June 25

“The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.” 
―    Ralph Waldo Emerson
   Sandy Banks took some unanticipated flak for her Tuesday column (highlighted in the “Ed News”) that featured praise for a first-year third-grade teacher at a small charter school in south L.A.   Some respondents thought she was dissing veteran educators while others saw the adulation for what it was.  You can read all about this kerfuffle in Banks’ Saturday piece for the L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0622-banks-teachers-20130622,0,3090510.column
   This op-ed from OTHER words describes the failures the author sees in the “reform” efforts of Michelle Rhee in the Washington, D.C. public schools.  He goes on to champion the “Education Declaration to Rebuild America” that the “Ed News” has highlighted on several occasions:  http://otherwords.org/a-new-education-debate/?utm_source=feedly
   Sunday’s L.A. Times published several letters with pro and con arguments about the LAUSD board’s vote (see Friday’s “Ed News” for a link to the original story) to spend $30 million on a pilot program that would provide iPads for students in 47 schools:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0623-sunday-ipads-lausd-20130623,0,6759295.story  NPR station KPCC takes a look at the LAUSD decision to introduce computers into the classroom with this story titled “Tablets in the Classroom Bring Cutting Edge Problems, Too:”  http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2013/06/24/14087/tablets-in-the-classroom-bring-cutting-edge-proble/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+893KpccSouthernCaliforniaNews+%28KPCC%3A+News%29   This item contains a link to an interesting article that it is based on from InformationWeek titled “iPads in the Classroom: Worth Doing Right” which you can also find here:  http://www.informationweek.com/education/mobility/ipads-in-the-classroom-worth-doing-right/240157153
   The “Ed News” has rarely (if ever) spotlighted the topic of school uniforms.  This piece from NEW AMERICA MEDIA, written by a student at Wilson High School (Long Beach Unified), gives you an interesting perspective on the issue and how infractions of the dress code are handled.  This article includes a short (1:58 minutes) audio of 3 students describing what they were wearing when they were picked up for uniform violations:  http://newamericamedia.org/2013/06/does-school-discipline-over-uniform-infractions-go-too-far.php
   California is in the nascent stages of reevaluating how it trains teachers.  A new report from the California STEM Learning Network (partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) wants to beef up the math and science preparation that teacher candidates will receive.  This story from the SI&A CABINET REPORT explains what the group would like to see included in teacher training programs and offers suggestions to both the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and college and universities.  It includes a link to the full report (36 pages) titled “STEM Can Lead the Way: Rethinking Teacher Preparation and Policy:”  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=3863
   Parents are often left out of the education reform discussion.  This article from EdSource describes a successful national program of parenting classes (called “Abriendo Puertas,” “Opening Doors” in Spanish) geared for Latino families that is showing promise in closing the achievement gap among Latino pupils.  This item includes a link to a UC Berkley report (6 pages) evaluating the efficacy of the classes:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/parenting-classes-tailored-for-latino-families-show-promise-in-closing-achievement-gap/33022#.UciOsz75nye
   Stanford released a widely reference report on charter schools in 2009.  The university’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) issued a follow-up survey that looked at even more schools covering more students.  The results at those schools are improving but still mixed according to this story from the “HechingerEd” blog from The HECHINGER REPORT:  http://hechingered.org/content/charter-performance-improving-but-still-varied_6288/  You can find the official press release (3 pages) for the full report here:  http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/UNEMBARGOED%20National%20Charter%20Study%20Press%20Release.pdf  The Executive Summary 28 pages) is here:  http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NCSS%202013%20Executive%20Summary.pdf  If you’l like the entire study (104 pages) you can find it here:  http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NCSS%202013%20Final%20Draft.pdf  Valerie Strauss commented on the report and offered some of her own cogent observations in her blog for The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/25/where-u-s-stands-in-education-internationally-new-report/
   The “Ed News” has looked, on a number of occasions, at how per pupil spending on education in California compares to other states in the union.  How do you think spending in the U.S. compares to 33 other developed nations around the world?  A recent study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found the U.S. number one in per pupil spending.  For these numbers, figures on teacher salaries and other interesting comparisons to other countries check out this story in The San Francisco Chronicle:  http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Study-US-education-spending-tops-global-list-4620281.php  The full OECD report (440 pages) titled “Education at a Glance 2013–OECD Indicators” can be found here:  http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2013%20(eng)–FINAL%2020%20June%202013.pdf
   And finally, Valerie Strauss writes about a speech Sec. of Education Arne Duncan delivered today to a convention of American news editors in which he implored them to defend the Common Core State Standards and how to report what they entail.  She goes on to question some of the things Duncan said:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/25/arne-duncan-tells-newspaper-editors-how-to-report-on-common-core/
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar

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