Latest News and Comment from Education

Monday, February 16, 2015

Anthony Cody Speaks in Georgia: High Stakes Tests Are Lowering Expectations for Students and Teachers - Living in Dialogue

Anthony Cody Speaks in Georgia: High Stakes Tests Are Lowering Expectations for Students and Teachers - Living in Dialogue:

Anthony Cody Speaks in Georgia: High Stakes Tests Are Lowering Expectations for Students and Teachers

 By Joseph Ray Lavine.

A co-founder of the Network for Public Education addressed the ineffectiveness of current U.S. standardized testing and teacher evaluation standards in a speech at the University Chapel, at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, last Wednesday.
Anthony Cody, who also writes the education blog Living in Dialogue, spoke to a crowd of concerned students, teachers, administrators and parents and voiced his opposition to educational reform programs such as No Child Left Behind, Common Core, Race to the Top and Value Added Models.
These programs, which have garnered billions of dollars in government funds over the past 12 years, perpetuate inaccurate representation of student achievement and teacher effectiveness, Cody said.
“There’s a fiction that the high-stakes tests are raising the bar for our students,” Cody said in the speech. “This is not raising the bar. This is lowering expectations for our students, for our schools, and for our teachers.”
Programs like Common Core, RTTT and VAM exist in large part due to funding and advocacy from The Gates Foundation, which has prioritized a “measure to manage” principle, Cody said. The foundation, led by Bill and Melinda Gates, spent over $200 million to promote the Common Core standards.
It also worked closely with education secretary Arne Duncan and his staff during the creation of RTTT, a $4.3 billion contest for grant money that pressured states to adopt high standards and at one point highlighted the Common Core standards by name, according to the Washington Post.
“The fact is that the entire system is being changed and perverted and diverted into a measurement system,” Cody said. “Learning is being calibrated.”
Cody, who spent 24 years teaching high-needs schools in Oakland, California, said the flaw in these high-stakes standardized tests is that they do not measure a student’s true capacities for success.
Cody said that when he does workshops for teachers, they list critical thinking, collaboration and perseverance as qualities of their “ideal graduate,” but none of these qualities are measured by standardized tests.
What’s more, Cody said, is that Georgia and most other U.S. states are using these standardized test results as a significant indicator on teacher evaluations. These evaluative models, or VAMs, make it easier for principles to fire teachers that are deemed ineffective. The problem with these models, however, is that there are many variables that affect student performance, Cody said, and too much weight is being placed on test scores.
“Often it will be stated that teacher effectiveness is the largest in-school variable affecting student achievement, and that technically is true, but when you realize that that teacher variation only accounts for Anthony Cody Speaks in Georgia: High Stakes Tests Are Lowering Expectations for Students and Teachers - Living in Dialogue:

Mr. Malatras: Is “Massachusetts model” too friendly for Cuomo? | dmaxmj

Mr. Malatras: Is “Massachusetts model” too friendly for Cuomo? | dmaxmj:

Mr. Malatras: Is “Massachusetts model” too friendly for Cuomo?

Jim Malatras, Operations Director and letter-writer for Governor Andrew Cuomo, has contacted Education Chancellor Merryl Tisch once again withmore ideas for public schools in the state of New York. Having been disrespected, dismissed, and undermined by years of Cuomo and the under-fund and over-mandate model, the actual professionals in the field of education aren’t always eager to hear more from the oracle at Albany. This recent letter, though, could indicate that New York leaders may be at least considering a different approach-a kinder, gentler one that acknowledges educators and what they could contribute-if finally allowed to. But then again, this is Malatras, whose December 18th letter to Tisch was a call to hunt down and find a bad teacher around every corner.
This new letter calls for Tisch and the State Education Department to research the Massachusetts model of “receivership” and the academic gains achieved with it. While at it’s core this model hands over public commons to private management, which always comes with risk of profits for the minority and diminishing returns to the majority, there appears to be a hybrid approach happening in these Massachusetts schools- a combination of community goals, professional collaboration and private approach efficiency. Most importantly: an inclusion of people who actually know education, as opposed to only those politically motivated and criticizing from afar. The result has been an increase of resources available for targeting student needs.

Lawrence is a better school system than it was three of four years ago, but … that’s for multiple reasons: We eliminated the corrupt government that was running the city, and we have more resources that are getting to the children. (Frank McLaughlin, president of the Lawrence teachers’ union)

Is this a signal that Cuomo might start considering the needs of communities, parents, educators and above all-the students (as he lobbies for them)? Are we seeing an end to the attack on teachers and their unions, which previously was the theme (or “gist” in ELA module-speak) of Cuomo’s narrative? The fact that Malatras calls for investigation into the Massachusetts model approach suggests this could be the case- unless Mr. Mr. Malatras: Is “Massachusetts model” too friendly for Cuomo? | dmaxmj:

Who wrote the Common Core Standards? The Common Core 24 | Seattle Education

Who wrote the Common Core Standards? The Common Core 24 | Seattle Education:

Who wrote the Common Core Standards? The Common Core 24

We have all heard stories about who decided on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that are now holding students and teachers hostage to a narrow curriculum and an endless testing regime.
Mercedes Schneider decided to find out who the twenty-four people were that determined the Common Core Standards.
Here is an excerpt from her post Those 24 Common Core 2009 Work Group Members:
NGA (National Governors Associaiton) and CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers ) (and, by extension, USDOE) undeniably meant for CCSS to be something done “to” teachers. NGA’s and CCSSO’s concentration of individuals versed in standardized assessment on their CCSS work groups speaks to the purpose of CCSS to both financially benefit education testing companies and usher unprecedented, nationwide standardized testing into the classrooms of those very professionals purposely excluded from the CCSS work group table.
CCSS Mathematics Work Group
Sara Clough is a former biology teacher (1990-96) at Eau Claire High School (Wisconsin). She has not taught mathematics.
Phil Daro has no noted teaching experience, though Pearson credits Daro as “help[ing] to spearhead development of the Common Core Standards.”
Susan K. Eddins is a retired, National Board Certified mathematics teacher. Eddins taught at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a grade 10 – 12 public, selective-admissions high school for “gifted students who love math and science.” Eddins has also worked for Achieve.
Kaye Forgione once taught “high school mathematics”… “in US Armed Forces-contracted schools.” Forgione has been away from the classroom since before 1997– at least 12 years since her time on the 2009 NGA CCSS work group.
John Kraman has no teaching experience, though he does have an incomplete masters degree in European history from Brandeis.
Marci Ladd has no K-12 teaching experience. She does have a masters in applied mathematics from Johns Hopkins and three years of experience as a math instructor at Montgomery College (1991-92) and Central Texas College (1993-95).
William McCallum has no K-12 teaching experience. He has taught math at the university level since 1987. His University of Arizona bio identifies him as “one of the lead writers for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.”
Sherri Miller has no noted teaching experience. Her professional background is Who wrote the Common Core Standards? The Common Core 24 | Seattle Education:

» Shaming Students One Wall at a Time

» Shaming Students One Wall at a Time:

The losers in school know who they are at a young age – usually by kindergarten or first grade. And losers are easy to pick out, because their reading progress, or lack there of, is usually displayed on a bulletin board somewhere in the school for everyone to see.
I’ve had numerous opportunities to visit schools, and too often I see cringe-worthy data walls being used to “motivate” students.
One such day, an enthusiastic teacher was walking me around her school, excited to show me the students’ progress and growth. We stepped into a dark, first grade classroom, and she flipped on the lights. Eight round tables were positioned in the room and on the tables were baskets with neatly arranged bottles of glue, color pencils, sticky notes and other supplies. Around the tables were miniature chairs. I love seeing those tiny chairs; they just make me smile.
My smile faded as I looked to my left and saw a huge bulletin board that said, Ribbit Reading Progress. On this bulletin board were 15 or so frogs with five segments. Some frogs were colored in a mosaic pattern– the head was green, the right arm was purple, left arm was green, right leg was purple, left leg was orange. I saw two or three frogs where the entire body, head and legs were green. Two frogs were completely orange. I knew right away, the orange frogs were the losers.
Even though I knew the answer, I asked, “What’s with the frogs?”
Proudly she said, “It shows their reading progress. When a student can read a passage fluently in a minute, they color part of the frog in. Then we post the frog on the board so the kids can see their progress. If they improve, they get to go to the treasure box in the front office on Friday.”
I took a breath and said, “Let me guess, the green frogs are the winners and the orange frogs are the losers
“Well, I wouldn’t say losers,” she said defensively. “They just need more time and more remediation. And we use orange not red, because we feel red is a little too abrasive. We don’t want to break anyone’s spirit.”
I smirked and said, “Don’t you think the owners of the orange frogs feel like losers when they look at this wall?”
She gave me a sideways glance and said, “I suppose, but having this competition in the classroom is an » Shaming Students One Wall at a Time:

ALERT! Parents - the Common Core SBAC Test really is designed to fail your children - Wait What?

ALERT! Parents - the Common Core SBAC Test really is designed to fail your children - Wait What?:

 ALERT! Parents – the Common Core SBAC Test really is designed to fail your children

It is almost impossible to conceive that the Corporate Education Reform Industry and its supporters like Governor Dannel Malloy are poised to define the vast majority of Connecticut’s students as failures…but that is exactly what is going to occur if parents don’t act to opt their children out of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium (SBAC) test the begins in just a few weeks.
As parents step forward, Connecticut’s teachers must act as well.
Now is the time for Connecticut’s public school teachers to instruct their state unions to condemn the unfair Common Core SBAC testing scheme and demand that Governor Malloy and his administration provide parents with information about how to opt their children out of the 2015 Common Core SBAC tests.
As has been reported here at Wait, What? before, despite the fact that parents can and should consider opting their children out of the unfair, discriminatory and inappropriate Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme that begins next month, Governor Malloy and his administration are failing to inform parents about their fundamental right to protect their children from these abusive tests.
Last year, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, provided school superintendents with a step-by-step guide on how local school officials should go about misleading parents into believing that they did not have the right to opt their children out of these tests.
And far too many school superintendents and principals used Pryor’s guide and form letter to mislead their own parents and teachers.
This year, Malloy and his State Department of Education are stunningly silent on this critically important issue.  Their failure to reveal the truth about a parent’s right to opt their children out of the Common Core tests is leaving local school officials and parents twisting slowly in the wind as the multi-billion dollar Common Core SBAC testing scam continues to suck up scarce public funds.
For parents, the bottom line is that the Malloy administration joined with the other Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) states in setting the “pass/fail” rates on this year’s Common Core Test in such a way that it will ensure that the vast majority of children are deemed failures.
For parents that don’t know the issue, please read the following paragraphs.  Parents that do understand what is happening need to take action and pass this vital information onto other parents in your community.
Connecticut teachers can also play a key role by standing up and speaking out on behalf of their students, parents and schools.  Teachers need to tell the Connecticut Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – Connecticut Chapter to immediately issue strong statements condemning this year’s Common Core SBAC tests.  Teachers should also urge their union leaders to use their “close working relationship” with the Malloy administration to demand that the Connecticut State Department of Education immediately provide parents with adequate notice about how to opt their children out of these inappropriate tests.
Here is the single most important FACT OF ALL – The Common Core SBAC Test is ALERT! Parents - the Common Core SBAC Test really is designed to fail your children - Wait What?:

Founding Fathers and Floundering Fathers on Public Education

Founding Fathers and Floundering Fathers on  Public Education

Big Education Ape: Student Success Act: Corporate Education Reform on Steroids | Education & the Workforce Committee

Washington to Franklin, Adams and Jefferson, every one offered his ideas about the state of education and the best ways to build an informed citizenry — from the lowliest mechanic's son to the most exalted Harvard grad. Each called at least implicitly for public education.

Big Education Ape: Educators ramp up nationwide campaign and launch “Get it Right” ad blitz

Jefferson wrote of his Virginia education plan in a letter to his friend George Wythe, "The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

George Washington called for a national university in his First Inaugural Address. 

John Adams asked his son in Europe to collect books and ideas for republican schools. He called for public schools as the great equalizer to secure democracy.

James Madison tracked the education efforts in Kentucky and praised innovations and challenging curricula there.

Noah Webster that, "Knowledge, joined with a keen sense of liberty and a watchful Jealousy, will guard our constitutions."

The Northwest Ordinance was written to govern United States territory north of the Ohio River. It read, in part: "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

Below are a few specific quotes – In the terms they understood each was calling for public education – there is no alternative understanding of these ideas. It was commonly held and understood among all:

Benjamin Franklin:

The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men in all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness both of private Families and of Common-wealths. Almost all Governments have therefore made it a principal Object of their Attention, to establish and endow with proper Revenues, such Seminaries of Learning, as might supply the succeeding Age with Men qualified to serve the Publick with Honour to themselves, and to their Country. (roposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, 1749)

John Adams:

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers. (Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756)

Laws for the liberal education of the youth, especially of the lower class of the people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant. (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them. (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom. (Defense of the Constitutions, 1787)

Samuel Adams:
No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders. (Letter to James Warren, Nov 4, 1775)

George Washington
The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail. (Letter to George Chapman, December 15, 1784)
Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness. (First Inaugural Address)

[W]e ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly, and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems, before they are capable of appreciating their own. (Letter to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, January 28, 1795)

Thomas Jefferson:
Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves. (Letter to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787)

People generally have more feeling for canals and roads than education. However, I hope we can advance them with equal pace. (Letter to Joel Barlow, December 10, 1807)

No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government. (Letter to Trustees for the Lottery of East Tennessee College, May 6, 1810)

Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. (Letter to Dupont de Nemours, April 24, 1816)

If a nation expects to be ignorant - and free - in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. (Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816)

To all of which is added a selection from the elementary schools of subjects of the most promising genius, whose parents are too poor to give them further education, to be carried at the public expense through the college and university. The object is to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country, for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind, which, in proportion to our population, shall be double or treble of what it is in most countries. (Letter to Jose Correa de Serra, November 25, 1817)

To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. (Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia, August 4, 1818)

All the States but our own are sensible that knowledge is power. (Letter to Joseph C. Cabell, January 22, 1820) Side note: Cabell and his descendents certainly thought he meant public education – The Cabell have used their fortune to support education – two buildings at UVa are named Cabell, the main library at VCU is Cabell Library and similar efforts have been made elsewhere by the family)

The truth is that the want of common education with us is not from our poverty, but from the want of an orderly system. More money is now paid for the education of a part than would be paid for that of the whole if systematically arranged. (Letter to Joseph Cabell, November 28, 1820)
The Northwest Ordinance - July 23, 1787

Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

Noah Webster - On Education of Youth in America (1790)
It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.

James Wilson - Of the Study of the Law in the United States (circa 1790)
Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.

Thomas Paine - Rights of Man, part 2 (1792)
A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.

James Madison 
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. (Letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822)

What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual & surest support? (Letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822)

The best service that can be rendered to a Country, next to that of giving it liberty, is in diffusing the mental improvement equally essential to the preservation, and the enjoyment of the blessing. (Letter to Littleton Dennis Teackle, March 29, 1826)

For more:

Dad Gone Wild | The Charter Conversation takes a page out of Edward Lear

Dad Gone Wild | The Charter Conversation takes a page out of Edward Lear:


Be wise

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written anything. There has been plenty on my mind, but I’ve got a full time job and parenting is a full time job and my wife would like a little attention as well, so it’s been hard to carve out some time. I need one of those lobbyist jobs or a gig like Andy Smarick over at Bellwether Education Partners has. One where I can read about education, write papers, and pontificate on Twitter all day. Alas, I am stuck in the world I live in, which can sometimes be a little bizarre. This week is a prime example.
Tuesday night was the monthly meeting of the Metro Nashville Public School Board. I had some prepared remarks that I was going to deliver to urge passage of a new communications bill. When I arrived, the room was already full. A brief glance showed it to be a packed room of charter school supporters. A little puzzled, I sat down and looked at the agenda and saw nothing to warrant this level of interest. I shrugged and thought, well, public interest is always good. What a naïve old man I am.
It seems there were plans afoot for this meeting. School Board Chair Sharon Gentry wasn’t in attendance, but she had some prepared remarks that she wished to share with the public and asked fellow member Jo Ann Brannon to read them. Apparently, Gentry’s had enough of the arguing over charter schools and such and deemed it time to put these differences aside and adopt positions agreeable with her. (Well she didn’t say that exactly, but that was the point.) At the conclusion of the speech, the room full of charter folks leapt to their feet in applause. Elissa Kim, who as vice chair was chairing the meeting, did nothing to quell the outburst.
It should be noted that Ms. Kim is the Executive Vice President, Recruitment and Admissions for Teach for America Greater Nashville. I know, you’re probably thinking, isn’t that a conflict of interest? Apparently not because she also works closely with MNPS Human Capital on the recruitment of teachers for the district, and nobody thinks that’s an issue either. Yeah, it all gets a little goofy, but that’s the world I live in.
Sitting at that meeting, it suddenly dawned on me that I was in the middle of yet another charter school publicity stunt. I’ve written previously about what happens when charters get angry and I guess they were angry again because they had astro-turfed yet another meeting. The thing that really opened my eyes with  this incident though, was the number of leadership people present. The folks present were equivalent to the top leadership at MNPS. I can only imagine what would happen if I called up Jay Steele, chief academic officer for MNPS, and asked him to get his office to show up and leap to applaud a letter that I’d written to disavow charter schools. He’d stop taking my calls. Not neccesarily out of Dad Gone Wild | The Charter Conversation takes a page out of Edward Lear:

Have you ever read the actual Common Core “Representations, Warranties and Disclaimers” page? | Reclaim Reform

Have you ever read the actual Common Core “Representations, Warranties and Disclaimers” page? | Reclaim Reform:

Have you ever read the actual Common Core “Representations, Warranties and Disclaimers” page?

Have you ever read the actual Common Core (CCSSI) “Representations, Warranties and Disclaimers” page from their own site?

Representations, Warranties and Disclaimer

What a crock!
Children are stressed out, teachers are fired, schools are closed and more. Why?
CCSS private
High stakes tests, most of which are Common Core compliant no matter what brand name they hold, are for one purpose only – corporate profit from public taxes marked for public education. “Public-Private Partnerships” are theft of public tax funding that goes to multinational investors and hedge & venture fund managers. Children are the victims, collateral damage, of this pillage.
End the insanity and get schools back to educating your child and teachers back to teaching your child.
What is the sole purpose of education? To meet the needs of your child.
Stressing out children and families with homework that is invalid for life skills, labeling Have you ever read the actual Common Core “Representations, Warranties and Disclaimers” page? | Reclaim Reform:

Educators ramp up nationwide campaign and launch “Get it Right” ad blitz

Important Action in Congress Right Now « Education Votes:

Educators ramp up nationwide campaign and launch “Get it Right” ad blitz

NEA President: A revamped ESEA should promote opportunity, equity, and excellence for all students
WASHINGTON—Today, the National Education Association, tapping the power of its nearly 3 million educators, kicked into high gear efforts to mobilize voters across the country to inject their voices into the reauthorization process of the federal law No Child Left Behind, originally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 
“Now is the time to raise educators’ voices and to fight for the opportunity for all students to receive a quality public education, more time for students to learn and more time for teachers to teach,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Before Congress is a unique opportunity to get ESEA right this time. This means mapping out a new vision for our nation’s public schools, one that promotes opportunity, equity, and excellence for all students regardless of the zip code in which they live.” 
During the nationwide campaign, educators will reach out to parents, community partners, and the general public to raise their voices. They will leaflet parents at schools or in key public places, host community forums, put together letter writing events, place letters to the editor in their local papers, among other proactive actions. The campaign also features a two-week earned and paid media blitz called “Get it Right.”  
“The fight must continue until we have a new federal education bill signed into law that includes the voices of educators,” emphasized Eskelsen García. “The only way to achieve that is to make sure that our members and the public are fully engaged. Unlike when the law was written in 2002, Congress must hear now from those who know best what a revamped ESEA should look like—educators. The stakes are high for our students and their future. That’s why we are launching a national effort aimed at making sure lawmakers hear directly from educators about what hasn’t worked and what needs to happen in order to get the law right this time.”  
Since Congress began in earnest the reauthorization process in January, NEA members have sent more than 30,000 emails to members of Congress. They have visited all 100 Senate offices and more than half of House offices in Washington, D.C. and back home. Similarly, 3 educators have appeared before key Senate and House reauthorizing committees and panels as expert witnesses. NEA’s “Get it Right” ad campaign coincides with the first Congressional recess and will leverages grassroots-level tactics nationwide.
Educators also will meet with their respective members of Congress and their staff during recess. For example, Washington educators will host an education roundtable with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) on February 18. Similarly, Colorado educators will organize an education listening tour with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). On February 19, Maryland educators will host a statewide virtual town-hall meeting to discuss ESEA and are organizing a letter-writing event to send notes to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D) and Barbara Mikulski (D). For a more detailed list of confirmed events and/or actions, please visit
The national campaign includes, radio, television, and digital ads. It also features a toll-free number (866-331-7233) where educators and the public can call Congress to tell them to get ESEA right and pass a new bill that provides more opportunities for all students. Opinion pieces such as this one that appeared in the Washington Post by the NEA and PTA presidents also are part of the campaign. 
The U.S. House and Senate are fully underway in the most serious effort to rewrite the federal education law since its passage in 2002. Originally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA is the federal government’s footprint in K-12 education policy. Both chambers have made public their vision for a revamped law, and as held meetings, briefings and hearings. Similarly, NEA members have testified or appeared before Congressional panels, and the Association has made public its vision.
Click here to see the television ad and to hear the radio ad. The ads are running in select media markets in the following states: Alaska, Colo., Conn., Ga., Ill., Mass., Maine, Md., Minn., N.C., Pa., Tenn., and Wash.
Follow us @NEAMedia 

Follow the conversation: #OpportunityforALL #TimetoLearn

A valuable school and principal — but you wouldn’t know it by the test scores - The Washington Post

A valuable school and principal — but you wouldn’t know it by the test scores - The Washington Post:

A valuable school and principal — but you wouldn’t know it by the test scores

If you’ve never heard of HONY, or the Humans of New York project, this post will introduce you to it, and its relevance to school reform. The author of the post, Barnett Berry, tells the story of a wonderful school (highlighted in a HONY piece) that is embraced by its community but, unfortunately, doesn’t shine when it comes to standardized test scores. Berry is the founder, partner and chief executive officer at the Center for Teaching Quality,  a national nonprofit organization that helps teachers transform their profession.

By Barnett Berry
Blogger and photojournalist Brandon Stanton roams the streets of the Big Apple, drawing out the stories of strangers he encounters. Snapping poignant photos, he invites subjects to reflect on relationships’ ups and downs, the trajectories of their dreams and struggles, or the minutiae of everyday life.
Millions follow Brandon’s daily Humans of New York (HONY) posts on social media, appreciative of his keen recognition of the moving moment or distinguishing detail.
On January 19, Brandon interviewed a young boy in the Brownsville neighborhood:
Brandon: Who’s influenced you the most in your life?
Vidal: My principal, Ms. Lopez.
Brandon: How has she influenced you?
Vidal: When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.
Vidal’s account of his relationship with his principal garnered thousands of likes, comments, and shares—and quickly. The social media post “took off” A valuable school and principal — but you wouldn’t know it by the test scores - The Washington Post