Saturday, June 7, 2014

6-7-14 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

Opinion: Chancellor Should Take a Stand on Field Testing | WNYC
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña missed a crucial opportunity this week, as field tests started in schools across the city. She should have told parents and school leaders that they could choose whether to let their children participate or not. This is the third straight June that the New York State Education Department and test publisher Pearson more
Parents at Philadelphia School Vote Overwhelmingly Against Charter Takeover | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Parents at the Luis Munoz Marin public school in Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly to oppose a charter takeover of their school. “After a bitterly fought battle, parents at Luis Muñoz Marín Elementary have voted to keep their school a part of the Philadelphia public school system, rejecting a charter organization’s takeover proposal. “According to results announced more
Reflections on Oklahoma’s Repeal of Common Core | @ THE CHALK FACE
The first key reaction to Oklahoma’s defeat of Common Core is best described by a football metaphor. We’re celebrating like we’ve been in the End Zone before – no gloating or trash talk about the touchdown. This is true even though many of us, especially liberal Common Core opponents, haven’t had many political victories in more
Common Core testing group announces timeline for exam delivery | The Answer Sheet
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of the two multi-state consortia designing Common Core tests, on Friday announced its timeline for delivering key components of its assessment system to states for use in the 2014-15 school year. SBAC and the Partnership for  Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are, with some $360 million in federal more
New Orleans: The Biggest Scam in the History of Public Education? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
New Orleans will soon be the first urban district in the nation that is all-charter, the first district where public education has been completely extinguished. Because so much money has been invested in the privatization of the schools in New Orleans, there is a media machine that cranks out favorable stories about it. The state more
Public Schools—the Mortar that Holds the Community Together (Garrison Keillor) | janresseger
eff Bryant, who writes a weekly column for the Educational Opportunity Network, recently discussed the difference between conceptualizing education reform around inputs and outcomes.  Today our federal testing law, No Child Left Behind, and all the federal competitive grant programs like Race to the Top that prescribe punitive turnarounds for schools that can’t produce high more
REVEALED: Gates Foundation financed PBS education programming which promoted Microsoft’s interests | PandoDaily
In September 2011, a newly-launched nonprofit called the Teaching Channel announced that it would be producing a video series dubbed “Teaching Channel Presents” for PBS. The videos would be produced in partnership with WNET, New York City’s PBS-affiliated station said to attract some five million viewers each month, and broadcast on PBS stations across the more
What happened when George failed his state standardized test | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 6 at 6:00 am What happens to a young student who fails a mandated standardized test that decides whether he/she can move to the next grade, or to an older student who fails a test that determines if he/she graduates?  Here is a 20-step description of what happened to a boy more

JUN 05

Yesterday’s News | EduShyster
By Sue Altman Be warned, starters of small charters! You may have enjoyed a red-carpet spotlight in the past, but don’t expect much loyalty from reformy fashionistas these days. It’s a school-eat-school world out there, and on the path to global competitiveness and *bigger rigor,* there is no room for last season’s trends. Such is more
Peter Greene: Why Are Common Core Standards Written in Stone? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Peter Greene asks a simple, logical question: why are the Common Core standards written in stone? “Not just stone, but stone mounted in cement crazy-glued to bedrock all sealed in amber.” The Common Core standards are copyrighted. “…if you want to use them, you must do so as is, with not a single change. States more
Education Accountability We Can Believe In | Alternet
June 5, 2014  | Michelle Obama is very upset. According to reports from CNN, the First Lady finds it’s “unacceptable” that Republicans lawmakers in the House are pushing to allow schools to opt out of nutrition regulations that were part of a 2010 law that established new requirements for the country’s free or reduced-price lunch more
What Is Likely to Happen if Some States Drop the Common Core | Diane Ravitch’s blog
The problems with the Common Core are multiple. Many states are now experiencing a populist revolt against it, sometimes led by extremists parents, sometimes (as in New York) led by responsible veteran educators. Support is strong and includes the Obama administration, major corporations, Republicans like Jeb Bush, and educators who like the new standards. Opposition more
FEE: A Floridian Trip through the Reformster Swamp | CURMUDGUCATION
In twenty-one short paragraphs, Patricia Levesque of FEE (Foundation for Excellence in Education)  manages to set a new record for sheer Density of Wrong. This seems to be FEE’s specialty; in the vast coal mine of Common Core Carbonized Crap, FEE demonstrates the Supermaniacal ability to squeeze the raw materials of wrong into a shining more
Ohio Virtual Charters Tailor Ad Campaigns to Lure Students | Diane Ravitch’s blog
An article in the Akron Beacon Journal shows how virtual charters design advertising campaigns to appeal to students who are unhappy and feel bullied at school “With profits on the line, private charter school companies are advertising on television, radio, billboards, handbills and even automated telephone messages to entice students away from public schools. “And more
The education question we should be asking | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 5 at 5:00 am One area of education that doesn’t get enough attention in the loud education reform debate is exactly what is worth learning. In the following post Alfie Kohn explores this problem. Kohn ( is the author of 13 books about education, parenting, and human behavior, including “The Myth more

JUN 04

Why hedge funds love charter schools | The Answer Sheet
One of the features of corporate school reform is the interest that Wall Street has shown in supporting charter schools. Why?  No doubt hedge fund managers would say they want to support education and help young people have educational choices. But here’s another part of the answer, written by Alan Singer,  a social studies educator more
Florida Students Avoid Mandatory Online Classes | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Back in 2011, the Florida legislature decreed that every student must pass an online course as a graduation requirement. Was this decision based on research about the value of online learning? No. It was justified as a means of readying all students for an online workplace but there is as yet no solid evidence that more
Why Your Evaluation Is Dumb | CURMUDGUCATION
As you contemplate your end of the year evaluation paperwork, you are probably thinking (and not for the first time), “This doesn’t make any sense.” And you are correct. Current practices in teacher evaluation do not make sense– if you assume that the purpose of these evals is to actually evaluate teachers accurately and effectively. more
Lessons for Corporate Education Reformers from Hamilton Township, NJ | Russ on Reading
Hamilton Township, New Jersey Schools Superintendent, James Parla, took a brave step the other day when he addressed the issue of defacto segregation in his school district. According to an article on the school leader said: “Test scores are lagging and schools are crumbling and, more often than not, those conditions are at schools more
Update on School Voucher Study: Help! So Close to Go So Far, FIVE Funded TWO to go! | Cloaking Inequity
FIVE students funded TWO to go! We recently wrote: WE NEED YOUR HELP! Do you believe in public education? Do you want US policymakers to understand why decision makers in Chile have now judged vouchers to be problematic after 30 years of universal implementation? Do you have frequent flier miles you can donate? Sponsor a grad student more
Connecticut: AFT PAC Endorses Anti-Teacher Governor | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Jonathan Pelto reports that the AFT’s Legislative and Political Action Committee endorsed Governor Danell Malloy for re-election, despite his dismal record on education. The committee did not interview Pelto. He wrote: “The decision to endorse Malloy without an open process is a sad commentary on the state of politics. Putting aside the work I’ve done more
Market-Based Newark, NJ School Reform Epitomizes Tragic Nationwide Trend | janresseger
Dale Russakoff’s May 19th, New Yorker magazine piece, Schooled, on the public schools of Newark, New Jersey, is very much worth reading. Russakoff describes “one of the nation’s must audacious exercises in education reform.  The goal was not just to fix the Newark schools but to create a national model for how to turn around more
Pearson: Follow the Money | Diane Ravitch’s blog
It is curious indeed that Pearson has been so effective at buying a controlling interest in American education. It is curious because in school we were always taught that heathy competition produces better products, that America reveres an open field for new products, and that monopolies are clumsy and inefficient. We were also taught that more
Protest against PISA League Tables Goes International | Diane Ravitchs blog
A few weeks ago, educators Heinz-Dieter Meyer of the State University of New York and Katie Zahedi, principal of the Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, New York, wrote a protest letter against the international horse race inspired by OECD’s PISA examinations. They gathered other signers and went public. Since then, the letter has more

JUN 03

My Daughter Isn’t Going to Help School Testing Companies Refine Their Product | TIME
It’s free labor for the testing contractors This Program Improved College Graduation Rates. So Why Was It Abandoned? Here’s the Real Problem With America’s Educational System Bowe Bergdahl Could Get Five Years for Deserting, Expert Says NBC News Men Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington Post Comet Outlives Predictions “Our more
Look out, Chris Christie: The new war on public schools just might be defeated |
It’s no exaggeration at all to say that for many who claim to be part of a “school reform” movement, the goal really is to get rid of traditional public schools. If that sounds like an unreasonable conclusion to you, cast your eyes toward New Orleans where the last traditional public schools were just closed more
Stronger than the Scorn: How do NJ schools really stack up? | School Finance 101
This is my end of school year review for New Jersey schools. Indeed much of the data in this post is from years prior. Nonetheless, these data affirm a long standing strong position of New Jersey schools either in the U.S. or international context. On many occasions I’ve pointed out better and worse uses of more
National principals group urges slowdown in Common Core implementation | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 3 at 4:36 pm The National Association of Secondary School Principals is calling for a slowdown in the Common Core initiative, citing educators’ concerns about “the implementation of the new standards in their states and the inadequate training they have received to help them ensure that their teachers are able to more
An Inspiring Year of Student Organizing in Philadelphia | National Opportunity to Learn Campaign
The following post originally appeared on the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) website and is reposted here with permission. PSU is an OTL Campaign ally. As the 2013-2014 school year comes to a close, the Philadelphia Student Union would like to remind its supporters of all of the events and actions that took place this year. Severe budget more
Is Pearson Education in Serious Financial Trouble? | The Huffington Post
On April 3, 2014, Pearson PLC closed at 1008 on the London Stock Exchange, down from a 2014 high of 1365, which represents a loss in value of over 25%. According to a PSO Trend Analysis reported by, Pearson had underperformed the S & P 500 index by 23%. Company President John Fallon acknowledged more
When Will Bill Gates Admit He Was Wrong–Again? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Bill Gates has loomed large in education for the past decade. The reason is obvious: his foundation is the largest in the world, and districts are more than willing to accept his conditions in return for his money. When anyone asks Gates whether it is right that one man and one foundation should have so more
Reform for Other People’s Children |Deborah Meier – Bridging Differences
Author and advocate Mike Klonsky again writes to Deborah Meier today. This his final post before Bridging Differences takes its annual summer break. Deborah Meier will reply on Thursday. “What the best and wisest parent wants for his child, that must we want for all the children of the community. Anything less is unlovely, and more
SEC charges UNO with defrauding investors, warns probe ‘not done’ | Chicago Sun Times
The United Neighborhood Organization defrauded bond investors by “making materially misleading statements” about charter-school construction contracts involving an UNO insider, federal authorities said Monday as they announced they had filed a civil complaint against the clout-heavy group. The organization has agreed to settle the civil case, agreeing to oversight for a year by an outsider. ...rea
Pasi Sahlberg: How Are Finnish National Standards Different from CCSS? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
I invited Pasi Sahlberg, the eminent scholar of Finnish education, to write a brief description of how the Finnish national standards function. The key differences, as you will see, between the Finnish national standards and the Common Core standards is first, the role of teachers in writing and revising them, and second, that Finland has more
Ohio’s “Dropout Recovery” Charters Increase State’s Dropout Rate, Swallow Tax Dollars | janresseger
by janresseger Doug Livingston, the education writer for the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio’s top education journalist, recently reported on the financial scam at Ohio’s so-called “dropout recovery” charter schools. These are the on-line charters that say they are serving Ohio’s most vulnerable adolescents while in reality they are, according to Livingston, making enormous profits more
The real story behind drop in scores on N.Y. Regents exams | The Answer Sheet
Two educators in New York did an analysis of scores on the June 2013 New York State Regents exams and found something  interesting that somehow never made it into news stories, including a recent “exclusive” by one New York City newspaper. Read about it what it was below in the post by Carol Burris and more

JUN 02

How much do Oklahoma legislators hate the Common Core? This much | The Answer Sheet
It’s one thing to critique the Common Core State Standards. It’s another thing entirely to do what the Oklahoma legislature has done: pass a bill that not only stops schools from using the standards but also insists that new state standards are carefully compared to the Core to make sure there is no resemblance. That’s more
Book Review: Mercedes Schneider’s “A Chronicle of Echoes” Offers Tools for Defense Against Corporate Reform – Living in Dialogue – Education Week Teacher
By Anthony Cody on June 2, 2014 5:00 PM Fans of Harry Potter will recall the most valuable class at Hogwarts: “Defense Against the Dark Arts.” With her new book, “A Chronicle of Echoes,” Mercedes Schneider has provided those of us working to defend public education with a work that could be called “Defense Against more
Ohio’s Charter Dropout Factories | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Ohio has some of the worst charter schools in the country, which avoid accountability because their owners contribute generously to elected officials. Among the worst performing charters are those specifically designed for dropouts. Some of these schools teach students online. Can you imagine how ineffective it is to put a discouraged student in front of more
Stephanie Simon: Who Is Mining Your Child’s Data? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Stephanie Simon has written a startling story about the corporations that are collecting information about your child. This is known as data mining, and it usually occurs without the subject’s knowledge or consent. One such corporation called inBloom went out of business because of parent concern about privacy. But there are many others doing the more
Chetty and Friends Stand by their VAM | Diane Ravitch’s blog
The American Statistical Association released a brief report on value-added assessment that was devastating to its advocates. ASA said it was not taking sides, but then set out some caveats that left VAM with no credibility. Can a school district judge teacher quality by the test scores of his or her students? ASA wrote this: more
Common Core Ties Draw Jeb Bush Critics | Scathing Purple Musings
Jeb Bush’s support for Common Core Standards has drawn the interest of one of the state’ top political reporters. Writes the Tampa Bay Times Alex Leary:  WASHINGTON – Jeb Bush is one of the country’s most visible advocates of Common Core, forcefully defending the K-12 standards even as it puts him at odds with a conservative more
Raj Chetty, VAM, Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, and Me | Diane Ravitch’s blog
On May 3, I received an email from Professor Raj Chetty of Harvard University, informing me that his famous paper on value-added assessment of teachers was being published by the American Economic Review. The paper has three authors: in addition to Chetty, the other authors include John Friedman and Jonah Rockoff, also at Harvard. When more
You won’t believe these kindergarten schedules | The Answer Sheet
BY VALERIE STRAUSS June 2 at 4:00 am Anybody paying attention to school reform knows that kindergarten today is nothing like it used to be. Kindergarten schedules used to be dominated by play, but there’s not much time — if any — for that any more in many programs.  Play has been replaced with reading, writing more

JUN 01

One surefire way to wreck a public school system | The Answer Sheet
How do you wreck a public school system? There are plenty of ways, but right now let’s just focus on one district, the state-run Philadelphia School District, which has been starved for funding by the administration of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and has been a guinea pig for corporate school reform, with widespread school closures more
The Crucial Race for State Superintendent in California | Diane Ravitch’s blog
The race for State Superintendent of Education in California pits veteran educator Tom Torlakson–who has held the job since 2010–against Marshall Tuck, who is closely associated with the privatization movement. A third candidate, Lydia Gutierrez, is notable in the race for her opposition to Common Core. With the unions supporting Torlakson and the business sector more
Devil is in the Details: Teacher Tells Us What’s Up With Local Accountability | Cloaking Inequity
The current form of Texas-style No Child Left Behind high-stakes testing and accountability has run its course. It is very clear that after 20 years in Texas and 10 years across the nation, the sanctions and rewards (the rewards disappeared a long time ago) system never produced an education miracle in Texas (as posited by more

MAY 31

Hendy-Newbill gets a boost with endorsement from Ravitch
While UTLA, the Los Angeles teachers union, has endorsed three candidates in next week’s District 1 school board race, one has emerged as first among equals. Sherlett Hendy-Newbill has won the endorsement of the Network for Public Education, a public education advocacy group led by Diane Ravitch, one of the strongest voices in the country more
BOE joins national protest against standardized tests | Essex News Daily
BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield Board of Education has sent off to Washington, D.C., some 1,200 form letters bearing the signatures of local parents opposed to high-stakes testing in schools. The letters, which are to be delivered to the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee of the U.S. Senate, are part of a nationwide effort by parents and more
News Flash: Failed Education Policies Will ALWAYS Fail Our Children | Alternet
What do third-grade retention policies based on reading tests, charter schools, tracking, and parental choice have in common? First, across the U.S., they all have a great deal of public and political support. Second, the research base on all of these policies ( among many other popular policies) has shown repeatedly that they do more to more
Motoko Rich Shows: Far Right Opposes Common Core | Diane Ravitch’s blog
It is getting to be a dizzying experience to read about the Common Core on the Néw York Times. When Motoko Rich reported from Tennessee, she found an unlikely left-right alliance questioning the standards. A few days later, and the familiar script is back in place: only the far right opposes this fine experiment. Once more