Saturday, June 14, 2014

6-14-14 NPE News Briefs ← from The Network for Public Education

NPE News Briefs ← from The Network for Public Education:

NPE News Briefs

from The Network for Public Education

On Florida’s School Grade Pause and It’s Politicized Board of Education | Scathing Purple Musings
The editors of the Tampa Bay Times preface their support for a pause in applying school grades in Florida by reminded readers that the existing scheme is already discredited. And while it’s extremely unlikely that any member of the highly politicized Florida Board of Education would pay attention, the editors make the case that they more
Panning A Charter Takeover of ALL Public Schools | Cloaking Inequity
The attempted charter takeover of the nation’s 14th-largest district is underway. Wealthy backers of the hostile takeover attempt have gathered enough signatures to force the anti-democratic maneuver onto the the November ballot. I first discussed the attempted takeover of Dallas in the post Beware: A Hostile Takeover of ALL Dallas Public Schools is Underway. I also visited Dallas on the invitatio
Judge strikes down California’s teacher tenure laws: A made-up statistic helped him reach the decision | Slate
This week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu handed the education reform movement a stunning legal victory, when he struck down California’s teacher tenure laws for discriminating against poor and minority students. The statutes made it so onerous to fire bad teachers, he wrote, that they all but guaranteed needy kids would be stuck more
South Carolina Officially Vamboozled | the becoming radical
If anyone is wondering why the “bad” teacher crisis remains central to what political leaders want the public to hear, South Carolina offers a heaping dose of why: Political leaders are enormously incompetent and need us all to remain distracted from that fact. Case in point: SC has now been officially vamboozled, passing a new more
Virginia Court Declares State Takeovers Unconstitutional | Diane Ravitch’s blog
A Circuit Court judge in Virginia declared unconstitutional a law that created a state takeover board for low-performing schools. Wonder if this was ALEC legislation? According to a release from the National School,Boards Association: “A Circuit Court judge has struck down a state school takeover board that would have stripped local school boards of their more
AFT’s Weingarten smacks Arne Duncan about his praise for Vergara decision | The Washington Post
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten just sent a letter (see below) to Education Secretary Arne Duncan blasting him for his statement praising a California judge’s decision to throw out five state statutes that provide job protections to teachers. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu handed down a ruling in Vergara vs more

JUN 12

New York Gov. Cuomo may face primary challenge from progressive Democrat | The Washington Post
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seeking re-election this year, recently secured the endorsement of the progressive Working Families Party, which had been expected to back a challenger but sided with the governor after he made a series of promises about meeting their political agenda. But a good number of party members are unhappy with the more
Williams and Kilfoyle: Why “Reformers” Today Are Not the Civil Rights Movement | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Yohuru Wiliams and Marla Kilfoyle explain here why reformers today are not entitled to claim the legacy of the civil rights movement. Their essay was written to mark the 50th anniversary of what was known as Freedom Summer, when advocates for civil rights risked their lives to advance the cause of freedom and equality. They more
The untold data crises at LDOE | Crazy Crawfish’s Blog
There is a data crisis at LDOE. Almost all of the data collection systems are failing. The data, statistics and reports being generated are garbage. Data is being ferried back and forth between the department and school districts using Excel worksheets and through e-mail correspondence. This leaves many students at high risk to data theft more
Chicago Teachers Union Reacts to Vergara Decision | Diane Ravitch’s blog
The Chicago Teachers Union reacts to the Vergara decision in California. Here is the key quote: “If we really want to improve public education, let’s provide all children the financial and social resources that children in David Welch’s home of Atherton, CA, the most expensive zip code in the US, have. Then we need to more
Are Reformsters Under Attack? | CURMUDGUCATION
I have generally avoided picking on quotes from That Woman that appear in her joint blogventure with Jack Schneider, mostly because I think it’s a worthy experiment that deserves some place to breathe. But recently she dropped an extraordinary quote that I can’t let pass. It happened in a discussion of unions, specifically discussing the more
Iris Rotberg: How the PISA Tests Mislead the World | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Dr. Iris Rotberg of George Washington University writes that international tests have Ben fraught with methodological problems for fifty years. None of the problems have been addressed or corrected, yet today the international tests such as PISA are driving educational policy in dozens of nations, all competing for higher test scores. Rotberg writes: “The methodological more
Charters In New Orleans Explain Why Students Must “Walk the Line” | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Many charters in Néw Orleans tape a line in their hallways and insist that students must walk on the correct side of the line. Reporter Danielle Dreilinger of the Times-Picayune writes here about this controversial policy and includes a video created by the charters to explain the value of this practice. “Critics say it prepares more
California PTA urges sane homework loads – The Washington Post
Race to Nowhere is a film produced and co-directed by Vicki Abeles about the consequences young people face today as a result of being over-scheduled, over-tested and pressured to achieve. Since the film came out in 2010, Abeles, an attorney and mother of three has been advocating for sane homework policies. In this post she more
Advice to the 2014 TFA Corps Members | Gary Rubinstein’s Blog
Posted on June 12, 2014 by garyrubinstein Please allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Gary Rubinstein, TFA Houston 1991.  Yes, that’s a long time ago.  You likely were born in 1992 so I was doing TFA before you were born.  That doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily smarter or wiser than someone who started TFA in more

JUN 11

U.S. Senate Spending Panel Zeroes Out Race to the Top Proposal | Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Alyson Klein on June 10, 2014 4:31 PM The Obama administration’s splashiest new K-12 initiative—a new iteration of the Race to the Top program aimed at bolstering educational equity—was rejected by Senate Democrats under a spending bill for fiscal year 2015 approved by a spending subcommittee Tuesday. The program, which was floated in the more
The Vergara Trial Teachers Were Not “Grossly Ineffective” | Diane Ravitch’s blog
I was curious to learn whether the plaintiffs in the Vergara trial actually had “grossly ineffective teachers.” The answer is “no, they did not.” Not only did none of them have a “grossly ineffective” teacher, but some of the plaintiffs attended schools where there are no tenured teachers. Two of the plaintiffs attend charter schools, more
The Teaching Force Is Largely Newbs | CURMUDGUCATION
In their article “The Greening of the American Teacher,” Mercer Hall and Gina Sipley focus in one finding of a CPRE report on shifts in the American teaching workforce. That report is worth a look all by itself, but we’ll save that for another day, because Hall and Sipley have some interesting insights to share. more
Co-Location of Schools in NYC Denies Services to Students | janresseger
In New York City, due to school “reforms” undertaken during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s three terms, all high school students now participate in school choice; there are no longer comprehensive high schools with attendance zones. Many smaller high schools and elementary schools were opened, and many are now co-located, which means that several schools share space more
A silver lining in the Vergara decision? | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 11 at 12:30 pm A decision by a California judge on Tuesday to strike down — pending appeal — five state statutes that provide job protections to teachers has deeply troubled many teachers and teacher activists concerned about the effect on the profession should the ruling stand. Here is a detailed more
Gates Moratorium Another Scam: Beware the Roadbuilders pt. 2 | the becoming radical
The road to hell is not paved with good intentions. [1] The road to hell in the U.S. of the 21st century is paved with the appearance of good intentions fostered by billionaires. Billionaires are our roadbuilders, and in education reform the main roadbuilder is Bill Gates. Gates is a billionaire education hobbyist who started more
Assessing learning without tests | The Answer Sheet
In this era in which standardized tests are the be-all and end-all of accountability, it may seem impossible to imagine a teacher evaluating how well students are learning without giving them a test. Joanne Yatvin actually did it and she explains it in this post. Yatvin is a past president of the National Council of more
Is this the beginning of the end of teacher tenure? | The Answer Sheet
Teachers’ unions just got whacked by a California judge who bought the specious argument offered in the “Vergara trial” that state laws giving tenure, seniority and other job protections to public school teachers deprive students of their constitutional right to an adequate education.  Though he stayed his Tuesday decision striking down five state statutes on teacher more
What Was the Evidence in the Vergara Case? Who Wins? Who Loses? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Judge Rolf M. Treu, who decided the Vergara case , declared that he was shocked, shocked to learn from Professor Raj Chetty and Professor Thomas Kane of Harvard about the enormous harm that one “grossly ineffective” teacher can do to a child’s lifetime earnings or to their academic gains. How did he define “grossly ineffective” more

JUN 10

California Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional |
LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education, a decision that hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case that overturns several California laws that govern the way teachers are hired and fired. “Substantial evidence presented makes more
Six arrested, hundreds protest Corbett, Christie during Phila. stop |
As many as 1,000 protesters, many angry about school funding, blocked traffic and waved signs in Center City on Monday afternoon, hoping to disrupt or at least deflect attention from a fund-raising stop by Govs. Corbett and Christie. “Our members are here because they’re being mistreated,” said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of more
There are no miracle schools, but there are a lot of really good ones | The Answer Sheet
For two decades,  Ellie Herman was a writer/producer for television shows including “The Riches,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Chicago Hope” and “Newhart.” Her fiction has appeared in literary journals, among them The Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review and the O.Henry Awards Collection. In 2007, she decided “on an impulse” to become an English teacher. She got a more
Time for Congress to Probe Bill Gates’ Education Coup | Alternet
The story about Bill Gates’ swift and silent takeover of American education is startling. His role and the role of the U.S. Department of Education in drafting and imposing the Common Core standards on almost every state should be investigated by Congress.The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and–working closely with the more

JUN 09

Tough Week For The Common Core | NPR
A few months ago, when I told friends and media colleagues that I was interested in the Common Core State Standards, the most common response was “What’s that?” Now, it seems, everyone has an opinion about the Core. And right now, opinions about the K-12 learning goals for math and English that have spread nearly more
How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost | The Answer Sheet
For five years  it has been said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $2 billion to fund an initiative to create small high schools in an effort to increase student achievement and graduation rates, all based on the premise that smaller schools were more conducive to learning and retention than larger more
Oklahoma’s Uncomfortable Common-Core Reversal | Fawn Johnson – The Atlantic
This one’s a big deal. Last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin reversed her previous support for the Common Core State Standards and signed legislation to repeal the new school guidelines and return to the curriculum from four years ago. She received thousands of requests from constituents on both sides of the issue after the state legislature sent her more
Before We Get Too Excited About Crumbling CCSS | CURMUDGUCATION
As the Common Core takes hit after hit, it’s easy to get excited. We shouldn’t. There are dangers to public education waiting in the wings. When the Lion Sleeps, the Jackals Feed An antelope may fight off a lion, may even convince the lion that it’s not worth the trouble. But the fight with the more
Time for Connecticut to dump the Common Core | Wait What?
Connecticut has wasted enough time and money on the unnecessary and wasteful diversion called the Common Core and its associated Common Core testing scheme. It is time for Connecticut to scrap the Common Core and re-direct scarce resources to ensuring that all of Connecticut’s public school students get the education they need to lead fulfilling more
Lab Rats – Welcome to New Orleans – America’s urban education laboratory| EduShyster
Do you dream of being part of our nation’s greatest experiment in urban education? I know I do—which I why I was thrilled to be the recipient of a recent Google ad inviting me to Teach, Live and Love New Orleans. Welcome to NOLA, reader, where you’ll find plenty of *that je ne sais quoi, that more
Ravitch: Time for Congress to investigate Bill Gates’ role in Common Core | The Answer Sheet
The critical role that Bill Gates played in the creation and implementation of the Common Core State Standards initiative is the subject of this story by my Post colleague Lyndsey Layton. She explains how Gates was persuaded  in 2008 by  Gene Wilhoit, then-director of the Council for Chief State School Officers, and David Coleman, at the more
How Charter Schools Promote a Two-Tier System of Education | Alternet
As an antidote to the “grow grow grow” mentality of the elected officials and business leaders pushing charter schools, a recent report by University of Oregon professor and political economist Gordon Lafer outlines what’s wrong with privatization of public schools. The report, titled Do Poor Kids Deserve Lower-Quality Education than Rich Kids? Evaluating School Privatization more
Time for Congress to Investigate Bill Gates’ Coup | Diane Ravitch’s blog
The story about Bill Gates’ swift and silent takeover of American education is startling. His role and the role of the U.S. Department of Education in drafting and imposing the Common Core standards on almost every state should be investigated by Congress. The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and–working closely with more
New Jersey Closes Small Charters to Make Way for Corporate Chains | Diane Ravitch’s blog
We have all noticed what’s happening in the retail business: the big-box chains like Walmart drive the mom-and-pop stores out of business by cutting prices. At a certain point, you notice that all the little local shops are gone, vacant. The shops in the malls are doing well, but they are not locally owned. They more

JUN 08

Big Brother: Meet the Parents |
By STEPHANIE SIMON | 6/5/14 5:03 AM EDT Updated: 6/8/14 4:58 PM EDT You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent. Moms and dads from across the political spectrum have mobilized into an unexpected political force in recent months to fight the data mining of their children. In a more
Melissa Katz Debunks JerseyCAN’s Common Core Cheerleading | Mother Crusader
On June 4th, the State Board of Education convened for another fun round of discussion about the education reforms proposed (and partially implemented already) to drastically change the face of education as we know it. The State Board of Education held (and is still holding – check their website for more dates) public comment/hearings on more
Just ask the teachers | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 8 at 10:00 am One of the central features of corporate school reform is that those driving it haven’t bothered to seriously ask teachers to offer their solutions to improving public education. Meg White, an assistant professor in the School of Education at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, looks more
‘Sweat shop’ kindergarten: ‘It’s maddening’ | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 8 at 11:17 am Last week I published some kindergarten schedules from school district Web sites that showed just how much kindergarten has changed in recent years as the drive to push curriculum down through the grades has gathered steam. Rather than learn through structured play, which is how experts say more
UWS Education Leaders Urge Boycott of Standardized Practice Tests – Upper West Side | New York
UPPER WEST SIDE — Education leaders are calling on parents and teachers to boycott increasingly unpopular standardized tests they say provide no value to students and are merely a boon to a well-resourced testing company. From June 2 to 11, local elementary and middle school students will be taking un-scored “field tests” in English Language Arts more
Top local teacher quitting because of low pay | Charlotte
by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte CONCORD, N.C. — A beloved teacher and coach is quitting the job he loves after making a minimal starting salary for the last six years. And his boss, the principal at Concord High, worries other top teachers will be right behind him because of the states low teacher pay. Brian more
Ipswich sixth-graders to Arne Duncan: Pay up! | Slate
Last week, two sixth-grade classes in Ipswich, Massachusetts, sent what we lawyers lovingly term a “strongly worded letter” to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan demanding that he and/or major testing companies compensate them for the time they spent trying out a proposed new standardized test. The students were among 81,000 selected at random to more
Capitalism vs. education: Why our free-market obsession is wrecking the future |
The 2014 State of the Union address was billed as the speech in which President Obama would finally reveal himself as the progressive champion we’d been promised. In the weeks prior, senior administration officials leaked word that the president would use his platform to declare income inequality the “defining challenge of our time,” a claim he’d first made two more
Alliances Across the Political Spectrum in the Movement Against Common Core Have Antecedents in the Depression Era Labor Movement | With A Brooklyn Accent
Many of my friends on the left, with the best of motives, have raised questions about my wilingess to work with Conservatives and Libertarians in the movement against Common Core and other top down attacks on public education. They think that alliances of this kind are both dangerous and historically unprecedented. However, while such alliances more
How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution | The Washington Post
The pair of education advocates had a big idea, a new approach to transform every public-school classroom in America. By early 2008, many of the nation’s top politicians and education leaders had lined up in support. But that wasn’t enough. The duo needed money — tens of millions of dollars, at least — and they more
AL law using public dollars to subsidize tuition at private schools ruled unconstitutional | Education Votes
by Brian Washington A program that pro-public education activists have called a throwback to the 1950s–a time when Alabama tried avoiding integration by directing public school funds to private schools–has been ruled unconstitutional by a Montgomery County circuit court judge. The Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 targeted students attending public schools that the state deemed more

JUN 07

More questions on evals’ accuracy | Albuquerque Journal News
Principal Robin Hoberg had no answers when teachers at Double Eagle Elementary School asked her to explain what they believed were errors on their new teacher evaluations. Nor could she explain inconsistencies in how teachers were graded on attendance and student performance. Despite controversy surrounding the state’s new teacher evaluations and many teachers’ strong objections, more
Can California Offer a New Model for Accountability? Or Are We Still Chasing Test Scores? | Living in Dialogue
A couple of weeks ago, Linda Darling-Hammond and Randi Weingarten offered an interesting take on the path forward regarding Common Core and high stakes tests. They suggest that the real problem is not the standards, but the high stakes tests currently associated with them. Remove these destructive high stakes, they say, and the standards and more
From Bad to Worst | Yinzercation
From bad to worse to – what’s worse than worse? A new report released this week shows that “the financial condition of school districts across the Commonwealth continues to deteriorate.” The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) surveyed the state’s 500 school districts and got some more
PA Joins Assault On Teaching Profession | CURMUDGUCATION
This week the PA House Education Committee pushed forward the latest assault on the teaching profession in Pennsylvania. Following the template pushed by StudentsFirst (a piece of naming genius right up there with “Peacekeeper Missile” and “jumbo Shrimp”), House Bill 1722 proposes stripping teachers of most meaningful job protections and seeks to line PA up more
School reform attracting billionaires’ money to Illinois races | Early & Often
Out-of-state billionaires and education-related not-for-profits funded by the mega-rich have taken a big interest in a couple of  statehouse races — a further sign that school reform is a critical issue  in Illinois. Billionaire Eli Broad, already a political backer of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, donated $15,000 to Gov. Pat Quinn in March, according to more
Students in Ipswich, Mass., Request Payment for Taking Field Tests | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Two sixth-grade classes in Ipswich, Massachusetts, lost a week of instruction while taking field tests, and they want to be paid for their time. “But for now the test is still in its trial period and Laroche’s 37 students are among the 81,000 that spent two 75-minute periods in March and two 90-minute periods this more