Monday, February 9, 2015

Helen Gym announces run for Phila. City Council

Helen Gym announces run for Phila. City Council:

Helen Gym announces run for Phila. City Council

Helen Gym has officially announced her candidacy for a City Council at-large seat.

Helen Gym is no stranger to speaking before elected officials - sometimes rather loudly. Now she's vying for a seat at their table.

Gym, a Democrat, announced her candidacy for a City Council at-large seat at a lively rally Monday at the Ethical Society Building on Rittenhouse Square in which she mostly focused on education.

A former elementary schoolteacher, she has become a fiery advocate for public education funding and a frequent critic of city policies surrounding it.

Gym, 47, the mother of three children in Philadelphia public magnet schools, entered the race with the endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, who have also pledged to donate the maximum $11,500.

"We will support her campaign with the same energy and commitment that she has shown when it comes to high-quality education in Philadelphia," the union's president Jerry Jordan said at Monday's announcement.

Gym's three children introduced her to a cheering crowd of about 200 following comments from Rev. Mark Tyler of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church. In a city where there is no elected school board, "the next best thing is putting Helen Gym on City Council," Tyler said.

Gym joined a growing list of Democratic at-large candidates hoping to take one of five seats up for grabs, including the one vacated by former Councilman James Kenney.

The Democratic incumbents are Blondell Reynolds Brown, William K. Greenlee, W. Wilson Goode Jr. and Ed Neilson. Republican at-large Councilmen David Oh and Dennis O'Brien are also running for reelection.

In addition to Gym, the roster of nonincumbent Democratic candidates so far includes: Paul Steinke, former manager of Reading Terminal Market; former Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr.; George Matysik, the director of government affairs at Philabundance; Isaiah Thomas, professor and former candidate; Sherrie Cohen, an attorney with the Tenant Union Representative Network; Tom Wyatt, a partner at Dilworth Paxson law firm; and Jenne Ayers, a Yale law student and daughter of former Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Gym, a University of Pennsylvania grad, was named one of the 75 most influential people in the city by Philadelphia magazine in 2014. She founded Parents United for Public Education, which seeks more funding and resources for


Education advocate and fellow education blogger Helen Gym Is Running for City Council! | EduBloggers

Education advocate and fellow education blogger Helen Gym Is Running for City Council! | EduBloggers:

Education advocate and fellow education blogger Helen Gym Is Running for City Council!

Great news from Philadelphia…. Philadelphia: Helen Gym Is Running for City Council
More information as it becomes available.  Diane Ravitch ported the following earlier today;
Helen Gym, the articulate and tireless parent advocate for Philadelphia public schools, is running for City Council.
Here is a 30-second video of Helen.
She has already been endorsed by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Here is the speech she delivered at 5 pm today.
Helen Gym: Campaign Announcement
February 9, 2015
I stand here filled with gratitude to see so many of you here. I have given a lot of speeches over the years but it is a lot easier to give a speech about an injustice that must be fought, or students who need to be supported than it is to talk about… myself. But standing here, seeing so many friends and so many people that I respect, calms my nerves a little a bit, and makes me realize how lucky I am, and how lucky we all are, to live in a city with communities like this one.
Although I have lived here for almost thirty years, I wasn’t born in Philadelphia. I grew up in Ohio, the daughter of Korean immigrants. We didn’t have much, but I was fortunate enough to grow up in a neighborhood that had public parks where I could play, a public library where I could read, a public rec center where I could swim, and most importantly, public schools where I got a great education. That education formed me, like it formed so many of you. It unlocked the possibilities of the world. It was a social contract, and it influenced how I think about the possibilities, not just the limitations, of government throughout my life.
I moved to Philadelphia for college, met and married a wonderful man, and immersed myself in this city. I taught at Lowell Elementary School in Olney. I joined amazing organizations in this city – like Asian Americans United. I became a mother and started raising my three children in this city, and I worked alongside so many amazing mothers and fathers dedicated to re-envisioning our public schools.
I helped found the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, to raise up their voices as well as those of teachers, school staff and students. I helped found a school that breathed life into culture and practices that value multilingualism, community and served many immigrant families. I founded Parents United for Education advocate and fellow education blogger Helen Gym Is Running for City Council! | EduBloggers:

No two fingerprints are alike. Children have more individual differences than their fingerprints do. | Reclaim Reform

No two fingerprints are alike. Children have more individual differences than their fingerprints do. | Reclaim Reform:

No two fingerprints are alike. Children have more individual differences than their fingerprints do.

You are the parent. Be the parent you want to be.
finger prints OptOut
No two fingerprints are alike.
Your child is forced to comply with state mandated, high stakes tests that label each one for life in order to profit a few multinational corporate investors and the legislators they finance.
Children have more individual differences than their fingerprints do.
How? Go to United Opt Out for state-by-state letters and directions.

Dov Rosenberg for President of the Durham Association of Educators!

for President of the Durham Association of Educators!

Yes! I am running for President of the Durham Association of Educators! Let's focus on how local assessments & performance tasks are created, more support for the arts and literacy, technology implementation that supports instruction, better communication from our association, and sustainable energy practices that will save our district money.

Click here to Follow Dov Rosenberg on Facebook

Learning from Failure | John Thompson

Learning from Failure | John Thompson:

Learning from Failure

 Most innovations fail. And like NPR Planet Money's Adam Davidson explains, "life span of innovations has never shorter, meaning that failure happens more quickly." So, it is not too soon to start to contemplate of the obituaries of the contemporary school reform movement.

Professor Emeritus Larry Cuban's first draft of the history of "thirty years of market-driven and donor-supported school reform," is particularly prescient. Although vestiges of reform "will be quietly incorporated into public schooling," Cuban guesses that "contemporary policymakers and philanthropists who have invested much time, energy, and monies into these market-driven reforms ... will not break out the champagne for these remnants."
He concludes reforms such as "evaluating teachers on the basis of test scores, ending tenure and seniority, calling principals CEOs, and children learning to code will be like tissue-paper reforms of the past (e.g., zero-based budgeting, right- and left-brain teaching) that have been crumpled up and tossed away."
I read Cuban as saying that 1990s-type reforms were not doomed. Standards-based reforms produced incremental gains and, back then, charters had potential as laboratories for experimentation. Reformers were too impatient, however, demanding "transformational" change. They doubled down on standardized test-driven, competition-driven policies that are deserving of their place in the ash can of history.

Reformers should have listened to Cuban and other historians of education. Now, they have a second chance to reflect on where they went wrong. The New York Times Magazine special edition, Failure, (and its contribution by Davidson) could help accountability-driven reformers transition from their simplistic test, sort, and punish mandates to a science-based, humanistic reform era.
Failure is not shameful. For instance, the most-heralded innovations of the 1990s have largely failed to live up to their hype. Big Data did not put an end to the ups and downs of business cycles. The Human Genome Project has not yet yielded the health benefits it promised. As Kemia Malekvilibro explains, DNA sequencing's promise of a "golden road to pharmaceutical riches as target-based drug discovery has often proved to be more of a garden path."
So, data-driven school reformers were not alone in discovering that the world is far more complex than they believed. But, they have followed a path that is very different Learning from Failure | John Thompson:

Finding the Keys to School Funding in your Pocket | Cloaking Inequity

Finding the Keys to School Funding in your Pocket | Cloaking Inequity:

Finding the Keys to School Funding in your Pocket

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.06.17 AM
Have you ever lost your keys? I did recently. I searched everywhere. I looked in the cushions of the sofa (always the most likely spot). I looked in yesterdays jeans (second most likely spot). I thought perhaps they might even be in my dirty laundry— so shirts— and other things— began flying through the air as I went through the hamper (I have history of finding them here too). I thought maybe they might have been lost in the bed covers so I tossed them aside (guilty). I thought maybe I might have left them in the car in the ignition (have done this many times before). Suffice to say that I tore the house apart. Misplacing your keys also happens at the most inconvenient times, the morning when you really urgently need to be somewhere to get something done or have an appointment. After an hour of looking high and low for my keys, and silly and stupid as this sounds, I found my keys in the pocket of the suit jacket I was wearing. Which was insane! All this time I had been looking everywhere, and the keys were in a very obvious place. It occurred to me this morning that this experience is an allegory for school funding.
I travelled to San Antonio Texas last week to serve as a panelist for the Intercultural Development Research Association’sJose A. Cardenas School Finance symposium held at Our Lady of the Lake University. The specific topic of the symposium was the weighted funding approach utilized in many state school finance systems and to “examine the amount of supplemental funding that is required to effectively implement appropriate services for English Language Learners at the secondary level.”
I understand if ELLs are not typically on your radar, but stay with me because there is a broader, more general argument to be made here about school funding. First, there is this:
Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 10.30.59 AM

It’s very clear from the data that states are unequally provisioning education. It’s on purpose because policymakers are determined that some children will be provisioned with a high quality education and then at the same time ration that opportunity for the poor. They say that money doesn’t matter for a high quality education, but what they actually mean is that money only matters for the education of the wealthy and not for the poor. In other words, throwing money at education for wealthy kids is okay, but not poor kids. Have you ever wondered what the funding situation looks like for high performing versus low performing schools? Since money “doesn’t matter” there should be no Finding the Keys to School Funding in your Pocket | Cloaking Inequity:

‘You have made us the enemy. This is personal.’ — 7 N.Y. Teachers of the Year blast Cuomo - The Washington Post

‘You have made us the enemy. This is personal.’ — 7 N.Y. Teachers of the Year blast Cuomo - The Washington Post:

‘You have made us the enemy. This is personal.’ — 7 N.Y. Teachers of the Year blast Cuomo

Seven New York State Teachers of the Year have written an open letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, blasting his new proposed education reforms that, among other things, link half of a teacher’s evaluation to student standardized test scores. Rich Ognibene, 2008 New York State Teacher of the Year, said in an e-mail that he wrote the first draft and six others contributed to the effort because “we were deeply hurt by the governor’s proposed education reforms.”
Writing and signing the letter along with Ognibene are Ashli Dreher, 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year; Katie Ferguson, 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year; Jeff Peneston, 2011 New York State Teacher of the Year; Marguerite Izzo, 2007 New York State Teacher of the Year; Steve Bongiovi, 2006 New York State Teacher of the Year; and Liz Day, 2005 New York State Teacher of the Year. The letter has been published in theAlbany Times Union and, with permission from the authors, I am publishing it here.

Dear Governor Cuomo:
We are teachers. We have given our hearts and souls to this noble profession. We have pursued intellectual rigor. We have fed students who were hungry. We have celebrated at student weddings and wept at student funerals. Education is our life. For this, you have made us the enemy. This is personal.
Under your leadership, schools have endured the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the tax cap, which have caused layoffs and draconian budget cuts across the state. Classes are larger and support services are fewer, particularly for our neediest students.
We have also endured a difficult rollout of the Common Core Standards. A reasonable implementation would have started the new standards in kindergarten and advanced those standards one grade at a time. Instead, the new standards were rushed into all grades at once, without any time to see if they were ‘You have made us the enemy. This is personal.’ — 7 N.Y. Teachers of the Year blast Cuomo - The Washington Post:

Reckhow and Tomkins-Stange Document How Gates and Broad Money Got Everyone "Singing from the Same Hymnbook" - Living in Dialogue

Reckhow and Tomkins-Stange Document How Gates and Broad Money Got Everyone "Singing from the Same Hymnbook" - Living in Dialogue:

Reckhow and Tomkins-Stange Document How Gates and Broad Money Got Everyone "Singing from the Same Hymnbook"

 By Anthony Cody. 

Researchers Sarah Reckhow and Megan Tomkins-Stange have released a paper titled Singing from the Same Hymnbook”: Education Policy Advocacy at Gates and Broad.
The paper was shared last Thursday at a fascinating event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. The event was a forum, called “Is the ‘new’ education philanthropy good for schools? Examining foundation-funded school reform.” While the panels were a bit weighted with inside players, and did not include a single actual educator, there is some useful information here, starting with the research by Reckhow and Tomkins-Stange.
I have been writing about the widening influence of the Gates Foundation since it became apparent around 2010. But Gates officials have been reluctant to acknowledge their influence, pointing out that their grants are a small fraction of the total amount spent on K12 education in the US. This paper should clear up this confusion for once and for all.
The authors use several different methods to investigate Gates and Broad influence, as they explain:
First, we collected data on grant distributions at each foundation. Second, we analyzed the testimony of foundation-funded witnesses in Congressional hearings. Third, we drew upon an original set of interviews with foundation officials, conducted between 2010 and 2012, to contextualize and extend our analysis.
Here is what they discovered:
 We find that after 2008, Gates and Broad deliberately pursued funding strategies that prioritized federal policy and advocacy initiatives, sometimes in partnership with one another through purposeful convergence.i Specifically, we find that since 2008, Gates and Broad shifted funds from local education groups to national advocacy organizations and from discrete project-based initiatives to systemic reform efforts. We also show that Congressional testimony on teacher quality by Gates-funded and Broad-funded grantees has increased over time, indicating that these foundations have identified this strategy as a source of significant policy influence.
Finally, we demonstrate that the foundations utilized two distinct strategies within their advocacy funding efforts. First, the foundations closely aligned themselves with high-level officials at the federal Department of Education. Second, they funded a broad range of education interest groups that provided testimony to policymakers, disseminated research, and promoted a common set of policy goals. We argue that these targeted strategies led to a dominant narrative emerging within policy debates regarding teacher quality, specifically the concept of “value-added” teacher evaluation.

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