Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

9/11/2014 – Real Leadership For Education Progress

THIS WEEK: U.S. Teachers Work Harder For Less … We’re #1 On Cutting Education Spending … Anti-Testing Movement Grows … Teaching In Ferguson … Government Partnering With College Debt Collectors

TOP STORY

Recognizing Real Leadership For Education Progress: Mayor Bill de Blasio

By Jeff Bryant

“Despite all the interest, access to high-quality early education opportunities for every child … remains elusive … Politicians seem incapable of coming up with the money. Mayor de Blasio is the exception. Not only did he make campaign promises to expand pre-k programs, but he has proven that a capable leader can make those promises reality.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

American Teachers Spend More Time In The Classroom Than World Peers, Says Report

The Huffington Post

“American elementary school teachers spend more hours actually teaching students than peers in any other surveyed country … American middle school and high school teachers spend more time educating students than peers in every OECD country except Chile … In addition to classroom time, U.S. teachers are required to be at school for more hours than most of their international peers. Despite the long hours, American teachers aren’t well compensated … While U.S. raw teacher salaries are high compared with the rest of the world, the pay lags behind that of similarly educated American workers.”
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U.S. Is Often An Outlier In Global Education

AAAS

“The United States cut back on education spending after the Great Recession, whereas the government of the United Kingdom poured more money into its schools. Those two contrasting data points are part of a massive new analysis of the state of education around the world … The U.S. remains the world leader in overall education spending … Even so, spending dropped by 3% in real terms for the 3 years after the global financial meltdown in 2008. Only five other countries chose to go that route … The data on education mobility – whether an adult child completed more education than his or her parents did – are sobering. Along with Germany, the U.S. sits in the bottom tier of countries when it comes to giving the next generation a leg up the skills ladder. Only 30% of U.S. adults no longer in school, and 25% in Germany, have surpassed their parents in the classroom.”
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Anti-Testing Movement Growing, Finding Success Around Country

The Washington Post

“A new report on growing resistance to high-stakes standardized testing around the country finds that the movement is growing and meeting some success in numerous states where officials have decided to cut back on the numbers of tests students must take and/or the consequences for students and educators … A national look at how states are responding to growing resistance … found … States repealing high school graduation requirements and rolling back other test requirements … States postponing the consequences of Common Core testing … Successful, high-profile protests in the form of opt outs, boycotts and other actions … Opinion polls showing shifts in public attitudes against high-stakes testing … Candidates winning office by speaking out clearly against high-stakes testing.”
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Teaching In The Shadow Of The Ferguson Shooting

Education Week

A teacher from Michael Brown’s school district writes, “Even before the shooting and the dramatic aftermath broadcast around the world, our district was accustomed to being and bearing bad news. Normandy is a poor, predominantly African-American community beset by challenges in housing, employment, and access to social, emotional, and physical health care … Now, factor in the shooting … There is the unspoken but ever-present awareness, especially among the boys, that life can end in a flash, even for the kids – like Michael Brown – who manage to navigate the system and graduate. So how do you tell a 14-year-old about the value of staying in school, given what happened here? Believe me, I’m trying. The other day, I watched a group of my students – all boys, unprompted – wordlessly re-enact the shooting from beginning to end, using a fistful of my newly sharpened pencils as the cigarillos Michael allegedly stole before he was gunned down … I’m one adult alone in a room with other people’s children in the heart of a community in pain.”
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The Education Department’s Problematic Billion-Dollar Partnership With Debt Collection Agencies

BuzzFeed

“A new report … claims that the $1 billion per year partnership between the Education Department and private loan collectors leads to abuse and hurts students borrowers because of its ratings system and compensation structure for debt collection … Because those private agencies are driven by profit … they often act in their own financial interests, rather than those of borrowers … Under their partnership, the government pays sizable, percentage-based commissions to debt collection agencies if borrowers pay down their balances or have their wages garnished, but pays out only small administrative fees if borrowers switch to income-based repayment plans or have their loans cancelled because of disabilities … The system also makes it less likely that borrowers receive services like disability or bankruptcy discharges.”
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9/3/2014 – The Education Conversation ‘Reformers’ Want Versus The One They Get

THIS WEEK: Hating Teachers … Grit Not So Good … Music Lessons Help Disadvantaged Kids … Never-Ending Testing … Fox News Lauds Arming Teachers

TOP STORY

The Education Conversation ‘Reformers’ Want Versus The One They Get

By Jeff Bryant

“Recent calls for more “civility” in discussions about education and for taking ‘the politics’ and ‘partisanship’ out of policy debates are suddenly all the rage among the edu-policy crowd gravitating around Washington, D.C. There are reasons why Beltway-inspired education wonks are calling out the tone police – but it’s got very little to do with honesty and ‘facts.’ Instead, read a little more deeply into these calls for taking ‘the politics’ out of the debate, and what you find is itself a rather political agenda.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Why Do Americans Love To Blame Teachers?

The Atlantic

In reviewing Dana Goldstein’s new book The Teacher Wars, Noah Berlatsky writes, “Discussions of education in the U.S. have repeatedly been framed in terms of moral panics. A moral panic, she says, occurs when ‘policymakers and the media focus on a single class of people … as emblems of a large, complex social problem’ … That helps to explain the otherwise mystifying path that current school reform has taken … The dream… seems to be that if only our schools could get rid of the career educators and install angels instead, the millennium would arrive … Our education system has many problems, but one of the biggest is that we define those problems in terms of ‘teacher wars’ – and then try to solve them through a war on teachers.”
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‘Grit’ May Not Spur Creative Success, Scholars Say

Education Week

“Studies … have found that a person’s ‘grit’ – a measure of conscientiousness and perseverance – could predict everything from graduation rates at West Point to National Spelling Bee champions. Those findings have sparked intense interest among educators in nurturing student motivation … Two separate analyses … found that neither grit nor two related characteristics of consistency and perseverance predicted a student’s success in various types of creative endeavors, including visual and performing art, writing, scientific ingenuity, or even creativeness in everyday problem-solving … A student’s openness to new experiences was most closely associated with his or her likelihood of accomplishing creative works.”
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Music Lessons Enhance Brain Function in Disadvantaged Kids

Pacific Standard

“New research finds one important aspect of neural functioning is gradually strengthened when underprivileged children engage in a challenging but fun activity: Music lessons … ‘Community music programs can literally remodel children’s brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills,’ reports lead author Nina Kraus … Researchers found this particular benefit of music education doesn’t kick in until after two full years of training. A few lessons won’t do it … It all adds to the mass of evidence … that music training impacts young brains in ways that go far beyond aesthetic appreciation.”
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In Miami-Dade Schools, Testing Doesn’t End

Miami Herald

In the nation’s 5th largest school district, “Out of the 180-day academic year, Miami-Dade County schools will administer standardized tests on every day but eight. Though not every student will take every test, the number and consequences of testing are facing a growing backlash from parents, teachers and even some district officials … Bound by state and federal rules, Dade officials say they have little control over how many tests they have to give, and when they have to give them … In Florida, standardized test scores can mean the difference between a student’s passing or failing a grade. For teachers, student test results can lead to a raise or a pink slip. Schools can face closure if students consistently under-perform.”
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As Children Go Back To School, Fox News Hosts Push Discredited Plan To Arm Teachers

MediaMatters

“The hosts of Fox & Friends roundly endorsed a Texas school district that allows teachers to carry guns, even though security experts reject the idea of armed teachers and civilians with concealed guns have not stopped past mass shooting incidents … There is no evidence that teachers carrying guns will prevent future school shooting incidents … Mass shootings at schools have even occurred where schools have armed guards … Programs that arm teachers are opposed by the National Education Association … School safety expert Bill Bond, who works for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, has also noted that the responsibility of carrying a gun would distract teachers from their prerogative to educate students.”
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8/28/14 – Charter Schools Don’t Need An Ad Campaign

THIS WEEK: Widening Inequality … Report Urges Fewer Tests … Arne Duncan’s Harmful Policies … High Teacher Turnover … Student Loan Apocalypse

TOP STORY

Charter Schools Don’t Need An Ad Campaign, They Need Regulation

By Jeff Bryant

“This time of year, while classroom teachers and administrators in public schools are busy welcoming students back to a new school year and figuring out how they’re going to cope with devastating financial constraints, advocates in the charter schools industry are propping up their image with an extensive new public relations campaign, called ‘Truth About Charters.’ That contrast alone pretty much tells you everything you need to know about where we are in the nation’s parallel education narratives, in which a gritty documentary competes with what is essentially an advertising campaign for a shiny, new product.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Back To School, And To Widening Inequality

Robert Reich

Economist Robert Reich writes on his personal blog, “The achievement gap between poor kids and wealthy kids isn’t mainly about race … It’s a reflection of the nation’s widening gulf between poor and wealthy families. And also about how schools in poor and rich communities are financed … As we segregate by income into different communities, schools in lower-income areas have fewer resources than ever. The result is widening disparities in funding per pupil … The wealthiest highest-spending districts are now providing about twice as much funding per student as are the lowest-spending districts … The United States is one of only three, out of 34 advanced nations surveyed by the OECD, whose schools serving higher-income children have more funding per pupil and lower student-teacher ratios than do schools serving poor students … Until we recognize we’re systematically hobbling schools serving disadvantaged kids, we’re unlikely to make much headway ”
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Accountability Report Urges Fewer Tests, More Peer Review

Education Week

“Accountability for the public schools should be far less test-driven and more the product of teachers holding one another to high professional standards, the National Center on Education and the Economy proposes in a report … Essentially, the NCEE calls on the U.S. to administer tests only in 4th, 8th, and 10th grades, and to use tests that focus largely on performance tasks. In other grades, tests would be taken by random samples of students. To ensure coverage of the full curriculum, these tests would gradually test science and other subjects in addition to English and math. If the results of these exams suggested that a school was falling behind the state curriculum or not sufficiently educating vulnerable students, they could trigger school inspections … The report also urges states to help set up “career ladders” in which experienced teachers would take on roles mentoring colleagues and refining teaching practices; teachers would be held to high standards by their peers.”
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Is Doing Less Harm Enough For Education Secretary Duncan?

The Washington Post

Barnett Berry, chief executive officer at the Center for Teaching Quality writes, “It has taken [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan far too long to heed educators’ concerns about new evaluation systems reliant on tests not yet aligned with new college- and career-ready standards … So, what next? … The federal government could spread best practices for evaluation found in top-performing nations like Singapore … The U.S. Department of Education could help to ensure that evaluation systems yield useful information by encouraging states to implement serious peer review systems that give teachers information and support … The USDOE should maximize its new Teach to Lead initiative—inviting accomplished teachers to create and lead professional learning systems that spread expertise to improve student outcomes.”
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Half Of Teachers Leave The Job After Five Years. Here’s What To Do About It.

The Hechinger Report

“A new report … found that about 13% of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, costing states up to $2 billion. Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50% quit within five years … The high turnover rates are sometimes due to layoffs, ‘but the primary reason they leave is because they’re dissatisfied’ … New teachers need more on-the-job training and mentor programs for the first two years that’s designed to keep them in the profession. Called ‘comprehensive induction,’ the training should include a high-quality, pre-screened mentor who is an experienced teacher, common planning time with other teachers, regular and rigorous training, and ongoing contact with school leaders.”
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These 9 Charts Show America’s Coming Student Loan Apocalypse

The Huffington Post

“More than half of Direct Loans … aren’t being repaid on time or as expected … Nearly half of the loans in repayment are in plans scheduled to take longer than 10 years. The number of loans in distress is rising. The increase in troubled loans comes as the average amount of student debt has significantly outpaced wage growth … The Education Department released data this month providing a much more detailed snapshot into how borrowers are coping with their federal student loans and how the government’s handpicked loan companies are juggling their obligations to borrowers and taxpayers … With a lackluster economy, tepid wage growth and vast numbers of Americans still looking for full-time work, some federal policymakers fear current borrowers will need more time to repay their loans than previous generations … The larger fear … ‘Will we have a generation of people who hit age 65 or 70 without any assets?’”
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8/20/2014 – Schools White People Cannot See

THIS WEEK: Obama Losing Public Support … Bad News For Common Core … Justice Panels Instead Of Suspensions … NCLB Waivers Lose Favor … What To Teach About Michael Brown

TOP STORY

Back To Schools White People Cannot See

By Jeff Bryant

“The ‘oxymoronic’ term ‘majority-minority’ is another ‘clear indicator’ of how white people continue to perceive themselves as a “majority” even when statistically they no longer are, in many respects. Public education, in particular, is now one of those ‘majority-minority’ arenas … Given this understanding of the way white privilege distorts perceptions of reality, it’s not a leap of logic to suggest that political and policy leaders have a distorted understanding of the conditions in schools populated by children who look nothing like them. And it’s not unfair in the least to wonder if these leaders are incapable of really seeing the schools they purport to render policy direction for.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Obama Losing Public Support On Education Issues, New Poll Finds

The Washington Post

“Results of a well-regarded annual poll: Support for President Obama on education issues is waning – with only 27% giving him an A or B … A majority of the public … have more trust in their local school board than in the federal government … Support for Obama in education has fallen every year since 2011… A majority of Americans cite the biggest problem facing public schools today as lack of financial support.”
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Bad Week For The Common Core

Politico

“Two new national polls … found the public souring on the academic standards … One … found a steep plunge in support for the standards among public school teachers … [Another] … found that 80% of Americans have heard about the Common Core … Familiarity has apparently bred distrust: Fully 60% of respondents said they opposed using the standards to guide instruction in their community … Among those naysayers, more than three-quarters told pollsters their opposition was motivated at least in part by a belief that local teachers don’t support the standards … Though the major unions both back the Common Core, leaders have complained that their members lack the training, resources and support to implement the standards properly.”
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Schools Find Justice Panels More Effective Than Suspending Students

Alternet

“Children’s advocates, teachers and principals have long argued that suspensions are ineffective at improving student behavior … One suspension more often that not leads to many more; students who are suspended are also more likely to drop out of school, break the law and eventually end up in jail. By using justice panels, student mentoring and peer-led conflict resolution, schools … But restorative justice comes with its own difficulties. The student must take responsibility for his or her actions.”
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Sheen Fades as NCLB Waivers Near Three-Year Mark

Education Week

“In 2011, states chafing under the badly outdated No Child Left Behind Act leapt at the Obama administration’s offer of relief … The biggest policy pothole experts identify over and over again: The waivers tied together the controversial Common Core State Standards, new aligned assessments, and teacher performance … The combination has led to political strife in states … Even state officials with a generally positive view of the waivers say the Education Department has at times fallen short of its rhetoric on collaboration … The waivers have been panned by the administration’s own congressional allies … as a retreat from accountability, particularly for the poor and minority students that the NCLB law was designed to protect.”
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What Do We Teach When Kids Are Dying? #MichaelBrown

Practical Theory

Chris Lehmann principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA writes on his personal blog, “When I heard that Mike Brown was shot – unarmed, multiple times – by a police officer, my thoughts immediately went to the many stories I have heard over the years from my students of color about their experiences with the police … Conversations I have heard have spoken to a deep level of distrust and fear between students of color and the police … The reaction of the authorities in Ferguson, MO since Mike Brown was shot … has looked more like a police state than anything I can remember in America in my lifetime. All over the country, students are on social media asking – what kind of country does this to its own citizens? … It is incredibly daunting to think about how we frame this issue in our classrooms, but that cannot be the reason for educators to shy away from it. And, if nothing else, now is a moment where educators need to listen deeply to students who need to express what they are feeling … Mike Brown’s death must serve to remind us that there is no such thing … as passive anti-racism. His death – and the police state that Ferguson, MO has become since his death – must remind us that institutional racism is the norm in this country and therefore we have to actively work to do better.”
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8/15/2014 – Character Change In The ‘Education Reform’ Soap Opera

THIS WEEK: Teachers Not Prepared For Common Core … Test Resistance Grows … Ed-Tech Teaching Machines … Charter School Corruption … College Debt’s Long-Term Damages

TOP STORY

Character Change In The ‘Education Reform’ Soap Opera

By Jeff Bryant

“With the resignation of Michelle Rhee from the organization she founded, StudentsFirst, what we witnessed is an alteration of a script already written by very wealthy people who’ve created an elaborate fiction for how the nation should educate its children.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Despite Training, Half of Teachers Feel Inadequately Prepared for Common Core

Education Week

“Teachers are getting steadily more training in the common core, but they’re not feeling much more prepared to teach it, according to survey results … While far more teachers are attending common-core training, they are giving those sessions low marks for quality … As states edge closer to giving common-core-aligned assessments this spring, it’s notable that the survey found that few teachers were getting training about the tests. Only 23 percent reported that the assessments had been a topic of professional development … Nearly six in 10 said their main curricular materials were not aligned to the new standards.”
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National Resistance To High-Stakes Testing Grows Even Before School Year Begins

Substance News

“Resistance to the regime of high-stakes testing … never stopped organizing after last year’s testing cycle ended … With another group of secret tests being foisted on American public school children this school year … the Resistance continues to have several issues to confront. Following the debacle of the debate against Common Core … even more teachers are becoming aware of the issues … The Opt Out movement and the Resistance to high-stakes testing can presently be seen to be nationwide.”
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Google Classroom And The Teaching Machine

Hack Education

Ed-tech blogger Audrey Waters writes on her personal blog, “Much of the history of education technology from the early 20th century onward is concerned with … long-running efforts to automate assignments and assessment … These are frequently framed as ‘labor-saving’ advancements for teachers, who as psychologist Sidney Pressey wrote in 1926, are ‘woefully burdened by such routine of drill and information-fixing’ … The irony seems to be lost on Pressey, no doubt, that the drudgery of repeated grading and testing was a result of the very practices that he and his fellow psychologists had promoted. The irony is still lost on many folks today … Pressey first demonstrated his teaching machine … to the American Psychological Association in 1924 … We can see in Pressey’s machine one of the early attempts to automate the practice of standardized testing … Looking too at the Google Classroom launch with a grading scale based on 100 points (a grading scale that is not ‘natural,’ that has a history) – that technology does not simply work in the service of supporting educational practices. Technology shapes, limits, steers those practices.”
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How Will Charter Schools Deal With Their Corruption Scandals?

The Washington Post

“Charter schools were originally conceived as centers of experimentation and innovation where educators could try new approaches quickly on a small scale with a minimum of paperwork … That same openness that allows new ideas to flourish may also have left the sector vulnerable to a dangerous level of corruption … Now recent investigations from the Detroit Free Press, South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, and the Florida League of Women Voters have painted a troubling picture of two out-of-control charter school systems … The charter school systems of Florida and Michigan were set up under the explicit assumptions that choice and market forces could allow a massive government funded set of private companies to run with only minimal oversight and regulation … It is time to start questioning the effectiveness of these policies and their cost to both taxpayers and, more importantly, to students.”
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Student Debt May Damage Grads’ Lives More Than We Realize, Gallup Finds

The Huffington Post

“College undergrads who take on a lot of student loan debt are less likely to thrive in several key areas after graduation … Major student debt tends to burden the graduates’ lives well beyond their wallets … Graduates who had taken on debt of more than $50,000 were more likely than their less-burdened counterparts to be struggling or suffering in four areas: purpose, financial, community, and physical … Even after controlling for socioeconomic status (using the common proxy of the mother’s highest level of education), the most indebted graduates still had lower ratings in well-being … Graduates’ well-being may suffer in part, Gallup suggested, because student debt often leads people to defer major life events, like getting married and buying a home.’”
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8/8/14 – Not Good Enough For Education

THIS WEEK: Strengthen Schools Serving Poor Kids … Why To End School Segregation … Do Better On School Discipline … Teacher Tenure Battles Miss Nuance … Which Colleges Do More With Less

TOP STORY

‘Better Than Republicans,’ Not Good Enough For Education

By Jeff Bryant

“Two new interviews with leading voices in the progressive education movement have brought to light how policy compromises forged by centrist Democrats have enabled truly bad consequences for public education. And progressives are increasingly saying ‘enough.’”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

How We Can Strengthen Schools Serving Low-Income Children

Education Week

In an op-ed, two education professors write, “It will be extraordinarily difficult to reverse the growth in inequality in educational outcomes in the United States. Yet, there are educational initiatives, conducted at considerable scale, that have improved results for low-income children … All of these initiatives operate in environments characterized by consistently strong school supports and sensible accountability … Consistent supports and sensible accountability are essential complements because, without supports for improved instruction, accountability can be counterproductive. And, supports alone typically are not enough to improve schooling because even hard-working, well-intentioned educators (like most adults) are slow to embrace change … Only if consistent strong supports are in place can accountability improve the education of low-income children.”
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Another Reason Why Segregated Education Is Bad For Young Students

The Huffington Post

“A new study … found that black students in segregated schools tended to make smaller gains in reading than their black counterparts in more integrated schools. This held true even when researchers accounted for black students’ backgrounds … The years of experience students’ teachers had and the type of literacy curriculum used by the teacher. Even after accounting for these factors, however, black students in segregated schools were still performing worse … The study points to previous research on Latino students, indicating that school poverty might have a greater influence on Latino academic achievement rather than school racial composition.”
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Suspensions, Expulsions, Arrests Don’t Work: On School Discipline, We Can Do Better

Real Clear Education

Psychology professor Daniel Willingham writes, “How teachers and administrators should react to rule infractions – especially more serious ones – is perennial problem … A newly published report … offers the most comprehensive answer I’ve seen … Present practices tend to focus on student removal … But while they are removed, the offenders fall behind in their schoolwork, and removal puts them at greater risk for dropping out or getting in trouble with the law … Present policies are poorly implemented. Students are often suspended for minor infractions … A better way … is the creation of more positive environments in schools and classrooms, and more supportive relationships among students, teachers, and administration … There’s little evidence that current policies are serving students and schools well, and there is reason to think we can do better.”
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In Teacher-Tenure Battles, A War for Public Opinion Can Obscure the Nuances

Education Week

Education journalist Stephen Sawchuk writes, “Teacher tenure may exceed the Common Core State Standards as an education policy lightning rod, even as a possible wedge issue in the midterm and 2016 elections … Advocates like [Campbell] Brown are focusing on broad-brush arguments that tenure rules make it too difficult to get rid of poor teachers. Unions, alternatively, posit that tenure protects teachers from reprisals, and that attacks on tenure are really attacks on organized labor and public education … Tenure laws … are actually complex, obscure, and context-specific. State legal codes on tenure go on for pages and pages … For cases of dismissal for incompetence, the picture is further complicated by disagreements about what constitutes an effective teacher and how to measure one. And, as with all laws, they can be implemented well or poorly … There’s a lot here in the weeds to examine.”
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Study: Minority-Serving Colleges Do More With Less

Education Dive

“Minority students are just as likely to attain their undergraduate degrees at historically black or Hispanic colleges as they are at traditional institutions … The commonly held belief was that minority students automatically would have lower graduation rates in the minority-serving institutions… But the student populations are different at the minority-serving colleges and universities, as judged by their preparation and backgrounds. When researchers did an apples-to-apples comparison of minority students who had similar preparation and backgrounds, they determined that the minority-serving schools ‘are doing more with less’ … ‘Attending a minority-service institution does not appear to have the negative effect so often portrayed in the media,’ [researcher Toby] Park said. ‘Given the fact that [minority serving institution]s are historically underfunded, the fact that the student bodies – when matched with similar students at traditional institutions – graduate at equal rates is astonishing.’”
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7/30/2014 – Truth About The New Orleans School Reform Model

THIS WEEK: Children’s Well-Being Suffers … Teacher Pay Stinks … Moms Winning Common Core War … School Library Cutbacks Hurt … Longer School Days No Solution

TOP STORY

The Truth About The New Orleans School Reform Model

By Jeff Bryant

“Anyone who wants to have a genuinely honest discussion about education policy based on the real facts of the matter … needs to constantly question what policy leaders and their scribes in the press are foisting off as ‘information’ … An especially egregious example of dishonest conversation is the way school administration in New Orleans … is now being marketed to the entire country as a ‘solution’ for public education.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Children’s Well-Being Reflects a Sluggish Economic Recovery

New America Foundation

“The 25th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book … found that on the whole, children today appear better off in terms of education and health than children five or even 25 years ago … but this doesn’t necessarily translate to changes in welfare for America’s most at-risk children … So while children overall may be doing better today than their predecessors, far too many children still aren’t receiving the resources they need … Despite initiatives to expand access to early education … 54% percent (more than half!) of the nation’s 3- and 4-year-olds are still not enrolled in pre-k … 6 of the 8 KIDS COUNT indicators for economic and family well-being have yet to return to pre-recession levels. The official child poverty rate has increased to 23%.”
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Teacher Pay Starts Low, Grows Slowly, Is Generally Awful, Report Says

Education Week

“Teachers not only have bad starting pay in many states, but also that teachers are unlikely to see major salary gains even after several years of teaching … Growth in teacher salaries is especially bad when comparing the U.S. to other developed countries … In only four states – Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York – can teachers max out on the salary schedule above $80,000.”
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Moms Winning The Common Core War

Politico

“In a series of strategy sessions in recent months, top promoters of the Common Core standards have concluded they’re losing the broader public debate – and need to devise better PR … Standards supporters say they’re at a huge disadvantage in the PR fight because anytime a child brings home a confusing worksheet, gets a bad grade or stresses out about a test, parents can — and do — blame it on the Common Core … Analysts say the opposition also has an edge because it’s tapped into a populist anger that animates both left and right. The self-proclaimed ‘mommy platoons’ organized to take down the standards portray them as an inferior product forced on unsuspecting communities by a cabal of big business and big government elites. Every time supporters come out with sophisticated new promotional material, it only feeds their anger at the big money backing … National polling … found voters more skeptical of the Common Core than they were two years ago. A Pew Research Center report last month found solid opposition among all Republicans, not just tea party members, while support from liberals was fairly anemic, at around 55%. And a recent Siena College poll of likely voters in New York state found 49% want to drop the standards and only 39% want to keep them.”
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School Librarian Cutbacks Widen Digital Divide

District Administration

“About one-third of public schools do not have a full-time, state-certified librarian … In states that have already tried Common Core exams, as many as 70% of students failed, raising fears of mass retentions among teachers, parents and children … Though physical book collections are shrinking in many districts, the role of librarians or media specialists is expanding. Along with fostering a love of reading, librarians teach students media literacy, in part how to research, analyze information and evaluate sources to determine what is accurate … School libraries with more staff and larger collections lead to stronger academic performance … Students at schools with better funded media centers tend to achieve higher average reading scores, regardless of family income and parent education level.’”
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Lessons From A School That Scrapped A Longer Student Day And Made Time For Teachers

The Hechinger Report

“Prompted in part by federal incentives to expand learning time for students, districts serving high-poverty populations are leaping into longer school days, without always embracing what research has found: Simply adding time is not enough to raise student performance … A case in New Haven tells a cautionary tale of what can happen when a low-performing school rushes to add time to close that gap. It also reflects the latest focus of the expanded-time movement: making extra time for teachers to learn … Over half a million American students, predominantly in urban areas, now attend public schools with extended learning time, with on average more than 200 extra hours per year.”
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7/24/2014 – Education ‘Reform’ Loses The Netroots

THIS WEEK: Voters Overwhelmingly Want Pre-K Expansion … Teacher Dropout Crisis … Segregation Feeds Tea Party … Jeb Bush Policies Hit Obstacles … Choice Is About Sorting

TOP STORY

Education ‘Reform’ Loses The Netroots

By Jeff Bryant

“At this year’s Netroots Nation conference … those whose white-hot enthusiasm for presidential politics may be dampened by the inevitability of a Hillary Clinton candidacy, there may be no more promising alternative channel than the raging fight for public education.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Poll: 70 Percent Of Voters Support Federal Preschool Expansion

The Washington Post

“Seven in 10 voters, including 6 in 10 Republicans, support a plan for the federal government to expand quality early childhood programs for low- and middle-income families … State governors and mayors from both political parties have made strides in expanding preschool in recent years, but Obama’s proposal to increase federal funding to help states improve access to preschool has stalled in Congress … On a list of national priorities, voters ranked ‘ensuring children get a strong start’ second only to ‘increasing jobs and economic growth’ and above ‘improving the quality of our public schools’ and ‘reducing the tax burden on families’ … Key groups of swing voters also supported the proposal, including 80% of Hispanics, 75% of moderates and 72% of suburban women.”
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The Teacher Dropout Crisis

NPR

“Roughly half a million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year… This kind of turnover comes at a steep cost … up to $2.2 billion a year … at-risk students suffer the most. Nearly 20% of teachers at high-poverty schools leave every year, a rate 50% higher than at more affluent schools. That’s one of every five teachers, gone by next September … Variety of reasons for the turnover, including low salaries and a lack of support … Most likely to quit are also the least experienced: 40 – 50% of new teachers leave within their first five years on the job.”
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Tea Party Support Linked To Educational Segregation, New Study Shows

Notre Dame News

“Statistical analyses show that even after accounting for many other factors, Tea Party organizations were much more likely to form in counties with high levels of residential segregation based on education levels … College graduates were more likely to indicate support for the Tea Party if they resided in a county characterized by high levels of educational segregation … ‘The commonly held view that individuals and families who are struggling to get by are undeserving of government assistance is reinforced when the highly educated have limited contact with those who have been less fortunate.’”
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Jeb Bush’s Reading Rule Loses Ground

Politico

“It was one of Jeb Bush’s signature initiatives as Florida governor: Require third-graders to repeat the year if they flunked a reading test … Now, political pressure to dilute the policies is building … In states that have already tried Common Core exams, as many as 70% of students failed, raising fears of mass retentions among teachers, parents and children … Studies have shown that retention leads to loss of self-esteem, a decreased feeling of belonging at school and negative effects on college attendance. A Harvard University study found that any positive effects of retention fade out over time. Data from Florida show that about a third of students held back for a year in 2003 never became proficient at reading … Oklahoma Education Association President Linda Hampton said … the union opposes the law and argues that retention can prove ‘detrimental to a child’s academic growth … emphasis our state has placed on a single test, on a single day to determine whether or not our 8- and 9-year-olds are prepared for the next grade level is unfair and disappointing … Education professionals, in partnership with parents, are better equipped to assess a child’s ability to read.’”
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The Big Sort: How Chicago’s School Choice System Is Tracking Kids Into Different High Schools Based On Achievement

The Hechinger Report

“Chicago is trying to expand the number of ‘quality school options’ and offer students a choice of where to go to school … An unintended consequence of the choice system: students of different ability levels are being sorted into separate high schools … The findings … raise questions about whether the city’s school choice system is actually creating better schools, or whether it’s simply sorting certain students out and leaving the weakest learners in separate, struggling schools … New York City and New Orleans see a similar dynamic … High-performing students are like gold in a school. Everybody does better around them – including other high-performing students. And it’s not just about test scores. The biggest predictor of whether a school is safe and orderly is students’ academic achievement. Having top performers makes an entire school easier to run.”
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7/17/2014 – Waking Up To Our Broken Education Policies

THIS WEEK: How Tests Screw Poor Kids … Kids Need To Move … NOLA Choice Program Is A Mess … Schools Need Libraries … Most STEM Don’t Get STEM Jobs

TOP STORY

Waking Up To Our Broken Education Policies

By Jeff Bryant

“Those in prominent news outlets tempted to jump into the fray of the nation’s education debate should be aware they are late to the scene and way behind the narrative proceeding recent events … Despite how the particulars of the debate pivot to issues about content standards, to assessment results, to school choice, to teacher tenure, grievances with inadequate and inequitable funding and lack of democratic control are what’s driving the debate – not teachers’ unions, Diane Ravitch, or the inner dynamics of the Democratic Party.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Why Poor Schools Can’t Win At Standardized Testing

The Atlantic

“Standardized tests are not based on general knowledge … They are based on specific knowledge contained in specific sets of books: the textbooks created by the test makers … Corporations write the tests, grade the tests, and publish the books that students use to prepare for the tests … Any teacher who wants his or her students to pass the tests has to give out books from the Big Three publishers … [But] no one is keeping track of what students need and what they actually have. Another problem is that there’s simply too little money in the education budget … Stop giving standardized tests that are inextricably tied to specific sets of books. At the very least, stop using test scores to evaluate teacher performance without providing the items each teacher needs to do his or her job. Most of all, avoid basing an entire education system on materials so costly that big, urban districts can’t afford to buy them. Until these things change, it will be impossible to raise standardized test scores—despite the best efforts of the teachers and students who will return to school this fall and find no new books waiting for them.”
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Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still In School Today

The Washington Post

“Over the past decade, more and more children are being coded as having attention issues and possibly ADHD … The problem … Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem … Having soccer practice once or twice a week is likely not enough movement for the child to develop a strong sensory system … Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs and is not getting enough of … They need hours of play outdoors in order to establish a healthy sensory system and to support higher-level attention and learning in the classroom.”
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Anger, Frustration As Hundreds Of New Orleans Parents Turned Away From Public School Enrollment Center

The Times-Picayune

“New Orleans public school enrollment faltered badly Wednesday when hundreds of parents arrived at the lone resource center to sign up their children – only to be turned away for lack of staff to help them. It was an embarrassing fiasco for an enrollment process that has received national praise and aims to make life easier for families.”
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College, Career And Democracy Ready? Not Without A Trained Librarian

CT News Junkie

Connecticut-based journalist Sarah Darer Littman asks, “Why are we spending so much money on testing while schools that most need functioning libraries don’t have any? … Many previous studies found that ‘regardless of how rich or how poor a community is, students tend to perform better on reading tests where, and when, their library programs are in the hands of endorsed librarians . . . At schools where library programs lose or never had an endorsed librarian, students suffer as a result’ … In the districts that need them most, we are seeing school libraries underfunded or zero funded, and endorsed school librarian hours cut or eliminated.”
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So Much For STEM: Most Science And Math Majors Don’t Work In Those Fields

Vox

“Educators and employers alike will tell you that it’s important to get US students more interested in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and math … [But] people who graduate with STEM degrees by and large don’t work in STEM jobs. Only around 1 in 4 people with what the Census classifies as science and engineering degrees works in a STEM job … To say there is a ‘STEM shortage’ doesn’t really begin to tell you meaningful things about what’s going on in the labor market … Separating jobs out into “STEM” categories may be missing the point.”
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7/9/2014 – Democrats’ Divide On Education

THIS WEEK: Era Of Majority White Students Ends … Little Kids Need Less Structure … Public Support For Education Spending … Secret Of Effective Motivation … College Remediation Rates Distorted

TOP STORY

Democratic Party’s Divide On Education Policy Gets Worse

By Jeff Bryant

“The Democratic Party’s divergence from real progressive values for governing our schools mostly went unnoticed in major media outlets until recently … Now Democratic candidates and their operatives and supporters need to decide which side makes the most sense to ally with.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

School Is Over for the Summer. So Is The Era Of Majority White U.S. Public Schools.

National Journal

“The 2013-14 school year has drawn to a close in most U.S. school districts, and with it the final period in which white students composed a majority of the nation’s K-12 public school population. When schools reopen in August and September, black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students will together make up a narrow majority of the nation’s public school students … As public schools increasingly become institutions serving large numbers of students of color, some states with largely white state legislatures and aging electorates have already proven unwilling to raise taxes or divert needed funds to meet the needs of public schools. School funding and other public resource needs will become increasingly critical as children of color go on to become the majority of the U.S. workforce and total population by 2042.”
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Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children’s Executive Functioning

Education Week

” When children spend more time in structured activities, they get worse at working toward goals, making decisions, and regulating their behavior … Instead, kids might learn more when they have the responsibility to decide for themselves what they’re going to do with their time … When children are in control of how they spend their time, they are able to get more practice working toward goals and figuring out what to do next. For instance, the researchers write, a child with a free afternoon ahead of her might decide to read a book. Once she’s finished, she might decide to draw a picture about the book, and then she’ll decide to show the drawing to her family. This child will learn more than another child who completes the same activities, but is given explicit instructions throughout the process.”
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Gauging Public Support For Education Spending

New America Foundation

“Across all programs, inflation-adjusted federal spending on children declined by 13.6% from 2010 to 2014. Education is down 15.1%, and early childhood spending 6.2% over the same time period … Even though we know that investing in kids markedly improves their long-term life outcomes and saves public money, our representatives in Washington have been steadily cutting back on programs that support children … In sum, the data show that: 1) Americans overwhelmingly want us to do more in early childhood, 2) only a small percentage of Americans want us to spend less on education generally, and 3) we’ve been cutting education spending at the federal level over the last five years … A few things going on here. First of all, consider that education is rarely a determinative political issue at the federal level—and it’s only marginally more so at the state level … Second, education polling sometimes captures a conflicted picture of Americans because of the muddled state of American education politics.”
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The Secret Of Effective Motivation

The New York Times

“Whenever a person performs a task well, there are typically both internal and instrumental consequences. A conscientious student learns (internal) and gets good grades (instrumental) … But just because activities can have both internal and instrumental consequences does not mean that the people who thrive in these activities have both internal and instrumental motives … For students uninterested in learning, financial incentives for good attendance or pizza parties for high performance may prompt them to participate, but it may result in less well-educated students … Rendering an activity more attractive by emphasizing both internal and instrumental motives to engage in it is completely understandable, but it may have the unintended effect of weakening the internal motives so essential to success.”
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How College Remediation Rates Are Distorted – And Why

The Washington Post

Award-winning Long Island, NY high school principal Carol Burris writes, ” College remediation rates are used to justify the need for the Common Core … Facts about college remediation are distorted or framed to cause maximum alarm … One think tank created the 40% remediation rate … The 40% then made its way into another think tank’s report, which was picked up by a nameless author who posted it on the Huffington Post. A few years later, in his zeal for supporting the expansion of charter schools in Boston, Duncan further inflates the rate by telling the people of Massachusetts that 40 percent of their graduates need remediation … Remediation is complicated … It is wrong to inflate remediation numbers and then use them to justify everything from charter schools to the Common Core.”
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