Saturday, May 6, 2017




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Charters and the Front Line
Here's one of the things that really bugs me about the charter school industry. Public schools are on the front lines of multiple battles, and have been for decades, or possibly forever. Public schools work against ignorance and disinterest. They struggle with the issues of disintegrating families and families that appear whole but are dysfunctional. Public schools struggle against the parts of th


AZ: Dear John Allen: Bite Me
Arizona is struggling with a teacher "shortage," which is only a "shortage" if you believe that my inability to buy a Porsche for $14.99 is a sign of an automobile shortage. What Arizona is suffering from-- what many locales are suffering from-- is an unwillingness to make the terms of employment attractive enough to get teachers to work in their system. Arizona's median teacher pay ranks 50th in
Houston: Court Throws Out VAM
A while back, some Houston teachers backed by AFT took EVAAS (the Texas version of Value Added Measure) to court. It did not go well for reformsters. Ding dong, indeed. EVAAS is the VAM of choice in Houston. This is the system developed by William Sanders , an agricultural statistician who thought that a statistical model for modeling genetic and reproductive trends among cattle could be used to f

MAY 04

LeBron Opens Non-Charter School, Confuses Charter Fans
LeBron James is one of those millionaire sports stars who actually tries to do some good. In his home town of Akron, he has set up the LeBron James Family Foundation, a group that has been hugely active in the community. In 2011, recognizing that real change would require a lifelong commitment rooted in research and executed with care, LeBron began to tackle the high school dropout rate in Akron a
The Great Sorting
America has always been a land of contradictory impulses. Religious freedom! But not for those guys. Liberty for all! Except for slaves. Democracy! In which only white guys vote. Come to our country! But not you lot. Two of our biggest promises have always been in tension, because America has always been the land of the Great Leveling, where all humans are created equal, and the Great Sorting, in

MAY 02

LAUSD: More Cyber-shenanigans
Karen Wolfe has continued to pay attention to what Los Angeles schools are up to, a necessary activity as LAUSD is under constant siege by folks who would like to see it dismantled and the parts used to feed the LA charter industry. The extra challenge is that many of those folks are working form inside the district itself. Another batch of consultants heading for an LAUSD board meeting. Witness t

MAY 01

ESAs and the Vibrant Marketplace
Nat Malkus (American Enterprise Institute) is in US News touting Education Savings Accounts in an article that the page editor has entitled "Building an Education Marketplace" but the url names "The Perils and Promise of Education Savings Accounts for School Choice." The latter is less poetic, but more accurate. But if you want to see what one of the long games being played in education reform is
Is PISA Data Useless?
Yes, if you're a regular reader, then you know I think it's rather useless anyway. But in April this story dropped. Folks had begun a mild-tomedium freakout because the East Asian PISA math superpowers (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc), the people whose program everyone else was trying to imitate, had seen their scores start to drop. But now Andreas Schleicher, the official in charg

APR 30

A Better PARCC/SBA Test Prep Program
You may recall the old SAT vocabulary lists. Dozens of test prep lists that promised to get you ready for the SAT because their creators had pored through and broken down dozens upon dozens of old SAT tests, and here they were-- the 50 or 100 or 500 words that most commonly appeared on the test. Of course you remember these lists, because they totally worked. While the SAT allegedly tested reasoni
Pennsylvania Recap (Call Your Legislator)
I don't usually do this, but it seems like a good moment to pause and gather up some of the more recent news from Pennsylvania, because it's becoming difficult to keep track of all the lousy ideas in Harrisburg right now. If you are in Pennsylvania, here's some food for thought for the next time you contact your elected representative (and that time should come early and often). School Funding Eme
Did FCC Just Damage School Internet
In the wonky alphabet soup depths of policy, this thing happened in April-- the FCC decided to uncap BDS pricing , because free market competition. Wires competing for space on free market pole Business Data Services refers to the kind of bulk internet access sold by providers like Verizon and ATT to business and other institutional buyers. Like small businesses or hospitals or libraries or school
ICYMI: Wrapping Up April Edition (4/30)
Where did that month go? Here are some reads from last week. As always, I ask you to please amplify what speaks to you. "I wish I could write like that person," is what I often hear, and I feel you, but anybody and everybody can tweet, facebook, email and otherwise amplify those voices-- and if you don't push a writer's work out into the world, it doesn't matter if she wrote it. Deescalating Schoo

APR 29

Lift Your Head
In my capacity as Head Stage Manager Guy at my school, I have spent my day on duty for a concert sponsored by a local church. It makes for a long day, but the crowd is always pleasant and the featured band this year is one my kids used to listen to growing up ( Audio Adrenaline , for you people both of faith and also of a certain age, though like most decades-old bands, they are now essentially a
Choice and Guarantees
You are visiting friends, and at suppertime, they give you two options. "We can go to Restaurant A," they say, "and there will be only one choice on the menu, but I can guarantee you that it will be awesome. Or we can go to Restaurant B where there will be plenty of choices, but it's entirely possible they will all be pretty lousy." Which restaurant would you select? Some reformy choice advocates


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