Friday, September 13, 2019

AI Pokes Another Hole In Standardized Testing

AI Pokes Another Hole In Standardized Testing

AI Pokes Another Hole In Standardized Testing

The stories were supposed to capture a new step forward in artificial intelligence. A “Breakthrough for A.I. Technology: Passing an 8th-Grade Science Test,” said the New York Times. “AI Aristo takes science test, emerges multiple-choice superstar,” said TechXPlore. Both stories were talking about Aristo (indicating a child version of Aristotle), a project of Paul Allen’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, where the headline read, “How to tutor AI from an ‘F’ to an ‘A.’
The occasion for all this excitement is Aristo’s conquest of a big standardized test, answering a convincing 80% of questions correctly on the 12th grade science test and 90% on the 8th grade test. Four years ago, none of the programs that attempted this feat were successful at all.
We see these occasional steps forward greeted with a certain amount of hyperbole (last year the New York Post announced that computers were “beating humans” at reading comprehension), or the time the BBC announced that an AI “had the IQ of a four-year-old child,” but the field still has a very long way to go. And as it tries to get there, it CONTINUE READING: AI Pokes Another Hole In Standardized Testing

How the Democratic candidates talked about charter schools and school segregation in Thursday night’s debate

How the Democratic candidates talked about charter schools and school segregation in Thursday night’s debate

How the Democratic candidates talked about charter schools and school segregation in Thursday night’s debate
The leading Democratic candidates for president took on some hot-button issues in education during Thursday night’s debate, and illustrated the divide in how they think and talk about charter schools.
Held at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, the debate featured 10 candidates: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Juli├ín Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.
Here are a few of their most notable comments on education and racial equity. We’ve got a full guide to the Democratic candidates’ positions and promises on education here.

On charter schools and school choice

Castro: “It is a myth that charter schools are better than public schools,” the former housing secretary said. “They’re not.” Castro was one of the few candidates who directly spoke to the question about charters, an issue where he has a limited track record. In general, research supports his comment — most studies show charter and district schools perform comparably, though charter schools in many cities perform better. “I’m not categorically against charter schools,” Castro went on to say. “I would require more transparency and accountability from them than is required right now.”
Booker: “We closed poor-performing charter schools, but dagnabbit, we expanded high-performing charter schools,” the former Newark mayor said. “We were a city that said we need to find local solutions that work for our community. The results speak for themselves. We’re now the No. 1 city in America for beat-the-odds schools, from high-poverty to high-performance.”
Booker’s record on schools in that city has been much debated and deeply controversial. The rapid expansion of charters and closure of district schools drew fierce community resistance; the latest teachers’ contract scrapped a much-touted teacher performance pay plan. Research found that in the initial years after Mark Zuckerberg’s 2010, $100 million grant to Newark schools, student growth on state tests CONTINUE READING: How the Democratic candidates talked about charter schools and school segregation in Thursday night’s debate

Los Altos, California, Fights Elite Charter School | Diane Ravitch's blog

Los Altos, California, Fights Elite Charter School | Diane Ravitch's blog

Los Altos, California, Fights Elite Charter School

Los Altos has a problem. Wealthy residents opened a charter school for their children, drawing money from the public schools to support their charter. The Bullis School is a private school that calls itself a “public” school and is funded by public dollars.
Vladimir Ivanovic wrote the following update on the community’s efforts to compel the Bullis School to act like a public school, not a private academy. Vladimir is a member of the elected Los Altos school board. He is also earning his doctorate in education policy at San Jose State University and has been a member of the Network for Public Education since 2013.
He writes:
This week, the Los Altos School District (LASD) in Santa Clara County’s Silicon Valley formally asked its County Board and Office of Education to take action against the discriminatory enrollment practices at Bullis Charter School (BCS).  The charter school began its enrollment marketing for the 2020-21 school year by announcing the reinstatement of a geographic enrollment preference for children who live in one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation, the exact opposite of the stated purpose of charter school law. This is an example of how charter law can be used to exacerbate inequities in education.  (BCS was in the news before for its exclusive enrollment practices: “Taxpayers Get Billed for Kids of Millionaires at Charter School.”)
BCS was authorized by the county 15 years ago over the objections of LASD, and so the District must appeal to CONTINUE READING: Los Altos, California, Fights Elite Charter School | Diane Ravitch's blog

The Democratic Debate: Where Was Education? - The Atlantic

The Democratic Debate: Where Was Education? - The Atlantic

The Missing Education Questions in the Democratic Debate
Democrats were given little time to discuss their proposals to transform college at the third presidential debate.

All of the ingredients seemed right. The Democratic 2020 hopefuls were lined up on the stage in the gymnasium at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas, for the third debate. Several of the candidates had announced plans to pump billions of dollars into HBCUs—institutions founded primarily after the Civil War to educate black people who were shut out of the rest of higher education. One of the candidates, Senator Kamala Harris, is herself an HBCU alum—of Howard University, one of the country’s most illustrious black colleges. And the debate was being held in Texas, one of six states—along with Oklahoma, Maryland, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania—that still needs to prove to the Education Department that it has desegregated its higher education system, due in large part to how it has treated its black colleges.
But the ingredients spoiled on the shelf. During Thursday night’s debate, mention of historically black colleges was little more than a guaranteed applause line. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that HBCUs are still training and educating the next generation. Senator Kamala Harris pressed the importance of the colleges in training black teachers. Senator Bernie Sanders said he would make the colleges debt-free. But the candidates—despite having, in some cases, robust plans to boost HBCUs—were given few opportunities to discuss them.

HBCUs were not the only education issue that received short-shrift during last night’s debate. Generally, substantive conversation about the fundamental reform of education in America took a back seat to health care, foreign policy and climate. The candidates on stage were only given a brief spell to discuss their plans to revamp the nation’s education system. In the hurried few CONTINUE READING: The Democratic Debate: Where Was Education? - The Atlantic



Infographic: LGBTQ Students Need Help, and Philanthropy Needs to Step Up | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Infographic: LGBTQ Students Need Help, and Philanthropy Needs to Step Up | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Infographic: LGBTQ Students Need Help, and Philanthropy Needs to Step Up

A new infographic released today highlights the challenges facing LGBTQ students and analyzes trends, gaps, and opportunities in funding for LGBTQ education issues.
Produced in partnership between Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Schott, we hope this infographic will help both those in philanthropy and LGBTQ advocates to chart a better course toward a future where all LGBTQ youth attend well-resourced, supportive and safe public schools. Schott is proud to be a longtime supporter of grassroots LGBTQ youth organizing as a crucial component of the education justice movement.
Key Findings:
  • For every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations to education, only 15 cents were devoted to funding for LGBTQ education and safe schools.
  • More than 6 in 10 LGBTQ students experience discriminatory policies or practices at school.
  • While LGBTQ youth make up 7-9 percent of youth nationwide, they account for 20 percent of all youth in juvenile justice facilities (and 85 percent of them are youth of color).
  • Funding for LGTBQ education and safe schools has fluctuated over the past five years, but has never exceeded $9 million in a given year.
  • The top ten funders of LGBTQ education and safe schools issues account for nearly three-quarters of the funding.
Clearly there is much work for us to do. The infographic identifies four key opportunities:
FUND ACROSS SILOS FOR INCREASED IMPACT
Racial justice funders and those supporting boys and girls of color, criminal justice funders concerned about the school-to-prison pipeline, and health funders seeking to address the social determinants of health disparities have reason to be concerned with school climate for LGBTQ students. There is potential for mutual learning across silos as well as for the pooling and leveraging of resources across unlikely but natural partners.
STRENGTHEN GSAs AND OTHER VEHICLES FOR YOUTH-LED ORGANIZING
GSAs [Gay Straight Alliances] are documented to have a positive effect on student outcomes and also play a key role in the pipeline of leadership development in LGBTQ communities. Other LGBTQ grassroots organizations driven and led by youth and young adults play similar essential roles in empowering young leaders and building movements.
SUPPORT FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL ADVOCACY
At the federal, state, and local levels, LGBTQ and allied organizations need resources to respond to anti-LGBTQ policies and to advance progressive policies that foster a more supportive school climate for LGBTQ youth. Funders should also be mindful of the need for Both rapid response funding and general for general support and capacity-building to develop strong organizations at all levels.
SUPPORT STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS TO RAISE AWARENESS AROUND LGBTQ STUDENTS
Funders have an opportunity to foster a more positive narrative around LGBTQ students. These efforts may include collecting and sharing stories of LGBTQ students, especially trans students and LGBTQ students of color; building the communications capacity of LGBTQ education and youth organizations; and supporting research, messaging, and media campaigns to respond effectively to attacks on transgender students, students of color, and immigrant students.
Join the Conversation at GFE
At the 2019 Grantmakers for Education conference in New Orleans, October 22-24, Schott and Funders for LGBTQ Issues will be presenting on this topic in a session titled "Increasing Philanthropic Support for LGBTQ Students." Learn more here and register today.

Ed Notes Online: Leonie Haimson and Carol Burris TALK OUT OF SCHOOL

Ed Notes Online: Leonie Haimson and Carol Burris TALK OUT OF SCHOOL

Leonie Haimson and Carol Burris TALK OUT OF SCHOOL


Leonie and Carol on the radio every week. Here's their first show: Listen here: https://www.wbai.org/archive/program/episode/?id=5601
Topics:
  • Student privacy and school diversity proposals. -
Synopsis: Co-hosts Leonie Haimson and Carol Burris discussed the latest education news of the day, including the proposed student privacy regulations that would allow school vendors like the College Board to sell personal student data and use it for commercial purposes. More on this below, including how to submit your comments to the State Education Department.
Then they interviewed NYC parent Shino Tanikawa of the School Diversity Advisory Group and high school students Tiffany Torres and Alex Rodriguez of Teens Take Charge about the proposals to increase integration in NYC public schools by eliminating gifted programs in elementary schools and to stop screening middle schools by means of academic factors.

Also below is a link to the latest proposals of the School Diversity Advisory Group.
Guests:

  • NYC parent Shino Tanikawa of the School Diversity Advisory Group and high school students Tiffany Torres and Alex Rodriguez of Teens Take Charge. -
Playlist:

Info / Links:
TALK OUT OF SCHOOL

Air Date & Time: Wed, Sep 18, 2019 10:00 AM
Hosted by: Leonie Haimson + Carol Burris


BIO's

Leonie Haimson is the Executive Director of Class Size Matters, which the NY Times has called the“city’s leading proponent of smaller classes.” The organization is dedicated to providing information on the significant and wide-ranging benefits of smaller classes, particularly for at-risk children, to boost student learning, engagement, and graduation rates, and lower disciplinary referrals.
Leonie was a public school parent for 15 years. She received the John Dewey award from the United Federation of Teachers in 2007, was named one of NYC’s “family heroes” by NYC Family Magazine in 2009, and was honored as an “Extraordinary Advocate for our Children” by Advocates for Justice in 2012.
In 2014, she received the “Parent Voice” award from Parents Across America for her work on protecting student privacy and leading the success battle against inBloom, the Gates-funded student data collection company. In 2015, she was named one of the ten most influential people in education technology by Tech and Learning Magazine.
She co-founded and co-chairs the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy [PCSP], which has released two toolkits, one for parents and one for educators , on how to better protect student privacy. The Coalition has also been invited to testify before Congress twice in recent years on how federal student privacy law should be strengthened. Leonie also sits on the board of the Network for Public Education.
She has appeared onCNN,Fox News,MSNBC,Good Day NY,WNBC News,National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now,NY1,Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed.TV and numerous other television and radio shows. She has written for theNY Times,the Nation,Education Week,Washington Post,the Indypendent,SchoolBook,Huffington Post,Chalkbeat,In These Times,Gotham Gazette,City and State, and other publications. She blogs at the NYC Public School Parents ..


Carol Burris is the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education, a national organization dedicated support and improve public education. Carol served as principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre NY from 2000 to 2015.
Prior to joining Rockville Centre, she was a teacher of Spanish at the middle and high school levels in Lawrence, New York. She received her doctorate from Teachers College in 2003. Her dissertation won the NASSP dissertation of the year award. In 2010, she was recognized by New York School Administrators Association as their Outstanding Educator of the Year, and in 2013 she was again recognized by NASSP as the New York State High School Principal of the Year. In 2018, she was honored as the Outstanding Friend of Public Education by the Horace Mann League.
Carol has co-authored two books on educational equity, and her third book, On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the 21 st Century Struggle against Re-Segregation, is available from Beacon Press. She is the author or co-author of numerous journal articles on educational equity, and she has served as an expert witness of school desegregation for the U.S. Department of Justice. Carol is a frequent guest blogger for the Answersheet of the Washington Post.


Ed Notes Online: Leonie Haimson and Carol Burris TALK OUT OF SCHOOL


Democratic debate: Teachers got their big moment during the ABC debate - Vox

Democratic debate: Teachers got their big moment during the ABC debate - Vox

Teachers got their big moment during the third Democratic debate
Democratic candidates scrambled to talk about raising teachers salaries during the debate.

Image result for democratic presidential candidates’ DEBATE WARREN

Teachers got their moment at the third Democratic debate when Democratic candidates rushed to defend public education and proposed raising teachers salaries.
Education and raising teachers’ salaries are issues that are often decided at the state and local level. But even so, there was a robust education discussion during the ABC News/Univision debate — and candidates often returned to the idea of paying teachers more, even when pressed on more controversial education topics such as the role of charter schools.
“Some of it is simple, we just have to pay teachers more,” South Bend Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. “And we have to lift up the teaching profession.”
Candidates didn’t shy away from embracing teachers unions. At one point, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was asked point blank by a moderator whether she was “just jumping into bed with teachers unions.” It was a question easily deflected by Warren, a former public school teacher herself.
“We will have a secretary of education who has been a public school teacher,” Warren said, repeating a line taking direct aim at current Trump administration Secretary of State Betsy DeVos, a conservative billionaire who is a proponent of school vouchers and charter schools. “Let’s be clear in all the ways we talk about this, money for public schools should stay in public CONTINUE READING: Democratic debate: Teachers got their big moment during the ABC debate - Vox

Video: “Democratic candidates debate: Education” | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

Video: “Democratic candidates debate: Education” | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

Video: “Democratic candidates debate: Education”

Image result for DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE
The Democratic candidates for President talked a fair amount about education issues at tonight’s event.
You can watch that portion in this embedded video.





Embracing Public Schools as the Very Definition of the Common Good | janresseger

Embracing Public Schools as the Very Definition of the Common Good | janresseger

Embracing Public Schools as the Very Definition of the Common Good

The 2019-2020 school year is now underway, and in an ironic twist, in a business journal, the academic dean of the college of education at the for-profit University of Phoenix has penned a beautiful reflection on the meaning of public education. Dean Pam Roggeman understands the meaning for families and for communities of their public schools.
Roggeman writes: “This early fall, I’d like to honor the millions of parents who…  send their kids to school for the first time. Critics, possibly a bit removed from their neighborhood public schools, at times try to paint public education as a nameless, faceless bureaucratic institution that is riddled with faults. And like many other institutions, our public schools do have flaws. However, those of us rooted in our communities, with or without school-age kids, do not see our schools as faceless institutions. Rather, we associate our schools with our child’s talented teacher, or the principal greeting kids at the door, or the coach waiting for kids to be picked up after practice, or the mom who became this fall’s crossing guard, or the front office staff who commiserate with us as we deliver the forgotten lunch, and… also with the friendly bus-driver who will not move that bus until every child is safely seated. We rely on and embrace our neighborhood public schools as a community enterprise on which we deeply depend.”
Roggeman defines the reason public schools are one of our society’s best opportunities for establishing systemic justice for children: public schools are required by law to serve the needs and protect the rights of all children: “(T)here is one thing that our American public schools do better than any other schools in the country or even in the world: our public schools commit to addressing the needs of every single child. Our public schools are open to ALL children, without prejudice or pause. Our schools attempt to educate EVERYBODY. American students are students who are gifted, students with disabilities, students who need advanced placement, students who have experienced trauma, students who are learning CONTINUE READING: Embracing Public Schools as the Very Definition of the Common Good | janresseger

CURMUDGUCATION: Does Social And Emotional Learning Belong In The Classroom?

CURMUDGUCATION: Does Social And Emotional Learning Belong In The Classroom?

Does Social And Emotional Learning Belong In The Classroom?
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has been gathering traction as a new education trend over the past few years. Back at the start of 2018, EdWeek was noting "Experts Agree Social-Emotional Learning Matters, and Are Plotting Roadmap of How To Do It." But as we head into the new year, many folks still haven't gotten far beyond the "it matters" stage in their plotting.
I'm here to teach you how to be human.
That's the easy part. We can mostly agree that SEL matters; in fact, we ought to agree that it already happens in classrooms. It's impossible to avoid; where children are around adults, SEL is going on. Asking if SEL should occur in a classroom is like asking if breathing should happen in the room. The real question is whether or not it should occur in a formal, structured, instructed and assessed manner. That is the question that starts all the arguments. We can break down the arguments by asking the same questions we ask about any content we want to bring into the classroom.
Why do we want to teach this?
Some SEL proponents have developed a utilitarian focus. Summarizing the work of the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, EdWeek said "social-emotional learning strategies center on research that has linked the development of skills like building healthy peer relationships and responsible decision making to success inside and outside the classroom." But what happens if we approach what used to be called character education with the idea that it's useful for getting ahead? Doesn't SEL need to be about more than learning to act like a good person in order to get a grade, a job, and a fatter paycheck? Are you even developing good character if your purpose for developing that character is to grab some benefits for yourself?
We can reject that kind of selfish focus for SEL and instead focus on the "whole child," and treat CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Does Social And Emotional Learning Belong In The Classroom?

NEW REPORT FINDS THAT EDUCATION FUNDING IN MOST STATES FALLS WELL BELOW ADEQUATE LEVELS | School Finance Indicators Database

The Adequacy and Fairness of State School Finance Systems | School Finance Indicators Database

NEW REPORT FINDS THAT EDUCATION FUNDING IN MOST STATES FALLS WELL BELOW ADEQUATE LEVELS
The Adequacy and Fairness of State School Finance Systems


First Edition (April 2019)

When it comes to American education, few policy areas are as misunderstood — or as crucial — as school finance.
Over the past several years, a political and empirical consensus has emerged about the importance of equitable and adequate school funding for high quality K-12 education. Certainly, there are plenty of contentious debates about how education funds should be spent. But regardless of one’s opinions on specific education policies, virtually all of the options for improving America’s schools require investment, particularly for disadvantaged students.
We introduce in this report an updated, public database of state school finance measures, and present results for three key measures in this system: effort, adequacy, and progressivity. Our results indicate, as would be expected, that states vary widely on all three measures. There are several states in which educational resources are comparatively adequate and distributed equitably.


In general, however, resources in most states tend to be allocated non-progressively or even regressively, That is, higher poverty districts do not receive more funds — and in some cases receive sustantially less — than do lower poverty districts, even controlling for factors that affect costs, such as regional wage variation, district size, and population density. Moreover, using models that estimate spending levels required to achieve common outcome goals, we find that the vast majority of states spend well under the levels that would be necessary for their higher-poverty districts to achieve national average test scores.
We do not provide state rankings or grades in this report, as the interplay between effort, adequacy and progressivity is complex. We do, however, include recommendations as to how researchers, policymakers, and the public can use our findings, as well as our database, to evaluate state systems and inform debates about improving school finance in the U.S.
Authors: Bruce D. Baker, Matthew Di Carlo, and Mark Weber

Download the full report
Download the press release
Download the full dataset or use data visualizations



The Adequacy and Fairness of State School Finance Systems | School Finance Indicators Database