Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Special Late Nite Cap UPDATE 4-10-13 #SOSCHAT #EDCHAT #P2




Preschool For All Plan In Obama Budget May Skip Some States

President Barack Obama's "Preschool for All" initiative in his 2014 2014 budget proposal is billed as a way to make sure every American child can attend preschool for free. Helping kids in their early years can ease achievement gaps and help them enter the workforce later on, the administration said.

"This would constitute the largest expansion of educational opportunity in the 21st century," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on a Wednesday call with reporters.

But the $77 billion measure, to be funded by a 94-cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes, is no sure bet. And even if Congress does pass the measure, it would not require states to actually expand preschool offerings. Rather, it would give incentives for them to do so, much like the Affordable Care Act. But the preschool incentive may be even less compelling to states than Obamacare, since Preschool for All doesn't help governors fulfill a 

Public education is a treasure we must protect

Public education is a treasure we must protect

by Peter O’Connor

Associate Professor Peter O’Connor is director of the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre at the University of Auckland.
(New Zealand) Teachers know they are in an ideological battle over the future of public education. That is why on Saturday they will be marching in civic centres across the country.
They are taking to the streets as they have little trust in the Minister of Education and if it is at all possible, even 

I’m not a theologian or educator: I’m “special assistant” to the governor.

Its been almost three weeks since Kathy M. Newman’s OP/ED (about opting out of PSSAs) went viral after being published in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.
That of course prompted Mr. Tim (not an educator) Eller to post a rebuttal.
In case you’ve forgotten, Mr. Eller is the press secretary to Pennsylvania secretary of education (Ronald Tomalis).  Between the two of them they have racked up ZERO years of teaching experience in K-12 public 


Please don’t read any more of this if you hate when grumpy old people make generalizations about modern society. I just feel the need to vent about something. DOES ANYONE TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING ANYMORE ?
With my wife requiring many doctor appointments these days, I have become increasingly irritated by the medical professions need to make “confirmation calls”. PLEASE STOP CALLING ME TO CONFIRM UPCOMING APPOINTMENTS! I wrote down the appointment date, I’m not going to forget it, I will bring my insurance cards and medication lists and everything else you feel the need to remind me about. These calls are getting 

Should Computers Grade Student Essays?

The New York Times recently reported on the introduction of software that is able to grade student essays and give instant feedback. It is currently being used in a number of universities; many others are likely to follow suit.
The student submits an essay and instantly receives a graded response from a computer. The student can then revise in hopes of improving the grade.
The software inevitably will be adopted for use in schools as well as colleges and universities.
Actually the Educational Testing Service already has an essay grader that can grade 16,000 essays in 20 seconds. Michael Winerip wrote about this in another article in the New York Times, back when he had a regular 

Bill Introduced: H.R.1222 Compact-Impact Aid Act of 2013

To amend the Compact of Free Association of 1985 to provide for adequate Compact-impact aid to affected States and territories, and for other purposes.

Bill Introduced: H.R.1200 American Health Security Act of 2013

To provide for health care for every American and to control the cost and enhance the quality of the health care system.

Goodbye Creativity and Imagination, Hello Common Core Writing!

I was at a meeting this morning, (Yes, another one).  This one was about Common Core writing standards. I sat there, staring blankly at the PowerPoint presentation being READ to me. (That's another post topic). The presenter showed screen after screen of what is expected of us next year when we implement the Common Core writing standards. My mind wandered to the soldiers in North Korea, all

Obama Administration’s 2014 Education Budget Proposal Boosts Pell Grant, Seeks Interest Rate Changes

The Barack Obama administration is proposing a $140 increase in the top Pell Grant plus more work/study funds and level support for minority-serving colleges and universities in a fiscal 2014 budget blueprint released Wednesday.
Overall, the U.S. Department of Education would realize a 4.6 percent increase, to $71 billion, for the next fiscal year. Also included in the budget is a plan to take Congress out of the business of setting student loan interest rates, instead moving to a market-based system.
One overarching goal in the budget is to address a “stubborn opportunity gap” facing many children and youth, said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. To help address such challenges, the budget includes more funds for low-income students and a $1.3 billion down payment on a new federal/state preschool partnership to expand 


The crusade to privatize public education continues gaining ground in the Florida Legislature, where the controversial bill to have a traditional neighborhood school transformed into a charter school, among other options, sails at full speed under the premise of empowering parents to turn around a school that’s failing their children.
This bill, with great symbolic importance to both sides of the issue, will be heard Thursday by the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The Florida House and the Senate Education Committee have already approved it.
Many legislators — some with strong economic ties to the charter school industry — promise the moon when describing the bill known as the Parent Trigger Act. Nonetheless, they present little evidence of its

Read more here:

A Year at Mission Hill Wrap: Chapters 4 and 5

by Dana Bennis and David Loitz in Blog

What Is the Goal of NJ's New "School Report Cards"?

Let's suppose we got a bunch of educational researchers together with the goal of identifying 30 high-achieving schools in New Jersey. Using a combination of test scores and course selections and GPAs and AP scores and attendance records and all sorts of other metrics, our raters would select this group of 30 "peers," all having demonstrated they are doing very well by various academic measures.

Once they had identified this group of schools, what should the researchers do? Should they gather the teachers and principals together to commend them for their achievements? Maybe give the students in the schools an opportunity to learn from each other in a collaborative setting? Certainly, we'd want to celebrate the achievements of these fine 30 institutions; we'd want to commend them, their students, their teachers, and their 

Connected From The Start

It’s my pleasure to announce the publishing ofKathy Cassidy’s new book about primary learners. Kathy is a long time friend and colleague who I’ve long admired and watched her own growth as a connected learner and teacher. I was privileged to be ask to write the foreword which I’ll share here:
Kathy with a student
In my personal journey with technology, there are two very distinct “aha” moments. Number one came in 1997 when I created my first webpage using something called html. Inputting some weird symbols on a screen, sending them up to something called a web server, using something called FTP, and then knowing that the page could be seen by anyone anywhere with an internet connection and something called a web browser was transformational. Computing was about possibilities.

The second aha occurred in 2003, when I discovered something called a blog. I should say that in my rolefor nine years as a district technology consultant, aha moments were not of much value unless I could help teachers somehow see the same value as I did. While the complexity of 

Bobby Jindal and John White Decide to Experiment on Special Education Students

Louisiana Superintendent of Education and Governor Bobby Jindal are experimenting on Louisiana’s Special Education students. This might seem like a harsh assessment, but as far as I can see the only alternative to this is that these guys are straight up stealing state and federal dollars allocated for special education students to fund pet projects, plug budget holes and provide additional funding to charter and voucher school operators – and that would be a violation of federal law and criminal – so I’m actually giving them the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Superintendent John White takes his marching orders directly from Bobby Jindal, who recently had to abandoneliminating the state’s hospice program and an ill-conceived reverse robin hood tax scheme that increased the taxes on the poorest citizens of our state so as to eliminate taxes for the wealthiest citizens and corporations.  This follows on successful Jindal campaigns to eliminate the office of elderly affairs, over the objection of the head of this agency – whom Jindal fired immediately after she voiced her assessment under oath that eliminating 

“This Is Boring” — Part Two

I’ve previously posted about a short lesson I’ve done on being bored and what students — and teachers — can do about it (see Have You Ever Had A Student Say “This Is Boring”? Here’s A Lesson On It I’m Trying Out Tomorrow).
A new article (Could boredom be curable?) in The Boston Globe follows-up on the research I used in that lesson and adds the results of even more recent studies.
Two ideas mentioned in the article are not “earthshakers,” but I still might try to add them to my lesson as strategies that students should keep in mind if they feel bored.
One is that research found that if subjects found that their mind was wandering towards pleasant alternative 

Terrible is the new Pretty Good

Sometimes it is breathtaking how crappy student work can be. What's even more breathtaking is how crappy something could be that I would still give a B or C to. Teaching in achievement gap schools does this to you. It's not that my expectations weren't high enough. I must insist on that. Every time I have started a new semester or taught a new class, I have had high expectations for what my students might do this term. I got excited, like you're supposed to. But the expectations were always Read more [...]

Arne Duncan's Next $5 Billion Corporate Bonanza Based on Same Mythology

For years the ostensible guru of value-added testing, Bill Sanders, told anyone who would listen that teachers are the most important factor influencing student achievement.  When Richard Rothstein, Gene Glass, and others pointed out the obvious falsity of this lie, the language shifted among corporate ed reformers to argue that teachers are the most important school-based factor in raising student achievement.

Well, that is sort of accurate in a misleading sort of way, with some caveats and contextual factors to consider, which has led even the conservative Education Writers Association to conclude that

Research has shown that the variation in student achievement is predominantly a product of individual and family background characteristics. Of the school factors that have been isolated for study, teachers are probably the most important