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Jeff Bernstein

The Big Error of School Accountability - Living in Dialogue - 0 views

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    "With the debate over testing roiling Congress and state capitals nationwide, it is important to recognize the damage done to American pedagogy by high-stakes testing and the deleterious effects of punitive accountability on the students who depend on public schools."
Jeff Bernstein

More Money, More Money, More Money? Have we really ever tried sustained, targeted schoo... - 0 views

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    "I'm no-longer surprised these days by the belligerent wrongness of rhetoric around school funding equity and adequacy. Arguably, much of the supporting rationale for the current (and other recent) education reforms is built on the house of cards that when it comes to financing equitably and adequately our public school systems - especially those serving our neediest children, we've been there and done that. In fact, we've been there and done that for decades."
Jeff Bernstein

With A Brooklyn Accent: Rising Violence in Schools Serving Predominantly Black and Lati... - 0 views

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    "Over the last ten years, I have worked as a certified English teacher in a high school in Long Island, New York, a suburb of New York City.  I am in my seventeenth year working in public education.  I have taught various courses in four different school districts on Long Island that range from grades six to twelve.  Children and adolescents, whether they are school shooters or gangbangers, do not become violent without cause.  None of them were born violent.

    I tend to connect the rise in school violence in my suburban school district, 95% of which is African American and Hispanic, to the recent economic downturn and education policy insidiously devoted to teacher, principal and school evaluations tied to standardized testing of students.  These students have been exposed to school curriculum, said testing, and "raised" standards (Common Core) conceived by politicians, economists and billionaires, not professional and long-time education practitioners who would know much, much better how to make our public schools the envy of the world (again).  They have also been victimized by inflexible "zero tolerance" policies with mandatory minimum suspension periods, as well as increased in-school surveillance and security measures that prepare chocolate and caramel students much more for the realities of prison than they do a safe existence."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » Multiple Measures And Singular Conclusions In A Twin City - 0 views

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    "A few weeks ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published teacher evaluation results for the district's public school teachers in 2013-14. This decision generated a fair amount of controversy, but it's worth noting that the Tribune, unlike the Los Angeles Times and New York City newspapers a few years ago, did not publish scores for individual teachers, only totals by school.

    The data once again provide an opportunity to take a look at how results vary by student characteristics. This was indeed the focus of the Tribune's story, which included the following headline: "Minneapolis' worst teachers are in the poorest schools, data show." These types of conclusions, which simply take the results of new evaluations at face value, have characterized the discussion since the first new systems came online. Though understandable, they are also frustrating and a potential impediment to the policy process."
Jeff Bernstein

Milwaukee: Ruth Conniff on the Disgrace of Voucher Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "What they saw should chill the ardor of the most doctrinaire followers of Milton Friedman. Vouchers began in Milwaukee nearly 25 years ago based on the claim that they would save poor black children from "failing" public schools. Today, Milwaukee should be a national symbol of the failure of vouchers. Yet state after state is endorsing vouchers, egged on by the Friedman Foundation and rightwing think tanks.

    Let's be clear. Vouchers, charters, and choice have failed the children of Milwaukee. The city ranks near the bottom of all cities tested by the federal NAEP, barely ahead of Detroit. Black children in Milwaukee score behind their peers in most other cities and states. Study after study shows they don't get better test scores than their peers in public schools."
Jeff Bernstein

Scathing Report Finds Rocketship, School Privatization Hurt Poor Kids | The Progressive - 0 views

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    "Gordon Lafer, a political economist and University of Oregon professor who has advised Congress, state legislatures, and the New York City mayor's office, landed at the airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, late last night bringing with him a briefing paper on school privatization and how it hurts poor kids."
Jeff Bernstein

Uncommon Core Heightens Race and Class Math Divide | Alan Singer - 0 views

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    "The uproar over high-stakes testing associated with Common Core in New York State and complaints that children are being tested on things they were not taught, has obscured the deepening of racial, ethnic and class divisions in education in New York and the United States. Not only are the tests unfair, but according to a new study by the National Urban Research Group (NURG), math instruction and the educational system in the United States are deeply unfair, especially to Black and Latino students from poorer families."
Jeff Bernstein

On the Front Lines in the War on Poverty - Deborah Meier - 0 views

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    "My "golden age" in New York, the one that allowed a variety of experiments in trust to flourish, happened not by accident and not just because of a few good administrators. It was possible because of a short-lived sea change in the national political conversation. It came because for a while there was a public commitment to wage a war on poverty and on behalf of racial equality."
Jeff Bernstein

Poverty Matters | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "It is all the rage among the pseudo-reformers to dismiss the importance of poverty. Although most of the pseudo-reformers grew up in affluence, attended elite private school, and send their own children to equally splendid private schools, they feel certain in their hearts that poverty is a state of mind that can be easily overcome. All it takes is one great teacher. Or three effective teachers in a row. Or lots of grit. Or a no-excuses school where children dress for success, follow rules without questioning, and act like little test-taking machines. One by one, the pseudo-reformers insist, they will end poverty."
Jeff Bernstein

George Wood: A new 'no excuses' school reform mantra - 0 views

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    "For years, educators and children's advocates have pointed out that educating poor children requires more time and resources.  By simply pointing out this fact, they have been accused of "making excuses."  Former President George W. Bush accused them of engaging in "the soft bigotry of low expectations."  The "no excuses" crowd chimed in that poverty should never be an excuse for a lack of student success - and that only poor teachers or schools should bear such responsibility.
    I don't agree with those claims. Poverty should not be used as an excuse for a child not succeeding in school, but its effects should not be ignored either. I will admit that we, as a school district, operate on our own type of "no excuses" premise.  We believe we should try with every student, every day, to overcome any and all obstacles to learning.  Our commitment shows up in our graduation rate, which is regularly higher than 95 percent, and the fact that every one of our students who applies to college (more than 70 percent of our graduates) is accepted in one or more colleges.
    So when it comes to children, I suppose I am in favor of a "no excuses" mantra.  But my mantra is different. It extends beyond the walls of our public school classrooms."
Jeff Bernstein

Diane Ravitch: The charter school mistake - latimes.com - 0 views

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    "Billionaires like privately managed schools. Parents are lured with glittering promises of getting their kids a sure ticket to college. Politicians want to appear to be champions of "school reform" with charters.

    But charters will not end the poverty at the root of low academic performance or transform our nation's schools into a high-performing system. The world's top-performing systems - Finland and Korea, for example - do not have charter schools. They have strong public school programs with well-prepared, experienced teachers and administrators. Charters and that other faux reform, vouchers, transform schooling into a consumer good, in which choice is the highest value."
Jeff Bernstein

New York City's Public Education Challenges - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    "The next mayor of New York City faces some tough challenges particularly when it comes to setting public education priorities. Should he or she abandon Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fixation on testing and data-driven accountability, or expand school choice and close failing classrooms to give more options to families, especially English-language learners and those in low-income communities?"
Jeff Bernstein

U.S. Education: The Age of Wisdom and Foolishness | Arthur Camins - 0 views

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    "To teachers, administrators and parents these may seem like the dark days on the eve of destruction of public education. Indeed, from draconian budget cuts to school closings, from competition for students from private fund-enhanced charter schools to maniacal focus on test scores, from flawed measures of teacher performance to attacks on teacher professionalism, public schooling as a collective good is under siege. These threats are especially ironic and unconscionable because we now know more about teaching, learning and effective change than ever before. So, it is the age of wisdom, light and hope because our knowledge grows and deepens. But it is also the age of foolishness, darkness and despair because ignorance and selfishness have prevailed over knowledge and evidence.

    In each critical area for improvement, foolishness threatens wisdom."
Jeff Bernstein

Debunking Reformy "Messaging": A Philadelphia Story | School Finance 101 - 0 views

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    "Let's take another trip back to Philadelphia for the day, because the reformy conversation around Philadelphia is just so darn illustrative of how reformy thinking works. Here's a synopsis of the reformy approach to pushing pre-established, fact free, ideological reforms:"
Jeff Bernstein

Hoxby & Avery: The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income ... - 0 views

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    "We show that the vast majority of very high-achieving students who are low-income do not apply to any selective college or university. This is despite the fact that selective institutions would often cost them less, owing to generous financial aid, than the resource poor two-year and non-selective four-year institutions to which they actually apply. Moreover, high-achieving, low-income students who do apply to selective institutions are admitted and graduate at high rates. We demonstrate that these low-income students' application behavior differs greatly from that of their high-income counterparts who have similar achievement. The latter group generally follows the advice to apply to a few "par" colleges, a few "reach" colleges, and a couple of "safety" schools. We separate the low-income, high-achieving students into those whose application behavior is similar to that of their high-income counterparts ("achievement-typical" behavior) and those whose apply to no selective institutions ("income-typical" behavior). We show that income-typical students do not come from families or neighborhoods that are more disadvantaged than those of achievement-typical students. However, in contrast to the achievement-typical students, the income-typical students come from districts too small to support selective public high schools, are not in a critical mass of fellow high achievers, and are unlikely to encounter a teacher or schoolmate from an older cohort who attended a selective college. We demonstrate that widely-used policies-college admissions staff recruiting, college campus visits, college access programs-are likely to be ineffective with income-typical students, and we suggest policies that will be effective must depend less on geographic concentration of high achievers."
Jeff Bernstein

Stan Karp: Charter Schools and the Future of Public Education - 0 views

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    "While small schools and theme academies have faded as a focus of reform initiatives, charters have expanded rapidly. They raise similar issues and many more. In fact, given the growing promotion of charters by federal and state policymakers as a strategy to "reform" public education, the stakes are much higher.

    According to Education Week, there are now more than 6,000 publicly funded charter schools in the United States enrolling about 4 percent of all students. Since 2008, the number of charter schools has grown by almost 50 percent, while over that same period nearly 4,000 traditional public schools have closed.[i] This represents a huge transfer of resources and students from our public education system to the publicly funded, but privately managed charter sector. These trends raise concerns about the future of public education and its promise of quality education for all."
Jeff Bernstein

Marc Epstein: The Education Reformers' End Game - 0 views

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    "Okay, you've won! Tenure has been abolished. There are no limits on charters, and vouchers are available to all takers. Collective bargaining is a thing of the past. The dreaded fire-breathing dragon union now resembles a salamander. Governors, state legislatures, mayors and editorial boards, who've claimed that they can turn around the dismally depressing performance levels in our urban inner cities -- if only these vestiges of the past were abolished -- have had their way.

    But some questions remain, because as Colin Powell once said when referring to post-war Iraq, the "Pottery Barn Rule" now applies. That is, "you break it, you own it." So it might be useful if we ask the victors some questions about the new education landscape now that the "War on Entrenched Teachers & Unions" has been brought to a successful conclusion."
Jeff Bernstein

Abandoning Education, the Great Equalizer - Forward.com - 0 views

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    "Once upon a time, our society decided that all children should be educated through 12th grade at public expense. But completion of 12th grade does not mean what it once did. If that is so, does our society not need to adjust its ambitions and make college as accessible an element of public education as completion of high school used to be? We need to attend not only to post-12th grade educational opportunities, but also to preschool programs of the kind that President Obama endorsed in his inaugural address in January. This is the only way we can begin to move toward genuine equality of opportunity. Without that emphasis, K-3 students from low-income families start their education with an often crippling educational deficit. This is not fanciful rhetoric; it is well-established fact: Know how to read by the end of third grade, and your prospects are bright; don't know, and you are doomed."
Jeff Bernstein

An Open Letter to Bill Gates: Why Not Measure This? - Living in Dialogue - Education We... - 0 views

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    "The Gates Foundation has decided that the variable we can most readily change is the effectiveness of the classroom teacher. Therefore all their powers of measurement have focused on this single variable. We have explored in the past some of the problems with this. In particular, the fact that less than 15% of the differences in student growth can be attributed to their teacher suggests that perhaps we ought to be looking in the realm of the out of school factors, which have been found to account for more than 60% of these differences. Today I want to explore some of the areas that have remained unexamined."
Jeff Bernstein

David Berliner: Effects of Inequality and Poverty vs. Teachers and Schooling on America... - 0 views

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    "This paper arises out of frustration with the results of school reforms carried out over the past few decades. These efforts have failed. They need to be abandoned. In their place must come recognition that income inequality causes many social problems, including problems associated with education. Sadly, compared to all other wealthy nations, the USA has the largest income gap between its wealthy and its poor citizens. Correlates associated with the size of the income gap in various nations are well described in Wilkinson & Pickett (2010), whose work is cited throughout this article. They make it clear that the bigger the income gap in a nation or a state, the greater the social problems a nation or a state will encounter. Thus it is argued that the design of better economic and social policies can do more to improve our schools than continued work on educational policy independent of such concerns."
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