Thursday, September 10, 2015

Enrollment up at rescued Pittsburgh Woolslair school | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Enrollment up at rescued Pittsburgh Woolslair school | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Enrollment up at rescued Pittsburgh Woolslair school

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, read to second-grade students at Pittsburgh Woolstair PreK-5 in Bloomfield.
The second-grade classroom at Pittsburgh Woolslair PreK-5 was filled Thursday with children eager to hear American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten read them a story.
Having an adult read a story is an ordinary event in many schools, but the extraordinary part of this story is that Woolslair could have closed last fall. Instead, it has new life with a partial magnet program for STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — after parents and staff fought to save the Bloomfield school.
At the end of last school year, Woolslair had 104 students, but now it has about 170 present, with 184 enrolled in K-5, said principal Lisa Gallagher. It also has about a dozen pre-kindergarten students.
Although it’s too early for an official count and the numbers could change, much of the growth is in the STEAM magnet, which opened this fall for K-2 students from throughout the city. Other grades also are being offered STEAM classes, and the magnet will expand to additional grades in the years ahead.
Ms. Gallagher said she is “ecstatic,” adding, “This is what the community wanted, teachers and parents wanted.”
The school board voted in 2013 to start the process to close the school in fall 2014, but a new board rescinded that action. Parents and staff got busy, took a survey and found a demand for a STEAM program. As a result, the district approved not only the magnet but also using STEAM to enhance Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5 and Schiller 6-8 on the North Side this fall. It also is developing a program for Perry High School on the North Side.
Pittsburgh superintendent Linda Lane, who enjoyed a STEAM lesson at Woolslair the first week of school, said it is too early to know whether the students who chose Woolslair came from other district schools or are increasing district enrollment. However, she said, “The early signs are positive.”
Parent Valerie Allman, who played a key role in helping to save the school and whose son is in Enrollment up at rescued Pittsburgh Woolslair school | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier is stepping down. | abc13.com

Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier is stepping down. | abc13.com:

HISD SUPERINTENDENT TERRY GRIER STEPPING DOWN






Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier is stepping down, effective March 1.

"You can't be superintendent in Houston forever, even though you might want to. You just simply can't," Grier said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. "Quite frankly it's just time."

One former Federation of Teachers official told us she doesn't think it's a coincidence that he Grier resigned hours after news broke that an audit found possible illegal activity surrounding contracts for school construction projects.

"Bye Terry," exclaimed long-time Grier critic and leader of the United Urban Alumni Association Gerry Monroe.

Dr. Grier's announcement was met with approval by many of the people we spoke with afterwards.

"Dr. Grier has had a longer tenure as superintendent than most superintendents in urban areas. Too much of that time has been brought with turmoil," says Houston Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo.

The latest turmoil from an audit that found HISD did not get board approval for several construction projects, and overpaid contractors. District leaders say they'll ask for their money back from contractors they overpaid. And auditors asked HISD officials to keep better tabs on spending.

"It's gonna take 20 years for them to fix what he's done," Gerry Monroe says.

"I was really hoping he'd be stepping down a little bit sooner," says Chris Parish.

Parrish's son is a freshman at Waltrip High School. This father gave Grier's tenure a C.

"We've seen a lot of schools in the area that are going downhill, test scores are one of the biggest factors. They're going down."

We asked Quince Washington, whose son is also a freshman at Waltrip, if he's pleased with Grier.

"Not exactly. But in the past compared to the others we've had, yeah," he says.

Both say they know what they'd like to see in a replacement.

"I would hope we would do a search and move somebody in that has a better handle on urban needs and the sensitivity to the community in terms of school closures and the rebuilding process is slow," explains Washington.

"I'd like to see someone more of the people. Terry Grier seemed to be sitting on his throne and looking down on everybody else. I'd like to see somebody maybe from Houston that really wants to put time and effort into getting this community back on its feet again," adds Parrish.

At 65, Grier receives $300,000 a year under a contract that was to expire next June 30. His resignation is effective March 1. No word from the board on a list of potential replacements or a timeline.

The Houston school district is the nation's seventh largest, with about 215,000 students enrolled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report











Pedro Noguera Leaves To LA and We're The Remainder | The Jose Vilson

Pedro Noguera Leaves To LA and We're The Remainder | The Jose Vilson:

Pedro Noguera Leaves To LA and We’re The Remainder



Pedro Noguera


The first time I got to meet Pedro was November 24, 2009 at around 9am. My principal took a colleague and I to one of the bigger policy conferences I’ve ever been to. By then, I gained a notorious voice for speaking up within connected education circles, but I didn’t see myself making many ripples in the iron-clad colossus that is NYC Public Schools. The bagels came with delicious spreads, and the coffee still steamed as it flowed into my cup at NYU’s Metro Center. Just then, a 6’1″ gentleman stepped to the table, poked every few seconds by a graduate student / handler to prepare for this conference.
One of the first things I managed to muster out of my mouth was, “Nice to meet you. I’ll be taking notes and blogging about it.”
Without missing a beat, he replied with a smirk, “Good, good.”
Despite what we thought in my circle, edu-blogging wasn’t that big a deal to the general populace, even in 2009. Yet, only a week after Pedro’s event, I’d gotten a chance to witness another one of the defining moments in NYC education history in the last 15 years: Chancellor Joel Klein listening to Diane Ravitch reading from her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System for ChalkbeatNY fka GothamSchools. Both Ravitch and Noguera made an impact on my educational activism for very different reasons, Ravitch the reformed reformer / scholar and Noguera the people’s public edu-intellectual. Few education professors had the clout to demand audience with Chancellor Klein, and, within that handful, few enjoyed the celebrity of Noguera and Ravitch.
From my perspective, I had lots to learn from both. Dr. Ravitch used the spotlights she attained to Pedro Noguera Leaves To LA and We're The Remainder | The Jose Vilson:

#FightForDyett Michael Elliot Interview with Jitu Brown – The Network For Public Education

Michael Elliot Interview with Jitu Brown – The Network For Public Education:

Michael Elliot Interview with Jitu Brown 



Please take three minutes to watch this short video made by filmmaker Michael Elliot. Elliot interviewed NPE Board Member and #FightForDyett hunger striker Jitu Brown at the NPE Conference in Chicago. Brown spoke about the disruption and chaos Chicago Public Schools unleashed on two particular neighborhood schools in Bronzeville.
“He shared a story with me about Florence B Price Elementary School and Jackie Robinson Elementary School in Chicago, and their destruction at the hands of Chicago Public Schools,” said Elliot. “Its a tragic story that is echoed around the country, where the voices of communities are ignored and politics takes over.”



California’s Smarter Balanced Results Capture Poverty | deutsch29

California’s Smarter Balanced Results Capture Poverty | deutsch29:

California’s Smarter Balanced Results Capture Poverty






On September 09, 2015, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released California’s Smarter Balanced results, which comprise the largest component of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CASPP).
As San Jose University professor Roxana Mariachi notes, a major issue with California’s Smarter Balanced results involves the apparent inability of the California Department of Education (CDE) to produce evidence that the Smarter Balanced tests are reliable and valid:
At the September 2nd, 2015 State Board of Education meeting, you heard public comment from Dr. Doug McRae, a retired test and measurement expert who has for the past five years communicated directly and specifically to the Board about validity problems with the new assessments.  He has submitted the following written comments for Item #1 [CAASPP Update] at the latest meeting and spoke again about the lack of evidence for validity, reliability, and fairness of the new assessments.
“My name is Doug McRae, a retired testing specialist from Monterey.
“The big question for Smarter Balanced test results is not the delay in release of the scores, or the relationships to old STAR data on the CDE website, but rather the quality of the Smarter Balanced scores now being provided to local districts and schools. These scores should be valid reliable and fair, as required by California statute as well as professional standards for large scale K-12 assessments. When I made a Public Records Request to the CDE last winter for documentation of validity reliability and fairness information for Smarter Balanced tests, either in CDE files or obtainable from the Smarter Balanced consortium, the reply letter in January said CDE had no such information in their files. I provided a copy of this interchange to the State Board at your January meeting. There has been no documentation for the validity, reliability, or fairness for Smarter Balanced tests released by Smarter Balanced, UCLA, or CDE since January, as far as I know.
“Statewide test results should not be released in the absence of documented validity reliability and fairness of scores. Individual student reports should not be shared with parents or students before the technical quality of the scores is documented.” [Emphasis removed.]
The absence of evidence that Smarter Balanced tests are reliable and valid means that there is no evidence that the tests measure what they purport to measure (i.e., “college and career readiness”), nor is there any evidence that the tests measure anything consistently.
I wrote about Smarter Balanced in November 2014. At that time, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) had decided that “college ready” meant California’s Smarter Balanced Results Capture Poverty | deutsch29:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 9/10/15 #FightForDyett


SPECIAL NITE CAP 

CORPORATE ED REFORM


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