Friday, July 30, 2010

School Tech Connect: I Refudiate The Status Quo!

School Tech Connect: I Refudiate The Status Quo!

I Refudiate The Status Quo!

I saw the word "frumious" come up in some @fklonksy traffic, and I've found the original link. Sure enough, it's from


Recapping The President's Education Priorities

When you come right down to it, it's about this: the currently in-power reform people want to spend less money on education. As for President Obama's recent comment that he wants to give more money to teachers (for test scores), well, that's not really what his coalition is about. You cannot be in a coalition with people whose domestic policy starts and ends with tax cuts for the wealthy and expect to give more money to public school teachers. It's a self-delusion that he's under, this President.

It's Not Change... It's Stupidity

Well, you have to give the President credit: he's standing by his positions and not trying to make everybody happy. My hat is off to him; he's declared war on teachers and is probably going to win. He sees the widespread criticism of RTTB as "natural resistance to change."
What he doesn't see is that it isn't change teachers and civil rights groups are opposing, it's the intensification of the same old thing: the preeminence of high-stakes bubble testing in every aspect of policy. He appears to be

Obama Vows, 'I'll ... Fight for Race to the Top with Everything I've Got' -- THE Journal

Obama Vows, 'I'll ... Fight for Race to the Top with Everything I've Got' -- THE Journal

Obama Vows, 'I'll ... Fight for Race to the Top with Everything I've Got'

Just two days after his administration announced phase 2 Race to the Top finalists, President Obama was on the defensive about the controversial reform program operated out of the United States Department of Education. Speaking Thursday at the National Urban League Centennial Conference in Washington, DC, Obama vowed he would fight to defend the program and would resort to using the veto, if necessary, to maintain its integrity.

Race to the Top is a federal program whose stated purpose is to drive reform in public education. It's designed to shape states' education policies by offering state governments part of a $4.35 billion pool to tackle some of the priorities of the current Department of Education, priorities that depend in no small part on continued, even expanded reliance on high-stakes testing, such as holding teachers accountable for their effectiveness in driving increases in measures of student achievement and encouraging states to develop programs to turn around "underperforming" schools, as well as developing new data systems for tracking progress.

The program has come under attack by organizations that have traditionally been advocates of education and have largely supported Democratic policies, including the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA). NEA earlier this month gave the program a symbolic vote of "no confidence." The group also opposed extending funding for Race to the Top after the administration asked for another

As school transformation begins, some principals are let go | GothamSchools

As school transformation begins, some principals are let go | GothamSchools

As school transformation begins, some principals are let go


The city is removing principals of some schools the city is overhauling with federal funds but keeping others in place, according to an email from a principal today.
In an email obtained by GothamSchools, the principal of William Grady CTE High School told his staff that the city had decided to replace him and several other unnamed principals next year. The announcement was not a complete surprise, as principals of the eleven schools set to begin a new turnaround strategy next year have known they could lose their jobs for over a month.
The new strategy, known as the transformation model, is part of a federal program to improve some of the

Remainders: Do principals know good teaching when they see it?

  • Some principals have frighteningly few thoughts about good instruction. (John Thompson)
  • Klein complained the Times’ test score coverage was “outrageous.” (NYC Public School Parents)
  • New Cleveland contract saves jobs, cuts training days, expands peer review. (Catalyst Ohio)
  • Colorado seemed certain to pass common core standards. Not anymore. (Ed News Colorado)
  • Having a working mother won’t harm children after all, study says. (Washington Post)
  • Rick Hess liked Obama’s speech, but doesn’t want words to lead to “over-reach.” (Hess Straight Up)
  • Randi Weingarten found something to like about Race to the Top, too. (Teacher Beat)
  • A Bronx Prep educator took part in a Capitol Hill briefing urging cross-discipline work. (ACSD In Service)
  • A new paper on teacher pensions finds that unions aren’t the only ones to blame. (Eduwonk.com)”>Eduwonk)

300 rally at Cook County Jail against AZ law. � Fred Klonsky's blog

300 rally at Cook County Jail against AZ law. � Fred Klonsky's blog

300 rally at Cook County Jail against AZ law.


Photo: Fight Back News
Thursday 300 people rallied at the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago. The rally was part of national demonstrations that opposed SB1070, Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant law.

Texas Education Agency rates Austin schools | kvue.com | KVUE News | Austin, TX | Breaking News

Texas Education Agency rates Austin schools | kvue.com | KVUE News | Austin, TX | Breaking News

Texas Education Agency rates Austin schools

by ANDREW HORANSKY/ KVUE News

Posted on July 30, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Updated today at 5:26 PM

Friday was report card day for Texas school districts. The Austin Independent School District received higher marks compared to 2009.

Last year, the Texas Education Agency rated eight of Austin's schools as "unacceptable." This year, Austin's East Side Memorial Green Tech High School was the only school to receive that rating.

Green Tech parent Diane Allison was not surprised.

"Even when I was in high school I heard a lot about the school and how bad it was," Allison said. Her daughter graduated from the troubled school this year. She believes that students are the problem and not their teachers.

"And the parents say the teachers aren't teaching right, when they really are and your kids are just not paying attention," Allison said.

Klein's confidential email blasting the Times NYC Public School Parents #edu #education #NYC

NYC Public School Parents

Independent voices of New York City public school parents

NYC Public School Parents

Friday, July 30, 2010


Klein's confidential email blasting the Times

In an email received by accident today, and sent me by a friendly source, Joel Klein blasts the NY Times coverage of the test score scandal this way: “NYT is outrageous. “

I
nteresting how he says the Times article is “outrageous.” I thought today’s article was relatively mild myself. Or perhaps he meant yesterday’spiece?
In any case, Klein then adds: “There will be pushback (in addition to today’s DN edit) ahead but the oppos are trying to move their agenda with this.”
You bet we are! When the entire Bloom/Klein agenda has been revealed to be a failure, we’d be fools not to point that out.
The Daily News editorial that he is referring to is even more ridiculous than ever. These guys have lost all sense of reality. Entitled Way to Go, Kids! it still maintains the fiction, with a straight face, that the progress under Bloom/Klein has been terrific, while ignoring how their house of cards has completely fallen apart.
The email is addressed to Whitney Tilson is a charter school/ hedgefund privateer, founder of the pro-charter group Democrats for Education Reform, and writes one of the silliest blogs on the planet (amusingly lampooned by Billionaires for Educational Reform).
Here is their entire exchange:

A Viable Pensions Alternative: Cash-Balance Plans? - Teacher Beat - Education Week

A Viable Pensions Alternative: Cash-Balance Plans? - Teacher Beat - Education Week

A Viable Pensions Alternative: Cash-Balance Plans?

Chad Aldeman of Education Sector and Andy Rotherham of Bellwether Education Partners have put out an interesting primer on reforms to teacher-pension plans, many of which are seriously in the red right now.
EdWeek reporters have covered some of the same issues in the past. Defined-benefit pension plans, as my colleague Michele McNeil reported, can warp the teacher workforce, potentially pushing out great teachers before they're ready to retire and keeping less-effective teachers in the workforce.
And as I reported last year in a companion story, defined-benefit pensions also tend to disfavor certain teachers:

Hovering Experts, Oppressive Regimes and Corrupt Evals � Teacher Reality #education

Hovering Experts, Oppressive Regimes and Corrupt Evals � Teacher Reality

Teacher Reality

Reality Check on What's Really Going on in American Education

“Got Rhee? If so, u must demonstrate 22 differ. teaching elements w/i a 30 min. lesson. Effective? Ready…go!http://bit.ly/9zXkFj @TeacherReality on Twitter, June 29, 2010

The comment above is a tweet I posted on Twitter, recently. I decided to expand on it as I wanted to share my experience of having “experts” and administrators hover over me, critiquing my every move…every utterance…every breath as I teach children in a Title I school.

I’ll start with giving you a little bit of information about me. I started teaching over 9 years ago in a Title I middle school in San Diego. I had made a mid-career change from technology sales and marketing to teaching. The move was made purely from the heart. I was tired of chasing money in the corporate world and found that I needed to give, instead of take. So, even with several loans yet to be paid on my MBA degree, I went back into college to learn to be a teacher and obtain a teaching credential. Long story short…I found a job on September 11th, 2001 (what an omen that was and I’ll cover it in a later post), in a Title I middle school teaching Language

FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau | Raw Story

FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau | Raw Story

FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau

By Daniel Tencer
Friday, July 30th, 2010 -- 3:22 pm

howardzinn FBI admits probing radical historian Zinn for criticizing bureau

FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions

Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War.

But in a release of documents pertaining to Zinn, the bureau admitted that one of its investigations into the left-wing academic was prompted not by suspicion of criminal activity, but by Zinn's criticism of the FBI's record on civil rights investigations.

"In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn," the bureau states. "The Bureau noted Zinn’s activities in what were called Communist Front Groups and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s.

"In the 1960s, the Bureau took another look at Zinn on account of his criticism of the FBI’s civil rights investigations."

Story continues below...

Looking for the culprits behind tests’ dropping standards | GothamSchools

Looking for the culprits behind tests’ dropping standards | GothamSchools

Looking for the culprits behind tests’ dropping standards


What does it mean for tests to get easier? And is that really what happened to New York’s tests?
The analysis that has spurred that idea in the last few weeks actually found something slightly different. The tests aren’t necessarily easier, in the way that a kindergarten spelling bee is easier than the SAT. Instead, between 2007 and 2009, students who hadn’t learned much came out looking like they had.
This is an important distinction because it points to a different culprit behind the dropping standards than simply the individual test items themselves. Instead, Harvard professor Daniel Koretz – the lead author of the analysis commissioned by the state education department — names two possible causes: a phenomenon

The Non-story in New York’s New Test Results � The Quick and the Ed

The Non-story in New York’s New Test Results � The Quick and the Ed

The Non-story in New York’s New Test Results

With headlines like “Test scores down sharply; biggest decline for needy students,” it’s no wonder that politicians are sometimes reluctant to raise educational standards: it can make them look bad. That’s unfortunate, because here we have a state, New York, essentially saying that it’s test score proficiency bar was too low and that kids need higher standards. Instead of being praised for being honest to students and families about the academic achievement levels necessary to be successful in college, the media is making it look like test scores went way down. That’s far from the truth.
Before going into the specific numbers, let’s take a pretty simple metaphor. The commissioner of basketball decides that it’s too easy for players to dunk on 10 foot hoops nowadays. We’ve lost our edge in international

QUICK Hits

Schools Matter: Obama: Splitting the Difference Between "No Excuses" and "Yes You Can?"

Schools Matter: Obama: Splitting the Difference Between "No Excuses" and "Yes You Can?"

Obama: Splitting the Difference Between "No Excuses" and "Yes You Can?"

Comments by Monty Neill:

Comments on Obama's talk to the Urban League, July 29, 2010

In this speech, Obama talks about having an "honest conversation." Too often, however, his talk is simply not honest. This was a disturbing and angering talk, even if it was rather as expected.

Here are some excerpts from the speech with my comments -- his excerpts are quoted. The

In case you missed it: Teachers, teachers, teachers | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

In case you missed it: Teachers, teachers, teachers | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

In case you missed it: Teachers, teachers, teachers

Rhee dismisses 241 D.C. teachers; union vows to contest firings The Washington Post
When her newly implemented IMPACT evaluation revealed a startling number of teachers to be ineffective and unlicensed, Michelle Rhee immediately let them go - and warned 737 others ranked "minimally effective" that they will face similar fates if they do not change their scores within a year.
See also: Fire Hot In DC Eduwonk
Math Quiz The Core Knowledge Blog
The D.C. teacher firings The Washington Post Editorial
School Chief Dismisses 241 Teachers in Washington The New York Times
So my elderly aunt was talking about Michelle Rhee the other day... The Educated Reporter
read more

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: Finding Hope

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: Finding Hope

Finding Hope

215/365 I hope you danceImage by kharied via Flickr
"H--o---oooooo---pe! Where are you?"

I called as I looked in my desk drawer, under the manuscript sitting on my desk, between the books I'm studying to teach in a few weeks.

"Hope. Are you in there?"

As I looked in the kitchen sink, among the laundry around my recliner.

I see a lot of work. A lot of

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