Saturday, February 8, 2014

All Week @ The Answer Sheet 2-8-14

The Answer Sheet:

All Week @ The Answer Sheet

College professor’s post that went viral
Hamline professor’s post on student loan debt goes viral — ProgressiveHelpPhD (@CallOut4) February 7, 2014   The man in the picture is David Davies, an associate professor of anthropology and East Asian studies at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., who posted a photo on his Facebook page last week that quickly went viral, according […]    

Matt Damon: ‘We would never let businessmen design warheads. Why would you cut out educators when you’re designing education policy?’
Matt Damon just had an online conversation with Reddit users to promote his new movie, “The Monuments Men,” and he touched on a number of topics, including his opposition to standardized test-based school reform and the exclusion of teachers from the shaping of education policy. The actor has been a vocal defender of teachers and […]    

School board member vows to keep fighting for the late Ethan Rediske
Rick Roach,  a member of the Orange County School Board in Florida, sent the following e-mail about the death on Friday of 11-year-old Ethan Rediske, who became known in Florida after his mother, Andrea, fought a state requirement that her blind son, who had brain damage as well as cerebral palsy, take standardized tests. I […]    
How to mine Sochi Olympics for teaching and learning
View Photo Gallery —The start of Olympic competition kicked off with snowboarding, freestyle skiing and figure skating. This is an updated version of a piece that Jeffrey S. Hacker, a teacher at Beall Elementary School in Rockville, wrote years ago for The Washington Post about the possibilities that the Olympic Games provide for teaching.  By […]    
Wife of teacher to Obama: ‘please stop this runaway reform now’
Here’s an open letter that the wife of a public school teacher in Georgia wrote to President Obama about the reality in her husband’s school. She sent a more detailed version of this letter to the president. The author is Dana Bultman, an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Georgia.   Dear President and […]    

FEB 06

School apologizes for Black History Month lunch of watermelon, fried chicken
Put this in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: A Catholic  high school for girls in California thought it would be a good idea to mark Black History Month with a special lunch menu of fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread. Many students and parents were not amused. KNTV, the NBC affiliate in the Bay Area that Nancy Libby, principal […]    
A master’s degree on The Beatles — really
View Photo Gallery —An 18-year-old Mike Mitchell was at the Beatles’ first U.S. concert, snapping pictures with his 35mm Nikon with no flash. Those photos, which recently sold at auction, show a love of light and shadow that is reflected in his later work. Readers of this blog know that I will find any flimsy […]    
A very scary headline about kindergarteners
Rob Saxton is Oregon’s deputy superintendent of public instruction. Jada Rupley is the early learning system director within the state Department of Education. Together they wrote an op-ed in The Oregonian that was published online with this headline:  Kindergarten test results a ‘sobering snapshot’ What could possibly be sobering about test results from kindergarteners?  What […]    
The misguided effort to teach ‘character’
In 2009, Mike Rose, a research professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and an author, published “Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us,” a well-received  book that asked big questions about what it means to be educated and the nature of learning. A significantly revised and expanded edition of the […]    

FEB 05

Virginia Senate votes to cut number of SOLs, delay A-F school grading
The Virginia legislature is on its way to delaying some school reforms pushed by the former governor, Bob McDonnell, and reducing the number of Standards of Learning tests students are required to take. The state Senate on Tuesday passed bills to reduce by about 25 percent the number of SOLs students take — from 34 to […]    
America’s school funding problems, state by state
A new report on school funding reveals how uneven and unfair public school funding is in states across the country. The report, titled “Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card,” looks at funding data from 2007 through 2011, analyzing the condition of state school finance systems with a focus on the fair distribution of resources to the […]    
Ravitch: The ‘White House’s obsession with data is sick’
Education historian and activist Diane Ravitch has been blasting the Obama administration for a long time for education policies that have expanded the importance of standardized tests and promoted the privatization of public education. She was just in Washington to talk with U.S. legislators about the dangers of corporate-influenced school reform and she made some of her […]    
Text of report detailing $100 million-plus needed for Common Core tests in Maryland
I recently wrote about a Maryland Education Department report that said the vast majority of schools in many of the state’s counties are not technologically prepared to give new online Common Core-aligned standardized tests, and  at least $100 million will have to be spent by 2015 to get ready. The report, done for the state legislature, […]    
Yes, teacher morale really is low — despite a report to the contrary
The Center for American Progress, a Washington D.C. think tank, released a report recently that declared that teachers really aren’t all that dissatisfied with their jobs, despite, apparently multiple polls that show morale has plummeted. In this post Barnett Berry looks at how much sense that report really makes. Berry is the founder, partner and […]    
Obama smacks Bill O’Reilly on school vouchers
President Obama often says things about school reform that suggest he hasn’t read up on the effects of his policies, but he knew his stuff on vouchers cold during an interview with Bill O’Reilly, effectively smacking down the conservative commentator’s wishful thinking with the facts. The Obama administration has steadfastly opposed vouchers, which use public […]    

FEB 04

Parent of dying boy has to prove her son can’t take standardized test
Andrea Rediske’s 11-year-old son Ethan, is dying. Last year, Ethan, who was born with brain damage, has cerebral palsy and is blind, was forced to take a version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test over the space of two weeks last year because the state of Florida required that every student take one. His mom […]    
Charter experiment ‘spinning out of control’ in Durham County
What is happening in Durham County, N.C.,  is exactly what charter school critics have long feared: the destabilization of the traditional district system. Ned Barnett, the editorial page editor of the News & Observer wrote in this piece that the spread of charter schools in the county since the state legislature lifted the cap on […]    
J.K. Rowling, please keep Harry Potter revisionist history to yourself
Shortly after the last Harry Potter novel — “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” — was published in 2007, author J.K. Rowling revealed that one of the main characters, Hogwarts headmaster and master wizard Albus Dumbledore, was gay. There was no indication in the books that this was the case, so her disclosure left one wondering […]    
One thing Bill Gates could do that would actually help kids in school
Bill Gates has spent billions of dollars on education reform efforts, such as evaluating teachers with student standardized test scores and the Common Core State Standards, with not much to show for it. Here’s an idea for how he could spend money in a way that would actually help kids do better in school. This […]    
A teacher exposes ‘value-added’ idiocy
  VAMboozled is a blog about teacher evaluation, accountability and value-added models written by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, associate professor at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. The following post was on her blog, from a teacher in Arizona who is not identified. The teacher reveals the idiocy of the “value-added” method of evaluation teachers, involving the […]    

FEB 03

NCLB crashed and burned. When will we ever learn?
It’s the year that all U.S. public schools were supposed to reach 100% student proficiency. It didn’t happen, of course. The law under which that was mandated, No Child Left Behind, has crashed and burned, but, unfortunately, its worst ideas haven’t. Writing about this is Lisa Guisbond of The National Center for Fair & Open […]    
The things teachers do for kids that can’t be evaluted
Teachers and parents are taking to Twitter, at #evaluatethat, to point out the countless ways in which teachers help their students that cannot be assessed by student standardized test scores or other traditional methods of evaluation. The effort was inspired by Stephanie Lavender Weber, a teacher in Georgia who spent the night with her students […]    
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s high school district honors him
Here’s a young Philip Seymour Hoffman, who graduated from Fairport High School in upstate NY. #RIP — The Film Stage (@TheFilmStage) February 2, 2014 The death of the great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has prompted a mountain of remembrances and condolences to his family, including this from the superintendent of Fairport Central School District […]    
Superintendent on school reform: ‘It is not working’
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has just asked for a “pause” in implementation of a controversial new teacher evaluation system that uses student standardized test scores to assess teachers as well creation of a task force to study the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Is “a pause” the answer? You might think Malloy did […]    
Public education failing? Not in this school
The “public schools are failing” narrative is pervasive, even though the facts aren’t there to support the systemic failure that many school reformers insist there are. Here a parent paints a different story. Lynn Michie is a chaplain at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in Black Mountain, North Carolina. She and her husband, David […]    

FEB 02

Report: Majority of U.S. kids under age 2 are now children of color
For the first time, a majority of American children under age 2 are now children of color  — and 1 in 3 of them is poor, according to a disturbing new report. “The State of America’s Children 2014.” that cites the neglect of  children as the top national security threat. The report, published by the […]    
Each day in the lives of American children…
The following statistics come from the new report “The State of America’s Children 2014.” The report paints a disturbing picture about the way a big percentage of American children are forced to live today, 50 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson began the nation’s “War on Poverty.”   Each day in America for all children […]    
How we teach kids to cheat on tests
Here is a piece about a cheating scandal in Wisconsin that speaks to a much larger problem about how and why kids cheat on tests. It was written by Vicki Abeles, a filmmaker, attorney and advocate for students and education. She is the co-director and producer of the education documentary “Race to Nowhere” and founder of […]    

FEB 01

Justifying Richard Sherman by his GPA at Stanford
With the Super Bowl nearly upon us, here’s an interesting take on the recent media spectacle surrounding Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, his behavior and his excellent record at Stanford University. It was written by P.L. Thomas, an associate professor of education at Furman University in South Carolina, writes in this post about the […]    
Harvard business dean apologizes for sexism on campus
In a rather remarkable admission, the dean of the Harvard Business School apologized for the way the school has treated female students and teachers over its 50-year-old history and promised to remedy the problem. According to Poets & Quants, Business School Dean Nitin Nohria was speaking at a gala titled “50 Years of Women at […]    
The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K
Whenever policymakers talk about universal preschool — and that is happening more frequently these days — they always say that it must be “high quality,” but they never explain what that actually means. Here author Alfie Kohn explains why the absence of definition may be troubling. Kohn is the author of 13 books about education and […]