December 14

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” ― Robert Frost
   Monday’s “SO CAL CONNECTED” program on KCET had an interesting segment (8:14 minutes) on Garfield High School (LAUSD) and its highly successful “no suspensions” policy:  http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/content/education/no-more-suspensions-at-school-famous-for-stand-and-deliver.html
  There are many successful strategies for turning around low-performing schools on standardized tests besides firing all the teachers.  The “Ed News” has presented several of them.  The Boston Public Schools have found another one as highlighted in this piece from “HechingerEd,” a blog published by the  The HECHINGER REPORT:  http://hechingered.org/content/giving-teachers-more-power-helps-in-turnaround-of-boston-schools_5903/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HechingerReport+%28Hechinger+Report%29  A LAUSD proposal to “reconstitute” low-performing Crenshaw High that could result in many current faculty members being replaced met with an icy reception from parents at the school at a meeting with district officials Tuesday evening reports the L.A. Times:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/parents-crenshaw-high.html
   In a follow-story to one published in the Tues., Dec. 11, edition of the “Ed News” about the 16 winners of Race to the Top grants, EdSource features the 3 districts in California that were among the ones chosen and what they plan to do with their awards:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/three-california-districts-win-in-federal-race-to-the-top-competition/24081#.UMjRCHPjnDK
   In a brief entry for her blog, Diane Ravitch is highly critical of the 16 online charter schools in Pennsylvania because of the poor results they are achieving across the board:  http://dianeravitch.net/2012/12/12/pennsylvania-should-veto-every-virtual-proposal/
   EDUCATION WEEK is spotlighting a study with conclusions that most teacher already know–good attendance relates to superior performance on standardized tests.  The survey includes other data, as well, regarding increased instruction time and assignment of homework, etc. [Ed. note: be sure to check out some of the comments at the end of this article]:  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/12/14time.h32.html?tkn=UOXF1xqlY9Em6Q%2BehtHUELNv3t1nBZg%2FaSbL&cmp=clp-edweek
   Daniel Willingham (the ALOED book club author of Why Don’t Students Like School?) suggests, on his blog, that teenagers should start school later in the day.  Their inner body clocks make it hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. so that starting school early in the morning makes for what he describes as “sleep-deprived” students who are not at their best for learning.  Valerie Strauss reprints his article on her blog:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/12/13/are-exhausted-students-learning-in-school/?wprss=rss_answer-sheet
   Is the U.S. Dept. of Ed. just going through the motions of helping English Languages Learners (ELLs) who now make up 10% of the nation’s student population?  This article from EDUCATION WEEK suggests the department’s previous emphasis on ELLs is “waning” for several reasons:  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/12/14ncela_ep.h32.html?tkn=RXZF%2F%2BvvHBJobS%2Bd8luCYj460e6WxKs%2FKgi4&cmp=clp-edweek
   Things may be improving on the financial front for K-12 education but, as this article from the Huffington Post suggests, they are not that bright just yet:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/12/k-12-may-not-benefit-from_n_2287220.html?utm_hp_ref=education
   Congress and Pres. Obama are trying to work out a solution to the mis-named “fiscal cliff” problem [Ed. note: I prefer to call it the “austerity bomb].   The “Newshour”  program on PBS has a valuable article about the impact of it on education:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/12/how-will-the-fiscal-cliff-impact-education-funding.html  Valerie Strauss takes the different parties to task over their inability to come to some sort of an agreement is this very brief (for her) comment:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/12/13/fiscal-cliff-talks-one-lousy-civics-lesson-for-students/
   Parents at some LAUSD Title I schools have been complaining for some time about unfair tactics used against them at meetings of campus School-Site Councils.  They carried their protests, once again, to the board meeting this week at which members were voting on a new policy regarding which parents may participate in those council meetings.  Still confused?  The L.A. Daily News tries to sort things out for you:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_22176686/lausd-board-narrowly-oks-new-parent-policy-at
   The Sunshine State has often been heralded for its highly successful school reforms.  Some have even referred to it as the “Florida Miracle.”  However, Valerie Strauss reprints a blog by an Education professor at the University of Texas at Austin who posits that things are not quite as rosy as they seem.  The statistics and charts that he presents are particularly interesting when you peer at the California results:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/12/13/floridas-real-school-reform-record/
   The UCLA IDEA Friday “Themes in the News” revisits the series of standardized test scores released this week (and covered by the “Ed News”).  In addition, it tries to highlight some educators who are offering some interesting solutions to address the poor performance of U.S. students:  http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=e9d52d2b7b&e=f7d7cb8d5d
   And finally, on a more upbeat note, today’s L.A. Times describes a U.S. State Dept. program that brought educators from around the world to address and dialog about women’s issues with a group of female students at a charter middle school in Inglewood:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-girls-empower-20121212,0,5350966.story

 

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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