Thursday, December 2, 2010

Seattle Public Schools community blog: Newt Speaks

Seattle Public Schools community blog: Newt Speaks

Newt Speaks

This from a speech Newt Gingrich gave on what should be done in American schools:

10. Insist on paying great teachers a lot more and releasing bad teachers before they can cripple the future of the children they serve.

12. Insist on reasserting American Exceptionalism by having every student in taxpayer-financed schools, whether K through 12 or in the state college and university systems, have a brief course annually on the Declaration of Independence, its assertion of self-evident truths, and its declaration that we are endowed by our

Michelle Rhee Rick Scott transition: Florida Gov.-elect Rick Scott names Michelle Rhee, Washington, D.C.'s former schools chancellor, to an 18-member education transition team. - OrlandoSentinel.com

Michelle Rhee Rick Scott transition: Florida Gov.-elect Rick Scott names Michelle Rhee, Washington, D.C.'s former schools chancellor, to an 18-member education transition team. - OrlandoSentinel.com

Rhee leads Scott's education team

Washington, D.C.'s former schools chancellor tops list of 18 leaders to governor-elect's transition team

Governor-elect Rick Scott announced Thursday that he has formed a transition team of education and community leaders to help him create "a new education system for a new economy."

Topping the list is Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of Washington D.C. schools who has become something of a rock star in the world of education reform. Sharply critical of teacher tenure, she butted heads with the teachers union and fired or forced out hundreds of educators and other employees before she resigned recently.

She also closed dozens of failing schools.

The vast majority of the people named to Scott's education transition team — there are 18 of them — are from Florida, and some have been called upon by previous governors for guidance.

For example, Jonathan K. Hage, the president of Charter Schools USA, one of state's largest providers of charter schools, has

Queens Teacher: Fight for NYC Schools Is Just Beginning

Queens Teacher: Fight for NYC Schools Is Just Beginning

Fight for NYC Schools Is Just Beginning

Fight for NYC Schools Is Just Beginning
Alan Singer
Social Studies educator, Hofstra University


As much as I enjoy agitprop (political theater), agree with Mattera and the Greens, and think Bloomberg, Black, and the Hearst Corporation are fair targets, the issues here run much deeper. Under Bloomberg, government in New York City is authoritarian, arbitrary, and non-responsive to the populous. It is as if Bloomberg were a very wealthy king whose money gives him the power to buy whatever he wants and force it down our throats.

The educational experts who reviewed Cathy Black's lack of credentials are a good example. They either worked for Bloomberg before, may work for him later, or work for a non-profit receiving generous Bloomberg donations. Let us see how many of them express outrage that New York State Educational Commissioner David Steiner ignored their advice and acceded to Bloomberg's demands.

So far, not one of the eight has spoken publicly. The stakes are too high. You play the game, you go along, and you end up making big bucks working for Bloomberg in the private sector, working for his foundation, or working for one of the other edu-capitalists. When Joel Klein leaves the New York City

Schools Matter: Ravitch TKO's Finn in first round

Schools Matter: Ravitch TKO's Finn in first round

Ravitch TKO's Finn in first round

Chester Finn's response to Diane Ravitch (http://www.edexcellence.net/gadfly/index.cfm?issue=614#a6624)assumes that American schools have failed. Not so. Evidence for failure, according to Finn, includes "The weak and generally stagnant academic performance of most American school kids, our scandalous achievement gaps, the country’s sagging performance vis-à-vis other countries …".

Test score performance of American children is not all that "stagnant." NAEP math scores for 9 and 13 year olds have improving steadily since 1973 and reading scores for 9 year olds have been improving since 1971. Other groups show no decline (Finn would call this "stagnant," others might call this holding steady).

Achievement gaps and our less than spectacular scores on international tests are the result of poverty: Middle-class American children attending well-financed schools outscore nearly all other countries. Our overall scores

The Education Celebrity Tour: Legend of the Fall, Pt. II | Dailycensored.com

The Education Celebrity Tour: Legend of the Fall, Pt. II | Dailycensored.com

The Education Celebrity Tour: Legend of the Fall, Pt. II

The U.S. is floundering at the bottom of international comparisons of education, and what makes this worse is that in the grand ol’ 1950s, the U.S. was at the top—at least that is one story offered by Michelle Rhee on a recent episode of the Colbert Report.

Like the discussion of Waiting for Superman by John Legend on Bill Maher’s Real Time, the celebrity tour of Rhee, who recently lost her job as chancellor of schools in DC, raises some real problems about not only what our self-appointed educational leaders are saying about education, but also how our so-called left-wing media helps (directly and indirectly) to perpetuate misinformation about our education system—misinformation that is being promoted to mask the real issues about poverty in our culture that the political and corporate elite do not want to face.

Rhee, in her interview with Colbert, makes several sweeping claims about schools, and as is the nature of contemporary media (recognizing, of course, that Colbert is satire), she is allowed to make those claims without

The Classroom is a Factory, But What's the Product? - Copy / Paste by Peter Pappas

The Classroom is a Factory, But What's the Product? - Copy / Paste by Peter Pappas

The Classroom is a Factory, But What's the Product?

This morning I read Bob Barsanti's powerful commentary "The Classroom Is Not a Factory" Education Week (12/1/10).

"Everything I needed to know about modern teaching, I learned in a factory. In the summer of my 18th year, I made plastic drink stirrers on the night shift at Spir-It Inc.... Many of the current reforms in education aim to turn the schoolhouse into that plastic-products factory. .. The machinery heats and molds our children, then stamps, bags, and packages them to a professional uniformity."

Lewis Hine

So What's the Real Product?

I agree with Barsanti that schools have been turned into factories. But they don't produce students, they just work there. In truth, schools are factories that harness the labor of students to toil at a bubble-test assembly line producing "achievement" data.

Schools mask the child labor with noble mission statements that claim they are

Remainders: Black “doesn’t work for the city yet,” mayor says | GothamSchools

Remainders: Black “doesn’t work for the city yet,” mayor says | GothamSchools

Remainders: Black “doesn’t work for the city yet,” mayor says

  • Bloomberg says Cathie Black isn’t a public servant yet, so her school visits aren’t public. (DN)
  • The Awl slams the Department of Ed’s press strategy for Black’s debut. (The Awl)
  • A student skips schools, but dazzles subway riders with his math skills. (GS Community)
  • A teacher finds that a classroom problem he’d solved has reappeared this year. (GS Community)
  • Rubert Murdoch’s new media project may employ Klein’s education knowledge. (CNBC)
  • Surveying the work of Generation Klein 9th graders, a teacher doesn’t see progress. (NYC Educator)
  • Students and staff at Sheepshead Bay HS are protesting the school’s possible closure. (Ed Notes)
  • New York has fewer students than Texas, but similar numbers of special ed students. (Flypaper)
  • Education credentials aside, is Black even prepared to manage the DOE? (More Thoughtful)
  • NJ Gov. Christie is ordering another district to lower its superintendent’s salary. (WSJ)
  • Massachusetts, Ohio, and other states are seeing districts opt out of RttT. (EdWeek)
  • House voted up a bill that would increase free meals in schools, improve nutrition. (WaPo)

An Open Letter to Educators

Schools Matter: Scott's Transition Team: Rhee, Bakke, Kirtley, Hage, etc

Schools Matter: Scott's Transition Team: Rhee, Bakke, Kirtley, Hage, etc

Scott's Transition Team: Rhee, Bakke, Kirtley, Hage, etc

The ever-perky princess of education deform appeared on theColbert Report last night, and, unfortunately, Stephen continued to disappoint when it comes to skewering corporate school propagandists. The interview - neither enlightening nor entertaining - was a great way for Rhee to generate some positive PR in the wake of her ousting from the DC schools.

But Michelle is undoubtedly keeping herself busy. And it looks like she'll be focusing on Florida now that Gov.-elect Rick Scott has appointed her to his education transition team. Here's the rest of the list, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel:
Michelle Rhee – Former Chancellor, Washington, DC Schools

Patricia Levesque – Executive Director, Foundation For

Obama Welcomes New Governors - NYTimes.com

Obama Welcomes New Governors - NYTimes.com

Obama Promises to Work With Governors on Education, Economy

“I think it’s time for all of us to make sure that we’re working together,” President Obama said to the newly elected governors at the Blair House luncheon.Drew Angerer/The New York Times“I think it’s time for all of us to make sure that we’re working together,” President Obama said to the newly elected governors at the Blair House luncheon.

President Obama hosted a luncheon on Thursday for newly elected governors across the street from the White House at Blair House, where he promised to work closely with them to fix the economy and improve education over the next two years.

But while Ohio’s incoming Republican governor, John Kasich, was among the nearly two dozen state chief executives at the lunch, the Democrat he beat in November, Gov. Ted Strickland, was not left out in the cold. In fact, he got a personal visit with the president hours earlier in the Oval Office, the only governor singled out for such special attention.

Mr. Strickland has been an energetic ally for Mr. Obama in an important

New in-school disciplinary academy draws praise, raises questions | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

New in-school disciplinary academy draws praise, raises questions | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

New in-school disciplinary academy draws praise, raises questions

by Benjamin Herold

Wilfredo Cruz is seated in the back of his 8th grade English class, scanning the room.

When he spots another student with his head down, Wilfredo whispers the boy’s name, trying to get his attention.

Last year, this would have been the start of trouble. As a 7th grader at John B. Stetson Middle School, Wilfredo would often simply walk out of class to wander the halls. He was suspended multiple times and given detention countless others, for offenses ranging from writing graffiti on school property to fighting to bringing a BB gun to school.

He was not alone – there were 54 “serious incidents” reported at Stetson last year, including 21 assaults on staff and 20 assaults on students.

This year, however, things are different – for Wilfredo and for Stetson.

When Wilfredo gains the attention of the sleepy student in his English class, he tersely tells the boy to sit up straight. Wordlessly, the student complies. The teacher continues her lesson without interruption.Photo: Benjamin Herold
"I went into school thinking it was nothing different except the uniforms," says ASPIRA Stetson 8th grader Wilfredo Cruz, 13. "But nothing is the same as last year. I actually feel like I am learning something."

Photo: Benjamin Herold
"I went into school thinking it was nothing different except the uniforms," says ASPIRA Stetson 8th grader Wilfredo Cruz, 13. "But nothing is the same as last year. I actually feel like I am learning something."

“I couldn’t get [Wilfredo] to stay in his class last year,” marvels Principal Renato Lajara. “But

Bullying: Are you The One? – Lily's Blackboard

Bullying: Are you The One? – Lily's Blackboard
Lily's Blackboard Rotating Header Image

Bullying: Are you The One?

Children are dying. A bully is making their lives miserable. A bully is threatening them. Humiliating them. Being mean.

There’s research on the bullies. (No, they are not all troubled children who don’t know how to love. Some of them are just mean. Some of them just like to have power over someone weaker. They enjoy crushing souls.)

There’s research on the silent bystanders. (Yes, they have a share of blame. Their silence gives power to the bully. Some of them are cowards. Some of them, like the bully, believe the child being bullied deserves it because they are different. Their watching gives approval and encouragement.)

There’s research on why a child being bullied gives up and decides to die. There’s research on why another bullied child decides to live.

The research says it is all about the number One.

Children who decided to live had at least One caring adult to talk to. They had at least One adult who didn’t tell them they were imagining things. There

Child nutrition bill passes in the House – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs

Child nutrition bill passes in the House – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs
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December 2nd, 2010
03:49 PM ET
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Child nutrition bill passes in the House
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Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives passed a sweeping child nutrition bill Thursday designed to promote better eating habits in part by giving the federal government more authority to set standards for food sold in vending machines and other venues on school grounds.

Among other things, the $4.5 billion measure provides more money to poor areas to subsidize free meals and requires schools to abide by health guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To help offset the higher cost of including more fruits and vegetables, the bill increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches.

FULL STORY

GOP candidate lands schools job vacated by Abercrombie nominee - Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com

GOP candidate lands schools job vacated by Abercrombie nominee - Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com

GOP candidate lands schools job vacated by Abercrombie nominee

By Derrick DePledge

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 02, 2010

Former state House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan, who was the Republican lieutenant governor nominee, is the new executive director of the Hawaii Charter Schools Network.

The private, nonprofit group advocates for the state's 31 public charter schools. Finnegan replaces Alapaki Nahale-a, who was nominated by Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie as director of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Finnegan was an advocate for charter schools while in the House and during her campaign for lieutenant governor. Her daughter attended Voyager Charter School and her son is now in the sixth-grade at Voyager.

"My goal is to make sure the people of Hawaii understand the role that charter schools have in education," said Finnegan, who sees the experimental schools as offering parents choice.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and Finnegan lost to Abercrombie and Brian Schatz by 17 percentage points in the governor's race in November.

Aiona has said he will decide after the 2012 elections whether to run for

Arizona Teachers Embark on "Save Ethnic Studies" Tour | Immigrant Rights | Change.org

Arizona Teachers Embark on "Save Ethnic Studies" Tour | Immigrant Rights | Change.org

Arizona Teachers Embark on "Save Ethnic Studies" Tour

There’s that old cliché that you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. This wisdom proves particularly true in the case of ethnic studies programs. Just look at the facts in Tucson Unified, the largest school district in Arizona: While national Latino high school graduation rates are at 56%, students who participate in the ethnic studies program graduate at a rate of 97.5%. Two-thirds of students in the program go on to college, whereas only 24% of all high school students do so nationally. Students consistently score higher on the state’s standardized tests than those who are not enrolled in the program.

But you wouldn’t know this listening to politicians like Tom Horne, who successfully lobbied for the passage of HB 2281. This Arizona law banning ethnic studies programs for all K-12 schools is set to go into effect in 2011. To supporters of the ban, courses that teach history inclusive of groups who are often left out of the narrative are “divisive” — never mind that thinking critically about race, ethnicity, and identity, and the way such concepts shape our world is the only real path to breaking down discrimination. (Dr. Arnold Pan of Post Academic offers

The Answer Sheet - A system to tell how your kid is doing in school

The Answer Sheet - A system to tell how your kid is doing in school

A system to tell how your kid is doing in school

By Valerie Strauss

This was written by Steve Peha, president of Teaching That Makes Sense, an education consultancy based in Carrboro, N.C. He writes regularly about education policy on the National Journal Education Experts Blog. He is the author of three books: Be a Writer, Be a Better Writer, and Reading Allowed.

By Steve Peha
When I began working in education as a tutor, I thought I’d be working just with kids. But tutoring is a family affair, and part of the work involves tutoring parents, too. Of all the questions they asked, the most common was, “How’s my kid doin’ in school?”

Isn’t this what report cards tell us? Apparently not. Even when kids’ grades improved, parents still wanted to know what their children had learned.

Then state testing began and we had volumes of data about student learning—volumes of data, but little information. We had numbers and

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