The ED NEWS
FINAL REMINDER: ALOED and the Oxy Education Department are co-sponsoring a free screening of the important documentary “Go Public: A Day in the Life of an American School District” on Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Choi Auditorium. A discussion with the producers of the film will follow the showing. For more information (including a link to the official trailer) and to RSVP please click here.
“There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract.
The notion that some subjects and methods and that acquaintance with certain facts and truths
possess educational value in and of themselves is the reason why traditional education
There are a lot of so-called “grassroots” education “reform” groups out there these days. How many of them are interested in “real” reform and are actually from the “grassroots?” That’s the question that Daniel Katz, professor of education at Seton Hall University, tackles on his Daniel Katz, Ph. D. blog. He mentions a number of different groups and offers several “clues” that will help you tell which ones are real and which ones are fake.
The Vergara case is back in the news. (Did it ever go away?) A former school superintendent in Long Beach and San Diego and current member of the California State Board of Education offers “What’s Wrong with the Vergara Ruling?” on the EdSource blog. “What’s wrong with the ruling,” he simply lays out, “is that it reinforces a completely false narrative in which incompetent teachers are portrayed as the central problem facing urban schools.”
With the start of the trial in Atlanta earlier this week of 12 former teachers and administrators charged with cheating on standardized tests in that city, a story in AlterNet describes a new study about the, unfortunately, widespread nature of the situation. “According to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), it’s time to prepare to be shocked,” the article warns. “The organization has recently compiled data indicating that the scandal in Atlanta is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to cheating on standardized tests in our nation’s schools. Specifically, FairTest has found documented cases of cheating, and in some cases, systematic manipulation of scores, in 39 states and the District of Columbia, over the last five years alone. The organization has also identified,” it continues, “more than 60 methods administrators and teachers have used to alter student scores on these tests, from urging low-scorers to be absent the day of the test, to shouting out and otherwise indicating correct answers during testing.”
“What is the Damage Done by TFA?” is the question addressed in the latest segment of a continuing series of conversations between columnist Jack Schneider and Julian Vasquez Heilig about that darling of the so-called education “reformers,” Teach for America. It appears on the “Beyond Rhetoric” blog in EDUCATION WEEK . In this segment they attempt to assess problems caused by TFA. “In my view, TFA is a gateway drug,” Heilig rather colorfully explains. “They are the unabashed leaders of a movement that says sending poorly trained, temporary teachers to poor kids is a civil right. They’re given millions of dollars by foundations and billionaires to buy research that demonstrates that this approach has a ‘positive’ effect on student achievement.”
This may be a novel way to protest the Common Core. The Portland, Oregon, school board may simply refuse to set annual achievement objectives for the assessments. The (Portland) Oregonian spells out what the board is up to and why.
Several prominent ed technology companies have signed a pledge not to reveal private student information. The action quickly drew both praise and criticism according to a story from EDUCATION WEEK. “The pledge was created as parents’ worries about the privacy and security of their students’ data have resonated in state legislatures,” the piece states, “and as the state of California enacted a strict privacy law last month.”
Valerie Strauss, on her “Answer Sheet” blog for The Washington Post, often features the excellent commentary of Carol Burris, an award-winning high school principal from New York. This time Burris suggests that it’s not the implementation of the Common Core that is causing all the problems but the standards themselves. Those are pretty heavy charges from a former supporter of the Core. The piece is titled “How to Start Cleaning Up the Common Core.” “No matter what investments in time or materials have been made,” Burris maintains, “here is the bottom line. The Common Core is a lemon and no amount of professional development will make it run right. ” She offers “3 relatively simple first steps” for getting started.
The Tuesday edition of the “Ed News” highlighted a new book by Anthony Cody titled The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges Bill Gates. Diane Ravitch is touting the volume on her blog possibly because she wrote the preface to it which she gladly reprints for one and all to read.
Bad news for another Southern California school district. (NOT LAUSD this time!) The Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach discovered asbestos in classrooms at three elementary campuses and announced that all schools in the district would be tested. A story in Wednesday’s L.A. Times described the situation. It includes a short clip (1:42 minutes) from KTLA Channel 5 News about the discovery.
EDUCATION WEEK is highlighting new survey results released Wednesday from the Center for Education Policy that find implementation of the Common Core is seriously lagging. The poll contains findings from a representative national sample of 211 districts. “About 30 percent of district superintendents surveyed said, for instance, that they won’t fully implement the standards in both math and English/language arts in all their schools until the 2015-16 school year or later, or that they weren’t sure when they’d be implemented. About one-third said they will reach that milestone during this school year.” The article includes a link to the full report (27 pages) titled “Common Core State Standards in 2014: Districts’ Perceptions, Progress and Challenges.”
One of the key questions faced by educators is why do so many teachers leave the profession? A panel on Wednesday, sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers, addressed that issue and came up with some specific reasons why instructors leave and offered some suggestions for retention. Information about the event was highlighted in EDUCATION WEEK. “The panelists . . . stressed,” it relates, “that teacher shortages are not a recruitment issue so much as a retention issue.”
Be sure to check out the graphic that accompanies the article that articulates reasons why people leave. You can view the full video
(103:42 minutes) of the panel discussion on YouTube
. Speaking of recruiting and retaining teachers. EdSource
provides the rather depressing news that the number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs in California is continuing to plummet. The data comes from a study done by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and finds that enrollments have dropped 53% from 2008-09 to 2012-13, the latest year in the study. Since 2001-02 the numbers have declined by a mind numbing 74%! “The declining enrollments,” the story points out, “are coming at an especially challenging time for California schools. The state’s nearly 1,000 school districts are embarking on a slew of new reforms – including the Common Core standards, the New Generation Science Standards, Smarter Balanced assessments and focusing on several new ‘priority areas’ specified in the state’s new school financing law – that will require a highly trained and enthusiastic workforce to ensure their success.” The article includes a link to the full report (44 pages) from the CTC titled “Annual Report Card on California Teacher Preparation.”