationships.  The secret sauce of Union City’s success was “respeto,” or respect. 
    The equally good news is that school improvement is best achieved by the “grunt” work of “continuous improvement.” Rather that gambling on “disruptive innovation” and “transformative” change, real reform requires a modest ethic of “plan, do, and review.”
    Sadly, Kirp seems to retrospectively explain why Booker embraced the reform ethos. The hard work of planning, implementation, and trial and error is not as dramatic as a Democrat leading a blood-in-the-eye assault on his party’s constituencies.
    On the other hand, even though huge amounts of money was wasted on “One Newark,” the corporate reformers’ evidence-free emphasis on heroes and villains made for a compelling narrative. After reading Russakoff’s New Yorker article and, presumably, the book that will follow, the Billionaires Boys Club might rethink their cavalier approach to evidence and start to plan for science-driven policies.-JT(@drjohnthompson)

  • AM News: School Starts In Seattle, Illinois Gets Tough Results – School Begins in Seattle NYT: Thousands of Seattle students started the school year Thursday after it was delayed by a weeklong teachers strike. See also Seattle Times, Seattle Public Radio.
    Illinois test results plummet under new Common Core exams WBEZ Chicago: In elementary school, where students are tested in grades 3 through 8, between 33 percent and 38 percent of students met or exceeded standards in English. The percentage meeting standards in math was generally lower—between 26 percent and 36 percent.
    KIPP DC schools, other charters, to close during parts of papal visit Washington Post: All 16 KIPP charter schools in the District will be closed on Sept. 23 for the second day of the Pope's visit to Washington, and other charter schools also plan to close due to expected traffic congestion.
    Boston Proposes Combining Charter, District Enrollment Applications Boston Learning Lab: The proposed plan could also effectively change charter schools that opt into the enrollment process from citywide schools to neighborhood schools. Currently charter schools may accept students from throughout the city. Under the proposed process, Weinstein said, students would be given a choice of charter schools based on where they live, just as they are for district schools.
    Yeshivas Probe Faces Political Heft of Hasidic Community WNYC: The ultra-orthodox communities in the city and state are powerful political entities, and elected officials seek favor with them to secure their votes at election time.
    Expert panels weighs in on reversing school segregation in New York City WNYC: The panel comes at a time when school segregation has garnered attention in New York, following a UCLA study that detailed how the the state’s schools are deeply divided along racial lines. Panelists disagreed about whether the issue is best understood as divisions along socioeconomic or racial lines. 
    Learning To Code In Preschool NPR: A group of educators, researchers and entrepreneurs like Hosford is taking that analogy very seriously. They're arguing that the basic skills of coding, such as sequencing, pattern recognition and if/then conditional logic, should be introduced alongside or even before traditional reading, writing, and math.
    Florida Girl Arrested Under Similar Circumstances as Ahmed Mohamed Has Advice for Teen AP: Wilmot said she activated the volcano outside the cafeteria of Bartow High School that morning, when the lid popped off and the bottom of the device began to smoke. No students were hurt and no school property was damaged. Wilmot was then brought to the juvenile detention center where she was arrested on bomb charges.
    On the Bus With Arne Duncan: Wheelchair Basketball and Tough Questions PK12: Duncan's been dogged by questions about his controversial moves on K-12, including championing new Common Core State Standards tests, expanding charter schools, and evaluations.
    High School Football Inc. NYT: The latest experiment in prep football is taking root, and coaches and officials around the country are watching with curiosity and wariness.
    House Republicans want to give teachers a break Washington Post: Teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies — most of the nation's nearly 4 million K-12 teachers — would be eligible for a permanent tax credit of up to $250 annually for unreimbursed expenses, under a bill 
  • Quotes: Duncan Laments Belated NCLB Waiver Decision – We spent a year and a half two years trying to finish No Child Left Behind in 2009 and '10 and '11… We let schools, we let kids suffer for another year. So, in hindsight, we should have done waivers earlier… I think [overall] waivers have gone pretty darn well. You guys don't cover it much. But we have 44 pretty happy customers across the political spectrum.
    – EdSec Arne Duncan in EdWeek (Duncan's Big Mistake?)
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Tutorservice Daily News for September 15th through September 17th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 15th through September 17th:

  • Thompson: Hess & Jennings Cast Doubt on NCLB – The conservative spawn of the devil, Rick Hess, writes: "The acid test, I'd think, is whether they [test score increases] carry over to what matters: success in high school, college, and beyond. A decade of stagnant high school metrics is not reassuring, and it's possible that NCLB's command-and-control effort to improve schooling could be delivering up a false sense of progress."
    Our liberal pragmatist hero, Jack Jennings, writes that "the lack of congruence between state test and NAEP results throws into doubt the ability of NCLB's accountability provisions to raise general students achievement." Jennings concludes, "The recent stalling of progress on NAEP since 2008 … suggests  problems with the NCLB accountability approach." 
    Is there a dimes worth of difference between the American Enterprise Institute scholar's and the consummate insider/scholar's conclusion?
    Seriously, there is a difference between Hess's "musing" in Of Head Start and SAT and Jennings's thorough analysis of what worked and didn't work in accountability-driven reform. Hess starts with an old-fashioned conservative argument, raising the question of whether Head Start's gains are lasting. He then offers a specific critique of conservatives who keep whistling in the dark when bad news is announced. In this case, it is the decade-long decline of average SAT scores from 1514 for the class of 2006 to 1490 for the class of 2015 that reformers (who are now the new status quo) are scrambling to explain away.
    Jennings, in Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools, documents the long-term increase in student performance since 1970s, explaining why pre-NCLB improvement efforts were more successful than commonly assumed, and documenting the negative, unintended effects of NCLB's test-driven accountability system. 
    Both the conservative and the liberal are refreshingly grounded in reality. Hess gets to the heart of the matter, writing about test score gains, "What's been less clear to me is whether those results necessarily reflect meaningful learning."
    Hess notes that "there are a lot of moving parts here, and I don't claim to know what to make of all of them." He is sure, though, that the SAT finding:
    probably deserves more reflection than the policy community has given it— and much more than chest-thumping proclamations that K-8 "works", but high schools are broken. In the end, we should find it troubling that a decade of unimpressive high school achievement tells a very different story than the scores usually used to reassure one and all that we're on the right course.
    Hess wants us to apply the "same lens" to analyses of Head Start, the SAT, NCLB test scores, and the reliable NAEP results. Fortunately, Jennings has already done that and his findings cast even more doubt on the accountability regime that Hess criticizes. I will provide a fuller summary of Jennings's masterpiece, but in the meantime I'll cite some of his findings that are particularly valuable in this context.
    Since Hess and Jennings both ask whether student performance increases are meaningful and lasting, I will focus on the most important metrics which are scores for the oldest students, in the most comparable groups, taking the most reliable tests. That means we must focus on 8th grade, especially reading. From 1992 to 2003, 8th grade reading scores for whites increased by five points. From 2003 to 2013, those scores increased by four points. From 1992 to 2003, 8th grade reading scores for blacks increased by eight points. From 2003 to 2013, those scores increased by six points.
    The same decline in growth occurred in 8th grade math. From 1992 to 2003, white scores increased by 11 points. From 2003 to 2013, they increased by seven points. From 1992 to 2003, black scores increased by 16 points. From 2003 to 2013, they increased by 11 points.
    Since 1973, "long-term NAEP results showed gains, especially for black and Hispanic students, until 2008. A disturbing finding, though, is that since 2008, achievement has not increased except for 13-year olds, nor have the achievement gaps narrowed between racial/ethnic groups." 
    After reaffirming Jennings's disclaimer on our inability to causally link NAEP with changes in schools, I'll complete the record by citing two of the only three positive changes (out of the 24) reported by Jennings regarding post-2008 results. Since 1973, reading scores for all 13 year-olds increased by eight points. From 2008 to 2012, those increases were only three points. In math, the 1973-2013 scores were 19 points higher for all 8th graders; from 2008 to 2012, they increased by four points.  As noted, these were the most reliable results of the 1/8th of categories where gains haven't disappeared since 2008. (Though it is beyond the scope of this post, it seems likely that those to metrics are linked to the increase of Hispanic students and, perhaps, schools' efforts to serve that growing population.)
    In sum, Jennings supports the continued effort to improve academic standards, but he concludes:
    The primary justification for NCLB was to raise student achievement, and since it has not been shown to do that, it is time to pull the plug. The bad effects of NCLB outweigh the good. NCLB outlived its usefulness and ought to be repealed.
  • Charts: Pay Teacher More, But Don’t Give Them Tenure, Says New PDK Poll – Pretty much everyone thinks teachers aren't paid enough. Well, except Republicans. But not everybody thinks that teachers should get tenure, either according to the latest PDK/Gallup results: "59% of all Americans and 54% of public school parents oppose tenure. However, responses from black Americans differ: More blacks (47%) support rather than oppose tenure (32%)." (PDK/Gallup Poll – October highlights). How do these results compare to those found in other polls?
  • AM News: GOP Debates Education, De Blasio Unveils New Initiatives – Common Core, Choice, and a Teenage Clockmaker Highlight Ed. in GOP Debates PK12: Fans of discussions about K-12 policy had little to cheer about Wednesday, but education did get occasional mentions from some of the GOP candidates. See also Washington Post, LA Times.
    Obama Invites Ahmed Mohamed And His 'Cool Clock' To The White House For Astronomy Night HuffPost: President Barack Obama on Wednesday invited 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed to the White House for some stargazing next month. See also NBC News, Slate, NYT.
    De Blasio’s Plan to Lift Poor Schools Comes With High Costs and Big Political Risks NYT: Mayor Bill de Blasio framed his $186 million commitment to help struggling schools as a way to address income inequality, but questions remain about how these programs will work. See also WNYC, ChalkbeatNY, ChalkbeatNY.
    Teachers' union head spars with education reformer over New Orleans Washington Examiner: During the event's final panel, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Paul Pastorek, former Superintendent of Education in Louisiana, exchanged words.
    Head of firm chosen for new Wisconsin test gave Scott Walker $10,000 Journal-Sentinel: The president and CEO of the Minnesota firm chosen to produce the new Wisconsin Forward Exam is a former Wisconsin Republican lawmaker who last year donated $10,000 to Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign.
    Spurred by strike support, groups continue education fight Seattle Times: With the Seattle teachers strike suspended, public-education advocates are hoping to harness the outpouring of support for the city’s teachers toward the ongoing effort to boost state spending for public education.
    KIPP’s explosive growth came with slight dip in performance, study says Washington Post: For the analysis, researchers looked at eight elementary, 43 middle and 18 high schools in 20 cities, including Washington. They compared test scores of KIPP students with those of students who had applied to a KIPP school but failed to win a seat through a lottery and enrolled elsewhere. They also conducted student and parent surveys. See also Houston Chronicle.
    New Type of Public School Becomes Reality in Camden AP: Renaissance Schools, which started last year, are run by large, nonprofit charter school organizations. But unlike charters, they fall under control of the local school board and are responsible for educating all children who live in their areas. They also receive more taxpayer money per student than charters do.
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
    Seattle Students Start School Thursday as Strike Suspended AP: The teachers union and school district hammered out a deal early Tuesday following an overnight bargaining session that gave teachers a 9.5 percent pay raise over three years, guaranteed 30-minute recesses for elementary students, a longer school day and more teacher input over standardized tests.
    Preliminary Illinois PARCC Scores: Fewer than 4 in 10 Students Reach Proficiency State EdWatch: Proficiency rates hovered at about one-third for English/language arts, and were a bit lower in math, ranging from 17 percent proficiency on the high school math exam to 36 percent in 3rd grade math.
    US to build new school for dependents at Guantanamo base AP: The children of military and civilian personnel at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be getting a new school in another sign that the Navy won't be leaving the installation anytime soon….
    School Nurses Stock Drug To Reverse Opioid Overdoses NPR: With deaths from heroin and painkillers on the rise, more nurses at high schools and middle schools are prepared to intervene in the event of an overdose on school grounds.
    New York Will Trim Common Core Exams After Many Students Skipped Them NYT: The State Education Department said that the tests for third through eighth graders would be shortened next spring, and that they would be trimmed further in 2017. See also ChalkbeatNY.
    The Surgeon Who Became An Activist For Baby Talk NPR: In Suskind's new book, Thirty Million Words: Building A Child's Brain, she explains her personal journey toward the surprising answer: The kids who thrived generally lived in households where they heard lots of words. Millions and millions of words.
  • POTUS: "Cool Clock, Ahmed." – Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
    — President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015

    So a school suspended a kid for bringing a homemade clock to school, and got this comment from President Obama: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."

  • Charts: Education Doesn’t Pay Much (But Field Still Dominated By White Grads) – "African American and Hispanic students disproportionately earn more bachelors degrees in low-paying majors, putting them at higher risk for financial instability after graduation, according to a new study from Young Invincibles, an advocacy group," says the Washington Post (Racial disparities in college major selection exacerbate earnings gap).
    Education (see highlighted row) is of course a lower-paying job, but note that African-American and Latino representation in education is among the lower percentages (and one of the larger job categories). Education remains overwhelmingly white. The Shanker Institute recently reported that the percentages of minority teachers in 9 major cities has been dropping.
  • Quotes: Poverty, Residential Segregation, Lower-Performing Schools, Ineffective Teachers – She moved to a public-housing property in a highly-segregated neighborhood, next to a cement-crushing plant. The ceiling leaks and trains rattle by all night, and the bathtub is caked with mildew. Her daughter, who is now 8, hates her new school, and said her teacher confessed that she only came to school for a paycheck. The same teacher told Smith that her daughter was the only second-grader in the class who knew how to read.
    - Alana Samuels in The Atlantic (The Financial Toll of Mass Incarceration on American Families)
  • Morning Video: AEI Event Discussing #Katrina10 –  
    Or, watch this PBS NewsHour segment about the end of the Seattle teachers strike (which took the media by surprise, from what I could tell).
  • AM News: Seattle Teachers Strike Coming To An End (Plus NYC Coding Plan) – Seattle Teachers Reach Tentative Agreement To End Strike HuffPost: Initially, the district had offered teachers a 9 percent pay increase over three years, although the association countered by demanding a 10.5 percent increase over two years. Details of the latest agreement have not yet been revealed. See also AP, NPR, NBC News, PBS NewsHour, NYT, Seattle Times.
    City Wants to Spend Millions to Make School Kids Tech Savvy WNYC: On Wednesday, the mayor will offer details on a plan to require that all New York City public schools offer computer science to students within at least 10 years. The city is planning to spend $81 million dollars to ensure that it happens, half of which will come from private contributions. See also New York Times, New York Post.
    New York Mayor Outlines Education Policies AP: De Blasio, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, said he would outline a series of expansive new proposals meant to achieve three major goals: to have all children reading by third grade, to improve on-time graduation rates and to give all students a shot at attending college.
    The number of black teachers has dropped in nine US cities Washington Post: The study by the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank funded by the American Federation of Teachers, looked at teacher data from nine cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
    School bus crash kills 2 students, seriously injures 3 AP: A school bus plunged off a highway overpass in Houston after being hit by a car driven by a teacher Tuesday, killing two students and seriously injuring three other people, police and school officials said….
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

    Alabama Students Will Finally Be Required To Learn About Climate Change And Evolution HuffPost: Until now, teachers in the state weren't required to teach climate change, evolution and other locally controversial topics. 
    School Nurses Begin Stocking Opioid Overdose Antidote Naloxone NPR: With record numbers of young people using heroin and opioid painkillers, more school nurses are prepared to intervene in the event of an overdose on school grounds.
    Alabama Senate Approves Shifting $100 Million Away From Schools NPR: A critic of the move, which is not yet final, said his colleagues in the Legislature had decided to "rob children" to help cover a budget deficit instead of finding the money elsewhere.
    Campaign Urges Black Men To Focus More On Their Children's Education NPR: The group called Million Father March is trying to get African-American fathers more engaged in their children's education. That includes urging them to walk their kids to school.

  • Charts: Student Homelessness Still Rising Despite Recovery – "The latest homeless count, an 8 percent increase over the 2012-2013 school year… offers a glimpse of the growing challenges that public schools face nationwide as they seek to educate an increasing number of low-income children." – Washington Post (Number of homeless students in U.S. has doubled since before the recession). See also this Pacific Standard story about a preschool serving homeless toddlers. 
  • Quotes: Single Salary Schedule Gets New Look In Delaware – I would have walked a picket line for the single salary scale ten years ago.
    - Delaware teachers union head http://ow.ly/SeKS2 
Posted in Education News | Leave a comment

Tutorservice Daily News for September 11th through September 15th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 11th through September 15th:

  • Morning News: Alarming TODAY Series, Keeping Teachers Of The Year In Class – The Today show is running a back to school series focusing on alarming issues like why school buses don't have seat belts and what a high-tech school security system looks like. Click above for the school bus segment, or here for the school intruder prevention system segment. 
    Looking for something a bit more substantive, watch this NewsWorks segment about Delaware's efforts to keep great teachers in the classroom (featuring a TOTY who's just become an AP). Interesting interview with the state teachers union head talking about her changing views on the single salary schedule. 
  • AM News: Ferguson Commission Highlights Equity & Whole-Child Issues – Ferguson Commission: Schools Must Prioritize Whole-Child Issues, Equity District Dossier: A 198-page report by the Ferguson Commission recommends a focus on whole-child issues like hunger and school discipline and an overhaul in how the state of the Missouri deals with unaccredited districts.
    Discrimination begins early and immigrant preschoolers notice, report says KPCC LA: Teachers may make derogatory comments or act in ways that are patronizing to immigrant parents. Examples that Adair gives include teachers commenting about a parent's accent or home-language. A child may watch as their parent is repeatedly ignored by a teacher or in the school office, she said.
    Obama Makes College Aid Application Earlier And Easier NPR: "It's really a win-win for everybody," says Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. "Ultimately, this is gonna mean less work for [students] and less work for schools." See also Washington Post.
    Scott Walker proposes national 'right-to-work' law Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "His whole theory of the case is fighting workers rather than helping working families,"Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said before Walker unveiled his plan. 
    Putting More Technology In Schools May Not Make Kids Smarter: OECD Report HuffPost: You may want to think twice before you laud your local school district for investing in technological resources. As it turns out, too much technology in schools can be a bad thing, says an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report released Monday.
    Parents Scramble for Child Care Amid Seattle Teacher Strike AP: Seattle Parks and Recreation spokesman David Takami said 21 community centers are taking care of some 2,000 children in kindergarten through sixth grade free of cost, and that number is rising. Many of the centers are at capacity, and the effort is costing the city about $21,000 a day, he said. See also Seattle Times, Seattle Public Radio.
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso)
    T.C. Williams High School regains full state accreditation after turnaround Washington Post: School had been one of the lowest-performing in Virginia, but a turnaround effort appears to be making headway.
    Where Campus Life Meets Prison Life NPR: Two decades ago, a prisoner serving a life sentence had an idea of a college course. This year, over 100 universities and colleges will be offering a class just like the one he envisioned.
    Cheating allegations rise under de Blasio, continuing a Bloomberg-era trend ChalkbeatNY: The rise in complaints does not automatically signal a rise in misconduct; it could also indicate that staffers are making greater use of an anonymous email complaint system, for instance. Still, the growing number of allegations suggests that some teachers and principals continue to feel intense pressure to show test score, pass rate, and graduation rate gains, even as de Blasio has tried to de-emphasize those numbers as the primary measures of schools’ success.
    De Blasio to Tie Education Agenda to Economic Inequality WSJ: Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to tie his education agenda to economic inequalityWednesday, appearing at a school in the Bronx to deliver an address on how to help the children who need it most. Mr. de Blasio is slated to announce a new partnership with New York City’s business community to bring more computer science and other technology programs to low-income schools.
  • Update: Closed Philly School Converted Into Hipster Gastropub Generates Controversy – White hipsters sipping drinks on the roof of a closed (and beloved) Philly high school — what could look more wrong? I posted about this on HotForEd last week when I came across a post in The Awl (The Hottest Bar in Philly Is on Top of a Shuttered Public School), and couldn't stop reading. There were think pieces, protest flyers. Then, yesterday, alumni of the school (Bok) showed up at the restaurant wearing alumni gear.
    Follow #lebokfin for lots more. Follow @hotfored or subscribe to the Tumblr here.
  • Morning Listen: Outward Bound Goes To School – Check out this APM documentary about Expeditionary Learning, the network of schools developed using some of the ideas from Outward Bound (A vision for a new kind of public school in America). Then go read some of the accompanying essays about schools that have taken this approach, the connections to popular current ideas like "grit," the guy behind it all.
    Not your thing? Listen to this WBUR segment about Boston's effort to bring teacher diversity in line with student diversity.  
    Or, check out one of these education-focused Frontline documentaries from previous years.
    Whatever you do, don't watch that viral video of the high school cheerleaders paying homage to 9/11. 
  • AM News: Jobs Announces New $50M HS Redesign Project – Laurene Powell Jobs Commits $50 Million to Create New High Schools NYT: With an advertising campaign that looks as if it came from Apple’s marketing department, the initiative [XQ: The Super School Project] is meant to create high schools with new approaches to education. Over the next several months, the teams will submit plans that could include efforts like altering school schedules, curriculums and technologies. By fall next year, Ms. Powell Jobs said, a team of judges will pick five to 10 of the best ideas to finance.
    Common Core test scores show achievement gap, even in high-performing schools KPCC: At Wonderland Avenue Elementary, this week's test score release prompted celebration: 94 percent of the 330 students who took the test met or exceeded the grade-level standards in English language arts and 82 percent did so in math.  The school’s Latino students, about 4 percent of the student population, scored lower on the standardized tests when compared to white and Asian children.
    School Canceled for 4th Day as Seattle Teachers Strike AP: Seattle Public Schools is canceling classes for a fourth day Monday as a strike by teachers enters its second week. The strike, over issues that include pay raises and teacher evaluations, has delayed the start of the school year for about 53,000 students. The sides resumed negotiations Saturday and continued to talk Sunday. Seattle Times.
    Obama Seeks to Make Applying for Federal Financial Aid Easier PK12: The president is unveiling changes aiming to give students information about how much aid they qualify for earlier and encourage more low-income students to go after federal grants and loans. See also Reuters, PBS NewsHour.
    Gaps in Earnings Stand Out in Release of College Data NYT: At some expensive colleges, the salaries of students 10 years after enrollment are bleak, and there is an earnings gender gap at every top university. See also NPR, BuzzFeed, AP.
    School choice complicates Promise Neighborhood’s efforts to help kids Washington Post: Less than a third of the 1,600 students who live there attend neighborhood schools; the rest are enrolled in 184 others, scattered across a city that has embraced school choice more than almost any other.
    Charter School Head Says Newark Schools Are Better Since Facebook Gift WNYC: "Your odds have doubled of being in a good school if you're an African American kid in Newark," said Ryan Hill, director of Kipp New Jersey, which operates five charter schools in the city. 
    Authorities identify special needs student found dead on bus AP: Authorities have identified a special needs student who was found dead on a school bus as a special needs student who regularly rode the bus to his home in Whittier….
    Another clue that school's in session: the traffic WBEZ Chicago: For many in the Chicago region, the start of a new school year marks the beginning of another season: nine months of traffic headaches. People block the alley, park illegally. People park in places that block the buses. 
    Matthew Levey's Charter School Quest NYT: Late last month, on a warm, luminous morning, Matthew Levey, a 48-year-old former McKinsey consultant, stood on Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn and shook hands with his new charges: 65 kindergartners, a sea of neon sneakers, starched dresses and cotton golf shirts. It was the first day — ever — for the International Charter School of New York. And Mr. Levey, who had spent the last 36 months planning, developing and hiring for his new elementary school, was in high spirits. 
  • Roundup: Where #BlackLivesMatter Meets Education (Reform) – Curious about where BLM and education overlap? Here's a helpful roundup of school-related BLM articles to check out, courtesy of Catherine Bellinger, D.C. Director at DFER:
    Derrell Bradford on Freddie Gray: http://hechingerreport.org/freddie-grays-rough-baltimore-streets-shaped-my-fight-for-school-choice/
    The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/black-lives-matter-school-too/
    Justin Cohen's piece: http://www.justinccohen.com/blog/the-damn-pool
    RiShawn Biddle http://dropoutnation.net/2014/11/26/silence-of-reformers-on-ferguson-is-deafening/ 
    Ryan Hill of KIPP TEAM on Ferguson: http://blog.kippnj.org/grand-juries
    KIPP student essays on Ferguson and Eric Garner: http://blog.kippnj.org/student-essays-reflecting-on-ferguson-and-staten-island/
    Tom Rademacher's cross-post on Chris' blog: http://citizenstewart.org/a-white-teacher-says-its-time-to-sit-down/
    Andre Perry http://educationpost.org/say-bruh-it-shouldnt-be-this-hard-to-cheer-black-teachers/#.VfIjtuuFtUQ
    Michele Malkin http://nypost.com/2015/06/09/the-militant-takeover-of-the-teach-for-america-corps/
    Any other great examples, reform-oriented or otherwise?  Pass them on.
    Related posts: Duncan & Weingarten Attend Last Weekend's Protests; Deray McKesson Invited To Clinton Campaign Event; Packnett & Mckesson Win TFA Social Justice Activism Award; New College Board Head's Social Justice Agenda.
  • Quotes: Neighborhood Schools "Almost An Orwellian Term" – ‘Neighborhood school’ is almost an Orwellian term. It sounds great—and can be great in a perfect world. But its history is a history of using neighborhood boundaries to segregate. 
    - Former Obama campaign staff and RePublic Schools founder Ravi Gupta  quoted in Conor Williams oped (Liberals Push to Correct Inequality – To A Point)
  • Charts: New Report Calls For Renewed Integration Effort (Can It Happen?) – In a new report, the Century Foundation calls for new efforts to integrate district,  charter, and early childhood programs. Meantime, NYC's education chief says efforts to diversity schools there won't happen quickly, and New America's Conor Williams notes how strongly many liberal parents in DC seem to object to policy changes that affect their desires for their own children. Then again, selective schools just gave up some of their privilege in NOLA, so there's always hope. 
  • Morning Video: TN’s Free Community College Model – From PBS: "Tennessee is expecting record enrollment at its community colleges this year, under a new program that guarantees two years of tuition for free for students who meet some simple requirements. But can schools keep the students enrolled? Special correspondent Yasmeen Qureshi reports on an educational experiment that’s being watched around the country." 
    Or, listen to this recent segment featuring White House education guru and HGSE grad Roberto Rodriguez (who also spoke at this year's convocation).
  • AM News: More About Those CA Common Core Test Results (& Comparisons) – Less Than Half of CA Students Made the Grade on New Common Core–Aligned Test Slate: A total of 12 million students in 29 states took some version of these new Common Core–based assessments developed by Smarter Balanced and PARCC this year. See also EdSource Today, LA School Report, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
    2016 Candidates Slam Common Core, But Education Standards Take Root Reuters: Despite years of effort, Common Core's critics have largely failed to repeal the standards, which aim to emphasize critical thinking over rote memorization.
    New online credential program aims to turn out 10,000 new teachers in the next five years Hechinger Report: Although TEACH-NOW’s model offers traits similar to traditional preparation programs, like a student teaching experience, the model also differs. Students take online classes with 15 or fewer students and work through a sequence of individual online modules, instead of taking several different classes at the same time. Classroom observations, projects and school-based experiences, like tutoring, are integrated throughout the curriculum, and all aspiring teachers must complete a 12-week module of student teaching at the end of the certification program.
    These 16 States Are Implementing Plans To Make Sure Good Teachers End Up In Poor Communities HuffPost: A state plan approved Thursday by the Department of Education seeks to reverse these disparities in Missouri. Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin also had educator equity plans approved. More will be implemented in other states on a rolling basis. See also Washington Post. 
    Arne Duncan visits Harper College, praises scholarship program Chicago Tribune:  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised officials at Harper College in Palatine on Wednesday, saying the northwest suburban college's new scholarship program is reflective of a White House initiative to make community colleges nationwide tuition-free.
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso)
    Seattle Teachers to Stay off Picket Line on 9/11 Anniversary AP: Striking teachers say pay gap created by influx of tech workers makes Seattle tough to afford. See also Seattle Times.
    Houston Schools Superintendent Terry Grier to Step Down District Dossier: Grier said he chose to announce his decision now so that the school board will have ample time to identify and prepare his successor.
    Minneapolis school board calls Utah-made books offensive AP: Minneapolis school board members are demanding an apology and a refund from a Utah-based publisher of educational books after a community backlash against what some called racial and cultural stereotypes in the material….
    A 'Tremendous Teacher Shortage' in Okla. Confronts First-Year Chief EdWeek: To help battle Oklahoma's teacher shortage, state chief Joy Hofmeister is calling for a $5,000 increase in base pay for teacher salaries over the next five years.
    Nevada’s new school voucher program faces second legal challenge Washington Post: Five parents filed a lawsuit Thursday arguing that the new voucher program is unconstitutional because it diverts money from public to private schools. The complaint comes just days after the American Civil Liberties Union sued to stop the voucher program on the grounds that it violates the state constitution’s prohibition on using taxpayer dollars for religious purposes.
    Teachers union wants greater parental involvement — in pay raise dispute: Frustrated by what they claim is an unwillingness by the Clark County School District to come to an agreement over a new contract, teachers union leaders say they will seek the support of a group that up until now has been conspicuously absent in the debate: parents.
Posted in Education News | Leave a comment

Tutorservice Daily News for September 8th through September 10th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 8th through September 10th:

  • Pictures: First Days Of School (Through The Decades) – "First Days of School, Decade by Decade" by ELIZABETH A. HARRIS via NYT N.Y. / Region http://t.co/MDAGFaWF5y via @nytimes
    — Lori Jameson Broyles (@LMJB) September 10, 2015

    Here's a fun piece from the NYT about first days of school over the decades. Another fun approach would have been to have rounded up "first day" images from around the country (though these days they're not all on the same day).

  • Quotes: Expanding Choice Not The Same As Fixing A District – I thought that with [hundreds of millions] of dollars…that they knew how to reform a district, and how to help urban schools, not just charter schools… I thought they really knew how to take…the whole district and make all of those schools perform better for kids, and they really didn't know how to do that.
    - Author Dale Russakoff about the reform effort in Newark, via WNYC (The Deal That Brought Mark Zuckerberg's $100 Million Gift to Newark's Schools)
  • AM News: CA Publishes Common Core Test Results, Seattle Strike Continues – Less Than Half of Students Achieve Proficiency on Calif. Common-Core Exams State EdWatch: California students performed better on the English/language arts section of the Smarter Balanced exam than in math, according to scores released by the department Sept. 9. See also KPCC, LA Times, Bakersfield Californian. 
    Obama Promotes College Affordability Plan on Michigan Trip NYT: At an event near Detroit, Mr. Obama announced the creation of a national advisory board to push the idea that community college should be free for many students across the country. “Education has always been the secret sauce, the secret to America’s success,” Mr. Obama said to a small but enthusiastic crowd of students at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich. “Every American willing to work hard should have a shot at higher education.” See also The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.
    Rep. John Kline is still optimistic on No Child Left Behind rewrite this year Washington Post: House Education Committee chair wants bipartisan deal that Obama will feel “a lot of pressure” to sign.
    No classes Thursday as Seattle strike continues  AP: There will be no classes again Thursday for tens of thousands of public school students in Seattle as teachers will remain on strike. District spokeswoman Stacy Howard said both sides would be back at the negotiating table Thursday morning. See also NPR, HuffPost, EdWeek, Seattle Times.
    One of Teach For America's Top Executives Is Stepping Down TeacherBeat: The organization had been run by co-chief executive officers, but now one of them is stepping down. More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso) Indiana Poised to Cut Length of State Test by Three Hours After Uproar State EdWatch: Last February, the Indiana education department sent shock waves throughout the state when it announced that its exam for grades 3-8 would take 12 hours for students to complete.
    Heat wave brings challenges to many LA Unified classrooms  Los Angeles Times:  That's particularly problematic this week as Los Angeles faces a heat wave — that area of … The heat affects the students' education, she said. … 
    A First Day of School Spent in Limbo Instead of in Class NYT: It was a day of paperwork, pleading and raised or dashed hopes for New York City students who were seeking to transfer, or to just get into any school at all.
     New Illinois Law to Prompt Changes in Discipline Policies EdWeek: Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, or VOYCE, said the new law, signed by Rauner Aug. 24, "represents perhaps the most aggressive and comprehensive effort ever made by a state to address the 'school-to-prison pipeline.'" The student-led group helped draft the bill and encouraged its passage following two legislative sessions of debate.
    Program Helps St. Louis' First-Generation College Students Overcome Roadblocks St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The would-be freshmen already had overcome the odds by graduating and getting into college — something their parents had not achieved. But roadblocks still exist. 
    Girls Are The Majority at Some of D.C.’s Top High Schools, Which Some See as an Inequity Washington Post:  In the District, 48 percent of black male students and 57 percent of Hispanic male students graduate in four years, compared with 62 percent of black girls and 66 percent of Hispanic girls and 82 percent of white boys and 91 percent of white girls.
    Chicago Parents, Activists 24 Days Into School Hunger Strike WNYC: In Chicago, 12 parents and community leaders are protesting the closure of a public high school. Walter H. Dyett High School was the last open enrollment high school in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. But in 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel began an effort to close 53 public schools across the city. Protestors want Dyett High School to re-open as a specialized school that focuses on global leadership and green technology.
    Intel Ending Sponsorship Of Prestigious Science Contest For High School Students NPR: Intel has been the corporate sponsor of the Science Talent Search since 1998. This year the company gave out more than $1 million in prize money.
    In Montgomery County, questions and a mixed reaction after finals are cut Washington Post: A day after the Board of Education voted to end the tests, some want to know more about their replacement.
  • ICYMI: "What Is Common Core?" –  
    It's a couple of years old but according to a recent poll from California not all that outdated.
  • Quotes: NYC Mayor Touts Benefits Of Rigorous Common Core Pre-K – The difference between a child who has had full day pre-K with the Common Core curriculum and one who hasn’t, that child in the first instance has such a leg up and a love of learning they go into the rest of their education with.
    - NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio in the Washington Post's Answer Sheet  (The surprising things New York’s mayor said about Common Core and 4-year-olds)
  • Quotes: Communities Try To Balance Choice/Charters Against Jobs/Stability – People are often of two minds. They're putting their kids in charters but that means the district schools need to right-size by cutting jobs, and that affects their cousin. Everyone in Newark is affected by both trends.
    - Dale Russakoff in Newark Star-Ledger (Author Dale Russakoff discusses new book on Newark School Reform)
  • Think Tanks: Former TN Commissioner Kevin Huffman Writing A Book – "Kevin Huffman will write a book about the challenge of building a first-rate public school system in the face of modern political dysfunction," according to this announcement from the New America Foundation (2016 class of New America fellows). 
    Huffman headed the Tennessee school system from 2011-2015, and announced his resignation last November.
    Yes, he was once married to Michelle Rhee. No, he's not married to Rebeca Nieves-Huffman. 
    You can find him at @k_huff1. Image via New America.
  • Numbers: $1.5 Trillion US Education Industry "Ready For Investment" –  
    US education is a $1.5 trillion industry and growing at 5 percent annually, according to this recent McKinsey report (Why US education is ready for investment).  However, "education is everywhere seen as a public good, entrusted to government and nonprofit institutions, and most spending is on personnel."

    "For-profit companies have historically achieved scale by stepping in to provide education where society has left gaps—by acting as school operators in K–12 and higher education or by providing ancillary services such as tutoring, day care, and test preparation. Private companies have also found niches in corporate training and textbook publishing, though the latter is a heavily consolidated industry."

  • AM News: Seattle Teachers Strike For First Time In 30 Years – Seattle Teachers Strike On First Day Of School AP: Members of the Seattle Education Association, which represents about 5,000 teachers and support staff, said they will picket at all 97 schools Wednesday. See also NPR, NYT, Seattle Public Radio.
    What makes a public school public? Washington state court finds charter schools unconstitutional Washington Post: Opponents of charter schools have long argued that the schools are private because they don’t have to answer to the public and in some states aren’t subject to key rules that apply to government agencies, such as open meetings and public records laws. 
    2 WA charters say they will stay open this year despite Supreme Court ruling Seattle Times: Charter schools are organizing parents to lobby the Legislature for a long-term fix to the state Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday that such schools are unconstitutional.
    Poll: California voters still unsure about Common Core EdSource Today: About one-fourth say they have not heard about the new standards. See also Hechinger Report.
    Rand Paul Links Jeb Bush to Former President George W. Bush's Edu-Record PK12: The Kentucky senator wants to paint rival GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and the former Florida governor's brother with the same brush on education policy.
    New York City Mayor Goes All-In On Free Preschool NPR: NPR's Robert Siegel talks with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about the early days of his effort to provide free, high-quality preschool to all of the city's 4-year-olds. See also Washington Post.
    Parents May Spend Less This Year on Back-to-School Supplies, Despite Growing Need NYT: In the last decade, the average amount families spent on school items grew 42 percent, according to the retail federation’s projections this summer. It estimated that families with children in grades K-12 would spend an average of $630 this year, about 6 percent less than in 2014.
    One of nation’s largest school districts ditches high school final exams Washington Post: Maryland’s Montgomery County will replace the two-hour tests with shorter assessments taken during the quarters.
    Traffic on first day of school is smooth in Fairfax despite new start times Washington Post: Shift in bell times gives students more sleep but push more buses onto roads during rush hour.
    Five big questions facing New York City schools as a new year begins ChalkbeatNY: This is school year number two for the mayor, who will be trying to pull off a number of complicated education initiatives at once.
    How an unconventional principal turned around a struggling urban school Hechinger Report: Since then, the first-time principal and her team have made significant strides in student achievement, teacher satisfaction, technology upgrades and parent involvement. Today, due to improved test scores and a positive school culture, the school is one of only four of 33 that is on track to emerge from intervention status in Rhode Island.
    A Door-to-Door Push to Get Parents Involved at Struggling Schools NYT: With the second full school year of his administration beginning on Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio is already under pressure to show improvement at these schools, which are among 62 low-performing schools targeted by the state for possible takeover. One of the keys to transforming them, his administration believes, is to get parents to show up more by turning schools into one-stop community centers offering services like medical and dental clinics, adult courses and counseling.
    National union leader calls for settlement for Scranton teachers Scranton Times-Tribune: Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6-million member national union, told the board that education is the “great equalizer,” and teachers only want to make a difference in the lives of their students. 
  • Maps: Preschool For All – With Lots Of Differences Among States – "Policymakers in Minnesota, like many across the country, have been impressed by studies that show early education can improve a child’s life and save taxpayers money over the long term. But while there’s a growing consensus on the value of preschool, states disagree on where the programs should be based, who should run them, or how the government should support them." via Stateline. Click the link if the map doesn't embed/display properly.
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Tutorservice Daily News for September 4th through September 8th

Tutorservice Daily News for September 4th through September 8th:

  • Quotes: Newark Book "Critical Of All The Players" – I see it as critical of all the players in education, so I don't think reform movement is singled out. There's a real divide in the debate over education, one side versus the other. And the children are caught in the middle. 
    - Author Dale Russakoff rebutting NYT review by Alex Kotlowitz (Author Dale Russakoff discusses new book on Newark School Reform)
  • Roundup: Best & Worst Reviews Of Newark Book Out Today – Perhaps the best two pieces I’ve come across are from the Newark Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran including an opinion piece on where things stand that notes district progress along with charter school improvements and reformers' misguided focus on the parts of the story Russakoff leaves out (Newark students are better off, despite the political noise) and also a Q & A with Russakoff in which the author rebuts a deeply flawed NYT review, proposes a forensic audit of Newark's $23,000-per student spending, but calls the Zuckerberg-funded reform efforts a “wash” over all (Author Dale Russakoff discusses new book). These are both well worth reading, for what Moran writes and for Russakoff's responses.
    There have also been four big mainstream reviews of the book: Chicago Tribune (Diane Rado);  The Seventy Four (Conor Williams); NYT (Alex Kotlowitz;  NYT (Jonathan Knee). Of these earlier reviews, I found the second NYT review (by Knee) to be the most interesting, taking a business-oriented view of what happened that's no less critical of the process and the outcomes than anyone else. 
  • Roundup: Best & Worst Reviews Of Newark Book Coming Out Today – Perhaps the best two pieces I’ve come across are from the Newark Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran including an opinion piece on where things stand that notes district progress along with charter school improvements and reformers' misguided focus on the parts of the story Russakoff leaves out (Newark students are better off, despite the political noise) and also a Q & A with Russakoff in which the author rebuts a deeply flawed NYT review, proposes a forensic audit of Newark's $23,000-per student spending, but calls the Zuckerberg-funded reform efforts a “wash” over all (Author Dale Russakoff discusses new book). 
    These are both well worth reading, for what Moran writes and for Russakoff's responses.
    There have also been four big mainstream reviews of the book: Chicago Tribune (Diane Rado);  The Seventy Four (Conor Williams); NYT (Alex Kotlowitz;  NYT (Jonathan Knee). 
    Of these earlier reviews, I found the second NYT review (by Knee) to be the most interesting, taking a business-oriented view of what happened that's no less critical of the process and the outcomes than anyone else. 
    Last but not least, here's NYT columnist Joe Nocera's piece on the book (Zuckerberg’s Expensive Lesson), which notes among other things that "almost half" of the Zuckerberg effort went to Newark teachers in the form of back pay, salaries for teachers who weren't assigned to a classroom, and bonuses. "Apparently, Zuckerberg has learned his lesson. What will it take for the rest of us to learn?" 
    Just this morning, WNYC's Sarah Gonzales gave us an update on how some of the characters in the book are doing (How Booker, Christie Spent the $100 Million Facebook Donation), including a breakout of spending (most of which went to teachers and principals, not consultants).
  • Morning Video: Back To School (According To John Oliver) – From Sunday night: "John Oliver gives students a crash course in everything they will learn — or not learn — in school this year." (Already seen it? Read a bunch of responses/hot takes from Slate, Jezebel, etc. here.)  #bts15 Or, watch a PBS NewsHour segment on the factors contributing to lower SAT scores.
  • AM News: Washington State Supreme Court Rules Charters Unconstitutional – State Supreme Court: Charter schools are unconstitutional Seattle Times: The ruling — believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country — overturns the law voters narrowly approved in 2012 allowing publicly funded, but privately operated, schools.
    10 Years In, Tulsa's Pre-K Investment Is Paying Off NPR: These findings are important because Tulsa's program is considered a model for high-quality preschool programs nationwide, and the city has received extensive funding from the state to make it so. Phillips says her research now shows precisely how children have benefited over time.
    Don't panic, officials say as California braces for lower test results LA Times: Even before new state test scores are released this week, one thing is already clear: Results will be lower than in years past. Probably much lower. See also EdSource Today.
    Rep. John Kline Won't Seek Re-Election; Adds Pressure on ESEA Rewrite PK12: His forthcoming departure puts added pressure on lawmakers in both chambers to come to an agreement on their respective ESEA overhauls before the end of the year.
    Organized labor wants Joe Biden to run Politico: Even the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, who is such a Clinton supporter that she serves on the board of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA, declined comment on the possibility of a Biden campaign. 
    States Agree On The Need For Preschool, But Disagree On The Definition HuffPost: Policymakers in Minnesota, like many across the country, have been impressed by studies that show early education can improve a child’s life and save taxpayers money over the long term. But while there’s a growing consensus on the value of preschool, states disagree on where the programs should be based, who should run them, or how the government should support them.
    Chicago officials to reopen high school after fiery protests AP: Chicago officials announced plans Thursday to open a new arts-focused school in a neighborhood school once slated for closure, but protesters who have disrupted budget meetings vowed to continue a hunger strike over perceived racial disparities and other issues in the city's education system…. See also Washington Post.
    After John Deasy, LAUSD faces a tough choice: Play it safe or take another risk? LA Times: When the school board chose John Deasy as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2011, it knew what it was getting: an outsized personality with a national reputation as an advocate for school reform.
    A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win NYT: On TeachersPayTeachers, some educators have been able to convert hours of class preparation into thousands of dollars, and 12 have become millionaires.
    More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).
    Surprise! Md. 4th-graders and middle-schoolers get Chromebooks after all. Washington Post: Budget cuts delayed the laptop initiative in Montgomery, but a shifting of funds means 20,000 new devices.
    A Door-to-Door Push to Get Parents Involved at Struggling Schools NYT: New York City thinks that the key to transforming low-performing schools is to get parents to show up more, by turning the buildings into one-stop community centers.
    Court Rules Teacher Can't Sue After Being Fired For Blogging About Her Students HuffPost:By a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the Central Bucks School District's interest in educating its students outweighed the First Amendment rights of Natalie Munroe, the fired teacher.
    Questions from ex-student rape trial linger at prep schools AP: A rape trial that drew intense scrutiny to one of New England's elite boarding schools has cast a shadow over other prestigious prep schools as they start a new year….
    These Girls Complain If They Can't Go To School WAMU: In some countries, parents don't send daughters to school. The obstacle can be tuition fees of, say, $300 a year. But a coal miner's daughter has found a way to bring 1.4 million girls to class.
    Obama Talks School Technology Gap During Alaska Visit EdWeek: The White House launched the ConnectEd program back in 2013, and has drawn financial support from numerous ed-tech providers and private organizations with the goal of improving digital education and Web connectivity. 
  • Site News: Gone Fishing – Happy Labor Day Weekend – I'm off for Labor Day weekend — hope you are, too. If you absolutely need to reach me, try @alexanderrusso or text me at 312-286-9242. Be safe. See you next week.
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Tutorservice Daily News for September 3rd

Tutorservice Daily News forSeptember 3rd

  • Quotes: Your Ideas About College Are Antiquated – The world of college education is different now than it was a generation ago, when many of the people driving policy decisions on education went to college, and the theoretical ideas about why college should pay off do not comport well with the reality.
    – John Cassidy in the New Yorker (What's the real value of higher education?)
  • Thompson: Is Teacher Quality The Problem, Or Is Focus Making Things Worse? – The Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton, in New Analysis Argues That Better Teachers Are Flocking to Better Schools, reports that A Tale of Two School Systems, by Families for Excellent Schools, shows that teachers who scored low in the New York City’s evaluation system are concentrated in struggling schools that serve poor and minority students. Teachers with higher ratings are most likely to be found in schools where students test well and tend to be white and Asian. 
    Who would have thunk it?
    Seriously, we all know a problem has long existed.  And, as Layton notes of the reform group's discovery, "It is perhaps unsurprising that teachers at low-performing schools have low job performance ratings, since 40 percent of teacher evaluations in New York in 2013-2014 were based on student test scores."
    The only shocker would be if value-added evaluations didn't accelerate the exodus of talent from high-challenge schools where it is harder to raise test scores.
    Reformers have argued that the way to recruit teachers to the most challenging schools is to micromanage them, undermine their ability to teach in an engaging and respectful manner to poor children, and to evaluate them with a high-stakes algorithm that is biased against teachers in high-poverty schools.
    Sure enough,  Khan Shoieb, a spokesman for Families for Excellent Schools, pretends that the "teacher quality score means something," and implies that it doesn't punish teachers for merely choosing the much harder mission in schools with critical masses of children from generational poverty who have endured extreme trauma. But, Shoieb also says:

    The best teachers are concentrated in the best areas and we all know why that is,” he said. “These are the easiest schools to teach in, where they don’t have to deal with the toxic stress of poverty, they don’t have to deal with kids who are hungry. Instead, they get the kids who are easier to teach.

    In other words, while Shoieb is not likely to acknowledge it, he agrees with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten common sense appraisal of the awful situation that New York reformers probably are making worse. 
    Weingarten explains:

    When we attempt to draw a straight line between the effort of a teacher and the success of her students, based solely about test scores and ignoring all other factors, here’s what happens: Teachers in high poverty, racially segregated schools where students are more likely to perform poorly on exams are then viewed as "poorer quality" teachers. … At the same time, teachers in middle class, racially integrated or predominately white schools where students are more likely to perform well on exams are designated "higher quality" teachers.

    Families for Excellent Schools seems to be more interested in scoring political points than solving the problem of equity. It proposes bonuses for teachers in hard-to-staff schools. That timid proposal might work a little along the edges. But, its second proposal – expand charter schools – makes no sense.  If charters were serious about equity for the poorest children of color, they already could try to tackle the problems we face in neighborhood schools where we serve every child who walks through the door.
    To achieve justice, we must listen to John Merrow who explains that the solution is not an effort to build "a better teacher." We must make teaching "a better job." The best incentive for educators is to be able to teach well and improve our students' lives. Provide students with aligned and coordinated socio-emotional supports. Allow us to teach poor children of color with the holistic and respectful pedagogies that are encouraged in low-poverty schools. For those of us who have a knack for it, teaching in the inner city is the greatest job in the world, even if it is a challenge. Help our students and let us teach, and educators will return.-JT (@drjohnthompson)

  • TBT: Back To School Feelings (Parents vs. Kids) #BTS12 – via Reddit/BuzzFeed (Best "back-to-school" photo I've seen yet!)
  • Morning Video: Back To School "Debacle" For Rookie Boston Superintendent – "More than 8,000 students were stuck on a waiting list, with no idea whether they’ll go to class just weeks before the first day of school," according to WGBH (Boston's Back To School Debacle). "As of today, all students from 1st to 12th grade have a school but parents aren’t happy with their assignments or the last-minute process."
  • AM News: Joe Biden, SAT Scores, DFER Changeup, Opt-Out Consequences

    Biden Talks Education; Miami Audience Listens For Clues To Presidential Bid NPR: Vice President Joe Biden is mulling a run for the White House. He made an education speech in Miami on Wednesday, but made no mention of politics or his deliberations. See also NYT.

    More Students Are Taking The SAT, Even As Scores Fail To Improve HuffPost: The data reveals that a record number of students from the class of 2015 took SAT and AP exams, and these students were more diverse than in years past. See also Washington Post, LA Times.

    The new face of Democrats who support education reform: LA Times: Shavar Jeffries, an attorney who lost his bid to be mayor of Newark, N.J., is the new president of Democrats for Education Reform.Jeffries is taking the place of Joe Williams, a former New York Daily News reporter who led DFER until recently. Williams is now working at the Walton Foundation, a major education philanthropy organization that is known for sponsoring the growth of specific charter school chains, sources say.

    Dyett Hunger Strikers Share Concerns with Arne Duncan in D.C. Sun Times: Duncan dropped in the meeting, joined by senior adviser Ruthanne Buck and Khalilah Harris, the deputy director at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, which is housed in the Education Department.

    Testing Opt-Outs Cost Disqualify New York Schools From Blue Ribbon EdWeek:  State officials inform 11 schools that they don't qualify for the national Blue Ribbon program because their test-participation rates fell short of the required 95 percent. See also Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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

    With Ceramics, Debate, Choir and Band, Urban Schools Revive Electives Washington Post: This year, neighborhood high schools are each expected to offer at least 20 electives and six advanced placement courses. Equal access to educational opportunities, including Advanced Placement courses and extra-curricular activities, is also a national concern.

    New Online Teacher-Certification Program Plans for Rapid Expansion EdWeek: TEACH-NOW announced ambitious plans to prepare 10,000 new teachers over the next five years, and establish a master's degree program.

    After chaotic year, New Jersey superintendent praised AP: A year after a schools opening marked by protest and boycott, critics of the policies of the new superintendent in New Jersey's largest city said they're willing to give him a chance….

    Black and Latino students in California score better on AP tests than peers elsewhere LA Times:Black and Latino students in California who passed Advanced Placement exams outperformed their peers elsewhere, but a gap persists between them and their white and Asian counterparts, according to new test score results.
    Newark Teachers Get Money to Buy School Supplies WSJ: In a back-to-school gift, Superintendent Chris Cerf said Wednesday that every district teacher will get $100 to buy their own classroom supplies this fall and each principal will get $7,500 to bolster instruction. A $700,000 grant from the $100 million pledged by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2010 will pay for the initiative.

    Why Are Colleges Really Going Test-Optional? NPR: George Washington University recently announced it would no longer require applicants to submit SAT scores, hoping to improve campus diversity. But does going test-optional actually do that?

    School Districts Squeezed By Pennsylvania's Budget Impasse NPR: Due to lack of a state budget, teachers are working without pay in the Chester-Upland school system. The district says it can't afford to pay them until it gets the money it is due from the state.

    Supporting Immigrant Students in Miami WNYC: Students of color now outnumber white students in K-12 public schools. And around 5 million English Language Learners (ELLs) are in the public school system.

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Tutorservice Daily News for September 2nd through September 3rd

Tutorservice Daily News for September 2nd through September 3rd:

  • Update: Darling-Hammond Leaving Stanford To Launch New Policy Research Organization (Doesn’t Seem Interested In Being Next Education Secretary) – There’s some big news coming out of California today in the form of the official launch of the new policy and research center headed by Linda Darling-Hammond.
    Called the Learning Policy Institute, the new organization is Darling-Hammond’s effort to create a better kind of think tank/policy research center, one that puts student learning at the center and bridges research and policy worlds.
    Its creation would also seem to put a damper on the hopes or fears of those who have written her in as a next Democratic Education Secretary.
    The organization will both conduct its own policy research and partner with others’ work. Some of the policy priorities that the institute [@LPI_Learning] plans to investigate include deeper learning, educator quality, college and career, school organization and design, early childhood.
    Based near Stanford, the Institute will also have an office in DC that’s going to be headed by former Alliance For Education staffer Charmaine Mercer. By the end of the year, the expectation is that a staff of 30 will have been hired, with plans to grow as large as 50. See more details from the announcement here.
    Initial funders include the Sandler Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, Ford, and Hewlett, and Stuart.
    Former SRI staff Patrick Shields is going to be the ED. Board members include David Lyon of the California Public Policy Institute and David Rattray of UNITE-LA. Wynn Hausser is heading the communications/outreach effort. He and Darling-Hammond first met working with Public Advocates.
    Two senior fellows in residence have been announced: Jeannie Oakes, formerly of Ford, and David Kirp from Berkeley. Darling-Hammond is retiring from Stanford as part of the new launch, though she is going to teach part time.
    In a blog post announcing the new endeavor, Darling-Hammond called the present time "A New Moment in Education."
    There's no shortage of research shops, policy outfits, and think tanks doing all sorts of things at all different levels of quality, rigor, and independence. I'll be eager to see whether LPI can both grab policymakers' attention and promote high-quality research. It's not an easy thing to do one or the other, and no small feat to do them both at the same time.
    Related posts: UPenn Ranks Think Tanks; Have Funders Overtaken Think Tanks?; Think Tank Watch: [Why] Are Washington Think Tanks So Powerful?; Research-Less Think Tanks Can't Compete; Linda Darling-Hammond's Ninja Warrior Son.
  • School Life: Satirical Look At Resource Inequality Among Schools/Districts – “Pretty soon, kids my age who live in wealthier districts will start testing better than me in every subject, so I might as well try to make the most of this parity while I have it,” said Williams. (via The Onion 5-Year-Old At Underfunded Kindergarten Enjoying Last Few Weeks Before Achievement Gap Kicks In)
  • Quotes: Healing/Rebuilding Vs. Fixing/Restarting In New Orleans – "In the past ten years, much has been said, rightly, about the resilience and the spirit of those who chose to rebuild the neighborhoods they had lost. It is time to appreciate as well the courage of those who, faced with the same disaster, decided to make a fresh start."
    - Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker (What Social Scientists Learned from Katrina)
  • Morning Video: Education, Housing, Integration — Really? –  "Supporters of desegregation won the Yonkers battle—but the high cost of victory lost them the war," writes former NYT writer Lisa Belkin, whose book about a Yonkers NY housing fight is the subject of a new David Simon HBO miniseries, Show Me A Hero that's been written up by EdWeek's Mark Walsh. "Few in this country had the will to risk another divisive, ugly municipal bruising anytime soon."
    This isn't the first time Simon has addressed school-related issues. The Wire included a whole season focused on a group of middle school boys. (No surprise given his writing partner's career as both a cop and a geography teacher). More recently (by which I mean 2010-211), the NOLA-based Treme series included a few biting references to post-Katrina school reform. (Remember "Four years at Radcliff is all you know…"?)
    Meantime, someone should go to Yonkers and follow up on how the integration plan and kids are doing, right?
    Related posts: New HBO Series Takes On Charters & Choice [2010]; From Cop To Writer To Geography Teacher; Does TFA Displace Veterans — & Do TFAer Really Stay?.
  • AM News: Obama’s Mixed Record On School Integration Efforts – Obama's Mixed Record on School Integration American Prospect: While a handful of small programs have taken steps toward promoting diversity, desegregation has remained absent from Obama's signature education initiatives. 
    Congressman Decides To Teach Little Kids About Suicide Bombers HuffPost: Things took a dark turn, however, when Salmon opted to use current events to illustrate how vetoes work, KPHO reports. The congressman brought up the current nuclear negotiations with Iran. He then transitioned into a talk about nuclear weapons, which in turn led him to ask the classroom full of young kids if they are aware of child suicide bombers.
    Jeb Bush Touts K-12 Scholarships, Readies College-Affordability Plan PK12: The GOP presidential hopeful and former Florida governor also talked about immigration at a town hall meeting Tuesday with high school students in Miami.
    Teachers colleges struggle to blend technology into teacher training Hechinger Report: They’re trying to teach today’s student-teachers how to use the wide range of technologies – from old-school software and tools such as PowerPoint, videos and laptops to those ubiquitous tablets and smartphones – as classroom tools, not just as social devices for communicating with friends or playing games.
    L.A. Unified selects firm to search for new superintendent LA Times: The search for a new Los Angeles school district chief moved into the open Tuesday, but it's not clear how long the effort will remain public.
    Nearly a year after NYC principals float diversity plans, city has yet to sign off Chalkbeat: A few principals presented a solution: If the city let them reserve a portion of their seats for high-needs students, such as those from low-income families or who live in public housing, the schools could preserve — or in some cases, create — diverse student bodies. Chancellor Carmen Fariña and other top officials heard them out, then asked the principals to submit detailed proposals.
    Asians Are Nearly Twice As Likely To Get A Higher Price From Princeton Review ProPublica: Few, if any, realize that the prices for The Princeton Review's online SAT tutoring packages vary substantially depending on where customers live. If they type some ZIP codes into the company's website, they are offered The Princeton Review's Premier course for as little as $6,600. For other ZIP codes, the same course costs as much as $8,400.
    Missouri Teenagers Protest a Transgender Student’s Use of the Girls’ Bathroom NYT: More than 100 students at Hillsboro High School staged a walkout after a transgender student was allowed to use the girls’ facilities.
    New analysis argues that better teachers are flocking to better schools Washington Post: Families for Excellent Schools analyzed data from New York City's public schools and found that the lowest-rated teachers work in the schools that have high minority populations and serve students from poor families.
    School Threats Led to Gun Seizures, Arrest NBC News: Fresno, California, police Chief Jerry Dyer gives details on an alleged plot by an area 15-year-old student, which led to the closing of two schools, and the arrest of the student.
    How the CORE districts are designing new measures of school quality EdSource Today: The CORE Districts began in 2010 as a collaboration across school districts exploring ways to improve teaching and learning. In 2013, several school districts in the CORE consortium received a federal waiver from some provisions of the No Child Left Behind law and are working together to develop a new School Quality Improvement Index to provide more and better information about schools and the
    For classmates of Jamyla Bolden, teddy bears and books help ease heartbreak St. Louis Public Radio: Johnson was there to hand out teddy bears donated by Build-A-Bear and books from the American Federation of Teachers. The effort was organized by his church’s Center for Social Empowerment and Justice, which was launched to support local business and schools in the Ferguson area.
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