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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stop saying it’s “best for the kids” when it’s really about ignoring the black community - The Hechinger Report

Stop saying it’s “best for the kids” when it’s really about ignoring the black community - The Hechinger Report:

Stop saying it’s “best for the kids” when it’s really about ignoring the black community 

Communities shouldn’t accept the flagrantly negative tradeoffs that come with school reform.

Reform can only be sustained by the very communities that use them. That’s the bottom line for New Orleanians involved in the current effort to bring charter schools in the Recovery School District back into the New Orleans Public School District. The public has the rights to good schools and good governance. And if it isn’t the bottom line and for the rest of the country, it should be.

The charter movement was supposed to be about greater autonomy for schools. It doesn’t require tearing apart school districts, dividing educators and removing basic voting rights of citizens. But all of these things happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. So what if we have higher test scores. The goal isn’t to myopically improve schools; the goal is to improve community.

Elected officials seem to agree. Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, in consultation with district and school leaders introduced senate bill 432, which sees to the return of RSD schools back to the Orleans Parish School Board by 2018. The bill is receiving little to no opposition.

Join the conversation later on Andre Perry’s radio show, “Free College,” hosted Tuesdays on WBOK1230 in New Orleans at 3pm Central/4pm Eastern 504.260.9265.

The meat of the bill is that that “the local school board shall not impede the operational autonomy of a charter school under its jurisdiction.”

Many prominent educators are on board as well.

“The most important factor is the unification of our school system for our city,” said Jamar McKneely, CEO of Inspire NOLA Charter Schools. “I believe that our citizens deserve the right to democracy, to actually be in control of our current school system, and as a city we have to move there as early as possible.” McKneely, who was part of a panel hosted by 100 Black Men of New Orleans, also points to inequities that are created by having two systems. He has charter schools in both Orleans Parish and the RSD.

In a statement announcing the 100 Black Men’s The Time is Now! initiative, chapter president Jonathan Wilson stated, “The time is now for us to bring the conversation to the public and seek unified action by our school board and other local elected officials to bring the schools back to our community’s control.”

Even stalwarts of the New Orleans charter movement don’t see the Stop saying it’s “best for the kids” when it’s really about ignoring the black community - The Hechinger Report:


Is enough ever enough when it comes to parents being involved in school? |

How Atlanta parents strike balance of involvement in kids' school |

Is enough ever enough when it comes to parents being involved in school?

What's the right balance of parental involvement in children's education?
According to a recent Pew Research survey, a narrow majority of respondents — 54 percent — say parents can never be too involved in their children's education. But 43 percent say too much parental involvement in a child's education can be a bad thing.
Parental involvement was a hot topic earlier this year when Cobb County School Board member David Morgan suggested that if parents don't show interest and engagement in their children's academic work, then their kids can't participate in sports or other extracurricular activities.

Mom and daughters at school photo
Photo courtesy of Susan Wilson

The outcry was fierce and the measure was voted down 5-2. But the incident put a spotlight on the importance of parental involvement in education.
"For schools to be successful, families need to place an overt emphasis on learning," said Leigh Colburn, director of the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center at Marietta High School, where she previously was principal for 10 years.
"Parents need to be involved, and children need to see that their parents place high value on education," she continued.
Her perspective is echoed by the National Center for Families Learning: "... (I)t has been well established that young people whose parents are more engaged in their education do better academically than their peers, adding that "all parents — regardless of socioeconomic or educational level — can help their children succeed in school and in life."
Marietta mom Susan Wilson said she has been involved in her daughters' education through the years in a variety of ways.
"My husband, Neal, and I place high value on education. I believe teaching is a partnership between home and school, so I want my daughters' teachers and administrators to know they have my interest and support for a positive educational experience," she said.
Striking that right balance can be difficult. When children are in elementary school, parents tend to welcome involvement opportunities — whether it's going into a classroom to read a book, serving as a field-trip chaperone or participating in career day – and kids generally are proud to have their parents involved.
Yet, as children mature, moving into middle and then high school, parents may be less sure about the need and avenues for their involvement. And children might begin to resist their parents' attempts at involvement.
As her girls matured, Wilson said she stayed involved in their education, but her involvement began to look different. "I followed the leads and needs of my children and balanced that with my goal of having them be confident, independent children," she said.
Middle and high school are not the time to pull back from involvement, Colburn said. It's just the time to rethink what that involvement might look like.
During these years, she said, "You want to stay involved, but parent differently."
Sandra Sommerman, who lives in Marietta, said she enjoyed a lot of hands-on involvement in the educations of her two sons when they were in elementary How Atlanta parents strike balance of involvement in kids' school |

Tilson-Ravitch Exchange, Tilson Pens 5K Word ALL CAPS Essay On Politics - ValueWalk

As Kase Cap Struggles, Tilson Pens 5K Word ALL CAPS Essay On Politics - ValueWalk:

As Kase Cap Struggles, Tilson Pens 5K Word ALL CAPS Essay On Politics

 As Whitney Tilson’s Kase Capital struggles in Q1 (and 2015 and other years) Whitney Tilson is busy writing 5,137 word posts about important issues.. As Whitney Tilson notes regarding his conversation with Diane Ravitch “she was kind enough to reply, so I have included her comments (in ALL CAPS), interspersed and at the end of my original email (shared with her permission of course).” Via Tilson’s Education Blog – presented without further comment.

An exchange of emails with Diane Ravitch, focused on what we AGREE on

I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations in my life – and this ongoing one with Diane Ravitch certains ranks up there.
If I recall correctly, we first exchanged emails a few years ago when I send her my presentation about K12, the awful for-profit online charter school operator. I knew we’d have common ground there, as she’d also exposed K12’s misdeeds in her book, Reign of Error.
I reached out to her again recently because I knew we’d have common views on North Carolina’s hateful HB2 law (in fact, we’ve both now published articles in the Huffington Post on this; here’s mine: An Open Letter to a North Carolina State Legislator; and here’s hers: That Dumb Bathroom Bill in North Carolina).
Our common views got me thinking: how is it that two well-informed people can agree on so much in almost all areas, yet apparently disagree on so much in one area (ed reform)? Is it possible that we agree on more than we think?
So I sent her themail below, in which I wrote 24 statements about which I thought we might agree, and asked if she’d reply, in the hopes that we might both learn something, find more areas of agreement where we could work together, and, in general, try to tone things down.
She was kind enough to reply, so I have included her comments (in ALL CAPS), interspersed and at the end of my original email (shared with her permission of course).
Overall, I was heartened to see how many things we agree on.
That said, we still disagree on many things, about which I will respond in due time. But in the interests of keeping this email to a manageable length, I’ll let her have the last word here – but not the final word, as we’ve both committed to continuing (and sharing) our ongoing discussion.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll find our initial exchange as interesting and illuminating as I did.
Hi Diane,
You know, despite our disagreements on ed reform, I’d bet we agree on 95% of everything else. I’m certain that we agree that the Republican party has been hijacked by extremists, Trump is a madman, Cruz is terrifying, and there’s nothing more important than getting a Democrat elected president in November (and, ideally, retaking the Senate and maybe even the House as well).
We agree.
I’ll admit that this creates quite a dilemma for me: I want the teachers unions, which remain the single most powerful interest group supporting the Democratic party, to be strong to help as many Democratic candidates as possible win. But when it comes to my desire to implement the reforms I think our educational system needs, I usually want them to be weak.
I disagree.
I want the teachers’ unions to be strong so they can defend their members against unfair practices and protect their academic freedom. Teachers have been blamed for the ills of society, most especially, poverty. Today’s reformers have created the myth that great teachers–as defined by their students’ test scores– can overcome poverty and close the achievement gaps among different groups of students. I wish it were true, but it is not. The myth encourages lawmakers to believe that wherever poverty persists or test scores are low or achievement gaps remain, it must be the teachers’ fault.
Race to the top required states to evaluate teachers to a significant degree by their students’ test scores, which was a huge mistake that has cost states and districts hundreds of millions of dollars but hasn’t worked anywhere. This method has proved unstable and inaccurate; it reflects who is in the class, not teacher quality.
Scores on standardized tests are highly correlated with family income, over which teachers have no control. In the past few years, some states have eliminated collective bargaining, and there is no correlation between the existence of a union and students’ academic success. In fact, the highest-performing states on the As Kase Cap Struggles, Tilson Pens 5K Word ALL CAPS Essay On Politics - ValueWalk:
REPOSTED: Whitney Tilson and I Exchange Views on Education Reform and the Future | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Disillusioned Teacher Responds to the Tilson-Ravitch Exchange | Diane Ravitch's blog