Latest News and Comment from Education

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Protesters file excessive force claim against Oakland Unified | EdSource

Protesters file excessive force claim against Oakland Unified | EdSource

Protesters file excessive force claim against Oakland Unified
Dispute stems from Oct. 23 meeting when police intervened as parents protesting school closures disrupted the school board's meeting

Nine Oakland Unified parents and staff members have filed a claim against the district alleging “use of excessive force” by police during a school board meeting last month.
According to the claim, district police “used aggressive take-down maneuvers and baton strikes to cause injuries” and other members of the police and security force “failed to intervene in the use of excessive force and false arrests.”
The claim stems from an Oct. 23 school board meeting where police and security guards stood behind temporary metal barricades that were about 3-feet high to keep the public away from the stage where the board sits after two previous meetings had been disrupted. When one protester jumped over the barricade and others pushed some barricades down, police thrust the public back using batons.
Oakland Unified spokesman John Sasaki said Tuesday that the district does not comment on “pending litigation.” However, in an Oct. 24 press conference about the incident, district police chief Jeff Godown said his staff was “using enough force to keep those protesters off that stage.” The district also said it intended to hire an outside investigator to review the police response and would release the police body cam videos after the investigator reviewed themThe district has not released the CONTINUE READING: Protesters file excessive force claim against Oakland Unified | EdSource

Oakland Unified moves forward with school closures despite protests | EdSource - on @edsource

How Sacramento CA should integrate its segregated schools | The Sacramento Bee

How Sacramento CA should integrate its segregated schools | The Sacramento Bee

California’s schools are among the most segregated in U.S. What can be done about it?

Before Brown v. Board of Education, there was Mendez v. Westminster.
In 1943, Orange County’s Westminster School District told Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez their children couldn’t attend their neighborhood school, but had to go further away to a segregated “Mexican school.”
“It was a terrible little shack,” the couple’s daughter Sylvia Mendez said in a 2002 PBS segment.

“A paramount requisite in the American system of public education is social equality. It must be open to all children by unified school association regardless of lineage,” wrote presiding judge Paul J. McCormick.
The 1947 ruling prompted other districts to integrate Latino children, said legal scholar Philippa Strum, who wrote a book on the case. Soon after, state lawmakers repealed a law that allowed segregation of Asian and Native American children.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional in Brown v Board of Education.
Flash forward to the present, and California schools are among the most segregated in the nation, according to a recent report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project research program. They’re more segregated than schools in the deep South, said Gary Orfield, co-director of the program.
Sacramento schools are no exception. Part of the blame lies with open enrollment policies.
In 1993, California passed what the New York Times at the time called “the most sweeping choice plan in the country.” Proponents said it would expand access to high-performing schools, and push other schools to become better.
At Encina Preparatory High School, it has created a student body segregated from the rest of the community.
Encina’s attendance zone contains most of the low-income neighborhoods in San Juan Unified School District, and some wealthier neighborhoods. Yet 96 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch because of their family’s income.
“That suggests an overwhelming majority of wealthy families living in the school’s attendance zone choose to send their kids elsewhere,” reports The Sacramento Bee’s Sawsan Morrar.
Under the district’s open enrollment policy, families in neighborhoods zoned for Title 1 schools, which have higher proportions of poor students, get priority to switch schools. If they do, they must supply their own transportation. Other districts have similar policies.
One can see the intent: Your neighborhood shouldn’t restrict your child’s academic opportunities. In practice, it plays out differently. Wealthier families, able to supply daily transportation to faraway schools, have an advantage over poorer families.
“The result is a campus confronting socioeconomic segregation and, despite what students describe as a nurturing environment and supportive teaching staff, struggling to serve a student body of refugees and children living in poverty,” writes Morrar.
A new SacRT program offering free public transportation to youth for at least the next year eases the transportation burden.
Sacramento area schools are less integrated than their neighborhoods, according to an Urban Institute assessment of Census and national Department of Education Data.
Encina is an example of what that disparity looks like, and it’s not alone. Few families in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood send their kids to their neighborhood school, Bret Harte Elementary, part of Sacramento City Unified School District, according to The Bee.
Segregated schools lose “the ability to teach kids to live and work across those racial and class lines, which they have to do as adults,” Orfield told The Bee.
So, how can Sacramento solve the problem?

Research: Teacher Effects on Student Height: A Cautionary Tale | Diane Ravitch's blog

Research: Teacher Effects on Student Height: A Cautionary Tale | Diane Ravitch's blog

Research: Teacher Effects on Student Height: A Cautionary Tale

A group of scholars collaborated to write a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research that studies how teachers affect student height. It is a wonderful and humorous takedown of the Raj Chetty et al thesis that the effects of a single teacher in the early grades may determine a student’s future lifetime earnings, her likelihood graduating from college, live in higher SES neighborhoods, as well as avoid teen pregnancy.
When the Chetty study was announced in 2011, a front-page article in the New York Times said:
WASHINGTON — Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.
The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, all economists, examines a larger number of students over a longer period of time with more in-depth data than many earlier studies, allowing for a deeper look at how much the quality of individual teachers matters over the long term.
“That test scores help you get more education, and that CONTINUE READING: Research: Teacher Effects on Student Height: A Cautionary Tale | Diane Ravitch's blog

Shawgi Tell: Widespread Poor Performance Persists in Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Widespread Poor Performance Persists in Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Widespread Poor Performance Persists in Charter Schools

After nearly 30 years of hype surrounding charter schools, a large number of charter schools across the country continue to perform poorly. This is especially disturbing given the fact that non-profit and for-profit charter schools routinely cherry-pick their students, have high teacher turnover rates, are run by unelected individuals, oppose unions, over-pay administrators, and siphon enormous sums of money from public schools. Further, while academic failure is one of the main reasons charter schools close regularly, financial malfeasance is the number one reason charter schools close. Fraud and corruption are rampant in the charter school sector.
The latest charter school performance studies from the neoliberal pro-charter school Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University show that poor performance is widespread in all types of charter schools from coast to coast.1
South Carolina
On average, students in South Carolina charter schools experience similar learning gains in reading and weaker growth in math in a year than their TPS peers. The disadvantage in math for charter students is as if the students CONTINUE READING: Widespread Poor Performance Persists in Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Rethinking Thanksgiving, Part 2—Taking Action - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Rethinking Thanksgiving, Part 2—Taking Action - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Rethinking Thanksgiving, Part 2—Taking Action

This post is part of a series exploring ways to decolonize Thanksgiving. Read Part 1 of this series here.

When I learned about the painful history of Thanksgiving I realized I could no longer celebrate it.

After getting more informed about the true history of the holiday, I decided we had to make changes in the ways we celebrate the holidays. I shared what I had learned with my family and asked them what we should do.
I was surprised to learn my kids were mostly invested in the food. Holiday food means a lot to my family as it represents good times with my mother and daughters in the kitchen. Several years ago, when the girls were little, I went through chemotherapy during the holidays. That year, I wasn’t interested in eating or cooking many favorite foods: green beans for my dad, mac and cheese for my gram, and of course lots of pie.
While there were many aspects of the holiday we looked forward to, we didn’t feel good about perpetuating a tradition that erases Native people or their struggle. For these reasons, we decided to shift the focus of our celebration to sharing gratitude for food and family, while at the same time doing what we can to increase visibility for Native justice.
Whether you choose to reclaim, reframe or throwout Thanksgiving altogether… here is a shortlist of actions you can take to repair the harm done by settler-colonialism.

Don’t teach romanticized versions of Thanksgiving.

Give your kids age-appropriate information about the true origin stories of our country.

Tiny tots may not need to know the gory details of colonizer’s early contact with Indigenous folks (and yes, there are lots of gory details). It’s still important not to gloss over important aspects of our history. If you agree it’s bad to fill kids’ heads with “happy slave” narratives, you shouldn’t be teaching them Indigenous folks were yucking it up over pumpkin pie with their best buds the pilgrims. This piece titled, Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving” is a great place to start.

Push back on stereotypes and misinformation at your child’s school. CONTINUE READING: Rethinking Thanksgiving, Part 2—Taking Action - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

How Micromanaging Administrators Destroy Collective Teacher Efficacy - Teacher Habits

How Micromanaging Administrators Destroy Collective Teacher Efficacy - Teacher Habits

How Micromanaging Administrators Destroy Collective Teacher Efficacy

If you’ve been teaching for any length of time, you’ve likely run across the term collective efficacy. You can blame an Australian researcher named John Hattie for this. Administrators love John Hattie because he attempts to simplify something that is extraordinarily complicated. Essentially, Hattie looks at a bunch of studies that other people have done in schools, plugs the results of those studies into some sort of gizmo, and out pops an effect size. If the factor has an effect size larger than .40, then that’s better than the growth you would expect to see from students who are doing something more than merely getting older.
There are lists of Hattie’s effect sizes everywhere and school administrators display them like I used to pin up posters of Nikki Taylor and Elle McPherson. If you’re a teacher, you’ve undoubtedly seen these lists or at least heard administrators referencing them. And what is at the top of Mr. Hattie’s magical list of factors?
COLLECTIVE TEACHER EFFICACY. defines it as the collective belief of teachers in CONTINUE READING: How Micromanaging Administrators Destroy Collective Teacher Efficacy - Teacher Habits

National Opportunity to Learn Campaign Education Reform for Equity and Opportunity - Schott Foundation for Public Education

Schott Foundation for Public Education

National Opportunity to Learn Campaign 
Education Reform for Equity and Opportunity

Worcester Interfaith
has accomplished much in the areas of education & economic development. We work tirelessly to ensure that public resources benefit those who need them most & work on a local & state-wide basis to leverage support for positive social change. Our vision is to become an organization that is authentically faith-rooted & faith-driven, multi-racial & racially-just & serious about building grassroots p
Transformative Culture Project
's mission is to increase access to opportunities, education and employment in the creative fields for urban youth, artists of color and entrepreneurs from underserved but culturally rich neighborhoods. TCP accelerates social and economic transformation by developing a pipeline of cultural equity from classrooms into the creative economy.
Southern California Library for Social Studies & Research
The Southern California Library documents and makes accessible histories of struggles that challenge racism and other systems of oppression so we can all imagine and sustain possibilities for freedom. Region: West
"We are a team of organizers, strategists, and technologists dedicated to building transformative political power. We do this by partnering with individuals, organizations, and coalitions across the country to uncover leaders within communities and create radical change." Region: National
Racial Justice NOW!
Our primary focus is on the institution of education and lifting up the voices of dis-empowered Black parents and children. We are dedicated to stopping the school to prison pipeline and focus specifically on holding institutions accountable to equitable distribution of resources and services to Black people in Dayton and around the State of Ohio.
Philanthropy Massachusetts
promotes the practice and expansion of effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of its region. Region: Northeast
National Public Education Support Fund (NPESF)
Our mission simply stated is to promote the opportunity for all children to receive an excellent education from birth through college and career. NPESF is a national hub for convening and connecting influential leaders in education philanthropy, advocacy, research, policy, and practice. Region: National
Leap Year, Inc.
Our mission is to prepare young, talented students to reach their academic and leadership potential by attending college and breaking the cycle of poverty. Region: National
GSA Network
is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities. Region: National
Grassroots Arkansas
To bring an end to social, economic, political injustice and inequality by transforming the power relations and structures that create and hold them in place. We place education at the democratic center of this struggle that reaches every aspect of our lives. Region: South
Friends of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
is a fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, a 501(c)(3) public charity, designed to strengthen the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), an independent, nonpartisan executive branch agency. Friends of USCCR conducts strategic communications efforts & community outreach, & sponsors events, to amplify the non-partisan voice of USCCR, increase public engagement with its work, & support
Communities for Just Schools Fund
The (CJSF) is a national donor collaborative that supports constituency-led organizing efforts to create positive and supportive school climates, which affirm and foster the success of all students. Building upon the groundbreaking initiatives of the Just and Fair Schools Fund, the Communities for Just Schools Fund is relaunching that body of work and expanding its efforts to support locally-bas
Campaign for Black Male Achievement
The (CBMA) is a national membership network that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability, and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys. CBMA is a growing member network that currently includes more than 4,703 leaders representing nearly 2,555 organizations and programs across the country. Region: N
Breaking Our Chains Region: West
Beyond the Bricks Project
The mission of is to produce media based work that engages local communities around issues that impact equity in education for all students. Region: National
Allied Media Projects
cultivates media strategies for a more just, creative, and collaborative world. Region: National
Schott Foundation for Public Education