Thursday, November 19, 2009
"LOS ANGELES -- University of California students will get a much larger tuition bill next year.
The Board of Regents on Thursday approved a 32 percent increase in undergraduate student fees, despite protests by hundreds of demonstrators outside the regents' meeting at UCLA.
By next fall, undergraduate fees will be boosted by $2,500, sending the average annual education cost at a UC campus to more than $10,000. That's triple the amount from a decade ago."
Regents said they had to raise fees because the cash-strapped state government can't meet the university's funding needs.
The decision came as hundreds of students chanted and marched outside the meeting hall to protest the measure. Some students also took over another UCLA building and chained the doors shut.
Police in riot gear kept an eye on the protesters.
Davis, UCLA Students Protest UC Fee Hikes, Vote Expected Today | News10.net | Sacramento, California | News
"DAVIS, CA - UC Davis students angry over a UC Regents plan to raise tuition fees by 32 percent staged a loud protest Thursday, railing against university administration.
Nearly 100 protesters chanted and carried signs inside UCD's Olson Hall around 11 a.m. Thursday.
Despite complaints about the noise, the demonstration was mostly peaceful and no arrests were made.
Under the proposed hike, undergraduate student tuition will cost more than $10,000, not including room, board and books. Some students at UC Davis said they won't be able to afford to return next semester if the fees increase.
'I feel like some people will actually go back to community college to get rid of all their general education,' said UC Davis sophomore Alison More."
"U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Listening Tour makes a stop at DC VOICE’s final meeting as part of the Ready Schools Project District-Wide
Washington, DC— In Ward 5, Luke C. Moore Academy Senior High School will be the setting for DC VOICE’s final town hall meeting of the November Ready Schools Project Town Hall Series, with the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joining the conversation. The Secretary has been touring the nation on a Listening and Learning tour to meet with members of various communities, and has chosen DC VOICE’s Ward 5 town hall as a way to engage D.C. community members’ thoughts and concerns regarding public education in the District."
The Ready Schools Project Town Hall Series kicked off in Ward 4 on November 9th with Councilmember Bowser and State Board member Sekou Biddle. The Ward 6 town hall on November 10th included Councilmember Tommy Wells and State Board President Lisa Raymond.
And this past Saturday, November 14th, Councilmember Yvette Alexander and State Board member Dorothy Douglas joined us for our Ward 7 and 8 town hall. During her remarks at the Ward 7 and 8 town hall, Councilmember Alexander proclaimed, “I take the information DC VOICE provides seriously…[w]hen I hear from DC VOICE, it truly is the voice of the residents in D.C.”
These town hall meetings allow community members to learn current school data collected through DC VOICE’s 6th Annual Ready Schools Project where over 100 school principals were interviewed by almost 200 trained community members. Secretary Duncan will be on hand to discuss federal education initiatives, and will join the smaller breakout table discussions during the town hall meeting.
He will also be joined by Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., the Ward 5 Council on Education, as well as other education groups in the District as co-hosts for this meeting.
A cluster of violent teen suicides in an affluent California town has officials scrambling to figure out why four kids from the same high school took their own lives and how to prevent others from doing the same.
The town of Palo Alto, Calif., is struggling to help it's children after four Gunn High School teens in the last six months have comitted suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming train.(ABC News)
The death of a 16-year-old boy Monday night in Palo Alto was believed to be the fourth suicide of a Gunn High School student since May. In all four cases, the teenagers jumped into the path of an oncoming commuter train operated by Caltrain.
"Parents are eager for information," said Joan Baran, clinical services director of the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto. "I think parents are wanting to know what they can do."
Information about the teenagers and the particulars of their deaths are being closely guarded by school and police officials who fear a public spectacle will only encourage more unstable students to take their lives.
"It's very difficult and it's very sensitive," Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said today.
"The California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women, now known simply as The Women's Conference, is the nation's premier forum for women.
The goal of the Women's Conference is to transform women inside and out - and then empower them to help transform our world as Architects of Change.
I attended the Women's Conference, spoke with Leaders, and asked them what advice they have for young Women to be successful in life. Check out my video."
Folsom Cordova Unified Prepares for School Closures | News10.net | Sacramento, California | Local News
"RANCHO CORDOVA, CA - To help deal with a 10-million-dollar budget shortfall next year, the Folsom Cordova Unified School District says it needs to close schools.
Monday night was the last of 2 school closure forums.
Parents, students, and staff packed into a school auditorium to listen to the different proposals. The most prominent recommendation so far, to close two schools in Rancho Cordova-- Cordova Lane and Riverview Elementary schools. Another school was also discussed-- Williamson Elementary School.
The district says the school closures are in the Rancho Cordova area this year because that's where the most significant decline in enrollment is. The district will also be looking at the Folsom area schools next year."
"Despite massive permanent spending cuts and some temporary tax increases made this past year, California’s budget shortfall is projected to swell to $21 billion by June 30, 2011, the end of the 2010-2011 State Budget year in a new report issued this morning by the Legislative Analyst Office – the non-partisan agency that reviews and monitors budget issues for the Legislature.
Adding to the bad news, the report also projects continued budget shortfalls of billions of dollars for the next several years especially when federal stimulus dollars and revenues from the temporary tax increases end."
Career academies, where a-g and job training meet
Posted in A to G Curriculum
The polarized arguments were familiar this week at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation forum in San Jose on a-g, the set of 15 courses required for admission to a four-year state school.
The establishment of a-g as a district’s default curriculum has opened up opportunities for students who never imagined themselves college-capable. If instituted with academic supports for struggling students, an a-g curriculum will not lead to a higher dropout rate but will offer more students, especially minority children, higher level courses. That’s been the San Jose Unified experience, Linda Murray, the former superintendent who instituted a-g, said. Making a-g standard could avoid what Neal Finkelstein, a senior researcher at WestEd, described as the “heartbreak” of many seniors who discover they’re a few credits short of being eligible to go to college.
The spread of a-g has narrowed the academic curriculum, San Jose State engineering professor Seth Bates said, and all but destroyed once-thriving career technical education programs that gave students hard skills for real jobs in electronics, construction and manufacturing. A-g has not contributed to a higher rate of college attendance and graduation. It has led to more than half of high school students entering the workforce unprepared, without skills.
But Finkelstein and other speakers also agreed it’s a false dichotomy.
Phantom districts in Texas receive millions in 'stimulus' | Texas on the Potomac | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
"According to the Obama administration's latest count, the President's economic stimulus package has created 45 jobs in Texas' 58th congressional district and 30 jobs in the state's 91st district.
The White House's recovery.gov web site declares that Texas' 52nd district received exactly $8,937,289 in stimulus funds, while the 68th district has had precisely $310,963 funneled into it.
Trouble is, none of these congressional districts exist."
In its latest computer glitch, the Obama administration's much-ballyhooed accounting system for the $1.2 trillion stimulus law detailed government spending in 39 congressional districts in Texas -- a state that, in reality, has 32 congressional districts. More than $14 million in mystery money is attributed to seven phantom congressional districts, including the mysterious and fictional District 00.
Nationally, the recovery.gov site has mistakenly attributed $6.4 billion in stimulus spending to 440 non-existent districts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and even four American territories, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan government oversight group watchdog.org.
"First Lady Michelle Obama revisited a stressful period of her youth on Monday, opening up to teen girls at a Denver mentoring event when asked about her views of standardized testing.
Mrs. Obama used the question to talk about her own insecurities and anxieties about taking tests, focusing on her time as a high school student in Chicago.
It's well known that Mrs. Obama was a high achiever. She went to a top public high school with selective enrollment, then to Princeton, and then to Harvard Law School. However, a continuing theme when she talks about her life is how she had her own struggles to achieve success."
"In a stunning move that shows how much Michael Mulgrew learned from Randi Weingarten, the UFT delegate assembly today authorized the union to file for an impasse. That means, of course, that the union can send the matter to PERB to try to hammer out a settlement.
This is the same process by which, if you recall, we worked out the wonderful 2005 contract, where we gave away just about all our hard earned contractual rights in order to have a longer school day. It wasn't all a disaster, however. In exchange for 6% more time, we got a 6% raise. Yessir, those Unity types are really on the ball."
"Even as the recent round of DOE Progress Reports has generated another wave of criticisms over Lake Wobegon-style grade inflation (with only one school in the city getting an F and over three-quarters grabbing A's), the just-released high school report cards contain some serious, and considerably more negative, news.
As Jennifer Medina and Robert Gebeloff reported in their Monday (11/16) New York Times article, 'More New York High Schools Get A's:'"
The school environment grades, which are based on attendance and results of student, parent and teacher surveys, and make up 15 percent of the grade, showed the steepest decline. This year, 55 high schools received a D or an F in school environment, compared with 12 last year.
Thus, in the one area where students vote with their feet (attendance) and the public -- parents, teachers, and students -- have some direct input via surveys tailored to each of those constituencies, the feedback from high schools is not happy news for Chancellor Klein. And the picture is actually far worse than the Times reported. As is too often the case, their "analysis" picked a piece of easy, low-hanging fruit while eschewing a more substantive and informative presentation.
"Late last week, Secretary Duncan (and his able team) acted on what I have every reason to believe were noble intentions. Unfortunately, the secretary missed a golden opportunity and possibly did more harm than good for reform in my beloved Maryland.
On Friday, Duncan, with Rev. Al Sharpton and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, visited Baltimore’s superb KIPP Ujima Village charter school, consistently one of the state’s highest-scoring schools despite its inner-city location. Because of union attacks, Ujima was recently forced to cut several teaching positions and end Saturday school. So egregious were its actions that numerous national outlets admonished the union, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and CNN."
"Seattle Public Schools has officially returned to a neighborhood-based system of assigning students to schools, similar to one it abandoned about 30 years ago in the name of racial integration.
With unanimous vote at 11 p.m. Wednesday, the School Board approved a new set of boundaries for most of the district's schools that will determine where students will be guaranteed a spot. The boundaries will be phased in starting next fall with students in kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades."
"Race to the Top final regulations are on the way Thursday [You can read them here]. Ed Week writes them up. To some extent they do reinforce the view that the tragedy of
Race to the Top is that the Department of Ed has to spend this money at all – the anticipation may well have leveraged more state-level change than the actual program will.
The punchline is that the readers/reviewers for the state applications are now the entire ballgame. If they’re not strong and keenly attuned to change and reform then this initiative won’t suceed. I’m not as glum as some of the voices in the Ed Week story, but the regs have changed (and not in a reformist direction) so without a strong process to really evaluate state plans it is possible that some weak plans could slip through this scoring metric. In the Department’s defense, they are planning a creative qualitative process to vet the applications after the initial scoring is done. That’s crucial for quality."
Few things that are getting attention: It’s easy to see why the Department wanted to create a more comprehensive state capacity rubric, but it could also open the door to a lot of fuzziness. Again, the expertise of the readers matter a lot. I’m not freaked out (although some are) by the minimizing of common standards or new assessments, that’s a nod political and capacity realities. It would have been nice to see high-quality charters weighted more…and they could have been more aggressive on the human capital front. It’s still a lot of points but could have included more teeth to really delineate states.*
Bouncing ball to keep your eye on: New York. A strict reading of this means the state shouldn’t be eligible, but will be interesting to see how that plays out…the argument is being made that because the NY teacher data ban only applies to tenure it’s not really a ban on evaluation at all. Of course, a reasonable person might conclude that if a tenure decision isn’t an evaluation then exactly what is? Then again, a reasonable person would have no place in New York education policymaking. Update: More from Tom Carroll on that.
"Education Secretary Arne Duncan, whose education experience is firmly planted in urban ground, is continuing to reach out to rural folks to figure out how the reforms he's pushing will play out in the farther reaches of the country.
Nine rural superintendents, from Michigan, Texas, West Virginia, California, Mississippi, Kansas, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Arizona, gave him an earful during a more than hour-long chat with him yesterday.
The Rural Nine, first and foremost, said they were thrilled to get to hear straight from department officials about plans for turnaround schools and for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, they were pleased they got to help educate Duncan on how schools work, and how reform might play out, in rural America."
"Last week our child’s G&T kindergarten class at PS 33 Chelsea Prep held parent-teacher conferences. Our conference went well though it was short — just 10 minutes — so the teacher could meet with every child’s parents. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a detailed report card for our child.
Below is a copy of the actual report card we received for our child (sorry for the poor quality!). I whited out the grades for obvious reasons and I’m not sure if all schools use the same report card, but this will give you an idea of how children in a G&T kindergarten class are evaluated. The grading scale is 1 to 4, with 4 being “exceeds grade-level standards” and 1 being “far below grade-level standards.”"
"Arizona, when its elected officials aren't saying moronic things, is the undisputed charter school leader of our country. The state boasts 500 charter schools, which account for 25% of the public schools in the state and 10% of the student population (class size comparisons, anyone?). Seems like this should have rocketed Arizona to the top of the state rankings, right? Well, the only problem is that the state's charter schools don't show as much academic progress as the state's traditional public schools. At least, that's what a study out of Stanford University found."
Now, in fairness, apparently the charter supporters are saying that the methodology of the report is flawed.
So let's mark the findings with an asterisk for now. But what the sides both seem to agree on is that the quality of charter schools varies widely. No kidding.For some reason, the real diehard charter supporters seem to think that all charters are always better than all traditional public schools. Even in the face of evidence that it simply isn't true. And it's obviously not true. It doesn't even make sense. Rather, there are some charters that are excellent schools. Just as there are some traditional public schools that are excellent. Likewise, both have their duds. What makes a school good is not that it has a charter label affixed to it. That's ultimately just a label. As I've said before, we should stop focusing on the labels and start focusing on what actually makes schools good and successful and replicate that in as many schools as we can so that all schools can be good schools.
Charters can certainly be part of that picture, but they are not a complete answer in themselves.
"It's 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Barbara Byrd-Bennett is e-mailing Detroit Public Schools' Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb one more thing to add to their to-do list.
She e-mails him at 4 a.m., when she cannot sleep. She e-mails him at 11 p.m., before she goes to bed. She e-mails him at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays from Cleveland, where she lives some weekends with her husband, Bruce, before returning to Detroit to do one of America's toughest big city jobs.
Byrd-Bennett is Bobb's academic czar and more: She is his co-chief."
When Byrd-Bennett told Bobb he was proposing budget cuts that would hurt children's learning, he backed off. When she recommended they negotiate a dramatically different teachers' contract, he followed. When she said Detroit had to radically change to compete with charter schools, Bobb agreed.
While Bobb is the school district's showman who woos the public with his no-nonsense message and anti-corruption results, Byrd-Bennett is the behind-the-scenes policy strategist charged with the arguably tougher job: dramatically improving student achievement in the country's most troubled urban school district.
"What is important to her is not the glory; it's the students and what's best for them," says Sharif Shakrani, co-director of Michigan State University's Education Policy Center, who worked with Byrd-Bennett in Washington, D.C.
"Parents at Lower East Side schools that may soon be asked to share building space told DOE officials last night that a charter school expansion could not come at the expense of successful district schools.
Hundreds of parents packed into the auditorium of P.S. 20 last night to protest three proposed scenarios that would allow Girls Prep Charter School to grow its middle school program by re-arranging building space at neighboring district schools."
All of the proposals would require district school students to give up resource rooms like art and music rooms or science and computer labs, parents told DOE officials and members of the District 1 Community Education Council.
Parents speaking at the meeting repeatedly characterized that loss as a civil rights issue, charging the DOE with removing resources from predominantly poor and immigrant students. (more…)
Auditors say there's one small problem with the idea of San Diego Unified saving money by cutting auditors who look at issues other than finances: It doesn’t have any.
Eliminating those employees was one recommendation from the BRACE Team, which scrubbed the school district budget for savings that will impact the fewest number of children possible. It also recommended ending the fraud hotline, which allows anonymous callers to report financial waste and abuse. Cuts to the audits and investigations department would save the district $448,000, according to the report.
Few universities make required reports to the government about the financial conflicts of their researchers, and even when such conflicts are reported, university administrators rarely require those researchers to eliminate or reduce these conflicts, government investigators found.
In a report expected to be made public on Thursday, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, said 90 percent of universities relied solely on the researchers themselves to decide whether the money they made in consulting and other relationships with drug and device makers was relevant to their government-financed research.
NUTLEY -- To save money in the district’s $59 million budget, two Nutley board of education members want to pin some parents with the detention bills.
The board members, Steven Rogers and Walter Sautter, say they are hoping to adopt a policy by next school year that would charge parents for detention, which they estimate costs the district $10,000 a year in overtime and maintenance fees.
"It may not seem like a lot of money, but it adds up over time," Rogers said. "Parents need to step up to the plate and to be held responsible and accountable for their children’s habitual actions."
During a board meeting last month, Rogers, who also works as a police officer in town, and Sautter, a former science teacher at Nutley High School, outlined a proposal to fine parents whose children are consistently sent to after-school detention. Rogers and Sautter have not determined the size of the fines or how to define a student who is habitually in detention.
The proposal, which is being reviewed by the school board’s attorney, would be the first of its kind in the state, said Frank Bellusciop, spokesman for the New Jersey School Board Association.
The idea has drawn opposition from other board members and residents who say detention is an integral part of a public education.
"I understand what they’re trying to do, because we’re very conscious of the budget, and there’s going to be a tremendous amount that we’re going to have to cut in the upcoming year," said board member Kenneth Reilly. "But I don’t think it’s legal, because we’re responsible for detention."
Belluscio said although districts may charge for some extracurricular activities and field trips, charging for detention may be in violation of the state Constitution.
"Discipline is part of a public education," he said. "Since detention would have to be used to enforce discipline, it is doubtful that you could charge for that, the same way you can’t charge for someone taking a history class or math class."
That's $26,000 for a single year at a University of California campus, not the four usually needed to graduate. The UC Board of Regents voted today to increase basic education fees for undergraduates by 32% to more than $10,000 for the 20010-11 academic year. Throw in the roughly $16,000 per year required for room, board and books, and the UC system fees approach $30,000 per year -- and feel a lot like the cost of an Ivy League education with few of the perks. (None of this is to say, mind you, that the regents won't be forced to raise fees again in 2010, with the state facing a massive budget deficit of $21 billion over the next year and a half.)
CHICAGO (WBBM) -- Evidence of gunshot residue on Michael Scott's left hand offers the strongest indication to date that the Chicago Board of Education President took his own life. But, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, the family of the Chicago School Board president was weighing an independent autopsy nonetheless.
Police have determined that the .380 caliber gun found beneath Scott's body had belonged to Scott for nearly three decades, and say gunshot residue was found on Scott's left hand.
Despite that, Police Supt. Jody Weis said Wednesday that he wants to see the results of ballistics tests and video surveillance cameras, which he expects next week, before concluding that Scott shot himself in the head.
Tavon Frazier is a skinny 9-year-old squirming in front of his Styrofoam lunch tray. He's eaten most of his chicken taco and his friends, all wearing the navy polo shirts of East Oakland's Korematsu Discovery Academy, are wiggling around him, chewing on their flour tortillas and nibbling on baby carrots. Tavon didn't stop at the salad bar on his way to the cafeteria table today. He says sometimes he'll get applesauce when they have it, but mostly he doesn't like vegetables, especially broccoli and carrots. His ideal cafeteria meal would be "donuts and cupcakes and a cake," he says with a mischievous sideways grin.
Efforts to make sure that Tavon doesn't end up eating donuts every day and maybe even learns to like broccoli are underway in Oakland's public schools, though how successful these efforts will be remains to be seen. Between a convoluted and chronically underfunded system, divergent visions for what exactly healthy food is, and a cast of characters that range from bureaucrats to poor kids to soccer moms to farm-to-table visionaries, the school food situation in Oakland is messy. But the consequences for inaction are no joke.
Today, Tavon is part of an experiment. His lunch is made from scratch in a kitchen that stands some 50 feet from his table.
"It's a totally different menu than what's being served in the rest of the elementary schools," says Jennifer LeBarre, director of nutrition services with Oakland Unified School District, as she watches kindergarteners line up for lunch. "We're doing it here as a pilot project because we're trying to see whether or not we have the capability with our equipment, our facilities, our staff." LeBarre says scratch cooking will be rolled out at Manzanita, Bella Vista and Lincoln elementary schools next. "And then our big hurdle is to see how we can take the same food and do it at the central kitchen level."
"Duncan and U.S. Rep. Robert C. 'Bobby' Scott will tour An Achievable Dream Academy elementary school and the middle and high school. The visit is part of Duncan's Listening and Learning Tour of schools across the nation. Duncan aides said he uses the visits to gather feedback and ideas from students, parents, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders on education reform and policy.
Duncan will visit a hybrid in the public district: two schools that sprung out of a summer program of tennis lessons and tutoring founded in 1992 by businessman Walter Segaloff.
In 1994, An Achievable Dream evolved into a public school for grades 3-5, part of the Newport News district but resembling a cross between a magnet and charter program. In 2007, the middle and high school opened in a former grade school remodeled to resemble an office complex."
"Next year's Sats results for England's schools will be published alongside teachers' assessments of pupils' work.
The move could head off a threatened boycott of the national tests by teachers and heads.
Education Secretary Ed Balls said the change did not signal the end of the tests but he was 'not closing the door' on further reforms.
Heads say league tables drawn up from results of tests taken by 11-year-olds do not reflect a school's achievement.
Earlier this year, the government's expert group on testing recommended ministers look at improving teacher assessment to see if it would be possible to 'move away' from externally marked tests, in the future.
Teacher assessment in this case means when teachers say which level they believe individual pupils to be working at."
"Richmond, VA (PRWEB) November 19, 2009 -- While a majority of Virginia’s voters believe the state’s public school system is good or excellent, similar numbers favor school choice reforms such as tax-credit scholarships, school vouchers, and charter schools. Fifty-five percent of likely voters would opt for schools other than regular public schools, according to the results of a public opinion survey released today by a diverse group of twenty one state and national education, business, religious and policy organizations.
The survey of 1,203 likely voters was conducted October 1-4, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. Braun Research, Inc., a New Jersey-based survey research company, administered the interviews and collected the data for the project. Braun Research has previously conducted surveys and completed other projects for the Gallup Organization, the Pew Research Center, and the Eagleton Poll. It is also the field house responsible for collecting data for the Newsweek Poll."
"TALLAHASSEE -- Of all the things state government pays for, there's one that's more important than everything else -- education.
The Florida Constitution requires lawmakers to make it their top priority, but critics said that's not happening. The question is headed to court.
As if two young kids don't keep Courtney McHugh busy enough, she's got something more to worry about -- their education.
'I think schools don't get enough funding,' McHugh said. 'I think the teachers don't get paid enough, as well, you know, because they help our children grow. They help them learn different things, and if they don't get the money, then what's the incentive for them to be there and help our kids?'"
"Most of California’s largest school districts are increasing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, eroding the most expensive education reform in state history.
California Watch, a nonprofit investigative reporting group, surveyed the 30 largest K-12 school districts in the state and found that many are pushing class sizes to 24 in some or all of the early grades. Other districts have raised class sizes to 30 students — reverting to levels not seen in more than a decade.
The changes at more than two dozen of the districts surveyed have parents and teachers concerned that the academic performance of millions of children will suffer.
California ranks 48th in the nation in student-teacher ratios. New measures are in place that will allow districts to raise class sizes even higher and still collect more than $1 billion in state aid — money originally intended to reward schools that kept class sizes low."
"Anyone who has spent time in or around government, from the deeply embedded bureaucrat to the young policy wonk, knows that there are two important issues in funding a public program.
One, is it getting enough money? Two, is the money being spent wisely?
On both counts, California's method of financing its schools gets a big fat F. On a per-pupil basis, our schools are among the most poorly funded in the country, and no one can be sure that the money they do get serves its purpose.
Ask those who have devoted time to examining the system: The way this state doles out money to K-12 education isn't merely inefficient and ineffective, it's insane."
"When I read the article written by Meredith Price about Ted Sizer, former Phillips headmaster from 1972 to 1981, I was deeply moved by the memories.
For almost 10 years I had the good fortune to be working in the same town with one of the greatest education visionaries in our history. When you personally know and witness someone with unselfishness, vision, objectivity, and a sense of humanity you are compelled to say something about such a person."
Sizer was one of the most intellectually honest and ego-detached persons I have known. His perspective on education, schooling and moral imperatives exuded from his personality. We shared many luncheons at the Andover Inn. Sometimes they were more like seminars on what makes a good school. I must admit I did more listening than speaking on such occasions. No matter how small the item he was passionate about what he thought. It was infectious. He was an extremely logical man and could discuss issues based on the merit of the idea and not his feelings. However he was a very empathetic man and considered the impact an idea would have on people. He was also a courageous man. He spoke his beliefs without fear or concern he might be alone in his thought.
On one occasion we discussed the sharing of resources for the mutual benefit of children. He said if Phillips Academy had extra seats in some of its classes with a low teacher pupil ratio, Andover public school children could audit the course. We worked out a process over a cup of Henry Broekhoff's soup. I went back to the high school and within a week we had five students auditing Chinese Language classes. They had to provide their own transportation. I think Ted could see the role China would play in the world's future.
"Civil rights coalition urges equitable distribution, evaluation of programs to close the achievement gap
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Expanded learning opportunities can strengthen and enrich the high school curriculum, help close the academic achievement gap, and keep students engaged in school, yet the students most at risk of poor academic outcomes are the least likely to participate in such opportunities. At a Capitol Hill briefing today, the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a diverse coalition of national civil rights groups addressing education quality and equality, urged Congress and education leaders to implement federal education policies that increase access to expanded learning opportunities for high school students and students of color.
'Research has shown that well-designed expanded learning programs can help to counter factors associated with low academic achievement -- things like low expectations set by teachers, students' alienation from school, and lack of a structured environment after school hours,' said Betsy Brand, executive director of the American Youth Policy Forum. 'As we explore strategies to improve our high schools, we must increase access to expanded learning opportunities for students of color, Native students, and low-income students -- those who are most at risk of dropping out or leaving high school without the skills they need to succeed.'"
"14 Boston public schools have received an ultimatum from school department officials: improve student test scores, or else your school might be closed.
The ultimatum is contained in a five-year strategic plan unveiled Wednesday night by Superintendent Carol Johnson.
The plan outlines the school district’s direction and priorities for closing access and achievement gaps and graduating all public school students from high school prepared for college and career success.
Dr. Johnson presented a working draft of the plan during a meeting of the Boston School Committee at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury."
Senate expected to adjust school reform grant rules- The New Haven Register - Serving New Haven, Connecticut
"The U.S. Senate is expected to act soon to lift a federal restriction that bars certain grant money from going to districts not meeting No Child Left Behind standards.
That prohibition on federal Investing in Innovation (dubbed “I3”) school reform grants effectively barred all Connecticut urban districts from applying for the competitive funds.
The House of Representatives voted recently to eliminate the No Child Left Behind restriction, and the Senate is expected to take up the matter this week, said state Department of Education spokesman Thomas Murphy."
"President Barack Obama’s unexpectedly insistent push for education reform is the most welcome surprise of his 10 months in office. A Democratic president is far better positioned politically to demand changes in how schools work than a Republican, whose policy pronouncements are likely to be trashed by the powerful National Education Association or the American Federation of Teachers as a secret plot to undermine public education.
But as we have seen this fall in Sacramento, even a Democratic president can seem like an underdog when it comes to taking on teachers unions. A package of reform measures meant to qualify California for a share of $4.5 billion in “Race to the Top” federal education stimulus funds that passed the Senate stalled for weeks in the Assembly."
"SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Despite multiple attempts to balance California's budget, the state can still expect to confront shortfalls approaching $20 billion during each of the next five years, according to a long-range forecast released Wednesday.
The report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office warned that the nation's most populous state will face huge fiscal challenges even as the national economic outlook begins to improve and the state economy heads toward a recovery in a year or two.
In his report, Mac Taylor, the Legislature's nonpartisan budget analyst, urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers to act swiftly on permanent solutions by making deeper reductions in all state programs and looking to raise revenue."
"District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee was appointed two years ago to revamp and radically reform the D. C. public school system. Her unconventional, some would say illegal, policies have the teacher's union and the council up in arms.
As the Washington Post noted on Saturday, October 31, 'Mayors from Boston to San Jose have been taking over school districts since the early 1990s, recognizing that their city's economic growth and their political longevity are inextricably linked to the quality of the local educational system.'"
In Washington this didn't happen until 2007. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the Education Transition Strategy on April 27, 2007. A few months later Michelle Rhee was brought in as Chancellor, tasked with converting the policy into practice and practicalities. According to Washington Post staff writer Bill Turque, "in 28 months, she has upended almost every sector of public school operations, from school closures to classroom instruction to teacher evaluations to labor relations" in the District of Columbia, Public Schools (DCPS)
The latest battleground has been labor relations and the opponents have been Rhee, the teachers' union and D.C. Council Chairman, Vincent C Gray. Over the summer of 2009 Rhee hired 934 new teachers, approximately double the number typically hired each summer. In July she told the Lehrer News Hour that DCPS is "so fortunate, in that the economy, as bad as it is, has not impacted DCPS in the way that it has other jurisdictions, which I think might make us the only school district in the country that is not making any cuts." New hires, no budget cuts, 25 schools closed and half the principals in the system replaced in 28 months. To all appearances Rhee was successfully and relatively peacefully carrying out rapid and radical change successfully.
"Parents, kids and advocates are staking out sides in the great chocolate milk debate. The crux of the controversy is whether kids who refuse unflavored milk will drink chocolate – especially kids whose impoverished families may not be able to afford milk of any kind at home. Or is the availability of chocolate milk creating kids who will refuse plain milk after they’ve tried flavored?
“Renegade Lunch Lady” and school food activist/blogger Chef Ann Cooper has staked out the strong anti-chocolate-milk turf, even likening it to napalm. The dairy industry is fighting back with a campaign. I hope we’ll see some quality testing in lunchrooms soon, providing conclusive data about now many kids (and not kids who are knowingly engaged in a rebellion after their chocolate milk was pulled from the lunch line) really will drink their milk if it’s chocolate and refuse it if it’s plain."
"Three of the most incongruous characters on the American political stage have teamed up into an improbable though not altogether unholy alliance, being that 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.'
They are U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Republican House Speaker and NCLB-cultist Newt Gingrich and Rev. Al Sharpton, a fixture on the New York City landscape for decades.
They may not neatly fit the descriptions of 'left-fielder' or 'right-fielder,' but they sure are all fixin' to bat 'cleanup.'
Their position is that 'reforms,' ( such as merit pay, charter school expansion, and revised accountability measures) are needed to cleanse the entrenched failed culture of America's public schools."
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