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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Where Clinton and Trump Stand on Education - The Atlantic

Where Clinton and Trump Stand on Education - The Atlantic:

Where Clinton and Trump Stand on Education

The convention dust has settled, and it’s back to the chalkboard.

When compared to Donald Trump’s single education policy-related sentence in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject Thursday night were certainly more extensive, as she sought to emphasize a track record of making schools, teachers, families, and students her political—and personal—priorities.
In accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, Clinton touched repeatedly on education, from her work years ago supporting legislation on educating students with disabilities to her recently announced plans to make college “tuition-free” for low- and middle-income families at public universities. She also vowed to work toward a future where “you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school no matter what zip code you live in.”
Trump said much less much about education in his Cleveland address, although he did manage to fit a handful of buzzwordsinto one sentence: “We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice,” he said.

How the Republican presidential nominee will accomplish this, or what he would use as the barometer for a failing school, isn’t clear. His campaign, so far, has been very short on policy details. (In the meantime, the Obama administration continues to work on regulations and guidance to flesh out the Every Student Succeeds Act, the legislative successor to No Child Left Behind.)
The Republican Party’s platform is more detailed on education. Politico’s Michael Stratford noted that it includes a direct rebuke of a recent White House directive urging states to uphold the civil rights of transgender students. (Republicans said they “salute the several states which have filed suit against it.”)

As Dana Goldstein wrote earlier this month for Slate, Hillary Clinton is reshaping the Democratic Party’s relationship with the so-called “school-reform” movement:

Following eight years of federally driven closures and turnarounds of schools with low test scores, which have put union jobs at risk, it was music to the [National Education Association’s] ears when the presumptive Democratic nominee promised to end “the education wars” and stop focusing only on quote, “failing schools.” Let’s focus on all our great schools, too.
At the same time, a common thread in media coverage of the National Education Association’s recent convention was the overall strong support for Clinton’s platform—and the boos that followed her brief, supportive remarks about charter schools.

For an update on where the two presidential candidates stand on education Where Clinton and Trump Stand on Education - The Atlantic:


Insiders or outsiders: who runs public school districts better? - The Washington Post

Insiders or outsiders: who runs public school districts better? - The Washington Post:

Insiders or outsiders: who runs public school districts better?

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington D.C., is in the market for a new leader of the city’s public school system. The current occupant of the job, Kaya Henderson, is leaving in a few months and Bowser has launched a nationwide search for a successor. Who and what should she be looking for? Someone from inside the district? Outside?
In this post, education historian Larry Cuban looks at the historical trends of district leadership — and offers the D.C. mayor some advice about how to make a solid decision. Cuban is as qualified as anyone to write about the subject. He was a high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA), and is professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than two decades. He is the author of numerous books, including “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education.” This appeared on his education blog and he gave me permission to republish.
By Larry Cuban
In Los Angeles Unified School District, the school board appointed an insider — Michelle King — superintendent earlier this year after a string of prior superintendents came from outside the district.
In New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio appointed an insider – Carmen Farina –   as chancellor in 2014 after then Mayor Michael Bloomberg had appointed three outsiders since 2000.
These appointments of insiders to big-city districts, people who spent their careers within the district as teachers, principals, and district office administrators, are the exception, not the rule. For large urban districts, the rule has been to appoint outsiders who promise major changes in course to solve serious problems.
Why is that?
Outsiders have been appointed time and again in these districts because the unspoken and strong belief was that the serious educational, social, and political problems besetting the schools needed an innovative, energetic outsider, someone supposedly unbeholden to those inside the district.
An outsider, policy elites assumed, would shake the system by the scruff of its neck in turning around a failing district – “disrupt” is the fashionable word today. Insiders who had risen through the ranks would prize stability while looking for incremental improvements. Insiders  immersed in a network of relationships with peers and subordinates would supposedly be reluctant to disturb bureaucratic procedures, rules in effect for decades, and bonds of affection and respect for long-time peers and subordinates. Insiders would be loath to importing new staff and  innovations from elsewhere. They would rather seek new ideas and programs from sharp, knowledgeable insiders.
These strongly held beliefs about insiders and outsiders have shaped the appointment of superintendents to big city posts for well over a half-century.
In brief, the folk wisdom surrounding superintendents or chancellors heading urban districts says to appoint insiders if you like what has been happening in the system under the exiting superintendent in order to extend and protect what is working well for students, teachers, and the community. Stability and tweaking what works is the order of the day when insiders are Insiders or outsiders: who runs public school districts better? - The Washington Post:

What I didn’t hear in Hillary Clinton’s speech |

What I didn’t hear in HIllary Clinton’s speech |:

What I didn’t hear in Hillary Clinton’s speech


What concerns me most about Hillary Clinton’s speech is I what I didn’t hear.
I heard no mention of unions. Public sector or private. How strange. The omission suggests one of the traditional pillars of the Democratic Party, labor, is no longer even worthy of mention.
When Barack Obama was elected, he went to Washington promising to press for the union “check-off” provision that would have made it easier (and safer) for working men and women to vote for union representation. He gave up on the idea when he ahd the chance to save another priority, health care.
I heard no mention of traditional public schools. Oh, sure, there was talk about schools and even a nice story about a kind first grade teacher.  But public schools throughout the nation are under siege by so-called “reformers”–supported by Clinton– who want to privatize education, turn it into a profit-making industry. Clinton missed a chance to bring many Sanders’s supporters to her side.
Of course, the assault on public education is part of the assault on public sector unions. Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), led by Newark’s own Shavar Jeffries, has called teacher unions the “dam” that must be “burst” in order to improve public education.  Isn’t it strange that both the N EA and the AFT rushed to endorse Clinton before the primaries? Why do I hear the old union refrain, “Which side are you on, boys (girls?)…which side are you on?”
I heard no mention of standardized testing. Or Common Core.  Does Clinton endorse the infamous words of former US Education Secretary Arne Duncan that parents are opposed to punitive testing because they will learn their children aren’t as smart as they thought they were?
I heard no mention of PARCC or Pearson. We’re all supposed to get into an uproar about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers, but no one at the top of the Democratic leadership is complaining about cyber-spying on our children while they are taking tests that provide profits to testing companies from public tax money.
I heard no mention of racial isolation. Without racial segregation enforced by housing laws—a segregation now as bad as it ever was, especially in major cities—the desperate problems in the streets would not be so tragic. Schools would not be such instruments of  American apartheid. Violence could be countered.
I heard no mention of  crackdowns on Wall Street excesses. Including limits What I didn’t hear in HIllary Clinton’s speech |:

CURMUDGUCATION: $tand For Children: The Astroturfing of Advocacy

CURMUDGUCATION: $tand For Children: The Astroturfing of Advocacy:

$tand For Children: The Astroturfing of Advocacy

Astroturf lobbying refers to political organizations or campaigns that appear to be made up of grassroots activists but are actually organized and run by corporate interests seeking to further their own agendas. Such groups are often typified by innocent-sounding names that have been chosen specifically to disguise the group's true backers

Stand For Children's pedigree is impeccable. It's twenty year history begins with a huge June rally in DC, where 250,000 people did, indeed, stand up for children. Geoffrey Canada and Rosa Freaking Parks spoke. Time Magazine did a follow-up interview with child advocate and activist Marion Wright Edelman. Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi bar, and in 1973 she founded the Children's Defense Fund.

Edelman's son Josh (his father worked for Robert Kennedy) teamed up with Eliza Leighton to work on that rally, and immediately after, they launched Stand For Children. This was Edelman's first big project; he had received his B.A. in History with a concentration on African-American studies from Yale University in 1992, then landed a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, earning his Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Politics in 1994 and 1995.

The organization kicked off with rallies all over the country, and launched as a chain of local, grass roots chapters.In a press release for the 1999 Stand For Children Day, we can see the organization spread over "1,500 volunteer-led events" calling for things like greater funding for pre-school. Thepriorities of SFC in those days were pretty simple:

  • Health coverage for uninsured children
  • Monitoring the impact of welfare reform
  • More money for affordable, high-quality child care
  • Safe and productive after-school activities
  • Schools that have small classes, well-trained teachers, high standards, and involved parents.
But by the late 00s, something was happening to Stand For Children.

One thing that was happening was huge truckloads of money from the Gates andWalton foundations. Stand For Children was making a whole lot of interesting new friends, and their old friends, includingparents like Susan Barrett, were noticing:

I think about the visits from the Policy Director of the New Teacher Project, and the former aide to New York City charter operator, Eva Moskowitz, who said she was moving to Portland and trying to set up a chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, the pro-charter, hedge-fund driven organization.  I think about their push for Oregon to submit a Race to 
CURMUDGUCATION: $tand For Children: The Astroturfing of Advocacy:

NY: 2016 Opt Out Remained Huge
The report on 2016 testing is out , and the bottom line is this: Despite various state attempts to pressure, brow-beat, threaten, cajole, and distribute a huge case of the PR-spin whirlies, the opt out numbers in NY actually went up. The increase is marginal-- in 2015, 20% did not test, and in 2016, 22% did not test. But then, in 2015 the state was caught somewhat flatfooted by the opt out moveme
Free Marketing Schools
Free market fans envision a story something like this: Finding themselves in a world where the power of the free market is unleashed, charters, private, and public schools all become transparent, competing with each other to be able to publish the finest student outcomes. Empowered consumers/parents study up on the student outcomes published by each school so that they can weigh the merits of each
Other Suns and the Illusion of History
It was impossible to drive across the country without thinking of Isabel Wilkerson's masterpiece The Warmth of Other Suns, a stunning telling of the story of the Great Migration. Wilkerson weaves numerous threads together (including those of her own life) and shifts effortlessly between close focus and the larger picture, but the book revolves around the stories of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George

JUL 28

Looking for Mr. or Ms. Change Agent
Over at the Fordham, Mike Petrilli has been slowly unspooling a series of posts looking at how reform goals might be pursued through means other than policy and politics. In his latest, he considers the leadership development approach to school reform. Petrilli expresses mixed feelings about the argument. On the one hand, he recognizes that great leaders have value. On the other hand, he's not sur
NV: Vouchers Go To Court
Last year, Nevada passed a voucher law that was a big wet kiss t o reformsters and everyone else who wants to dismantle public education. It's about the simplest voucher law we've ever seen. The state of Nevada will pay you $5,100 to take your kid out of public school. You can spend your $5,100 on a charter school, a private school, a religious school, or on supplies to home school (does a new roo

JUL 27

The Gardener and the Carpenter
Earlier this month, Dr. Alison Gopnick appeared in the Wall Street Journal plugging some thoughts from her soon-to-be-published book The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children. Gopnick's point is about parenting, but it has direct implications for the teaching world as well. Gopnick argues that modern paren
This Non-Standardized Country
Two weeks, 5800 miles, and about 16 states (it's a stretch to count Colorado). Plus several days with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. I don't usually do photo essays here, but I want to show you just some of what I saw. This is home. This is what we're used to seeing. Here's downtown Cleveland, where a railroad era central building makes a backdrop for a modern monument. Off to our right is

All Things Education: NAACP calls for a moratorium on charter schools but the devil is in the (state) details

All Things Education: NAACP calls for a moratorium on charter schools but the devil is in the (state) details:

NAACP calls for a moratorium on charter schools but the devil is in the (state) details

Julian Vasquez was one of the first, if not the first, to report that the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter schools. Please read his post as well as the copy of the resolution itself that he posted.

Here are my thoughts:

This is a big deal. In many cases, or at least some, civil rights groups and those representing black and Latino communities were not initially, necessarily against charters. Even if they had reservations, many saw them as an alternative to the traditional public schools TPSs) where many black and Latino have been not been served well by traditional public schools. It is easy for those of us who have been well served by traditional public schools to oppose charter schools, but it's not been a no-brainer for those who haven't been and who can blame them. That the national NAACP has essentially put their foot down on this means something.

However . . .

1. (And their resolution acknowledges this if you examine the language) charter laws are made state-by-state.  Certainly, federal policy, such as RTTT (Race to the Top) can influence the proliferation of charter schools with funding incentives (or lack thereof) and other types of support. But it's at the state level where charters are born and made and it's state laws that determine their regulation, their proliferation, and their governance structures. Every state is different. So while this will have influence at the national level, we'll have to see what individual NAACP chapters do, what each individual's state charter laws and climate is, and what state legislatures do.

2. I could be wrong but the language seems to indicate a moratorium on "privately managed charters" and perhaps even just "for-profit" charter schools. With some exceptions (and remember, this changes depending on the state), all charter schools are privately managed, meaning their governing boards or entities are privately chosen or appointed. There is no public process. (In Virginia, charter schools are permitted but they must be approved by local school bards and then 
All Things Education: NAACP calls for a moratorium on charter schools but the devil is in the (state) details:

Love Letter to My Dead Student – EduShyster

Love Letter to My Dead Student – EduShyster:

Love Letter to My Dead Student

A Chicago teacher mourns a slain student, knowing that he won’t be the last…
By Ann Mastrofsky
In May, someone opened the door to my classroom, stuck in his head and mooed. It was Darrell—charismatic, intractable, and one of my favorite students. He was seventeen years old and had earned only one high school credit; technically, he was a freshman. Darrell very rarely attended class and when he did, he spent most of his time socializing. He was barely literate, his math skills at the level of a third grader. But when I complimented his efforts, he beamed with pride. He did the best he could, and sometimes his best was outstanding. He earned the highest grade on my semester final.
I greeted him and he smiled warmly, an impish flash in his green eyes. He and I had bonded early; he liked his middle aged, white female teachers—teachers like me—the best.  A huge youth, he towered over me and my neck hurt when I looked up at his broad face and dyed dreads.
I asked him what was up and he shrugged, smiling shyly. I told him to pull up his pants and take off his hat, both of which he did. I asked him if I’d see him in class later and he told me that I would.  A few of his friends approached and I ducked back into my room, allowing him the privacy that adolescents and teachers both require. I knew only a Love Letter to My Dead Student – EduShyster:

Why Do Teachers Stay? What Makes them Leave?

Why Do Teachers Stay? What Makes them Leave?:

Why Do Teachers Stay? What Makes them Leave?


What makes a teacher stay teaching when everything goes wrong? What is the breaking point to make them want to quit? Almost everyday there is another sad story of a teacher who says good-bye to their students and closes the classroom door for the last time.
I have condensed a post I wrote two years ago titled, “‘I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore!’ The Real Reasons Why Teachers Stay or Quit the Profession.”
Last year the AFT and the Badass Teachers Association conducted a survey to see how teachers fared. They found many concerns. 
I’m wondering how many teachers are asked by their principals to describe how they feel about teaching. How many school districts care enough about their teachers to find how they can make classroom conditions better for instruction. Do teachers get to fill Why Do Teachers Stay? What Makes them Leave?:



By Doug Martin, Author of Hoosier School Heist

 Two of the biggest threats to public education in America are Eli Broad and Walmart’s Alice Walton, and they are both giving big to Hillary’s Victory Fund for her presidential race.

Over the years for various offices and in various election cycles, Eli Broad has given Hillary $17,400, according to FEC records.  But this year, Broad, a huge charter school promoter and longtime Clinton familyfriend, is upping the ante.

In January 2016, Broad handed Hillary’s Victory Fund $33,400.
Hillary’s Victory Fund is a joint fund which also financially benefits countrywide Democrats, but Bernie Sanders’ campaign has accused the Hillary campaign of pocketing a good majority of the cash from the Hillary Victory Fund.  

Politico, in fact, found that “less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised” for the Hillary Victory Fund went to state parties. 

Hillary’s Victory Fund includes billionaire donors like school privatization queen Alice Walton of Walmart, the mega union-busting corporation where Hillary once was a board member.   Alice Walton has not only Schools Matter: HILLARY, ELI, AND ALICE: THE MONEY-TREE:

Hoosier School Heist TV is Doug Martin's channel featuring videos of his book tour across Indiana speaking on the corporate takeover of public education. Order Hoosier School Heist at
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Algorithms in Use: Evaluating Teachers and “Personalizing” Learning (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Algorithms in Use: Evaluating Teachers and “Personalizing” Learning (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Algorithms in Use: Evaluating Teachers and “Personalizing” Learning (Part 2)

In Part 1, I made the point that consumer-driven or educationally-oriented algorithms for all of their mathematical exactness and appearance of objectivity in regression equations contain different values among which programmers judge some to be more important than others.  In making value choices (like everyone else, programmers are constrained by space, time, and resources), decisions get made that have consequences for both teachers and students. In this post, I look first at those algorithms used to judge teachers’ effectiveness (or lack of it) and then I turn to “personalized learning” algorithms customized for individual students.
Washington, D.C.’s IMPACT program of teacher evaluation
Much has been written about the program that Chancellor Michelle Rhee created during her short tenure (2007-2010) leading the District of Columbia public schools (see here and here). Under Rhee, IMPACT,  a new system of teacher evaluation has been put into practice. The system is anchored in The “Teaching and Learning Framework,”  that D.C. teachers call the “nine commandments” of good teaching.
1. Lead well-organized, objective-driven lessons.
2. Explain content clearly.
3. Engage students at all learning levels in rigorous work.
4. Provide students with multiple ways to engage with content.
5. Check for student understanding.
6. Respond to student misunderstandings.
7. Develop higher-level understanding through effective questioning.
8. Maximize instructional time.
9. Build a supportive, learning-focused classroom community.
IMPACT uses multiple measures to judge the quality of teaching. At first, 50 percent of an annual evaluation was based upon student test scores; 35 percent based on judgments of instructional expertise (see “nine commandments”) drawn from five classroom observations by the principal and “master educators,” and 15 percent based on other measures. Note that policymakers initially decided on Algorithms in Use: Evaluating Teachers and “Personalizing” Learning (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice: