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Friday, May 20, 2016

Trying to Educate the Education Reformers, Without Success

Trying to Educate the Education Reformers, Without Success:

Trying to Educate the Education Reformers, Without Success

Click on picture to Listen to Diane Ravitch
Peter Cunningham, former deputy to Arne Duncan, accused Carol Burris and me of “attacking” Campbell Brown. He says we “attack” anyone who disagrees with us. Peter now runs a website called Education Post, where he received $12 million from various billionaires (including Walton and Bloomberg) to defend the corporate reform movement of high stakes testing, evaluating teachers by tests scores, and privatization of public schools.
Anyone who reads my post about Campbell will see that there was no attack. I was doing my level best to educate her about what grade level means and why NAEP proficient is not and should not be used as a “passing mark.” Campbell mistakenly said that 2/3 of American students were “below grade level.” What the national test calls “proficiency” is equivalent to an A. No one expects the majority of students to score an A; if they did, we would call it grade inflation.
Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education and a former award-winning principal, tweeted with Campbell, hoping to set her straight. So did Tom Loveless of Brookings, who told her that she was wrong and urged her to correct her error. For some reason, Peter Cunningham did not include Tom in the list of people who were “attacking” Campbell.
Obviously, neither she nor Peter bothered to read the links to scholarly studies and government websites included in my post. They should. They might learn something and stop bashing American public schools and their teachers. I served seven years on the NAEP governing board. I could help them if they are willing to learn.
As for calling Campbell “telegenic,” that’s no insult, that’s a compliment. If you call me telegenic, I would say thank you.Trying to Educate the Education Reformers, Without Success:

Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media - The Washington Post

Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media - The Washington Post:
Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media

The Common Core testing group called PARCC Inc. has been waging an aggressive campaign to take down several dozen social media references to the PARCC test being administered to students this spring — items that include questions from the exam and some that don’t.
Dozens of education bloggers have been writing about the PARCC exam since May 7, when an anonymous teacher posted a piece on the blog of Celia Oyler, an education professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, that harshly critiqued the fourth grade PARCC exam and offered three questions from the test many students are taking this spring. Other education writers and activists began to weigh in, critiquing those questions as being either inappropriate for the grade level or nonsensical, and publishing some test items.
PARCC Inc. officials say these postings and tweets violate their copyright and can lead to problems with test validity.
“Students are given an unfair test environment when anyone posts active test questions on the Internet – whether the test is PARCC, the SAT, or any other exam,” Heather Reams, director of communications and public relations at PARCC Inc., said in a statement (which you can see in full below).
Take-down requests are sent to the hosts of blogs or websites such as Twitter, and the hosting service then removes, or blocks, the post. Asked why PARCC would seek to remove items that critique the test but don’t actually disclose test questions, Reams said in an interview that “the intention is to ensure that we have the validity of the test protected.” Asked if the disclosures threatened the validity of the entire test, Reams said that the problem would be “specific for that question,” and that most students had already taken PARCC before the publication on Oyler’s blogs.
PARCC Inc. is  a non-profit organization that supports the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, which itself is one of two multi-state consortia that were given millions in funding from the Obama administration to create new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The PARCC test and other Core tests have drawn scrutiny, with hundreds of thousands of parents opting their children out of the exams amid increasing criticism about their content and the potential consequences the exams carry.
Leonie Haimson, an education activist who founded the non-profit Class Size Matters and is a co-founder of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, said that flawed test questions should be publicized. She and others argue that it is “fair use” for writers to reveal a few items from a test if the intent is to critique the test questions.
“There needs to be at least as much accountability for those who make and give the tests as they’re urging on our students, teachers and schools,” Haimson said. “Yet there can’t be any, without complete transparency showing the flawed quality of these assessments.  As with the [badly worded] Pineapple question [on a 2012 Common Core test in New York], which triggered outrage and has become a symbol of the defective nature of the standardized tests imposed on our children, it is the public’s right to know.”
Oyler received a letter dated May 12, 2016, from Laura Slover, the chief executive officer of PARCC Inc., threatening possible legal action if the questions were not removed from the blog. It said in part (and you can see the full letter below):
Your reproduction of those items infringe the PARCC, Inc. copyrights in the test, amplify the teacher’s breach of confidentiality, and threaten the utility of the assessments, both as their administration is completed over the next few weeks and in versions of the assessment to be administered in the future.
We have noted that a number of websites have linked to your site, further undermining the utility of the assessments. As an infringer, you can be held personally liable for the damages incurred by PARCC, Inc. and those who have contributed financially to the creation and validation of the assessments, including without limitation the possible need, not only to create replacement items, but to create and revalidate new test forms.
Oyler has said she received the post anonymously and doesn’t know who the teacher is. She did, Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media - The Washington Post:


edTPA Still Baloney

The National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) decided to take a look at edTPA, the teacher evaluation program of dubious value. CALDER's headline may be welcome to the folks at edTPA, but a quick look under the hood reveals a big bunch of baloney. The paper is informative and useful and pretty thorough, but it's not going to make you feel any better about edTPA.

CALDER is a tentacle of the American Institutes for Research, the folks who brought us the SBA test.The report itself is sponsored by Gates Foundation and "an anonymous foundation," which-- really? Hey there, friend? Have you had any research done on your money-making product? Certainly-- here's some fine research sponsored by anonymous backers. You can totally trust it. CALDER does acknowledge that this is just a working paper, and "working papers have 
not undergone final formal review."

What are we talking about?

edTPA is a system meant to up the game of teacher entrance obstacles like the much-unloved PRAXIS exams. Coming up with a teacher gatekeeper task than the PRAXIS is about as hard as coming up with a more pleasant organization that the Spanish Inquisition. In this case, there's no reason to assume that "better" is the same as "good."

The idea of coming up with something kind of like the process of becoming a board certified teacher is appealing, but edTPA has been roundly criticized (more than once) for reducing the process of learning the art and science of teaching to a series of hoop-jumping paper-shuffling, an expensive exercise that involves being judged via video clips. The 

Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You! | The Progressive

Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You! | The Progressive:
Beware: The Education Reform Industry Is Watching You!

Several weeks ago a fourth-grade school teacher posted a blistering online commentary on the Common Core PARCC test. Among other criticisms she wrote:
Right out of the gate, 4th graders are being asked to read and respond to texts that are two grade levels above the recommended benchmark. After they struggle through difficult texts with advanced vocabulary and nuanced sentence structures, they then have to answer multiple choice questions that are, by design, intended to distract students with answers that appear to be correct except for some technicality.
Columbia University’s Teacher College Professor Celia Oyler read the anonymous commentary and reposted it in mid-May. In response, she received an official letter from the CEO of PARCC threatening legal action unless she removed the post because it contained “copyrighted material.” The PARCC letter also demanded that she provide the company with the name of the anonymous teacher who wrote the article.
She wasn’t alone.  
Other education bloggers and advocates who posted a link to Oyler’s original article or tweeted about the story also received an email warning that they should remove the link or expect legal action. The Common Core PARCC test is paid for with taxpayer funds and the test is given by public school teachers in public schools, but public criticism of the test is, according to the PARCC, an infringement of the company’s rights.
Oyler refused to provide the name of the author but did remove materials that she deemed might be copyrighted.  She also renamed her post: The PARCC Test: Exposed [excerpts deleted under legal threat from Parcc].
Blogger and Progressive Education Fellow Peter Greene put it this way:
So this is what we've come to—it's an act of brave rebellion, a risk to career and livelihood, to publish some questions from PARCC's Big Standardized Test.

At Outrage on the Page, an anonymous teacher has taken the what-shouldn't-be-dangerous step of publishing actual questions from the fourth-grade PARCC. This is a dangerous move because, of course, we are all sworn to secrecy about our BS Tests. In PA I must swear that I won't look at the test, and if I do, I will promptly forget everything I see there. We've known for a while that Pearson has a security team that monitors social media for any student security breaches. Because at the end of the day, BS Test manufacturers are more worried about their proprietary money-making property than they are about making a good test or providing real test results.

You know what kind of test needs this sort of heavy security? A crappy test. 
So who is PARCC? And where do they get off claiming that their interests trump freedom of
- See more at:

Did your CT legislators support students, parents and teachers or Malloy and the Common Core testing mania? - Wait What?

Did your CT legislators support students, parents and teachers or Malloy and the Common Core testing mania? - Wait What?:

Did your CT legislators support students, parents and teachers or Malloy and the Common Core testing mania?

Earlier this month, the Connecticut General Assembly adjourned without even voting on one of the most important pieces of legislation being considered.  It was called Senate Bill 380 – AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXCLUSION OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE RESULTS ON THE MASTERY EXAMINATION FROM TEACHER EVALUATIONS.
Opposed by Governor Dannel Malloy, charter school advocates and the corporate education reform industry, the bill would have required the state to fix its flawed teacher evaluation law and reduce the state’s obsession with Malloy’s massive standardized testing scheme.
Instead of keeping the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) as part of the state’s flawed teacher evaluation program, the proposed law would have required Connecticut to adopt a system that is based on the real factors that determine whether a teacher is successfully doing their job in the classroom.
But Malloy and his allies, including the two major charter school lobby groups, ConnCAN and CCER, demanded that legislators defeat the bill and keep the existing shameful system in place.
Doing Malloy’s bidding, rather than what was right for Connecticut’s children, parents, Did your CT legislators support students, parents and teachers or Malloy and the Common Core testing mania? - Wait What?:

Colorado and Relay: Continued Blank Space. Guest Post by Peggy Robertson | BustED Pencils

Colorado and Relay: Continued Blank Space. Guest Post by Peggy Robertson | BustED Pencils:

Colorado and Relay: Continued Blank Space. Guest Post by Peggy Robertson

In case you didn’t know it, Colorado tax payer dollars are being spent this weekend for educational leaders in Colorado to fly to New York for another session with non-educators at Relay fake graduate school.
They will learn more scripted material to bring back to Colorado to inflict upon teachers and children – further diminishing any democratic thinking. A compliance, racist and militant model of discipline and teaching to the test is the model of public education for our black and brown communities via Relay. And no pushback. None.
They are rolling it out without any parent knowledge. As I have watched various leaders and districts embrace Relay I wonder why these leaders don’t sport a Relay t-shirt or speak of Relay by name? I find that fascinating. The name “Relay” remains very much hush hush. Why so quiet? Why not loud and proud? Reminds me of other times in history when horrific events occurred and no one believed it could be truly happening. Is the silence – refusal to use the name “Relay” – due to the personal shame of inflicting such educational malpractice on our children – malpractice these leaders would NEVER allow their own child to endure? I wonder. Please – let us know who you are. Which schools? How many are silently implementing Relay? I’d like to be clear about what I’m dealing with as we move forward in CO to expose and shame.
And don’t talk to me about people needing paychecks and simply doing what they’ve got to do to hold down a job – they also took these jobs along with a commitment to do right by Colorado and Relay: Continued Blank Space. Guest Post by Peggy Robertson | BustED Pencils:

New report is ‘huge warning sign’ that desegregation has failed in US schools

New report is ‘huge warning sign’ that desegregation has failed in US schools:

New report is ‘huge warning sign’ that desegregation has failed in US schools

Report illuminates extent to which US schools are becoming more segregated, with more than 60% of schools with high levels of poor students racially divided
When Terrance Green was a student at Detroit public schools starting in the 1980s, he celebrated his experience in the overwhelmingly black district.
“The teachers were outstanding … there was a very strong ethos around racial identity, around civil rights, around celebrating who we were,” he said.
It wasn’t lost on Green, however, that just north of 8 Mile Road – the demarcation line of Detroit and its suburbs – students had access to a significantly higher amount of resources.
“I do remember … 8 Mile being like the psychological barrier, even in the early 80s it was,” said Green, 33. “I knew there were these suburbs [that] had more amenities, but I don’t think I could articulate that as an elementary school child.”
A fourth-generation Detroiter, Green’s entry into the city’s public school system was only several years removed from a seminal 1974 US supreme court ruling on school desegregation, Milliken v Bradley, which ended a plan to integrate mostly white suburban schools into Detroit’s public school system. The city’s population continued to swiftly decline in the years that followed, eroding the school system’s resources in tandem until the state declared a financial emergency.
How do you have meaningful desegregation when you have white flight occurring at rapid rates?
Terrance Green
Green, a professor of educational policy and planning at the University of Texas at Austin, pointed to the Milliken decision as a “death knell” to implementing the supreme court’s 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education to desegregate school systems.
“How do you have meaningful desegregation when you have white flight occurring at rapid rates, but we can’t involve suburban school districts where this was occurring?” Green said. “It stopped mandatory desegregation efforts metropolitan-wide.”
A report released this week by the Government Accountability Office illuminated the extent to which school systems across the US are, once again, becoming more segregated. The report found that more than 60% of schools with high levels of poor students were racially segregated, which the report defined as being at least 75% black or Latino.
The study reviewed federal data from 2001 to 2014 and found 16% of all US schools were both racially segregated and poor, increasing from about 7,000 schools in 2001 to 15,089 by 2013 to 2014. Observers and advocates for school desegregation said the report should be a “huge warning sign” that needs to be addressed.
“There are many who believe in this country that we are operating on an even playing field,” said Jadine Johnson, staff attorney at the Massachusetts-based Opportunity to Learn Campaign.
“I think what this report revealed … is that the legacies of slavery in this country, the legacies of Jim Crow, are alive and active,” she said. “That did not go away with Brown v Board of Education.”
Compared to other schools, the GAO report found, segregated schools offered fewer college prep, science, and math classes to take, and a disproportionate number of students were either held back in ninth grade, suspended, or expelled.
Michigan congressman John Conyers was among several lawmakers who requested the report, which was released on the 62nd anniversary of Brown v Board of Education. Conyers and Virginia congressman Bobby Scott are pushing legislation that would amend Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and restore the rights of parents to file lawsuits against segregated school districts under claims of disparate impacts, which are based on ascertaining the discriminatory effect of a policy rather than ascertaining New report is ‘huge warning sign’ that desegregation has failed in US schools:
education icon, source: Digital Vision


Better Use of Information Could Help Agencies Identify Disparities and Address Racial Discrimination
GAO-16-345: Published: Apr 21, 2016. Publicly Released: May 17, 2016.

If PARCC, Inc., Is the Owner of PARCC Items, Produce the Document Proving It | deutsch29

If PARCC, Inc., Is the Owner of PARCC Items, Produce the Document Proving It | deutsch29:

If PARCC, Inc., Is the Owner of PARCC Items, Produce the Document Proving It

question mark document
In a letter issued around May 12, 2016, to professor Celia Oyler regarding Oyler’s publishing three “live” PARCC items on her blog on May 07, 2016, PARCC, Inc., CEO Laura Slover wrote the following as part of a warning email to Oyler:
Parcc, Inc. is the owner of all intellectual property contained in the various PARCC assessments (other than third party literary excerpts, for which we have reprint permission), including the essay prompts you have posted.
According to Slover, her nonprofit, PARCC, Inc., owns the rights to the PARCC test items.
In the DMCA takedown notice sent to bloggers and others who shared Oyler’s post on Twitter, Slover is identified as the copyright owner of the items:
DMCA Takedown Notice
== Copyright owner: Laura Slover
== Name: Kevin Michael Days
== Company: PARCC Inc.
== Job title: Associate Director, Operations
== Email address:
== Address: 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 6th Floor
== City: Washington
== State/Province: District of Columbia
== Postal code: 20006
== Country: United States
== Phone (optional): 2027488077
== Fax (optional): n/a
Here is why I challenge the idea that Slover’s PARCC, Inc., is “the owner of all intellectual property contained in various PARCC assessments”:
PARCC, Inc., is not synonymous with the PARCC consortium. PARCC, Inc., is only the “project manager” for the consortium. Moreover, PARCC, Inc.’s position as project manager is not permanent; it is set to expire in 2017. So, how is it that the PARCC consortium would surrender ownership of its intellectual property to an entity with which it has a temporary relationship?
As project management partner for the PARCC consortium, PARCC, Inc., could surely handle PARCC test promotion and licensing, and it could even police social media on behalf of the PARCC consortium. (See more regarding PARCC, Inc., role in this Linkedin ad for a director of contracts management.) But there is a freedom that comes with ownership (“the” owner, at that)– an ability to exercise free rein over what is owned.
In a May 17, 2016, press release regarding Oyler’s post, Heather Reams, Director of Communications and Public Relations, at PARCC, Inc., alludes to copyrighted materials. However, Reams does not go so far as to tell the public that PARCC, Inc., owns the items:
Students are given an unfair test environment when anyone posts active test questions on the internet – whether the test is PARCC, the SAT, or any other exam. Because of this, states rely on Parcc Inc., a non-profit organization, to help ensure that every student who takes a test does so on an even playing field without any unfair advantages or disadvantages, and this requires that copyrighted materials be closely guarded.
Guarding copyrighted material is not the same as owning the material. Thus, Reams’ If PARCC, Inc., Is the Owner of PARCC Items, Produce the Document Proving It | deutsch29:

New Legislation Uses “Cyber Attack Threat” To Shield Delaware’s Student Data Mining Tactics – Exceptional Delaware

New Legislation Uses “Cyber Attack Threat” To Shield Delaware’s Student Data Mining Tactics – Exceptional Delaware:

New Legislation Uses “Cyber Attack Threat” To Shield Delaware’s Student Data Mining Tactics

Delaware Governor Jack Markell sure is going out with a bang.  New legislation introduced a week ago in the Delaware Senate all but ensures any citizen requesting information on student data mining in Delaware will be met with a resounding no.  While the legislation mentions nothing about student data, it talks about the Delaware information technology system.  This bill would prevent a citizen from filing a FOIA request for the following:
Information technology (IT) infrastructure details, including but not limited to file layouts, data dictionaries, source code, logical and physical design of IT systems and interfaces, detailed hardware and software inventories, network architecture and schematics, vulnerability reports, and any other information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize the security or integrity of an information and technology system owned, operated or maintained by the State or any public body subject to the requirements of this Chapter.
On the surface, it looks like a great bill.  But the key words in this legislation are in the data dictionaries.  This defines how a system operates and what is included in it.  You can see one from the Delaware DOE below, from 2012:
The below are recommendations made to the Delaware DOE from Education Insight.  Some of the key words in this document pertain to exactly what is happening now, in current talk and pending legislation.  But the parties who come up with these ideas are trying to make it seem like this is brand new.  The jig is up.  This was planned a long time ago.
The four-year plan for DOE data systems as outlined in Race to the Top will result in a significant expansion in the amount of data available for use within the Departmentand for sharing with outside organizations. This 
New Legislation Uses “Cyber Attack Threat” To Shield Delaware’s Student Data Mining Tactics – Exceptional Delaware:

Another Brick From the Wall: When Education Reformers Fail Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

Another Brick From the Wall: When Education Reformers Fail

By Dr. Michael Flanagan, Co-Director BATs Action Team

I will be honest; I really enjoy stories where corrupt and greedy education reformers just epically fail. Now granted for the past ten years or so reformers have been cashing in big time on the backs of school children and their teachers. Continually racking up public tax dollars in one way or another. Money for charter schools. Money for Teach For America. Money for Pearson etc. etc.

These reformers have been successfully embezzling public school funding, attacking teacher rights, and disregarding collective bargaining agreements all while generating huge profits for test companies and vulture capitalists. As this has been happening countless numbers of parents, teachers, activists and students have organized to push back against the billionaires and their political shills through grassroots efforts, often to no avail. Our protests are met by reformer stonewalling.

The seemingly insurmountable money and power behind these education reformers brings to mind Pink Floyd’s: The Wall. Teachers and parents have faced the brick wall of Common Core, vouchers, charter schools, anti union lawsuits and high stakes testing from the likes of the Fordham Institute, the Broad Foundation, The Walton’s, the Koch’s, David Welch, Bill Gates, the mainstream media, governors, the Department of Education and the President of the United States.

However, lately I am seeing more “Karma” like stories. There are more articles like; Pearson's stock is dropping, or Pearson’s New York State contract is canceled. Common Core has been voted out in several states and Teach For America is laying off employees. A school board in San Francisco actually voted TFA out. I have especially enjoyed watching charter schools like Success Academy and Gulen Charters facing criticism, while some Ohio charter operators have actually been indicted. I applaud how hundreds of thousands of parents opted out of state tests in New York (myself included) while Friedrichs v. California and Vergara v. California both fail spectacularly. Just this past week Sheri Lederman won her case against value added measures of Badass Teachers Association:

Snapshot of the Teaching Profession: What's Changed in a Decade?

Snapshot of the Teaching Profession: What's Changed in a Decade?:

Snapshot of the Teaching Profession: What’s Changed Over a Decade?

snapshot of the teaching profession
There’s no doubt that the past decade or so has been hugely challenging for educators and for the public schools where they teach.  From the failure of No Child Left Behind to the devastating budget cuts following the Great Recession to the vilification of the teaching profession stirred up by the education reform movement, it’s clear why public education advocates hope the next ten years is more promising.
And yet, for many aspects of the teaching profession, the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same, at least according to new federal data contained in the 2014 Digest of Education Statistics, released in May by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). A wide variety of subjects are covered, including funding, student enrollment, attitudes on education, demographic profiles, international comparisons. There’s also quite a bit of information on public school teachers – who they are, where they work, what they teach, and what they earn – and the trends that have shifted (or not) over the past decade or so. Here are just a few takeaways from the data:
1. If you are a classroom teacher, you are still probably a White female. In 2011-2012, there were approximately 3.2 million public school teachers in the United States, a marginal increase from just over 3 million in 2000 and slightly less than the 3.4 million in 2008 just before the country was slammed by the Great Recession.
The gender and racial disparities in the profession persist. In 2000, 84 percent of teachers were white, dipping slightly to 83 percent in 2012. During that time period, the percentage of Hispanic teachers increased the most to around 7 percent. The year 2014 marked the first time White students did not represent a majority in the nation’s public schools, calling more attention to the wide representation gap between educators and their students.
The teaching is still an overwhelmingly female profession. In 2012, 76 percent were women, a slight increase over 74 percent in 2000.
teacher student racial gap
2. The profession is both grey and green…for now.  In the 2012-13 school year, 12 percent of teachers had only 1-3 years full-time teaching experience, an uptick from 9 percent the previous year. Over this one-year period, however, those educators with more than 20 years under their belt also increased by 4 percent to 21 percent. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of teachers age 60 and over declined marginally as many in that age group are retiring, a process that Prof. Richard Ingersoll of the University of Pennsylvania says signals the end of what he calls the “greying of the profession.”
Teachers today are also more likely to have earned an advanced degree. In 2012, 56 percent hold at least a masters degree, compared to 47 percent in 2000.
3. U.S. teachers spend a lot of time in the classroom. The NCES data also looks at Snapshot of the Teaching Profession: What's Changed in a Decade?