Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools' Nutrition Services Report Released

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools' Nutrition Services Report Released:

Seattle Schools' Nutrition Services Report Released

The district released the report that they commissioned on their Nutrition Services department.  (I already read it earlier this week from a source.)  Pegi McEvoy just did an overview presentation to the Board which sought to make the report look better than it is.  She said the consultants said that they have seen operations where the recommendation was "burn it to the ground" and that is not the case here.  The report also compliments the professionalism and genuine caring of the nutrition services staff.

Here's the report.

My big picture view?  
Providing food service is part of the district's job.  They actually can make money on it.  For free/reduced lunch service students (well, most of them), it may be two of the meals they get in a day.  Both from a health perspective and an academic perspective, well-fed students do better, both in the classroom and the playground. 

The district is probably losing money on this department and there is no reason it has to be that way. 

There are many things in this report that will come as no surprise to many SPS parents.  However, it is distressing to read them here because it means that the 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools' Nutrition Services Report Released:

We Must Not Be Defeated (Optimism In May) | The Jose Vilson

We Must Not Be Defeated (Optimism In May) | The Jose Vilson:

We Must Not Be Defeated (Optimism In May)

Thurgood Marshall Celebrate Brown vs. Board
62 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, we’re still having a passive-aggressive argument over whether every school-aged child deserves equitable funding for their school. Three-score and two years ago, the legendary Thurgood Marshall led one of the most influential civil rights cases in the nation in BvB, a case whose promise has yet to be delivered in full. Our country has neither the political nor moral will, and most of the arguments sound like “I know there’s a problem, but my kid.” We can’t blame “either side” because on this issue, Americans have reached across the aisle for centuries on engraving inequitable situations. These issues come up almost annually, and, with a renewed focus on racial and social justice, major educational figures from Secretary of Education John King on down have used moments like these to speak to the persistent inequities facing our schools.
In my classroom, I bear a different sort of responsibility to this legacy.
There’s the litigious elements of the work we do: education policy, implemented standards, school funding, and standardized testing, individualized education plans (IEPs), Title 1, and a host of other laws we’ve initialized acronymed. Yet, when our classroom doors shutter, there’s the daily We Must Not Be Defeated (Optimism In May) | The Jose Vilson:

Talking school funding issues with Ria Rai Harris on Straight, No Chaser. | Fred Klonsky

Talking school funding issues with Ria Rai Harris on Straight, No Chaser. | Fred Klonsky:
Talking school funding issues with Ria Rai Harris on Straight, No Chaser.



Tune in on Monday, May 23rd at 6pm cst to The Straight No Chaser Show as I discuss the “pay for success” social impact bonds, Illinois’ formula for funding public schools, charter schools vs public schools and the failures of the Chicago Public School System with host Ria Rai Harris. H Cortez will provide us with part 2 of his 8 part special series in the “Money Moment.” View us LIVE at www.IntellectualRadio.com and subscribe to the YouTube page The Straight No Chaser Show.



 Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 6.23.23 PM

East Harlem School’s Utopian Spirit Devolves Into War - The New York Times

East Harlem School’s Utopian Spirit Devolves Into War - The New York Times:

East Harlem School’s Utopian Spirit Devolves Into War 

A group of parents, staff members and alumni of Central Park East I at a meeting in April, where they presented a petition demanding the removal of the school’s principal, Monika Garg. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Central Park East I, a small public elementary school at Madison Avenue and 106th Street, opened in 1974 with a lofty goal: to offer the children of East Harlem a nurturing, arts-focused education more often provided in private schools. There was no fixed curriculum. Students learned math through cooking and carpentry, studied violin and went ice skating. The utopian vision was carried over to the school’s democratic style of governance.
The school earned a reputation as an exemplar of progressive public education. Its founder, Deborah Meier, became a leader in the small-schools movement, starting several others and winning a MacArthur award in 1987.
Today, in an era of data-driven assessments, Central Park East I remains an anomaly, proud of its spirit of total freedom. Teachers decide what to teach, and students are encouraged to pursue their own interests, whether that means writing short stories or building a zoo’s worth of animals out of papier-mâché.
But since Monika Garg took over as principal last summer, simmering tensions among parents and staff members have erupted into an all-out war.
On one side are parents and at least half the teachers, who accuse the New York City Education Department of installing Ms. Garg in an attempt to make the school more traditional. These parents and teachers say that she is forcing teachers to adopt prepackaged curriculums, bringing in families with little stake in the school’s approach and retaliating against teachers who resist her policies by starting investigations focused on them. They held a rally outside department headquarters on Tuesday calling for her removal.
“In the nine months that she’s been there, she sort of has done everything she can to divide the community,” said Bonnie Massey, who has a son in second grade. “She’s mistreated teachers. She’s mistreated children. She has said things that are incredibly offensive.”
On the other side are parents who see Ms. Garg as trying to return the school to its mission of serving East Harlem’s children, which they say it has lost by increasingly catering to middle-class families.
“Debbie Meier said in one of her books that, without a powerful system of accountability, well-intentioned schools can easily become smug, secretive, tyrannical and even racist,” said Elaina Watkins, who has three children at the school and supports Ms. Garg. “And as a parent at C.P.E., I can see that is what has happened at the school.”

A Demographic Shift

What is not in dispute is that, in recent years, the makeup of the school, which does not draw from a defined zone, has changed significantly: In 2004-5, it was 92 percent black and Hispanic; 54 percent of students East Harlem School’s Utopian Spirit Devolves Into War - The New York Times:

NYC Public School Parents: NYC KidsPAC Report Card for Mayor de Blasio

NYC Public School Parents: NYC KidsPAC Report Card for Mayor de Blasio:

NYC Kids PAC Issue Education Report Card for Mayor de Blasio

The report card is below and posted here

For immediate release: May 18, 2016
Contact: Shino Tanikawa, 917-770-8438, estuaryqueen@gmail.com
Leonie Haimson, 917-435-9329, leoniehaimson@gmail.com
Today, NYC Kids PAC released their second annual report card on Mayor de Blasio, grading him in several education categories based primarily on whether he has followed up on his campaign promises.   The report card is posted here: http://tinyurl.com/huu57xa
It has been more than two years since Bill de Blasio became Mayor, and Carmen Fariña was appointed Chancellor.  The good news is that the Mayor has restored the district structure, increased funding for the arts, rescinded the ban on cellphones, and imposed a moratorium on closing schools, though the moratorium has now ended.  He has also begun to reform school discipline, without providing sufficient resources or staff to ensure a positive school climate. 
The members of NYC Kids PAC include four sitting Presidents of Citywide and Community Education Councils, three past presidents of CECs, and one member of the Panel for Educational Policy.  Though these individuals would like to make it clear that they speak for themselves and not on behalf of their organizations, they have deep experience of how the current governance system and policies work, or do not work, for parents, students and schools. 
The report card exhibits particular disappointment with the lack of parent input at the school, district and citywide levels.  Citywide and Community Education Councils remain largely disempowered, with little or no say as to co-locations and space planning, and the DOE has argued in court that School Leadership Teams have only advisory powers, in an effort to keep their meetings closed to the public. School overcrowding and class size also continue to be major concerns.
Naila Rosario, President of the CEC in District 15 in Brooklyn, explained: “As a parent in one of the most overcrowded districts in the city, I am disappointed by the Mayor’s response. Our district, which is economically and culturally diverse, has experienced enormous growth as gentrification and immigration have expanded. Families are anxious as they wonder where their children will attend school, because enrollment is capped at their neighborhood schools.  Students are crammed into overcrowded classrooms year after year, and we have experienced the stress of losing space for specialists, interventions and even lunch. We urge this administration to show leadership and to press for expedited, responsible approval and construction of new schools.”
Gloria Corsino, President of the Citywide Council for District 75, says: "As a public school parent and committed advocate for all children and children with special needs, I remain hopeful that the campaign promises that Mayor De Blasio's made continue to move in the direction that they were stated.  I look forward to the growing relationships of CEC's and Citywide Councils with the DOE and becoming more than simply advisory boards, as parents are huge stakeholders in the education of their children.”
   
Eduardo Hernandez, President of the CEC in District 8 in the Bronx adds, “Although this new administration has taken some strides toward engaging parents and addressing their concerns, most of the time this engagement is simply done to fulfill regulations and mandates.  Parents are still dealing with some of the same issues that have been plaguing our school system for years,  like overcrowded classes, student enrollment,  and lack of diversity,  just to name a few."
“Parents are disappointed that specific promises de Blasio made during his campaign to reduce class size have not been fulfilled, especially considering that this is their top priority for their schools, according to DOE’s own surveys.  In addition, transparency and accountability in spending has not improved, and large contracts with vendors who have engaged in fraud and other questionable activities continue to be pushed through and approved by the Panel for Educational Policy,” points out Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.
Shino Tanikawa, President of NYC Kids PAC as well as the CEC 2 in Manhattan and co-chair of the Blue Book Working Group concludes, “While we recognize Mayor de Blasio and his administration have made some improvements, we want to remind him of the unmet promises he made during his campaign.  We hope this report card will motivate him to review his campaign promises and implement more of them in the coming year.”

###
 NYC Public School Parents: NYC KidsPAC Report Card for Mayor de Blasio:

Join us for our Annual Skinny Awards Dinner, Purchase Tickets Today!

Join us for our Annual Skinny Awards Dinner, Purchase Tickets Today! 
We will be honoring investigative reporter Juan Gonzalez and former Panel for Education Policy member Robert Powell on June 9th at 6:30PM - we hope to see you there!
NYC Public School Parents: NYC KidsPAC Report Card for Mayor de Blasio:

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Erie and The End of Public School

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Erie and The End of Public School:
Erie and The End of Public School



While functional states may be basically all alike, when it comes to education, dysfunctional states are all dysfunctional in their own way.

In Pennsylvania, we have focused on developing one of the most dysfunctional funding systems in the country. We have a huge gap between rich and poor schools. We have a charter system that allows charter schools to bleed pubic school systems dry (in one spectacular case, a district actually got negative subsidy from the state because their charter bill is so huge).

On top of that, the legislature messed up the pension system so badly that districts are now making massive balloon payments on their pension obligations.

And the cherry on top of this is our state government's inability to do the whole budget thing. Last year's budget was a full ten months late and several dollars short, leaving districts both to do their own budget decisions in the dark while also holding up any payment from the state at all and triggering massive cash flow problems. Everybody lost, but nobody in Harrisburg learned a damn thing, so we're already right on track to create an equally ugly mess for next year.

How bad is it, really?

Here's how bad. Erie, Pennsylvania-- not exactly a teeming metropolis, but not exactly a one horse town, either-- is considering closing all of its high schools. Yes, at a meeting this afternoon, the leaders of the Erie School District will meet to decide if it might be more doable to just send all of Erie's teenagers to neighboring school districts.

The district is looking at a $4.3 million gap, and like many districts in PA, it has no possible
CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Erie and The End of Public School: 



Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds education superintendent's independence

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds education superintendent's independence:

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds education superintendent's independence

State Superintendent Tony Evers (right) had argued against the 2011 backed by Gov. Scott Walker.
State Superintendent Tony Evers (right) had argued against the 2011 backed by Gov. Scott Walker. Credit: Journal Sentinel files


 Madison — A split state Supreme Court on Wednesday kept intact the powers of Wisconsin's schools superintendent, finding unconstitutional a law Republicans passed in 2011 that would have given lawmakers and the governor more of a say in education policy.

The 4-3 ruling is a setback for GOP Gov. Scott Walker and a victory for state Schools Superintendent Tony Evers. Evers holds a nonpartisan office but often sides with Democrats.

Conservatives control the court, but in this case two of the five conservatives sided with the court's two liberals to form a majority that blocked part of the 2011 law.

"Today's ruling is a victory for public education and the future of our state," Evers said in a statement. "It is a reflection of the value our public schools provide to communities across Wisconsin and the importance of having an independent state superintendent oversee that system."

A spokesman for Walker said the governor would continue to seek ways to change the state's educational system, invoking another 2011 law he signed known as Act 10 that all but ended collective bargaining for teachers and most other public workers.

"We will continue to advocate for policies that prioritize student success," said a statement from Walker spokesman Tom Evenson. "Beginning with the Act 10 reforms in 2011, Governor Walker is dedicated to challenging the status quo when it impedes the ability of parents, school boards and students to get the best educational outcomes."

Soon after taking office, Walker signed a law giving his administration a greater say in writing administrative rules, which are used to implement state laws. Administrative rules include more specifics than state statutes and carry the force Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds education superintendent's independence:

Education Expert Campbell Brown Offers Advice to the Next President | Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Expert Campbell Brown Offers Advice to the Next President | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Education Expert Campbell Brown Offers Advice to the Next President



 The rheeform leadership has changed. Michelle Rhee was once the cover girl for test-and-punish reform, and now it is Campbell Brown. The telegenic Brown used to read the news on television but now she has taken Rhee’s place in the reformy firmament. Since she launched her career as an education expert with an op-ed attacking the teachers’ union in New York City for protecting sexual predators, Brown has become increasingly active in the world of education punditry. She received $4 million from various billionaires to launch a news site called “The 74,” which was supposed to refer to the number of school-age children in the United States. However, there are 50 million school-age children, but then why quibble? Brown organized candidate debates for both parties last fall. Three Republicans showed up, and no Democrats. Yesterday, she moderated a panel at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at a symposium on poverty and schooling.

Now Brown, having established her bona fides as an expert on education, has prepared a memo for the next president. 
Unfortunately her memo begins with a false statement. She starts by saying that 2/3 of American students in eighth grade are “below grade level” in reading and math. Apparently she refers to the National Assessment of Education Progress, the only national assessment of student skills. She confuses NAEP proficiency, a specific achievement level, with grade level.
To begin with, “grade level” is a median. Fifty percent are always above grade level, and fifty percent are always below.
But the NAEP achievement levels do not measure “grade level.” They are defined in the NAEP reports thus: “basic” represents partial mastery of skills; “proficiency” represents mastery; “advanced” represents extraordinary performance. “Below basic” is very poor performance.
Here are the definitions on the NAEP website:
Achievement Level Policy Definitions
Basic
Partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade.
Proficient
Solid academic performance for each grade assessed. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging Education Expert Campbell Brown Offers Advice to the Next President | Diane Ravitch's blog:

No secrecy for tests used on our children! | Parents Across America

No secrecy for tests used on our children! | Parents Across America:

No secrecy for tests used on our children!


A teacher exposes the unfair levels of difficulty of the PARCC test
Copied in below is the original blog post from the Outrage on the Page blog written by an anonymous teacher who offers a detailed and critical analysis of three specific questions on the recent PARCC 4th grade language arts test.
Several advocates, including Diane Ravitch and PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson, linked to this post on social media. Diane’s post was hacked and removed; Leonie’s tweets were removed by Twitter after pressure from test publisher Pearson.
Due to legal threats from PARCC/Pearson, the reading prompts were removed from the original blog post but dozens of public education advocates have reposted the original with the prompts included so that people can see for themselves what 4th graders saw on their test.  Most legal experts who have weighed in on the issue say that this does not rise to the level of copyright infringement, and that the “fair use” laws actually allow limited used of copyrighted materials for, among other things, criticism and research.
There should be no secrecy with any tests our children take, especially when the results are given such heavy weight and when there are ongoing legitimate questions about the quality and appropriateness of the tests.
+++
The PARCC test is developmentally inappropriate
In order to discuss the claim that the PARCC test is “developmentally inappropriate,” examine three of the most recent PARCC 4th grade items.
A book leveling system, designed by Fountas and Pinnell, was made “more rigorous” in order to match the Common Core State Standards. These newly updated benchmarks state that 4th Graders should be reading at a Level S by the end of the year in order to be considered reading “on grade level.” [Celia’s note: I do not endorse leveling books or readers, nor do I think it appropriate that all 9 year olds should be reading a Level S book to be thought of as making good progress.]
The PARCC, which is supposedly a test of the Common Core State Standards, appears to have taken
- See more at: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/secrecy-tests-children/#sthash.ppFqsPTc.dpuf

Inside Detroit's Failing Public Schools - The Atlantic - The Atlantic

Inside Detroit's Failing Public Schools - The Atlantic - The Atlantic:

Inside Detroit's Failing Public Schools






May 18, 2016 | 39 videos 
Video by The Atlantic

Detroit Public Schools are in crisis. Dropout rates are twice the national average, schools are routinely failing health inspections, and the district is more than three and a half billion dollars in debt. In this short video,Atlantic associate editor Alia Wong traces the history of Detroit Public Schools—from a model for urban education at the turn of the century to a failing, debt-ridden system today. How did the school district decline so dramatically?

This video is based on the report, A School District in Crisis: Detroit's Public Schools 1842-2015.

Authors: Daniel LombrosoAlia Wong

Bankrupting Connecticut – Nothing to see here - Just keep moving - Wait What?

Bankrupting Connecticut – Nothing to see here - Just keep moving - Wait What?:

Bankrupting Connecticut – Nothing to see here – Just keep moving


The Wait, What? Blog was created in January 2011.  Since then, 2,340 articles have been posted to the site.  In turn, the commentary pieces have generated well in excess of $2 million hits.
One of the most constant refrains has been the problems and dangers associated with the excess debt that is dragging Connecticut down and the irresponsible failure of the state’s elected officials – both Democrat and Republican – to deal with that mounting crisis
Over the years came additional posts such as;
And many, many more….
The effort to alert, warn and educate citizens about the fact that elected officials are failing to address Connecticut’s extraordinary debt crisis highlights the words of Jonathan Kozel, the great public education advocate and award winning author, who once wrote;
“Now, I don’t expect what I write to change things. I think I write now simply as a witness. This is how it is. This is what we have done. This is what we have permitted.” – Jonathan Kozol
And as if to prove the point, the debt crisis has gotten even worse thanks to the actions and inactions of Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and the Democratic controlled Generally Assembly.
As if to drive the point home, today’s CT Newsjunkie headline reads, Pew: Connecticut Has One of Highest Public Debt to Personal Income Ratios.  The story reports;
Connecticut has one of the highest ratios of debt to personal income and the fifth highest ratio of state retiree health care liabilities to income, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report released Tuesday.
The report, which measured each state’s pension, health care and debt costs as a percentage of personal income, put Connecticut’s total liabilities at $67.5 billion dollars or Bankrupting Connecticut – Nothing to see here - Just keep moving - Wait What?:

The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money : NPR Ed : NPR

The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money : NPR Ed : NPR:

The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, and Education Secretary John B. King in the ring over Title I enforcement.
LA Johnson/NPR

"This is an intolerable situation," Sen. Lamar Alexander said last week in a heated speech on the Senate floor.
The Tennessee Republican is chairman of the Senate's education committee, and he's furious with the Education Department. He even gave states some remarkable advice:
"If the regulations are not consistent with the law, I don't believe [states] should follow them," he said. "If the department persists, then the state should go to court to sue the department."
Things could get even more heated today as Alexander, himself a former education secretary, hosts a Senate hearing to spotlight his frustration with the current secretary, John B. King Jr.
Why is he so angry?
The easy answer: Title I. That's the $15 billion the federal government sends to districts to help schools that serve lots of low-income students.
But there's nothing easy — or simple — about this fight.
Alexander and King disagree on how to enforce the new law governing Title I. It says that, to get federal money, districts have to prove a few things — among them, that they're using state and local dollars to provide roughly the same services to kids in poor and non-poor schools alike.
"Basically, schools within a school district have to be similar," says Liz King, director of education policy at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "The idea here is that if they're not similar, then these federal dollars are just going to fill in gaps." 

Everyone agrees that Title I dollars are not supposed to gap-fill. They're meant to be extra — the technical term is "supplemental" — for low-income kids who need them most. What the sides don't agree on is how districts prove they're not just filling gaps and that state and local resources are being spread fairly.
The current system's not fair, says Secretary King. "What we see, as we look around the country, is districts where they're actually spending significantly more in their non-Title I schools than they're spending in their Title I schools."
The Teacher Salary Gap
Nora Gordon, of Georgetown University, studies Title I and says much of that spending gap between poor and non-poor schools comes The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money : NPR Ed : NPR:

Illinois Researchers: School Closures Compound the Problems of Urban Segregation | janresseger

Illinois Researchers: School Closures Compound the Problems of Urban Segregation | janresseger:

Illinois Researchers: School Closures Compound the Problems of Urban Segregation


Christopher Lubienski, a professor of education policy at the University of Illinois and Jin Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in his department. have published an important paper, The Impact of School Closure on Equity of Access in Chicago in the Journal of Education and Urban Society, where it is available only to subscribers.  However, a short summary, Children in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Are More Likely to See Their Local Schools Close, by Lubienski and Lee has been published in a blog at the London School of Economics.
School closures, justified as one of the turnarounds prescribed as a punishment by the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act and the Obama administration’s School Improvement Grant program, are among the most troubling manifestations of the test-and-punish school “reforms” with which our society has recently been experimenting. Although the metric used for judging school quality is a school’s aggregate performance on the annual federally mandated standardized test, researchers continue to find that standardized tests correlate more closely with the average income of the families whose children attend the school than the quality of the school—its teachers and its programs. Researchers have also shown that, after their school closes, students cannot always move to a higher scoring school and that school closures remove important neighborhood institutional anchors.
Lubienski and Lee’s new study again confirms that there should be serious concern about school closure as a “turnaround” policy.  And their study questions the rationale too often provided by school districts when they close a school—that the school suffered from under-enrollment:
“Public schools in the U.S. are increasingly being shut down when they have been identified as underperforming on the basis of test scores and graduation rates.  The traditional approach to school closure has been to reduce financial losses caused by empty classrooms and under-enrolled schools…. Indeed, this classic approach to maximizing efficiency is now evident in school closure policies in larger cities which are experiencing out-migration and depopulation. But now it has been combined with the idea of punishing apparent organizational underperformance… In new research, we examine the possibility that school closings shape inequitable access to schools particularly for children in less advantaged neighborhoods…  (O)ur study… raises the likelihood that students in segregated communities have less access to neighboring schools.”  The study focuses on the closure by Chicago Public Schools of 50 schools in the spring of 2013—8 percent of the district’s schools.
In a series of maps, Lubienski and Lee show that in Chicago, “the policy produced a notable change in access in areas with a high density of both African American and Latino American Illinois Researchers: School Closures Compound the Problems of Urban Segregation | janresseger:

CURMUDGUCATION: A War for Education

CURMUDGUCATION: A War for Education:

A War for Education

Those of us who write about education often play the what if game, trying to envision one cool ideal or another, and it's usually a policy tweak here or a structure kluge there. 

But you know what would be cool? If we treated public education like war.

When we decide as a country that war is necessary, we do not screw around. We decided to fight World War II and in six years we spent almost 300 billion dollars-- and that's 300 1940 dollars. We spent over a full whopping third of our GDP. We scraped together every cent from under every couch cushion in the country. 

And even when we aren't exactly all on the same page, our leaders find a way-- even an unscrupulous underhanded way. We were so sneak about Vietnam that without even declaring a war, we managed to spend 100-200 billion (depending on who's counting) over eleven years. That's approaching one trillion 2016 dollars.

And back then we were spendthrifts, drunk on cheap oil and prosperity that seemed indefatigable. Fast forward to, say, Iraq. A more frugal nation with a bigger political concern about things lie budget deficits was sold a $100 billion, two year war. We got eight years at maybe over a trillion. Maybe a lot more.












Here are some things that almost nobody said about these wars:

We just can't afford it. Nobody much suggested that wars should be fought with fewer troops or resources because it was just too pricey. Nobody said that we should pull out because we had 
CURMUDGUCATION: A War for Education:

The First Rule of Test Club is We Don’t Talk About Test Club | gadflyonthewallblog

The First Rule of Test Club is We Don’t Talk About Test Club | gadflyonthewallblog:

The First Rule of Test Club is We Don’t Talk About Test Club

whistleblower_whistleblowing_danger_brian_stauffer_cw_single_use-100462731-primary.idge
How can you criticize standardized testing if you aren’t allowed to talk about the tests?
To show why these assessments are bad, you have to be able to mention specific questions on the exams.
But if you do that, you will be violating the test company’s copyright and thus be subject to legal action.
So there will be no discussion of your concerns, no defense of the questions in question. Instead you’ll be threatened to silence.
This is the Catch-22 for teachers, parents and children throughout the nation.
We know the federally mandated high stakes assessments public school children must take are poorly constructed, culturally and racially biased, and ultimately unfair. But if we speak up in public with any kind of specificity, we’re threatened with steep fines. And if we write about it on-line, those articles will be taken down, censored or otherwise disappeared.
This is what happened to Prof. Celia Oyler of Teachers College, Columbia University this week when she posted an anonymous classroom teacher’s critique of the 4th grade PARCC exam on her blog.
Since the article reproduced three live questions from the exam, Oyler received athreatening email from PARCC CEO Laura Slover.
Oyler acquiesced to the CEO’s demand that she remove the PARCC questions, but she did not – as Slover commanded – reveal the name of her source. Oyler is debating legal action of her own against the testing company.
Meanwhile, education bloggers across the country have engaged in civil disobedience by reprinting Oyler’s entire post along with the PARCC questions. Many of these articles have been taken down by Twitter, Facebook or other Internet enforcers.
It’s a sad day in America when free speech is treated so disdainfully.
These PARCC questions are considered private property, but in many important ways they are not. They were developed at public expense. They were funded by taxpayers The First Rule of Test Club is We Don’t Talk About Test Club | gadflyonthewallblog:

Segregation in American schools was outlawed 62 years ago, but it’s on the rise — Quartz

Segregation in American schools was outlawed 62 years ago, but it’s on the rise — Quartz:

Segregation in American schools was outlawed 62 years ago, but it’s on the rise


Decades of research have shown that segregation negatively impacts students, with consequences accumulating throughout their lives.

And yet segregation in US schools is on the rise, according to a damningnew report from the Government Accountability Office.

In 2000-2001, 9% of all public schools (kindergarten to 12th grade) had high proportions of poor and black or Hispanic students. By 2013-2014, that figure was 16%, the report showed.

These schools are disproportionately poor and non-white: 75% to 100% of the students were black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—a widely-used indicator of poverty.

Schools with high levels of poverty offer fewer math, science, and college prep courses. While 71% of better-off schools had calculus classes, and 80% offered physics, only 29% of poorer ones had calculus and 55% offered physics. High-poverty schools also had higher rates of students held back in 9th grade, suspended or expelled.
The GAO reviewed nationally representative studies from 2004 to 2014 and found that:

“schools with higher concentrations of students from low-income families were generally associated with worse outcomes, and schools with higher concentrations of students from middle- and high-income families were generally associated with better outcomes.”
In one study, when the average family income of a school increased, the academic achievement and attainment of students of all racial backgrounds improved.

In 2014, a trio of lawmakers asked the GAO to examine racial and socioeconomic isolation in K-12 public schools, and what impact that had on educational equity. Rep. Bobby Scott, one of the members of Congress who requested the reportresponded in a statement:Segregation in American schools was outlawed 62 years ago, but it’s on the rise — Quartz:

Latest News and Comment from Education

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
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