Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, April 24, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: It's Sunday and Peter Greene Is Losing his Head


CURMUDGUCATION: It's Sunday and Peter Greene Is Losing his Head

Stand With Troy
Chicago principal Troy LaRaviere has been relieved of his job as principal of Blaine Elementary because he won't shut up and stay in place.I'm not writing about this because I think it's news; at this point, the news has spread far and wide. Lots of folks are writing about it, and I'm writing about it because everybody should be writing about it.It's alarming because it is wrong in the specific, n
Why Our Betters Like Charter Schools
You must read this post from Mercedes Schneider, if you have not already, showing the many connections between Education Post, the administration, and the usual gang of reformsters.This is not news, exactly. We've seen it before. The Center for American Progress was founded by John Podesta after he left the Clinton White House and before he left CAP to run the current Clinton campaign (catch him i
ICYMI: Edu-reads from the week
Here's your assortment of reading goodies for the week:Race and the Standardized Testing Wars Kate Taylor's piece from yesterday's New York Times is a worthwhile read about tough issues. Additionally, she quotes Jennifer Berkshire's Have You Heard podcast and Jose Luis Vilson (an actual teacher). Nice to see a major mainstream article about education that doesn't just go straight to the usual refo
More About MI Super
Nancy Flanagan, a top blogger who was one of my earliest inspirations in this bloggy biz, left a comment on my earlier post about Michigan's call for more testing, more often, of more students. It adds some important insights that I lacked, and I think it's important enough to get moved up here where people who don't read the comments will still see it. Hmm. I actually live in Michigan. And while
One System To Rule them All
Every once in a while something turns up in the comments that is just too good not to pass on. This is from reader J. Chaffee (If I had a good elvish font, I'd use it).  Data Systems for the administrators under the sky,Systems for the teacher drones in their halls of stone,Systems for Mortal students doomed to die,One system for the Corporate Head on his dark throneIn the Land of Cyber where the


No More Lone Genius
Earlier this month at the Harvard Business Review, Greg Satell wrote "It's Time To Bury the Idea of the Lone Genius Innovator." He opens his argument with the story of Alexander Fleming. You know the standard bit-- Fleming finds his experiment with bacteria has been ruined by fungus which is killing every piece of bacteria it touches. So he has a flash of insight, redirects his attention
What Can You Do?
It has become an oft-repeated progression in the world of the public education debates. People become curious, then interested, then informed, then alarmed. Then they ask the question--What can I do?In some places, it's obvious. Some cities and communities are on the front lines of these battles and they need people to stand up and make noise right now, today. Parents need ton turn up at meetings.
Stand Up. Stand Together: Reflections on Raleigh
I had a lot of reasons to stay away from this year's Network for Public Education conference in Raleigh, and up until the last minute I thought I wasn't going. Finances, family stuff, social anxiety, time off, general work stress, concerns about the venue-- all that and a few other things made me balk. I'm certainly not unique. Lots of folks have lots of reasons not to attend a conference, some of
Getting Better
Some days I think the problems behind ed reform boil down to a basic misunderstanding of human nature.In Ed Week a few weeks back, Marc Tucker wrote about getting great teachers in every classroom (I would rather talk about helping the teacher in every classroom to do more great teaching, but okay) and in the midst of that discussion, he drops thisThere are, of course, teachers who do work really

Race and the Standardized Testing Wars - The New York Times

Race and the Standardized Testing Wars - The New York Times:
Race and the Standardized Testing Wars

WHEN the parents of more than 200,000 pupils in the third through eighth grades in New York chose to have their children sit out standardized state tests last spring, major civil rights organizations were quick to condemn their decision, along with similar movements in Colorado, Washington and New Jersey.
Reliable testing results, they argued, broken down by race, income and disability status, were critical in holding schools accountable for providing equal education for all. By refusing to have their children participate, the parents were “inadvertently making a choice to undermine efforts to improve schools for every child,” according to a statement by the groups.
Because the families opting out were disproportionately white and middle class, testing proponents dismissed them as coddled suburbanites, while insisting that urban parents, who had graver concerns about the quality of their children’s schools, were supportive of the tests. Earlier this year, proponents of testing began using the hashtag #OptOutSoWhite — a spin on the #OscarsSoWhite social-media campaign — to suggest that testing opposition was a form of white privilege.
Yet as testing season unfolds this year, the debate is becoming murkier. More minority educators, parents and students are criticizing the tests, opening a rift with civil rights groups and black and Hispanic educators who support testing, like Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.
Their complaints are wide-ranging. They argue that the focus on testing has forced struggling schools to cut back on enriching programs like field trips and arts education. Some view testing as part of a larger agenda, driven by test companies and opponents of teachers’ unions, that seeks to wring profits from education while closing public schools and replacing them with non-unionized charter schools. Others say that the tests are damaging to students’ self-esteem, because students interpret low scores as proof that they are inferior and destined to fail.
Some even suspect that part of the tests’ purpose is to identify future Race and the Standardized Testing Wars - The New York Times:

Ravitch stands up for beleaguered public schools | News & Observer

Ravitch stands up for beleaguered public schools | News & Observer:

Ravitch stands up for beleaguered public schools

Click on picture to Listen to Diane Ravitch

 Diane Ravitch, the well-known historian of education and fierce defender of public schools, came to Raleigh last week with a mix of reluctance and dismay.

The group she co-founded in 2013, the Network for Public Education (NPE), held its national conference at the Raleigh Convention Center April 16-17. She wanted to cancel the gathering of 500 people as part of the growing protest against HB2, but doing so on such short notice would have cost the group its deposits and many participants coming from around the nation would have lost their airfares.
The dilemma gave Ravitch a direct sense of how North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature can cause headaches. She’s been hearing for years about the Republican leadership’s denigration of teachers and the legislature’s agenda for education – expanded charters, vouchers, schools graded A to F – that is exactly what she thinks shouldn’t be done to improve public schools.
“The legislature seems to be systematically pulling apart the education system,” she said. “I get email from people in North Carolina all the time telling me about egregious acts.”
NPE wanted to lend support to North Carolina teachers and other public school advocates here, but the group didn’t expect to arrive just as the legislature and governor ignited a national controversy not about how schools should run their classrooms, but about how they should police their bathrooms.
“When we picked North Carolina it was because it was in trouble,” she said. “Now things are even worse.”
A prolific writer of books on education and the keeper of the widely read Diane Ravitch’s blog, Ravitch, 77, is one of a dwindling number of prominent leaders who are unapologetic advocates for public schools. She sees the once unquestioned commitment to public schools dissolving. Conservatives are pushing to privatize public education and divert more tax dollars to private schools, she said, but that approach will narrow opportunity and increase inequality.
She helped form NPE, she said, “to support public education and students and teachers in the fight against privatization and high-stakes testing, both of which are very harmful to teachers and students.”
Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University, has the fervor of a convert. She started out taking a conservative approach, stressing testing and teacher accountability. She served as an assistant secretary of education in George H.W. Bush’s administration and was an early supporter of charter schools and No Child Left Behind.
Now she said she is disillusioned about charter schools and opposed to vouchers and extensive testing. She thinks schools would improve if politicians stopped excoriating teachers and started appreciating what public schools achieve despite the increasing demands, inadequate funding and the social ills that are funneled into the classroom. InRavitch stands up for beleaguered public schools | News & Observer:
Big Education Ape: Educators at Raleigh NPE conference condemn HB2 | News & Observer #NPE16NC
Live From Raleigh, North Carolina: NPE’s 3rd Annual National Conference Complete interactive schedule
Big Education Ape: Video: Saturday at NPE’s 3rd Annual National Conference #NPE16NC
Big Education Ape: Karran Harper Royal and Jesse Hagopian at the NPE National Conference on Vimeo
Big Education Ape: Anthony Cody Interviews Mary Cathryn Ricker, AFT VP and Becky Pringle, NEA VP #NPE16NC
Big Education Ape: Opt-Out Conscientious Objectors #NPE16NC

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