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Friday, August 2, 2019

States lead the way on community school innovation

States lead the way on community school innovation

States lead the way on community school innovation

Policymakers and leaders at multiple levels have been paying increased attention to community schools—schools that engage families and community organizations to provide well-rounded support to students. Recently, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden called for expanding community schools. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, another presidential candidate, has created the largest community school initiative in the country with over 200 sites. And Randi Weingarten, president of the powerful American Federation of Teachers, has been a vocal advocate. At the local level, grassroots organizers are calling for more community schools. Community schools seem poised to become an increasing presence in education politics—and policy—going forward.


Community schools identify what students, families, and communities need to succeed and use community assets—partnerships with local organizations and agencies—to meet those needs. The Learning Policy Institute describes four common pillars of a community school: expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities; collaborative leadership and practices; active family and community engagement; and integrated student supports. In identifying a typology of school-community partnerships, my colleagues and I suggest that community schools are more than just wraparound services provided to individual students in need. Rather, community schools use strategic, results-focused partnerships to improve a wide range of outcomes.CONTINUE READING: States lead the way on community school innovation

You Are Not a Bad Teacher If Your Lessons Look Like This - Teacher Habits

You Are Not a Bad Teacher If Your Lessons Look Like This - Teacher Habits

You Are Not a Bad Teacher If Your Lessons Look Like This

Guest Writer: Isabell Gaylord
As a teacher, you have a responsibility to inspire your students. If your students are bored, it makes your job that much harder. For decades, educators have been trying new techniques to get students excited about learning. Explore the following ways to keep your lessons interesting and your students engaged. 
Relate the material to your students’ lives
Relate your teaching topics to their lives and give them concrete examples to show how they are relevant. When they understand the relevance to their own lives, they will naturally be more engaged. If they’re always asking you why they need to learn something and you just say “because,” it is not a good enough answer. 
Students will always respond more if it is something they can relate to. For example, read them a dilemma and have them write a short response about what they’d do in a certain situation. 
One Sticky Situation, for example, is about a young girl who receives a group text with mean photos of her friend. Your students will probably have a lot to say because they are exposed to similar situations in real life.  
Aim for interactivity
The traditional style of teaching where you stand in front of a class and present a lesson has its limitations. It is much better if you can interact with students and there are some free tools you can use to collaborate on projects and assignments. 
Edmodo is one of the most popular free education tools. It has many features, including functions to enable collaboration, share content, and even get parents involved. Vyew, a collaborative whiteboard, CONTINUE READING: 

Texas schools more likely to work with nonprofits than charters | The Texas Tribune

Texas schools more likely to work with nonprofits than charters | The Texas Tribune

Texas tried to incentivize school districts to work with charters. Districts are turning to local nonprofits instead.
Not many school districts are partnering with charter schools, in some cases because they know it wouldn't be politically palatable in their communities.
A 2017 law made some waves by encouraging traditional school districts to partner with charter schools as a way to create more high-quality, innovative schools.
The law incentivizes districts to hand over the management of certain schools to a partner organization in exchange for additional funding. Districts with chronically underperforming schools also get a temporary break from harsh state penalties under Senate Bill 1882.
Opponents argued the law was intended to facilitate the expansion of charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately managed, at the expense of traditional schools that compete with them for money and students.
But two years in, not many school districts are partnering with charter schools, in some cases because they know it’s not politically palatable in their communities. Instead, districts are using the law to partner with universities and private nonprofit organizations, sometimes ones they have created and staffed — allowing them to reap the monetary benefits of the law without giving up as much control over their schools.
For example, Waco ISD in Central Texas tapped Transformation Waco to overhaul five chronically low-performing schools instead of permanently closing them. District officials helped to create the nonprofit in 2018 for the sole purpose of forming a partnership; Transformation Waco's single employee is a former assistant superintendent for the school district. Everyone else working at the five schools is an employee of Waco ISD.
"Families wanted schools to stay open, but it was also very important for them that we maintain local control and, more than that, local relationships," said Kyle DeBeer, Waco ISD assistant superintendent of communications.
School districts are "responding to their own community needs," said Bibi Yasmin Katsev, executive director of the Texas District Charter Alliance, which advocates for district-charter partnerships. "This is the trend we wanted to see regardless of what CONTINUE READING: Texas schools more likely to work with nonprofits than charters | The Texas Tribune

“If you don’t know why, you don’t know” | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing

“If you don’t know why, you don’t know” | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing

“If you don’t know why, you don’t know”

IMG_0268When we started teaching, we thought our job was to tell students what they needed to know, to “make them learn.” As we gained experience and availed ourselves of the mentorship of veteran teachers, our chairmen and a host of colleagues, we came to the realization that to be a successful teacher is to get the students to “teach themselves”, that is to say to get them to go where you need them to be without them ever knowing they are doing the work to get there.
We learned to challenge students with questions that later became “best practices” for students’ success. One example of this was asking students if the aphorism, “If you don’t know why, you don’t know”, was true or false and have them explain their answer.
Another one was asking them, “What is the most important question to ask in order to be a successful student?” (The answer is the word “why” because you cannot know why the answer is correct without knowing the answer).
Yet another one was asking them why the statement, “What you cannot explain, you do not understand”, was either true or false.
These questions, and others like them, were designed to encourage students to have to examine, analyze, break down into smaller pieces the ideas that were CONTINUE READING: “If you don’t know why, you don’t know” | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing

Will Huntsberry: A “Nonprofit” Charter Chain in California Reaps Huge Windfalls from Its Entwined Business Deals | Diane Ravitch's blog

Will Huntsberry: A “Nonprofit” Charter Chain in California Reaps Huge Windfalls from Its Entwined Business Deals | Diane Ravitch's blog

Will Huntsberry: A “Nonprofit” Charter Chain in California Reaps Huge Windfalls from Its Entwined Business Deals

Will Huntsberry is the investigative reporter who untangled the $50-$80 million scam that led to the indictment of eleven people associated with a virtual charter chain in California (“Inside the Charter School Empire Prosecutors Say Scammed California for $80 Million”). 
In his latest investigation, he details the complicated business dealings that are enriching the owners of a “nonprofit” chain of 60 charter schools across the state.
John Helgeson, a charter school executive, has a great deal for a public servant.
In 2007, he helped found Charter School Capital, a for-profit Oregon company that loans money to charter schools and buys school properties. In May 2015, he also started making $300,000 a year as an executive vice president at Learn4Life, a nonprofit network of more than 60 charter schools that serves roughly 45,000 students in California.
Charter School Capital lends money to Learn4Life schools and pockets the interest. While working at Learn4Life – which is funded almost entirely by California taxpayers – Helgeson maintained an ownership stake in Charter School Capital. In doing so, Helgeson discovered a way to collect not just one, but two paychecks from California’s cash-strapped public school system.

Learn4Life, which operates nine San Diego locations, serves a unique group of students. Many are at-risk and have dropped or failed out of traditional high schools. The schools are publicly funded and often located in strip-mall storefronts. Students usually come in to meet with a teacher once or twice a week and complete work packets.
Since 2014, Charter School Capital has loaned more than $6 million to two Learn4Life schools in San Diego alone. A charter school borrowing money from a for-profit lender is normal enough. To have a key employee who profits from both is not.
Just two months after Helgeson came on board at Learn4Life, the company increased its business with Charter School Capital. Charter School Capital purchased the 100,000 square-foot corporate headquarters of Learn4Life in July 2015 – making Charter School Capital the landlord of Learn4Life. Now CONTINUE READING: Will Huntsberry: A “Nonprofit” Charter Chain in California Reaps Huge Windfalls from Its Entwined Business Deals | Diane Ravitch's blog

NANCY BAILEY: NCTQ’s “Case Closed” Brain Image Post Plugs Pearson’s RICA Reading Te$t for Teachers. Fails the Smell Test!

NCTQ’s “Case Closed” Brain Image Post Plugs Pearson’s RICA Reading Te$t for Teachers. Fails the Smell Test!

NCTQ’s “Case Closed” Brain Image Post Plugs Pearson’s RICA Reading Te$t for Teachers. Fails the Smell Test!

Kate Walsh, President of the astroturf National Council of Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a group that pretends it’s for teachers and schools when it’s really about privatization, recently published an article “Case Closed” implying that teachers are “science deniers” when it comes to teaching reading.
But Walsh’s brain imaging illustration is taken from a research article that has little to do with her foggy claims, and her objective appears to be to plug the California RICA test (Online Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) by Pearson. The RICA test is a money-maker and the push to get states like California to pay for it is concerning.
The test was almost thrown out since it was considered a financial burden on applicants, doesn’t respond to needs of high-risk children, exacerbates California’s teacher shortage, and that “passage rates based on gender, ethnicity and other factors demonstrate bias.”
The “reading research community,” whose names we don’t see, inundated the California legislature with letters supporting the test.
If teachers come from state or private colleges where they learn to teach reading, shouldn’t we expect universities to do their job? Why must taxpayers spend money on an outside test to prove teachers know how to teach reading? Even if education schools need improvement, the RICA test isn’t going to fix that.
Walsh promotes RICA with brain image pictures where children’s brains light up. She CONTINUE READING: NCTQ’s “Case Closed” Brain Image Post Plugs Pearson’s RICA Reading Te$t for Teachers. Fails the Smell Test!

Louisiana Educator: What's Really Wrong With Louisiana Education?

Louisiana Educator: What's Really Wrong With Louisiana Education?

What's Really Wrong With Louisiana Education?

The article posted earlier this week on my blog may lead some readers to believe that I am "down" on Louisiana education. Nothing could be further from the truth. I also sincerely believe that our public school teachers are some of the most dedicated and hardest working teachers we have ever had.  This post by Ganey Arsement of the blog, Educate Louisiana, makes it clear that, Arsement at least, believes that my motives in publishing disappointing test results is to enlighten the public about the invalidity of our present state tests, and not to criticize the hard work of teachers. This blog post is an attempt to further clarify my findings about the current state of Louisiana education and to make suggestions about how we as citizens and educators may truly improve our public education system.

Our public schools are still the best choice by far
Many of the various posts of this blog demonstrate that our public education system is much more successful and reliable than the alternatives. Those alternatives promoted by the very rich supporters of so called "education reform" have included the establishment of charter schools and voucher schools in recent years that are vacuuming up and wasting many of our tax dollars, Those tax dollars should be going to the real public schools. Examples of charter failures in Louisiana are described here and here. There are many more. The voucher schools have failed even more dramatically.

The flawed assumption that has been promoted in recent years by wealthy donors to the cause of education reform, is that public schools would benefit from increased competition from privately run schools that are exempt of many of the oversight rules in exchange for a focus on results. It was believed that those privately run schools would lead the way in improving all schools. Much of the data we have provided in this blog and others demonstrate that these privately run schools have been generally inferior to public schools and have instead produced  numerous incidences of mismanagement, misappropriation of public dollars, and even scandals based on abuse and neglect of children.

It has been stated by reformers and legislators who support reform in the form of school choice, that parents are the best judge of the CONTINUE READING: 
Louisiana Educator: What's Really Wrong With Louisiana Education?

NEW study released: Are charter schools more intensely segregated? | Cloaking Inequity

NEW study released: Are charter schools more intensely segregated? | Cloaking Inequity

We are honored today to release a new study entitled Choice without inclusion?: Comparing the intensity of racial segregation in charters and public schools at the local, state and national levels that examines segregation in the entire universe of US public and charter schools.
In its landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 [1], the United States Supreme Court powerfully concluded that in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ had no place. Further, “separate educational facilities,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote for a unanimous court “are inherently unequal.” It has been over sixty years since the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown to abolish the separate-but-equal legal doctrine and Jim Crow segregation by race. Yet, since that time, courts have allowed de factosegregation to flourish [2]and, as a result, schools in the United States are more segregated than they were at the time of the Brown decision [3].

The resegregation of the United States, in contravention of Brown, has occurred as a result of judicial retrenchment, but also due to other factors such as lax executive enforcement and White flight [4]. Not incidentally, during the past two decades, schools in the United States have become increasingly segregated by race and class. According to the national data, nowhere is the problem more acute than in the nation’s charter schools [5]. While public schools have generally acknowledged the problem and have usually agreed to remedies to address segregation [6], some charter supporters have sought to downplay the issue, emphasizing the need to provide greater choice to low income and minority students as a means of achieving an educational equity in outcomes regardless of the racial composition of the school [7]. In fact, some charter advocates have suggested that racial segregation within schools is acceptable if that comes as a natural by-product of parental choice [8].
Established nearly a quarter-century ago, the first taxpayer supported, privately-operated charter schools were conceived of as learning laboratories that might inspire curricular innovation [9]. In the past decade, proponents have reimagined charter schools as institutions of learning dedicated to providing poor and disadvantaged students with greater access to a high-quality education [10]. These viewpoints mask the serious issues of inequity that remain outstanding, even after the Supreme Court first declared that segregated schools were inherently unequal. More than 60 years after Brown, research confirms that charter and public schools servicing predominately poor students of color still do so with reduced resources, less academic rigor, in the form of limited access to advanced coursework, and largely untrained or inexperienced teachers [11].
Purporting to address the educational opportunity gaps in the U.S., school choice proponents have linked market-based educational approaches to the legacy of the Civil Rights movement by framing their movement to foster “education choice” as the greatest Civil Rights issue of our time [12]. However, substantiation on the claims of academic excellence proffered by charter advocates is mixed [13–15]. Opponents have been quick to point out a number of flaws in the rhetoric including the high degree of segregation within such schools [16]. They see the charter movement as a betrayal of the Brown decision in abdicating, through privatization and private-control of education, an essential function of government to provide education to citizens as a public good [17]. Critics have also been disapproving of the way in which the proliferation of charters has redirected crucial funding away from traditional public schools while, in many cases, reproducing and perpetuating the same racial imbalance Brownsought to correct [11].
According to US Department of Education, charters currently makeup only a small percentage of U.S. schools, approximately 7% [18]. Prior research using national data has found that they are the most segregated of the nation’s schools, especially for Black and Latinx (We use Latinx as an attempt to decolonize the Spanish language and neutralize gender [19]) students [20]. Many of the nation’s charters can even be classified as “apartheid schools”—a term coined by UCLA Professor Gary Orfield for schools with a White student enrollment of 1 percent or less [21].School choice supporters often point out that while neighborhood segregation is out of their control—although in some states charter schools can use neighborhood borders to fix enrollment—the reality is that most charter schools have not prioritized or experienced desegregation as a desired outcome [22].
While geography and residential segregation patterns contribute to the segregation in charter schools, in reality the schools with the most flexibility, hypothetically, to achieve significant diversity, have instead apparently chosen not to address the problem [23,24]. Are charters more segregated than public schools at the local, state and national levels? If so, does local demography explain why charter schools feature more racial isolation than public schools?
We conduct descriptive and inferential analyses of publicly available Common Core of Data (CCD) to examine segregation at the local, state, and national levels. Nationally, we find that higher percentages of charter students of every race attend intensely segregated schools. The highest levels of racial isolation are at the primary level for public and middle level for charters. We find that double segregation by race and class is higher in charter schools. Charters are more likely to be segregated, even when controlling for local ethnoracial demographics. A majority of states have at least half of Blacks and a third of Latinx in intensely segregated charters. At the city level, we find that higher percentages of urban charter students were attending intensely segregated schools.
In summary, what did we find? National, state, and local data indicate that the charter industry has a segregation problem in the US and it is not simply explained away by locality or demography.
Reference: Vasquez Heilig. J., Brewer, J. and Williams, Y. (2019). Choice without inclusion?: Comparing the intensity of racial segregation in charters and public schools at the local, state and national levels. Journal of Education Sciences, 9(3), 1-17.
(See the paper for the numbered citations)
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NEW study released: Are charter schools more intensely segregated? | Cloaking Inequity

‘This is our sad reality:’ Bulletproof backpacks are a big back-to-school item - The Washington Post

‘This is our sad reality:’ Bulletproof backpacks are a big back-to-school item - The Washington Post

‘This is our sad reality:’ Bulletproof backpacks are a big back-to-school item

With school starting soon around the country, new attention is being focused on keeping kids safe after a spate of shootings over the past year.
In 2018, there were 24 school shootings in which there were injuries or deaths. In February of that year, 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., but that was only one of the deadly shootings. Eight students were killed three months later at a school in Santa Fe, Texas.
There have been calls for more armed guards in schools — and armed teachers, as well as pushback to the notion that more guns in schools will keep children safe.
States are taking different approaches. New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, just signed a bill forbidding school districts from allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns.
Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has supported the arming of teachers. Last year, the state legislature passed a law requiring schools to have armed guards, and this year DeSantis signed a law permitting teachers and other adults in school buildings to carry guns.
Concerned that school districts weren’t moving fast enough to implement the laws, DeSantis convened a grand jury to investigate. It just released an interim report saying some of them weren’t, but didn’t name which ones.
Meanwhile, bulletproof or bullet-resistant backpacks seem to be a big hit at stores around the country.
Here’s what’s happening in tweets and links to stories about these issues:

NYC Public School Parents: Peeling lead paint found in 938 classrooms; and lead-laden water in 500 schools

NYC Public School Parents: Peeling lead paint found in 938 classrooms; and lead-laden water in 500 schools

Peeling lead paint found in 938 classrooms; and lead-laden water in 500 schools

The DOE found peeling lead paint at 486 schools built before 1985, including over 938 classrooms serving kids in 3-K, Pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade. More on this at Gothamist [with a WNYC radio sound file],  Chalkbeat and NY Post.

The ramped up inspection is a result of investigative reporting by Christopher Werth of WNYC , who wrote in Gothamist earlier this summer how he had found lead paint in classrooms  here and here; and a letter sent by members of Congress to the DOE as a result of his reporting.
Here is the DOE spreadsheet of the schools inspected and the results.
The DOE says they plan to remediate all these classrooms before Sept., by covering the peeling paint with a “certified primer” and painted over twice.
Yet it doesn’t appear that DOE also checked for lead dust on the floors, which can also be quite toxic, especially for young kids who sit on the rug for “circle time”, as pointed out by Werth in the WNYC interview and earlier Gothamist articles.  And they haven’t checked any classrooms for kids over six, or common areas.
The Chalkbeat article also has a searchable list of the 500 schools that still have water outlets that were found to have lead levels still above the “action level” of 15 parts per billion, though the DOE claims to have “remediated” all but 15 of these outlets once again.

Which brings up the question, if they had remediated them last year, as they claimed, how effective is the process by which they address this?

The DOE should immediately inform parents at all schools with classrooms that tested positive for lead.  The more research is done about lead and its effects, the more scientists realize that even children with tiny amounts of detectable lead in their blood are more likely to have academic and behavior problems.  See my earlier blog post about this, as well as these two scientific studies.
All parents should also probably have their kids tested for lead, especially if their schools are on the list but even if not.  Too often children go without lead testing, as reported CONTINUE READING: NYC Public School Parents: Peeling lead paint found in 938 classrooms; and lead-laden water in 500 schools




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The Gateway Pundit’s White House Correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, was jailed Nov. 28, 2017, for breach of peace and released on $1,000 bail after unsuccessfully giving a speech titled “It’s OK to Be White” at the University of Connecticut. The controversial conservative was arrested after grabbing a woman who stole his notes off the lectern. Another person was arrested for allegedly breaking a win
The Future Of Coastal Preservation Is In The Hands Of High Schoolers

By Michael Stahl In trying to save one of the United States’ most important stretches of land from succumbing to the effects of climate change, southeast Louisiana is calling in the cavalry: 45 prospective ninth-graders. The state’s coastline abutting the Gulf of Mexico is disappearing at an alarming rate. Studies show that about 45 square miles of wetlands are vanishing each year there , due in
Marginalized Students Deserve Better. Here’s How We Give Them Just That.

By Cameron Glover In Los Angeles, there’s a growing desire to reconnect “disconnected” students — those whose life circumstances present barriers to keeping up with the demands of schoolwork — so they can earn their high school diplomas. The challenge is a big one: 111,000 students in the L.A. public school system must navigate the complexities of homelessness, incarceration, and the foster care
5 Lessons From One Of The Music Biz’s Most Successful College Dropouts

Jimmy Iovine is one of the biggest names in the music business. The Brooklyn native went from being a restless teen who dropped out of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at 19 to a powerhouse producer who worked with icons like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and U2 before founding Interscope Records with Ted Field in 1990. Iovine’s improbable rise through the ranks was a result of his supe
An Australian TV Host Almost Loses Her Head After A Science Experiment Goes Wrong

After a terrifying near-miss, a TV audience was reminded that just because an experiment is taking place on-camera doesn’t mean it’s any safer than if it were done elsewhere. When Australia’s “Studio 10” hosted YouTube science personality Jacob Strickling, the guest sent plastic Coke bottles flying by combining their contents with liquid nitrogen. The first two attempts, undertaken solely by Stri
The Department Of Education Is Developing A Mobile App For FAFSA Submissions

As part of an initiative that began in the Obama era, the office of Federal Student Aid is looking to modernize the federal student loan system so it’s easier for students to apply for, and later, pay off their loans. “The goal is a customer service experience that will rival Amazon or Apple’s Genius Bar,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said . The first step in upgrading the entire system is mak

Trump’s Department Of Education Looks To Limit Civil Rights Investigations In The Nation’s Schools

Since becoming the Trump administrations’ Education secretary, Betsy DeVos has been dead-set on repealing Obama-era protections for America’s most vulnerable students. Shortly after taking office, she revoked guidelines that