Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Russ on Reading: Why Johnny Can't Read? Part 6: Quality of Instruction

Russ on Reading: Why Johnny Can't Read? Part 6: Quality of Instruction

Why Johnny Can't Read? Part 6: Quality of Instruction

In order to be highly successful literacy instruction must be informed, balanced, and responsive. To the extent that literacy instruction fails to meet these three components it surely contributes to why Johnny can't read. The other causes outlined in this series, income inequity, racism and segregation, brain-based learning difficulties, and limited resources, all play a part and all contribute to children not learning to read, but they do not excuse in any way the failure to provide the quality instruction that every child deserves. It is our responsibility as teachers, administrators, teacher educators, parents, and community members to insure that the very best quality instruction is available to all students, and for those most vulnerable readers, that the best of the best is available.

Informed Instruction

Pre-service teachers simply do not get enough instruction in how to teach reading. Often formal reading instruction is limited to two courses or about 6 credits. Learning to read is a complex activity. Teaching a child to read is even more complex. At a minimum pre-service teachers should have 9 credits hours in literacy theory, research' and practice. followed by a 4 credit hour clinical practice course that includes the opportunity to work with individual students in reading under the watchful eye of college professors and reading specialists.

In addition pre-service teachers should be observing in regular classroom settings during the sophomore year, assisting a classroom teacher in the junior year, and completing a full semester of practice teaching under the mentorship of a skilled, experienced classroom teacher in the senior year. Ideally, all elementary teachers would be enrolled in a five-year program leading to a Masters degree in elementary education with concentrations in literacy and mathematics instruction.

Upon graduation first-year teachers should be teamed with a skilled, veteran teacher as a co-teacher, honing instructional and classroom management CONTINUE READING: 
Russ on Reading: Why Johnny Can't Read? Part 6: Quality of Instruction

The Citation/Plagiarism Trap – radical eyes for equity

The Citation/Plagiarism Trap – radical eyes for equity

The Citation/Plagiarism Trap

An adult more than a decade out of college and working as a staff member in a local public school contacted me about a discouraging experience in an on-line course for a graduate degree.
This person’s story is one I have encountered quite often over almost four decades of teaching at both the high schools and college levels.
This person received a zero on an assignment, identified as plagiarism by the professor. The problem here is that this student was cited for plagiarism on the assignment, yet the citation strategy flagged is identical to a previous assignment that the same professor gave a 95.
MacBook Pro near white open book
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash
As background, this 30-something student has been required in the first classes of their program to cite using APA, but has received no instruction in that citation format (which they had never used as an undergraduate). During the earlier course, I shared with this person some of the materials I provide students when I require and also give direct instruction and support in proper APA format in my courses.
Throughout the first course and including the first assignment in this second course, the student’s citations have not been flagged as incorrect or as plagiarism.
However, the student described for me the section flagged as plagiarism in the more recent assignment: They copied and pasted from the original source, CONTINUE READING: The Citation/Plagiarism Trap – radical eyes for equity

COVID-19 Exposes America's Broken Social Safety Net | Schott Foundation for Public Education

COVID-19 Exposes America's Broken Social Safety Net | Schott Foundation for Public Education

COVID-19 Exposes America's Broken Social Safety Net

As the saying goes, when the average American coughs, a person of color catches the flu. While COVID-19 is far more serious than the flu, its intensity — as measured by loss of life, lost wages, and learning gaps — has been devastating to people of color. Across the nation, we are now forced to reckon with just how inequitable and inadequate our social safety net actually is. Now, more than ever, we are seeing the critical role our public institutions play in anchoring our society in a storm. And we cannot help but see the deep inequities that people of color face in weathering that storm.
We have the money to ensure that every family has affordable and stable housing and to provide every resident access to healthcare and broadband internet. And most importantly, we have the money to ensure that every resident feels loved and supported by their government. Sadly, our elected leaders don’t seem to care.All of the issues that have been swept under the rug for decades are now laid bare for us to see: No paid sick leave. Broken healthcare systems. Lack of affordable housing. Families who were living paycheck to paycheck that are now unemployed. Inequitable funding for our public schools, worsened by closures and students without access to food or the internet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the wide opportunity gaps for low-income families and communities of color. The truth is — the wealthy will be taken care of. They will work from home and be able to maintain their social distance, and their 401ks and stock portfolios will bounce back. Meanwhile, low-income students and their families will pay the price — yet again.
Two years ago, the Schott Foundation released the Loving Cities Index to sound the alarm. We understood that persistent inequities were undermining our communities’ ability to care for the most vulnerable — long before COVID-19 thrust them into the spotlight. With the Loving Cities Index, we sought to provide a new framework to help cities assess their ability to provide essential supports for students and their families. A “Loving City” prioritizes legislation and funding of supports that CONTINUE READING: COVID-19 Exposes America's Broken Social Safety Net | Schott Foundation for Public Education
COVID-19 exposes America's broken social safety net | TheHill

Andre Perry: The educational value of having a black teacher in a classroom

The educational value of having a black teacher in a classroom

The educational value of a black teacher
Coronavirus is offering a chance to ‘reimagine’ education, but if the new landscape doesn’t include efforts to recruit and retain more black teachers, reform will be a farce

Adapted and reprinted from Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities by Andre Perry, with permission from Brookings Institution Press, © 2020 by Brookings Institution.
If, after a natural disaster decimated a city, I proposed to a governor or a school board that they replace a significant portion of a majority- white teaching corps with black teachers because doing so would potentially confer educational and social benefits, I’d probably be denounced as a racist and publicly excoriated.
But the reverse is exactly what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and it’s what could happen again across the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic if we’re not paying close attention. Thousands of black teachers were laid off after the hurricane and replaced by white ones. When schools come back after the coronavirus, black teachers are once again more likely to be lost to the budget cuts and health problems following in its wake.
If this is our chance to reimagine schools, remembering this history and prioritizing the protection of the black teaching force will be essential to create better places for black students to learn.
A cursory reading of the literature on black teachers should have given politicians and reformers pause before forcing their mass exit, and should do so again, but alas, even the research has apparently been devalued. For years, researchers such as Gloria Ladson-Billings, Pedro Noguera, Lisa Delpit, Adrienne Dixson, Christopher Emdin, and James A. Banks — all people of color — validated the need for black teachers in New Orleans schools through their studies on teachers of color. Their scholarship serves as the foundation for inquiries like one by Stanford University researcher Thomas Dee who, the year before Katrina, found that black students of both sexes who had a black teacher scored 3 to 6 percentile points higher on standardized tests in reading than those who did not. Dee found a similar increase in the math scores of black students taught by a black teacher.
In a 2017 study published by the Institute of Labor Economics, researchers found that low- income black male elementary school students who were paired with a black teacher in the third, fourth, or fifth grades were 39 percent less likely to drop out of high school. The researchers also found that matching low-income black students of both sexes with at least one black teacher between the third and fifth grades increased their aspirations to attend a four- year college by 19 percent.There’s something about living in brown skin that gives you a different set of expectations for your black students than those of your white peers.
CONTINUE READING: The educational value of having a black teacher in a classroom

Who knows how to teach remotely? | JD2718

Who knows how to teach remotely? | JD2718

Who knows how to teach remotely?

For the past nine weeks 70,000 New York City teachers have been teaching remotely. So have, I don’t know, three million more? across the US. But I know more about New York City.
So who doesn’t know how to teach remotely? Pretty much anyone who has not tried it. Mayors and Governors and Presidents, Members of Congress, State Legislators, Senators… None of them really have a clue – which, by the way, our governor has demonstrated quite adequately.
Who else doesn’t know how to teach remotely?  I’d say pretty much every school system administrator, including the vast majority of principals and assistant principals. And also 100% of central administrators, at least here in New York City. They’ve thrown all the planning on us, and then while we are figuring things out throw us curves. Not only do they lack knowledge that would be useful to us in figuring out remote teaching, they lack empathy.
And then there’s us. Teachers. Trying to teach remotely. There are teachers out there who were already doing “flipped classrooms” or lots of video lessons. They had an easier adjustment. But even they could not anticipate the variety of problems students would have with the technology at home – without the “safety net” of in-class discussions. Some teachers were already familiar with Zoom or Google Meet Ups, which was an advantage. But most of us were new.
In the “planning week” (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, after schools shut for students) we came up with something. Actually, a lot of somethings. It seems like there were hundreds of approaches, maybe thousands of variations.

An Open Letter to Joe Biden | Diane Ravitch's blog

An Open Letter to Joe Biden | Diane Ravitch's blog

An Open Letter to Joe Biden

More than 200 advocates of public education endorsed this open letter to Joe Biden, which was published on Valerie Strauss’s blog “The Answer Sheet” at the Washington Post.
They call on presumptive Democratic nominee Biden to reject the stale and failed policies of the past 20 years.
Their letter (our letter, since I signed it) begins with this preamble and then offers a list of specific proposals that together represent a fresh vision for American education:
Dear Vice President Biden:

As the Democratic Party presumptive nominee, you have the power to fight for the public schools and colleges and universities that our students deserve. We are concerned educators, public education advocates, union members, parents, and students, writing to request that you demonstrate your commitment to that agenda.

Over the past decade, politicians on both sides of the aisle have made devastating cuts to public education, while privatizing public schools, scapegoating educators, and providing massive tax breaks to corporations and the CONTINUE READING: An Open Letter to Joe Biden | Diane Ravitch's blog

Teacher Tom: The Children are Not Fine: None of Us are Fine

Teacher Tom: The Children are Not Fine: None of Us are Fine

The Children are Not Fine: None of Us are Fine

We've all seen recordings of children playing in refugee camps and in war zones. In Peter Gray's book Free to Learn, he tells about the games Jewish children played even in concentration camps. They were games of survival, for the most part, like challenging one another to touch an electrified fence, but they were games and it was play. Children play with or without toys. They play with or without freedom. They play alone and together. They play when afraid. They play when they're sad. They play when they're confused.

We point to the irrepressibility of childhood play as evidence of the resilience of children, and they certainly are resilient, but we make a mistake when we point to their play as evidence that the are "fine."

Children don't play because they are fine: they play because play is how children instinctively process the world around them. I watched children who could only have been frightened and confused (because we were all frightened and confused) fly their toy airplanes into block towers over and over in the weeks after 9/11. My daughter was part of a classroom of three-year-olds who spent days playing "earthquake," yelling and ducking under tables as they had been compelled to do during a real one. Play is not evidence of joy and happiness. Play is not evidence of being fine. Their play, even under the best of circumstances, is how children CONTINUE READING: 
Teacher Tom: The Children are Not Fine: None of Us are Fine

The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning | EDUCAUSE

The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning | EDUCAUSE

The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning

Well-planned online learning experiences are meaningfully different from courses offered online in response to a crisis or disaster. Colleges and universities working to maintain instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic should understand those differences when evaluating this emergency remote teaching.

Due to the threat of COVID-19, colleges and universities are facing decisions about how to continue teaching and learning while keeping their faculty, staff, and students safe from a public health emergency that is moving fast and not well understood. Many institutions have opted to cancel all face-to-face classes, including labs and other learning experiences, and have mandated that faculty move their courses online to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The list of institutions of higher education making this decision has been growing each day. Institutions of all sizes and types—state colleges and universities, Ivy League institutions, community colleges, and others—are moving their classes online.1 Bryan Alexander has curated the status of hundreds of institutions.2
Moving instruction online can enable the flexibility of teaching and learning anywhere, anytime, but the speed with which this move to online instruction is expected to happen is unprecedented and staggering. Although campus support personnel and teams are usually available to help faculty members learn about and implement online learning, these teams typically support a small pool of faculty interested in teaching online. In the present situation, these individuals and teams will not be able to offer the same level of support to all faculty in such a narrow preparation window. Faculty might feel like instructional MacGyvers, having to improvise quick solutions in less-than-ideal circumstances. No matter how clever a solution might be—and some very clever solutions are emerging—many instructors will understandably find this process stressful.

The temptation to compare online learning to face-to-face instruction in these circumstances will be great. In fact, an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education has already called for a "grand experiment" doing exactly that.3 This is a highly problematic suggestion, however. First and foremost, the politics of any such debate must be acknowledged. "Online learning" will become a politicized term that can take on any number of meanings depending on the argument someone wants to advance. In talking about lessons learned when institutions moved classes online during a shutdown in South Africa, Laura Czerniewicz starts with this very lesson and what happened around the construct of "blended learning" at the time.4 The idea of blended learning was drawn into political agendas without paying sufficient attention to the fact that institutions would make different decisions and invest differently, resulting in widely varying solutions and results from one institution to another. With some of that hindsight as wisdom, we seek to advance some careful distinctions that we hope can inform the evaluations and reflections that will surely result from this mass move by colleges and universities.
Online learning carries a stigma of being lower quality than face-to-face learning, despite research showing otherwise. These hurried moves online by so many institutions at once could seal the perception of online learning as a weak option, when in truth nobody CONTINUE READING: The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning | EDUCAUSE

Audio: The Pandemic Is Driving America's Schools Toward A Financial Meltdown | 89.3 KPCC

Audio: The Pandemic Is Driving America's Schools Toward A Financial Meltdown | 89.3 KPCC

The Pandemic Is Driving America's Schools Toward A Financial Meltdown

Austin Beutner looked haggard, his face a curtain of worry lines. The superintendent of the second-largest school district in the nation sat at a desk last week delivering a video address to Los Angeles families. But he began with a stark message clearly meant for another audience:
Lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
"Cuts to funding at schools will forever impact the lives of children," Beutner said less than a week after California's governor called for emergency cuts in education spending. The harm children face from these cuts, Beutner warned, "is just as real a threat to them as is the coronavirus."
Similar alarms are sounding in districts across the country. With the nation's attention still fixed on the COVID-19 health crisis, school leaders are warning of a financial meltdown that could devastate many districts and set back an entire generation of students.
"I think we're about to see a school funding crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern history," warns Rebecca Sibilia, the CEO of EdBuild, a school finance advocacy organization. "We are looking at devastation that we could not have imagined ... a year ago."
"Really shocking declines"
Schools receive nearly half of their funding from state coffers. But with businesses shuttered in response to the pandemic, and the unemployment rate already nearing CONTINUE READING: Audio: The Pandemic Is Driving America's Schools Toward A Financial Meltdown | 89.3 KPCC

Getting a conversation going about September | JD2718

Getting a conversation going about September | JD2718

Getting a conversation going about September

What will September look like? What needs to happen for us to be safe enough to go into school? If we are remote, based on our experience so far, what would you do the same? What would you change up? Does a hybrid model make sense? Testing? Live lessons?
We had a chapter meeting coming up. And so, in preparation, I sent out a survey. It was explicitly NOT to tabulate, but to stimulate thought processes: “This is a “thought survey” – questions are to think about and to discuss.” This was not a vote. We were not in a position to set even school policy, let alone DoE policy. But it was good to bat around possibilities, concerns, insights.
The chapter meeting discussion, scheduled for half an hour, ran a full hour. And some people submitted their responses. I had not expected that. That was not my plan. Others asked if we could share the results with each other.  So I rewrote the survey to incorporate points people made in the discussion, and redistributed it. (I will tabulate results, but, internally, for my chapter only.)
The survey was a good way to get discussion going. So I’m sharing the original, and the updated versions (if you would like a word document version, let me know): CONTINUE READING: Getting a conversation going about September | JD2718

CURMUDGUCATION: Separating Home And School For Teachers

CURMUDGUCATION: Separating Home And School For Teachers
Separating Home And School For Teachers

Watching my wife deal with the challenges of doing crisis pandemic distance learning, I've been having flashbacks to my first job.

I taught in Lorain High School (not the current LHS but the one that stood where there is now a vacant lot), and I rented an apartment right across the street from the school. When I found the place, I was delighted-- the ultimate in convenience. I wouldn't even have to start my car, let alone navigate a strange city. Heck, it was even across the street from the same side of the building in which I worked.

My old neighborhood
At the end of the day, I'd stay at my desk in my room and keep working till I hit a stopping point. Then I'd throw a pile of papers in my briefcase, walk down the hall, out the door, across the street, up the stairs, and into my apartment, where I would grab something to eat, then open the briefcase and spread the papers out on my coffee table, sit on the couch with my grading and my supper, and go back to work. Maybe I'd turn on the TV (a portable twelve-inch black and white) or maybe I'd just play music. At some point I'd get up, walk six feet to my bedroom and go to bed. Fridays were extra luxurious because I could just leave everything out on the table so that it would be all ready to go on Saturday morning.

At some point it occurred to me that work had eaten my home, that I in fact didn't really have a home so much as a more comfortable supplemental work location. And partway into the year, I felt CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Separating Home And School For Teachers

NYC Educator: How Does It Feel to Be One of the Beautiful Tweedies?

NYC Educator: How Does It Feel to Be One of the Beautiful Tweedies?

How Does It Feel to Be One of the Beautiful Tweedies?

Chancellor Carranza says the budget it cut "to the bone." There's absolutely nothing left at Tweed to be cut. Otherwise, why would they be cutting so much from the classroom?

The city has proposed $827 million in DOE cuts, including slashing school budgets by $285 million. This would reduce arts programs, counselors and social workers in needy districts, and college-prep for high schoolers. The DOE would also put off new classes for 3-year-olds, installation of air conditioners, and rat extermination.

So what is so absolutely vital that our kids need to sit in sweltering, rat-infested classrooms, likely as not during a pandemic?

For those who work in Tweed, there are spiritual considerations. After all, when you're making 200K a year after the budget being cut to the bone, you have other things to think about besides salary. That's why they hired a guru for DOE employees with troubled souls. After all, when DOE employees with big questions need to explore their inner selves, we can't expect them to do so on their own time. After all, the sort of high quality service we've come to expect from them doesn't come easily.

It's not just anyone you can send your college transcripts to who will ask you to send them again because their on the fourth, rather than the sixteenth floor. It's not just anyone who will absolutely lose every single paper you hand deliver unless you get a written receipt. It's not just anyone who will invariably rule against the UFT when black letter contract regulations are violated. Not just any organization could say untimely letters are CONTINUE READING: 
NYC Educator: How Does It Feel to Be One of the Beautiful Tweedies?

SPECIAL CORONAVIRUS UPDATE Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... The latest news and resources in education since 2007

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... | The latest news and resources in education since 2007

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... 
The latest news and resources in education since 2007

New NPR Video: “Tracing The Origins Of The Coronavirus”
Depressing Statistic Of The Day: Schools Headed Towards “Financial Meltdown”
Though it’s no surprise, NPR’s story The Pandemic Is Driving America’s Schools Toward A Financial Meltdown was not a great way to start the day. It follows up last week’s news in California about the possibility of teacher layoffs here: California districts could pursue teacher layoffs if new state budget cuts K-12 funding . Not a pretty picture….
“Ways to Make Lessons ‘Relevant’ to Students’ Lives”
Ways to Make Lessons ‘Relevant’ to Students’ Lives is the headline of my latest Education Week Teacher column. Six educators share strategies for making lessons directly relevant to students’ lives, including by building relationships, celebrating cultures, and applying a concept called “Hooks and Bridges.” Here are some excerpts:


Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL
BiljaST / Pixabay Six years ago I began this regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention. You might also be interested in THE BEST RESOURCES, ARTICLES & BLOG POSTS FOR TEACHERS OF ELLS IN 2019 – PART ONE and THE BEST RESOURCES, ARTICLES & BLOG POSTS FOR TEACHERS OF ELLS IN 2019 – PART TWO. A
Just Sent-Out Free Monthly Email Newsletter
geralt / Pixabay I’ve just mailed out the June issue of my very simple free monthly email newsletter . It has over 3,000 subscribers, and you can subscribe here . Of course, you can also join the eighteen thousand others who subscribe to this blog daily. Here Are 8 Ways You Can Subscribe For Free…
Ed Tech Digest
Eight years ago, in another somewhat futile attempt to reduce the backlog of resources I want to share, I began this occasional “” post where I share three or four links I think are particularly useful and related to…ed tech, including some Web 2.0 apps. You might also be interested in THE BEST ED TECH RESOURCES OF 2019 – PART TWO , as well as checking out all my edtech resources . Here are this
May’s “Best” Lists – There Are Now 2,153 Of Them!
May’s Most Popular Posts From This Blog
As regular readers know, at the end of each week I share the five most popular posts from the previous seven days. I thought people might find it interesting to see a list of the ten most popular posts from the previous thirty days. You might also be interested in It’s The Thirteenth Anniversary Of This Blog – Here Are The Forty All-Time Most Popular Posts. Not to mention THE MOST POPULAR POSTS F
This Week’s Resources To Support Teachers Coping With School Closures
Wokandapix / Pixabay I have a number of regular weekly features (see HERE IS A LIST (WITH LINKS) OF ALL MY REGULAR WEEKLY FEATURES ). This is a relatively new addition to that list. Some of these resources will be added to The Best Advice On Teaching K-12 Online (If We Have To Because Of The Coronavirus) – Please Make More Suggestions ! and the best will go to The “Best Of The Best” Resources To
Three Resources About Our World’s Different Cultures
Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay I’m adding these resources to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures : What grocery hauls look like around the world right now is from The Washington Post. Pick a Card 
Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... | The latest news and resources in education since 2007