Latest News and Comment from Education

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cuomo, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Receivership: Whipping School Communities Does Not Create More Effective Schools, Working Together Really Does Work. | Ed In The Apple

Cuomo, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Receivership: Whipping School Communities Does Not Create More Effective Schools, Working Together Really Does Work. | Ed In The Apple:

Cuomo, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Receivership: Whipping School Communities Does Not Create More Effective Schools, Working Together Really Does Work.

Is something going on with Jim Malatras and Meryl Tisch? Another billet doux, not quite a Valentine Day greeting.
Back in December Malatras, Cuomo’s policy wonk authored an accusatory letter demanding that the chancellor respond to nineteen questions (“Fifty Shades of Grey” ??), the chancellor, meekly, provided a 20-page letter pretty much accepting the flailings of the governor. (Read an earlier blog here)
Cuomo rolled the Malatras letter and the Tisch response into his annual State of the State message, the governor, reminds me a little of Christian Grey displaying his whips and chains and threatening what he sees as a submissive teacher workforce. Well, hasn’t quite worked out that way as the teacher union and their allies fight back, thousands upon thousands of tweets, rallies, TV and radio, and the public increasingly wonders why the governor is bullying their kid’s teacher.
Malatras latest letter asks Tisch to respond to the governor’s vague “receivership” concept,
One of New York State’s greatest failures has been the persistent state of our failing schools. As you know there are 178 failing schools in New York State [note: there are 4400 schools in the state] and 77 have been failing for a decade…
That is why the Governor adopted your recommendation note: [the Regents have never discussed this issue] and proposed a law based on the Massachusetts receivership model with an added provision that these schools become community schools with wraparound and other services…
A broad section of education stakeholders have supported the Massachusetts approach [note: who are they?], including the AFT President Randi Weingarten, who supports the model in the Lawrence School District…
[the governor would] like SED to further research the Massachusetts model by performing a comprehensive data and field analysis to see how and why the Cuomo, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Receivership: Whipping School Communities Does Not Create More Effective Schools, Working Together Really Does Work. | Ed In The Apple:

What It's Like to Take a Common Core Test - US News

What It's Like to Take a Common Core Test - US News:

What It's Like to Take a Common Core Test

I took a third-grade Common Core test, and it was kind of difficult

Parents and teachers are testing the new Common Core assessments, and many are concerned.
A defining moment for the Common Core State Standards movement will come next week, when students nationwide will begin taking standardized tests tailored to the much-maligned academic standards.
Parents, teachers and school leaders have expressed concern that the tests may be too difficult or time-consuming, or that their schools' technology might not be up to snuff for what the tests require. To give stakeholders a better idea of what's coming, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – one of two testing consortia developing the tests – has released practice tests on its website.
The beginning of testing season comes in the midst of congressional efforts to reauthorize and update the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires public school students to be tested once annually in math and English in third through eighth grade, and again in each subject once in high school. In total, federal mandates account for 17 tests students take throughout their academic careers: seven for English, seven for math and three grade-span tests (once each in elementary, middle and high school) for science. And states and local school districts have added other tests to comply with requirements that student growth be used as a factor in teacher evaluations.
I took a practice, computer-based PARCC test at the third-grade level for both math and English language arts, and participated in a webinar the consortium hosted for reporters this week to explain how the new assessments differ from previous tests states have administered. For time's sake, I did not write the two essays required in the English assessment. It took me about an hour to complete the two sample tests, one of which featured 13 questions and the other 17.
PARCC officials who spoke during the webinar said the English and math tests make fundamental shifts in how they measure what students know and are able to do. In English and literacy, the tests focus on "building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction," they said, as well as assessing reading, writing and speaking skills. The math exams, meanwhile, are meant to contain less content than previous tests, but focus on a deeper understanding of certain concepts, they told reporters. The exams are also meant to connect concepts within and across grades, and to be more rigorous in the sense that they focus equally on understanding concepts, demonstrating skills and applying those skills.
The computer-based format of the test was intuitive enough to understand. I was able to easily click through the questions, drag and drop items to different places on the page when required and use the drop-down menu to select different items.
As for the questions themselves, I can't personally speak to whether their content is grade-level appropriate, as I am neither an educator nor a current third-grade student. Any difficulty I had also could stem from the facts that I haven't taken a math class since 2008 and finished third grade in 1999.
On the math exam (answer key here), some questions focused on fairly basic concepts about addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, and beginning geometry, such as finding the area of a rectangle. Others asked the test-taker to explain how a hypothetical reasoning was or was not correct.
For example, one question reads:
"Cindy is finding the quotient of 27 ÷ 9. She says, 'The answer is 18 because addition is the opposition of division and 9 + 18 = 27.'"
The test-taker would then have to explain why Cindy's reasoning is incorrect in the first part of the question, and then explain how she could correct her reasoning and find the quotient in the second part.
In the third-grade English exam (answer key here), test-takers read three short stories, each consisting of about 30 short paragraphs. Some questions are not new in terms of standardized tests – they ask What It's Like to Take a Common Core Test - US News:

Boycotters Might Be Winning the Battle Over Standardized Testing - Yahoo News

Boycotters Might Be Winning the Battle Over Standardized Testing - Yahoo News:

Boycotters Might Be Winning the Battle Over Standardized Testing

Parents Can Opt Out United Opt Out National

Click Here to go to United Opt Out National: 

Click Here to go to the WebsiteUnited Opt Out Team

In Chicago, home to the nation’s third-largest school system, the city superintendent has decided not to administer a test tied to the federal Common Core curriculum. The move eases the pressure on tens of thousands of students—and validates parents and educators who boycotted the test last year—but risks billions of dollars in government funds.  
Half a continent away, in California, state education officials are ready to follow Chicago’s leadand ask the federal government for an exemption from using scores on tests mandated by No Child Left Behind to measure progress in reading and math. Meanwhile, in Colorado, state education authorities recently voted 5–2 to walk away from Common Core and leave their share of Education Department money on the table—all because their kids are staggering under the testing burden.
In districts across the nation, from Florida to Alaska, the grassroots push for a rollback in high-stakes testing has gained momentum, and a broad coalition of parents, teachers, and advocates are poised to take advantage, even if it means an end to federal grants in tight fiscal times. But it also puts pressure on local and national education policy makers, including President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who see frequent testing as a key component in the education-overhaul tool kit.
“What you’re seeing is a response to a grassroots movement of parents, teachers, and students pushing back against testing overkill,” said Robert Schaeffer, public education director ofFairTest, one of the organizations leading the test-reform movement. He said suburban schools where parents doubt the usefulness of standardized testing is worth the stress have linked arms with poorer ones that don’t have the resources to ensure students score well and will lose money if they don’t.
According to Schaeffer, school districts and state education boards are beginning to recognize that forcing students to take standardized tests—and using the results to determine federal funding, millions of dollars in education reform incentives, and teacher salaries—does more harm than good. The tests have barely moved the needle in the drive to improve public education.
“The [Common Core] tests were supposed to be a whole new generation, designed to get beyond the fill-in-the-bubble, multiple-choice tests,” he said. “But they’re the same tests, only longer and harder.”
Starting with No Child Left Behind and continuing with the Common Core curriculum, student testing has spiked in the last decade. Along with state assessments, some districts test their students as often as once a year on math and reading proficiency; before the change, testing usually happened just once in elementary, middle, and high school.
Proponents say testing is a valuable tool that helps parents measure school and teacher performance with an independent, unbiased, standard yardstick. But there’s a lot of pressure: Some tests can determine a student’s future education and career.
“This movement has been growing, and if Congress reauthorizes the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind], it may well trigger a larger test boycott movement across the country,” Pedro Noguera, an education professor at New York University, wrote in an email. “Many communities are growing weary of the amount of time devoted to testing—which comes at the expense of time focused on instruction—and they are increasingly willing to take on the federal government.”
Noguera and Schaeffer agree that Chicago Public Schools is Exhibit A, and perhaps the turning point the movement has been waiting for. After all, both President Obama and Secretary Duncan are standardized-testing advocates who have close ties to Chicago and to its mayor, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff.
When parents and some teachers boycotted the Common Core–affiliated Partnership Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers (known as the PARCC) test last year, “public opinion polls say the public backed them,” Schaeffer said. Other grassroots organizations and teachers’ unions threw their weight behind the boycott, leading Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett to recently make the strategic decision to have only about 10 percent of Boycotters Might Be Winning the Battle Over Standardized Testing - Yahoo News:

Gamberg calls gov's education reform 'the worst' in NYS history | Suffolk Times

Gamberg calls gov's education reform 'the worst' in NYS history | Suffolk Times:

Gamberg calls gov’s education reform ‘the worst’ in NYS history

Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg is criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to ratchet up the importance of student performance on state assessments when it comes to teacher evaluations.
He said it could devastate the faculty and, thus, the students of Southold.
The governor has proposed a teacher rating system that would base 50 percent of an instructor’s evaluation on student performance on state tests — an increase from the current 20 percent.
“If this plan were to become law, I will provide the board with direct, accurate evidence of [the teachers] who will get swept up — that should not get swept up — in this metric to the detriment of the students of Southold,” Mr. Gamberg said. “I think it would be the highest irresponsibility for our school district to just sit by and allow it to happen.”
The governor has said the change is needed because less than one percent of teachers were rated ineffective (the lowest category on the rating system) last year, yet much more students continued to “lag behind in performance.”
During Southold’s school board meeting Wednesday night, Mr. Gamberg said he believes the governor’s plan will negatively impact programs and services being offered to students because “it falsely represents [teachers] as being ineffective.”
“It can not go through because it is, without a doubt, the worst construct of improvement in public education that has been enunciated in the history of New York,” Mr. Gamberg said.
When asked after the meeting which teachers he believes the proposal would affect the most, Mr. Gamberg said the district is “still analyzing what the impact will be.”
Southold has been among the more outspoken local school districts over the state’s direction with education. The school board has passed several resolutions expressing displeasure with high-stakes testing.
Most notably, Southold denied it’s total portion of Race to the Top funds in protest of the mandates.
If the Legislature passes the proposed education reforms, Mr. Cuomo has said he’ll approve a 4.8 percent increase, or $1.1 billion, in school aid for districts throughout the state.
School board president Paulette Ofrias described the move as holding school budgets “hostage.”
Since the governor’s office has reportedly argued that it would be Gamberg calls gov's education reform 'the worst' in NYS history | Suffolk Times:

More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms - The Washington Post

More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms - The Washington Post:

More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms

More than 500 education researchers around the country have signed an open letter to Congress and the Obama administration about how the No Child Left Behind law should be rewritten, saying that they “strongly urge departing from test-focused reforms that not only have been discredited for high-stakes decisions, but also have shown to widen, not close, gaps and inequities.”
Congress is now taking up a rewrite of NCLB, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (which was supposed to be rewritten in 2007), and the House education committee has already approved legislation that retains an NCLB requirement of annual standardized testing from grades 3-8 and once in high school.  The standardized testing-focused reforms at the center of NCLB have been controversial, and the law is seen now as being severely flawed.
The letter, which educational researchers can sign by Feb. 20, references a policy memo written by Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, an attorney and a professor education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder; and William J. Mathis, managing director of the center and a former Vermont superintendent.  Here is the unannotated version, and you can find the fully annotated memo here, at the National Center of Education Policy website. The policy memo says in part:
Today’s 21-year-olds were in third grade in 2002, when the No Child Left Behind Act became law. For them and their younger siblings and neighbors, test-driven accountability policies are all they’ve known. The federal government entrusted their educations to an unproven but ambitious belief that if we test children and hold educators responsible for improving test scores, we would have almost everyone scoring as “proficient” by 2014. Thus, we would achieve “equality.” This approach has not worked.
Yet over the past 13 years, Presidents Bush and Obama remained steadfastly committed to test-based policies. These two administrations have offered federal grants through Race to the Top, so-called Flexibility Waivers under NCLB, School Improvement Grants, and various other programs to push states, districts, and schools to line up behind policies that use these same test scores in high-stakes evaluations of teachers and principals, in addition to the NCLB focus on schools. The proposed new Teacher Preparation Regulations under Title II of the Higher Education Act now attempt to expand the testing regime to teacher education programs. These expansions of test-driven accountability policies require testing even beyond that mandated by NCLB.
Not surprisingly, current debates over the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), of which NCLB is the most recent iteration, now center around specific 
More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms - The Washington Post: No Governor Left Behind - Part Deux No Governor Left Behind - Part Deux:

No Governor Left Behind - Part Deux

No Governor Left Behind - Part Deux

    Name a state program or agency that you would describe as a model of efficiency, effectiveness and progress.  I know.  Me neither.  One of the last solutions anybody would come up with that really wanted to solve a problem would be more governmental involvement. So why does Governor Deal think that a new state agency disguised as the Opportunity School District would fare any better?  I’m not sure he does.  I think he promised himself into an educational corner during the heat of an election and had to come up with something, and Bobby Jindal happened to visit on his way to Washington and said “you should see what we pulled off in New Orleans.  We nearly doubled the number of charter schools and things are going so well I might even run for President.”  But wait a minute.  Are things in New Orleans really going that well for education?  In the early fall of 2014 the Cowen Institute at Tulane University withdrew its entire report touting the enormous academic improvements for the Recovery School District in NOLA.  Someone - gasp - had cooked the books and used selected data to make the report that presented the RSD in a favorable academic light.
Using accurate data comparing the RSD with other public schools in Louisiana shows that the RSD charters perform consistently in the bottom third of all schools.  The vast majority of charters in Louisiana, except for those with a selective admissions process, are rated D or F by their own state.  The RSD we are supposed to emulate was rated as one of the lowest performing districts in the state. The latest LDOE testing results puts the RSD at the 17th percentile among all Louisiana public school districts.  Those schools taken over in New Orleans and converted to charters perform at a rate below 83% of all Louisiana schools in spite of the fact that a special law was passed that allowed the state to take over failing schools.
    Corporate reformers and privatizers of public education have used selective, bogus data to promote exaggerated reports of academic progress of students in the RSD to encourage other states to emulate the New Orleans model in spite of the disastrous results.  Maybe they believe that if others go along with what’s turned out to be a really bad idea they won’t look so silly all by themselves.  Retractions of these reports are rarely mentioned, and the urban legend of miraculous improvements continues unchallenged.  Six percent (6%) of the HS Seniors in the RSD scored high enough to qualify for admission in a Louisiana university.  Since 2005, RSD ACT scores have improved 2% to a class average of 16.4.  This is the model we want?   If the goal is to increase the number of charter schools there are simpler ways to do it.  If the goal is to help students in schools struggling to meet state requirements there are better paths to follow No Governor Left Behind - Part Deux: 

Yes to SBAC opt out request brings Bristol CT off the SBAC Wall of Shame - Wait What?

Yes to SBAC opt out request brings Bristol CT off the SBAC Wall of Shame - Wait What?:

Yes to SBAC opt out request brings Bristol CT off the SBAC Wall of Shame

 Connecticut school district reverses decision and recognizes a parents fundamental right to opt their child out of the Common Core SBAC Test!

Thanks to a courageous mother and son, Bristol’s superintendent has recognized the fundamental right of a parent to opt their child of children out of the discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scam.
Featured here at Wait, What? and on the local NBC affiliate, Christine Murphy stood up and spoke out in an effort to protect her child and children across Connecticut from the Common Core SBAC test that is intentionally designed to ensure that up to 70 percent of Connecticut’s children are deemed failures.
Governor Dannel Malloy is not only a key supporter of the Common Core and the Common Core SBAC Test but his administration cast a vote in favor of implementing SBAC pass/fail (cut-scores) at a level where the vast majority of Connecticut students will fail.
In Bristol, when Christine Murphy informed her son’s school that she was opting him out of the unfair Common Core SBAC test, local education officials – using faulty directives from Malloy’s Department of Education – told the mother that she did not have the right to remove him from having to participate in the Common Core SBAC testing scheme.
But since then, Bristol education officials have seen the light and have informed her that they will follow her directive and that her son will be exempted from the Common Core SBAC tests.
As reported in the Bristol Press,
A Bristol mother was granted the right to have her son not take the new standardized state test, even as school districts and the state want to discourage other parents from opting out.
Christine Murphy said her son, Justin Edgar-Murphy, 17, a junior at Bristol Central High School, would be at a disadvantage in taking the test because he is a special needs student with anxiety and ADHD.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment will replace the familiar paper-and-pencil CMT (Connecticut Mastery Test) and CAPT (Connecticut Academic Performance Test) with a computer adaptive test for English and math that is essentially a different test for each student taking it.
The test, commonly known as SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, for the group of states that developed it) stems from the Common Core State Standards, a national education initiative that seeks to bring the varied curricula taught in each state into alignment with each other.
As the Bristol Press goes on to explain,
On Jan. 23, Murphy sent an e-mail to Marisa Calvi-Rogers, BCHS assistant principal, stating that she wanted to “opt out” Justin from the SBAC.
Calvi-Rogers wrote back, saying that state statute mandates all students take the test. “By law, we will make all necessary arrangements and 
Yes to SBAC opt out request brings Bristol CT off the SBAC Wall of Shame - Wait What?:

NYC Charter Schools Are Illegally Pushing Out "Difficult" Kids, Report Alleges: Gothamist

NYC Charter Schools Are Illegally Pushing Out "Difficult" Kids, Report Alleges: Gothamist:

NYC Charter Schools Are Illegally Pushing Out "Difficult" Kids, Report Alleges

(Via FAIR)
A children’s advocacy group has found that large numbers of NYC charter schools are violating state and federal law in their disciplinary practices, handing out excessive suspensions and expulsions—often without due process—to children as young as five.
Through Freedom of Information Law requests, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) obtained the discipline policies of 155 out of the 183 total charter schools in NYC during the 2012-2013 school year and part of the 2013-2014 school year. Their report, "Civil Rights Suspended," examines how those policies fail to protect students and details some of the most egregious allegations of excessive discipline.
Of the 164 disciplinary policies from the 155 schools (some schools had multiple policies for different grade levels), the report found:
1) 107 policies allowed suspensions or expulsions for any behavior violation, no matter how minor;
2) 82 allowed suspensions or expulsions for students who were late, absent, or skipped class;
3) 133 did not include the right to written notice before a suspension took place;
4) 36 did not include the right to a hearing prior to a short-term suspension;
5) 25 did not include the right to a hearing prior to a long-term suspension;
6) 59 did not include the right to appeal a suspension or expulsion;
7) 36 did not include distinct procedures for suspending or expelling students with disabilities;
8) 52 did not include the right to alternative instruction during the full time of the suspension.
The first finding—that students are being suspended and expelled for behavior violations—is especially significant for students with disabilities, says Paulina Davis, Staff Attorney with the AFC's Charter Schools Initiative. “If you have ADHD and you can get an infraction for getting out of your seat without permission, or calling out in class, then you’re someone who is more likely to incur those types of infractions,” she explains.
City charter schools are not subject to the same disciplinary regulations as public schools under the Department of Education’s Discipline Code; instead, they are governed by the New York State Charter Schools Act and the state constitution. They must also comply with federal law, including IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and Goss v. Lopez, a decision which regulates due process requirements for suspensions. The AFC report alleges that findings two through seven violate state law, while findings four, five, and seven—those having to do with due process and disability protections—violate federal law.
The report describes a 10-year-old boy with ADHD who was suspended from his charter multiple times for those exact behaviors, missing over twenty days of school. Another boy with ADHD faced expulsion after throwing a bag of food on the floor and sweeping it up with a “bad attitude”—he had already been suspended three times. A five-year-old girl was suspended three times while her mother waited for her disability evaluation, then expelled for accumulating those three suspensions.
AFC has provided legal guidance or representation to over 100 parents in charter suspensions or expulsions in the past year and a half, they write in the report. But James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, says the incidents are isolated. In a statement issued to Gothamist, he writes:
“No one can disagree that those policies that do not fully meet applicable law should be amended. But it is tremendously unfair to suggest, as AFC does, that a handful of one-sided anecdotes compiled over a long time are any evidence that charter schools are
NYC Charter Schools Are Illegally Pushing Out "Difficult" Kids, Report Alleges: Gothamist:

‘No Child Left Behind’ has failed By Lily Eskelsen García and Otha Thornton - The Washington Post

‘No Child Left Behind’ has failed - The Washington Post:

‘No Child Left Behind’ has failed

 February 13 at 7:21 PM

Lily Eskelsen García is president of the National Education Association. Otha Thornton is president of the National Parent Teacher Association.
Public education for every child was an American idea, but it has always been a local and state responsibility. Even when Congress passed theElementary and Secondary Education Act 50 years ago, the intended federal role was limited but clear: ensuring equal opportunity.
The act provided federal resources for states to level the playing field between schools in wealthy and poor districts. However, its 2002 reauthorization, which became known as No Child Left Behind, took the law off track by mandating that all students hit arbitrary scores on standardized tests instead of ensuring equal opportunities.
No Child Left Behind has failed. Now we have a chance to fix the law by refocusing on the proper federal role: equal opportunity. To do that, we must change the way we think about accountability.
Under No Child Left Behind, accountability has hinged entirely on standardized test scores, a single number that has been used to determine whether students graduate or teachers keep their jobs. The problem is, a single test score is like a blinking “check engine” light on the dashboard. It can tell us something’s wrong but not how to fix it.
What we need instead is a whole dashboard of indicators that monitor better measures of success for the whole child — a critical, creative mind, a healthy body and an ethical character. And we need indicators of each student’s opportunities to learn — what programs, services and resources are available?
Success should be measured throughout the system — preschool to high school — but a standardized test tells us so little. We want to know which students are succeeding in Advanced Placement and honors programs, where they earn college credit in high school. You can measure that. We want to know which students have certified, experienced teachers and access to the support professionals they need, such as tutors, librarians, school nurses and counselors. We want to know which students have access to arts and athletic programs. Which middle school students are succeeding in science, technology, engineering and math tracks that will get them into advanced high school courses, which will get them into a university. You can measure all that, too.
And we want the data broken down by demographic groups, so we can ensure that all types of students have access to these resources. Without this dashboard of information, how would the public know which children are being shortchanged? How would anything change on the local or state level?
Real equal opportunity, of course, isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition. It means providing every child whatever he or she needs to learn, whether it’s tutoring and mentoring, counseling or other services. If a student comes to school hungry or sick, can we really say that she has an opportunity to learn? Of course not — and we must acknowledge this by seeing each student as a whole human being with individual needs.
We must also recognize that the misuse of test scores has had unintended negative consequences, especially for students at high-poverty schools. In service to high-stakes “test and punish” threats, schools with the most limited resources have been most likely to cut back on history, art, music and physical education, simply because they aren’t covered on standardized tests. Those are the schools where test prep has robbed ‘No Child Left Behind’ has failed - The Washington Post:

The 2015 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week

The 2015 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week:

The 2015 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings

Today, we unveil the 2015 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. Simply being included among the 200 ranked scholars is an honor, given the tens of thousands who might be included. The list of qualifying scholars includes a qualitative component, though the actual scores are composed entirely of quantitative metrics. The rankings include the top 150 finishers from last year's rankings, along with 50 "at-large" nominees chosen by a selection committee of 31 automatic qualifiers (see yesterday's post for all the requisite details).
The metrics, as explained yesterday, recognize university-based scholars in the U.S. who are contributing most substantially to public debates about education. The rankings offer a useful, if imperfect, gauge of the public influence edu-scholars had in 2014. The rubric reflects both a scholar's body of academic work—encompassing the breadth and influence of their scholarship—and their footprint on the public discourse last year.
Here are the 2015 rankings (click chart for larger view). Please note that all university affiliations reflect a scholar's institution as of December 2014.
top 200-revised.jpg
Only university-based researchers are eligible for the rankings. The rankings don't include full-time think tankers, advocates, and such. After all, the point is to encourage universities to pay more attention to the stuff of scholarly participation in the public square. (The term "university-based" provides some useful flexibility. For instance, Tony Bryk currently hangs his hat at Carnegie. However, he is an established academic (at Stanford) with a university affiliation. So he's included. The line is admittedly blurry, but it seems to work reasonably well.)
No exercise of this kind is without complexities and limitations. The bottom line: this is a serious but inevitably imperfect attempt to nudge universities, foundations, and professional associations to do more to cultivate, encourage, and recognize serious contributions to the public debate.
The top scorers? All are familiar edu-names, with long careers featuring influential scholarship, track records of comment on public developments, and outsized public and professional roles. In order, the top five were Diane Ravitch of NYU, Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford, Howard Gardner of Harvard, UCLA's Gary Orfield, and Harvard's Paul E. Peterson. Rounding out the top ten were Andy Hargreaves of Boston College, Arizona State's David Berliner, Stanford's Larry Cuban, Yong Zhao of U. Oregon, and Arizona State's Gene V. Glass. Notable, if not too surprising, is that the top ten are all veteran, accomplished scholars who have each authored a number of (frequently influential) books, accumulated bodies of heavily cited scholarly work, and are often seen in the public square and working with state and district leaders. That reflects the intent of the scoring rubric, which weights the broad, lasting public influence of a scholar's work much more heavily than a short run of ephemeral visibility.
W. Steven Barnett of Rutgers, a leading authority on early childhood, was the highest-scoring new entrant. He debuted in the top twenty, claiming spot #17. Marc Lamont Hill of Morehouse, Jeannie Oakes (who returned to UCLA from the Ford Foundation), and UPenn's Angela Duckworth were the other new names to debut in the top fifty.
UPenn's Shaun Harper, who chairs the university's Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education, made the biggest single leap from last year, climbing 85 spots to #42. Other returnees making especially big jumps from 2014 included Sara Goldrick-Rab of U. Wisconsin, Laura Perna of UPenn, Andy Porter of UPenn, Amy Stuart Wells of Columbia, Jim Ryan of Harvard, and Malachy Bishop of U. Kentucky.
Stanford University and Harvard University both fared exceptionally well, with Stanford placing four scholars in the top 20 and Harvard placing three. New York University was the only other institution to place multiple scholars in the top 20.
In terms of the most scholars ranked, Stanford topped all others with 22. Harvard was second, with 18, and Columbia was third, with 14. Overall, more than 50 universities placed at least one scholar in the rankings.
A number of top scorers penned influential books of recent vintage. For instance, among the top ten, just in the past year, Yong Zhao released Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World; Andy Hargreaves coauthored Uplifting The 2015 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week: