May 29

John Fensterwald, at TOP-Ed, comments on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science test results for public school 8th graders which were announced earlier this month.  He focuses on how students in California did.  The results are not encouraging as you can ascertain from his title: “More Dismal Science Test Results:”
   In a previous edition, the “Ed News” reported on the possibility that Birmingham Community Charter High School (LAUSD) might lose its charter.  On Wednesday, the school responded to the charges against it in a 215-page action plan addressed to the school board as described in this article from the L.A. Daily News:
   USC’s Annenberg School for Communication publishes a newsletter called “INTERSECTIONS SOUTH LA.”   A report in the May 25th edition looks at how difficult teaching conditions in the area make it hard for students to achieve and the important role teachers can play in these students’ lives:
   The UCLA IDEA Friday “Themes in the News” reviews Mitt Romney’s educational proposals as the candidate described them in two speeches he delivered on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week:
   An Oxnard school district Wednesday voted to ban the use of a derogatory term that some Mexicans call other indigenous Mexicans as explained in this L.A. Times story:,0,3018233.story
   Teachers in Chicago are threatening to take a strike authorization vote as they negotiate a new contract to replace the one that ends on June 30th:  The situation in Oregon is similar.  Several districts have already struck and some others have taken strike authorization votes amid drastic budget cuts and assaults on tenure, working conditions, salaries and benefits:
   A recent edition of the “Ed News” highlighted a report on chronic absenteeism and the lack of statistics to truly analyze the problem.  This item from the SI&A Cabinet Report takes another look at the numbers and what they mean for student achievement and graduation rates:
   Valerie Strauss reprints an article about a coalition of national leaders, called “Defending the Early Years” (DEY), who believe that national education policy has a major impact, often negative, on early childhood education:  Ms. Strauss is at it again as she reports on a group of teachers who met with Mitt Romney at a charter school in Philadelphia last week at which he claimed that class size doesn’t really matter.  She reprints a letter from a public school parent and Executive Director of an organization called “Class Size Matters” responding to Mr. Romney’s, Sec. Duncan’s and Pres. Obama’s positions on class size:
   A lot has been written about value-added models (VAM) as a tool for teacher evaluation.  This piece looks at two prominent misrepresentations that proponents of VAM are pushing.  Note that one of the responses to this article is from, none other than, Diane Ravitch:
   And finally, speaking of Diane Ravitch, here is her latest blog.  This time she’s tackling the topic of how charters take unfair (possibly illegal) advantage of their students and parents to advocate for even more charters:

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