Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tennessee school board removes section on Islam from social studies curriculum — Quartz

Tennessee school board removes section on Islam from social studies curriculum — Quartz:

Fearing “indoctrination,” parents in one US state are succeeding in removing Islam from a school curriculum

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Most educators agree that studying major religions helps people understand the world. But some parents in the US fear that teaching about Islam, the religion of 1.6 billion people, is akin to “indoctrination”—and they want the faith stricken from school curriculums. In recent months, outraged parents in Georgia confronted a local school board over lessons on Islam, while a school district in Virginia was closed for a day due to furor over a lesson on Arabic calligraphy. But in Tennessee, their efforts are succeeding.


The Tennessee State Board of Education published a draft of new state social studies standards for review on Sept. 15. Students currently learn about Islam in their seventh grade social studies curriculum, but the proposed new standards have omitted the section “Islamic World, 400 AD/CE—1500s” from the draft. The sections that touch on Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions were left unchanged.


The new draft standards follow a March bill passed by the Tennessee state legislature, which allows local school boards to decide how they want to teach religion. The bill stemmed from a heated debate in Maury County, where parents of seventh grade students were upset that students learned about the Five Pillars of Islam, one of the basic elements of the Muslim faith.


The board of education has said that students will still learn about Islam (including basics, like the Five Pillars), but that the standards have been “streamlined.” Under the proposed standards, the board says students will learn about Islam in the history section titled “Southwest Asia and North Africa: 400-1500s CE.” But previous subjects like the origins of Islam, the life of its founder Muhammad, the differences between Sunnis, Shi’ites and other sects, the connection between Islam and Christianity and Judaism and other subjects will no longer be covered.


“Overall, some of the streamlining was trying to take in account that standards weren’t age-level appropriate or went into too much detail,” Laura Encalade, board of education director of policy and research, told the Tennessean.


Critics of the new standards say they minimize the subject and virtually eliminate it from the curriculum.


Michael Hughes, the chairman of Tennessee’s board of education in Sullivan County, said that parents don’t want Islam covered in school. “They’re in favor of just (taking it out of the standards). I don’t believe they want it taught at all,” he told the Kingsport Times News.


Linda K. Wertheimer, a Boston-based education writer and author ofTennessee school board removes section on Islam from social studies curriculum — Quartz:



Education a Key Issue in Down-Ballot Elections - The Atlantic

Education a Key Issue in Down-Ballot Elections - The Atlantic:

Education's Key Place in Down-Ballot Elections
Despite not receiving much attention in the presidential race, the issue is top-of-mind in certain contests around the country.


With so much attention focused on the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, voters could be forgiven for forgetting they’ll be asked to decide plenty more in November. And the stakes are high for K-12 education in state-level elections, including races for governor, state education chief, and legislative seats, plus ballot measures on education funding and charter schools.
In Massachusetts, a fierce campaign is being waged over whether to lift the state cap on opening more public charter schools, with millions being spent on dueling TV advertisements. Education is proving a key issue in governors’ contests in Indiana, Montana, and North Carolina, to name a few. Plus, state superintendents are on the November ballot in five states, including Indiana and Montana.

Just this week, the candidates in the Indiana governor’s race engaged in their first debate. The topic? Education. New life was injected into the race after Governor Mike Pence stepped down to join the GOP presidential ticket. The main contenders, Republican Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb and Democrat John Gregg, have differing views on school choice, expanding preschool, and student testing.


State-level elections take on extra weight for education this year given that the fresh rewrite of the main federal K-12 education law—called the Every Student Succeeds Act—hands substantial authority back to states.
“The federal government has loosened the reins on testing issues, on state accountability systems,” said Andy Smarick, an education expert at the American Enterprise Institute, during an Education Writers Association panel on the elections last month.
“Who’s going to be making these calls over the next several years?” asked Smarick, who was an education official under President George W. Bush and is now president of the Maryland state board of education. “Well, it’s going to be state boards of education, governors, state superintendents, state legislatures.”
Twelve governors’ races are in play this year, plus thousands of seats in state legislatures. Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan organization that tracks elections, ranked the top 20 state legislative chambers across the U.S.—of the 86 holding elections this year—that “might, realistically” see a change in party control. On the list were states including Colorado, Michigan, and New York.
Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, said recently that her union is paying close attention to governors’ races, and singled out elections in Montana and North Carolina as examples.
In Montana, Steve Bullock is “a Democratic governor who has really invested in public schools,” she said at the EWA elections forum. While in North Carolina, the NEA president is hoping Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, will unseat Republican Governor Pat McCrory.


Eskelsen García argues that a push by Governor McCrory for “huge tax cuts, with corporations not paying their fair share, and not investing in their public schools,” leaves him “very vulnerable to his Democratic challenger, who is talking about public-school funding.”
But McCrory touts his record on education on his campaign website, including what he says are increases in state spending—including teacher pay raises—plus additional money for textbooks and a reading initiative.
“This fall, it’s going to get ugly in Massachusetts.”
“Governor Pat McCrory has made the rise of teacher pay a centerpiece of his bid for re-election,” WUNC reported in August. The news outlet finds that while the governor has overseen a substantial rise in educator salaries, the increases are not as dramatic as McCrory suggests, and in the governor’s first year in office, salaries actually declined.
* * *
The Massachusetts ballot measure, which would allow up to 12 new charter schools to open each year, has pitted teachers’ unions, school superintendents, and other charter critics against Republican Governor Charlie Baker, pro-charter advocacy groups, and others, including wealthy supporters from the business community in Massachusetts and beyond.
As a story in Boston Magazine recently warned: “This fall, it’s going to get ugly in Massachusetts. We’re prepping for a projected $30 million public fight with all Education a Key Issue in Down-Ballot Elections - The Atlantic:


Brown vetoes bill requiring charters to comply with conflict of interest, open records laws | EdSource

Brown vetoes bill requiring charters to comply with conflict of interest, open records laws | EdSource:

Brown vetoes bill requiring charters to comply with conflict of interest, open records laws




Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Friday, pushed hard by the California Teachers Association, that would have required charter schools to comply with the state’s open meetings, public records and conflict of interest laws.
Brown’s rejection of Assembly Bill 709, authored by Mike Gipson, D-Carson, was expected. Brown vetoed an almost identical bill two years ago, and, as aSenate Education Committee analysis noted, the bill “does not include any substantive changes that seek to address” the issues Brown raised then.
In his veto message on Friday, the deadline for acting on hundreds of bills, Brown quoted from his 2014 veto letter: “While I support transparency, this bill goes further than simply addressing issues of potential conflicts of interest and goes too far in prescribing how these boards must operate.”
“That’s still my view,” Brown concluded. A longtime advocate and, as governor, protector of charters, Brown started two charter schools in Oakland before his re-election as governor in 2010.
The California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators  and other school management groups supported the bill, but the CTA made it a high-profile campaign as part of its escalating opposition to charter schools. On a new website, Kids Not Profits, it highlighted incidents of mismanagement and fraud by charter schools and their administrators, as well as discriminatory admission policies by some charters that violated the state charter school law. Gipson’s bill would extend vital requirements for accountability and transparency to charter schools, it argued.
CTA President Eric Heins expressed disappointment on Friday. “It is unfortunate that given all the reports showing fraud, waste, mismanagement and unequal access to students, Governor Brown would veto such important legislation that simply required the same standards of accountability and Brown vetoes bill requiring charters to comply with conflict of interest, open records laws | EdSource:
Big Education Ape: Governor Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill to Establish Minimal Charter Accountability | Diane Ravitch's blog - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/09/governor-jerry-brown-vetoes-bill-to.html



He created the ‘theory of multiple intelligences.’ What if Howard Gardner were U.S. education secretary? - The Washington Post

He created the ‘theory of multiple intelligences.’ What if Howard Gardner were U.S. education secretary? - The Washington Post:

He created the ‘theory of multiple intelligences.’ What if Howard Gardner were U.S. education secretary?


A new president will take the oath of office early next year and will likely appoint a new secretary of education (though the current man with the job, John King Jr., could be tapped). We can only speculate on who each presidential candidate could pick, but for now, let’s pursue another thought experiment. Author C.M. Rubin has asked six people prominent in the world of education what they would do if they had the job, and this is the third of six posts that will reveal their answers.
The first interview, conducted by author C.M. Rubin, was with Andy Hargreaves, author and Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. The second was with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union in the country. This, the third, is with Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and creator of the famous theory of multiple intelligences.
The other three people being interviewed by Rubin are  Diane Ravitch, education historian, best-selling author and co-founder of the Network for Public Education; Charles Fadel, author, inventor and the founder and chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign; and Julia Freeland Fisher, author and director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute.
Gardner revolutionized the fields of psychology and education more than 30 years ago when he published his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” which detailed a new model of human intelligence that went beyond the traditional view that there was a single kind that could be measured by standardized tests. (You can read his account of how he came up with the theory here.)
Gardner’s theory initially listed seven intelligences which  work together: linguistic, logical-mathematical,  musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal; he later added an eighth, naturalist intelligence and says there may be a few more.
Gardner holds positions as adjunct professor of psychology at Harvard University and senior director of Harvard Project Zero, an educational research group composed of multiple, independently sponsored research projects with the aim of understanding and enhancing high-level thinking and learning across disciplines. Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship (1981), the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education (1990), the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2011), and the Brock International Prize in Education He created the ‘theory of multiple intelligences.’ What if Howard Gardner were U.S. education secretary? - The Washington Post:

Friday, September 30, 2016

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 9/30/16


Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 9/30/16



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Eva's Empty Seats: The Missing Children of Success Academy





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