November 27

FINAL EVENT REMINDER:  The second Occidental College/Education Department panel is Thursday at 5;30 p.m.  For more information and to register:
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
    The L.A. Times reports on a new study that finds that LAUSD places its lowest performing math students with teachers who have the least experience:,0,917476.story  The report was produced by the “Strategic Data Project” of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.  You can read their press release (2 pages) here:  The full report (20 pages), with some interesting findings about Teach for America and other district teacher recruitment programs, retention and effectiveness is here:
   Now that Prop. 30 has passed in California what is the financial forecast for state schools into the future?  Ed Source takes a peak beyond this year.  Be sure to check out #8 regarding technology in the classroom:
   The Sacramento Bee begins an occasional series about principals who have made an impact on schools in that city.  The first one highlights a leader who put together a team of teachers to turn around a low performing school in the state’s capital:
   Valerie Strauss reprints a story with one blogger’s look at “The Best–and Worst Education News of 2012:”
   The “Ed News” has referred to the “fiscal cliff” several times recently. This piece from EdSource predicts the impact on education may not be as immediate as first feared:
   EDUCATION WEEK takes ANOTHER look at the efficacy of current standardized tests and finds them to be quite inadequate for measuring student learning.   The article highlights a new study from the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education (check out the names of some of the people that produced the report as mentioned in the article):
   LAUSD is debuting, soon, a new teacher evaluation system which is getting mixed reviews from teachers and administrators according to this front-page story in Sunday’s L.A. Times:,0,3013609,full.story
   Now that Pres. Obama has a second 4-year term, what are the portents for using standardized test scores as part of new teacher evaluations, something the federal government has been pushing as part of its “Race to the Top” program?  SI&A CABINET REPORT takes a peek into the future:
   Were you aware that the law authorizing standardized tests in California expires in 2014?  Several committees and commissions are already looking at what tests should look like after that date particularly in light of the fact that the Common Core Standards are on the way.  As usual, EdSource  takes an in-depth look at the issue:
   State law often requires that low enrollment, public schools share space with charter schools.  What happens when the public one begins to raise test scores and increase enrollment to the point where crowding becomes an issue?  Yesterday’s L.A. Times takes a lot at just such a problem on a LAUSD campus and some of the other issues inherent in sharing space with a charter:,0,3984775.story?track=rss
   The L.A. Daily News reports that LAUSD is making a new push to move English Language Learners (ELLs) more quickly into mainstream classes:
   Yesterday’s L.A. Times has a highly favorable op-ed titled “Head of the Class” regarding the job being done by LAUSD Supt. John Deasy:,0,2342097.column
   The same paper contains a “Perspective” regarding a group of LAUSD parents  at Aldama Elementary who are raising money to help hire a coach to encourage physical activity among its students.  The only problem?  The adults are selling CHEESECAKE to help raise the funds!  You can read all the contradictory details here:,0,2448886.story
   A front-page feature in today’s L.A. Times profiles the recently-named, state-appointed superintendent of the financially troubled Inglewood Unified School District who just so happens to be a former student of the district:,0,7606951,full.story
   A new study from the U.S. Dept. of Education ranks California only 32nd for its high school graduation rate (76%) according to this brief item from the Times:  You can peruse a detailed one-page chart from the report with state-by-state data here:
   And finally, Valerie Strauss reprints a blog from Alfie Kohn regarding a new study looking at the worth of homework in boosting student test scores and grades in math and science.  The report comes to some interesting conclusions as does Mr. Kohn’s take on studies in general:
Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar



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