Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Few African-American school superintendents in California | EdSource

Few African-American school superintendents in California | EdSource:

Few African-American school superintendents in California

CREDIT: LA SCHOOL REPORT
LA Unified Superintendent Michelle King
When Michelle King was appointed to head the Los Angeles Unified School District last week, she became the most prominent African-American school superintendent in the state and the nation.
But her ascent to the top post is hardly typical of California districts. She is one of only a small number of African-American superintendents in California, and of an even smaller number of African-American women to head a school district in the state.
There are an estimated 25 African-American superintendents in California – or 2.5 percent of the superintendents in the 947 elementary, high school and K-12 districts in the state, according to a list compiled by the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators, or CAAASA. In addition, two other African-Americans are elected county superintendents of education, and another is an appointed county superintendent.
By comparison, of the state’s 6.2 million public school students, 6.1 percent are African-American.
African-American women are especially underrepresented. Women make up more than two-thirds of African-American teachers in the state but only 20 percent of African-American superintendents.
To address the issue, CAAASA has established a “California African American Leadership Academy,” which is holding a series of workshops to provide Few African-American school superintendents in California | EdSource:

Schools Matter: Snyder's Team Ridiculed Citizens Who Complained Flint's Poisonous Water

Schools Matter: Snyder's Team Ridiculed Citizens Who Complained Flint's Poisonous Water:

Snyder's Team Ridiculed Citizens Who Complained Flint's Poisonous Water



A clip from the NYTimes this evening:

. . . . For almost five decades, Flint drew its water from the city of Detroit’s water system, but concerns about high prices from Detroit helped lead to a switch. The city’s mayor at the time, Dayne Walling, encouraged leaders to “toast” the switch with a taste of the “regular, good, pure drinking” water, the governor’s emails show.

The mood grew less upbeat as time went on. People talked about smells and rashes. Residents carried jugs of brownish water to meetings. One state legislator warned the governor in a letter that his constituents were “on the verge of civil unrest.”

At points, the water was found to have bacterial contamination, and then disinfectant used to kill the bacteria caused a chemical contamination. Even after those problems were resolved, many residents said the water was bad.

Within months of the switch, a General Motors engine plant in Flint found that the city’s water had corroded parts, and stopped using it. A hospital saw that the water was damaging its instruments, and stepped up its own filtering and use of bottled water, as did a local university.

Still, officials seemed slow to respond. In one memo for the governor from February 2015, officials played down the problems and spoke of “initial hiccups.”

“It’s not ‘nothing,’ ” the memo said, adding that the water was not an imminent “threat to public health.” It also suggested that Flint residents were concerned with aesthetics. . . .
Schools Matter: Snyder's Team Ridiculed Citizens Who Complained Flint's Poisonous Water:

Jersey Jazzman: PARCC, Teacher Evaluations & "Junk Statistics": An Expert Speaks

Jersey Jazzman: PARCC, Teacher Evaluations & "Junk Statistics": An Expert Speaks:

PARCC, Teacher Evaluations & "Junk Statistics": An Expert Speaks

A little background on what you're about to read: 

In the spring of last year, nj.com posted a story about the PARCC exam -- the new, semi-national standardized test that has been a large source of controversy -- and how it would affect teacher evaluations in the state.

I happened to notice a really great comment from "Rutgers Professor" just below the article. The scholar in question is Gerald A. Goldin. I don't know him personally, but I had certainly heard about him: he is the definition of a scholar, distinguished in both his field and the teaching of his field.

It bothered me, frankly, that someone as knowledgable as Goldin, who had written a genuine essay within his comment, wasn't featured more prominently in this post. Since I'm at Rutgers myself, I contacted him to ask if I could publish what he wrote.

I didn't hear back from him until later in the fall; he was away, and then I was away, and you know how that goes. Dr, Goldin, however, was very gracious and agreed to let me reprint what he wrote. I only apologize I haven't done so until now.

What you're about to read is important; Gerald Goldin's opinion on how PARCC will be used matters. I know the state has dropped the percentage of SGP used in a teacher's total evaluation to 10 percent, but even that's too much for a method that is fundamentally invalid. 

I'm honored to host this essay on my blog. Thanks, Dr. Goldin, for this contribution.



* * *



An 8th thing to know: Junk statistics

I read with interest the on-line article (March 16, 2015), “7 things to know about PARCC’s effect on teacher evaluations” at www.nj.com/education/.

As a mathematical scientist with knowledge of modeling, of statistics, and of mathematics education research, I am persuaded that what we see here could fairly be termed "junk statistics"
- See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2016/01/parcc-teacher-evaluations-junk.html#sthash.fg1qMgMJ.dpuf

Schools are an unspoken target of anti-union lawsuit | EdSource

Schools are an unspoken target of anti-union lawsuit | EdSource:

Schools are an unspoken target of anti-union lawsuit

Peter Schrag, former editorial page editor and columnist of the Sacramento Bee, has written about education and other issues in California for more than 40 years.  He is also the author, most recently, of “When Europe Was a Prison Camp: Father and Son Memoirs, 1940-41.”
Given the drift of the justices’ questions during oral arguments in the Supreme Court last week (Jan. 11), it’s highly likely the Court will overturn its own 40-year-old precedent and outlaw the fees that all public employees – even non-union members – must pay to the public-sector unions that are legally required to represent them.
That would be a three-fer for the conservative groups that brought the case: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. It will hit not only the unions, which may lose a significant part of their revenue, but the Democrats, who rely in significant part on public-sector union support for their campaign funding, and the public schools.
Like the controversial 2010 decision in Citizens United, another decision that overturned long-standing precedents, this case, as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank put it, “is about campaign finance,” a gift to the Republicans this November. But it’s also about a lot more – public schools themselves – little of which was mentioned in the Court last week.
The nominal plaintiffs are Rebecca Friedrichs, an elementary school teacher in Anaheim, and nine other California public school teachers who contend that as non-members, the “agency fees” – sometimes called “fair share” dues – they’re required to pay to the CTA violate their free speech rights.
They say they don’t support many of the positions the CTA takes. They can already choose not to pay the part that supports those union activities that are officially political, like campaigns for candidates and initiatives. But they contend that almost everything the union does – negotiating for higher wages, for example, which impinges on that quintessentially political matter, the budget – is political.
Justice Antonin Scalia and the Court’s other conservatives echoed that reasoning during this week’s arguments. “Almost everything that is collectively Schools are an unspoken target of anti-union lawsuit | EdSource:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 1/20/15



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