Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wake Up Parents of Harrison (And New York City) You Need to Control Your Child's Education

Wake Up Parents of Harrison (And New York City) You Need to Control Your Child's Education

Even though this is addressed to the parents of Harrison, NY and NYC, it is for all the parents of New York State and the USA.

Lexington and Concord. The first battle in the American Revolution in 1775, almost 240 years ago.

The Journal News. Saturday, September 28, 2013, the first battle in the Revolution to Take Control
Back of Our Children's Education. All led by a humble reporter, Gary Stern.

I predicted this revolution back in June of last year.

I walked into Vassi's Deli on Underhill Ave in West Harrison this morning to get my breakfast and coffee. My son just had a hitting lesson and we were looking forward to spending some time together. I grabbed my copy of the Journal News and on the front page saw the headline. "Critics: Test Scores Failing, Not Students," by Gary Stern. 

What a joy it was to read an honest and thought provoking education article by a reporter that has not been tainted by the poison of Uncle Mike Bloomberg;
Is it possible that 56 percent of sixth-graders in Bedford are not proficient in math? How about 70 percent of eighth-graders in Dobbs Ferry? Or 75 percent of seventh-graders in Nyack? 

Could 50 percent of seventh-graders in Irvington not be meeting expectations in English/language arts? What about 58 percent of eighth-graders in Ramapo Central? Or 

Major Bill Actions in Education - OpenCongress

Education - U.S. Congress - OpenCongress:

 Bill Introduced: S.Res.257 A resolution designating October 3, 2013, as "Jumpstart's Read for the Record Day".
A resolution designating October 3, 2013, as "Jumpstart's Read for the Record Day".
Bill Introduced: H.Res.357 Supporting the goals and ideals of National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.
Supporting the goals and ideals of National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.
Bill Introduced: S.Res.256 A resolution designating the week of September 23 through 29, 2013, as "National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week".
A resolution designating the week of September 23 through 29, 2013, as "National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week".
Bill Introduced: S.Res.259 A resolution designating September 2013 as "Campus Fire Safety Month".
A resolution designating September 2013 as "Campus Fire Safety Month".
Bill Introduced: S.Res.260 A resolution recognizing the month of October 2013 as "National Principals Month".
A resolution recognizing the month of October 2013 as "National Principals Month".
Bill Introduced: S.Res.240 A resolution designating the week beginning September 15, 2013, as "National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week".
A resolution designating the week beginning September 15, 2013, as "National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week".
Bill Introduced: H.R.2897 Access to Complete Education Act
To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants for core curriculum development.
Bill Introduced: H.R.2881 Support Educators and Reinvest in Valuable Education Act
To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase the amount of loan forgiveness available to highly-qualified teachers employed in low-income schools who teach in the same school district for five consecutive years.

9-28-13 Ed Notes Online

Ed Notes Online:

Reign of Error Review: Kozol on Ravitch, Speculating on Why There is No Middle Ground in the Ed Wars
Having Kozol review Ravitch is like getting the gold ring. Which means someone at the NY Times Book Review has some sense. The NY Post has a Michelle Rhee clone do the review. I imagine there are different forces at work within the Times and I expect we will see a different type of review when the daily Arts section, usually Janet Maslin, review the book.In the school wars I am reminded of The Ter
Join MOREistas in Win Back Wednesday: Our Children are MORE than a Score!
See MORE's entire Win Back Wednesday ToolKit, including stickers you can download and print at the MORE site: here is another excellent video from the MORE Media Team.

9-27-13 Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Leonie Haimon Goes to School and Finds Tweedie Implementation of Common Core Is a Disaster MovieSo, amongst all the inherent faults of the Common Bore, we have the totally inept Walcott-led Tweedies showing once again that they would find getting out of a paper bag a significant challenge.Heeeeere's Leonie:I toured school yesterday where majority of students are ELLs, either in du

9-26-13 Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Shame on NYC Ed Reporters for Supporting E4E in Event Closed to Anyone Who Doesn't Sign Their PledgeI saw the names of the reporters who are going to be on the panel and was sort of shocked that the "neutral" press would be on a panel for an organization that has banned people who do not agree with their pledge. In fact at one point I tried to go in with my press pass an
Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Portelos Hearing: DOE Legal Invalidates Chapter Leader Election at IS 49SIImagine a union allowing the employer to invalidate an election for building rep and remaining mute.  Multiple contract violations involved in principal's refusal to meet w. elected CL on a regular basis, consult committee, etc. Not that they ( union bureaucracy)  care.... observer at Portelos hearingHow abs

9-24-13 Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Where Are Rhee, Kopp, Klein, Moskowitz, E4E, DFER When it Comes to Defending Food Stamps Program (SNAP)? might think that ensuring adequate nutrition for children, which is a large part of what SNAP does, actually makes it less, not more likely that those children will be poor and need public assistance when they grow up. ... Paul Krugman, NY TimesYou mean SNAP might actua

9-23-13 Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Today: Back to Portelos HearingIt is game 2 of the Portelos vs the DOE et al and we expect some retiree MOREs to be there. We agreed not to reveal details until the case is over but we can write generally about the hearing. Transcripts are available which I assume can be published one day. See my reports from the last session.Portelos Hearing: NY Post Reporter Reuven Fenton C...He

9-22-13 Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Thanks to General Diane Ravitch for the Shout Out on Preaching to the ChoirIs Diane Ravitch the George Washington of the educational revolutionary wars? Can we call it World War D (for Deform)? Can we get Max Brooks to write that story?As I would expect Diane Ravitch took the point I was trying to make in my column this week in The Wave about and extended it to a place I myself wa

What Does Reign of Error Mean? | Assailed Teacher

What Does Reign of Error Mean? | Assailed Teacher:

What Does Reign of Error Mean?


Diane Ravitch has always been my go-to person for matters of American schooling.
Back in 2004, I was 25 years old and starting my fourth year as a history teacher. It was the year I decided to branch out and create a philosophy elective at my school. I wanted to enable my philosophy students to deconstruct the world around them. Since they had already spent a good portion of their lives sitting in American schools, I figured I would be derelict in my duties if I did not help them deconstruct the American school system.
Yet, I knew next to nothing about the history and structure of American schooling. It was an embarrassing knowledge deficit for a history teacher to have. Before I could break down the school system with my students, I would have to break it down for myself. This meant a spate of independent research for me. It was at this point when I first read Diane Ravitch’s work.
Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms was an honest, direct and well-researched survey of the American school system. Diane’s simple yet 

9-28-13 Seattle Schools Community Forum

Seattle Schools Community Forum:

Garfield Teacher (and Inspiration) Jesse Hagopian Wins Teaching Award
Garfield teacher and MAP boycott leader Jesse Hagopian was named the "Secondary School Teacher of the Year" last Saturday by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International in Washington, D.C.  His "Bammy" award was also joined by a "Grammys for Teachers", a special achievement award, for his work.The annual Bammy awards recognize educators from across the ed

Growth Boundaries Information
Readers keep asking about information and I'll try to put up as much as I can find. Growth Boundaries website.  This page contains links to:Presentation to the Board Work Session on September 17Handout from the Board Work Session on September 17Maps from presentation (Note:  I have also searched but cannot find a map that I am told exists of current boundaries and proposed boundaries on one page.)
Seattle Schools Updates
Saturday sees three Director Community Meetings:Community Meeting with Director Martin-Morris at Diva Espresso on Lake City Way from 9:30-11:30 am.Community Meeting with Director Smith-Blum at Capitol High Library, 425 Harvard Ave. E from10 am-11:30 amCommunity Meeting with Director Patu at Caffe Vita, 5028 Wilson Avenue S. from 10 am to noon.From Central District News, a story about unhappy Centr
HIgh Schools and Growth
A reader with background in planning and with much knowledge/background on the district and facilities offers these thoughts on what may be coming for high schools and growth.  (Gray areas are my thoughts as we go along and the rest is the reader's.)To understand: coming up fast is the possibility of very overcrowded high schools.  Not 5, 10 years out but probably three years.  But a three-year pl
Education News
You may recall my update on Common Core?  I left out the biggest news which is the looming showdown between California Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  The fight is over - what else? - testing.  From EdSource:Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday defended the state’s decision to suspend state standardized tests this year and instead offer students a practice test in the Common Co
Friday Open Thread
Good morning and it was a great talk by Diane Ravitch last night.  I'll have a wrap-up. A new program from Seattle Police: Do We Have Your Bike?  via Twitter.Right now, SPD has about 500 “found” bikes in storage at our Evidence Warehouse. Each one of those bikes was abandoned somewhere in the city, then later recovered by officers. We may have your bike, and we’d like to reunite you with your whee
Horace Mann update
I attended the final meeting of the Horace Mann African-American Community Task Force this evening. The meeting was not as well attended as the last one I witnessed, but it was productive. They have a deal.The ACIC is still in the building and operating, but they will leave peaceably so construction can begin. The District would like them out by the end of next week. You may be surprised to learn
How can we work to increase the rigor in general education classrooms
Inspired by Gen Ed Mom I am starting a conversation about increasing the rigor, challenge, opportunity and support for students working beyond the Standards in our general education classrooms.As I have written numerous times before, the Standards, intended in theory as a floor - the minimum that students should achieve - function in practice as a ceiling - the maximum that students can achieve. T

SEP 26

Want to Hang with the Seattle Education Elite?
But you don't have a ballgown for the Alliance's annual Black and Orange Masquerade Ball?  (This year with masks: Don't forget your mask! Creativity and mystery encouraged!)Relax, you're in luck.   The Alliance needs volunteers to be runners for their auctions (and, if you are good-looking, modeling the auction items on stage), check-in staff, you name it.  Should be quite the affair (and don't yo
Pinehurst News
Well, a report out from the public hearing last night that I believe is worthy of its own thread. From reader Danny: I attended the Pinehurst K-8 (aka AS#1) public hearing last night.It was just that, a public hearing for public testimony. No more real information was gleaned from it other than how important the school is to the community of people who send their kids there.One testimony of note w
Wild, Irresponsible Speculation about the West Seattle APP Option and More
The District is committed to creating an optional 1-8 APP pathway in West Seattle. It is written into the Growth Boundary plan and program placement has been made at Fairmount Park and Madison.But what will this optional pathway be like? Can it be self-contained? If not, then what? And what does this proposal mean for service delivery for APP elsewhere in the District? What, in fact, is the Distri
Open Thread for West Seattle Boundary Meeting/Pinehurst Meeting
If you attended either of these meetings and have comments or thoughts, here's a place for them.Early Tweets from the West Seattle Blog indicate a much lower turnout than the other two meetings (about 60ish), West Seattle's topography was ignored/not understood in these suggested boundaries, people unhappy to have bought a house for School X and now getting School Y.   I'm sure the WS Blog will ha
UC Berkeley Study on Teens and Sleep
From The Huffington Post:During the four-year study, researchers are working with hundreds of 10 to 18-year-olds who have trouble falling asleep and waking up. “Adults are good with eight hours of sleep, but because teenage minds and bodies are developing so rapidly, they should be getting about nine,” explained Allison Harvey, the principle investigator in the study and a professor of psychology
A Busy Thursday
To note for today:- Diane Ravitch, talking about her new book, Reign of Error, at UW's Kane Hall at 7 p.m.  It should be full so I would advise getting there early.Diane will be on KUOW at 1 p.m. today.   - another taskforce meeting on the Mann building from 5-7 p.m.  at JSCEE.  You'd have to call the district to find out which room because it changes.  I am not surprised they are still having the

SEP 25

Denny Has a Small (very) Fire Today
From Principal Jeff Clark at Denny Middle School:This afternoon at 11:30 we had a small fire in a garbage can in a 2nd floor bathroom. The resulting smoke caused the evacuation alarm to sound. As we were clearing the smoke, the evacuation alarm sounded several more times. Today is an early-release day for Seattle Public Schools — all students were released as planned at 12:10. All students and sta
Advisory Committees need volunteers
The deadline has been extended to Friday, October 11 for nominations to the School Family Partnerships Advisory Committee.The District is also seeking nominations for the Positive Climate and Discipline Advisory Committee.For more information, follow the links.
Common Core; Hitting Massive Roadblocks
The big question; will Common Core survive and, if it does, will it be so beaten down that it's unrecognizable?Story One:Huge Common Core supporter, Governor Rick Scott of Florida, on Monday withdrew Florida from the group known as PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) consortium that is creating Common Core assessments. From the American Enterprise Institute blog
The Back-to-School edition of the Seattle Times
I don't know why, but there are a whole lot of education-related stories in the Seattle Times today.Federal Way School Board president indicted in alleged tire-theft schemeNorth End school plan draws a crowdLA students breach school iPads' securityGuest: Transforming school discipline key to better educationEditorial: Rigorous process ahead for charter schoolsMissed opportunities in Seattle teache
Seattle Home Value Increases by Nearest School
From the Puget Sound Business Journal:Seattle-based online real estate company Redfin undertook a study to find out about the correlation between highly-ranked schools and local real estate prices and found out in Seattle, a highly-ranked school nearby can add to a home's value by more than $40,000."When accounting for size, on average, people pay $50 more per square foot for homes in top-ran
A Compassionate Teacher's Note to Students
A teacher in Indiana wrote this note to his students as they started testing.On behalf of critically thinking educators everywhere, I would like to apologize to you for having to participate in this absurd ritual.And I would like to remind you that whatever score the ACT labels you with, consciousness is not quantified and this test does not determine your intelligence, capacity for critical thoug
Seattle Schools' Growth Boundary Meeting at Hale
It was a full house but frankly, not as full as I thought it would be (and certainly not the crowd that Charlie had - Tracy Libros said there were at least 250 people at Monday's event).  There were three legislators there - Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Rep. Gerry Pollet and Senator David Frockt.  I saw just two Board members - Director DeBell and Director Peaslee (odd that Martin-Morris wasn't there - th

SEP 24

Seattle Schools Announces New Partnership for Roosevelt
From SPS Communications:Roosevelt High School was one of 11 schools around the country that recently joined 15 other PRIME schools, a program that offers a community-based approach to manufacturing education.The PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) model is a call to action designed to create strong partnerships between organizations, businesses, and exemplary schools to provide
What African-American Parents Believe about Ed Reform
This is a very interesting report from June of this year.  I found it quite telling especially since I hear this from some African-American parents as well as leaders (I have heard Trish Dziko from TAF Academy say this).   The report is through the United Negro College Fund.What is it they are saying?  It's right in the title,  "Done to Us, Not with Us: African American Parent Perceptions of
NCTQ reviews SPS SEA contract for OSC
The National Council on Teacher Quality, an Education Reform propaganda engine, has reviewed the recent two-year contract between Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association, the teachers' union.The review by the NCTQ compares the final contract language to the Seattle Public Schools’ Bargaining Platform and - inexplicably- the Our Schools Coalition’s platform as if the Our School
Too Much Emphasis on Sports in our Schools?
I agree with this author, Amanda Ripley, writing for The Atlantic.  I have no idea why ed reformers and others seem to look the other way as the dollars and resources and energy and time flow to sports.  It's a great article.But what to make of this other glaring reality, and the signal it sends to children, parents, and teachers about the very purpose of school?In countries with more-holistic, le
Community Meeting on Growth Boundaries - Mercer
I attended the first community meeting on Growth Boundaries at Mercer Middle School. It was jam packed in the Mercer lunchroom. The Hawthorne community turned out in force. School Board Director Betty Patu was there as were school board candidates Stephan Blanford and Suzanne Dale-Estey.The meeting began with a totally useless presentation by Flip Herndon, Michael Tolley, Tracy Libros, and a man f
Alliance/City Club School Board Debate
As I previously mentioned, there is a School Board debate this Thursday, the 26th, put on by City Club and the so-called Our Schools Coalition.  Somehow I received two different e-mails with different information so here's the correct info:It's at the Vera Project at Seattle Center.  Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and there's an awards program and then the debate follows at 6 p.m.  It is free. The debate
Tuesday Open Thread
I assume you heard Congress cut food stamps to thousands of poor families.  Interesting stats regarding children and food stamps:- 72% of SNAP recipients are in households with children- 210,000 students could lose free lunch at schoolNot good. Election ballots may be winging their way to you by the weekend.  I'll have some thoughts on that later in the week. What's on your mind?

SEP 23

Update on Pinehurst but Final Decision up to School Board
From Superintendent Banda (color mine):Dear Pinehurst K-8 families and staff:This letter updates our discussion regarding the possible closure of the Pinehurst K-8 program after the 2013-14 school year. The criterion for this decision is whether an alternative location can be found which does not result in unsustainable costs. We have reviewed numerous acceptable locations and none have been found
What's Up with all the Stars Deciding They Know Education?
 Update:  So NBC, apparently after receiving many complaints about the makeup of the list of speakers DID call and ask Diane Ravitch to be on a panel.  She declined, saying she didn't want to be a prop.  Good call.End of update.NBC News has been having these "Education Nation" summits once a year.  I had high hopes until I heard anchor Brian Williams say that they were being lead by the
Low-Income? Have a Smart Kid? Harvard will pay for their Education
Hard to believe but apparently true; if your child gets into Harvard and your family makes under $60k, that student can go to Harvard..for free.  (They do not consider retirement assets or home equity in their financial aid calculations.)   They eliminated student loans, preferring to offer jobs to help students with non-academic expenses. From Harlem World:For another year, Harvard University ann
Walk the Boundaries - Here's How
There was no press release on this from SPS so I checked and here's what's at the Growth Boundaries website on Walk the Boundaries (bold/color mine):"Community Input — Walk the Boundaries As part of the process, community members are invited to "Walk the Boundaries" and record their observations between September 18 and October 1, 2013. This provides a public, feet-on-the-ground rev
It's Banned Books Week - How Many Have You Read?
The American Library Association sponsors Baned Books Week every year to highlight censorship around our country.    From The Answer Sheet:"More than 11,300 books have been challenged in libraries and schools since 1982, when Banned Books Week began. The 10 most challenged books in 2012 were: Captain Underpants (series), by Dav PilkeyReasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age groupThe Abso
Why is Your Student Taking an AP Course?
From Education Week's Caralee Adams:I'm looking for high school students to interview about why they are taking AP for an upcoming @educationweek story. Email
Washington State Charter News
 Update:  apparently Tacoma School District is now reconsidering becoming a charter authorizer.   They had paused their letter of intent because of the lack of clarity around rules but now that the Board of Ed and the Charter Commission have cleared up those issues, Tacoma may change its mind.  What's interesting is their School Board had voted in unison against 1240 saying it would hurt their dis
Boundary Change push back
I've now heard of two neighborhoods that are not happy with boundary changes.Members of the Hawthorne Elementary community is not happy about having their middle school assignment changed from Mercer to Aki Kurose.Members of the Georgetown community are not happy about having their elementary school assignment changed from Maple to Van Asselt.From a press release (yes, a press release!) about the

SEP 22

Mann Building Update
Well, sort of an update.  I am still waiting for a reply to what did or did not happen on September 18th at the Mann building.I am more confused than ever.  It is clear that - for whatever reason - the terms of the lease were  enforced by the district.   I have no idea what is really going on because the terms of the lease are fairly clear.   There was a letter sent to Superintendent Banda on Augu
Seattle Schools Updates
This can be an open thread on issues at your school.  I've heard from several schools that have concerns about academics and growth boundaries.UPDATE:  I am also hearing that hours for nurses are being reduced at schools to about 1 day a week (or less).  I'll have to check into this because while I love the idea of health centers at all the comprehensive high schools (and a couple of middle school
OSPI Doesn't Spot-Check State Tests
The Seattle Times has quite the lengthy article about how Washington State could have a cheating scandal, but doesn't know it, because OSPI doesn't do spot-checks on student tests. I read this article waiting for some evidence to show itself but it didn't. I'm not saying the theory is wrong but apparently, not that many districts or even schools rise to a level of concern in Washington State. The
State Not Spot-Checking Test Scores
The Seattle Times has quite the lengthy article about how Washington State could have a cheating scandal, but doesn't know it, because OSPI doesn't do spot-checks on student tests. I read this article waiting for some evidence to show itself but it didn't.  I'm not saying the theory is wrong but apparently, not that many districts or even schools rise to a level of concern in Washington State.   T
State Not Spot-Checking Test Scores
The Seattle Times has quite the lengthy article about how Washington State could have a cheating scandal, but doesn't know it, because OSPI doesn't do spot-checks on student tests. I read this article waiting for some evidence to show itself but it didn't.  I'm not saying the theory is wrong but apparently, not that many districts or even schools rise to a level of concern in Washington State.   T
Seattle Education This Week
Not a lot on the district front except for the Growth Boundaries community meetings. Monday, Sept. 23Growth Boundary Meeting in the Mercer Middle School lunchroom, 1600 South Columbian Way from 6:30-8 p.m.Tuesday, Sept. 24Growth Boundary Meeting in the Commons at Nathan Hale High School, 10750- 30th Ave NE from 6:30- 8 p.m.Wednesday, Sept. 25Growth Boundary Meeting in the Commons at West Seattle H
Kid falls through skylight at Eckstein
All I know about this is what I read in the paper. But I am curious. What were kids doing on the roof at Eckstein? How could one of them be so foolish as to fall through a skylight?

SEP 21

Laugh of the Week Courtesy of DFER
You remember DFER, right? Democrats for Education Reform, a small outlier of Dems who love ed reform. Well, they valiantly trudge on, trying to seem relevant.I'm on their Twitter feed and I noticed an op-ed at their website authored by a young "progressive" Dem, a student at Harvard named Colin Diersing. He was decrying the education view of the winner of the Democrat race for mayor of N
Thoughts on Homework?
From The Atlantic magazine, one father's account of doing - not for his children but to understand their workload - his daughters' homework for a week.  Crazy amount of work.It turns out that there is no correlation between homework and achievement. According to a 2005 study by the Penn State professors Gerald K. LeTendre and David P. Baker, some of the countries that score higher than the U.S. on
Free Day of Music Tomorrow at Benaroya Hall
From the Seattle Symphony:The Seattle Symphony and Music Director Ludovic Morlot invite the public to experience the thrill of live music at Benaroya Hall with a FREE Day of Music on Sunday, September 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 35 musical acts representing a wide array of styles — from rock and hip hop to jazz, classical and folk — will appear on multiple stages throughout Benaroya Hall,
One Day Volunteer Opportunity to Help a Kid Get into College
From my friends at 826 Seattle:COLLEGE ENTRANCE ESSAY MARATHONSDo you remember writing your college application essays? The fear? The frustration? The complete distrust of your parents' unsolicited opinions? We here at 826 Seattle are committed to assuaging all of these rather unpleasant feelings by way of our Fourth Annual College Entrance Essay Marathon! We've expanded our offerings this year to
Ravitch versus Rhee; a Solid Comparison of Books and Views
From the New York Review of Books comes a comparison review of Diane Ravitch's new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools and Michelle Rhee's book, Radical: Fighting to Put Students First.  (Ravitch's book just came out and is now #1 in sales at Amazon.  Ravitch will be speaking this week, Thursday the 26th, at UW's Kane Hall  from 7
Program Placement - yes, again
This is going to be yet another rant of mine about program placement. I know that I go on about this, but it continues to be a sore point for me. I imagine that some folks must be really tired of reading about this topic, so I will put everything after the jump.One of the primary directives for program placement is to place the programs close to where the students live. That's written into the pol