What School Boards Should Read This Week

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What We Know Now (and How It Doesn’t Matter)
by Paul Thomas EdD

Common Core standards are ‘curriculum upsidedownia’
George Ball is the past president of the American Horticultural Society and chairman of W. Atlee Burpee & Co., in Bucks County, Pa.

Wrong Answer: The Case Against Algebra II
Nickolson Baker

State Board to Revoke Licenses of Effective Teachers
Tomorrow, the State Board of Ed will consider changes to the state’s teacher licensing process. This comes on the heels of their unfortunate decision to lower the already-low floor of this state’s teacher salaries.

It’s time for teachers to stand against outside influences
Amy Prime is a second-grade teacher at Berg Elementary School in Newton.

Teach For America’s ‘dirty little secret’
Jack Schneider (@Edu_Historian), is an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and the author of Excellence For All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools. This essay is adapted from his article “Rhetoric and Practice in Pre-Service Teacher Education: The Case of Teach For America” in the Journal of Education Policy.

TFA: It’s just one unverifiable anecdote after the next
Paul Thomas EdD

28 questions about the Common Core
This op-ed is by Susan Ohanian of Charlotte, a longtime teacher and author of 25 books on education policy and practice.

Common Core Tests are Not Good for Children or Other Living Things
Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning.

Open Letter to the Media, Politicians, Reformers, B/Millionaires, and Celebrities
P.L. Thomas EdD


The Trouble with the Common Core
Ethan Heitner at Rethinking Schools

Commentary on Math & ELA Results
Dr. Teresa Thayer Snyder: Superintendent Voorheesville, NY

Testing: Fire, Aim, Ready (but not so much the ready part – yet)
Jere Hochman, Superintendent of the Bedford Central School District, NY. Lifetime public school teacher, principal, and superintendent. Blog is solely my opinion.

Winning the Common Core
Nancy Flanagan is an education writer and consultant focusing on teacher leadership. She spent 30 years in a K-12 music classroom in Hartland, Mich, and was named Michigan Teacher of the Year in 1993. She is National Board-certified, and a member of the Teacher Leaders Network.

Teach for America’s Mission in Chicago
Teach for America wanted to help stem a teacher shortage. Why then are thousands of experienced educators being replaced by hundreds of new college graduates?

How Garfield High Defeated the MAP Test
How Garfield High School tipped the scales against a controversial standardized test

Opportunity Knocks
Nancy Flanagan is an education writer and consultant focusing on teacher leadership. She spent 30 years in a K-12 music classroom in Hartland, Mich, and was named Michigan Teacher of the Year in 1993. She is National Board-certified, and a member of the Teacher Leaders Network.

Holy Mesopotamia Batman: First Grade CCSS vocabulary.

Few private schools signed up to take transfers under Alabama Accountability Act

Nationwide Poll: Parents Overwhelmingly Choose Strong Neighborhood Public Schools over Charters, Choice, Vouchers
“We believe in high-quality public education because it is an economic necessity, an anchor of democracy, a moral imperative and a fundamental civil right,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “And this poll makes clear that not only do parents overwhelmingly believe in the promise of public education to help all children reach their dreams, their prescription for how to reclaim that promise matches what America’s teachers want for their students and schools. And when teachers and parents join together, we can be an unstoppable force to fulfill the promise of education as a pathway to opportunity for all children.”


Is Education Nationalization Falling Apart?

Diane Ravitch: 3 Dubious Uses of Technology in Schools
Technology can inspire creativity or dehumanize learning

Diane Ravitch is a historian of American education and a research professor of education at New York University. Her most recent book—The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education—was a national best seller in 2010.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest Issues 67 Question Letter to Department of Public Instruction
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest today (7/18/2013) released a 67 question letter to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson, outlining a series of unanswered questions he has with North Carolina’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

A copy of the letter can be found here:

A link to the video can be found here:


Poverty is what’s crippling public education in the US—not bad teachers
Anthony Cody worked in the high poverty schools of Oakland, California, for 24 years, and spent 18 years teaching middle school science. He now leads workshops focused on Project Based Learning.

“I cannot affirm that Common Core’s final standards are worthy of being our “national” standards”
Sandra Stotsky, Member, Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education – Professor of Education Reform, University of Arkansas

In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal
Google figures out that applicants’ GPAs & test scores are “worthless” for deciding whom to hire: This interview with Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling

Common core’s claims are false
Instead of dealing with the real problem, the common core offers us, in the words of Susan Ohanian, “a radical untried curriculum overhaul and … nonstop national testing.”

Katie Lapham responds to Arne Duncan’s Common Core speech
Katie Lapham is an ESL teacher at a public elementary school in East New York, Brooklyn. She has long been disturbed by the amount of classroom time that is lost preparing for and administering standardized tests, however this year’s tests were so horrific that she can no longer – in good conscience – remain passive. Katie is an advocate for children, first and foremost, and wish to protect our youngest students from being deprived of a meaningful education.

Noam Chomsky on Democracy and Education in the 21st Century and Beyond
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political critic and activist. He is an institute professor and professor emeritus in the department of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years.

Growing number of states abandon PARCC testing group
A number of states are deciding to bail on the PARCC national testing consortium that is creating exams to go along with the move to the Common Core State Standards.

An Open Letter to New Teach for America Recruits
Katie Osgood is a special education teacher in Chicago currently working at a psychiatric hospital. She also taught special education in the Chicago Public Schools. She holds a Masters in Elementary and Special Education from DePaul University.

CEE Chair Responds to NCTQ Report
We agree with Linda Darling-Hammond who urges readers to take the report with an entire shaker of salt. Based on publicly available data such as syllabi, catalog descriptions, and self-reports from a mere fraction of the institutions evaluated, NCTQ focused only on a limited number of input measures.

Linda Darling-Hammond on the NCTQ Report: What Can We Learn about Teacher Education Quality
from the NCTQ Report on Teacher Prep?

Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University is one of the nation’s leading experts on teacher preparation. This is her commentary on the report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality, which attempts to rate the quality of the nation’s colleges of education by reviewing their catalogues and course syllabi.

The Common Core Loses This Teacher’s Support
In April a guest post written by New York City elementary teacher Katie Lapham, expressing support for the Common Core standards, but opposing the tests attached to them. Since then, Ms. Lapham has shifted her views. She explains:

Include parents in standards debate: Opposing view
Across America, moms are rising up against the Common Core, national standards for English-language arts and mathematics adopted by 45 states. As Anne Gassel, of Ellisville, Mo., said, “Parents and their legislators were cut out of the loop. Even now we can’t get straight answers.”

What’s Worth Learning?
Marion Brady
What’s Worth Learning? addresses the central question of general education. For learners facing a complex, unpredictable, and dangerous future, it asks and answers the question: What knowledge is absolutely essential for every learner?
In simple, jargon-free language, the book explains why the “core curriculum” in near-universal use in America’s classrooms was poor when it was adopted in 1893 and why it grows more dysfunctional with each passing year. It then shows how, without changes in staffing, budgets, or bureaucratic boundaries, knowledge can be organized to both radically improve learner intellectual performance and significantly decrease the cost of a general education, (Originally published by Information Age Publishing in Charlotte, NC, 2011).

Connections: Investigating Reality
Marion and Howard Brady
Translating a new idea into classroom instruction can be difficult. To demonstrate, we’ve prepared student materials for a comprehensive, classroom-tested course of study suitable for adolescents and older students, and offer it as a free appendix to What’s Worth Learning?:

The Current School Reform Landscape: Christopher H. Tienken

A big unexplored idea in school reform
What’s worth learning and how best to teach it? This is the core of the following post by Marion Brady, a classroom teacher for years who has written history and world culture textbooks (Prentice-Hall), professional books, numerous nationally distributed columns (many are available here), and courses of study.

A new ‘Education Declaration’ for genuine school reform
A coalition of educators, researchers, parents, activists and elected officials issued what signees are calling an “Education Declaration” on Tuesday that lists seven key principles on which genuine school reform should be guided for the 21st century and starts from the premise that public education is “a public good.”

Teacher Review: This Is How Common Core Works in My Classroom

Corporate involvement in the RTTT mandates and CCS

AP Classes
Interestingly, the evidence providing the clearest positive argument for AP participation is that high performance in AP courses correlates with better college grades and higher graduation rates, especially in science courses. But that’s faint praise. It’s the same as saying that students who do best in high school will do better in college and are more likely to graduate.

New data shows school “reformers” are full of it
Poor schools underperform largely because of economic forces, not because teachers have it too easy

Anthony Cody: Is the Tea Party Right About Common Core?
There is a surprising overlap between the views of the Tea Party and those of some in the left towards the Common Core. In Indiana, Democrats and Tea Party activists combined…

Colorado Supreme Court Finds Education Funding System Constitutional

The toll high-stakes tests take on non-traditional learners (and their teachers)
Bobbi Snow is the co-founder of The Community Public Charter School, an arts-infused, literacy-focused school for non-traditional learners in Charlottesville, Va., open to all Albemarle County middle school students. Snow wrote the following piece while recently proctoring Virginia’s high-stakes Standards of Learning exams, which students took over a period of three weeks.

Assessment that Supports Education – Short Video on Mission Hill School
Boston area students and teachers organized an excellent conference, “Creating the Schools We Deserve.” It focused on what schools should be like and how we can win them. The conversations made clear that most people have never had the privilege of experiencing the kind of life-affirming, engaging, supportive, and multicultural schooling…

Speaking Back to the Common Core
by Thomas Newkirk

Tara Ehrcke provides an excellent history of misnomer of “personalized” learning for instruction thru computers/software

Warning lands Batavia teacher in hot water
Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student’s name printed on it.

A Year at Mission Hill – Seeing the Learning

Award-winning Virginia teacher: ‘I can no longer cooperate’ with testing regime
Ron Maggiano is a social studies teacher at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County. In 2005, he won the Disney Teacher Award for innovation and creativity, and in 2006, he won the American Historical Association’s Beveridge Family Teaching Prize for outstanding K-12 teaching. Now, after a 33-year teaching career, he is resigning, just four years away from full retirement.

Could charters break MNPS bank?
Diane Ravitch writes: Tennessee grows closer to allowing unlimited expansion of charters in its two biggest cities by negating the power of local school boards to grant charters. This, remember, is the ALEC plan for privatization of public resources.
In Nashville, the Metro Nashville school board is worried about whether the growth of charters will bankrupt the district. Charter advocates, unsurprisingly, say don’t worry.
But pay attention to Inglewood, California. Only a decade ago, conservatives said tat Inglewood was a miracle district and hailed the success of its public schools in producing high test scores despite high poverty. Then the charters began opening and 6,000 students enrolled in charters. That was 1/3 of the district’s students. The district laid off teachers, cut programs, increased clas sizes, an finally collapsed into bankruptcy.
Last December,the state took over the no-longer-miraculous Inglewood district.
That is how public education dies. While vultures fly in from other states to fleece taxpayers and turn a profit.

Testing Resistance and Reform News: March 21 – 27, 2013
There’s significant progress to report this week with legislatures in both Arizona and Texas passing proposals to reign in testing overkill. At the same time, assessment reform action is escalating in another dozen states. Keep the pressure on . . . and send us your best clips for circulation to allies around the nation.

Short, effective video by RI students featuring adults who agreed to take the high-stakes grad test:

Take The Test from Providence Student Union on Vimeo.

State school board member says Legislature partially to blame for Alabama’s ‘failing’ schools (charts)
Republican member of the state school board is firing back, alleging state legislators are partially to blame for the education failures they’re seeking to punish. “I personally believe the Legislature has been complicit in the formation of Alabama’s failing schools,” said school board member Charles Elliott of Decatur.

A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education
Here’s a tough critique on the standards and how they relate to early childhood education. It was written by Edward Miller, a writer and teacher who lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He is the co-author of “Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School.” Nancy Carlsson-Paige is professor emerita of early childhood education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of “Taking Back Childhood.”

Teaching Parents About the Common Core
Education Week is seeking ways to education parents about the Common Core. Stephen Krashen, Tim Slekar, P. L. Thomas, and Jim Horn responded.

Texas House votes to reduce high-stakes testing, change graduation requirements
The Texas Legislature heard the voices of parents, students, teachers, and employers.
The Texas House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly, 145-2, to reduce high-stakes testing.
Under the legislation, the number of tests required for high school graduation would be reduced from 15 (the highest in the nation) to five.
The Texas Senate earlier passed a bill to cut back on testing,
As former Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott said last year, the testing industry in Texas turned into a vampire. Only weeks ago, at the mass Save Texas Schools rally in front of the State Capitol, he called testing “the flea that wags the tail that wags the dog.”

Experts urge Michigan lawmakers to rescind ‘mediocre’ standards for student learning
“I ask you to seriously consider the negative consequences,” said William Schmidt, a professor at Michigan State University and a leading math education expert. The legislation, he told lawmakers, will “hinder and hurt our children’s futures.”

Yes, It Is OK to Teach Literature in English Class!
Kay McSpadden, a high school English teacher in York, S.C., was told by school officials that English classes would have to stop teaching literature due to the new Common Core standards. She knows that isn’t true, and David Coleman (“the architect of the Common Core standards”) has said it isn’t true. But the word reaching the field is that informational text is supposed to replace literature.

What’s Wrong with the Punitive Education Reform Movement
Author Maja Wilson discusses the problem with school reform that ,on one hand says teachers are important, and on the other hand, disempowers them by micromanaging their work.

Test Opposition Surges Across the Nation
A nationwide protest movement against the stranglehold of high-stakes testing on our schools has escalated to a rolling boil. Boycotts, opt-out campaigns, demonstrations, and community forums are among the tactics being pursued in cities such as Austin, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Denver and Providence. Meanwhile, the number of signers of the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing continues to grow.

Common Core: Will it hurt struggling readers?
Here an author writes about potential problems with Common Core implementation regarding reading instruction. This was written by Laura Robb, a veteran teacher, teacher mentor and author of books on reading for middle school teachers, early literacy and professional development. She has also created curricula for The Great Source Education Group.

Professor of Education Policy and Research Written Testimony Supporting
The following written testimony by Mark Garrison, Ph.D. was entered to support MO SB 210 and HB 616 and end the implementation of Common Core State Standards:

Chomsky: Corporations and the Richest Americans Viscerally Oppose Common Good
The Masters of Mankind want us to become the “stupid nation,” in the interests of their short-term gain — damn the consequences.

Chomsky: The Corporate Assault on Public Education
Our kids are being prepared for passive obedience, not creative, independent lives.

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.-Noam Chomsky

‘Storm of reform’ — principal details damage done
Principal Carol Burris’ recent post on why she is no longer a fan of the Common Core stirred wide interest and lively debate — enough that Carol decided to follow up with a piece that addresses some of the questions voiced in the comments following the piece, as well as in the emails she received after its posting. Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York, was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals. Here’s her first post.
…also http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/745FABA2-C5B2-46AF-BD52-5687683F4D77/0/SupportingYourChild1pagerforParents22013FINALESEnglish.pdf

Principal: ‘I was naïve about Common Core’
Here’s a powerful piece about how an award-winning principal went from being a Common Core supporter to an opponent. Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals.

Oregon House Bill to evaluate standardized testing
Rep. Frederick introduced testimony on HB 2664, calling for evaluation of standardized testing, in the House Education Committee.

Ten practical tips for improving governance in a school
The Victorian Council of School Organisations Inc (VICCSO) is an independent organisation of over
500 affiliated school councils. VICCSO supports and promotes great practices in school governance and school-family-community partnerships as powerful ways to improve learning outcomes and life opportunities for all students. It also advocates for resources and support for public education.

Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching: The harm behind the hype
Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun professor of education at Stanford University and co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.
I was once bullish on the idea of using “value-added methods” for assessing teacher effectiveness. I have since realized that these measures, while valuable for large-scale studies, are seriously flawed for evaluating individual teachers, and that rigorous, ongoing assessment by teaching experts serves everyone better. Indeed, reviews the National Research Council, the RAND Corp., and the Educational Testing Service have all concluded that value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness should not be used to make high-stakes decisions about teachers.

Enquiry Based Learning for mathematics.
Jo Boaler, Stanford Professor of mathematics education: Low math achievers aren’t just slower; they have a less flexible, back-to-basics approach… Struggling kids are then put into basic math classes where they get more drill, causing them to fall further behind
…also http://joboaler.com/

Standardized Tests & Comparing Student Scores: Relics of 20th Century Ed Systems
J. Robinson taught High School English, Middle School Language Arts 16 Years, School Level Administrator 5 years, BA English, MA Instructional Technology-Computers, MSA School Administration, EdS Educational Leadership, Licensed Teacher, Instructional Technologist, Principal, Superintendent

What the Best and Wisest Parent Wants for His Child
A Texas parent shares some insight with Diane Ravitch
…also http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/ofmk.htm

Common Core Faces Fierce Foes in Two Indiana Moms
Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin, co-founders of Hoosiers Against the Common Core, started their opposition movement as two mothers comparing notes about their children’s new math program in 2011. Investigating where it came from took them on an odyssey of discovery about the Common Core State Standards, and a growing list of reasons the two moms did not appreciate Indiana’s adoption of the standards.

Schools in crisis, reforms not working, U.S. federal panel declares
A federal commission on Tuesday said the U.S. education system had “thoroughly stacked the odds” against impoverished students and warned that an aggressive reform agenda embraced by both Democrats and Republicans had not done enough to improve public schools.

Evidence? They Can’t Handle the Evidence
P. L. Thomas, Associate Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English before moving to teacher education.

Mathis: STEM as Vermont’s urban myth?
Longtime public school superintendent and now managing director of the National Education Policy Center, William Mathis calls the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) crisis the new urban legend. In reality, for some Vermont kids, lumberjack skills are much more important than algebra and before we proclaim algebra more important than music and the arts, we must again ask, Important for whom? Mathis points out that there are more STEM-qualified workers than jobs available and of the nation’s nine million people with STEM degrees, only about three million work in STEM fields.
…also http://www.dailycensored.com/woo-hoo/

136+ Massachusetts Education Professors, Researchers Endorse Statement Against High-Stakes Testing
More than 136 Massachusetts education professors and researchers today added their voices to a growing national rebellion against high-stakes testing. In a joint statement, the experts called for a new state assessment system that will better evaluate the competencies children need to succeed. The signers also urged an end to the state’s current overreliance on high-stakes standardized exams.

Former education commissioner blasts Common Core process — update
A year ago, Robert Scott, then the commissioner of education in Texas, shook up the ed world when he said that standardized test-based accountability had led to a “perversion” of what a quality education should be.

Students Need More Than Michelle Rhee’s Education Reforms
Nikhil Goyal, a 17-year-old high school student, is the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School.

Make teacher evaluations fair
Renee A. Foose is superintendent of the Howard County Public School System. Her email is rfoose@hcpss.org.Howard schools chief says accountability is important, but state should wait until new assessments are in place

Superintendents ask for more local control of school decisions
Members of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents are calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell, the General Assembly and the Board of Education to give more flexibility to local school divisions. Association President and Gloucester County Public Schools Superintendent Ben Kiser said the decision-making trend of Virginia policymakers has been to replace local control with more state authority over public schools.

Race to the Top costs leave schools behind
Superintendent Ken Mitchell took a close look at what his district is getting to comply with Race to the Top mandates and what it will cost his district to comply.
…also http://www.lohud.com/article/20120129/NEWS02/301290044/Race-Top-costs-leave-schools-behind

A warning to college profs from a high school teacher
Kenneth Bernstein recently retired as a high school teacher of government.
…also A college professor in Arkansas describes NCLB generation

Schools need a timeout on standardized tests
Joshua P. Starr is superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland.

The Sunk-Cost Effect on Standardized Testing
Walt Gardner taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was a lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education.

Chicago parents pass petitions at 37 schools against district testing programs
Julie Woestehoff is the executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education, a parent advocacy group. She takes on bad school policies and programs that get in the way of children’s education. She is widely quoted in local and national media and has guested on the TODAY show and Talk of the Nation. Julie’s work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.

DIBELS Abuse in Tennessee
Parent Richelle Deharde gives a first hand account of the DIBELS horror. Not only is DIBELS the least scientifically reliable and valid test the administration to children under 8 is advised against by most child experts.

Bill Gates and the Cult of Measurement
Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning.

Testing Resistance and Reform News
Chicago Parent, New York Principals, Texas Legislators, and more speak out

Ed. Trust Slams NCLB Waivers for Neglecting At-Risk Students
The Education Trust promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. Their goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian—to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.

Smart or Not Smart
Parent Daniela A. Robles writes about test anxiety and more

Why ‘school reform’ is a misnomer — principal
Carol Burris is the award-winning principal of South Side High School in New York who has been at the forefront of opposition to New York State’s new teacher evaluation system. Named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State, Burris is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals. Here are excerpts from the keynote address that Burris delivered last week to the New York Performance Standards Consortium:

Eight Problems With Common Core State Standards
Marion Brady is a longtime teacher; school administrator; nationally distributed newspaper columnist; consultant to states, foundations and publishers; contributor to academic journals; and author of courses of study, textbooks and professional books.

The kids who get left behind: Some students’ achievements mean nothing to educators obsessed with testing
Eileen Riley-Hall is the mother of two daughters and an English teacher at Shenendehowa High School. She also is the author of the recently released book, “Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Overcoming the Challenges and Celebrating the Gifts.”

Test Your Public Ed Savvy
Former teachers and authors Susan Ohanian and Stephen Krashen

Gates-Financed Common Core Standards Turn Kindergarten into Global Economy Zone
Former teacher and author Susan Ohanian

About Those Bar Exams for Teachers…
Nancy Flanagan is an education writer and consultant focusing on teacher leadership. She spent 30 years in a K-12 music classroom in Hartland, Mich, and was named Michigan Teacher of the Year in 1993. She is National Board-certified, and a member of the Teacher Leaders Network.

Interview with Joshua Starr: Excellence is Not a Zero Sum Game
Joshua Starr, the Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, in the state of Maryland. He has spoken out forcefully against the “insanity” of evaluating teachers using test scores, and refused to accept Race to the Top funding for this purpose.

School Board Members to Arne Duncan: Back Off
But for the most part, school board members didn’t want to hear about his agenda. Instead, they sent a clear message: Your policies continue to overreach into our territory. (They voiced similar complaints about federal overreach last year, and fought with him over mayoral control of schools in 2010.)
…also see National school boards group blasts U.S. Education Department

A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education
Edward Miller, a writer and teacher who lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Nancy Carlsson-Paige is professor emerita of early childhood education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Why judges say charters are NOT public schools— students and parents should be nervous
Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Milwaukee Civic Leaders: Save Our Public Schools
This op-ed was submitted by 11 leaders of community and education organizations in Milwaukee.

National Teaching Expert Calls “Value Added” Performance Metric Unreliable
A national education expert last week delivered a less-than-stellar assessment of the nation’s school reform efforts before a Cleveland audience. Linda Darling-Hammond is an education professor at Stanford, and led President Obama’s education transition team in 2008. She spoke at the City Club of Cleveland. ideastream’s Bill Rice reports.

10 Questions to Ask Your Child’s School District on Data Privacy Day 2013

Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making
Christopher H. Tienken, EdD

The Legal Consequences of Mandating High Stakes Decisions Based on Low Quality Information: Teacher Evaluation in the Race-to-the-Top Era
In this article, we explain how overly prescriptive, rigid state statutory and regulatory policy frameworks regarding teacher evaluation, tenure and employment decisions outstrip the statistical reliability and validity of proposed measures of teaching effectiveness. We begin with a discussion of the emergence of highly prescriptive state legislation regarding the use of student testing data within teacher evaluation systems, specifically for purposes of making employment decisions. Next, we explain….

Schools That Change Communities
Bob Gliner, award winning documentary filmmaker, has produced documentaries in all parts of the world.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP3zcS2g9RQ

California Governor Jerry Brown Decries Testing: “Distant Authorities Crack the Whip”
Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning.
Governor Brown Delivers 2013 State of the State Address

Op-ed: Why Garfield teachers boycotted the MAP test
Garfield teachers believe students should be evaluated based on what they are learning in the classroom, writes guest columnist Jesse Hagopian. Jesse Hagopian has taught in Seattle Public Schools since 2006, serves as the Black Student Union’s faculty adviser and is the recipient of the Abe Keller Peace Education Award.

Civil Rights History: Refusal to Take Standardized Test

The Myth About Computer-Based Reading Software?
Elementary school Principal Peter DeWitt writes about students’ social and emotional health, and how educators can help young people find common ground.

Test anxiety is real: What should we do about it?
The post below was written by Kathleen Muthler (Mom and Teacher in Pennsylvania)

State Board Testimony of Madison, NJ Schools Supt. Dr. Michael A. Rossi
The purpose of this note is to provide (in as diplomatic a fashion as possible) a reasonable, reliable and valid analysis of the proposed implementation schedule for all the new initiatives.

Two Education Crises: Which is Fake, Which Real?
Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning.

A Few Points About The Instability Of Value-Added Estimates
The Albert Shanker Institute is a nonprofit organization established in 1998 to honor the life and legacy of the late president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Testing Reform in the News: January 10 – 16, 2013
The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)

More Questions about the Common Core: Response to Marc Tucker
Dr. Yong Zhao is an internationally known scholar, author, and speaker. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has designed schools that cultivate global competence, developed computer games for language learning, and founded research and development institutions to explore innovative education models. He has published over 100 articles and 20 books.

Teacher vs. CEO Accountability
Walt Gardner taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was a lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education.
“In a nutshell, one incompetent CEO can make more in one year driving the company into the ground than 100 teachers can make in a lifetime successfully teaching students.”

Miracle Results of School Takeovers . . . .Not in Louisiana!
Michael Deshotels is a retired Louisiana educator who taught science at the secondary level. He also served in various positions with the Louisiana Association of Educators culminating in the position of Executive Director prior to his retirement. More recently he has done research on the dropout problem in Louisiana.

Legislators’ constituency is with public education

OTL Campaign Applauds CA Gov. Brown Leadership on Fair Funding
Budget Increases Education Spending, Uses Weighted Funding Formula
Applauds NY Gov. Cuomo’s Call for More Pre-K, Expanded Learning Time

Over 300 Schools Teaching Creationism on the Taxpayer Dime
Diane Ravitch is a historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University.

How Common Core Doubles Down on No Child Left Behind
Parents and Teachers in Utah have organized to voice their concerns; including evidence
…in Missouri also: http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2013/01/fight-back-against-misinformation.html

Seattle Teachers Revolt Against High Stakes Test
In perhaps the first instance anywhere in the nation, teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School will announce this afternoon their refusal to administer a standardized test that students in other high schools across the district are scheduled to take in the first part of January. — Teachers at Garfield HS, Seattle
…and more information here: http://kuow.org/post/teachers-seattle-school-refuse-give-standardized-test

Meet Adell Cothorne
DC principal who witnessed erasures; cheating
…and more information here: http://susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=1491

11 States Get Failing Grades on Public School Policies From Advocacy Group
Richard Zeiger, California’s chief deputy superintendent, called the state’s F rating a “badge of honor.”
“This is an organization that frankly makes its living by asserting that schools are failing,” Mr. Zeiger said of StudentsFirst. “I would have been surprised if we had got anything else.”
“This group has focused on an extremely narrow, unproven method that they think will improve teaching,” Mr. Zeiger said. “And we just flat-out disagree with them.”

How not to evaluate teacher effectiveness: The MET Project: The Wrong 45 Million Dollar Question
Rachael Gabriel and Richard Allington

Ms. Bailey’s sad and wonderful gift to New York libraries–and why you should care

Concern About New State Mandate Prompts Madison Schools To Take Different Path
Program implemented by legislature this past year could have “corrosive effect” on district’s mission, plans for the future. Administrators, teachers warn of “unintended consequences” of over-reliance on standardized testing in district.

Superintendent Thomas Starice joins Heath Morrison in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, and Joshua Starr in Montgomery, Maryland, who courageously stood up for the best interests of children as well as their educational ideals. Starice’s leadership has made it possible for parents and the local community to express their own concerns and values about what is best for their children.
…and the meeting minutes: http://www.madison.k12.ct.us/uploaded/docs/BOEminutes/2012-13/2012-12-04.pdf

Five Questions to Ask about the Common Core
Yong Zhao Ph.D.

Indiana needs to drop Common Core, develop its own standards
Sandra Stotsky, Ph.D., is a professor of education at the University of Arkansas. She has provided testimony about the Common Core Standards before the Indiana Senate Education Committee. She wrote this at the request of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.

The Education Reform Dichotomy: Big Choices Ahead
Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning.

Change by Decree
“…the quality of an idea doesn’t justify an attempt to shove it down people’s throats. Nor does it increase the likelihood that such an effort will be successfully digested.”

Testing Reform in the News: December 28, 2012 – January 3, 2013

Tests Fail South’s Legacy of Inequity by PL Thomas EdD

Teacher: Common Core Harms My Title I Students

Morrison: New state tests waste tax dollars
CMS chief says he’ll try to counteract testing craze

“I am very troubled by the amount of testing we are being asked to do,” Morrison told The Charlotte Observer editorial board. “We can teach our way to the top, but we cannot test our way to the top. We’re getting ready in the state of North Carolina to put out 177 new exams.”

Those tests will take too much time from teaching, won’t be effective for improving student or teacher performance, and will soon be replaced by new exams tied to national Common Core standards, Morrison said.”

Today in Poverty: An Education Wish List

Teacher Kris L. Nielsen writes “The Common Core State Standards is a sham” http://mgmfocus.com/2012/12/18/this-is-how-democracy-ends-an-apology/

John Thompson was an award winning historian, with a doctorate from Rutgers, and a legislative lobbyist when crack and gangs hit his neighborhood, and he became an inner city teacher.
John Thompson: Diane Ravitch and the Long View of School Reform http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/12/john_thompson_diane_ravitch_an.html

SBOE member: ‘The Truth About High-Stakes Testing’ Thursday, November 29, 2012
“Quite simply, high-stakes testing is sucking the individuality and creativity out of classrooms all across the state, and I’m not just talking about those classes that are subjected to the state tests.”

Wisconsin Report Card Study 2012
The state report cards reflect the economic advantage and disadvantage of students.
Schools that serve the poorest students get lowest grades.
Schools that serve the most advantaged students get highest grades.
The study also concluded that students in Wisconsin’s public schools out-perform students in Wisconsin charter schools.

Dan Boyd: Value Added Model has no real value
Dan Boyd is superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools.

Moco schools chief calls for three-year moratorium on standardized testing

Numbers Can Lie: What TIMSS and PISA Truly Tell Us, if Anything?
Dr. Yong Zhao is an internationally known scholar, author, and speaker. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education.

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