Thursday, May 2, 2019

Schools Matter: Thousands of Teachers March on Raleigh, NC

Schools Matter: Thousands of Teachers March on Raleigh, NC

Thousands of Teachers March on Raleigh, NC
by Tamika Walker Kelly
Yesterday was huge.
Thousands of public school educators, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, social workers, counselors, coaches and other support staff – along with their supporters – flooded the streets of Raleigh. Again.
But we didn't just show up today. We organized. We held our legislators accountable and put them on record about their stance on public education. We met together with our neighbors in county conversations and made concrete plans to continue this work until we win the schools our communities deserve.

And we are already winning.

Tuesday, before so many of us descended on the state capital, Republican leadership in the NCGA announced a plan to give lopsided pay raises to public school employees. But what they don’t know is that we're in this together. We won't accept a proposal intended to divide us.
We are united on the 5 Priorities the North Carolina Association of Educators adopted at our convention in March:
  • Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards;
  • Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees;
  • Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families;
  • Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017;
  • Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.

So, what’s next after yesterday’s #AllOutMay1 action?

First – Please fill out our brief survey to tell us about your #AllOutMay1 day.What did you do? Who did you CONTINUE READING: Schools Matter: Thousands of Teachers March on Raleigh, NC


CURMUDGUCATION: Is Your School Year Over Already?

CURMUDGUCATION: Is Your School Year Over Already?

Is Your School Year Over Already?
Depending on which state you live in, your schools are now, or are about to be, entering testing season.
It's the magical time of year when your schools must subject students to the annual Big Standardized Test, a narrow slice of testing aimed at reading and math skills. In most states, the stakes are high, including the rating of the school itself as well as the professional ratings for the teachers who work there. And so every spring, schools turn their attention to preparing students for that test.
Fans of the modern test like to argue that these tests are impervious to test prep, which is true if you think that test prep refers only to memorizing the specific answers that will be on the test. And it's true that classic rote memorization is of very little use on these tests.
But modern test prep is not about rote memorization. Test prep involves teaching students to think like the people who manufacture these tests. Test prep involves learning the kinds of wrong answers (distractors) that these test manufacturers favor. In a multiple choice test, distractors are the whole game, the little traps and tricks that test writers include to "catch" students in particular sorts of mistakes, so students need to learn what sorts of enticing traps to recognize and avoid. And while students can't memorize specific answers to specific questions, they can expect certain types of questions, and so benefit from practicing those types of questions. For instance, there will almost certainly be a question asking students to use context clues to determine the meaning of a word. That word may well be familiar, and good readers will think, "Oh, I know this word," but the word will appear in a selection that uses CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Is Your School Year Over Already?

Different Strokes for Different Folks? – Have You Heard

Different Strokes for Different Folks? – Have You Heard

Different Strokes for Different Folks?

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No excuses-style charter schools, known for rigid discipline and a college prep focus have seen explosive growth in urban areas over the past decade. And supporters of the model point to parent demand as the fuel. According to Eva Moskowitz, CEO and founder of New York City’s Success Academy, parents—overwhelmingly Black and Latinx—enroll their kids in no excuses schools because they “believe in strict discipline.” But has anyone ever asked these parents if that’s really the case? In the latest episode of Have You Heard, we talk to researchers Mira Debs and Joanne Golann who focus on two very different school models: public Montessori and urban no excuses schools. They talked to parents at both kinds of schools and found remarkably similar views. “Parents from all backgrounds want strong academics AND respect for their children.”
Full transcript available here.
And if you like what you hear, please consider supporting Have You Heard on Patreon!



Different Strokes for Different Folks? – Have You Heard

Student Agency, Authority, and Credibility as Writers | radical eyes for equity

Student Agency, Authority, and Credibility as Writers | radical eyes for equity

Student Agency, Authority, and Credibility as Writers


Each semester I teach, I become even more convinced that teaching writing is a journey, not a destination. And this semester has once again pushed me in that direction.
While it was just the second time I have taught the new upper-level writing/research course now part of our general education requirements (GER), it was in my 100-level GER course that has struck me hardest, notably when a senior student sent the following message with a revised submission of the course major cited essay:
Attached is an updated copy. I don’t know if I have already said this, but thank you for being so helpful in all of these drafts! Also please let me know if it is going in the right direction or if I need to consider larger changes as opposed to these smaller edits.
This was the fifth submission of the essay, and the student has also met with me to conference about needed revisions.
What stands out here is the not-so-subtle message I have been receiving from this student and others—the “smaller edits” comment. Another student, exasperated, came very close to stating directly that I am being arbitrary and nit-picky.
My 100-level students are perfect examples of the problems associated with how a culture of grades degrades learning—and especially inhibits students from writing with agency, authority, and credibility.
Often, I am the first—and only—teacher who holds students accountable for foundational obligations related to formatting submissions and applying essential aspects of citation and scholarship.
Students have either had points deducted for formatting and citation or have simply been told they have “mistakes,” but that theses are mere surface elements and thus not really important. Here, I think, is the seed of CONTINUE READING: Student Agency, Authority, and Credibility as Writers | radical eyes for equity

Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching about School Segregation and Educational Inequality - The New York Times

Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching about School Segregation and Educational Inequality - The New York Times

Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching about School Segregation and Educational Inequality



Racial segregation in public education has been illegal for 65 years in the United States. Yet American public schools remain largely separate and unequal — with profound consequences for students, especially students of color.

Today’s teachers and students should know that the Supreme Court declared racial segregation in schools to be unconstitutional in the landmark 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education. Perhaps less well known is the extent to which American schools are still segregated. According to a recent Times article, “More than half of the nation’s schoolchildren are in racially concentrated districts, where over 75 percent of students are either white or nonwhite.” In addition, school districts are often segregated by income. The nexus of racial and economic segregation has intensified educational gaps between rich and poor students, and between white students and students of color.

Although many students learn about the historical struggles to desegregate schools in the civil rights era, segregation as a current reality is largely absent from the curriculum.

“No one is really talking about school segregation anymore,” Elise C. Boddie and Dennis D. Parker wrote in this 2018 Op-Ed essay. “That’s a shame because an abundance of research shows that integration is still one of the most effective tools that we have for achieving racial equity.”


The teaching activities below, written directly to students, use recent Times articles as a way to grapple with segregation and educational inequality in the present. This resource considers three essential questions:

• How and why are schools still segregated in 2019? 

• What repercussions do segregated schools have for students and society? 

• What are potential remedies to address school segregation?

School segregation and educational inequity may be a sensitive and uncomfortable topic for students and teachers, regardless of their race, ethnicity or economic status. Nevertheless, the topics below offer entry points to an essential conversation, one that affects every American student and raises questions about core American ideals of CONTINUE READING: Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching about School Segregation and Educational Inequality - The New York Times


NEA - State Charter Statutes

NEA - State Charter Statutes

State Charter Statutes



The National Education Association released its State Charter Statutes Report Cards on Thursday, May 9, 2019. The report card provides a specific roadmap for states who want charter schools that work for all students and are accountable and transparent to taxpayers and the communities they serve. NEA believes that public charter schools must meet four key requirements: they must be:
(1) genuinely public schools in every respect;
(2) accountable to the public via open and transparent governance;
(3) approved, overseen, and evaluated by local school boards; and
(4) providers of high quality education for their students.

In 2017, these four key requirements were identified by the elected leaders of NEA’s three million members and detailed in the NEA Policy Statement on Charter Schools.
NEA’s assessment of charter school laws was limited by necessity to the terms of the statutes themselves. On some occasions, external sources were consulted to resolve ambiguity or when the statute was silent. While this review captures the statutory landscape of charter schools in any given state, it does not attempt to reflect actual compliance by charters or state or local government entities with those laws.
This report doesn’t just tell us what’s wrong, it provides 13 specific “guard rails” that states can implement to ensure their charter schools are the kind of schools students, parents and tax payers can be proud of.
These 13 metrics were derived from the NEA Charter Schools Policy Statement, created by a task force of diverse educators and leaders, including charter school educators, and approved by the NEA’s Representative Assembly.
With weak regulation and lax oversight in many states with charters, other issues of major concern to students, parents, taxpayers, and communities have emerged, such as:
  • Under-funding our neighborhood and magnet schools. By their very nature, charter schools drain funding from local public schools, which enroll over 90 percent of students in K-12 schools. This underfunding disproportionately impacts public schools in communities of color. Often, with no laws in place to prevent the practice or due to lax enforcement, students with disabilities or from low-income families are pushed out of charter schools that can’t meet their needs, while the schools get to keep the funding taken from the neighborhood public school. That’s unacceptable, and disproportionately impacts students of color.
  • Instability. Charters are very unstable. One out of three charter schools that opened in 2000 had closed by 2010, usually due to poor performance or financial mismanagement. The overwhelming majority of students affected by failed charter schools are students of color.
  • Waste, fraud and abuse. Governments at all levels have failed to implement systems that proactively monitor charter schools and hold them accountable. A 2016 report from the Center for Popular Democracy documents waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of charter school funds, totaling more than $216 million.
There are 44 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia that have state charter school laws:
Many do not require that charters comply with the same open meetings laws and conflict of interest requirements that apply to public school boards, school districts and employees. These are commonsense protections that parents and communities rightly insist upon for all other taxpayer-funded schools.
Some do not require charter school teachers to meet the same certification requirements as public school teachers.
Click here to view our report ( PDF, 15 MB, 58 pgs.).
NEA - State Charter Statutes



The Test of Our Time: Can We Break the Shackles of NCLB? - Living in Dialogue

The Test of Our Time: Can We Break the Shackles of NCLB? - Living in Dialogue

The Test of Our Time: Can We Break the Shackles of NCLB?


By Monty Neill.
I came to FairTest in October 1987 as a movement activist and an educator. Over the years I’d worked in anti-war and black liberation support campaigns, wrote for underground newspapers, engaged in community organizing, edited the newspaper of the New England Prisoners Association, and for decades, before and during FairTest, participated in Midnight Notes, an irregular publication of political analysis.
In education, I attended alternative colleges, where I deepened my understanding of existing social, economic and political systems, resistance to them, and efforts to birth new systems. I also began to think about education itself. I taught in day care, at an alternative high school for dropouts, and in college, particularly as director of the Prisoner Education Project. I studied education as an international phenomenon. My doctoral dissertation was titled, The Struggles of Boston’s Black Community for Equality and Quality in Public Education.
So in this article, I will weave around particulars of testing and education and my sense of much wider social justice issues that we in education must address.
When I came to FairTest, my knowledge of testing was limited. I understood that it operates as a sorting mechanism to perpetuate class and race hierarchy. I learned about its roots in eugenics and its consequences, and how it contributes to tracking and is a selection tool for special education and gifted and talented. It often determines grade promotion and high school graduation, who gets into college and what college and whether one gets a scholarship. All of those play out by race and class, so the best you can say about testing is that it may not always be worse than the overall system, but it does nothing to alleviate the reproduction of inequities and hierarchies.
The 1990s was a period of gains. A growing testing reform movement won test cutbacks, developed performance assessments and portfolios, and expanded test-optional college admissions. Then, in 2001, came No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The various advocates of NCLB advanced at least five main goals:
First, there were those who saw it as opening the door to school privatization. They have proven to be all too successful.
Second, there were those who wanted testing to control teaching and learning. Sadly, they, too, have been successful.
Third, there were those who thought that the test and punish regime would improve learning. NCLB failed at this. It could not even consistently raise scores on the standardized National Assessment of Educational CONTINUE READING: The Test of Our Time: Can We Break the Shackles of NCLB? - Living in Dialogue

What’s Next after the Year of the Teachers’ Strike? | Bitch Media

What’s Next after the Year of the Teachers’ Strike? | Bitch Media

NO MORE PENCILS, NO MORE BOOKS
WHAT’S NEXT AFTER THE YEAR OF THE TEACHERS’ STRIKE?


In the colorful, often bloody annals of labor history, 2018 will surely be known as the Year of the Teachers’ Strike. Hundreds of thousands of teachers organized massive work stoppages across the nation, from the West Virginia state capitol to the streets of Los Angeles, taking a stand for their own rights as well as those of the students in their care. Some of them won stunning victories; others notched more modest successes, but their dedication and militancy turned their concerns—from fair wages and healthcare to the negative impact of charter schools on the U.S. public-education system—into headlines.
It also stirred up public sympathy for their struggle—a party line–crossing one that’s centered in predominantly red states saddled with Republican governments and anti-union “right-to-work” laws. Public-sector unions, which include teachers’ unions, are traditionally quite strong in the United States, but have limited recourse when push comes to shove; they’re barred from striking in many cases, including in many of the states that proved pivotal to the wave of 2018 teachers’ strikes. It’s legal, for instance, for public workers in Colorado and California to strike, but illegal in Arizona, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Workers in those states went out anyway, participating in illegal wildcat strikes that showed just how serious they were about this fight.
The “Red for Ed” movement kicked off in West Virginia on February 22, 2018, but was the result of many years of movement building, particularly the intensive groundwork laid by the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike. The driving force behind the 2018 strikes—which ultimately spread to Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, and California—was funding: for teachers’ salaries, pensions, healthcare, school supplies, and for the schools themselves. The Trump administration has sought to gut school funding every year for the past three years (Congress has rejected the proposals each time), and teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, the union that represents them, have been vocal about how much of an impact low wages and scarce funding has had on their abilities to do their jobs. As Vox notes, “According to a National Center for Education Statistics survey released in May [2018], 94 percent of teachers use their own money to buy school supplies,” while others have CONTINUE READING: What’s Next after the Year of the Teachers’ Strike? | Bitch Media

Education Research Report TODAY

Education Research Report


Education Research Report TODAY

TODAY

Gallup Poll: 54% Say Teachers Unprepared to Handle Discipline

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Schools in high-poverty areas, which children of color disproportionately attend, most need the repairs that correlate with improved academic achievement

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A Weak Defense of a Useless Report

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Are Public School Teachers Adequately Compensated? xx

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How States are Responding to ESSA’s Evidence Requirements for School Improvement

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Best of the Ed Blogs National Education Policy Center

National Education Policy Center

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