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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."
Jeff Bernstein

Kopp to Kozol: Your New Book Didn't Mention Me Once! | EduShyster - 0 views

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    "If you were thinking of ponying up $20 to buy Jonathan Kozol's latest book, Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America, don't bother. EduShyster has it on EXCELLENT authority that the book suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. While I haven't actually read Fire in the Ashes, I know someone who has-Teach for America foundress Wendy Kopp-and she thought it was a real dud.

    You see Kozol has spent the past 642 years writing about the scourge of poverty among America's children, racial segregation in the public schools and inequities in education funding-all of which we now know DO NOT MATTER AT ALL. In fact just by mentioning these non-mattering factors Kozol is practically a one man excuse factory."
Jeff Bernstein

Daily Kos: Unions, Education and The Chicago Teachers Strike - 0 views

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    "The Chicago Teachers Union strike, and the recent rallies held in conjunction, speak to a problem larger than the conventional meme of pay increases, tenure, or pensions.  Chicago Teachers want better working conditions. They realize as no other employees might; the environments in which they work fashion the future of our nation.  Our children's education is at-risk."
Jeff Bernstein

Arthur Camins: Why schools alone can't cure poverty - The Answer Sheet - The Washington... - 0 views

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    "School reformers often say that great teaching can overcome the effects of poverty. Here, Arthur H. Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., discusses problems with this reform narrative."
Jeff Bernstein

P. L. Thomas: On "Hostile Rhetoric," Laziness, and the Education Debate - 0 views

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    "I must wonder how my public commentary and scholarship have come to be seen as "hostile rhetoric," how the working poor and working class in the U.S. have come to be characterized as lazy, and how we justify telling children trapped in poverty to suck it up, work twice as hard, and above all else, do as you are told."
Jeff Bernstein

Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong | Mother Jones - 0 views

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    "Attendance: up. Dropout rates: plummeting. College acceptance: through the roof. My mind-blowing year inside a "low-performing" school."
Jeff Bernstein

P. L. Thomas: "No Excuses" and the Culture of Shame: Why Metrics Don't Matter - 0 views

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    "The education reform debate is fueled by a seemingly endless and even fruitless point-counterpoint among the corporate reformers-typically advocates for and from the Gates Foundation (GF), Teach for America (TFA), and charter chains such as Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP)-and educators/scholars of education. Since the political and public machines have embraced the corporate reformers, GF, TFA, and KIPP have acquired the bully pulpit of the debate and thus are afforded most often the ability to frame the point, leaving educators and scholars to be in a constant state of generating counter-points.
    This pattern disproportionately benefits corporate reformers, but it also exposes how those corporate reformers manage to maintain the focus of the debate on data. The statistical thread running through most of the point-counterpoint is not only misleading (the claims coming from the corporate reformers are invariably distorted, while the counter-points of educators and scholars remain ignored among politicians, advocates, the public, and the media), but also a distraction.

    Since the metrics debate (test scores, graduation rates, attrition, populations of students served, causation/correlation) appears both enduring and stagnant, I want to make a clear statement with some elaboration that I reject the "ends-justify-the-means" assumptions and practices-the broader "no excuses" ideology-underneath the numbers, and thus, we must stop focusing on the outcomes of programs endorsed by the GF or TFA and KIPP.

    Instead, we must unmask the racist and classist policies and practices hiding beneath the metrics debate surrounding GF, TFA, and KIPP (as prominent examples of practices all across the country and types of schools)."
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