Thursday, May 16, 2019

Gates Foundation Launches Major Higher Ed Initiative | Education News | US News

Gates Foundation Launches Major Higher Ed Initiative | Education News | US News

Gates Foundation Asks: Is College Worth It?
The philanthropic group plans to spend the next year studying the question to guide its upcoming investments.


THE BILL AND MELINDA Gates Foundation, the philanthropic and sometimes controversial group whose funding has influenced major education policy decisions in the U.S., is launching a new higher education initiative to answer the question, "Is college worth it?"
"More than at any other time I can remember, students and families across America are asking themselves, is college worth it,'" Sue Desmond-Hellmann, president of the Gates Foundation, said. "As the cost of a credential rises and student debt goes to record levels, people are actually asking a question I never thought I'd hear, 'Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?' This question of value needs to be addressed, and we feel that it needs to be addressed urgently."
To that end, the foundation has convened a 30-person commission to evaluate the returns of education after high school, especially for low-income students and students of color.
Desmond-Hellmann said the foundation plans to use the commission's conclusions to make investment decisions, though it has not allotted a specific amount of money to the effort yet, nor has it outlined preordained policy proposals it's seeking to back.
The Gates Foundation spends about half a billion dollars each year on its U.S. programs, but Desmond-Hellmann said she's "excited" that the commission' work could increase result in new investments in higher education.
"I expect new investments, but we'll make announcements when the investments are ready," she said.
"Our experience has been that – given the diversity of thought, the importance of this issue and that we will actually make investments – that really pulls people together and drives the kinds of outcomes we want so that the public and the thought leadership group will care," she added.
The three-pronged goal of the commission is to develop a definition of the value of college, create a way to measure how individual colleges and universities create value for students – CONTINUE READING: Gates Foundation Launches Major Higher Ed Initiative | Education News | US News

Jackie Goldberg’s win changes LAUSD equation for unions, charters and Beutner - Los Angeles Times

Jackie Goldberg’s win changes LAUSD equation for unions, charters and Beutner - Los Angeles Times

Jackie Goldberg’s win changes LAUSD equation for unions, charters and Beutner


Jackie Goldberg began her first day after winning election to the L.A. school board making an appearance with schools Supt. Austin Beutner, all smiles and talking about a unified vision to fix the troubled school district.


But the camaraderie belied what could be a rocky road ahead: They are two strong-willed titans of L.A.’s education universe with some fundamentally different views on crucial issues facing the nation’s second-largest school district.

Goldberg, 74, will have an outsize role on the seven-member body in confronting seemingly intractable problems such as lagging student achievement, deep-rooted financial strains and the growth and oversight of charter schools.
A political veteran who served on the board more than two decades ago, Goldberg won major support from the teachers union, which has been at odds with Beutner and with board members who support charter schools.


The growth of charters has hit the Los Angeles Unified School District’s finances hard and was a central factor in the teachers’ strike this year. Beutner has been working on plans to reorganize the district and set it on a firmer financial path.
With Goldberg back on the board, the political dynamics are changing.
Ronald W. Sol√≥rzano, education professor at Occidental College, said the central challenge is making sure that all district schools are of consistently high quality. With the election over, “now either the real education work begins, or the political battle begins.”
For the moment, Goldberg and Beutner have one huge issue that unites them: passage of a school funding measure on the June ballot. Officials say the measure is essential to improving the district’s shaky finances. And on Wednesday, Goldberg and Beutner stumped for it together.
“Our shared perspective: to help kids,” Beutner said. “I think we are going to do great things.”
Goldberg won about 70% of the vote over Heather Repenning, a district parent and former public works commissioner.
Goldberg, who also served on the City Council and in the state Legislature, benefited in her campaign from name recognition, a scandal-free record, an obvious command of the issues, a charismatic personality and the backing of the teachers union. The latter was especially helpful in the wake of a six-day January strike that invigorated public support for teachers.
More than anything else, Goldberg is stressing the need for better funding — a point of agreement among many combatants in the education wars, including charter supporters.
“We’ve been starving schools,” Goldberg said during an appearance Wednesday at Micheltorena Street Elementary in Silver Lake. “It is a crime that we are not investing in children the way they did when I was a kid.”
Beutner, the unions and charter school leaders have united behind Measure EE, a property tax that would raise an estimated $500 million a year for local schools. Expect no recriminations, leadership changes or controversial moves before June 4, when voters will go to the polls.
The California Charter Schools Assn. even expressed congratulations, though Goldberg’s election was just about the last thing its leaders wanted. The powerful association officially sat out the campaign — a result either of strategic pragmatism, internal disorganization or some combination of the two.
Repenning relied on help from Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents most nonteaching employees, and the backing of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. She and her supporters spent toe-to-toe with those backing Goldberg — well over $1 million on each side.
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In recent weeks, however, the simultaneous campaign for Measure EE may have diluted efforts for Repenning, who raised less and had less spent on her behalf in the runoff, political consultant Lewis Myers noted.
The push for Measure EE became “more important to the mayor, parents, students, United Teachers Los Angeles and Local 99 than Heather winning,” said Myers, who did not work for either candidate.
Goldberg’s win turned around a losing streak for the teachers union. Until Tuesday’s election, charter school supporters, fueled by wealthy donors, were outspending the unions in L.A. school board contests. And in July 2017, candidates they backed claimed a board majority.
Charters are privately operated, mostly nonunion and compete with district schools for students and the funding that follows them. They enroll close to 1 in 5 district students. It will not be easy to find the way forward on charters, because most rules governing their expansion and oversight are made at the state level.
While the L.A. teachers union has remained a political force, its influence in local board elections was being eclipsed by charters.
With its success Tuesday, the teachers union might be riding something of a national wave, said Julie Marsh, professor at USC’s Rossier School of Education.
“We’re seeing some shifts in the narrative around charter schools,” Marsh said. Charter backers long have pointed to the bipartisan appeal of these schools, but their embrace by President Trump and his polarizing Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, “make it difficult for Democrats to associate with these reforms.”
Goldberg will fill the seat most recently held by Ref Rodriguez, co-founder of a charter school group.
Rodriguez resigned in July after pleading guilty to political money laundering, a scandal that tarnished the local charter brand. He held on just long enough to cast an essential vote needed to hire Beutner, a businessman and philanthropist, as superintendent.
Beutner accepted the job knowing that his majority on the board could become tenuous, and during the strike, teachers union leaders made him a personal target. For her part, Goldberg expressed exasperation that district leaders would choose a non-educator to lead a school system.
Even so, Goldberg insisted Wednesday — as she has before — that she has no agenda to push Beutner out. CONTINUE READING: Jackie Goldberg’s win changes LAUSD equation for unions, charters and Beutner - Los Angeles Times

CURMUDGUCATION: Why The Big Standardized Test Is Useless For Teachers

CURMUDGUCATION: Why The Big Standardized Test Is Useless For Teachers

Why The Big Standardized Test Is Useless For Teachers
In schools throughout the country, it is testing season--time for students to take the Big Standardized Test (the PARCC, SBA, or your state's alternative). This ritual really blossomed way back in the days of No Child Left Behind, but after all these years, teachers are mostly unexcited about it. There are many problems with the testing regimen, but a big issue for classroom teachers is that the tests do not help the teacher do her job.
Folks outside of schools often imagine that one of the benefits of the test is to check to see how students are doing and adjust instruction accordingly. Unfortunately, the tests provide no such benefit.
First, the timing does not serve that purpose. Tests are being given now, close to the end of the year. By the time test score come back, these students will be in a different teacher’s classroom. There will be zero opportunity for a teacher to say, “Okay, these students are having trouble with fractions, so I’d better review that unit and add some extra instruction on the subject.” Those students are gone. New students arrive with their own test scores, but their new teachers have no first-hand knowledge of how instruction went last year.
But that’s not the worst of it. Even if the tests were great (that's a discussion for another day) and the results came back instantaneously, they would still be of little use for informing instruction.
Imagine that you are a basketball coach, tasked with training your team for great things. Imagine CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Why The Big Standardized Test Is Useless For Teachers

Avenue to the Stars: What an Elite Private School Teaches about the Future of For-Profit Education – Have You Heard

Avenue to the Stars: What an Elite Private School Teaches about the Future of For-Profit Education – Have You Heard

Avenue to the Stars: What an Elite Private School Teaches about the Future of For-Profit Education


High-end for-profit private schools are a growing segment of the education ‘marketplace.’ In this episode, we’re joined by Mike Levy, former curriculum director at Avenues World School in New York City who gives us an inside look at what $60,000 + in tuition buys. Hint: a top-flight private school education along AND a healthy dose of free-market ideology.
Full transcript of the episode is here. And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard, show your love by supporting the show on Patreon.



Avenue to the Stars: What an Elite Private School Teaches about the Future of For-Profit Education – Have You Heard

Charter School Support Fades: U.S. House Appropriators Seek to Cut $40 Million from Charter Schools Program | janresseger

Charter School Support Fades: U.S. House Appropriators Seek to Cut $40 Million from Charter Schools Program | janresseger

Charter School Support Fades: U.S. House Appropriators Seek to Cut $40 Million from Charter Schools Program


Last week, the Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, a body now dominated by Democrats, sent forward to the floor of the House an education appropriations proposal to cut—by 10 percent—Congressional funding for the federal Charter Schools Program. This year the program is funded at $440 million. The Democratic appropriations committee has proposed the allocation of $400 million for next year.
By contrast, the President’s budget—proposed in mid-March—reflects the priorities of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, who seeks an additional $60 million next year for a total Charter Schools Program allocation of $500 million in FY 2020.
Education Week‘s Andrew Ujifusa describes the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed 2020 education budget: “A bill to increase the U.S. Department of Education’s budget by more than $4 billion is headed to the floor of the House of Representatives…  (T)he House appropriations committee approved legislation that would provide significant increases for grants aimed at disadvantaged students, after-school programming, and social-emotional learning…. While Democrats want more money for several programs, they want $40 million less for federal charter school grants, a cut of nearly 10 percent to $400 million.  The move symbolizes how opposition to charter schools has gained more traction in the Democratic Party recently….”
Ujifusa adds: ” It’s the first time since 2010 that Democrats have controlled the appropriations process in the chamber, but their bill is very, very far from becoming the law of the land… The legislation hasn’t been approved by the full House yet.  More importantly, the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, will likely introduce a bill that’s different in several key respects.”
But the move by the Appropriations Committee to cut charter school funding indicates an important political shift.  The proposed reduction is evidence that Democrats, who have been part of a bipartisan wave of support for neoliberal public-private partnership via charter CONTINUE READING: Charter School Support Fades: U.S. House Appropriators Seek to Cut $40 Million from Charter Schools Program | janresseger

Cynthia Liu: After Jackie Goldberg’s Win, How to Keep Momentum Going | Diane Ravitch's blog

Cynthia Liu: After Jackie Goldberg’s Win, How to Keep Momentum Going | Diane Ravitch's blog

Cynthia Liu: After Jackie Goldberg’s Win, How to Keep Momentum Going


Cynthia Liu, a journalist in California, writes:
With public education champion Jackie Goldberg’s win on the LAUSD school board seat, it’s time for public school advocates to keep the momentum surging! Update on charter accountability bills: 1507 was voted on Monday and passed out of assembly and goes to the California State Senate. YAY & THANK YOU to all who called and voted YES.
But two additional bills need to get to the Assembly for a floor vote.
Call today (Wednesday) or Thursday (morning) and say,
Script: “Hi I am asking the assembly member ________ to vote AB1505 & AB1506 out of the appropriations committee so that they can go to the floor for a full vote. I do not want them to die in committee on Thursday.”
These folks are high priority, but everyone should call. Look up your California legislator here: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html
FYI AB1505: Local school board only to approve charters, and only if they don’t harm existing public schools, don’t repeat public school programs, and state facilities needs. 1506: revisits a cap on charters.
Charter accountability IS the path to racial and socioeconomic equity! 
— Aguiar Curry AD4 Lake, Napa, Yolo (not W Sacto), parts of Sonoma, Solano
— Carrillo AD51 East LA, Eagle Rock (**appropriations committee member)
— Cervantes AD60 Corona, El Cerrito
— Cooper AD9 Elk Grove, Lodi
— Daly AD69 Anaheim, Santa Ana
— Gloria AD78 San Diego
— Gray AD21 Modesto, Merced
— Grayson AD14 Vallejo, Pleasant Hill
— Kamlager Dove AD54 Crenshaw, Culver City, Westwood, Inglewood
— Limon AD37 Santa Barbara, Ventura
— Low AD28 Silicon Valley Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos
— Rubio AD48 Azusa, El Monte, Covina/W Covina



Testing with a Side of *Not Much Else* | deutsch29

Testing with a Side of *Not Much Else* | deutsch29

Testing with a Side of *Not Much Else*

Standardized testing is claiming squatter’s rights on increasingly more of the school year, with the greatest intrusion occurring in the spring.
Our school has been in the height of spring testing asphyxia for a month now. This means that teaching and learning take the far-back seat to survivial as class schedules are severely disrupted by multiple hours of per-subject testing, multiple tests per student, multiple faculty, staff, and admin hours required, before, during, and after the school day to coddle the testing machine as those not testing at a given moment form a makeshift puzzle of who’s-in-whose-room-because-we-have-to-send-you-somewhere.
In short, it’s a prolonged mess. And I haven’t even touched on rescheduling absent students or finding proctors for absent teachers and staff.
Of course, all of this assumes that the computers are in working order, hardware and software both; that no computers have decided to perform untimely updates; that there are no unanticipated interferences to the school schedule, and that the state has its act together so that the testing portal is functioning during the entire state testing window.
That sure is a lot of assuming.
As it happens, today, the Louisiana Department of Education delivered a dose of at-the-helm CONTINUE READING: Testing with a Side of *Not Much Else* | deutsch29
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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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Testing with a Side of *Not Much Else* | deutsch29