Jonathan Kozol Reviews New Ravitch Book for NY Times Sunday Book Review The NY Times has posted on-line Jonathan Kozol’s marvelous and original book review of Diane Ravitch’s new book, Reign of Error. The review is slated to appear in print in Sunday’s book review section of the newspaper. Kozol concludes: “Ravitch takes on almost all the well-known private-sector leaders and political officials—
46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards in math and/or English language arts. It’s widely understood that implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is going to require collaboration between public K-12 systems and higher education institutions to help ensure the K-12 curriculum reform is on track for the 2014-15 academic year. In a natio
Heritage language programs, such as Chinese, Korean, Russian and Farsi, are increasing at universities. MIAMI—Dorothy Villarreal grew up dreaming in Spanish, first in Mexico and later in South Texas, where her family moved when she was six. She excelled in school in English. But, at home, life was in Spanish, from the long afternoon chats with her grandparents to the Spanish-language version of Ba
State senator whose 11-hour filibuster against restrictive abortion legislation made her a celebrity will stand in 2014 Wendy Davis is set to run for Texas governor, in a race that could have wide-ranging consequences for Democrats at both national and state level. The state senator from Fort Worth...
Here’s my monthly round-up of new “The Best…” lists I posted this month (you can see all 1,176 of them categorized here): The Best Three Sites On The Web For ESL/EFL/ELL/ELT Teachers The Best Infographics About Teaching & Learning English As A Second (or Third!) Language The Best Resources For Learning About The Birmingham Church Bombing The Best Questions To Use For Class Closing Activities
Podcasts have been a great tool for my personal professional learning, because it’s so easy to download and just listen while I’m getting ready in the morning, cleaning the house, walking the dog or in the car. I share with you several of the podcasts that I listen to on my Podcasts Page. For several years I enjoyed listening to the Practical Principals podcast, was sad that it discontinued and th
I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here). Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this pas
In a society plagued by obesity, with three out of the five top causes of death in America related to lifestyle choices, it’s time we did something to save the future generation. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) made great steps in this direction over the summer by passing the new nutritional standards for lunch and snacks. But, children, and parents alike, still need to learn ho
Parents at Harvey Clarke Elementary are upset about a change that will affect kindergarten class sizes. After Monday's school board meeting, the district said nothing had been finalized, though parents were told otherwise that afternoon.
Nas Truth: I believe you’re better than the ring-kissing I’m seeing right now. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to speak virtually to about the importance of leading while teaching as part of a series I’m doing with the Center for Teaching Quality. In my argyle sweater and windbreaker pants (video conferencing) magic, I fielded questions about everything from educational equity (“Give back 1%
Robert Schaeffer is public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest).
He wrote this after reading AJC reporter Heather Vogell's series on testing flaws. The "Testing the Test" series took a year to report and concluded today. You can read it at MyAJC.com.
By Robert Schaeffer
With each passing year, politicians put more weight on standardized exams to evaluate students, teachers and schools. From “No Child Left Behind” to “Race to the Top” to the new “Common Core Assessments,” test scores have become the primary tool to make high-stakes educational decisions.
As the recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigative series demonstrates, however, many of those exams are severely flawed. Poorly written questions, inaccurate answers, faulty scoring rules, and other major problems undermine the validity of test results.
Reliance on test results, whether flawed or accurate, often leads to inappropriate decisions. Some students are denied promotion to the next grade because of test scores. Others lose out on high school diplomas because they “failed” a state exam. They are then blocked from access to further education and employment. Without the tools to contribute to society, they risk falling into the criminal justice system. This
It hasn’t been an easy go for teachers lately. In major cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, thousands of teachers were laid off this past summer. Meanwhile, the state of North Carolina recently ended teacher tenure and eliminated extra pay for teachers with masters degrees.
Several weeks ago, blogger William E. White pointed out that during back-to-school season in America, “Cartoonists, comedians, pundits, and critics are out in force running down the teaching profession.” However, here at The Huffington Post, we are big fans of teachers, and we think it’s important to show appreciation for them even if mass culture and some state legislatures do not.
As the first weeks of school for many districts draw to a close, we are eager to show teachers what we do — and more importantly — do not think about them. In that vein, we have compiled a list of belittling phrases that you should NEVER say to teachers.
1. “Teaching sounds like such a sweet gig. I mean, you get summers off.”
As teacher bloggers around the Internet can attest, the idea that teachers get summers off is often nothing but a myth. During the summer, many educators teach summer school classes, participate in teacher training, earn advanced degrees and plan for the next year.
2. “I could so be a kindergarten teacher. It’s like
The beginning of the end: President Bush signing NCLB at Hamilton H.S. in Hamilton, Ohio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even if you’ve said it a thousand times, it doesn’t hurt to say it again.
Mr. D’s much more industrious little sister, Dr. D (yep, she finished that doctorate!) drew my attention to this recent article from The Atlantic. The article advocates stopping the current trend towards neutering social studies as a distinct discipline in American education.
While the article itself breaks no new ground, it encapsulates the history and status of the issue well so that newbies to the struggle get an eye opener–whilst the veterans get a refresher course in the shitstorm that is No Child Left Behind.
Jen Kalaidis opens with the decline of student time spent studying social studies, to a whopping 7.6 percent. More importantly, she details the history of this
By Kelli Windsor, Communications Manager for State Programs, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign As kids head back to school, educators are focused on how to best ensure students succeed in the classroom and in life. New findings from a national survey released by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign show that breakfast is key to academic success and that rethinking how we serve school breakfast is crucial to enhancing the educational experience for all. Hunger In Our Schools: Teachers’ Report 2013 surveyed more than 1,200 K-8 teachers and principals nationwide. It finds that three out of four K-8 public school teachers and principals see kids who regularly come to school hungry because they aren’t getting enough to eat at home. Extensive academic research shows that hungry students can’t learn, which is why the school breakfast program is so important. However, of the more than 21 million low-income kids in the U.S. who rely on a free or reduced-price school lunch, only half – about 11 million – currently get a school breakfast even though they qualify. We can close this gap by creatively rethinking school breakfast. Traditionally schools serve breakfast in the cafeteria before class begins. We’ve learned that moving breakfast ‘after the bell’ can make it easier for students to get a healthy morning meal. Only one out of every four educators report students eat breakfast after the bell. However, teachers and principals with students that eat breakfast in the classroom are reporting it is apositive experience. Reasons listed include seeing that students are ready to learn (75%) and are not singled out (56%). One simple change creates many benefits that go beyond alleviating hunger. Teachers and principals who have breakfast in the classroom say they’ve seen improvement in alertness
District education officials defended their decisionto score the city’s 2013 standardized tests in a way that yielded gains in both math and reading, arguing Thursday at a D.C. Council hearing that it was the best way to demonstrate student progress as compared to prior years.
But facing aggressive questions and accusations of score manipulation from the chairman of the council’s Education Committee, officials acknowledged that they made a mistake when they failed to publicly explain their decision when they celebrated historic gains on the tests this summer.
Another grading scale, which educators developed to reflect proficiency on tests newly aligned to tougher Common Core academic standards, would have yielded a larger gain in reading but a decline in math. District officials decided not to use that scale after seeing how it would affect scores.
“We need to communicate much better to all stakeholders, and you can be assured that next year’s [test score announcement] will be a very different rollout with a great
Five years ago, California became the first state to mandate that all candidates for becoming a teacher demonstrate that they have the skills needed for the classroom.
Soon, it will be aspiring administrators’ turn for a performance assessment.
At its meeting on Friday, the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing will consider – and possibly make a final decision on – requiring that those pursuing a preliminary credential to be an administrator show the practical know-how and strategies needed to lead California’s diverse and complex schools. The commission staff are recommending that an as yet to be designed performance assessment be required of those candidates pursuing a credential through the state’s 66 administrator training programs – the standard process generally taking two years part-time at a college or university – or by taking an exam testing their book knowledge of programs, regulations and requirements of the job, which roughly quarter of the candidates do. (California is the only state allowing this expedited route to a administrative credential.) In 2011-12, the state issued 3,765 preliminary administrative credentials.
A preliminary administrative credential is required to work in a job supervising teachers and areas of instruction, such as principals and assistant principals, directors of curriculum and personnel. Superintendents don’t have to have it either, though most have been promoted from positions requiring the credential.
The performance assessment is just one element of the commission’s overhaul of the state’s process for preparing and training district administrators – out of the recognition that many aspects of administration have become more demanding. The adoption of the Common Core standards requires different approaches to instruction. Changing student demographics, a new school
Recent trips to the local Barnes and Noble with my mom to replenish her store of mystery novels have been working my nerves, already frazzled by the takeover of testing. Take a look at the new subject headings on the book carrels. I shared my frustration at a recent More Than a Score meeting and the reaction of one of our members was, “Can’t we just read?” No, we can’t, according to the Common Core Corps and the test publishers (mostly one and the same). With
In Arizona, Maricopa County inmates get two meals a day. Now the jails will dish up only vegetarian meals for the prisoners in Maricopa County, Arizona where Sherriff Joe Arpaio runs a theatre of cruelty. Meat now will be replaced by ‘soy’.
Arpaio claims that replacing meat with soy will save taxpayers $100,000 a year. However, we are not talking salads with vegetables or mouthwatering vegetarian dishes and luscious fruits. And of course Arpaio cares little for prisoners or their rights so we know this is not motivated by health concerns.