Thursday, May 23, 2019

Louisiana’s VAM: Quantitative Bungling on Display | deutsch29

Louisiana’s VAM: Quantitative Bungling on Display | deutsch29

Louisiana’s VAM: Quantitative Bungling on Display

This post is about value-added assessment (VAA), also called value-added modeling (VAM). I saw that Louisiana’s “father of VAM,” LSU psychology professor, George Noell, and others, had recently published a VAM reflection related to VAM usage on Louisiana’s teacher preparation programs (TPPs), entitled, “Linking Student Achievement to Teacher Preparation: Emergent Challenges of in Implementing Value Added Assessment,” and I just had to write about it.
(You can read the article for free by signing up for a 14-day trial here; meanwhile, I have contacted the publisher for permission to link to full article. Stay tuned.)
Notice that Noell’s et al. title includes the carefully-selected term, “linking,” because it is a tricky game to establish that VAM proves causation and not just correlation. However, the big buzz about VAM usage in education is that VAM is often reverently consulted in decisions about the professional fates of teachers, schools, and TPPs.
VAM is used to judge, and in those judgments, the judges assume that the teacher, or the school, or the teacher prep program “caused” some associated VAM score. If the VAM score is deemed pleasing, then good for you, teacher, school, or TPP.
If not, well, you better fix whatever needs fixing (though VAM is not precise enough to inform on this point) or you could be *correlated* right out of professional existence.
The first piece I wrote as a public education advocate was this 2012 “VAM Explanation for Legislators.” I did so at the behest of a fellow Louisiana teacher and advocate, who asked if I would write something that our Louisiana legislators could understand, “on the eighth-grade level.”
Not sure if I hit the appropriate grade-level readability, but I did rip the erratic CONTINUE READING: Louisiana’s VAM: Quantitative Bungling on Display | deutsch29

Education Research Report: Flaws in High-Profile “Gold Standard” Study Used to Market Teach for America

Education Research Report: Flaws in High-Profile “Gold Standard” Study Used to Market Teach for America

Flaws in High-Profile “Gold Standard” Study Used to Market Teach for America


Andrew Brantlinger is a former public school math teacher who is now an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership. Earlier in his academic career, he worked with data concerning the New York City Teaching Fellows alternative certification program. So Brantlinger was intrigued when, six years ago, the federal Institute of Education (IES) Sciences published a report entitled, The effectiveness of secondary math teachers from Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows programs, finding that Teach for America corps members significantly out-performed other teachers at their high-poverty schools. This IES-funded high-profile study, which was authored by researchers at Mathematica, a non-partisan, research organization, is prominently featured in TFA promotional material.
TFA selects high-achieving college graduates and places them in these high-poverty schools after several weeks of preparation. Although the TFA corps members start off uncertified, the placement is followed by ongoing, on-the-job support, and many do eventually gain standard certification.
Brantlinger was eventually able to obtain the data used in the IES/Mathematica study and, along with co-author and University of Maryland doctoral candidate Matthew Griffin, he was able to perform a secondary analysis of the study data. 
In a Review Worth Sharing published today by the National Education Policy Center, Brantlinger and Griffin explain that the original analysis was flawed in three primary ways:
  • First-year Teach for America teachers were under-represented in the study (while second-year corps members were over-represented). This matters because teachers typically make considerable professional growth in their initial years on the job.
  • Poorly qualified teachers were over-represented in the comparison group. For example, nationwide, 80 percent of 8thgrade math teachers at high-poverty schools are fully certified. Yet just 40 percent of the comparison group were fully certified, while 58 percent of the TFA teachers in the study were fully certified. Keep in mind that alternative-certification programs, by definition, generally place teachers in schools before they are certified—making the situation studied here difficult to generalize. This may limit the study’s applicability to other schools and also bias the results in TFA’s favor.
  • TFA teachers were likely trained to teach to the exams used as study outcomes, since such an approach is part of the program. The study did not account for this likely alignment between the outcome measure and the TFA focus.
Despite assertions to the contrary on TFA’s website and promotional materials and by the authors of the Mathematica report, the effect size identified by the study was small—certainly small enough to be explained by these three flaws in data and methods.
The Mathematica study was designed as an experiment, with students randomly assigned to matched pairs of TFA and comparison teachers. Randomization studies are sometimes described as the “gold standard” for research because they reduce the odds that treatment and control groups are not comparable. However, as Brantlinger and Griffin’s analysis highlights, the on-the-ground reality of experimental studies does not CONTINUE READING: Education Research Report: Flaws in High-Profile “Gold Standard” Study Used to Market Teach for America

John Thompson: Holding Diane Ravitch and Corporate School Reformers Accountable - Living in Dialogue

Holding Diane Ravitch and Corporate School Reformers Accountable - Living in Dialogue

Holding Diane Ravitch and Corporate School Reformers Accountable
A Review of The Wisdom and Wit of Diane Ravitch: Part 1

By John Thompson.
As we wait for Diane Ravitch’s next, comprehensive masterpieceSlaying Goliath, a new anthology, The Wisdom and Wit of Diane Ravitch, offers a unique opportunity to assess the quality and accuracy of both Ravitch’s and the corporate school reformers’ analyses of school improvement. Of course, Ravitch’s experience in education research and politics gave her advantages in understanding policy complexities over the non-educators who imposed test-driven, accountability-driven policies on the nation’s schools. On the other hand, it was the edu-philanthropists’ untested opinions that became the laws of almost all of the states, so they should have been just as rigorous as Ravitch in studying the facts of life in our nation’s diverse schools.
Ravitch came to the school reform wars with a reputation as a thorough, balanced scholar, with close ties to conservative reformers. She had been an Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education, and a member of the National Assessment of Educational Progress Board (NAEP), and worked with policy analysts with the Fordham Institute, the Brookings Institution, and other think tanks.  Ravitch also had a long career as an education historian.  In contrast to corporate reformers who demanded schools and systems where “everyone is on the same page,” Ravitch believed, “Historians understand that debate and dissent are part of the work of understanding history.”
Ravitch explained, “There is not one truth, but on the other hand, you can’t just make up facts and narratives, hire a fancy PR firm, and rewrite history to suit yourself.”   She said, “One of the things that a historian tries to do is to correct the record.” So, it is not surprising that an accountability audit of Ravitch’s positions during CONTINUE READING: Holding Diane Ravitch and Corporate School Reformers Accountable - Living in Dialogue

California teachers, students, officials rally for school funding | The Sacramento Bee

California teachers, students, officials rally for school funding | The Sacramento Bee

‘Starvation diet’ for schools protested by California teachers, officials, students at Capitol



More than 1,000 California teachers, students and school district administrators marched in downtown Sacramento and rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, adding their voices to a statewide advocacy day for school funding.
The event, part of the national “Red for Ed” movement, brought together union members and school administrators who have sometimes been at odds, with teacher strikes unfolding this year in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Oakland. The groups put aside their differences Wednesday to push for legislation directing more money to public education


“For too long, we have been on a starvation diet for our schools,” said California Teachers Association President Eric Heins.
Some teachers and staffers from the Sacramento City Unified School District shared concerns about out-of-date textbooks, a shortage of physical education teachers and librarians, and worn-out portable buildings.
“I am at nine schools and I take care of about 3,700 students,” said Noh Le-Hinds, a school nurse and union representative in Sacramento City Unified. “We think healthy students learn better.”
Katie Carr, a special education teacher, said her elementary school doesn’t provide reading intervention for its most vulnerable students.
“These are kids that are already struggling with academics,” she said. “Books are a basic right, and kids deserve better. “
“It’s difficult to make ends meet as a teacher,” said Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher. “We are in a crisis of losing teachers, because it costs a lot to become one. Paying your mortgage or rent are extremely difficult. ”
Many at the rally said they are concerned that charter schools are undermining the public school system.
“Charter schools laws are basically destroying public education, and we don’t think a dime of public funds should go to corporate charter organizations,” said California Teachers Association Vice President David Goldberg. “Every school should serve the needs of the community.”
A package of bills backed by teachers unions and currently under consideration in the Legislature CONTINUE READING: California teachers, students, officials rally for school funding | The Sacramento Bee



Charter school curbs pass Assembly, but drama foretells compromise | CALmatters

Charter school curbs pass Assembly, but drama foretells compromise | CALmatters

Charter school curbs pass Assembly, but drama foretells compromise


Legislation that would give local school districts more control over charter-school authorizations narrowly passed the California State Assembly Wednesday in a dramatic vote that served as an initial litmus test for a package of consequential, union-backed charter regulation bills.
For nearly an hour, Assembly Bill 1505 stood just shy of a handful of the 41 votes required to advance to the Senate, in part because of concerns the bill went too far in limiting the ability of charter schools to appeal authorization denials from local school districts to county and state education boards.
Moderate Democrats in particular were reluctant to support the measure. When the bill finally passed 42-19, it was with an assurance from  Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, the bill’s author, that the bill would be amended to include a “fair” appeal process.
“We knew this was going to be a fight because this is a heavily political matter,” O’Donnell said following the floor vote. “Charter schools have a lot of resources that public schools don’t on the political front, and they employ them in the state Capitol, and we saw that today.”
AB 15051506 and 1507 and Senate Bill 756, put forth as a charter regulation package, have pitted teachers unions and supporters of traditional public schools against advocates of charter schools, which are public but mostly non-union. The two education interests are among Sacramento’s most powerful, and until this past election, when union candidates triumphed in races for governor and statewide schools chief, they have largely fought to a draw.
If passed, the package of proposals would make the most significant changes in a generation to the state’s 27-year-old charter school laws. They would give local school boards more power over authorizations, enact a statewide cap on CONTINUE READING: Charter school curbs pass Assembly, but drama foretells compromise | CALmatters



Measure EE Works Like The Corporate Program To “Match Gifts” – redqueeninla

Measure EE Works Like The Corporate Program To “Match Gifts” – redqueeninla

Measure EE Works Like The Corporate Program To “Match Gifts”


On June 4, 2019 at the polls, we’ll approve fairly funded Public Education for all by voting YES ON EE. It’s a gift to democracy from the body politic. See here.  https://tinyurl.com/howcorporatematchingworks
In the meantime large corporations and industrial landowners have launched a stunning reveal of Big Business As Scrooge.  They’re sabotaging the rest of us, fueling a deluge of anxiety on social media. Guess what? The questions evoked have straightforward answers:
(1)  WHAT about the lottery?
Experts say:  “Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding about California’s lottery comes down to the false impression people have about its role in funding our schools. … [Because it turns out,]… Well, the lottery doesn’t provide very much to K-12 schools.”
About 20 cents on the dollar goes to K-12 schools for a total of $1 billion dollars a year — actually a drop in the bucket of CA education funding.  The vast majority goes into the pockets of the businesses that sell the tickets and maintain the machines and the lotto system — and the tickets are mostly bought by residents of low-income neighborhoods.  Since a change in the law in 2010, ticket sales have gone up and returns for schools have gone down.  More here:  laist lottery big money small returns.  https://laist.com/2018/06/19/lottery.php
It’s smarter not to send Education dollars to Sacramento but to keep it right here locally, under our own citizen’s watchful eyes (see #7 below).
(2)  Didn’t we already increase our taxes for education?
Temporarily — yes.  In the wake of the Great Recession, we saved our schools with Prop 30 which raised taxes from 2012-2018 on individuals making over $250K (joint filers making over $500K).  A 0.25% sales tax increase ended in 2016.  An extension of the income tax on the wealthy was passed in 2016 (Prop 55) and will last through 2030.  With that assistance, California’s spending on education rose a little but remains in the bottom 20% of all states in the union.
Remember when local business leaders “supported” Prop 30? Remember when CONTINUE READING: Measure EE Works Like The Corporate Program To “Match Gifts” – redqueeninla

Los Angeles: At First Meeting, Jackie Goldberg Changes Board Dynamics by Challenging Co-Location of Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog

Los Angeles: At First Meeting, Jackie Goldberg Changes Board Dynamics by Challenging Co-Location of Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog

Los Angeles: At First Meeting, Jackie Goldberg Changes Board Dynamics by Challenging Co-Location of Charters

Jackie Goldberg was sworn in to her new office as representative for District 5 on the Los Angeles school board, and she hit the ground running. 
She criticized co-locations, when charters take space in an existing public school, especially when charters are given preferential treatment.
Goldberg’s concerns arose minutes after the board began moving through its agenda. The item was $16 million to prepare space for charters operating on up to 79 district campuses. In all, about 11% of campuses host charters, according to the California Charter Schools Assn. Charters enroll nearly one in five district students.
Goldberg noticed that some of the money would pay for computers and wanted to know if the host school would have comparable technology.
“I have a school that lost its computer lab and the charter school went in there and put in a computer lab,” which it used to recruit students, Goldberg said during the meeting. “That’s crazy.”
Goldberg declined to name the school.
Another board member, George McKenna, raised similar points. And board member Richard Vladovic asserted CONTINUE READING: Los Angeles: At First Meeting, Jackie Goldberg Changes Board Dynamics by Challenging Co-Location of Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog

If colleges want a diverse campus they need to amend admissions policies

If colleges want a diverse campus they need to amend admissions policies

In higher education, the wand chooses the wizard
It’s not Hufflepuff and Slytherin, it’s Harvard and Stanford

For those who seek higher education, access to a college is no longer an insurmountable problem. With more than 5,000 colleges and universities dotted across the United States, and the availability of online and distance learning, more students can find their way into a college classroom than ever before.
Yet close inspection reveals that there is a big assumption in our everyday thinking about higher education that is riddled with faults: the idea that individuals choose the colleges they attend. Yes, individuals must fill out an application and enroll in an institution. But true choice can be out of reach. Students’ college options can multiply based on the family they were born into, the neighborhood they live in and the schools they attended — and none of these factors are in their control.
new report was released today by the Pell Institute, an education think tank that conducts research on first-generation college students, and PennAhead, a University of Pennsylvania research group. It found that among the 2009 cohort of ninth graders — who graduated from high school as seniors in 2013 — students from the highest socioeconomic quintiles were eight times as likely to attend a “most” or “highly” selective college as those from the lower economic quintile (33 percent versus 4 percent). Moreover, students who attended four‐year institutions were more likely to graduate, giving them more opportunities than their peers who attended two-year colleges.
While most students can get into some form of postsecondary institution, low-income students don’t have the same options as their wealthier peers. In JK Rowling’s famous novels, when Harry Potter goes to buy a wand, the shop’s proprietor, Mr. Ollivander, tells him, “The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter.” In the Potterverse, this wasn’t a bad thing. But what if you were a wizard who desperately wanted a wand that didn’t want you back? Substitute colleges for wands, and you have our higher education system.
College admissions leaders talk about creating a diverse campus, but their decisions don’t back up their words. The numbers in this new report don’t lie. In the 2009 cohort, a shocking 73 percent of rich CONTINUE READING: If colleges want a diverse campus they need to amend admissions policies

The Public Good? Betsy DeVos Doesn’t Get It. | janresseger

The Public Good? Betsy DeVos Doesn’t Get It. | janresseger

The Public Good? Betsy DeVos Doesn’t Get It.


When she spoke recently at the Education Writers Association, Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, swallowed whatever humility she has and presumed to redefine the role public education in our society.  Betsy loves freedom from government (even though she works for the government), and she can’t seem to discern any difference between what is good for the individual and what is good for us all together.
Here is what she told the nation’s education journalists: “I entered public life to promote policies that empower all families. Notice that I said ‘families,’ not government… I am a common-sense conservative with a healthy distrust of centralized government. Instead, I trust the American people to live their own lives and to decide their own destinies… Margaret Thatcher said that government ‘has no source of money other than the money people earn themselves.’ There is no such thing as ‘public money.’ The Iron Lady was right! … Let’s stop and rethink the definition of public education. Today, it’s often defined as one-type of school, funded by taxpayers, controlled by government. But if every student is part of ‘the public,’ then every way and every place a student learns is ultimately of benefit to ‘the public.’ That should be the new definition of public education.” So Betsy defines public schools and charter schools and private schools funded with vouchers and tuition tax credits and education savings accounts, and home schooling and maybe even Girl Scouts and piano lessons as public education.  It is pretty hard to see where she would draw the line.
In a recent Washington Post column, Adam Laats, a professor of education at the State University of New York in Binghamton, refutes DeVos’s new definition of public education as entirely impractical.  Laats looks back at education in the United States very early in the nineteenth century, when we basically had a public-private model, and shows why we replaced that old model with something that worked better—universal, publicly funded education:
“DeVos’s ‘new definition’ is exactly how American elites thought about public education in the first half of the 19th century… (T)he first generation of education leaders begged and borrowed from governments and private philanthropists to create schools for all, believing their project was of benefit to the American public. Back then, a public school was simply one that served the public; the funding usually came from a blend of public and private sources, and the schools themselves were usually run by churches and private charitable CONTINUE READING: The Public Good? Betsy DeVos Doesn’t Get It. | janresseger

Cartoons on Technology at Work, Home, and School | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cartoons on Technology at Work, Home, and School | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cartoons on Technology at Work, Home, and School



For this month, I have collected a melange of cartoons about technology use in different venues. Enjoy!

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Labor Movement Comes Back Big After 'Janus' - NEA Today

Labor Movement Comes Back Big After 'Janus' - NEA Today

Labor Movement Comes Back Big After ‘Janus’



In January, Virginia teacher Nicole Loch attended a #RedForEd rally at the statehouse in Richmond. She arrived on a charter bus sponsored by the Fauquier Education Association (FEA), even though Loch had never joined the union—a decision she had resisted for 11 years.“It was a bus full of other educators from my county,” says Loch, a civics teacher at Auburn Middle School in Warrenton.
“When I got to Richmond, I saw the power of mobilization and strength in numbers,” she says. “I knew then I needed to join.”
Loch marched and chanted for a mile—from Monroe Park to the capitol steps—where the crowd numbered 4,000. Standing there—holding a sign with the words “I Teach, I Matter”—she realized that many of the 250 FEA members at the rally had been meeting for months to organize their road trip, produce T-shirts and signs, and arrange meetings in the offices of legislators to discuss education policy and funding in Fauquier County.
nicole loch
Longtime teacher Nicole Loch joined her local association the day after attending a statehouse #RedForEd rally. (photo: Philippe Nobile)
“I felt I had been left behind,” she says. “I had no idea what people in my county had been doing to prepare for the event because I wasn’t a part of FEA.”
A mere 24 hours after the rally, Loch had joined FEA and the Virginia Education Association (VEA)—the state’s largest educator union.
“Being an FEA member has emboldened me to speak out about the value of public education and demand action from local officials to do what’s best for children and educators,” says Loch, who became a building representative soon after joining FEA.

The Perfect Civics Lesson

Loch attended the rally, she says, because she wanted to show her students what it means to advocate for public schools.
“I teach them to exercise their First Amendment rights and speak out when they see injustice,” she says.
Loch had read about the massive 2018 educator walkouts in “red” conservative CONTINUE READING: Labor Movement Comes Back Big After 'Janus' - NEA Today

The "X"odus Files: Shortage Denial Syndrome. | BustED Pencils

The "X"odus Files: Shortage Denial Syndrome. | BustED Pencils

The “X”odus Files: Shortage Denial Syndrome.


A few weeks ago Peter Greene posted a blog about the fact that there is NO TEACHER SHORTAGE. He even mentioned me as one of the shortage deniers. I sent his post to a host of people—teachers, politicians, government agencies, and anybody else that needed a reminder. I then went on with my day delusionally convinced that I had done my part and that the reality of the teacher “X”odus would supplant the teacher shortage narrative. If only!
Instead of a mass awakening and a torrent of thank you emails I received one email from a friend in a government agency suggesting that I was possibly causing harm by insisting that the teacher shortage narrative was bunk.
According to my friend, I was “conflating the reason for the shortage with whether or not there is a shortage.” And that a state legislator was now using my teacher shortage denial syndrome as a way to disparage a proposed student loan forgiveness program for future teachers—since there was no teacher shortage.
I would love to believe that any legislator would actually cite me as a teacher shortage expert and that my denial syndrome was being used to thwart a great idea. Because if this was the case then it was a perfect opportunity to confirm the false shortage narrative and drive home the “X”odus facts such as the ones laid out in Brevard, Florida where 625 CONTINUE READING: The "X"odus Files: Shortage Denial Syndrome. | BustED Pencils

CREDO’s New Orleans “Learning Gains” a Sleight of Information | deutsch29

CREDO’s New Orleans “Learning Gains” a Sleight of Information | deutsch29

CREDO’s New Orleans “Learning Gains” a Sleight of Information


According to Emily Langhorne of Forbes, education reformers should “rejoice” because in May 2019, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released this summary and accompanying presentation of New Orleans charter school “learning gains.”
According to CREDO, New Orleans charter school “learning gains” are impressive when compared with those of the state:
In reading, New Orleans students experienced stronger learning gains in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 compared to the state average learning gains. In math, New Orleans students posted greater learning gains in 2014-15, similar progress in 2015-16, and stronger growth in 2016-17 compared to the state average.
Now, what CREDO has not released are actual average scores on the tests, nor do they offer any caution that greater “learning gains” are not synonymous with higher average test scores.
It is possible to have a fantastic “learning gain” and still fail a test.
It is also possible to do quite well on a pretest, with better pretest outcomes increasingly restricting how much of a “learning gain” a student can have on a post-test.
For example: A student scores a 42 out of 100 on a pretest and 60 on a post-test. That’s a “learning gain” of 18 points. Still an F (below 67), but an impressive “learning gain.”
Meanwhile, a second student scores an 89 out of 100 on the same pretest and a 95 out of 100 on the post-test, for a “learning gain” of six points. Note that the second student is well above passing on both pre- and post-test and actually improved from a B to an A (93 is the threshold). Note further that the highest CONTINUE READING: CREDO’s New Orleans “Learning Gains” a Sleight of Information | deutsch29

Is the Adversity Score a Tool for Acknowledging Poverty (as a surrogate for race) in College Admissions or a Tool to Enrich the SAT? | Ed In The Apple

Is the Adversity Score a Tool for Acknowledging Poverty (as a surrogate for race) in College Admissions or a Tool to Enrich the SAT? | Ed In The Apple

Is the Adversity Score a Tool for Acknowledging Poverty (as a surrogate for race) in College Admissions or a Tool to Enrich the SAT?


About ten years ago I sat in a room with a group of principals and watched/listened to David Coleman’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” kickoff of the Common Core.
At the end of the presentation a teacher in the audience commented, “We’re already using these strategies: what’s new?” Coleman snapped back, “If that’s the case why are our kids doing so poorly?”
I knew we were in trouble.
States adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), tests were aligned with the CCSS, instruction was measured by CCSS and we all anticipated achievement to begin to move up the ladder – we’re still waiting:  NAEP scores remain flat and in New York State test scores are still mired in the lower half of states
The Organization for Education, Co-Operation and Development (OECD) takes a deep dive into reading instruction across the OECD nations, “Measuring Innovation in Education: 2019,” and reports,
It turns out that over 90 percent of U.S. teachers were already regularly doing these Common Core-endorsed practices back in 2006 … for all the Common Core-induced hoopla—there was little obvious change in U.S. practice, while other nations actually spent 2006-2016 doing more of what the U.S. was already doing back in the Bush years.
 Turns out that teacher in the audience was correct.
 I’ve always wondered why ED Hirsch’s Core Knowledge has never caught on, a rich curriculum and high level of instruction in a collaborative environment is CONTINUE READING: Is the Adversity Score a Tool for Acknowledging Poverty (as a surrogate for race) in College Admissions or a Tool to Enrich the SAT? | Ed In The Apple