Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
from this post
"How about ten free, subtle, simple things teachers can do to begin the process of re-claiming–transforming–education?
1. Smile at children. Often. Especially when they say things that are true, profound, and childlike.
2. Stop talking about how much standardized tests “matter.” Stop feeding the test-anxiety machine. Immediately.
3. Invent reasons to do lessons outside. Even in the winter. Even with high school kids. Measure snow, feed birds, write group poetry, play games in the parking lot– or something.
4. Find something good one of your least creative colleagues does and compliment that person. Encourage them to do it more.
5. Take a traditional school basic practice and develop a learning question: What would happen if we didn’t take attendance? If students graded teachers? If seniors taught kindergarten, instead of teachers? If students chose the music instead of the music teacher? This is totally adaptable to all levels/subjects. Why do we have levels and subjects, anyway?
6. Get brave and start a reading club (it only takes two) and read an article about innovative schools. Talk about out-there educational ideas and models (that would never fly in your community) at lunch. Better yet, invite parents to join–both the reading, and the lunch.
7. Volunteer to handle a bulletin board or showcase for a semester–and use it to post provocative questions. Invite everyone at the school to contribute to the conversation.
8. Ask students what they haven’t learned in school that they wish they knew. Post the answers someplace where the superintendent and school board can read them.
9. Be silent for a day. Communicate with students via written word and hand signals. Ask them to take over their own learning. If necessary, pretend to have laryngitis.
10. Touch your students. Do it carefully–the shoulder pat, the hair ruffle, one finger on an arm, a handshake–but understand the power of human touch."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Zais is wrong about the role of poverty (it is huge and no one is using it as an excuse, but suggesting that some do is at least offensive):
And wrong about VAM, holding teachers accountable for test scores:
SC needs leadership that looks at evidence, has experience as a K-12 educator, and resists political talking points.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
The Social Cost of Open Enrollment as a School Choice Policy
Author: Cory Koedel, Julian R. Betts, Lorien A. Rice, & Andrew C. Zau
We evaluate the integrating and segregating effects of school choice in a large, urban school district. Our findings suggest that open enrollment, a school-choice program without explicit integrative objectives which does not provide busing, segregates students along three socioeconomic dimensions – race/ethnicity, student achievement and parental-education status. Using information on expenditures to promote integration at the district, we back out estimates of the social cost of open enrollment realized in terms of student segregation. Our estimates vary widely depending on several assumptions, but a social-cost estimate of roughly 10 million dollars per year is on the high end of our range of estimates for this single district. Although this number represents a sizeable portion of the district’s integrative-busing budget, it is a small fraction of the district’s total budget (≈1.4 billion dollars). Further, we note that this cost may be offset by benefits not related to integration.
Click here to view publication as a PDF
Brazell: Use charter schools as model for new accountability system - Editorial Columns - TheState.com
See my comment posted and the EVIDENCE supporting my concerns.
Also note the School Report Card data on the charter schools—low/no ELL, special needs students, typical of charter schools across US.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Thomas, P. L. (2011, April 11). Accountability? Start at the top. OpEdNews.com http://www.opednews.com/articles/Accountability-Start-at-t-by-Paul-Thomas-110411-375.html
-----. (2011, March 27). Journalists, media fail education reform debate. OpEdNews.com. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Journalists-Media-Fail-Ed-by-Paul-Thomas-110326-816.html
-----. (2011, January 10). Supermen or kryptonite?—Legend of the fall, pt. V. The Daily Censored. http://dailycensored.com/2011/01/10/superman-or-kryptonite%E2%80%94legend-of-the-fall-pt-v/
-----. (2010, November 28). Our faith in a "culture of poverty" never left. The Daily Censored. http://dailycensored.com/2010/11/28/our-faith-in-a-culture-of-poverty-never-left/
-----. (2010, August 17). Reconsidering education "miracles." OpEdNews.com. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Reconsidering-Education-M-by-P-L-Thomas-100816-438.html
"Researchers discovered the groups’ socio-economic level corresponded with their group ranking on FCAT scores. The most affluent lifestyle group registered the highest FCAT scores, the second richest group ranked second in test scores, and so on. On the math tests, the gap between the highest and lowest scoring lifestyle groups was more than two grade levels."
[But someone needs to inform the journalists that poverty is not a "lifestyle."]
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
What the United States could learn from Finland about education reform.
Notice that there is no mention of teacher merit pay, standards-based testing, vouchers or anything that is coming from politicians and self-proclaimed education leaders in the U.S.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools
195. What Makes KIPP Work? A Study of Student Characteristics, Attrition, and School Finance. 2011.
Author: Gary Miron, Jessica L. Urschel, and Nicholas Saxton
The abstract will be available shortly. We apologize for the delay.
Click here to view publication as a PDF
Click here to email a PDF
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
SC, other states, and the federal government must consider the unintended negative consequences of three decades of accountability.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
EVIDENCE FROM NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Roland G. Fryer
Working Paper 16850
Financial incentives for teachers to increase student performance is an increasingly popular education policy around the world. This paper describes a school-based randomized trial in over two-hundred New York City public schools designed to better understand the impact of teacher incentives on student achievement. I find no evidence that teacher incentives increase student performance, attendance, or graduation, nor do I find any evidence that the incentives change student or teacher behavior. If anything, teacher incentives may decrease student achievement, especially in larger schools. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of theories that may explain these stark results.
"In South Carolina, the legislature plans to cut $12 million from funding for physical education and guidance counselors, but managed to find $25 million to fund new charter schools. So, all the children in the state will be less fit so a handful of children can attend privately managed charters. Makes sense, no? Oh, yes, the legislature also found $10 million to pay for a golf tournament. I guess the money isn’t all gone, but priorities have changed."
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Education has now been officially targeted as the "scapegoat" for South Carolina's woes with current legislation in the House and Senate. For example, rather than address the overwhelming influence of poverty and its effect on our state and our children, Rep. Bakari Sellers would like to pass House Bill 3363, The Education Performance Accountability Act of 2011, to classify teaching positions and create a merit system of pay for teachers. A spokesman for our state superintendent feels that teachers should not have input in regards to this bill, as well.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
According to the report card data, published at Zais’ agency’s website, www.ed.sc.gov, the SCPCSD ranks 77th out of 85 SC districts in absolute performance, with a graduation rate over 45% lower than the median district. While the median district’s art opportunities rating is “excellent,” SCPCSD’s is “poor.” Astoundingly, these results require an average administrators’ salary of over $10,000 more than the median SC district. According to the SCPCSD “[t]he goal of charter schools is to encourage academic excellence, educational improvement and cultural diversity…” In fact, the rate of African-American enrollment in SCPCSD is less than half the median SC district and the poverty index is 10% less. Actually, the disparity in Africa-American enrollment violates the current charter school law in SC.
The charter school experiment in SC should be evaluated thoroughly before any additional legislative support is provided, and, Dr. Zais, the state’s chief school officer, should explain how the results of the SCPCSD are meeting and exceeding those of other public schools.
Glen R. Carson
Thursday, March 17, 2011
What do they all have in common? The claim of miracle always falls apart when the rhetoric and advocacy are peeled back and the evidence is examined.
Some resources for examining the "miracle" phenomenon. . .and this is my call to refute both the claims and the pursuit of miracle at the expense of evidence and needed education reform:
What Do Test Scores in Texas Tell Us? (2000)
Chicago miracle? (2008)
Reconsidering education "miracles" (2010)
How to Calculate the Costs or Savings of Tax Credit Voucher Policies
An interview with Henna Virkkunen, Finland’s Minister of Education
Monday, March 14, 2011
Let your voices be heard in response to current legislation being proposed in the House and Senate:
*Educational Professional Performance Accountability Act of 2011 (H 3363, H 3716 *formerly 3002)
*Funding for public schools (S 433, H 3716)
(Please be aware that these bill numbers could change as they pass through the legislative process.)
Meet at the State House steps in Columbia, SC at 4:00 on Thursday, March 31st!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Follow the discussion and see my comment posted there:
Any education success at our schools--regardless of kind (public, private, charter)--deserves praise and celebration. But we must be careful when that praise slips into comparisons that imply policy should reflect some TYPE of schooling as superior to another.
Charter spending often includes hidden differences that we tend to ignore about public schools--which have complex mandates concerning what each public school MUST do.
Spartanburg Charter has a poverty index of about 56 placing it in the TOP 17% of elementary schools in SC--comparable to Blythe Academy in Greenville and Jesse Boyd in Spartanburg, both with better report card ratings but with a more diverse population of students to educate (ELL, notably). Also Spartanburg Charter has a 9-1 student-teacher ratio, compared to 19-1 for Blythe and Jesse Boyd--suggesting many aspects of the setting may be impacting the outcomes, not just raw dollars spent.
See REPORT CARDS
POVERTY INDEX 2010
Spartanburg Charter exposes a common problem with comparing charters to public schools--populations of students served, including ELL and special needs students.
The BULK of increased education spending in public schools over the past half century can be traced to special needs and ELL costs, which public schools MUST address and charter schools often don't.
We can applaud Spartanburg Charter without suggesting an incomplete and misleading conclusion that the school does more with less money (this claim about private schools remains, but is untrue as well).
Thursday, March 10, 2011
PLEASE contact Rep. Springer HERE.
One notable comment from Stringer--"They missed the fact that life itself is a test"--is worth addressing directly. Life is NOT a multiple choice test.
The claims that lead to his arguments are all provably misleading; thus, the conclusions are suspect.
I posted this rebuttal online at TGN:
The PISA claim here is FALSE, oversimplified misinformation. When POVERTY is considered, the US has test scores that exceed countries with similar levels of poverty. FACT: http://bit.ly/hWVCkM
For example, Finland has about 3-4% childhood poverty while the US has well over 20% childhood poverty. SCHOOL OUTCOMES REFLECT PRIMARILY SOCIAL CONDITIONS--not teacher or school quality. (http://bit.ly/hUYgl8)
As well, public, private, charter, and choice schools all produce ABOUT THE SAME RESULTS. Ample evidence shows that none of the formats are superior to the others. Most comprehensive study on choice available today: "In this article, we review the empirical evidence on the impact of education vouchers on student achievement, and briefly discuss the evidence from other forms of school choice. The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero." (http://bit.ly/gtdN2K)
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
- Teach basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, and
- Cultivate values that serve a democratic society (some history and civics implied).
- From 1900 to 1910, we added
- immunization, and
- health to the list of school responsibilities.
- From 1920 to 1940, we added
- vocational education
- the practical arts
- business education
- speech and drama
- half day kindergarten
- Phys. Ed. including organized athletics, and
- school lunch programs (We take this for granted today. It was, however, a significant step to shift to the schools the job of feeding America's children 1/3 of their daily meals.)
- In the 1950's, we added
- safety education
- driver's education
- expanded music and art education
- foreign language requirements are strengthened, and
- sex education introduced (topics escalate through 1990's)
- In the 1960's, we added
- Advanced Placement programs
- consumer education
- career education
- peace education
- leisure education, and
- recreation education
- In the 1970's, the breakup of the American family accelerated, and we added
- special education (mandated by federal government)
- Title IX programs (greatly expanded athletic program for girls)
- drug and alcohol abuse education
- Head Start
- parent education
- behavior adjustment classes
- character education
- environmental education, and
- school breakfast programs appear (Now, some schools are feeding America's children 2/3 of their daily meals. Sadly, these are the only decent meals some children receive.)
- In the 1980's the flood gates open, and we add
- keyboarding and computer education
- global education
- ethnic education
- multicultural/non-sexist education
- English-as-a-second-language, and bilingual education
- early childhood education
- Jump Start, Early Start, Even Start, and Prime Start
- full day kindergarten
- pre-school programs for children at risk
- afer school programs for children of working parents
- alternative education in all its forms
- stranger/danger education
- anti-smoking education
- sexual abuse prevention education
- health and psychological services are expanded, and
- child abuse monitoring becomes a legal requirement for all teachers
- In the 1990's we added
- HIV/ AIDS education
- death education
- expanded computer and Internet education
- Tech Prep and School to work programs
- gang education (in urban centers)
- bus safety education
- bicycle safety education, and
- gun safety education
Monday, March 7, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
"And, unfortunately, they are not alone. I hear people – including policymakers – advocate constantly for the use of value-added in teacher evaluations or other high-stakes decisions by saying that 'research shows' that there are huge differences between 'good' and 'bad' teachers.
"This overall variation is a very important finding, but for policy purposes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we can differentiate between the good, the bad, and the average at the level of individual teachers. How we should do so is an open question.
"Conflating the importance of teacher quality with the ability to measure it carries the risk of underemphasizing all the methodological and implementation details – such as random error, model selection, and data verification – that will determine whether value-added plays a productive role in education policy."
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
It appeared that House Bill 3363 Educational Professional Performance and Pay Accountability Act of
2011 (details below) would not be discussed until after the House
debates the budget in March, but it was placed on a subcommittee agenda. IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO CALL AND EMAIL THE MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE WITH YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT THIS BILL.
Subcommittee Contact Info:
Representative Brian White
519C Blatt Building
Representative Joe Neal
309B Blatt Bldg.
Representative Mike Pitts
327C Blatt Bldg.
Representative Bill Herbkersman
308B Blatt Bldg.
House Bill 3363 by Rep. Sellars – The Education Professional Performance
Accountability Act of 2011 has been introduced and sent to the House
Ways and Means Committee. This bill includes the following points:
- Personnel will be classified and paid based on what they do:
1: Math and Science teachers
2: All other teachers
3: Special Ed teachers
4: Coaches and facilitators
5: Special area personnel such as psychologists, media and
6: Administrative personnel
7: Support staff
-All teachers will go through SAFE-T (ADEPT) every year
4 evaluations (2 teacher, 2 administrator) for 50% of your score
-Pre and post test data for your students (probably MAP 75% class
growth) - 30% of your score for pay
-School collective test data - 10 % of your pay
-Professional responsibility - 5% of your pay (parents and students
will be part of the evaluation process)
-Professional development measured by instructional practices - 5%
of your score for pay
To view the full bill, go to:
PSTA will testify against this bill on Wednesday afternoon. It is SO
important that your teacher voices are heard on this issue. Start
calling after school today. The subcommittee members will not be coming
to Columbia until Tuesday morning so you have time to reach them in
(see more info below on HB 3363)
House Bill 3716 (previously 3002) is on the House calendar and could be
debated as early as Tuesday. This bill amends the Education Finance Act
of 1977- to the Education Finance Act of 2011. The bill allows for
changes in the student weightings and added a weight for Poverty and
English as a Second Language (ESOL). Language pertaining to the STEP
increase will be removed and STEP increases will only be provided at the
district’s discretion. The SDE is directed to develop a performance
based model for salary increases to replace the STEP increase. The bill
addresses the Index of Taxpaying Ability. Seventy percent (70%) of
funding must be directed to instruction. The bill also includes a Basic
Education Program that allows the General Assembly to consolidate line
items in the budget and provide a more direct student centered funding
to the districts. The items include, but are not limited to: EEDA, EAA,
Student Health and Fitness Act, physical education programs, units
required by SBE regulations in each grade leveteaching of grade-specific standards.
Representative Dan Cooper, at the request of PSTA, put an amendment to
the bill that assures that there is teacher input in the development of
an incentive compensation plan for teachers. You must get in touch with
your House member and ask them to make sure the section that allows
teacher input in developing the performance pay stays in the bill. A
spokesman for Superintendent Zais has testified and spoken to the media
against having a committee of teachers mandated in the bill. You can
read the response here: http://www.wyff4.com/news/26919658/detail.html
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Myth of Charter Schools
Review of Waiting for Superman
Why Oscar Snubbed "Superman"
Legend of the Fall
A Tale of Two Films
Waiting for Superman: He’s “adequate” and near proficient!
Demonizing Public Education
'Superman' offers mirage, not a miracle
The Myth of the Bad Teacher
The Real Facts about Waiting for Superman
Fact-checking "Waiting for Superman": False data and fraudulent claims
"Superintendant Zais, what if your salary was based on the performance of the districts, schools and students in this state? Would that make sense? No. You couldn’t be held accountable for the performances of such a diverse group. Neither can we."
We must emphasize the flaws in calls for accountability that ignore the professionalism and empowerment of teachers, the overwhelming influence of out-of-school factors on student outcomes, and the complete lack of accountability for those in power.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
See for example this Op-Ed: End discrimination against charter school students
Again, we must hold political agendas responsible for decisions based on EVIDENCE, not ideology and political platforms.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
"Somebody's Baby," Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson
Sunday, February 13, 2011
What about fair funding for our public schools?
And the EVIDENCE on charter schools?
Friday, February 11, 2011
Deepening the Debate over Teach For America: Responses to Heather Harding
Tough Questions for Teach For America: Heather Harding Responds
A Letter to the Seattle WA School Board
Hyper-accountability, Burnout and Blame: A TFA Corps Member Speaks Out
Phil Kovacs Responds to the Latest Research on Teach For America
Jack Hassard Reports: Cobb County, Georgia, Rejects Teach For America
'Teach for America' overstates its classroom success
Reconsidering TFA (blog)
Teach for America - A Hidden Curriculum?
Teach for America: The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders
Teach for America: Liberal mission helps conservative agenda
Philip Kovacs: Research Suggests Teach For America Does Not Belong in Huntsville
Philip Kovacs: Teach For America Research Fails the Test
Philip Kovacs: Huntsville Takes a Closer Look at Teach For America's "Research"
Philip Kovacs Takes on TFA in Huntsville
The Dialogue Heats Up over Teach For America
Petition to Change/Reform TfA
Teach For America: A False Promise
Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence
Ravitch: The Problem with Teach For America
Richard Cohen's Teach for America Column Deserves a Failing Grade
Resources for think-tanks and the media:
Think Tank Research Quality: Lessons for Policy Makers, the Media, and the Public
Kevin G. Welner, University of Colorado - Boulder
Patricia H. Hinchey, Pennsylvania State University
Alex Molnar, Arizona State University
Don Weitzman, Independent Researcher
Thursday, February 10, 2011
NEW: Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education
David, J. L. (2011, March). High-stakes testing narrows the curriculum. Educational Leadership, 68(6), 78-80. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/mar11/vol68/num06/High-Stakes_Testing_Narrows_the_Curriculum.aspx