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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Who Is Gifted? Why Does It Matter? | Teacher in a strange land

Who Is Gifted? Why Does It Matter? | Teacher in a strange land

Who Is Gifted? Why Does It Matter?

Having authored a dozen or more columns on gifted education, it’s easy to predict reader response. It’s unfailing, in fact. There is a well-organized parent advocacy army associated with educating our brightest kids, always at the ready to respond to published commentary, claiming anything less than a full-bore endorsement of extra resources and programming for gifted kids is Not Enough. Because they deserve it.
Essentially, I agree with them. In fact, I got a Masters degree in Gifted Studies, back in the day (way back), because I thought I wasn’t challenging my most accomplished students and wanted new ways to deepen their musical learning. I actually thought I represented the ‘talented’ part of ‘Gifted and Talented.’
Stepping into Gifted World was revelation, however. Educators in the field were mostly interested in whether curriculum for the gifted should focus on acceleration or enrichment. (Acceleration won.) And, of course, the core disciplinary question was just who was entitled to such enhanced curriculum. I learned about the range of testing tools to identify giftedness and creativity. There were cutoffs and variables and labels. There was a fair amount of dissent, even hostility. And nobody was talking about kids with exceptional talents in the arts.
My thesis involved surveying music teachers around the state, who were very kind and willing to respond (in the days where that involved paper and the US Postal service). Most of them offered excellent ideas on strengthening and expanding musical excellence in their own classrooms, as well as special instruction, camps, honors ensembles and other challenges.
Although musical talent is overlooked in the ‘gifted’ discourse, I remain interested in gifted programming in public and private schools. I have taught any number of  CONTINUE READING: Who Is Gifted? Why Does It Matter? | Teacher in a strange land

Ben Chavis, Controversial Charter Leader, Beats the Rap | Diane Ravitch's blog

Ben Chavis, Controversial Charter Leader, Beats the Rap | Diane Ravitch's blog

Ben Chavis, Controversial Charter Leader, Beats the Rap

Ben Chavis was leader of the American Indian Model Schools, a group of three small charter schools in Oakland that captured headlines and the hearts of conservatives. He stepped down after being charged with multiple federal felony charges involving federal money used to lease space from buildings Chavis owned and a state audit claiming that $3.8 million of the schools’ funding had been transferred to his and his wife’s business accounts.
After a six-year investigation, all charges have been dropped, and Chavis will pay a fine of $100. 
“A former Oakland charter school director known for boosting student test scores through humiliation and harsh discipline has avoided jail time following a six-year federal investigation into allegations of fraud.
“Ben Chavis, who ran the American Indian Model Schools, will spend one year on probation and pay a $100 fine in a plea deal with federal investigators, according to court documents.
“Chavis had faced the prospect of decades in prison in connection with six felony charges of mail fraud and money laundering filed in 2017 following an IRS and FBI investigation into his financial dealings related to the schools.
“Those charges were dropped and Chavis pleaded guilty to one count of submitting false information on federal documents….
”He was known for his frequent belittling and humiliation CONTINUE READING: Ben Chavis, Controversial Charter Leader, Beats the Rap | Diane Ravitch's blog

Big Education Ape: THE PERIMETER PRIMATE: A trip down memory lane with Oakland’s “American Indian” charter schools & Ben Chavis -

Big Education Ape: Trustees try to save Oakland's embattled American Indian Model Schools from losing charter - Inside Bay Area -

Big Education Ape: Will Ben Chavis be subjected to unorthodox and harsh methods of discipline like his students at the Gulag, ‘The Ameriican Indian Charter School’? | -

Big Education Ape: THE PERIMETER PRIMATE: The Ben Chavis / American Indian Public Charter School saga continues -

Big Education Ape: Jersey Jazzman: Bye-Bye Ben Chavis -

Big Education Ape: Jersey Jazzman: Reformy Maniac Ben Chavis Update -

Jeff Bryant: Progressives Take a Bold Stance at an Epicenter of the Charter School Movement to Score a Major Win for Public Education - LA Progressive

Progressives Take a Bold Stance at an Epicenter of the Charter School Movement to Score a Major Win for Public Education - LA Progressive

Progressives Take a Bold Stance at an Epicenter of the Charter School Movement to Score a Major Win for Public Education

hen President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos to be U.S. Secretary of Education and made charter schools, vouchers, and other forms of “school choice” practically the sole emphasis for his K-12 education policy—other than slashing funding and programs for public schools—he brought national attention to a decades-long battle over privatizing public education that was already raging in communities across the nation.
The community that’s been on the frontline of the fight for the longest has been Milwaukee, where the city’s public schools have been undermined by a nearly 30-year-old voucher program—the nation’s oldest—and an invasion of charter schools going back to 1993, when the state passed its first charter school law just a year after the very first charter school law in the nation passed in Minnesota.

Despite the decades-long effort to privatize Milwaukee’s local school, recent events in that community have revealed how public school advocates can successfully fight back against the forces of privatization.

Despite the decades-long effort to privatize Milwaukee’s local school, recent events in that community have revealed how public school advocates can successfully fight back against the forces of privatization.
In Milwaukee’s recent school board election, a slate of five candidates swept into office under a banner of turning back years of efforts to privatize the district’s schools. The win for public schools was noteworthy not only because it took place in a long-standing bastion of school choice, but also because the winning candidates were backed by an emerging coalition that adopted a bold, new politics that demands candidates take up a full-throated opposition to school privatization rather than cater to the middle.
Unsurprisingly, the coalition includes the local teachers’ union, who’ve long been skeptical of charters, vouchers, and other privatization ideas, but joining the teachers in their win are progressive activists, including the Wisconsin chapter of the Working Families Party, and local civil rights advocacy groups, including CONTINUE READING: Progressives Take a Bold Stance at an Epicenter of the Charter School Movement to Score a Major Win for Public Education - LA Progressive

Is Teach For America’s training problematic? Even racist? | Cloaking Inequity

Is Teach For America’s training problematic? Even racist? | Cloaking Inequity


Big Education Ape: Teach For America in Charlotte: Making Segregated Schools Work | The Charlotte Observer -

2 Teach For America Alums Say TFA Has Big Problems When It Comes To Race : Code Switch : NPR - on @NPR
WGBH reports that,
TFA training draws in part on Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion method, featured in the recent bookBuilding a Better Teacher. Teach Like a Champion emphasizes carefully and consistently controlling students’ words, postures and reactions from moment to moment. At Ranson Middle School, I saw posters of SLANT. That’s a Teach Like a Champion acronym for Sit up, Listen, Ask and answer questions, Nod your head, and Track the speaker.
Does Teach Like a Champion (TLAC) pedagogy perpetuate a racial hierarchy?
TLAC claims it is a “proven” pedagogy that is rooted in education equity because it puts marginalized students on a “path to college,” but is it, instead, racist? All pedagogies have Explicit, Hidden, and Null teachings that either threaten injustice or perpetuate it; there is never a neutral. In using seemingly innocuous strategies such as “cold calling” or “SLANT,” TLAC author Lemov believes that students are learning how to succeed in the academic world which, to him and supporters, is education justice. Embedded in TLAC pedagogy, though, are many oppressive messages that need to be examined no matter how effective they are at raising test scores. And frankly, higher test scores may lead to college, but do they truly result in college and life success in a racist and classist world?
Employed in segregated schools across the country, Lemov’s simple strategies often come with punitive consequences, unquestionable compliance, required assimilation and feelings of shame for marginalized students and those with learning differences. Learning to play the dominant culture game is imperative for marginalized students, but one can teach students how to play the game without making them become the game. Assimilation may lead to academic success, but it is dehumanizing. Dr. Maria Salazar once wrote,
“My teachers taught me the essentials: reading, writing, and math. However, I never saw myself reflected in the content or context of my schooling . . . I was overwhelmed with feelings of shame over the most essential elements of my humanity: my culture, my heritage, my language, and my parents.  I learned to read, write, and do math … it came at a heavy cost.”
It is true that rigorous education is not, by definition, a White, male, straight, affluent thing, but a rigorous education that forces compliance and teaches certain behaviors as the one right way to be is oppressive. For example. SLANT is not the only right way to learn; it is uncomfortable, inauthentic, and distracting for many learners (especially those with sensory processing disorders or ADHD for example).  Unsuccessful answering in cold calling does not mean one has not mastered content. Making every second count (Give 100% 100% of the time) is not how most successful people learn and live in this world. It is an unrealistic expectation that is not healthy and should not be expected of marginalized students (or anyone for that matter) for their success. These ways of being and doing in education may seemingly work to provide order and achievement. They may be said to provide structure for learning and look “scholarly,” but what are the lived results of this pedagogy beyond test scores and college entrance? Essentially, what is the cost and is it worth the benefits? Says who?
Questioning TLAC can result in one being called a racist, classist educator who wants to subvert black academic excellence and keep people poor.  But that is simply false; no critical educator questioning TLAC wants to revert back to a traditional racist pedagogy that inspired education reform. They also, however, do not want to replace one racist/classist pedagogy for another. TLAC sincerely tries to eliminate the achievement gap and give all students a chance to go to college, but it pedals a pedagogy that, in the end, maintains White supremacy.  J. Berkshire talks about this in her post, Teach Like It’s 1895:
“As I was reading Teach Like A Champion, I observed something that shocked me. The pedagogical model espoused by Lemov is disturbingly similar to one that was established almost a century ago for the express purpose of maintaining racial hierarchy.”
Consider the following and then read more by J. Berkshire to see if you agree.
1. TLAC strategies are not proven using empirical methodology and published in peer reviewed journals. If there are studies, what are the variables? n? p value?
2. TLAC is for “Other people’s children” (L. Delpit). Of course some TLAC strategies are effective and even fun, but the strict adherence to TLAC as a bible for teaching is reserved for students of color and low SES.
3. Putting marginalized students on a “path to college” is different then educating them to have the critical consciousness, positive socio-cultural identity, and academic skills/knowledge to successfully COMPLETE college. (G. Ladson Billings)
4. Many TLAC strategies do not often work for students with learning differences. Example: cold calling does not maintain the dignity of nor the learning needs for ELLs or students with processing/language disorders. (A Kohn)
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See all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts about Teach For America here.
Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.

Oklahoma: For-Profit Online Charter Chain Gobbles Up Rural Districts | Diane Ravitch's blog

Oklahoma: For-Profit Online Charter Chain Gobbles Up Rural Districts | Diane Ravitch's blog

Oklahoma: For-Profit Online Charter Chain Gobbles Up Rural Districts

Oklahoma has underfunded its public schools over the past decade. Many districts have switched to a four-day week to save money.
Some rural districts, facing insolvency, are turning their schools over to Epic, a for-profit online charter chain, which can balance the books by putting kids online and cutting teachers’ jobs.
Like all online charter schools, EPIC overstates its “gains” while its actual results are less than mediocre.
“To save his financially imperiled school district, Panola Superintendent Brad Corcoran in 2017 pitched a plan to convert the traditional public district into a charter school. 
“In becoming a charter, Panola Public Schools would turn over its management to a company affiliated with Epic Charter Schools, the largest online school in the state. The school board agreed. 
“The Epic-related firm contributed $100,000 toward Panola’s debt as part of the agreement. That company manages the small district for a more than 10 percent cut of its funding.  Panola’s high school students now have the option to attend most classes online from home.
“The deal was unprecedented. Not only was it one of the first conversions-to-charter in the state, it allowed Epic’s company to operate a school and gain many benefits denied other charter schools: It could tap into and spend local property tax revenue to cover costs of student transportation, school buildings and sports facilities, like traditional school districts.
“And Epic didn’t stop at Panola….”
Epic has 23,000 in Oklahoma and it is growing in California as well.
”Trice Butler, superintendent of Wilburton Public Schools, which neighbors Panola, said she is concerned that Epic CONTINUE READING: Oklahoma: For-Profit Online Charter Chain Gobbles Up Rural Districts | Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Research Report TODAY

Education Research Report

Education Research Report 

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How States are Responding to ESSA’s Evidence Requirements for School Improvement

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Personalized Learning: The Promise and the Reality

Personalized learning programs are proliferating in schools across the United States, fueled by philanthropic dollars, tech industry lobbying, marketing by third-party vendors, and a policy environment that provides little guidance and few constraints. In Personalized Learning and the Digital Privatization of Curriculum and Teaching , Faith Boninger, Alex Molnar, and Christopher M. Saldaña, of th


The impact of Take Stock in Children's® (TSIC's®) FLIGHT program

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Student Outcomes and Parent Teacher Home Visits

Parent Teacher Home Visits (PTHV) is a strategy for engaging educators and families as a team to support student achievement. The PTHV model developed from an understanding that family engagement is critical to student success. This study addresses the following research questions : 1 . To what extent does schools’ implementation of PTHV predict school - level outcomes? 2 . To what extent does st
Trial of the MindOut Program for Disadvantaged Post-Primary School Students

School-based social and emotional learning programs aim to provide students with the skills they need to deal with life challenges, thereby enhancing their social and emotional wellbeing, academic outcomes, and reducing their risk of mental health difficulties. While there is a robust evidence base on the effectiveness of these programs originating from the US, there is a relative paucity of rese
Research on Programs For Struggling Readers in Elementary Schools

This article reviews research on the outcomes of diverse reading approaches on the achievement of struggling readers in elementary schools. 61 studies of 48 different programs met rigorous standards. 84% were randomized experiments and 16% quasi-experiments. Outcomes were positive for one-to-one tutoring and were positive but not as large for one-to-small group tutoring. There were no differences
Effects of College-and Career-Ready Standards on Student Achievement: Significant negative effects for grade 4 reading; Negative effects were also observed for grade 8 reading, grade 4 math, and grade 8 math

Full report Since the release of the report A Nation at Risk, standards-based reforms have been a crucial part of federal and state efforts to improve education. College- and career-ready (CCR) standards--the focus of the current wave of standards-based reform—differ from states’ previous standards in importantways.Most notably,the new CCR standards were explicitly designed around thegoal of ensu
English Language Learners in America’s Great City Schools

In 2013, the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) published the first-ever report on English language learners (ELLs) enrolled in member districts, reporting on a range of indicators in addition to ELL enrollment and languages spoken by such students. This report updates most of the data presented in the 2013 Council ELL report, shedding light once again on ELL enrollment, student performance
Higher Education Trends

For 17 years, the New Media Consortium convened panels of experts from higher education and posed three key questions for them to discuss: What is on the five-year horizon for higher education institutions? Which trends and technology developments will drive educational change? What are the critical challenges and how can we strategize solutions? The resulting Horizon Report series charts the fiv
2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

In 2018, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) administered the digitally based Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment to better understand what U.S. students know and can do in the areas of technology and engineering. Eighth-grade students were presented with real-world technology and engineering challenges. They were asked to respond to questions aimed at assessin

APR 29

Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US

According to the United States Department of Education, the U.S. high school graduation rate will reach an all-time high this year, which is good news for both our economy and health. Policy makers often use education policy to strengthen the workforce and boost earnings, productivity and employment. But earning a diploma may also lead to a longer, healthier life. A new study from the University
Being a car commuter with obesity linked to a 32% increased death risk

New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Scotland (28 April - 1 May) shows that individuals with obesity who commute by car have a 32% higher risk of death, from any cause, compared with those individuals with a normal weight and commute via cycling and walking. The study is by Edward Toke-Bjolgerud, University of Glasgow, UK, and colleagues. Previous work, u
'Pedigree is not destiny' when it comes to scholarly success

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Quality Rating Systems for Early Learning Programs

In several publications released today (April 29 th ), the Institute of Education Sciences describes the progress that Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grantee states made in implementing rating systems to document and improve early learning program quality. The RTT-ELC grant 
Education Research Report