Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Washington Teacher: WTU Ballots Are In The Mail- Vote Peterson Slate: We're #1 on The Ballot!

The Washington Teacher: WTU Ballots Are In The Mail- Vote Peterson Slate: We're #1 on The Ballot!:

WTU Ballots Are In The Mail- Vote Peterson Slate: We're #1 on The Ballot!

Candi Peterson & GeLynn Thompson
WTU President & VP 2016 candidates

By Candi Peterson, WTU Gen. Vice President

Statements or expressions of opinions herein 'do not' represent the views or official positions of DCPS, AFT, Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) or its members. Views are my own.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the WTU Contract Negotiations team.

Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) President Liz Davis reached an all-time low of setting the truth aside when in a recent campaign June 18th email she blamed me and WTU Elections Chair Cheryl Gillette for the delays in union elections. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh what a tangled web Davis weaves in her efforts to deceive the rank and file. 

So it’s no surprise that Davis wants to point the finger of blame at me and the WTU Elections chair in order to cover up her own failures and complicity in holding elections.

This is the oldest trick in the book to try to sow the seeds of mistrust and division by accusing others for her failures especially given that I am running on an opposition slate as a WTU presidential candidate and represent a threat to her candidacy. 

At every turn, Davis, a presidential candidate, has inserted herself in the elections process by micro-managing and regulating everything. Davis has over reached her enumerated powers as spelled out in the constitution by withholding the union membership list and payment to the ballot company.  As a candidate for office, Davis appears oblivious to the fact that as the incumbent president, she is no more entitled to special treatment by the elections committee than any other presidential candidate.

The WTU Constitution and By-Laws created an independent elections committee to oversee WTU elections including officer elections with the intent of limiting interference by officers who would likely be candidates such as Davis.

The interference and obstruction by Davis made simple tasks such as scheduling weekly meetings in the unions’ board room a herculean task. Repeated requests for information either have gone unanswered by Davis, or her responses were delayed and thus stymied the ability of the elections committee to perform it's constitutional function.  The normal protocol is for the independent elections committee to work directly with the union membership director without interference in order to hold timely elections by the May 2016 deadline. 

In an effort to facilitate officer elections, without any further delays, members of the WTU Executive Board unanimously passed five motions on June 4th to force Davis and her Chief of Staff's cooperation in supplying the union membership list.  Additionally, Davis and the chief of staff were directed by the Board to assure payment, and issue a letter of apology to TrueBallot, the independent company contracted by the elections committee to conduct officer elections. 

Only after these Executive Board motions did Davis and her chief of staff finally submit the union membership list to TrueBallot on June 6th.  Davis and her Chief of Staff refused to provide an apology letter and guarantee of payment as directed by the Executive board; however, at the urging of the elections committee chair TrueBallot finally agreed to move forward with the election. 

Earlier this year, the Executive Board voted to compel President Davis to hold the elections of the elections committee.  These elections were delayed for nine months due to the intentional obstruction by President Davis. Colleagues, it’s not rocket science that if there is not a duly elected elections committee, there can be no election of officers. 

Members should thank the the elections committee members for their perseverance and hard work instead of scapegoating and blaming them for a delayed election of officers.

Fortunately complaints to American Federation of Teachers' (AFT),  WTU’s parent organization, resulted in an assignment of an intermediary to assist with the process of completing officer elections. AFT’s involvement has given a measure of assurance to TrueBallot that they will be paid for their contracted services.

Had it not been for WTU Elections Chair Cheryl Gillette, who has remained steadfast despite all the road blocks by Davis- WTU would not have advanced this far. Elections have finally been scheduled.

Ballots will  be mailed to members’ homes on Monday, June 20thYou should expect to receive your ballots by no later than the end of this week. The ballot count will occur on July 8th and the location will be announced.

Responsible leaders don’t blame others when they are at fault. They accept responsibility for their own actions and/or inaction. In addition to her pattern of pointing the finger of blame at others, Davis is in deep denial.

FACT -After failing to negotiate a teachers contract after three years- Davis continues to blame Chancellor Henderson even though there were multiple contract offers that Davis failed to disclose to the rank and file.

FACT - As the WTU President and Chief Negotiator, it was Davis’ primary duty to get teachers a contract within her three year term (2013-2016). She sabotaged relationships with the Chancellor and her team, called her a liar , and then tried to rally teachers to demand the Chancellor return to the negotiating table when Ms. Henderson made it clear in April that she would not resume contract negotiations until after officers elections.

Davis blames everybody except herself for the delays in the upcoming officers elections, as well, as the election committee elections and contract negotiations. This is not responsible leadership. If you are tired of her blame game and inaction and no contract- then you must vote for a return to Accountability, Collaboration and Transparency.

The Candi Peterson slate is the only logical option for Ethical and Responsible union leadership. It’s the only viable alternative to the failed track record of the desperate Davis'  denial and blame game that poisons instead of inspires cooperative relationships. 

I vow to make getting teachers a contract my first priority.

Vote Peterson slate- we are #1 on the ballot.
The Washington Teacher: WTU Ballots Are In The Mail- Vote Peterson Slate: We're #1 on The Ballot!:

Privatizing California’s Public Schools | tultican

Privatizing California’s Public Schools | tultican:

Privatizing California’s Public Schools

The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and the Republican machine destroying public education in California or at least trying to privatize it; are promoting their jaded cause.
Three key players in the assault on California’s public schools are Walmart heiress, Carrie Walton Penner, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings and nativist republican politician, Steve Poizner. In 2001, they started EdVoice a lobbying organization that claims California schools are broken and must be reformed. In2003 Poizner founded the CCSAWalton Penner and Hastings remain as board members of both EdVoice and CCSA.
About These Key Players
In a 2008 Sacramento Bee Article announcing Poizner’s run for governor, it said, “Poizner, 51, sold a high-tech business in 2000 for $1 billion and has spent more than $24 million of his own money to launch his political career. A socially moderate, pro-choice Republican, Poizner has gone to great lengths to woo the conservative base of the Republican Party, touting himself as a fiscal conservative.” In 2001, Poizner took a senior fellows position in the Bush white house. He was elected California’s insurance commissioner serving from 2007 to 2011.
Reed Hastings is famous for being the founding CEO of Netflix. Joanne Jacobs wrote a puff piece about Hastings for EducationNext, a conservative pro-school-privatization  publication. She opened the article:
 “Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has given millions of dollars to start charter schools. He’s put millions more into developing education software to personalize learning. But he doesn’t just give money. He makes things change. And he is not a fan of school boards.
 “The high-tech billionaire—he hit the “b” this year, according to Forbes—led Privatizing California’s Public Schools | tultican:

Big Men on Campus: The Koch Brothers' University Donations Are a Veiled Political Weapon | Alternet

Big Men on Campus: The Koch Brothers' University Donations Are a Veiled Political Weapon | Alternet:

Big Men on Campus: The Koch Brothers' University Donations Are a Veiled Political Weapon

How massive Koch donations to universities miraculously lead to legislation the billionaire brothers' support.

Through his family foundations, billionaire industrialist and conservative political mega-donor Charles Koch gave $108 million to 366 colleges and universities from 2005-14, and he’s donated millions more since then.
Much of that money established free-market academic centers on campuses; dozens of Koch-funded centers exist, and in Arizona, where Koch’s political money helped elect GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and conservative state legislators, three centers at public schools will now receiveannual state funding.
The Koch money also installs professors who will publish libertarian-minded economics papers and teach students about the benefits of abolishing taxes and ending regulation, and it funds graduate students in these programs, grooming them to become the next great Koch scholars.
Universities, often stripped of general funding by Koch-backed lawmakers, enter into private grant agreements, some that give the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) a say in hiring decisions and curriculum, introducing major ethical concerns: A politically polarized billionaire industrialist is using his family fortune to take over university departments and control what they’re teaching and publishing.
For someone who so dearly loves the free market, what does he think about academic freedom?
The strategy originated in the late 1970s, when Koch and his right-hand man, Richard Fink, devised the “Structure of Social Change,” a plan to turn America into a libertarian land free from taxes and regulation. The plot begins with the funding of free-market academic programs, where professors produce anti-tax and anti-regulation policy papers that, in step two, Koch-funded think tanks like the Cato Institute use to create easily digestible policy proposals. Next, “citizen activists” (in reality, Koch-funded political groups masquerading as “social welfare” nonprofits such as Americans for Prosperity) rally support for the Big Men on Campus: The Koch Brothers' University Donations Are a Veiled Political Weapon | Alternet:

John Thompson: KIPP OKC finances, data belie 'credibility of its promises' - NonDoc

KIPP OKC finances, data belie 'credibility of its promises' - NonDoc:

KIPP OKC finances, data belie ‘credibility of its promises’

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in northeast Oklahoma City could become a full KIPP school. (Josh McBee)

There are two big questions in regard to the KIPP plan for taking over the Martin Luther King Elementary School building. I’ve focused on the first issue of whether it would be possible for KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) to provide high-quality pre-kindergarten and elementary education for an entire neighborhood.
Since Oklahoma City’s KIPP has never attempted such a task, the organization should have been willing to answer some basic inquiries about whether its business model would allow it to accept and retain most, many or just a very few of the students who they haven’t previously tried to serve.
KIPP has repeatedly ducked questions ranging from its teacher attrition and management problems to its complete lack of experience in providing pre-kindergarten. Neither has it attempted to answer the single most important question in terms of whether KIPP can take over an entire neighborhood school: How many students from the neighborhood school that co-locates with KIPP — Moon Elementary School — are accepted, retained and graduated from their “No Excuses” charter school in eighth grade?
KIPP’s unwillingness to address its ability to fulfill its promises is troubling. It KIPP OKC finances, data belie 'credibility of its promises' - NonDoc:

Wealthiest Person In World Unveils Online Learning Platform | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

Wealthiest Person In World Unveils Online Learning Platform | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…:

Wealthiest Person In World Unveils Online Learning Platform


This week, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim unveiled his new Spanish-language online learning program called App-prende. You can read more about it at Quartz’s article, One of the richest men on Earth is paying for the poor to learn carpentry and art history online.
I spent a little time exploring it and, overall, it obviously has a lot of potential, but there is a long way to go…
He previously funded the Khan Academy to create Spanish-language versions of their videos, and those are on this new site, too. I didn’t spend time, though, trying to figure out if there is any difference between what he has on App-prende and what Khan has on their Spanish-language site. Those videos can be very helpful to English Language Learners, especially in the context of the Preview, View, Review instructional strategy.
I think the health videos could be useful to parents of our students.
Though it’s limited, I was intrigued by the site’s section on professional development for teachers. It included sections on how to apply project-based learning, for example.
I found the section on history surprising disappointing, with only images of historical documents. The table of contents for the culture section appeared much more interesting, but none of the links worked.
I’m assuming the site will be considerably beefed-up in the future. It will be interesting to watch its development.Wealthiest Person In World Unveils Online Learning Platform | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…:


My Upcoming Book On Student Motivation
"Building A Community Of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies To Help Students Thrive In School and Beyond" was published in 2015 by Routledge

More Questions for The Post and Courier: “Necessary Data” or Press-Release Journalism? – the becoming radical

More Questions for The Post and Courier: “Necessary Data” or Press-Release Journalism? – the becoming radical:

More Questions for The Post and Courier: “Necessary Data” or Press-Release Journalism?

Back-to-back editorials at The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)—Bolster efforts at rural schools (18 June 2016) and Make literacy No. 1 priority (19 June 2016)—offer important messages about the importance of addressing South Carolina’s historical negligence of high-poverty schools, especially those serving black and brown students, and the folly of cutting funding for literacy initiatives in Charleston.
However, reading these two editorials leaves one well aware that good intentions are not enough and wondering if the P&C editors even read their own editorials.
In the 18 June 2016 editorial, the editors argue: “Acting rashly without necessary data would be misguided. But taking baby steps while one class after another misses out on an adequate education is a continued waste of valuable time.”
And the very next day, we read:
Still, parents should expect their children’s reading skills to improve noticeably.
And it’s fair for parents of the youngest students to expect significant improvement in their children’s reading by the end of the school year — if the new approach works. Of course, parents also can make a difference by reading to their youngsters every day at home.
If Dr. Postlewait’s plan doesn’t succeed, the school board must find a way to pay for programs that do.
Those programs exist. At Meeting Street Academy private school, and now at Meeting Street @ Brentwood, entering students score well below average on literacy tests and quickly catch up to and surpass the average. All Charleston County students deserve the same opportunity.
This praise of “programs [that] exist” is the exact “acting rashly” the P&C rightfully warns about the day before.
So what about “necessary data”?
We have two problems.
First, we do not have a careful analysis of data by those not invested in these schools More Questions for The Post and Courier: “Necessary Data” or Press-Release Journalism? – the becoming radical:

Charter school group spent nearly $500,000 on county education board races | The Sacramento Bee

Charter school group spent nearly $500,000 on county education board races | The Sacramento Bee:

Charter school group spent nearly $500,000 on county education board races

Charter school advocates poured $483,000 into Sacramento County Office of Education board races, helping to elect two on its slate of three candidates two weeks ago.
Despite the largesse, the candidate the California Charter Schools Association spent the most on – Roy Grimes – couldn’t defeat incumbent Harold Fong, who won with 58 percent of the vote. Grimes received $220,000 from the charter school association’s political action committee.
The two other candidates on the charter slate soundly defeated their opponents. Joanne Ahola, 34, who works for the charter school association, won the Area 4 seat with 57 percent of the vote, defeating Michael Alcalay to represent east Sacramento County. Heather Davis defeated three candidates with 53 percent of the vote to land the Area 6 seat representing south Sacramento County.
Their election makes the SCOE board even more favorable to charters, Fong said. Davis, 38, replaces John Scribner who “wasn’t a rubber stamp for charter schools,” he said.
The charter school association PAC spent $3.3 million to promote candidates across the state in the June 7 election. Thirteen of the 15 candidates supported by the association either won outright or advanced to a November runoff, said Carlos Marquez, senior political director for CCSA.
Most of that money was spent on candidates running for the state Legislature, with about a half-million dollars supporting candidates for county offices of education – primarily the slate of three running for the Sacramento County Office of Education.
“We engaged vigorously because we recognize that county boards of education play a critical role in our sector to get a fair shake at being evaluated and ultimately approved,” Marquez said, adding that the California Charter Schools Association believes it faces politically motivated denials of charter schools at the district level.
County offices of education provide oversight for school districts, but they also review the charters of countywide charter school systems and hear appeals from charter schools whose applications have been rejected by local school districts.
The Sacramento County Office of Education has so far chartered five schools – all part of a network operated by Margaret Fortune that focuses on closing the achievement gap between African Americans and other students.
Fong, 67, was the only member of the county board to vote in December against reauthorizing the Fortune schools for another five years. He said he voted against the schools because he believes the focus on African American students promotes segregation.
“This is the second time they have done this to me,” Fong said of the charter school campaign against him. “I think the people have expressed their opinion about this and we should move forward and elect people who will actually do the work of the county board instead of picking on one vote and trying to use that one vote to get rid of someone.”
Marquez said the charter school association probably didn’t make a strong enough case to voters about why they should fire Fong. “I think we could have articulated more clearly that he is a decision-maker that has largely premised his votes on an ideological point of view and doesn’t often premise his case on what is best for kids,” he said.
Grimes, 66, said the election may have gone his opponent’s way because it was on the ballot with the mayoral race, which drew voters who favor labor and may not generally cast a ballot. The Sacramento Central Labor Council included Fong on its mailers.
“There are no tears shed,” said Grimes, who said he will continue to be an advocate for children and the community. “I’ve been doing it and I’m going to be still doing it.”
Grimes, who has served on the boards of both the county Office of Education and Sacramento City Unified, says there need to be changes at the county Office of Education. “The county Office of Education needs to be linked to neighborhoods,” Grimes said. “We don’t know who these folks are. They need to make a bigger effort to connect to underserved neighborhoods.”
Fong, who has served on the SCOE board for 14 years, is entering his fifth term. He said he isn’t opposed to all charter schools and has voted for them in the past. Each trustee looks at every charter application and considers the staff recommendations before making a decision, he said.
Ahola said she will focus on working with small businesses to build apprentice and internship programs for students in SCOE’s community schools. She also wants to challenge local school districts to provide more teacher development and to “authentically” engage families.
Davis is the wife of Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, who works for the California Charter Schools Association.

Big Education Ape: Analysis: EdVoice with an IE for Dodd; Educational Reform Group Has Ties to Vergara Suit and Wa...

Big Education Ape: News Analysis: Education fight ‘over shades of Democrat’ | CALmatters

Big Education Ape: Local legislative races become battleground in statewide fight over education

Big Education Ape: Edvoice pumps cash into Assembly campaign | News | Palo Alto Online |

Big Education Ape: Charter school groups spending big in California legislative races | 89.3 KPCC

Randi Weingarten: Mourning and mobilizing

Mourning and mobilizing:

Mourning and mobilizing

This month, Americans will show that love is stronger than hate. Millions will take part in celebrations of LGBT pride, and Muslims will fast as they observe the holy month of Ramadan. Just last week, we remembered those gunned down at a Charleston Bible study a year ago—killed by one man, but loved and missed by countless others.
And in the coming days, mourners will attend funerals, memorial services and vigils for loved ones murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, most of whom were gay and Latino.
Undoubtedly, in the weeks to come, the ugly rhetoric about bathroom bills, building walls, and barring people of an entire faith from entering this country will continue. Muslim women who wear the hijab may wonder if that is tantamount to a target.
Patrons of gay establishments may worry, as churchgoers did after Charleston, that sanctuaries where they had felt joy, community and the comfort of being themselves are now unsafe. And no doubt, there will be more gun deaths—anaverage of 90 people die from gun shots each day in the United States, vastly more than in any other developed country. This is madness.
Republicans acceded to Sen. Chris Murphy’s remarkable filibuster last week calling for votes on gun legislation, but then they vowed to defeat the measures. The best hope of addressing America’s gun problem lies with the majority of Americans, including gun owners, who support stricter gun regulations.
We must call out the hypocrisy when elected officials offer condolences after gun violence in one breath and defend civilians’ right to own weapons of war in the next. With each successive mass shooting, I have grown convinced that a massive civic crusade on the order of the civil rights movement is necessary to force the hands of the gun lobby and their allies in elected offices.
This must end.
The aim of the Orlando attack was to murder people like me, an LGBT American. So this is personal. But gun massacres have also taken place in schools, theaters, malls, churches, synagogues and office buildings. This must be personal for all of us.
We may never fully eradicate the hatred and instability that drove the shooters in Newtown, Aurora, Charleston, San Bernadino and Orlando. But we can and must do two things: take a stand against the hateful rhetoric that is seeping into Mourning and mobilizing:

College Board SAT Mix-up: Some El Paso Students Told They Must Retake SAT | deutsch29

College Board SAT Mix-up: Some El Paso Students Told They Must Retake SAT | deutsch29:

College Board SAT Mix-up: Some El Paso Students Told They Must Retake SAT

Here we go again with another College Board (CB) failure, poorly handled.
Under David Coleman, CB is a bumbling operation. (For Coleman’s ever-mounting CB bungling, feel free to peruse my CB posts.)
The Coleman-directed CB continues, with some students in El Paso, Texas, receiving an email from CB on Tuesday that they must retake the June 4th SAT on Saturday. No reason given– just “you must retake the test.”
A local ABC affiliate pursued the issue with both the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD**) and CB to discover that CB did not deliver all of its May administration tests on time– the tests arrived late– and in the “confusion” (CB spokesperson word) were administered in June.
(If these May tests arrived late, I wonder what tests were administered in May– an unexplained aside.)
There are other problems with the CB approach to rectifying the confusion. First of all, CB sent an email to unsuspecting students without including details. Second, the email arrived four days before the CB-required SAT re-administration. Third, CB set up this situation by not delivering May tests in a timely fashion and by not collecting the untimely-delivered May test forms prior to the June administration. Fourth, CB offers no concession to students being put through the stress of having to retake the SAT. Finally, the only other option CB offered to the students involved waiting until October to retake the test.
What is funny is that some March 2016 SAT test takers have discussed that the June SAT (that they also took) was the same exact test as the one in March. So, it seems that CB was trying to draw some sort of line by not administering the same test in May and June– though CB seemed fine with administering the same SAT to at least some students in March and June.
And it’s not like CB has not already moved forward with compromised SAT tests overseas. A March 2016 Reuters article on CB’s SAT recycling includes the following insert article:

Russ on Reading: Unqualified, Uncertified Teachers: Where is the Outrage?

Russ on Reading: Unqualified, Uncertified Teachers: Where is the Outrage?:

Unqualified, Uncertified Teachers: Where is the Outrage?

To make sure your summer does not go untested, here is a multiple choice question for you boys and girls:

When faced with unprecedented teacher shortages, state education policy makers should do which of the following?

               a.  Raise salaries
               b.  Improve teacher working conditions
               c.  Give teachers more say in what is taught and how it is taught
               d.  Stop trying to remove teacher job protections
               e.  Allow anyone with a Bachelor's degree to teach

The Utah legislature has chosen "e." That's right, when faced with teacher shortages the state of Utah has decided to join Kansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Alabama in declaring that preparation for a teaching career doesn't matter. Education reformers like to say they are following a "business model" in their reform plans. I would like to see the business model of any successful company that says, "Let's forget trying to make the job more attractive to top candidates, we can just hire someone who is unqualified for the job."

The move to get unqualified people into the classroom gives the lie to the real goal of education reformers. On the one hand we hear that "the teacher is the the most important single in-school factor in student achievement." This is generally followed with breathless treatises on how teachers suck and how we need to improve teacher performance in the classroom, get rid of bad teachers and measure that performance with standardized tests. On the other hand we hear, "Well everybody has been to school, so everybody should be able teach. Let's pass legislation that makes it easier to get warm bodies in the classroom."

All of this "who needs qualified teachers" baloney, of course, began with 
Russ on Reading: Unqualified, Uncertified Teachers: Where is the Outrage?:


 ICYMI: Get a Comfy Chair

Maybe it's because it's summer and I often have larger stretches for reading. But once again, I have lots of good reads for you from the last week. 

The Disconnect Between Changing Test Scores and Changing Later Life Outcomes Strikes Again

You may or may not be familiar with Jay Greene, who generally works the reformy side of the street. But he is one of those reformers who's not afraid to call BS when he sees it, and these days he is seriously challenging the assumption that raising test scores actually accomplishes anything. This is one of most important reads of the month.

A Void in Oversight of Charters

Wendy Lecker takes a look at just how messy the lack of charter oversight gets in Connecticut.

Promise Me

Kate With Keyboard writes a heartfelt open letter to the parents of her students as she sends those students home for the summer.

The Upper West Side Is New York's Latest Integration Battleground

Laura Moser at Slate looks at one more new battle over integration

On Latinos Education in America

Speaking of things we don't speak much about

Why Denver Is a Warning Sign, Not a Model

Man, do I ever appreciate people like Jeff Bryant who do actual journalism. A look at how the Denver model is to be feared, not imitated.

How To Cheat Good

One of the great things about the internet is that you can stumble across old friends here. I first read this essay years ago, and I still love it. A classic for anyone who deals with student papers.

Dr Steve Perry Sells Black Kids to the Highest Bidder

Jose Vilson reacts to Perry's proud announcement that he got a bunch of black kids to make themselves look less "black." Read this, and then read Vilson's follow-up piece here.

Feeding the Sparks of Revolution in Chicago

Xian Franzinger Barrett gives us a look at student activists on the ground in Chicago, where students now have to fight for their own educational future

Surviving Success Academy

Do you have time for one more horror story from a teacher who escaped working for Success Academy? 

Call It a Racism Tax

Bob Braun and how New Jersey taxpayers are paying more just so they can keep all those black kids away.

How We Pervert Compassion in Schools

Empathy is helpful, but pity-- not so much. 

Major: Debt

Jennifer Berkshire talks to writer Neil Swidey, who provides some powerful argument against the idea that a college education is the path out of poverty.


Teachers' View of Growing Problems of Teaching
Back in May, the Center on Education Policy (located at George Washington University) released their report Listen To Us: Teacher Views and Voices. You may have missed the report because it didn't lend itself to any zippy coverage or grabby sound bite. If you are an actual teacher, virtually nothing in the results will make you go, "Wow! I had no idea!" The Center's own press release (&q
To Lounge or Not To Lounge: The Venting Question
Most beginning teachers have heard the advice-- stay out of the lounge.That advice has been echoing around the internet for the last month or so, as exemplified by pieces like this one at Edutopia. The concerns is that lounges are where the negative teachers collect, where all that venting about the terrible students occurs.Should teachers vent? Well, I would be a spectacular hypocrite to say no,
Another NYC Integration Story
This week in Slate, Laura Moser covers yet another flap in New York City centered on schools, race and class.I generally try to stay away from NYC education stories, because I find the politics of the city, district and union to be absolutely headache-inducing. But there are two elements in this story that are familiar to residents of many cities.First, the well-regarded school at the center of th
ICYMI: Get a Comfy Chair
Maybe it's because it's summer and I often have larger stretches for reading. But once again, I have lots of good reads for you from the last week. The Disconnect Between Changing Test Scores and Changing Later Life Outcomes Strikes AgainYou may or may not be familiar with Jay Greene, who generally works the reformy side of the street. But he is one of those reformers who's not afraid to call BS w


Pearson's Cyber-Kindergarten Sales Pitch
So I stumbled across the Connections Academy blog Virtual Learning Connections (a friendly resource supporting K-12 school from home). In particular, I stumbled across this post-- "5 Reasons Why Parents Choose Virtual School Kindergarten." The piece is written by Carrie Zopf, a teacher at one of the Conections Academies. Connection Academy is the virtual charter chain purchased by Pearso
Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up
K12 Inc is feeling grumpy.Earlier this week we looked at a report co-created by the National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and 50CAN in which the bricks and mortar wing of the charter school industry took the cyber-charters to task for stinking up the whole charter sector, and very helpfully offered some advice that involved a wh
Bill Gates & His Chickens
Bill Gates believes in chickens.He took to one of his blogs to extol the virtues of chickens as engines of economic improvement for the Very Poor of the world. In fact, he's pretty sure that the Poor Folks should be raising chickens; he's pretty sure it's their path to a better world.When I was growing up, chickens weren’t something you studied, they were something you made silly jokes about. It h

JUN 17

A Reformster Manifesto
While they stump for all the usual suspects, the Center for Education Reform is not really a full on reformy group. They are first, last, foremost, and always, a group that pushes hard for charters.Their founder, president, and chief spokesperson Jeanne Allen  graduated from Dickerson with a degree in political science, then moved on to study political philosophy at the Catholic University of Amer

JUN 16

Can Cyber Schools Be Saved?
Say what else you like about them, but the charter school industry has a pretty keen sense of where its own vulnerabilities lie, and at the moment, there is no underbelly softer than the virtual charter sector-- what the rest of us call cyber-charters. Multiple studies have made it clear-- cyber charters do not deliver much of anything except giant truckloads of money to the people who operate the
Eli Broad's Bloodless Coup
I don't think there's ever been anything like it.Well, maybe Teapot Dome, kind of. Back in the early 1920s, the feds had special oil reserves set aside for the Navy. One was near Teapot Dome in Wyoming, and during the administration of Warren G. Harding, some folks engineered the oil reserves at Teapot Dome being handed off to the department of the interior. But since Secretary Albert Bacon Fall h

JUN 15

Houston Slams VAM (Plus: All About SAS)
As a Pennsylvanian teacher, I am paying particular attention to the news from Houston, where VAM just suffered another well-deserved loss. I'll get to that in a second, but let me set the stage and tell you a little story of how we arrived here.Houston and Reformsters The Houston Independent School District has always been out in front of education reformsterism. It was Houston where Superintenden
PA: School Funding Emerges from Time Warp
Pennsylvania now has a formula for distributing education dollars to school districts.You will notice that I didn't say "new formula." That's because, contrary to what rational human beings might assume, Pennsylvania hasn't had a formula for decades. Well, that's not exactly true. The formula has been Y times some-percent-usually-less-than-two of Y, with Y equalling "whatever you go

JUN 14

TeachLivE: Robot School in the Uncanny Valley
A few days ago, I quoted Thomas Kane's bizarre observation about teacher training:Surgeons start on cadavers, not on live patients.I observed that it would be hard for teachers to start working with cadavers, but a couple of regular commenters reminded me that, in fact, there are teachers out there working on not-exactly-live students. Ladies and gentlemen, it's TeachLivEThis particular example co

JUN 13

Jeb Bush's Education Vision
After his attempt to be the New Coke of GOP Presidential politics, Jeb Bush has retreated to his signature issue-- privatizing education. He's back at the head of his advocacy group the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), and he's even back to cranking out magazine copy about his vision of a better tomorrow for US schools.The National Review has given Bush a platform with "Saving Am
An Educated Person
A while back, blogger Starr Sackstein took a whack a two part question-- has the definition of an educated person changed, and should our education delivery system change with it. My gut reaction, my visceral answer, is "Not really, and not really." But I didn't really have anything to back up my gut, so I've been mulling over this for a while. What were my viscera thinking when they pas