Saturday, March 15, 2014

All Week @ The Answer Sheet 3-15-14

The Answer Sheet:

All Week @ The Answer Sheet

Teacher: I was evaluated with test scores of students I don’t have
Julie Hiltz is a media specialist at Lutz Elementary in Hillsborough County, Florida, and a National Board Certified Teacher with 12 years of experience. She is also a 2013-14 Center for Teaching Quality Teacherpreneur, who is spending half of her workweek this school year engaging colleagues across the state in teacher evaluation and Common Core reforms. Recently, Florida […]    

Ten clueless things people say to teachers — and comebacks teachers can throw right back
People say the craziest things to teachers about their profession. Like what? Like how easy their jobs are, and how anybody can do it. Here is a list of some of the common idiocies along with some useful comebacks, compiled and written by Cindy Long and originally published in NEA Today, a publication of the National […]    


‘Sit and stare’ — what some kids who opt out of tests are forced to do
A new policy is being enacted in some school districts across the country known as “sit and stare.” What is that? “Sit and stare” policies are enforced on those students whose parents have opted them out of taking a high-stakes standardized test but who are still required to be in the school building when the […]    
Netflix’s Reed Hastings has a big idea: Kill elected school boards
There seems to be no end to the expertise that America’s billionaires possess and are happy to share with the rest of us about public education. Apparently making a fortune in the business world makes them experts on how to educate children. Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mark Zuckerberg, various Waltons — these are just some […]    
How ‘platooning’ and data walls are changing elementary school
You may have heard about the increasing use in schools of data walls on which teachers often post children’s names along with their test scores and other academic information that too often humiliates kids who don’t do well and violate federal student privacy laws. But have you heard about “platooning?” In this post three education […]    

MAR 13

Homework hurts high-achieving students, study says
This won’t come as any surprise to many teenagers but here goes: A new study finds that a heavy homework load negatively impacts the lives of high school students in upper middle-class communities, resulting in excess stress, physical problems and little or no time for leisure. What’s too much homework? According to the study, published in […]    
How to make school important in places that it isn’t
All of the reforms pushed onto public school districts in recent years fail to take into account that in many parts of the United States, going to school just isn’t very important. In this post, Joanne Yatvin, a past president of the National Council of Teachers of English who now supervises student teachers for Portland […]    
The link between charter school expansion and increasing segregation
One thing that proponents of the broad expansion of charter schools never talk about is the evidence of how charters are leading to increasing segregation by race, ethnicity and income. Here George Washington University Research Professor Iris C. Rotberg explores this connection. She is the co-director of the Center for Curriculum, Standards and Technology at George Washington […]    

MAR 12

Video: Kids with severe disabilities taking mandatory standardized test
This video  shows children with profound disabilities taking a standardized test called the Florida Alternate Assessment as required by the state but opposed by many of their teachers and parents. And below is a letter from the principal of another school serving students with similar disabilities explaining why forcing these youngsters to take the test […]    
Why NYC mayor is getting unfairly bashed over charter schools
The level of discourse over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to allow several charter schools to co-locate in the buildings of traditional public schools has reached a hysterical pitch. He is, if you listen to his many critics, a bad man who doesn’t care about minority children. Really? Let’s look at […]    
Why the Common Core flunks on civic education
Do the Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts promote authentic civic learning? This article in The Atlantic magazine says yes. The following post says “no.” It was written by Nicole Mirra, a former classroom teacher and an education researcher at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Her main interest is infusing […]    
D.C. school system’s gaping achievement gaps — in seven graphs
In his 2014 State of the District speech, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray talked Tuesday night about the “significant progress” that the D.C. Public Schools systems have made in recent years — progress that is measured by (of course) standardized test scores. For seven years D.C. schools have been undergoing standardized test-based reforms, first under former […]    

MAR 11

How billionaire-funded ‘ed reform’ groups push charters, vouchers
How powerful are organizations such as  Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst and other like-minded groups that support charter schools, voucher programs and the weakening of teachers unions.? The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization that works to reveal abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by public and private institutions, takes […]  
Teachers union cites Common Core in decision to cut Gates funding
The American Federation of Teachers, which has won millions of dollars in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will no longer accept foundation money for its Innovation Fund. Union members have expressed concern about the poor implementation in many states of the Common Core State Standards, one of the initiatives in which the […]    
This took Teach For America 24 years to figure out?
This took Teach For America 24 years to figure out? The nonprofit organization — which was founded in 1990 and is famous for recruiting young people, giving them five weeks of summer training and then placing them in high-needs schools in low-income communities — has decided that just maybe some of its recruits need more […]    
13 ways high-stakes standardized tests hurt students
It’s time for March Madness — not the famous college basketball tournament but the start of high-stakes standardized testing season in many school districts around the country. I’ve published many posts on how standardized test scores are inappropriately used to evaluate students, educators and schools, but there are plenty of other costs to students as […]    

MAR 10

The myth of Common Core equity
The Common Core State Standards were originally promoted as a way of raising academic standards for all children around the country. But is the initiative really about equitable outcomes? Here’s a post that takes on that question, by award-winning New York Principal Carol Burris and Alan A. Aja, assistant  professor and deputy chair in the […]    
How to get kids from low-income families into the arts
High-quality arts programs are known to provide myriad benefits to students who participate in them — but getting kids to sign up isn’t easy. What attracts young students — especially those from low-income families — to specific arts programs? Peter Rogovin and Denise Montgomery of Next Level Strategic Marketing Group are authors of a new […]    
Why the Obama administration should drop its college rating plan
The Obama administration is developing a system to rate colleges and universities by 2015 that will be based on a yet-to-be-determined set of criteria that could include data points such as average tuition and how much graduates earn. Part of the system involves getting congressional approval (which isn’t likely) to direct more federal student aid […]    

MAR 09

A truly ugly standardized testing story
You’d think that being severely brain damaged, blind and bound to a wheelchair  in 2013 would have been enough of a clue that Ethan Rediske was not able to take a required standardized test in 2014. Or the fact that he was in hospice care, dying. Yet parents Andrea and Chris Rediske of Orange County […]    
11 key questions on standardized testing for Congress to answer
The nonprofit Network for Public Education, a coalition of education organizations fighting the privatization of public schools, has asked key congressional committees to hold formal hearings on the overuse of high-stakes standardized tests as a result of federal and state laws. The advocacy group was founded last by activists including education historian Diane Ravitch, who has […]    

MAR 08

Why bother teaching a severely brain-damaged boy? His mom explains.
Should government funds be spent trying to educate severely disabled children like the late Ethan Rediske, who was severely brain-damaged, blind and confined to a wheelchair? Andrea Rediske, his mom, explains in this powerful post why the answer is “yes” — but why insisting on giving him and other severely disabled children standardized tests is ludicrous. […]    
The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning
What is Social Emotional Learning? According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, it involves the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and