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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 Anti-Standardized Testing Movement Claims a Victory in Chicago - 0 views

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    "In a move seen by some activists as a concession to Chicago's strong anti-testing movement, Chicago Public Schools won't administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a test required by federal mandate as part of the new Common Core curriculum. Instead, the district will test only 10 percent of its 664 schools."
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

Rage Against the Regime: The Reform of Education Policy in New York City - 0 views

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    "This commentary traces the transition of education policy from the Bloomberg-Klein years to the current administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina a year into their tenure."
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. "
Jeff Bernstein

9 Things to Know About School Choice - 0 views

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    "To help kick off School Choice PR Week, Forbes ran a puff piece about choice entitled "Kicking Off School Choice Week With 9 Things You Need To Know". The piece comes from contributor Maureen Sullivan who in 2009 was elected to the the Hoboken school board arguing "for lower taxes and higher standards" during her "nearly" four year term (Sullivan was elected as a member of the Kids First team, then defected because she found them insufficiently reformy, leading to a great deal of fiscal grandstanding and wrangling in Hoboken)

    Her 9 things make a nice compendium of what choice advocates offer as arguments these days."
Jeff Bernstein

Charter schools and the false promise of better education - Liberation News - 0 views

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    "This week is "National School Choice Week." The School Choice Week website would have you believe that public schools cannot meet the needs of all students. They claim that only private options can save impoverished children from "failing public schools" by offering parents more choice. Research continues to show that is not the case."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » Relationships Matter: Putting It All Together - 0 views

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    "If there is one take away about the social side approach, it is the idea that relationships matter in education. Teaching and learning are not solo but rather social endeavors and, as such, they are best achieved by working together. The social side perspective: (1) shifts the focus from the individual to the broader context in which individuals operate; (2) highlights the importance of interdependencies at all levels of the system - e.g., among teachers within a school, leaders across a district, schools and the community; and (3) recognizes that crucial resources (e.g., information, advice, support) are exchanged through interpersonal relationships."
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."
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