11/19/2015 – What Education Policy Makers Can Learn From A ‘Failing School’

THIS WEEK: Clinton Splits With Obama … Test-Based Teacher Evaluations … Kids With Guns In Schools … Effective Anti-Bullying … How To Beat Big Money


What Education Policy Makers Can Learn From A ‘Failing School’

By Jeff Bryant

“‘How can someone make a decision about a school they’ve never even walked into?’ That question is at the heart of Kristina Rizga’s terrific new book Mission High … Rizga uses her considerable journalistic skills … to involve readers in the lives of students and educators at Mission High, a San Francisco public school with a proud history but a ‘failing school’ label … Rizga came to see a very different story about the school – one of committed educators and persevering learners doing all they can to succeed despite the judgments and prescriptions of policy makers.”
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Clinton Says ‘No Evidence’ That Teachers Can Be Judged By Student Test Scores

The Washington Post

“Hillary Rodham Clinton said she is opposed to using student test scores as a way to judge a teacher’s performance, dismissing a key feature of education policies promoted by the Obama administration … According to the transcript, Clinton responded … ‘I have for a very long time also been against the idea that you tie teacher evaluation and even teacher pay to test outcomes,’ she said. ‘There’s no evidence’ … In the last few years, nearly every state has implemented systems to evaluate teachers based in part on student test scores, largely because the Obama administration made it a condition for states to receive either a grant under Race to the Top or a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.”
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Research Group Latest To Caution Use Of ‘Value Added’ For Teachers

Education Week

“The membership group representing education researchers has released a statement warning of the ‘potentially serious negative consequences’ of using ‘value added’ models to judge individual teachers or teacher-preparation programs … Such models, which are based on growth in students’ test scores over time, potentially misidentify teachers and programs … Many states use some form of student-growth data in their teacher-evaluation systems; others use it, in the aggregate, as a component in reviewing teacher-preparation programs.”
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Kids Are Bringing Guns To School On An Almost Daily Basis This Academic Year

The Trace

“Since the start of the school year … students from kindergarten through high school have been caught bringing guns onto campus at least 77 times … Excluding weekends, that works out to once every 29 hours … The five Gulf Coast states … account for nearly a quarter of reported incidents …. where gun ownership is surging, even as the share of Americans who live in a household with at least one gun (32%) …. is lower than it’s ever been … Some states have laws designed to hold adults accountable when a child brings a gun to school, but they are rarely enforced … Often times, it is the child who is led away in handcuffs.”
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What’s The Recipe For An Effective Anti-Bullying Policy?

The Atlantic

“Anti-bullying efforts, including laws many states have passed in the past five years, appear to be helping the 20 percent of kids in the U.S. who say they’ve been bullied in the past 12 months… Those who attended schools in states with anti-bullying legislation that included …. recommended key components were 24% less likely to report that they’d been bullied in the last year, and 20% less likely to say they’d been cyberbullied … Understanding which programs work and why is more complex …. Despite the imperfections of many anti-bullying laws and programs, most agree that we need them.”
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How Denver Parents Beat Back Big Money, Charter Schools, Right-Wing Lies


Jeff Bryant writes, “A school board race in Jefferson County, Colorado, just outside Denver … is an important story of how communities fighting to control their education destinies can win against big-moneyed interests and a charter school industry that want to dictate what schooling is like across the country … This outstanding school district – where real innovation is taking place in the public schools – is under assault by right-wing groups, some with connections to evangelical Christianity, and a powerful charter school industry … The Jeffco school board win is reflective of other education-relevant races around the country, growing evidence of an Education Spring, where progressives scored equally notable victories.”
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