In tonight's online meeting with Diane Ravitch and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), I volunteered to spearhead a project for Teachers' Letters To Obama.
The project would basically be this: People who want to participate would create very short webcam videos of themselves talking directly to the President. In other words, basically performing their letters to the President.
All they would need to do is post these videos online somewhere (it's a very basic Web 2.0 skill, after all :),
At a time when districts throughout the state have cut summer school, a class to boost algebra readiness in Silicon Valley has more than doubled enrollment.
Stepping Up to Algebra is conducting a mathematics boot camp for about 1,000 seventh and eighth graders in nine school districts. A vigorous fund-raising campaign by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation enabled the program to expand.
The four-week course targets students who need extra help to enable them to be ready to take Algebra I. Mastering that course sets students on track to taking advanced mathematics and science in high school.
Foundation leaders say that the greatest single predictor of college success is whether a student has become proficient in Algebra II, a high school course.
The foundation had hoped to offer the four-week algebra-readiness class to 750 students, but fund-raising was so
LOCH ARBOUR — Trying to force the state to revise its funding formula before the start of the new school year, Loch Arbour has asked to become part of a regional school district.
To no avail, the tiny oceanfront community — which has the highest per-student cost in New Jersey — has gone to court and petitioned the state for financial relief from a second year of education costs that have doubled and tripled property tax bills.
Local officials e-mail letters weekly to Monmouth County Schools Superintendent Carole Morris asking for an update on their request to break up the district. And weekly they’re given the standard answer: The state is gathering information. Please be patient.
"In the meantime, we’re dying a slow death. We’re bleeding money and no one seems to care," said Loch Arbour trustees president Betty McBain. "When you say one of your towns is paying $80,000 per student, that doesn’t make anyone sit up and take notice?"
Loch Arbour’s troubles started three years ago when the state Legislature under then-Gov. Jon Corzine abolished a school funding agreement between Loch Arbour, which has no schools, and
BURLINGTON, Vt. — The fields and long red barns at the University of Vermont will soon house fewer cows as low milk prices, high costs and budget cuts have forced the university to sell its herd. Other institutions, including Rutgers University, are doing the same, have found other ways to cut costs, as high feed, fuel and labor prices... Full story »
At ISTE 2010 I had the opportunity to meet with Ellen Siminoff, President and CEO of Shmoop. Shmoop, as I've mentioned before, is a provider of free and fee-based learning guides for Literature, Civics, US History, Music, Biographies, and recently added Economics learning guides.
Prior to my meeting with Siminoff I was already a fan of Shmoop as evident by the fact that I link to it from my classroom blog. After my meeting with Siminoff I was convinced that Shmoop has some good ideas about designing learning guides for students. Shmoop's primary goals, according to Siminoff is to make learning as digestible and as mobile as possible. To that end Shmoop designs all of their learning guides to be consumed in chunks rather than in one sitting. Shmoop has also made their learning guides
Well, that was fast. It hasn’t been two weeks since the Department of Education said goodbye to its press secretary and now it’s about to wish another member of the truth squad farewell.
Much like a retired teacher, press deputy Danny Kanner is headed to Florida. After eight months in Tweed, he’s leaving to become Governor Charlie Crist’s spokesman in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat. Kanner won’t be straying too far from education issues, as they’ve already become a major part of Crist’s campaign.
In April, Crist made headlines when he decided to veto a bill that would have given teachers one-year contracts,
State education officials are responding to widespread calls to make state tests more difficult. But they’re getting some harsh criticism from a surprising corner: the head of the Buffalo school system.
As Education Commissioner David Steiner and Deputy Commissioner John King travel around New York explaining their plans to overhaul the state exams, they’ve largely met with support. In New York City, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has called for tougher exams. But last week, Buffalo School Superintendent James
Hustlers and High Rollers: Not Just Wall Street
Sent to the NY Times, July 12, 2010
Bob Herbert ("Outside the Casino," 7/12) notes that Wall Street "hustlers and high rollers" are doing well, while schools are cutting services, including libraries.
Federal education policy will have the same effect: Education Secretary Duncan plans to spend billions on new standards and tests, increasing testing far beyond the currently unreasonable levels. There is no scientific evidence that this will help students, but it will help the "hustlers and high rollers" in the publishing industry: Along with new standards and tests come new textbooks linked to tests.
In contrast, there is substantial evidence showing that programs that have been weakened are effective: For
Slogans about education accountability–stop teaching to the test! hold the adults responsible!–are a lot easier to figure out than actually, you know, sitting down and devising a system of rewards and punishments so that schools are given clear guideposts about what to improve on and how to do it. Example 10,427 comes from Texas.
One of the strongest critiques of No Child Left Behind’s annual testing and proficiency targets was that they didn’t sufficiently account for students who made significant progress but still remained below. A student who started at far below grade level could substantial academic gains but still fall short. The school would not be given credit for this progress, or growth, and could face sanctions because of it (the law does contain a “safe harbor” provision for sub-groups that make significant annual gains, but that tracks the progress of schools and sub-groups within schools, not individual students).
In response, the Department of Education launched a pilot growth model program that allowed states to come up with their own definitions of growth. States like Iowa created a relatively simple model that essentially created more levels than just the one existing proficiency bar. If students jumped from one level to a higher one, they would be considered proficient, even if they remained short of the eventual target. They had three years to complete their growth and be on grade level. The image below comes from an evaluation of the pilot program (.pdf), and it shows how Iowa’s tier system works (click on it to make it larger).