April 23

“The soul takes nothing  with her to the next world but her education and her culture. At the beginning of the journey to the next world, one’s education and culture can either provide the greatest assistance, or else act as the greatest burden, to the person who has just died.”

―    Plato,    The Republic of Plato

   Valerie Strauss reprints a very interesting and powerful op-ed from Marion Brady in which he looks at what makes a teacher effective and how much of the current education reform agenda is forcing educators into the wrong roles:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/15/the-right-and-wrong-role-for-teachers/
   The “Ed News” highlighted several articles about the record amounts of outside money given to the 3 LAUSD school board races in March.  Two of those seats were decided in the first round of balloting but one position required a run-off.  Guess what?  Large amounts of money are being poured into that race which will be decided May 21st reports yesterday’s L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-school-money-20130421,0,1982149.story
   In a unanimous vote on Thursday the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) ruled that teacher interns will have to meet more stringent requirements in order to be able to work with ELLs in California.  Teacher for America (TFA) and other alternative certification programs were included in the new guidelines.  EdSource has this important story.  Check out the box “Going Deeper” at the end of this article for more resources on this issue:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/state-toughens-regs-for-interns-teaching-english-learners/30669#.UXV91OBwa22
   An extensive editorial in yesterday’s L.A. Times made the case for postponing implementation of the Common Core State Standards in California as the state does not appear to be anywhere near prepared for their scheduled arrival for the 2014-15 school year:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-common-core-20130422,0,7397614.story
   The GED (General Educational Development) high school equivalency exam is getting a major makeover that will make it more difficult to pass but, hopefully, it will test the skills required for success in the workplace or in post-secondary education.  The Washington Post has an interesting piece discussing the current issue and delving into the history of the GED.  Do you know when it was instituted and why?  When will the new test be introduced?  For answers to those questions and much more go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/ged-high-school-equivalency-test-to-get-major-overhaul-become-more-difficult/2013/04/20/a2427996-a126-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html
   The hornets nest that was recently stirred up regarding cheating on standardized tests in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) when they were run by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee gets another look in this article from EdSource.  It contains a link to the original blog from educational writer John Merrow titled “Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error:”  http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/d-c-cheating-issue-calls-test-driven-incentives-into-question/30754#.UXV9zOBwa22
   Put this one in the “We Could Have Seen This Coming” file:  Valerie Strauss points out that the latest Pearson designed Common Core State Standards aligned tests in New York State contain PLUGS FOR COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS.  She couldn’t resist commenting on the original story that appeared in the New York Post which her blog has a link to:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/20/new-standardized-tests-feature-plugs-for-commercial-products/?wprss=rss_national&utm_source=feedly
   A special program run by a New York based non-profit that trains teachers to become school administrators is being utilized up in the Bay Area as described in this article from the Contra Costa Times:  http://www.contracostatimes.com/west-county-times/ci_23072074/program-training-teachers-west-contra-costa-be-school
   There’s another “parent-trigger” law (a previous one was defeated last year) before the Florida legislature.  Valerie Strauss writes that you can tell a lot about it by looking at who is for it and who is against:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/23/parent-trigger-whos-for-it-and-whos-against-it-tells-the-story/
   NPR station KPCC reports on another alleged standardized test cheating incident.  This one took place in one classroom at McKinley Elementary School (Burbank Unified):  http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2013/04/22/13406/state-officials-to-decide-penalty-for-burbank-scho/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+893KpccSouthernCaliforniaNews+(KPCC%3A+News)
   And finally, Diane Ravitch highlights this post on her blog.  It’s written by a parent in L.A. who reports on the physical and psychological toll standardized testing is taking on her middle school daughter:  http://redqueeninla.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/a-parents-vignette-of-the-cst-from-child-level/

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar






































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