Latest News and Comment from Education

Monday, May 16, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay

CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay:

Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay

Last week US News, a reliably reformy news outlet, gave some space to Michael Hansen of Brookings Institution, a reliable outlet for bone-headed education analysis, and he used that space to declare that Teaching To the Test Is Okay, thereby preserving Brookings' record of  getting almost everything about education dead wrong. But stick around, because this article has one of the best closing lines ever.

Hansen starts out by stating the problem in terms that set the stage for the answer Hanson likes. Since No Child Left Behind kicked off the "springtime ritual" (well, that sounds pleasant, like a Maypole or Senior Prom) Hanson notes that "many have wrung their hands" (rhetoric only slightly less dismissive than "clutched their pearls") about testing crowding out other instruction. And he formulates the questions by aiming straight at teachers. How do teachers respond to these conflicting goals? "Are they teaching to the test to the detriment of authentic instruction? And how do their choices affect our kids?"

Got it? If testing is crowding out authentic instruction, that's because of teacher choices. It's on us, colleagues, and not on policies that link the futures of our schools schools, our students, and our careers to the test results.

Hansen calls these "important questions" and ties them to the rise of the opt-out movement. Then this

And perhaps to counter the narrative that teachers may be at fault and to protest the encroachment of test-driven evaluation on teachers' autonomy,teacher unions have also joined in condemningpolicy's overemphasis on standardized tests. 

Got it? We teachers oppose the Big Standardized Tests because we're hiding our own blame for the narrowing of education and to keep our crowns of mighty power in our classrooms. Couldn't possibly be because as  education professionals, we can see and understand that the tests are bad policy and bad tests, bringing no educational benefits and in many cases plenty of damage to our students. No-- there's no chance that teacher and teacher union objections to the tests are grounded in legitimate 
CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay:

Low-Graduation-Rate Schools Concentrated in Charter, Virtual School Sectors

Low-Graduation-Rate Schools Concentrated in Charter, Virtual School Sectors:

Low-Graduation-Rate Schools Concentrated in Charter, Virtual School Sectors

The U.S. high school graduation rate reached  a record high of 82.3 percent in 2014, according to the latest Building a Grad Nation report. Improvements were seen in all  subgroups and the number of low-graduation-rate schools decreased overall. The report points out, however, that much works needs to be done to reach the national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.
In order to meet this milestone, a 1.2 percent increase in graduation rates would be needed each year. This year, graduation rates only increased by .9 percent.
The GradNation campaign is led by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. For seven years, the four organizations have released updates on the progress and the challenges in increasing graduation rates across the nation.
For the first time, the GradNation report analyzes data using new criteria established by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed by Congress in December to replace No Child Left Behind, to identify low-graduation-rate high school schools. Despite an overall decline nationally, these schools “pose a significant roadblock” in the effort to reach that landmark 90 percent graduation rate.
“As the number of low-grad-rate schools grows in some states, it is necessary to take a closer look at when and where these schools are part of the solution or a wrong turn on the path to 90 percent  graduation rates for all students,” says Jennifer DePaoli, senior education advisor at Civic Enterprises and the report’s lead author.
ESSA defines a low-graduation-rate school as one that enrolls 100 or more students and has a graduation rate of 67 percent or below.  Under this definition, charter, virtual and alternative high schools make up 52 percent of all low-graduation-rate high schools in the nation, compared to 41 percent  for regular public schools.
Charter schools currently account for about eight percent of all high schools. Of these, 30 percent  are classified as low-graduation-rate schools. Charters in general have a national average graduation rate of 70 percent , below the 85 percent  level for regular high schools. Seven percent of these schools are classified as low-graduation-rate schools.
Alternative schools, which are established to meet the needs of “at risk” students, make up 6 percent of all high schools and share a similar graduation rate with charter schools—52 percent . Fifty-seven percent of alternative high schools are low-graduation-rate schools.
graduation rate for public schools and charter schoolsVirtual schools, which offer full-time instruction online and represent a slim 1 percent of all high schools, have the highest percentage of low-graduation schools – 87 percent . The average graduation rate for virtual schools is 40 percent .
The GradNation report states that “in light of the finding that alternative, charter, and virtual schools make up only about 10 percent of high schools, yet make up more than 50 Low-Graduation-Rate Schools Concentrated in Charter, Virtual School Sectors:

NYC Public School Parents: Should excerpts from the high-stakes PARCC exams be allowed under the "Fair Use" doctrine?

NYC Public School Parents: Should excerpts from the high-stakes PARCC exams be allowed under the "Fair Use" doctrine?:

Should excerpts from the high-stakes PARCC exams be allowed under the "Fair Use" doctrine?

See the post I reblogged with excerpts from the PARCC exam here.  Thanks to SO MANY of you who have reblogged it as a collective act of defiance after PARCC demanded that the excerpts from the 4th grade exam be deleted from the original post on Celia Oyler's blog, claiming that these excerpts violated their copyright.

Since then, others have pointed out that publicizing items from an exam is critical for demonstrating how unfair and inappropriate these exams really are.  See this column by Anthony Cody, for example, who writes:

In 2012, the patent absurdity of Pearson’s talking pineapple made that story irresistible to mainstream media, and Haimson’s report made its way into the New York Daily News and other major newspapers. Pearson initially defended the pineapple question, However the pressure became too great, and New York removed the question from the test. The underlying issues this time are similar. Fourth grade students are being given questions that cannot be justified educationally. The test cannot be seen as a legitimate means of measuring their learning. Just as we needed to read the question about the talking pineapple to understand how lousy it was, we must be able to discuss and criticize the content of the PARCC test. These are not sacred texts. They ARE, however, being used to make Godlike judgments about children and teachers, with potentially life-altering or career-ending consequences.

I have heard from others that these excerpts should be allowed under the "Fair Use" exception.  Here is a discussion of the "Fair Use" doctrine, on the Stanford University website dealing with Copyright and Fair Use:

What Is Fair Use?

In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.

So what is a “transformative” use? If this definition seems ambiguous or vague, be aware that millions of dollars in legal fees have been spent attempting to define what qualifies as a fair use. There are no hard-and-fast rules, only general rules and varied court decisions, because the judges and lawmakers who created the fair use exception did not want to limit its definition. Like free speech, they wanted it to have an expansive meaning that could be open to interpretation.

Most fair use analysis falls into two categories: (1) commentary and criticism, or (2) parody.

Commentary and Criticism

If you are commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work — for instance, writing a book review — fair use principles allow you to reproduce some of the work to achieve your purposes. Some examples of commentary and criticism include:
  • quoting a few lines from a Bob Dylan song in a music review
  • summarizing and quoting from a medical article on prostate cancer in a news report
  • copying a few paragraphs from a news article for use by a teacher or student in a lesson, or
  • copying a portion of a Sports Illustrated magazine article for use in a related court case.
The underlying rationale of this rule is that the public reaps benefits from your review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted material. Additional examples of commentary or criticism are provided in the examples of fair use cases.

- See more at: 

Clearly, the brief excerpts used from the 4th grade PARCC exam were used in the context of a larger critique and should be allowed under the Fair Use exception.  What do others think? Comments welcome, especially from attorneys! 
NYC Public School Parents: Should excerpts from the high-stakes PARCC exams be allowed under the "Fair Use" doctrine?:

Maintaining the status quo of two Connecticuts (By Wendy Lecker) - Wait What?

Maintaining the status quo of two Connecticuts (By Wendy Lecker) - Wait What?:

Maintaining the status quo of two Connecticuts (By Wendy Lecker)

Wendy Lecker, leading public education advocate, education funding expert and fellow education columnist, returns to the issue of Governor Dannel Malloy and his administration’s utter failure to address the historic underfunding of Connecticut’s public schools or provide our students, parents, teachers and public schools with the resources and support they need to ensure a quality education for every Connecticut child.
At a time when a comprehensive, quality education is more important than ever, it is a stunning and terrible commentary that a governor, commissioner of education and legislature would intentionally refuse to fulfill one of their most fundamental and important responsibilities.  It is truly a sign of the times.
In her latest column, that first appeared in the Stamford Advocate this past weekend, Wendy Lecker writes;
Maintaining the status quo of two Connecticuts
The defense is in full swing at Connecticut’s school funding trial, CCJEF v. Rell. The state is attempting to make the case that Connecticut’s poorest schools do not need any more state funding.
As if to hammer home their point, the newly minted deal from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Democratic legislators slashes nearly $100 million from state education aid. More than $30 million will be cut from the state’s funding formula, ECS, along with tens of millions cut for school transportation, millions cut from special education; and cuts to additional state aid to Connecticut’s poorest districts, such as millions cut from priority school grants and turnaround funds.
These state aid reductions will have the most devastating effect in our poorest school districts. As detailed in an earlier column, Hartford is already forced to cut teachers, guidance counselors, intervention specialists and other key staff and programs. Further cuts to state aid will force more deprivation for these already starving schools.
How is the state dealing with this reality in court? The testimony of Education Commissioner Wentzell provides a clue. Wentzell, who spent most of her career in wealthy school districts or selective choice programs, repeatedly asserted on the stand that “leadership is much more important than money.” She even went so far as to claim that “(l)eadership without money works very well.” When asked whether resources might have something to do with student achievement, she pointedly evaded the question, even when the judge asked her directly.
Wentzell clung to her notion that all schools need is “leadership” even while 
Maintaining the status quo of two Connecticuts (By Wendy Lecker) - Wait What?:

Phantom Students—One Part of a Much Bigger Problem of Unregulated Charter Schools | janresseger

Phantom Students—One Part of a Much Bigger Problem of Unregulated Charter Schools | janresseger:
Phantom Students—One Part of a Much Bigger Problem of Unregulated Charter Schools

Ohio’s Senate Bill 298, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni’s proposed law to ensure that the state is paying online charter schools for real students, not merely phantom students, will have a fourth hearing this week. Ohio pays on-line charter schools nearly $7,000 per pupil. According to Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, e-schools are draining approximately $250 million in public dollars to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), the Ohio Virtual Academy—a K12 Inc. affiliate, and other e-schools.
Earlier this spring ECOT, Ohio’s largest online charter school, proposed that the legislature allow the state to reimburse the online academies when students sign up instead of paying the schools only for the students who participate actively on a daily basis.  Senator Schiavoni’s proposed law to prevent such a practice is pretty basic—require e-schools to keep accurate records of the number of hours students spend doing coursework—require the online school to notify the Ohio Department of Education if a student fails to log-in for ten consecutive days—require that a qualified teacher check in with each student once a month to monitor active participation.  The bill has been shunted to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee, however, by Republican leaders because the chair of the education committee has seemed overly sympathetic to its provisions. It is known that sponsors of the virtual academies are also key political contributors to Ohio Republicans, and it is feared that the bill will never make it out of committee.  (This blog covered ECOT’s effort to soften attendance regulations for the virtual academies and Senator Schiavoni’s bill to increase oversight here and here.)
Even though some of the charter management companies have affiliates across many states, charters are established and regulated in state law. A very serious problem across the states is the lack of uniform charter school regulations.  Jessica Calefati of the Bay Area News Grouppublished a scathing report in mid-April of some of the California affiliates of K12 Inc., the same national company that runs the Ohio Virtual Academy: “The TV ads pitch a new kind of school where the power of the Internet allows gifted and struggling students alike to ‘work at the level that’s just right for them’ and thrive with one-on-one attention from teachers connecting through cyberspace… but the Silicon Valley-influenced endeavor behind the lofty claims is leading a dubious revolution.  The growing network of online academies, operated by a Virginia company traded on Wall Street called K12 Inc., is failing key tests used to measure educational success. Fewer than half of the students who enroll in the online high schools earn diplomas, and almost none of them are qualified to attend the state’s public universities.”  The Bay Area News Group blames the problem on “a systemic breakdown in oversight by local school districts and state bureaucrats.”
Calefati’s investigation tracks the research from Mathematica Policy Research, Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, and the National Education Policy Center demonstrating that students at the online schools nationwide are far behind their peers in brick and mortar schools in reading and math. Why? The Bay Area News Groupreport attributes low achievement in many cases to the fact that despite that the state is paying the online schools for students who are registered, too few actually attend school and participate: “A handbook distributed to teachers at the start of the school year says attendance credit may be given even if ‘very few lessons are completed daily,’ so long as the student is ‘actively engaged in completing assigned schoolwork.'” Teachers continue to complain about a state rule that students are attending school if they log in for one minute each day.  Mike Kraft, a spokesperson for K12, denies that students remain formally enrolled if they are merely Phantom Students—One Part of a Much Bigger Problem of Unregulated Charter Schools | janresseger:

Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools |

Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools |:

Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools

Jitu Brown--Sabotaging public schools to help charters is "evil."
Jitu Brown–Sabotaging public schools to help charters is “evil.”

More than 500 teachers, parents, public officials, and community activists rallied in front of the Statehouse in Trenton Sunday–and listened to blistering attacks on the failure of New Jersey’s leaders to fund public education and  prevent the draining of public funds from traditional schools by privately-operated charter schools.
The denunciations of the Christie administration and legislators of both parties who support his school policies often became heated–and the angriest attacks drew the loudest cheers.
“We know how to create successful schools,” said Jitu Brown, a Chicago community organizer who has spoken frequently in New Jersey. “They just don’t want to do it for black and brown children.”
Denouncing the “illusion of school choice,” he accused Christie and other supporters of charter schools of “deliberately sabotaging” public schools so they would fail and then replacing them with privatized charter schools.
“The return on our investment has been the sabotaging of the education of our children,” said Brown, who led a hunger strike in Chicago in support of traditional neighborhood schools. “What could be more evil than that?”
He said such policies proved that, “White people in America…have never been able to reconcile their hatred of black people.”

Keith Howell and parents from Camden--the public schools are "set up" to fail. (Bob Braun photo)
Keith Howell and parents from Camden–the public schools are “set up” to fail. (Bob Braun photo)

A delegation of speakers from the Camden schools–where Christie and Democratic political boss George Norcross have promoted extensive use of charter schools to replace traditional public schools–also denounced charters. So did the leadership of a police union in Trenton.
The rally, initially organized by leaders of the Trenton Education Association (TEA), demonstrated widespread community opposition to the spread of charter schools and other reforms, including use of Teach for America (TFA) graduates who have replaced veteran teachers in many urban districts, including Camden.
Keith Howell, a social science teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, said the state-controlled district was using a new teacher tenure law to drive out Hundreds rally in Trenton against school aid cuts and charter schools |:

Detroit Schools plagued by mismanagement, student losses

Detroit Schools plagued by mismanagement, student losses:

Detroit Schools plagued by mismanagement, student losses

Members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers march down Grand Blvd., during a rally in front of the Detroit Public Schools offices in Detroit, Monday, May 2, 2016. The district's state-appointed transition manager Steven Rhodes says 45,628 of approximately 46,000 students were forced to miss classes Monday as 1,562 teachers called in sick. Detroit's schools are expected to be out of cash starting July 1. (Daniel Mears/The Detroit News via AP)

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan lawmakers trying to glue together a plan to fix Detroit Public Schools using taxpayer money are staring down more than a decade of failure with what was once among the largest public education systems in the nation.
It's a story that stretches back to the 1990s, when poor academics, abhorrent graduation rates and low test scores opened the door for the state to wrest control from an elected school board. The district was set free in 2005, but budget missteps, corruption, financial mismanagement and enrollment losses ushered in the current state oversight — yet debt and deficits continue to rise.
"It hasn't worked. It clearly hasn't worked," Juan Jose Martinez, a Detroit school board member in the late 1990s, said of state oversight. "It's a shame things are in the condition they are in. ... I'm a man of faith and I have to keep praying that it's going to get back on solid footing."
The latest of five state-appointed financial managers has said the district can't continue unless legislators pitch in to pay off the debt and include funding to allow resources to be directed back to classrooms.
With encouragement from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, the state Senate has approved a plan to pay off the district's estimated $467 million debt and provide $200 million in transition funds for a new, separate district that would educate students and have its finances overseen by a commission of state appointees. The plan effectively commits Michigan to a decade of new spending until the old DPS debt is retired. The House version would pay off the debt and provide $33 million for transition costs.
"We recognize that the future of Detroit's schoolchildren is on the line," said Republican Rep. Al Pscholka, House budget committee chairman. "There's never been an indication ... that we would not help the children of Detroit. It doesn't matter to me today who's to blame. Assigning blame doesn't solve it."
In the late 1990s, then-Gov. John Engler, a Republican, wanted to intervene in districts where more than 80 percent of students failed the state proficiency test or the dropout rate was higher than 25 percent. The state said the graduation rate of the 180,000-student Detroit district was about 30 percent; district officials said it was closer to 52 percent. Its school board eventually was replaced by a reform board.
Detroit was "not performing to levels they needed to do justice to kids in those schools ... parents felt completely abandoned by the system," said Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, who was then a state senator. "It was an absurd outcome that no elected member of government who represents human beings would ever ignore."
But parents began sending their children to public charter schools or suburban schools — something that contributed to current financial problems.
"We lost 11,000 students almost immediately as a direct result of the takeover," said LaMar Lemmons, a current school board member and Democratic state representative in 1999 who opposed state control. "Many middle-class parents weren't going to be in a district that was so bad that the state had to come in."
By 2003, enrollment was down to 150,000 students. Five years later, it dipped to 91,000. There are now 46,000 students, and millions of dollars in state per-pupil funding has been lost.
The state returned control to an elected board in 2005, even though Detroit students still ranked among Michigan's worst on standardized tests, the district was $48 million in debt and had a $150 million budget shortfall.
"There was never anything pointing to this financial crisis" before the takeover, said Martinez, who with other school board members were forced from office in 1999. "When we left office, I remember them saying we had a $90 million surplus."
By 2007, the FBI had opened a corruption probe. Later, it came to light that some vendors billed the district for unperformed work and services. One long-time vendor, Norman Shy, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to receiving $2.7 million as part of a kickback scheme in which some principals and an administrator issued bogus orders for supplies.
District officials, including the school board, also had problems keeping track of how much money was coming in and what was owed. The state determined in 2009 that finances were so poor that a state-appointed emergency manager was needed to bring things in line.
Academics are improving as some test scores have inched up and 4-year graduation rates moved over the past decade from 58 percent to 77 percent. Fiscally, things couldn't be worse: The state hired retired bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes in February to complete the job that four other emergency managers couldn't. If the Legislature's plan is approved, a locally elected board could regain control by next year, though a financial review commission still would oversee finances.
But state control over Detroit's schools has failed, said Craig Thiel, of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit policy research group.
"The model is focused almost exclusively on the finances and has very little to do with the academics," he said. "If you don't give time for academic reforms to work, the revenue comes down too quickly."
Associated Press writer David Eggert in Lansing contributed to this story.Detroit Schools plagued by mismanagement, student losses:

The invisible tax on black teachers - The Washington Post

The invisible tax on black teachers - The Washington Post:

The invisible tax on black teachers 

Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School kindergarten teacher Cynthia Walker guides her future charges during the orientation for incoming students and their families on May 5, 2015. (Tin Nguyen/Fairfax County Times)

John King is U.S. education secretary.
One of my top priorities as education secretary is to help our public schools serve the needs of our increasingly diverse students so that they have the opportunity to pursue the American dream and use their talents to help our nation tackle some of its most difficult problems.
To achieve this goal, we need a teaching force that is as diverse as our students. More and more research shows that diversity isn’t just a nicety — it’s a real contributor to better outcomes in our schools, workplaces and communities. But while students of color are now a majority in our schools, teachers of color make up only 18 percent of their faculties. Unless we do something as a country, demographic projections show that this mismatch is likely to get worse.
To address this, we need to encourage a wider array of young people to consider teaching as a career, prepare them to meet the learning needs of their diverse students and actively recruit and hire them. But we also must do more to ensure that, once hired, they will stay.
Research conducted recently by the American Federation of Teachers found that, while more teachers of color are being hired than in the past, they also are leaving the profession more quickly than white teachers.
Improved compensation and working conditions can help address this, of course. But one factor in teachers’ decisions to leave deserves special attention: the “invisible tax.”
According to some African American male teachers, the “invisible tax” is imposed on them when they are the only or one of only a few nonwhite male educators in the building. It is paid, for example, when these teachers, who make up only 2 percent of the teaching force nationally, are expected to serve as school disciplinarians based on an assumption that they will be better able to communicate with African American boys with behavior issues.
It is also paid when they have to be on high alert to prepare their students for racism outside of school. “Every time I take my students to an engineering competition, or to speak with industry partners, or to tour colleges, I have to have the code-switching talk,” explained Harry Preston, an African American physics teacher in Baltimore. “That is a mental tax I personally pay as an educator.”
And it is paid when teachers of color are seen as the experts on any question of cultural diversity.
The tax takes a toll on teachers’ time. Building and maintaining relationships with students across an entire school adds to their already busy schedules as teachers. It also takes an emotional toll. Often, the students whom black male teachers are expected to help have serious needs beyond what any individual teacher can remedy. That leads to burnout.

John B. King Jr. thanks President Obama after being named U.S. secretary of education. (The White House/ Youtube)
Sharif El-Mekki, principal of the Mastery Charter School’s Shoemaker campus in Philadelphia, has noted that the African American teachers he speaks with are of two minds about these extra duties. “They feel honored and appreciated that they are asked,” he said, “but when so many The invisible tax on black teachers - The Washington Post:

NY Times Mocks Opt-Out Parents, Fails Common Core English

NY Times Mocks Opt-Out Parents, Fails Common Core English:

NY Times Mocks Opt-Out Parents, Fails Common Core English

Readers of my Huffington Post blog know I am very critical of the skills focus of the national Common Core standards for turning reading into a discombobulated and often meaningless chore for young people and a strong supporter of the high-stakes testing opt-out movement. But in this case, in this particular case, the Common Core reading standards provide a useful dissecting tool for understanding the motives behind charter school propaganda. And remember, I already know how to read pretty “good,” and I learned to read without Common Core. So let’s turn Common Core on its head.
According to the national Common Core reading standards, endorsed by the New York Times in a 2014 editorial, middle school students should be able to “[i]dentify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts)” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6) and “[d]istinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.8). Despite its support for Common Core, a recent New York Times editorial championing so-called educational reform shows that the paper and its staff definitely need remediation and probably should go back to middle school until they can master the new standards.
On May 10, 2016 another New York Times editorial, “Guess Who’s Taking Remedial Classes,” mocked middle-class suburban parents who oppose the Common Core high-stakes testing regime and support the opt-out movement. They cited a “a striking new study showing that nearly half of the students who begin their college careers taking remedial courses come from middle- and upper-income families.” Apparently, about one-fourth of the students who entered college in 2011 were required to take remedial courses in math, English or writing, and forty-five percent of the students in the remedial classes were from those “middle-, upper-middle- and high-income families.” According to the Times, the study was conducted by “a nonprofit think tank” called Education Reform Now. The study did not “indicate the specific places where these higher-income students grew up,” but the Times believes the “data suggest that many come from suburban communities whose schools did not prepare them for college-level work.” And these “wealthier districts” with failing students are, lo and behold, the very “strongholds of the movement against standardized testing and the Common Core learning standards.”
Maybe the New York Times should have checked the data itself before trusting the nonprofit Education Reform Now think tank. Education Reform Now (ERN) may technically be nonprofit, but it certainly is not anti-profit and its promoters and funders are neither educators nor education researchers. ERN has a five member Board of Directors. According to their website, “John Petry, Co-Chair, is the founder and managing principal at Sessa Capital. Previously he was a partner at Gotham Capital and Gotham Asset Management. John has been active in a variety of education reform causes. He was a co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform, served as a past Chairman of Education Reform Now, and currently serves as a co-chair at the Success Academies network of charter schools.”
Too be clear, Petry is a hedge fund entrepreneur, also known as a vulture capitalist, not an educator. For an excellent discussion of how hedge funds operate see John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight’s show on the Puerto Rico debt crisis. Petry is a promoter of Eva Moskowitz’s highly criticized charter school networks, not an NY Times Mocks Opt-Out Parents, Fails Common Core English:

Hillary Clinton Shows How We've Changed The Way We Talk About Teachers | ThinkProgress

Hillary Clinton Shows How We've Changed The Way We Talk About Teachers | ThinkProgress:

Hillary Clinton Shows How We’ve Changed The Way We Talk About Teachers

During a speech for New York State United Teachers last month, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did more than offer a few vague platitudes about the selflessness of teachers. She vowed to launch a “national campaign” to improve the teaching profession.
“One of my main goals as president will be to launch a national campaign to modernize and elevate the profession of teaching. To reach out to encourage more talented young people to become teachers. To reach out and encourage more talented mid-career professionals to do the same,” Clinton said.
So far, Clinton’s statements on education have been fairly limited, in part thanks to the very few education-specific questions she has been asked during the Democratic debates. We do know that she has been supportive of Common Core state standards, saying they allow states to “organize your entire school system,” though she also advocates for “better and fewer tests,” called New York’s rollout of the standards “disastrous,” and said those tests shouldn’t be tied to New York teacher evaluations, according to an interview with Newsday. When it comes to early childhood education, Clinton has introduced a universal pre-K plan.
But her interest in bolstering the teaching profession by urging that states work on increasing teacher pay, improving recruitment, and provide more funding for public schools is the part of her education platform that represents a bigger change in how Democrats talk about teachers.

How we talk about teachers — and how it’s changing

Some of Clinton’s critics on the both the right and left have argued that the American Federation of Teachers endorsed her too early in the presidential campaign and it’s important to remember that not all teachers support Clinton.
But it’s important to recognize that, up until recently, Republicans and Democrats were taking a similar tone when talking about teachers. Instead of advocating for placing more trust in teachers, giving them more autonomy, paying them better salaries, and minimizing the extent to which test scores are tied to teacher evaluations, politicians were focused on holding teachers “accountable” — and that conversation rarely acknowledged the few resources teachers were provided in struggling public schools.
In the past few years, both Democratic and Republican politicians have been engaged in heated battles with teachers unions over issues like tying teacher evaluations to test scores.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), wanted standardized testing to make up 40 percent of the rubric for teacher evaluations, which was one of the motivators for the 2012 Chicago teachers strike. His relationship with teachers unions has not improved over time.Hillary Clinton Shows How We've Changed The Way We Talk About Teachers | ThinkProgress: