Latest News and Comment from Education

Saturday, June 11, 2016

TFA Spies on you. | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing

TFA Spies on you. | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing:

TFA Spies on you.

From the TFA website:
“In order to access certain features and benefits on our Website, you may need to submit “Personally Identifiable Information” (i.e., information that can be traced back to you). Personally Identifiable Information can include information such as your name, home address, telephone number, and email address. You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the Personally Identifiable Information you submit to Teach For America. Inaccurate information may affect your ability to use the Website, the information you receive when using the Website, and our ability to contact you.
When users come to our Website, we may track, collect, and aggregate Non-Personal Information indicating, among other things, which pages of our Website were visited, the order in which they were visited, and which hyperlinks were “clicked.” Collecting such information may involve logging the IP address, operating system, and browser software used by each user of the TFA Spies on you. | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing:

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: New Face for Old Pearson Scam

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: New Face for Old Pearson Scam:

PA: New Face for Old Pearson Scam

Online Public Schools Are a Disaster, Admits Billionaire, Charter School-Promoter Walton Family Foundation -

If you are in Pennsylvania, you may have been seeing advertising for Commonwealth Charter Academy. CCA avoids calling itself a cyber-anything, but it is in fact one more cyber charter littering the Pennsylvania landscape. As with many schools pushing the tech solution to education issues, it leans heavily on "personalized learning" and markets itself as a family approach. That seems to be aimed at the idea of cyber-school as a source of family togetherness and not the time-honored practice of having parents complete their children's cyber-homework.

CCA may not be a familiar name because it is a new name. It previously marketed itself as Commonwealth Connections Academy. And while its press release about the name change says that the charter is "a fully independent public cyber charter school governed by a Pennsylvania-based board of directors," that's not quite right. Connections Academy is the cyber school chain owned by Pearson.

The superintendent CEO of CCA is Dr. Maurice Flurie. Flurie has a nice solid PA background, holding degrees from Duquesne, Lock Haven, Shippensburg and-- well, okay-- his original Bachelor's Degree was from the Tennessee Technological University, and it was in Health/Physical Education. He was an Asst to the Superintendent in Lower Dauphin before moving over to Connections. And he is still (since 2000) an adjunct professor at Wilkes University, a PA university that does big business in on-line classes. The "Dr." comes from his Ed. D in Educational Leadership.

Flurie has been among the cyber-school voices whining about Governor Tom Wolf's proposals to end 
CURMUDGUCATION: PA: New Face for Old Pearson Scam:

Pat Kelly & Thought Leadering
Thanks to reader Robert D. Skeels. This is just too fun not to pass along.

Thought Leader Duncan Has Another New Job
Arne Duncan continues to build that resume. He was already signed on with Emerson Collective, the philanthropic mish-mash of Steve Jobs widow; in that position, he is poised to work on the youth unemployment problems of Chicago.Now comes word that Duncan has joined the board of directors for Pluralsign.If you aren't a tech professional, you may not recognize Pluralsign's name, but they've been in
Common Core Standards (Still) Don't Cut It
Every few years the ACT folks unleash a big ole survey to find out what's actually going on Out There in the world of school stuff. This year's survey drew at least 2,000 respondents each from elementary and secondary schools, as well as college and workplace respondents. The whole package is eighty-eight pages, and I've read it, and while you don't have to, you might still want to. There are seve
Chester Finn's Charter Market Worries
Chester Finn, honcho emeritus of the right-tilted Fordham Institute, was back on the Fordham blog this week to continue his charter school series with a look at what he thinks are three "market malfunctions in the charter sector." Man, I just love the word "sector"- it sounds so clean and neat, not like marketplace or business. Honey, I'm going to get a tub of popcorn in the sn
The SAT-- Worse Than You Think
Folks have been questioning the accuracy, validity and usefulness of the SAT for decades, and the chorus of criticism only increased when College Board, the test manufacturing company responsible for the SAT, brought in Common Core architect David Coleman to take over. Coleman's fast and ugly rewrite of the venerable test was intended to bring it in line with the K-12 standards of Common Core. Col

BustED Pencils Trending News: WWMDMS 2/12/16; WALK; Sweeping; Poetic; Riddled | BustED Pencils

BustED Pencils Trending News: WWMDMS 2/12/16; WALK; Sweeping; Poetic; Riddled | BustED Pencils: "

BustED Pencils Radio – What Would Matt Damon’s Mom Say? (WWMDMS)

newsboy_bustedpencils-logo_full color

Considering that Nancy is a teacher educator I wonder what she thinks about “alternative” teacher credentialing?  Listen up! Related Posts:Anthony CodyWWMDMS – 4/8/16WWMDMS – 3-26-16WWMDMS – 4/22/16Rebel Teacher

BustEDstretchLET NOAH WALK!!!  Sign this petition in support of Noah, it’s not to late and it might just work!!
BustED Pencils supports you Noah!!  We are busting pencils for you!

High schooler with immune disorder told he can’t walk in graduation


Sweeping the country.

Off the Deep End: The Swim Test vs. The Standardized Test

BustEDstretchWhat if a poem was judged by the number of characters??

Assessing Our Children to Death


Riddled with technical glitches!!!!!!

Technical glitches plague computer-based standardized tests nationwide

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Common Core is Destroying our Children Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

Common Core is Destroying our Children

By:  Robyn Brydalski

Let me begin with: I am not a psychologist, brain researcher or doctor. I am not a behaviorist, counselor or psychiatrist but I am willing to go out on a limb with my seventeen years of teaching experience to make a carte blanche statement:
Common Core Curriculum is destroying our children.
Rigor, fidelity, efficacy, pacing and stamina are the devil’s dealings. We have lost sight of our children and how they learn best. It is June in my classroom. There are less than two weeks to go and my students are falling apart. My building is falling apart. The children are out of control. With the black cloud of state testing moving east (until the results are sent to us sometime in September), many teachers are trying to have fun with their students but Reader’s Theater, visiting the playground, free play, celebrating writing, participating in self determined book clubs and exploring Science and Social Studies have left our students in a tizzy. The children should be laughing, engaged and having just plain fun, the exact opposite is happening. They are using words to lash out at one another, physical aggression to release anger, refusing to comply with adult directives and disengaging from the teacher, classroom and school.
We have created these negative behaviors. At the start of the school year, we ignored the child. We ran straight out of the starting gates so that we would not fall behind on the pacing Badass Teachers Association:

The Summer Reading Rigor Rebellion

The Summer Reading Rigor Rebellion:

The Summer Reading Rigor Rebellion

Portrait of a boy reading a book outdoor on the grass
If middle school students require summer reading assignments to coax them to read, shouldn’t we be looking at what went wrong with reading instruction in elementary school? By the time a student reaches middle school, shouldn’t they like to read?
Yesterday I noticed some of these summer reading assignments posted online. Reading rigor is found everywhere.
But why don’t students jump off the school bus at the end of 6th 7th or 8th grade and race to their local library or bookstore? Why don’t they automatically start reading stories on their tablets, or on the computer?
It is not that older students who dislike reading can’t get help and encouragement to be better, happier readers. It just doesn’t seem like piling on reading assignments over the summer is going to do the trick.
And it could be turning off the students who enjoy reading! Once reading is turned into a chore, it is hard to make it sound enjoyable.
Summer Reading in the Past vs. Present
Studying the assigned summer work, I was also thankful I am not a student. My The Summer Reading Rigor Rebellion:

The Crucial Need to Expand the Non-White Teacher Pipeline

The Crucial Need to Expand the Non-White Teacher Pipeline:

The Crucial Need to Expand the Non-White Teacher Pipeline


“If not for the teachers that I had at PS 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island, New York, I would not be alive today. Maybe I’d be in jail today. But those teachers, they chose to invest in me and to see hope and possibility. Folks could have said, ‘Here’s a young African-American, Latino male student going to New York City Schools with a family in crisis. What chance does he have?’ They could’ve given up on me, but they didn’t. They chose to make school this place that was amazing and inspiring and engaging every day. This is what you can bring to students . . . That sense of possibility, that sense of hope, that opportunity to be a child, that opportunity to love and enjoy learning. That is the power that we have as educators, and I hope you will seize that moment. That you will see potential in each of your children.”
-Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., speaking at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® National Training
The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) has just completed a week of national training for nearly 2,000 college students and recent graduates preparing to teach in CDF Freedom Schools summer literacy programs across the country. Most come from the communities they serve and are role models for the children they serve. It is hard to dream of college and what you can be in the future if you don’t see it and we are so proud of the young, energetic, hardworking and committed servant leaders who spend very long hours preparing to serve more than 11,000 low–income children when they return home to 95 cities and communities in 27 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I hope many or most of them will become public school teachers who love, respect, and set high expectations for every child in their care. Since 1995 more than 17,000 college–aged students, public school teachers and juvenile detention personnel have come to CDF–Alex Haley Farm for training to teach in summer Freedom Schools. Many have gone on to become teachers, principals, administrators, college professors and more.
They are filling a great need. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. was among the extraordinary leaders who spoke to and inspired them this year. As our first Puerto Rican-African American Secretary of Education he spoke movingly of losing his mother at 8 and his father at 12 and how caring teachers saved his life and put him on the path to success. He graduated from Harvard University, Columbia University’s Teachers College, and Yale Law School. He stressed the crucial importance of building a strong multiracial and multicultural teacher pipeline to inspire and guide all of our children — especially those who are poor and non–White. Students of color constitute a majority in our schools but teachers of color constitute only 18 percent of their faculties. Unless we are able to encourage many more talented students and teachers of color to enter and stay in the profession, this “mismatch” will only get worse. In a Washington Post Op–Ed Secretary King noted, “We have strong evidence that students of color benefit from having teachers who are positive role models, as well as from the changes in classroom dynamics that result. Teachers of color often have higher expectations for students of color, are more likely to use culturally relevant teaching practices, are more likely to confront racism in their lessons and, yes, also serve as advocates.”
On May 6 Secretary King and the U.S. Department of Education held a National Summit on Teacher Diversity where education leaders, researchers, policymakers, teachers, and students spoke about the value of a diverse teaching force. Researchers noted that Black and Hispanic children in schools with high The Crucial Need to Expand the Non-White Teacher Pipeline:

Political theorist Danielle Allen worries that Americans aren’t being properly educated for citizenship - WSJ

In Pursuit of Political Equality - WSJ:

In Pursuit of Political Equality

Political theorist Danielle Allen worries that Americans aren’t being properly educated for citizenship

Danielle Allen
After writing an article critical of Donald Trump a few months ago, the political theoristDanielle Allen received dozens of racist tweets and emails from his supporters, one with a picture of a noose. But it hasn’t stopped her from being heartened by one aspect of this election cycle: the increased voter turnout that helped Mr. Trump become the presumptive Republican nominee for president. She has long argued for more civic participation and engagement in the political system—and not just for people who share her own political views.
Dr. Allen responded to some of her critics directly and to others in open letters published online. She advised them to read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, and to think about issues like the character of public officials and the principles of constitutionalism. If Americans were better equipped to reflect on their laws and the promises of politicians, she believes, they would elect more thoughtful and less divisive leaders.
Dr. Allen, 44, a government professor at Harvard University and director of its Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a big proponent of political equality—the idea that every American should play an active role in the workings of our democracy.
It is the subject of her 2014 book, “Our Declaration,” a conversational analysis of the Declaration of Independence. The book was inspired by a night class she taught to low-income adult students in Chicago from 1999 to 2009, while she was at the University of Chicago and, later, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. Her night students made her realize, she says, that “the Declaration of Independence is the story of human agency”—that is, of how diverse individuals join together in a shared public life.
Unlike her students at the university, her night students tended to apply the Declaration—and their other readings, from Sophocles’ “Antigone” to Shakespeare’s sonnets—to their own lives. They talked about issues like policing, unemployment and education and compared them to the frustrations the colonists once had under England’s rule. Dr. Allen felt that the Declaration was inspiring them to take charge and try to change their own In Pursuit of Political Equality - WSJ:

Michigan legislature approves Detroit school bailout: What's next? -

Michigan legislature approves Detroit school bailout: What's next? (+video) -

Michigan legislature approves Detroit school bailout: What's next? (+video)

Michigan lawmakers passed a bill that will keep Detroit's public schools from going bankrupt, but critics say it doesn't do as much as it could have for the public schools. 

Big Education Ape: Mindless Underfunding Of Schools Continues, Doing Irreparable Harm To Kids -

After hours of emotional debate, Michigan’s Legislature approved a $617-million rescue plan for the Detroit Public Schools late last night. Yet, many say, there still is much to be done for the state's public schools.
The school rescue bill passed with the narrowest possible margin in both the House of Representatives and the state Senate, with votes of 55-54 and 19-18 respectively. The bill will now go to Michigan governor Rick Snyder for approval.
Although some say that the legislature could have done more to deal with Detroit’s structural problems, others say the bill accomplishes the most important task: eliminating Detroit’s debt.
“We’re disappointed in many aspects,” Terrence Martin, the executive vice president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers told The Christian Science Monitor, “but we remain steadfast, and we are treading forward. The good thing is that we have a school district, and that we have a school board.”
Detroit’s public school system has struggled for years, plagued by declining enrollment and poor facilities.
In January this year, Detroit’s teachers (forbidden from striking) engaged in "sickouts"to protest inadequate facilities and educational materials. More than 50 of Detroit’s schools, which serve approximately 46,000 students, were closed because of the protests.
Months later, in early May, educators again took part in sickouts to protest the city’s admission that, despite a short-term bailout, itdid not have the funds required to pay teacher salaries though the summer months.
If Governor Snyder approves the legislation, which he is expected to do, the Detroit Public Schools will receive $617 million to settle existing debt. Although many are calling this a bailout, Mr. Martin told the Monitor that as the existing debt was run up by the state of Michigan while it had control Michigan legislature approves Detroit school bailout: What's next? (+video) -

Legislature should move on teacher tenure reform - San Francisco Chronicle

Legislature should move on teacher tenure reform - San Francisco Chronicle:

Legislature should move on teacher tenure reform

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla seeks common ground on education reform. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla seeks common ground on education reform.

Vergara vs. State of California, the legal challenge to California’s highly contested teacher tenure and seniority laws, continues to wind its way through the courts. The California Supreme Court needs to make the final call about the detrimental impact of these laws on California’s most disadvantaged students. But California’s students can’t wait, which is why we’re encouraged that state Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, is taking action now.
Bonilla’s bill, AB934, is a careful and comprehensive reform of the teacher tenure system. A former teacher herself, Bonilla said in a Chronicle editorial meeting that she’s “not interested in blowing up public education.”
Indeed, the centerpiece of AB934 is an innovative teacher support and coaching program that’s already been proved successful.
Called peer assistance review, it would require districts to provide struggling teachers with high-quality coaching and development programs, and AB934 would make it mandatory for every school district.
“It provides what the teacher has been begging for, which is: support me,” Bonilla said.
AB934 would give teachers who have received unsatisfactory evaluations at least a year of support from the peer assistance review program. Only after offering teachers support and training would districts be allowed to dismiss those who remain ineffective in the classroom.
“I really do feel there’s a transformational possibility here,” Bonilla said. “Fixing this mechanism will bring relief to the whole system.”
As far as the dismissal process itself, AB934 doesn’t deny teachers due process — but it does bring some much-needed clarity and transparency to a system that’s long frustrated the public.
The new dismissal process requires binding arbitration, much like the process that’s currently used for other school district employees.
It requires an arbitrator’s decision within 60 days, to avoid an exhausting and never-ending dismissal process.
It also requires school districts to balance evaluations with seniority when it comes to teacher Legislature should move on teacher tenure reform - San Francisco Chronicle:

California 'virtual' academies: Bill targets for-profit operator K12 Inc. - San Jose Mercury News

California 'virtual' academies: Bill targets for-profit operator K12 Inc. - San Jose Mercury News:

California 'virtual' academies: Bill targets for-profit operator K12 Inc.

SACRAMENTO -- Online charter schools would be prohibited from hiring for-profit firms to provide instructional services under a new bill that the author says is a direct response to this newspaper's investigation of the company behind a profitable but low-performing network of "virtual" academies.
That company is K12 Inc., a publicly traded Virginia firm that allows students who spend as little as one minute during a school day logged onto its software to be counted as "present," as it reaps tens of millions of dollars annually in state funding while graduating fewer than half of its high school students. Students who live almost anywhere south of Humboldt County may sign up for one of the company's schools.

File photo:Former California Virtual Academies student Elizabeth Novak-Galloway, 12,  plays a video game on her laptop in her San Francisco home on Feb.

File photo:Former California Virtual Academies student Elizabeth Novak-Galloway, 12, plays a video game on her laptop in her San Francisco home on Feb. 18, 2016. (Dai Sugano/Staff archives)
Assembly Bill 1084, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would prevent charter schools that do more than 80 percent of their teaching online from being operated by for-profit companies or hiring them to facilitate instruction. If passed and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the legislation would effectively put companies like K12 out of business in the Golden State.

"Our taxpayer dollars should be spent in the classroom to help our students, not used to enrich a company's shareholders or drive up its profits," Bonilla said in an interview.

But K12 spokesman Mike Kraft railed against the proposal, calling it "another cynical effort to take away the rights of parents to choose the way their kids are educated."

"This bill is nothing more than a PR effort designed to appease big money special interests that hide in the shadows, harming California families," Kraft wrote in an email, alluding to the support teachers unions have given to similar legislation in the past.

"Today, more than 14,000 California children attend virtual public charter schools, many in the Assemblymember's own district," Kraft added. "How many of their families has she spoken with before deciding to try to take away their choice?"

Before the newspaper's two-part investigative series was published in April, Bonilla said, she didn't know how wide the achievement gap was between students enrolled in K12's California Virtual Academies and those who attend other public schools. But the more sheCalifornia 'virtual' academies: Bill targets for-profit operator K12 Inc. - San Jose Mercury News: