Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: 30% Pay Cuts and the Dissolution of the School District Coming to Your Hometown Soon

That is, unless you live in Milwaukee or Philladelphia.  Then it's not coming soon.  It's already here.  Be sure to check out current events in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  Also, an op ed from Gail Collins in the NY Times finally sheds a little light to the public this week.




National Interest


A Very Pricey Pineapple - Gail Collins  NY TIMES Opinion page

Pearson has a five-year testing contract with Texas that’s costing the state taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars. This is the part of education reform nobody told you about... “We’re a capitalist system, but (the privatization of education) is worrisome,” said New York Education Commissioner King.

Letter to  Obama by NSBA’s President
Mr. President, public education in the U.S. is on the wrong track. As we have moved decision-making farther from teachers and children, we have jeopardized our competitive edge and keys to our national success: our ingenuity, our openness to innovation, and our creativity.

Why the U.S. Can’t Compete Educationally

The United States, with the most striking social inequalities among the rich countries of the world, is simply not equipped to benefit from the Finnish model.”

US Education secretary criticizes Wis. school cuts

Arne Duncan answers questions from Madison students here


What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success
The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence. here

A ‘simple fix’ for school curriculum (and it’s not Common Core) 

A lesson on learning from Rebel Speducator, notes this about the article:

A post by educational Maestro Marion Brady in Valerie Strauss' column Wednesday makes more sense than anything I have read recently about how to "fix" our public schools. Reading his description of what learning is really about and how it comes naturally to children lifted my spirits...Please take the time to read what Brady has to say. Even "skimmers" can get the gist of the article by starting a third of the way through with:   So, what is this “simple fix” for the familiar, traditional curriculum?     And make sure to read the last two paragraphs. One theme of this blog is to expose the dangers of the fearful environment created in our schools by the constant threat of punishment. 


Florida

Indiana

Charter School growth in Indiana

EDITORIAL: I got my $100, now what?

Should schools pay students to make passing grades? That's the idea behind Indiana's Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program. And it's a bad idea, one that places instant gratification over long-term learning that is an end in itself.

Application Overview for Newly Proposed Charter School in Fort Wayne

New York

Pennsylvania

Pawtucket's loss is now town's gain: New AHS principal must move under NCLB

NCLB rule forcing out Lord, now Andover High's leader

Wisconsin


The Perils of Standardization Testing

The Problem Is Bigger Than a Pineapple - Ravitch

But, Deborah, as the National Testing Resolution explains, there is a far larger question at issue here than the accuracy of the test questions. Even if the tests contained no absurd questions; even if the tests were flawless, the misuse of test scores is an affront to educators and to students. There may be diagnostic value in standardized tests, but they are now being treated as scientific instruments. What Pineapplegate demonstrates is that they are not scientific instruments. They are cultural artifacts, social constructions, created by fallible people. They should be used appropriately to provide useful information to teachers, not to punish or reward them.
A Manhattan English teacher poignantly remembers how literature touched her students.  She knows the difference these moments have made in her students lives.  Now, standardized testing continues to eat away at these moments.  Teach the Books, Touch the Heart

New York Times:  Facing a Robo-Grader? Just Keep Obfuscating Mellifluously here

Remember AYP? They Still Know What It Is at Fruithurst Elementary


The Common Core exists for no other reason than to make such tests possible on a national scale. The Common Core is also closely associated with two big shifts in testing. First, there will be a significant expansion in the number and frequency of tests. There will be more tests, in more subjects, at more grade levels.
The fact that there will be common tests across the nation will make it easier to place even greater pressure on teachers and students to attend to test scores. Second, we will have the introduction of computer-based assessments, with the marvelous machines designed to grade tests, like the Pearson Intelligent Essay Analyzer, or other robo-grading systems.
People may be unaware that this is connected to a vast new system of student data, which, in the state of New York, will be managed by a collaboration between the Gates Foundation and Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation.


The EP Subcommittee and My Affirmative Action Seminar- How Scripted Curricula Stifle Creative Teaching

And herein lies the problem. If you “script” a syllabus as thoroughly as the EP Committee wanted, you leave no room for the kind of spontaneity which I have always made room for in my pedagogy. You leave no room for student initiatives which transform the syllabus and create new forms of discourse which even the professor didn’t imagine. You leave no room for the professor to respond to new information students bring to the discussion. And you leave no room for a class project which take two weeks of a semester, but might change lives in the process.
Ban homework before third grade; support children’s play

A homework ban before third grade would stop the increasing imposition on kids as young as kindergarten-age. After school free time for children's play actually Increasingly helps younger kids develop important skills, and learn to control emotions.


What makes DIBELS the perfect literacy test is that it takes total control of the academic futures and school lives of the children it reaches from the first day they enter kindergarten when they are barely five years old. It keeps control of their literacy development and indeed their whole school experience for four years from kindergarten through third grade.. And the more poorly the children respond to DIBELS the more they experience it. Norm referenced tests usually are not given until third grade and then only once a year. Diagnostic tests are usually used selectively with pupils to provide teachers with information on what strengths and weaknesses learners may have. DIBELS, once it gains a foothold, is administered a minimum of three times a year at the beginning, middle and end of each grade from kindergarten to third.

What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?  Alphie Kohn was telling us this stuff 10 years ago.


Criminalizing failure: How high stakes testing warps identities, opportunities and communities



If you are like teachers in our district, we have lost a huger percentage of our wages over the last few years.  Yet, the state will bespending BILLONS on standardized testing as reported by pioneer institute in this document.

Protests and Resistance
to Testing and Standardization

An open letter of concern regarding high-stakes testing and the school reform agenda of New York

NYC principal opting her own children
out of testing


United Opt Out: 

How to Privatize Education in 12 easy steps The current policy “reforms” in American public education are a 21st century LAND GRAB.

PEARSON, ALEC AND THE BRAVE NEW WORLD: BOYCOTT NOW



Teachers, Parents Push Back Against High Stakes Testing

National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing

Opting out of testing gaining favor with parents

More question reliability, benefits of state measures


Opting out of testing gaining favor with parents

More question reliability, benefits of state measures



Accountability and Merit Based Pay

1400 principals have signed on to the Open Letter of  Concern Regarding New York State’s APPR Legislation which  you can find here: www.newyorkprincipals.org. "It is our ethical 
obligation as principals to express our deep concerns about flawed  regulations that affect our profession." Read article here.



Teacher Licensure/Certification in the United States  from IUPUI
Great resource to consider to counter relaxed teacher licensing, TFA, and such.




Facebook Groups to Join


ALEC, DeVos, Rhee, Bush, Teach for America, and the Privatization of Public Education

I
A Smart ALEC Threatens Public Education (A primer on ALEC if you aren't familiar with them yet.)

The Ongoing Sham of Teach For America, Part 2 0f 2


A Very Pricey Pineapple NY TIMES Opinion page


Pearson has a five-year testing contract with Texas that’s costing the state taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars. This is the part of education reform nobody told you about... “We’re a capitalist system, but (the privatization of education) is worrisome,” said New York Education Commissioner King.

Charter Schools

No Funds Left Behind:  Just as Lois Weiner wrote in Teacher Unionism Reborn, Government is "reforming" education with an end-around.  What is wrong with slashing funds to private schools, then allowing  charters to come in and rescue?
“The danger is that philanthropic investments will drive education policy to a greater degree than might be healthy or democratic,” says Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
 Charter Schools Research Brief from IUPUI

Higher Education

BREAKING NEWS!!! First Look at the New Standardized Testing for College Students: So Bronx response to Standardized Testing for Higher Education


Education Department seeks to bring its world of Imperialism to Higher Education, since K through 12 just wasn't enough territory.


Seattle Times opinion piece regarding Higher Ed. Standardization

Blog Talk Radio

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Criminalizing failure: How high stakes testing warps identities, opportunities and communities


End Notes


Great video entitled, "Technology and Education,  created by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.  Insight into educational problems with a motivating and hopeful look at the potential of education in the future.

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