July 19

As a result of ALOED’s highly successful book club on Wednesday the “Ed News” is pleased to welcome the following new members to the Discussion Group:  Marie Chaplar, Tony Dalessi, Jerry Gruss, Margaret Gruss, Laurie McFarlane, Cheryl Morelan, Eloise Porter, Antonio Pierola,  Carol Wilcox Russell and Maureen Ryan.  We are now 56 members strong! 
“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their
 students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse,
encouraging them to create their own.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis
   Valerie Strauss is touting a new book (a possible choice for an ALOED book club?) from an author she calls “the world’s most famous teacher.”  He just so happens to be a fifth grade teacher at Hobart Ave. Elementary (LAUSD)!  She explains why she’s given him that moniker, describes a little about the book (it came out on July 16th) and conducts a Q & A with him.  His name is Rafe Esquith and you can get acquainted with him here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/07/16/the-worlds-most-famous-teacher-blasts-school-reform/
   The “leadership challenged” (five principals in the last 4 years) Cortines High School of Visual and Performing Arts (LAUSD) was the topic of an editorial in yesterday’s L.A. Times.  The paper points out some of the mistakes that were made as the school was opened in the fall of 2009 and reviews some of the funding issues the outgoing principal complained about:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-cortines-arts-school-lausd-20130718,0,3066350.story
   Teach for America (TFA) is taking more flak from a former teacher and manager of the group.  Valerie Strauss conducts a Q & A with her about her experiences and why she became disillusioned:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/07/17/a-former-teach-for-america-manager-speaks-out/
   The “Ed News” has been closely watching the development of MOOCs (massive open online courses) at the college and university level.  One experiment at San Jose State did not end well as a large number of students failed to pass the classes offered by the private, for-profit company Udacity.  This article from today’s L.A. Times outlines what happened and offers some reasons why:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0719-san-jose-online-20130719,0,4160941.story
   The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley held a six-day summer institute for educators.  The focus of the training was to enhance the social and emotional well-being of teachers, administrators and their students.  The results were extremely positive as this story from the center describes:  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/a_new_vision_of_teacher_education
   Another article from the GGSC that was published back in October (that’s before Susie Smith turned the “Ed News” on to this valuable site) is titled “Why Teacher Ratings Hurt Schools and Students:”  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_teacher_ratings_hurt_schools_students
   The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) which have already decided to close over 50 “under performing” campuses just announced an additional 2,000 lay-offs of district teachers.  This was on top of pink slips that have already gone out to 1,500 educators.  Diane Ravitch has the story and reprints a statement from the group called the “Raise Your Hand Coalition” that was organized to combat the huge budget cuts:  http://dianeravitch.net/2013/07/19/rahms-plan-another-2000-teacher-layoffs/
   Thanks to Larry Lawrence who sent along this item from Valerie Strauss who reprints a blog that provides you with 5 facts for those times when you get into discussions about the current state of education with family, friends or other skeptics.  It was written by a Physics teacher in Detroit and was first published back in April.  Be sure to note the reference to Yong Zhao (in Lesson #2) and to Linda Darling-Hammond (in Lesson #5).  Both were previous ALOED book club authors: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/07/19/five-basic-lessons-on-public-education-short-and-long-versions/
   Are there lessons to be learned from the health care debate that might be applicable to discussions over education reform?  This piece from EDUCATION WEEK looks at that precise question and comes up with 3 similarities:  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/07/10/36anrig.h32.html?tkn=TSQFnTfg9HTbkYZfL0iK3fLNuhZy4LlhtmAQ&cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS1
   And finally, are charter schools helping to lead to the resegregation of education in the U.S.?  This story from The HECHINGER REPORT answers “yes” and uses schools in Minnesota as a prime example of how and why this is happening:  http://hechingerreport.org/content/as-charter-schools-come-of-age-measuring-their-success-is-tricky_12647/
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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