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Jeff Bernstein

Angry Andy's Failing Schools & the Finger of Blame | School Finance 101 - 0 views

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    "So, where should that finger of blame point here? 
    Or is this just how things work these days - slash the funding of the highest need districts - call them failing - close their schools - give their property and their teacher's jobs to someone else - and claim victory - leaving others, years down the line to clean up your mess?
    Angry Andy - this is your mess. Now do the right thing and fix it!"
Jeff Bernstein

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and baloney - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's school reform proposals have infuriated educators across the state. Award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School is one of them and in this post, she  explains why. Burris, who has written frequently for this blog,  was named New York's 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, was tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Burris has been exposing the botched school reform program in New York for years on this blog. Her most recent post was "Principal: 'There comes a time when rules must be broken…That time is now.'"

    (In this post, Burris refers to "value-added" scores, which refer to value-added measurement (VAM), which purports to be able to determine the "value" a teacher brings to student learning by plopping test scores into complicated formulas that can supposedly strip out all other factors, including the conditions in which a student lives.)"
Jeff Bernstein

Horace Meister: Why Charters Are NOT the Way to Help Struggling Schools | Diane Ravitch... - 0 views

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    "Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York State, recently released a report called The State of New York's Failing Schools. This report claims to present "statistics and facts" that "expose a public education system badly in need of change" and is designed to support Cuomo's proposal to turn "failing" schools over to private management and convert them into charter schools. But are these public schools failing? Are charter schools the answer? The facts say no.
    To help concretize the question why don't we take a closer look at one charter chain"
Jeff Bernstein

The APPR Insanity Continues - From All Directions | OCM BOCES Instructional Support - 0 views

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    "The problem with this fight is that it drains the system of energy - energy that should be spent on the teaching and learning process. This very visible fight, often fought through the media, is a significant distraction from the work that needs to occur in schools. What's worse, however, is that the battle is over the wrong things.

    The problem is that the battle lines are all over a misplaced emphasis on human capital over social capital."
Jeff Bernstein

Kamenetz on The Test: Can What We Measure What We Truly Value? - Living in Dialogue - 0 views

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    "Anya Kamenetz's The Test comes from the conversation she's had again and again with parents. She and they have "seen how high-stakes standardized tests are stunting children's spirits, adding stress to family life, demoralizing teachers, undermining schools, paralyzing the education debate, and gutting our country's future competitiveness." Like so many Gen X and Gen Y parents, Kamenetz sees how "the test obsession is making public schools … into unhappy places."
    Kamenetz covers ten arguments against testing, starting with "We're testing the wrong things," and ending with "The next generation of tests will make things even worse." I'd say the second most destructive of the reasons is #4 "They are making teachers hate teaching." The most awful is #3 "They are making students hate school and turning parents into preppers.""
Jeff Bernstein

Doug Christensen on ESEA: Time for the Voices of Educators, Parents and Students to be ... - 0 views

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    "I first heard of Doug Christensen back in 2008, when he was still serving as Commissioner of Education in Nebraska. He was forced to resign because the locally-based assessment system he had developed there did not meet the mandates of No Child Left Behind - as described in this interview here. I connected with Christensen again a couple of years later, and we discussed the importance of local initiative and self determination. This week, I caught up with him again, as he has been on Capitol Hill, sharing his views with lawmakers wrestling with the reauthorization of ESEA. Here is what he has to say."
Jeff Bernstein

The rise of charter schools in Pa.: A list of the components in the special series. | P... - 0 views

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    "It's a plan reviled by teachers, loathed by parents, and decried by local politicians, but against huge opposition, York may become the third city in America to privatize the entirety of one of its public school districts.

    How did a public school system in the midstate rise to the forefront of a national experiment in education reform? And how did an entire community lose control of its own decision-making ability? The answer to both those questions, education researchers and public watchdogs say, lies in large part on a concerted, multi-million dollar campaign over the past decade by for-profit schools to alter Pennsylvania law.

    Those changes, and the industry lobbying that continues behind-the-scenes, have implications for teachers and students across the entire state. It's a subject we have tackled in a series entitled "The Rise of Charter Schools in Pa.""
Jeff Bernstein

How teachers unions must change - by a union leader - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    "There is nothing new about Republican opposition to teachers unions, but in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that some Democrats have turned against them as well. In the following post we hear from a union leader, Bob Peterson, the president of the  Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, about how he thinks teachers union must change to keep alive public education. This post first appeared in Rethinking Schools, a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization dedicated to improving public education."
Jeff Bernstein

What's the purpose of education in the 21st century? - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    "What is the purpose of education? The question came into stark relief when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently tried to quietly change the century-old mission of the University of Wisconsin system by proposing to remove words in the state code that command the university to "search for truth" and "improve the human condition" and replacing them with "meet the state's workforce needs." Walker backed off when the issue became public and sparked intense criticism from academics and others, but the issue remains a topic of national debate and of the following post. It was written by Arthur H. Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J."
Jeff Bernstein

The Increasing Academic Ability Of New York Teachers | Shanker Institute - 0 views

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    "For many years now, a common talking point in education circles has been that U.S. public school teachers are disproportionately drawn from the "bottom third" of college graduates, and that we have to "attract better candidates" in order to improve the distribution of teacher quality. We discussed the basis for this "bottom third" claim in this post, and I will not repeat the points here, except to summarize that "bottom third" teachers (based on SAT/ACT scores) were indeed somewhat overrepresented nationally, although the magnitudes of such differences vary by cohort and other characteristics.

    A very recent article in the journal Educational Researcher addresses this issue head-on (a full working version of the article is available here). It is written by Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, Andrew McEachin, Luke Miller and James Wyckoff. The authors analyze SAT scores of New York State teachers over a 25 year period (between 1985 and 2009). Their main finding is that these SAT scores, after a long term decline, improved between 2000 and 2009 among all certified teachers, with the increases being especially large among incoming (new) teachers, and among teachers in high-poverty schools."
Jeff Bernstein

Why we are refusing New York's Common Core tests - 0 views

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    "New York's Common Core-based tests should be refused by parents. The tests drive an agenda that reduces local control of schools, supports questionable standards and over-emphasizes data collection."
Jeff Bernstein

Can VAMs Be Trusted? | - 0 views

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    "In a recent paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Education Finance and Policy, coauthors Cassandra Guarino (Indiana University - Bloomington), Mark Reckase (Michigan State University), and Jeffrey Wooldridge (Michigan State University) ask and then answer the following question: "Can Value-Added Measures of Teacher Performance Be Trusted?""
Jeff Bernstein

No profit left behind - Stephanie Simon - POLITICO - 0 views

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    "In the high-stakes world of American education, Pearson makes money even when its results don't measure up."
Jeff Bernstein

Using Student Test Scores to Fire Teachers: No More Reliable Than a Coin Toss - Living ... - 0 views

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    "Public school teachers and principals deserve fair treatment on important decisions about who should be retained and who should be fired. They should not be fired based on student test scores because the variation in student test scores is random. It is no more reliable than a coin toss. How wise would it be to fire doctors or lawyers based on a coin toss? Heads they stay. Tails they go. Imagine what this would do the moral of staff who had also most no control over whether they stayed or were fired. In this report, we will look at the scientific research (or lack of it) on using student test scores to evaluate teachers."
Jeff Bernstein

Jersey Jazzman: Burden of Reformy Proof - 0 views

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    "I see a lot of arguments in social media and blogs and editorial pages and elsewhere along these lines:

    "American education is a disaster! We must do something! And you can't prove that my proposed reforms won't work!"

    This argument makes no sense for at least three reasons"
Jeff Bernstein

The Unholy Alliance: Charters, the Media, and "Research" | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "Horace Meister, a regular contributor, has discovered a shocking instance of contradictory research, posted a year apart by the same "independent" governmental agency. The first report, published a year ago, criticized New York City's charter schools for enrolling small proportions of high-need students; the second report, published a month ago, claimed that the city's charter schools had a lower attrition rate of high-needs students than public schools. Meister read the two reports carefully and with growing disgust. He concluded that the Independent Budget Office had massaged the data to reach a conclusion favoring the powerful charter lobby. Eva Moskowitz read the second report and wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal called "The Myth of Charter School 'Cherry Picking.'" Horace Meister says it is not myth: it is reality."
Jeff Bernstein

The Cost of Stupid: Families for Excellent Schools Totally Bogus Analysis of NYC School... - 0 views

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    "Families for Excellent Schools of New York - the Don't Steal Possible folks - has just released an impossibly stupid analysis in which they claim that New York City is simply throwing money at failure. Spending double on failing schools what they do on totally awesome ones (if they really have any awesome ones)."
Jeff Bernstein

Jia Lee: Conscientious Objector - Living in Dialogue - 0 views

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    "Filmmaker Michael Elliot stirringly documents special education teacher Jia Lee's historic testimony on the dangers of standardized tests before Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken and other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "
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