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Monday, December 2, 2013

Education in the Age of Globalization » Blog Archive » Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic

Education in the Age of Globalization » Blog Archive » Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic:

Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic


Maybe Not?

“Finland Fell from the Tip of PISA,” says the headline of a story in the largest subscription newspaperHelsingin Sanomat in Finland, according to Google Translate (I think it should be
Finland Falls from the Top of PISA). I don’t know Finnish but thanks to Google Translate, I was able to understand most of the story. The gist is that Finland has fallen from the top in the current round of PISA.
This is big news, with significant implications not only for the Finns but also for the rest of the world that has been looking at Finland as the model education system since 2001 when Finland was number one in the first round of PISA. Although results of the 2012 PISA won’t be officially unveiled until 10am GMT, December 3rd. the leaked story, published on November 30th, has already sent the Finns and others to speculate the causes of Finland’s decline. “The reasons are seen in the teachers’ continuing education in poor and outdated teaching methods and technology,” writes the Helsingin Sanomat story (courtesy of Google Translate).
While the Finns are right to be concerned about their education, it would be a huge mistake to believe that their education has gotten worse. Finland’s slip in the PISA ranking has little to do with what Finland has or 

Has DR Alison Coviello of PS 154 in the Bronx Foiled a FOIL Request?

Has DR Alison Coviello of PS 154 in the Bronx Foiled a FOIL Request?

In September of 2012, Betsy Combier put through a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requestrequesting any and all emails from DR Alison Coviello, PhD. and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx for any and all emails with my name featured. In November of that year the request was granted and
11 irrelevant emails were shared with Betsy.

In March of this year, Francesco Portelos requested the same. However, instead of just my name in the emails he made it broader, using more keywords and asked for a wider array of information;
Dear Mr. Baranello,
Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, please send me copies by Email of the following records:
Following information on Principal Alison Coviello and Superintendent Yolanda Torres.
1. Personnel files
2. Per session time cards from January 1, 2008 to March 15, 2013
3. All school expenditures Principal Alison Coviello has made since

School reforms revive decades-old debate on impact of money on education outcomes | EdSource Today

School reforms revive decades-old debate on impact of money on education outcomes | EdSource Today:

Louis Freedberg
The dramatic transformation of how California’s schools are funded is raising one of the most complex and challenging questions on the education policy landscape: Will additional money improve student academic outcomes?
The debate has been raging for decades – at least back to the landmark 1966 Coleman Report, a massive study headed by sociologist James Coleman for the U.S. Office of Education, which concluded that external factors such as parental income and education and resources in the home had a far greater impact on student achievement than levels of funding and any number of school programs.
The new funding plan championed by Gov. Jerry Brown and approved by the Legislature last summer will funnel additional money to school districts and charter schools based on the number of low-income students, English learners and foster children they serve. The extra funds are based on the argument that it costs more money to educate children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and with additional support, students will in the long run do better.
However, the school funding plan does not specify where or how districts must spend their funds. In fact, a central feature of the plan is to give school districts unprecedented local control over the money they receive from the state, in the belief that they know better than Sacramento what approaches will work best for their children.
The pressure will now be on those school districts to show that the infusion of funds will lead to better academic outcomes.
Relieved of numerous state mandates known as “categorical programs,” school districts now have enormous freedom to decide how to spend additional state funds, such as expanding preschool classes, reducing K-3 class sizes, hiring more counselors or teacher aides, repairing aging 

More on the Common Core: Achieve, Inc., and Then Some | deutsch29

More on the Common Core: Achieve, Inc., and Then Some | deutsch29:

More on the Common Core: Achieve, Inc., and Then Some

December 2, 2013

I hesitate to publicly confess that I find reading tax forms interesting, but it is true– especially as concerns the many nonprofits that are imposing their wills upon the American classroom. The IRS 990 offers much information on a nonprofit in a concise format, not the least of which are a nonprofit’s salaried individuals, board members, primary expenses, donors, and solvency.
I have written a number of posts related to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In this post, I examine a key organization in the creation of CCSS: Achieve, Inc. Whereas my reading Achieve’s tax documents served as the launch for this post, it certainly did not stop there.
Allow me to show you.
“State-led” Achieve
According to its website, Achieve, Inc., was founded in 1996 “by leading governors and business leaders.” The effort was well financed, with Achieve registering $2 million in total assets in 1997. By 2001, Achieve’s total assets increased to $9.4 million.
Note that the presence of “leading governors” on the Achieve, Inc., board allows one to call Achieve a “state-led” organization.
By the same token, one might also call Achieve a “business-led” organization since 

Should American high schools prepare any students for STEM?... | Get Schooled |

Should American high schools prepare any students for STEM?... | Get Schooled |

Should American high schools prepare any students for STEM? Common Core doesn’t think so. 

College professor Sandra Stotsky was on Common Core’s Validation Committee from 2009-2010.  She wrote a report for state Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, comparing Common Core's English standards with Georgia's Performance Standards.
Stotsky has become one of the leading critics of Common Core and also one of the most quoted. You can read more of hercommentary here.
 By Sandra Stotsky
 When states adopted Common Core’s mathematics standards, they were told (among other things) that these standards would make all high school students “college- and career-ready” and strengthen the critical pipeline for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  
 However, with the exception of a few standards in trigonometry, the math standards end after Algebra II, as James Milgram, professor of mathematics emeritus at Stanford University, observed in “Lowering the Bar: How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare High School Students for STEM,” a report that we co-authored for the Pioneer Institute.
 Who was responsible for telling the Georgia Board of Education when it adopted these standards in 2010 that Common Core includes no standards for precalculus or for getting to precalculus 

12-2-13 teacherken at Daily Kos

teacherken at Daily Kos:

President Obama’s immoral drone war
is the title of this powerful Washington Post op ed by Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson.  Consider the opening U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries may be militarily effective, but they are killing innocent civilians in a way that is obscene and immoral. I’m afraid that ignoring this ugly fact makes Americans complicit in murder. That is blunt:  obscene and immoral
teacherken at Daily Kos 11-30-13
teacherken at Daily Kos: mark as readA parent's response to Arne Duncanwho in continuing to attack those who oppose Common Core told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and thei

My first year, re-evaluated | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

My first year, re-evaluated | Gary Rubinstein's Blog:

My first year, re-evaluated

A lot of what has motivated me throughout the past twenty-one years has been the desire to redeem myself for what I considered to be an unacceptable first year of teaching sixth grade math during the 1991-1992 school year at Deady Middle School in Houston.
Nowadays, districts pay a $5,000 recruitment fee to TFA for the opportunity to hire the new TFA trainees.  I don’t know if back then TFA got any money for me.  I hope they didn’t.  At my school that year there were about 150 teachers.  Three of us were new, me, Jon, and Mitzi, all TFA.  I don’t know who the school would have hired if not for us, so it is hard to say whether or not we were a positive or negative influence on the school compared to what it would be without us.  Though that year did nearly break me, and wasn’t so kind to Mitzi or Jon either, I’ve always felt that, in the scheme of things, we didn’t do ‘damage’ to our students.  One reason for this was that we taught middle school so I was just one out of seven teachers my students had each day.  The other six teachers knew what they were doing so in some ways my class became an opportunity for students to try to learn self-control since the teacher wasn’t doing a very good job at creating a controlled learning environment.
Sometimes I hear TFA defenders say that while it is true that five weeks isn’t nearly enough time for someone to learn how to teach, four years isn’t enough time either.  This is nonsense.  With 

Playing Field to Prison Pipeline? | NewBlackMan (in Exile)

Playing Field to Prison Pipeline? | NewBlackMan (in Exile):

Hank Willis Thomas--"Strange Fruit"
Playing Field to Prison Pipeline?
by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan (in Exile)

In our contemporary moment, sport does much of the ideological work of mass incarceration.  Even more than others forms of popular culture, which peddle in racial stereotypes, celebrate law and order, and turn police into righteous crime fighters, sports has increasingly become a space that is central to maintaining America’s prison nation.  Because of the visibility and cultural resonance of sports, because of the number of African Americans involved in professional sports, and because of the centrality of “American Dream” narratives, sports serves as the public relations wing of mass incarceration. 

None of this should be surprising given the racist nature of America’s criminal justice system, and the centrality of race within contemporary discourses.  Public discourses around sports and criminal justice center race. 

Writing about basketball, Todd Boyd argues that the NBA “remains one of the few places in American society where there is a consistent racial discourse,” where race, whether directly or indirectly, is the 

Wahneema Lubiano Debunks the Term "Black on Black" Crime
Duke Forum for Scholars & PublicsWahneema Lubiano, speaking at Duke's "National Dialogue on Race Day," offers a critique on the term "Black on Black Crime." In Fall 2013, the Center for Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University partnered with Duke University for the first annual "National Dialogue on Race Day." The panel was co-hosted by Duke's Forum for Sch

Champagne! Celebration!: Thank You Education Policy Analysis Archives Readers | Cloaking Inequity

Champagne! Celebration!: Thank You Education Policy Analysis Archives Readers | Cloaking Inequity:

Champagne! Celebration!: Thank You Education Policy Analysis Archives Readers

Champagne explosion
I just received an email from the online peer-reviewed journal Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA). The readers, peer-reviewers, and authors voted Cloaking Inequity one of their seven favorite blogs. :) EPAA conducted recently conducted survey of their readership. They stated:
Between September 3, 2013 and September 18, 2013 EPAA received 461 responses to its annual subscriber survey (response rate 26%).
Cloaking Inequity is in good company as determined by the readers of EPAA:
The most popular blogs read by survey participants are: Diane RavitchEdWeekLarry Cuban, Cloaking Inequity, School Finance, Bruce Baker, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Contrapuntos.
Now that is good company. Thank you EPAA readers, authors, and peer-reviewers!!
Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 9.09.39 PM
Also, check out these EPAA papers on Teach For America and Accountability that I co-authored with Linda Darling-Hammond, Linda McNeil and others:
Does teacher preparation matter? Evidence about teacher certification, Teach For America, and teacher effectiveness. Linda Darling-Hammond, Deborah J. Holtzman, Su Jin Gatlin, Julian Vasquez Heilig
Abstract: Recent debates about the utility of teacher education have raised questions about whether certified teachers are, in general, more effective than those who have not met the testing and training requirements for certification, and whether some candidates with strong liberal arts backgrounds might be at least as effective as teacher education graduates. This study examines these questions with a large student-level data set from Houston, Texas that links student characteristics and achievement with data about their teachers’ certification status, experience, and degree levels from 1995-2002. The data set also allows an examination of whether Teach for America (TFA) candidates-recruits from selective universities who receive a few weeks of training before they 

The Common Core: A New Incarnation of an Outmoded Way of Thinking - THE DAILY RIFF - Be Smarter. About Education.

Students and the Common Core - Square Pegs in Round Holes? - THE DAILY RIFF - Be Smarter. About Education.:

 The Common Core: 
A New Incarnation of an Outmoded Way of Thinking
By Joseph Ganem, Ph.D.
In the apparently endless cycle of school reforms a new one is taking hold -The Common Core. It arrives with all the attributes of reforms of the past in that it is:
  •  Well-intentioned - I've attended informational meetings hosted by my county school superintendent with the state school superintendent, along with representatives of parent and teacher groups, all answering questions. I can attest to the sincerity of their beliefs in the advantages of the Common Core and their desire to do what is best for children.
  •  Intentionally disruptive - Teachers in my home state of Maryland, a state that has adopted the Common Core, are severely stressed as they alter their curricula and practices to conform to the new standards, and to the new expectations for how their job performances will be assessed. The teachers union in Baltimore County has filed a grievance protesting the additional uncompensated hours being required of teachers in order to adopt the new standards. 
  •  Arousing suspicions of nefarious motives - I was present at a meeting where a parent was forcibly removed and arrested for disruptive behavior. He insisted the Common Core was actually lowering standards. The video of the arrest, shot just a few feet from where I sat, went viral the next day and aroused the ire of right-wing pundits who saw it as another example of federal overreach into local education policy. 
  •  Surrounded by misinformation - Actually the Common Core is not a federal initiative or requirement. It originated from the states and states voluntarily decide whether or not to adopt the standards.
Despite these predictable issues that come with any new program, it remains an open question 

12-2-13 Seattle Schools Community Forum

Seattle Schools Community Forum:

Is There Such a Thing as "Casual Sexism"?
 I've been noticing many more articles about sexism and the Web.  I'm going to try to string some of these articles together in this thread to raise the issue of why more women and girls aren't in computer science AND why girls may not play as many video games (it might have something to do with the reception at online gaming rooms).The first article was a story on KUOW about UW and young women in
12-1-13 Seattle Schools Community Forum
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools This WeekA bit of an exciting week as the district welcomes two new Board members.Also FYI, the district is looking for members for its School Wellness Task Force.Seattle Public Schools is seeking members for a Task Force to review, revise, monitor, communicate and evaluate policies and procedures governing school food, competitive foods, nutrition

12-2-13 Ms. Jablonski's Class Blog

Ms. Jablonski's Class Blog:

The New American Center
Very relevant to the class discussion today, this article, which can be accessed here, reveals that the constant idea of great division in this country apparent through the 80s to now of 40% on the left 40% on the right and 20% in the middle is fundamentally incorrect. The recent survey reveals 21% on the left 28% on the right and 51% in the middle which is now being referred to as the new america

Ms. Jablonski's Class Blog 11-30-13
Ms. Jablonski's Class Blog: Phillipine Government S The typhoon that struckby Dennis Wu / 10h Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs reportThe unemployment rate suspiciously fell sharply right before the 2012 presidential election; now the facts have been revealed, the numbers were manipulated. Two years before the election an employee was caught fabricating data and a source says that this deceit was

Atlanta voters return to polls tomorrow in critical school... | Get Schooled |

Atlanta voters return to polls tomorrow in critical school... | Get Schooled |

Atlanta voters return to polls tomorrow in critical school board election 

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Atlanta voters will settle four school board races in a runoff Tuesday. (AJC photo)
Atlanta residents return to the polls Tuesday to settle four races for Atlanta school board.
Mark Niesse, the AJC reporter who covers APS, has a comprehensive rundown on the runoffs and what is at stake.
Eight candidates are competing. Any registered voter in the city of Atlanta can vote in the two races involving citywide candidates.
Niesse writes:
In all four races, the candidates recognize the need to increase Atlanta Public Schools' 51 percent graduation rate, hire a high-quality superintendent to replace retiring Erroll Davis, and improve academics in a school district that trailed every other metro Atlanta system in the Georgia Department of Education's ratings of public school quality.
"The upcoming school board election is critical because the winners set the direction and priorities of the city's public schools for the foreseeable future. The stakes couldn't be higher,”  said Michael Casserly, executive director for the Council of the Great City Schools, a national organization 

NPE Endorsements

Our Positive Agenda

diane-ravitchThe Network for Public Education has received a very positive response, and we are building alliances with grassroots groups across the nation. If you know of any who have not signed up, please tell them how to find us.
You know what we oppose: High-stakes testing; privatization of public education; mass school closures to save money or to facilitate privatization; demonization of teachers; lowering of standards for the education profession; for-profit management of schools.
Here is what we support:
  • We support schools that offer a full and rich curriculum for all children, including the arts, physical education, history, civics, foreign languages, literature, mathematics, and the sciences.
  • We support schools that are subject to democratic control by members of their community.
  • We support schools that have the resources that their students need, such as guidance counselors, social workers, librarians, and psychologists.
  • We support the equitable funding of schools, with extra resources for those students with the greatest needs.
  • We support schools that have reasonable class sizes, so that teachers have the time to help the children in their care.
  • We support early childhood education, because we know that the achievement gap begins before the first day of school.
  • We support high standards of professionalism for teachers, principals, and superintendents.
  • We support the principle that every classroom should be led by a teacher who is well educated, well prepared for the challenges of teaching, and certified.
  • We support wraparound services for children, such as health clinics and after-school programs.
  • We support assessments that are used to support children and teachers, not to punish or stigmatize them or to hand out monetary rewards.
  • We support assessments that measure what was taught, through projects and activities in which students can demonstrate what they have learned.
  • We support the evaluation of teachers by professionals, not by unreliable test scores.
  • We support helping schools that are struggling, not closing them.
  • We support parent involvement in decisions about their children.
  • We support the idea that students’ confidential information must remain confidential and not be handed over to entrepreneurs and marketing agents.
  • We support teacher professionalism in decisions about curriculum, teaching methods, and selection of teaching materials.
  • We support public education because it is a pillar of our democratic society.